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Sales Representative vs. Sales Executive: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in sales can be very rewarding, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. There are many different positions within the sales field, each with its own set of responsibilities. Two common roles are that of a sales representative and a sales executive. In this article, we compare and contrast these two positions, discussing the similarities and differences between them.

What is a Sales Representative?

Sales Representatives are the front line of any company’s sales force. They are responsible for acquiring new customers and maintaining relationships with existing ones. They work with customers to identify their needs and match them with the products or services that best meet those needs. Sales Representatives typically work in an office environment but may travel to meet with clients. They use a variety of sales strategies and techniques to close deals and achieve their sales goals.

What is a Sales Executive?

Sales Executives are responsible for developing and implementing sales strategies to increase company revenue. They work with other departments to ensure that sales goals are aligned with company objectives. Sales Executives also create and maintain relationships with key clients. They work to understand the needs of their clients and match them with the products or services that the company offers. Sales Executives typically have a team of sales representatives working under them. They provide guidance and support to their team to help them close deals and reach their quotas.

Sales Representative vs. Sales Executive

Here are the main differences between a sales representative and a sales executive.

Job Duties

Sales representatives have a more specific set of job duties than sales executives. Sales representatives interact directly with customers and perform tasks like cold calling, prospecting and market research to find potential buyers for their products. They then communicate customer needs and product information to their superiors, who develop marketing strategies based on the sales representative’s input.

Sales executives have a broader range of job responsibilities. In addition to performing tasks like market research and developing marketing strategies, sales executives also oversee the work of sales representatives by providing feedback, evaluating performance and making changes to existing processes. Because of their managerial role, sales executives often provide direction to other employees in the company when making decisions about new products and services.

Job Requirements

Sales representatives typically need at least a high school diploma, although some employers prefer candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree. Sales executives usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or another related field. They might also benefit from having a master’s degree, such as an MBA. Additionally, sales executives often have several years of experience working in sales before they are promoted to management positions.

Work Environment

Sales representatives and executives often work in different environments. Sales representatives typically travel to meet with clients, so they may spend most of their time on the road or in airports. They also usually work during regular business hours, but some sales representatives may work overtime to reach a quota.

Sales executives usually work in an office setting where they can manage teams and oversee operations. They may have more administrative duties than sales representatives because they’re responsible for managing entire departments.


Sales representatives and sales executives share some similarities in the skills they use on the job. Both need to be able to build relationships with potential customers, understand their needs and communicate effectively. They also both need to be knowledgeable about the products or services they are selling and be able to answer questions about them.

However, there are some differences in the skills needed for these two jobs. Sales representatives typically work with a larger number of potential customers and have less time to build relationships with each one. As a result, they need to be very organized and efficient in their work. They also need to be able to quickly assess whether a potential customer is interested in what they are selling.

Sales executives often work with fewer potential customers, but they usually have more time to build relationships with them. As a result, they need to be very good at networking and building rapport. They also need to be able to negotiate deals and close sales.


Sales representatives earn an average salary of $62,309 per year, while sales executives earn an average salary of $73,028 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the industry in which you work, your level of experience and the size of the company you work for.


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