Wondering what a career in Sales looks like or if Sales is the right career choice? We are here to help you decide.
What is a Sale?
Google says, ‘The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something is a sale.’ or ‘a sale is a period during which a shop or dealer sells goods at reduced prices.’
Who is a Salesperson?
A salesperson, according to Merriam-Webster, is a person whose job is to sell a product or service in a given territory, in a store, or by telephone.
What Does a Career in Sales Look Like?
A career in sales is like an deer’s life in the lion’s den. It seems difficult at first. Scary. But once you know how to smartly tackle situations and negotiate like the supreme boss, you know it can be done and be a great act of service both for the company and the client.
We all know The Wolf of Wall Street’s scene where the protagonist is meant to sell a pen. We know how royal and easy-peasy such things to do can look. But the truth is, Sales is hard work. Why? Because convincing humans and their brains (which are built to look for threats, not opportunities) is hard work. . Sales is important too. Afterall, this is a division that brings in the actual bucks!
What will you do as a salesperson? As a salesperson, you will analyse the quality of leads (people interested in your product of service), try to convert them into a potential customer or else pass it on to other representatives in your department (people who work with sales qualified leads or SQLS; we will discuss the nature of leads in the coming headers).
You can start with a title of a Sales Development Representative and conduct research to find prospective customers or you can be the VP of Sales, someone who takes the ultimate decision and manages the whole division of Sales.
Throughout this article, we’ll have a friend, named Rohit Bhutani, who is the Head of Sales at NoticeBard. We conducted a little interview with Rohit to understand his journey in the field of Sales.
Rohit has an MBA in Marketing & CRM having 14 years of experience across industries like Print and Electronic Media, Radio, Banking, Government Relations, Sales, Event Management. His current job involves Sales, Government Relations, Client Servicing, Strategic Planning, Team Management, Business Development and Data Analysis.
He has worked with established brands like IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank, Dainik Bhaskar, India Today Group, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (92.7 BIG FM), and Paramount Exhibitors. He has a total experience of 14 years in the field of Sales.
When asked why he chose a career in the field of Sales, Rohit said, “I chose sales because Sales is a necessity in any field.
Whether it is a product or a service, you need the sales guy to spread the word on it and at the same time, recover the costs spent on development of those products or services with a handsome profit upon it”.
‘As a salesperson, you are always relevant – provided you keep challenging yourself, keep ahead of the curve by continuously developing new skills and grow your professional capabilities. That way, factors like industry, age or geography cannot limit you. And yes, the high earning potential is the icing on the cake!’
It’s true: You get to travel the world (if your company has a division of International Sales) and experience a number of things as a salesperson. You get to meet new people, get to interact with more people, gain exposure, and of course, work on your communication skills.
5 Reasons Why You Should Pursue A Career In Sales
- Exposure: You get to meet new people, experience new places/cultures, interact with like-minded people or others with interests different than yours. There’s a lot you can do. If you’re a part of the International Sales team, you get to travel places, just to sell your product.
- Experiencing different fields: Rohit says, “I have had the good fortune to learn the nuances of Radio, Print, Magazines, Merchandising, E-Commerce, Marketing, event management, hardcore banking, Script writing, content designing, advertising. Very few other fields would afford that sort of an opportunity”.
- Flexible working hours: You have a set of targets to achieve. When you achieve those, you’re done for the day/week/month! Although it depends on different companies as to what criteria they follow, but usually, Sales is a result-based job with many incentives, like commission, which brings us to our next point.
- Additional perks: As a person who rigorously performs by bringing in Sales, some companies (like NoticeBard) offers 10% commission on every sale brought in. Some companies only offer commission-based jobs when it comes to Sales, like we saw in The Office.
- Involvement in the development of the product/service: Rohit tells us how you closely work in the development of the product/service. Since you’re bringing in revenue, you know the product so well that it feels like your own. You study it everyday and offer it to your potential buyers.
Interested already? Let’s see how you can start your career in this field!
