The job of a sales rep can be exhilarating, stressful, and challenging. The role is in high demand across different industries. A day in the life of a sales rep is filled with emails, phone calls to and from clients, selling, closing, and product presentation. Sales representatives bear the public and private image of the firm or company they represent.
If you’re interested in becoming a sales representative and want to learn more about what their duties entail, read on. This article covers sales representatives’ responsibilities, daily tasks, average salaries, and job outlook. It also includes a guide on how to become and find a job as a sales rep.
What Is a Sales Rep?
A sales rep is a person who is skilled in the art of persuading people, businesses, organizations, or government agencies to purchase products or services. The goal of virtually every organization is to make money, which makes sales representatives essential.
Sales reps give consumers an understanding of the products or services offered by a company and demonstrate why and how to use the product with the goal of convincing clients to make a purchase. They also listen to consumers and attend conferences to understand their needs and use that information to recommend the product that suits them best.
What Does a Sales Rep Do On a Daily Basis?
The duties of a sales rep aren’t limited to the sale of products and services. If becoming a sales rep is a career that interests you, you should understand the day-to-day jobs that come with the job. Below are the five main daily tasks a sales rep executes.
- Finding new sales leads. A sales rep is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to turn in more profit. This can be done by sending out proposals, sending cold emails to potential buyers, calling existing and new customers, visiting them, and even sending out thank you packages or emails.
- Meeting and exceeding sales quotas. Sales reps are constantly on the move to meet sales quotas. This is because their income is dependent on meeting sales targets. Some earn commission on their sales, which can lead to bonuses if they surpass their sales quotas. Sales reps use a variety of different methods to meet their sales goals such as follow-up calls, cold calling, and building customer relationships.
- Educating and planning presentations. Sometimes sales reps deliver presentations on the organization’s products and services in a formal setting. These can also be informal, in which case a sales rep will speak directly to potential clients and show them practical ways in which the product or service can be used to their benefit.
- Researching and communicating a consumer’s needs. Sales reps need to adequately research the target demographic for their product in order to use the appropriate sales techniques. To drive sales and profit, an organization has to sell what consumers need, which they identify through questionnaires, direct communication, and polls.
- Working with other departments to drive sales efforts. Sales reps work with store managers, the delivery unit, the accounting unit, and the customer care unit, among others. Selling a product is not a one-step affair, which is why sales reps need to constantly brush up on their communication skills.
How Can I Become a Sales Rep?
To land a sales rep job, you must acquire the necessary skills for the role. You need to invest your time learning the art of selling. Below are some of the top resources needed for a sales rep role.
Sales Rep Degrees
A college degree is not required to become a sales rep. If you have the necessary skills needed to drive sales, then you are good to go. However, some employers prefer at least a high school diploma. To earn more, a bachelor’s degree can help you tailor your skills to a specific sector. For example, if you are a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company or a tech company, a degree in a related field can help.
Sales Rep Online Courses
If you don’t have a background in sales, taking online sales courses can help you on your career path. You can learn about different sales techniques, how to close sales deals, and improve your sales skills. Some of the best online courses you can take include the Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process from Coursera, Online Sales Pitching with Practice from Virtual Speech, and Enterprise Sales from Queen’s University on Edx.
Sales Rep Certifications
Certification is not necessarily required for you to become a sales representative but can improve your chances of getting hired. If you wish to advance your career or become a better candidate when applying for jobs, Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP), Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP), Inbound Sales Certification, and Customer Service and Sales Certified Specialist are good certifications to consider taking.
How Can I Get a Job as a Sales Rep?
To land a job as a sales rep, you need industry knowledge and strong communication and persuasion skills. Reps can specialize in a variety of sales fields like pharmaceuticals or insurance. Depending on the sales field, a sales rep’s action plan, sales process, and sales pitch will differ.
Once you’re ready to begin applying for jobs, you can look on job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn. These platforms allow you to filter your search by location, industry, experience level, and education. Alternatively, if you already know which company you want to work for, you can visit its website and apply directly, there.
Steps to Finding a Job as a Sales Rep
- Get the Right Education
Finding a job as a sales rep begins with getting the right education. Most companies require their salespeople to have a high school diploma. For certain industries, they may require a bachelor’s degree. For a sales manager role, a master’s degree might be required.
- Get an Entry-Level Sales Role
The next step is to seek and apply for an entry-level sales position. This will help you develop experience and skills, find your selling strategy, and work on your customer service skills. The hours spent in this role will affect your level of expertise and help build your resume and sales mindset.
- Get Training and Certification
Your next line of action should be to seek relevant training and certifications in the field. This is possible through internships and other career events such as workshops and networking events, where you’ll learn how to function in a sales team or sales cycle, what sales tools to use, what sales goals are, and what priorities you should set as a sales rep.
- Choose and Specialize in an Industry
At this point in your process, you should figure out which industry interests you most. Specializing will help you become a more successful sales rep and lead to more lucrative work. You can specialize in the medical, manufacturing, engineering, business, or real estate field, among many others.
- Build a Resume and Apply for Jobs
Building a great resume is vital. In this document, you’ll cite all the relevant experience and training certificates you have garnered. Once you’ve done this, you can begin applying on the career pages of companies that interest you most. An effective cover letter can also be a great boost to your candidacy.
What Is the Average Salary of a Sales Rep?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a sales rep is $47,187 per year.
Salary for an Entry-level Sales Rep
The average salary of an entry-level sales rep is $44,727 per year. Sales reps beginning their careers work as a part of the larger sales team to reach out to sales leads and evaluate the needs of potential customers. Entry-level sales reps also attend meetings and classes like an extended training period to develop their skills.
Salary for a Mid-level Sales Rep
A mid-level sales rep earns an average of $47,187 per year, which is also the average salary for sales reps. They spend most of their time selling retail products to customers, making cold calls, and finding sales leads using company directories. They also attend regular meetings and train new sales reps.
Salary for a Senior-level Sales Rep
An average senior-level sales rep earns around $75,559 yearly. The salary is higher than that of an entry or mid-level sales rep due to the much larger role they play in a company. Their responsibilities include preparing regular sales presentations and sales reports, researching competitors’ pricing, and selling products.
Job Outlook for a Sales Rep
The job outlook of sales representatives, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to grow at a rate of five percent between 2020 and 2030. This is a little slower than the average for all occupations which is almost eight percent. The lower demand for personnel with this job role is due to the huge layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Sales jobs are, however, back on the rise as economies gradually recover.
Should I Become a Sales Person?
Yes, as long as it interests you. If you enjoy a challenging environment where you’ll have to think on your feet, use your persuasion and communication skills, and have a knack for sales, being a sales representative may be the career for you. If you do pick this profession, make sure you do your research, invest time into developing your people skills, and find a sales sector that makes you passionate.
A Day in the Life of a Sales Rep FAQs
Stated simply, a sales representative sells products and services to potential buyers or current customers. They basically look for ways to make sales and hit the sales targets their company sets for them.
A sales rep career can be challenging but if it is something you enjoy doing, the stress won’t be a deterrent. Having to convince people to buy something they may not need or want can be difficult. However, many sales reps find the job rewarding, despite its challenges.
Yes, sales reps can work from home, unless stated otherwise by the company. A phone, laptop, good internet connection, and apps can suffice. With the pandemic, remote sales teams have become commonplace.
You can ask other sales reps in your company or you can search online for average salaries within your company. If you’re not being paid a liveable wage, you should discuss salary changes with your employer or look for a new job.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.