Building a career around the best sales jobs

Sales can be a very rewarding career. Salespeople are given the chance to interact with customers and help them solve problems, and generally have an opportunity to earn a significant sum of money. Salespeople are usually paid commissions, meaning that they get a percentage of what they sell. Some companies also offer bonuses for exceeding certain goals, one of the many reasons why sales jobs are seen as a highly attractive option for any career path.

Today, salespeople have to think like entrepreneurs, as well as like sales reps. They need to be credible, creative, independent and in tune with the risks and rewards of running a business. And they also have to be helpful and trustworthy advisors, with interpersonal skills to match. They have to be credible because customers want to trust them throughout the sales process. Customers will tend to buy more from a sales rep they like and respect. You need to be creative because you are selling ideas and concepts, and independent because you could be working on your own in the field at times. Today's buyers have far more power than they ever did before. They can research a company or product digitally through websites, forums and social media platforms. A career in sales represents a number of interesting and rewarding challenges.

Sales involves a wide range of communication skills

Sellers should be advisors, establishing expertise, positioning their solution in a manner that connects the dots between prospects' businesses, challenges, and goals, and helping them solve those problems. Those in a sales job in the B2B market are not just selling products anymore. They are also helping companies understand their customers' needs and thus align those needs with the company's offerings. Sales Engineers must help their clients identify problems and opportunities, and then analyse the customer's situation to determine what solutions will best fit their needs. As a result, active listening can be a major asset. A Sales Executive needs to think critically about the client's current state and future goals in order to recommend the right solution, while always keeping the sales process in mind.

Sales is an industry that offers great opportunities for individuals looking to earn higher annual salaries. Salespeople get paid on the basis of their efforts and performance. If you meet your monthly, quarterly and yearly quotas, you could receive commissions, annual bonuses, trips and prizes. There are also many different types of sales jobs available, including telemarketing, retail, direct selling, and more.  Salespeople sometimes start on a low salary but overtime and commissions can add up quickly and help you achieve your target earnings.

Sales jobs can bring excellent earning potential

Some sales roles require selling skills, but others just involve calling customers and asking if they need anything else. Those who sell often need to be persistent, resilient, proactive, and self-motivated. They must overcome obstacles and challenges along the way. Sales Managers and Executives value the ability to motivate and inspire employees to achieve goals. They also appreciate successful salespeople who can adapt to changing market conditions.

As a Sales Associate, your ability to bring in revenue and close deals can potentially determine whether your company succeeds or fails. Sales Directors are also important for startups that sell their own products. These days, many startups are using crowdfunding platforms to raise money before launching their product, and salespeople can be critical to getting funding. Being able to gently cajole and persuade is as vital in this role as technical knowledge.

Knowing how to engage with potential customers

People are often buying what they need, not what they want. Salespeople must be interested in other people. In some ways, consumers do not buy companies or brands, they invest in relationships with people instead. When hiring a new Sales Representative, a Sales Director and others in executive positions will often be more receptive to someone who is friendly and easy to talk to, as opposed to a scripted, mechanical sales pitch. 

At a more senior level, Sales Directors need to develop and plan the organisation's overall selling strategy. They will need to monitor the preparation of forecasts, draft plans for product sales, conduct demand research, assess market development prospects, implement standards for the storage, distribution, and transport of products, run regular meetings, assign tasks to employees, distribute responsibilities between departments, and manage the company's finances. Personnel management in the sales department is crucial, as is selecting the best people to improve sales strategies. Evaluating the results of previous marketing efforts and assessing customer satisfaction will also be vital.

In addition to salespeople, some more interesting job roles that require similar skill sets, including strategic planning and prospecting for new clients, are Business Development Manager (BDM) and Key Account Manager. As key members of the go-to-market team, BDMs are responsible for identifying sales leads and pitching to these prospects, gradually moving them from the top of the sales funnel to being signed customers, whereas Key Account Manager is central to retaining top customers and nurturing these key relationships in the long run.  

The sales industry has vacancies at all levels

Sales provides an array of options for those starting out in their early careers and more seasoned professionals. One typical entry-level sales job is a Sales Executive, whose primary function includes lead generation and prospecting. On the more seasoned end are roles at the management level, such as Sales Manager and Sales Director, who are both responsible for overseeing the sales teams in their organisations.

The link between a salesforce and the director will often be a Sales Manager. This is a role that involves successfully managing a sales team. The manager will need to design a strategy that will expand customer acquisition and ensure a solid presence in the market. Developing an effective recruitment plan will help identify qualified candidates and hire those who best fit the company culture. 

Previous sales experience is usually a must for such a senior role, as is a commitment to continuing professional development through workshops, seminars and other educational opportunities. A proven track record of success in driving revenue growth will make any candidate stand out from the rest, too. The ability to communicate, present and persuade at all levels of the company is important. Also, it would be advantageous to have an understanding of the industry and its dynamics. 

Your pathway to a fulfilling job role in sales

As a sales professional, your resume is your first opportunity to show recruiters what you're made of. It's a good idea to tailor your resume to match the position you're applying for. Make sure you include all of your sales qualifications, soft skill sets, and experiences. Include relevant keywords and phrases from your job description. If possible, apply for positions that align with your interests. You'll also need to write a cover letter detailing your past accomplishments and why you'd be a great fit for the company. Be sure to mention that you have a passion for sales, and that you see the sales job as a fantastic opportunity for your personal growth.

The best way to seek out a job in sales is usually via recruitment agency websites and online job boards, but some people hear about vacant sales positions through their extended network of business associates. The very best sales jobs, with either smaller or larger companies, could be closer than you think, whether you already have direct experience in the field or you're a complete newcomer.

If you are on the lookout for sales jobs, Michael Page has a variety of opportunities available. Search sales jobs now, or set up an email job alert with us so we can notify you of new roles in the sector once they become available. You can also send us your CV or get in touch with a consultant to discuss potential roles according to your skillset and preferences. Enter your job title to see how your salary compares to the competition using our salary comparison tool