Types of Jobs in Sales (Hierarchy-Wise)
- Sales Development Representative/Business Development Representative (SDR/BDR): According to Hubspot’s Blog, ‘Sales development Reps’ (also known as Business Development Reps, or BDRs), are responsible for the first step in the sales funnel: bringing in qualified leads. They conduct research to find prospective customers, reach out to gauge people’s interest in the offering, and decide whether or not the lead is ready to move down the funnel.’
Naturally, these people will have great organizational and communication skills and will know about the ins and outs of a product. This is like a beginner or an opening level role.
‘Once the SDR has determined the prospect is ready to be contacted by the sales team, they send the person over to a closing rep. This process means SDRs typically aren’t held to traditional quotas but to the number of calls they make or qualified leads they gather.
Depending on the company, the compensation for an SDR can be a base salary, commission-based, or a combination of base plus commission.’
This is the right career choice if you do not have much experience in the field of sales but want to start out in this direction.
- Account Executive: According to www.payscale.com, ‘An account executive usually holds a sales position, typically selling services and products to other businesses and individuals. Generally, the executive’s company sets sales quotas that must be met to succeed in this position’.
‘The account executive may be provided with clients and/or carry out research and recruiting to gain prospective clients; some cold calling may be necessary. When prospective clients are identified, the executive must work to discover those potential clients’ needs and make targeted pitches for services and products that will fulfill their needs; they must then work to close the sale.’
This is the next in hierarchy after the position of a Sales Development Manager. You can say, that once the leads are transferred from a Sales Rep to an Account Executive, the actual conversion begins.
- Account Manager: The same source says, ‘Account managers are responsible for managing relationships with specific customers for their organization, including completing sales. These managers must have a thorough knowledge of their organization’s products and services and need to be able to make targeted pitches for current and future clients. While account managers frequently work full time in an office setting, they may travel to conduct meetings and demonstrations for clients.
In addition to staying up to date on their organization’s offerings, account managers must also stay up to date on innovations and trends in their field and how they might affect clients’ operations and needs. Account managers are often required to coach, mentor and/or train new hires or more junior employees as well.’
- Regional Sales Manager: Regional sales managers must coach and monitor their sales managers and ensure that they meet or exceed all established sales goals. They must establish clear business strategies to be followed by their district’s sales managers, and may also organize trade shows, prepare periodic sales reports, and establish budgets for their districts.
They must be thoroughly knowledgeable of the products or services offered by their companies, as well as their target markets and competitors. They are also encouraged to provide creative ideas for marketing new products or services.
- Director of Sales: Hubspot says, ‘Sales Directors maintain the quality of a sales team by working with managers to set quota goals, develop strategies, and hire exceptional reps. People in this position are responsible for creating a vision for salespeople to follow and communicating company directives to the team.
To become a Director of Sales, you need to show a history of strong sales performance. Your region and reps should show a pattern of growth, and your leadership skills should inspire your team to grow beyond their responsibilities. Experience in marketing and customer satisfaction is key to this role since you can be asked to come up with new marketing tactics to attract customers. As a manager, you’ll also likely be responsible for hiring and firing employees, leading training sessions, working with poor performers, and representing management.’
- VP/Head of Sales: Hubspot says again, ‘An expert in sales and leadership can rise to the VP of sales position. This executive role typically works on a large national or regional scale to supervise sales managers and ensure company sales strategies are properly rolled out.
To reach this point in your sales career, you need the skills to help your team and company scale. This includes creating revenue reports on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis, staying on top of trends to notice changes in the market, developing strategies to increase sales efficiency, and communicating with the company’s executive and board.’
A Tip to Start Out
Our friend, Rohit, has a useful tip for all of you who are now considering pursuing a career in Sales:
‘Any good salesperson will have more to offer to customers just the product or service he/she is selling. Being a salesperson requires a lot of enthusiasm and a belief in the product or service you are selling. At the same time, the salesperson must be resilient, full of perseverance and should also know how to handle rejection.
Needless to say, being thorough with one’s preparation and confident in your presentation is a must too. Also, an ideal salesperson should also be empathetic to appeal to the client’s emotions.
My Mantra: A salesperson should neither take a successful deal to his head nor an unsuccessful one to his heart!’
So, will you choose Sales as your possible career field?