Sales executives are the key point of contact between an organisation and its clients: answering queries, offering advice and introducing new products.
Their work includes:
organising sales visits
demonstrating and presenting products
establishing new business
maintaining accurate records
attending trade exhibitions, conferences and meetings
reviewing sales performance
negotiating contracts and packages
aiming to achieve monthly or annual targets.
Promotional prospects are excellent – progression can be into senior sales roles or into related employment areas such as marketing or management.
Typical employers of sales executives
Staff with specialist knowledge are employed in industries such as pharmaceutical, healthcare and publishing.
Vacancies are advertised by careers services, TARGETjobs and recruitment agencies, and appear in national and local newspapers. Specialist publications appropriate to the sales area (e.g. New Scientist, The Grocer, The Bookseller, Fast Track, Export Magazine) are also good sources of vacancies.
Qualifications and training required
There are routes into sales for both university graduates and school leavers.
Any degree subject is acceptable, although relevant qualifications are preferred for some positions, particularly within medical or technical sales.
Relevant experience gained in any commercial area involving contact with customers or the general public can be beneficial. Larger employers run vacation courses and placements which can give a useful insight into the profession. Job shadowing, networking and speculative applications are advisable.
To find out how to get into sales via a school leaver route, visit the sales section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
Key skills for sales executives
Excellent interpersonal skills