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Sales Jobs


Without sales people any company cannot succeed. It is the sales of products and services that drives any company and is critical to its well being. Recognizing this, companies put a lot of time and effort into finding and training the best sales people.

Very few industries function without some kind of sales staff. Most sales jobs involve developing contacts within their industry, making "cold calls" to companies, making sales presentations, and negotiating and closing sales.

Often sales people are also required to collect payments from clients or serve as the client’s primary contact with the company.

People who work in sales must be driven by the desire to bring in money for company and themselves, especially as most sales people are paid through commission.

Sales jobs fall into three primary categories: manufacturing and wholesale sales, advertising sales (advertising in print publications, television, radio, and Web sites), and retail sales (sales associates for department stores and all other types of stores, including banks). Explore retail employment opportunities on this website, too.

The working environment for most sales jobs is not an easy one. Sales can be a high pressure job. Sales people are expected to achieve monthly sales goals or risk losing their jobs. Sales people also hear the word "No" a lot, and must learn how to handle that or turn those rejections into sales.

Here is a list of some of the more prevalent sales positions in the industry today:

  • Sales associate
  • Account executive
  • Account manager
  • Account representative
  • Advertising sales director
  • Department retail sales manager
  • District retail sales manager
  • Inside technical sales
  • Regional sales manager
  • Relationship manager, sales
  • Retail sales associate
  • Sales and marketing director
  • Sales assistant
  • Sales coordinator
  • Sales director
  • Sales manager
  • Sales specialist
  • Sales support
  • Sales training director

Sales Job imageYou can see from this list of jobs - and there are many more - that sales is a very big field. Now you’ll want to know the outlook for these jobs, as well as the average salaries, and education and training required.

Employment Outlook

Despite the fact that sales are critical to a company’s success, there will only be average growth in the number of all types of sales jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau says manufacturing and wholesales sales jobs will increase by 7% by the year 2018, and so will advertising sales jobs. Retail sales will see a slightly higher increase, at 8%, according to the Bureau.

The Bureau says that general merchandise stores will see the best growth in the retail segment, and online and cable TV will see the most increase in number of jobs in the advertising industry.

Salary Outlook

Successful sales people can earn very high salaries, depending on the type of industry in which they are employed. Most sales personnel earn a combination of a base salary plus commission, although some industries pay commission only. Very few jobs pay salespeople a salary only. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for sales people in the manufacturing and wholesale sales industry was $70,000, including commission.

Sales people in the advertising industry earn less than those in manufacturing, according to the Bureau. The annual average salary for advertising sales representatives is approximately $45,000. Retail sales associates earn the lowest salaries of the three primary sales industries. The Bureau says including commissions, retail sales associates earn an average hourly wage of $9.85.

Education and Training Requirements

How much education you’ll need to land a sales job depends on what industry you are targeting for employment.

If you will be selling high tech products, goods, or services you will most likely need to have a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field. Other manufacturing and wholesale companies also expect their sales people to have college educations.

If you are more interested in a career in advertising sales, it is very likely that you will also need a bachelor’s degree. If you hope to be promoted to supervisor or manager, it is also a good idea to earn or hold a college degree. Most retail companies do not require their sales associates to have a college degree, but employees who have completed some additional courses may be more likely to be hired. All companies provide their sales associates in-depth training on the products and services they are selling, as well as effective sales and communication techniques.

There is no doubt that there will always be a demand for good sales people. Companies would not survive without them. Candidates who enjoy working with people and have a strong drive to succeed may find this challenging career the right one for them.

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