If you enjoy the buzz closing a sale can bring and want more, then a career as a sales executive could be calling you. Think you want to answer the call and eventually become a sales manager like our interviewee above? Find out what to expect from a sales executive job.

So, what will I actually be doing?

Whatever your product, it’s your job is to sell as many of your company’s goods as possible as well as developing and maintaining a good relationship with clients.

The pressure will be on to meet your targets, so expect busy days with a full to-do list. As a sales executive, you will need to:

  • Visit potential customers for new business
  • Provide customers with quotations
  • Negotiate the terms of an agreement and close sales
  • Gather market and customer information and provide feedback on buying trends
  • Represent your organisation at trade exhibitions, events and demonstrations
  • Identify new markets and business opportunities
  • Record sales and send copies to the sales office
  • Review your own sales performance

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The finer details...

This is not a regular office job, so expect to be working long hours – especially when you have targets to meet. Many sales executives spend a lot of time on the road or travelling overseas.

Want to know where you can go from being a sales executive? Well, you can look forward to a career as a sales manager, area or regional sales manager and eventually sales director.

Money, money, money

The long hours and pressure of meeting targets are well rewarded in this career. Starting salaries vary but will be in the range of £17k to £35k.

With a little experience you could earn up to £43k, and at senior levels you could earn £50k - £100k plus. Salaries are usually based on success in meeting sales targets and jobs may be advertised as OTE, which means 'on target earnings'.

See what people are earning in this job

The good points...

"Sales executives will get the opportunity to meet many people and will be the driving force behind their business," say the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM). "Although the usual pressures will apply, the end results will see the best sales executives on very good salaries and bonus schemes."

...and the bad

"Sales executives often need to spend a lot of time away from family and friends. It can be a lonely life out on the road and time spent travelling will also need to be made up."

Is there study involved?

"The best sales executives are hired on soft skills and experience," say ISMM. While attitude, ability and experience count for a lot in this career, qualifications will always boost your CV. If you are looking to get ahead with some work-based qualifications there are a variety of courses you can take such as:

  • NVQ Level 4 in Sales Management
  • Level 5 Diploma in Sales & Account Management (ISMM)
  • Level 6 Executive Diploma in Strategic Sales and Account Management (ISMM)

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and ISMM have full details of courses.

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

Your sales skills need to be unrivalled - but it also helps if you have:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • A confident and determined approach
  • Resilience - and the ability to cope with rejection
  • Self-motivation and drive
  • A competitive streak

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