Career Development

Sales Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Sales are the lifeblood of business. Sales jobs are found in all kinds of businesses, from retail stores to insurance agencies to tech companies.

Sales is a broad term that encompasses an incredibly wide range of jobs. The specific duties of each job will vary depending on the industry, size of the company, specific role, etc.

In general, sales professionals use their knowledge of a company’s products and services to help convince potential buyers that they need them. In this sense, sales professionals are often considered “professionals in persuasion.” They must be able to effectively communicate the value of their offerings and overcome potential objections from their customers.

Sales professionals can find employment in a wide variety of fields. They may work for manufacturing companies, retail stores, financial services firms, technology companies—or any number of other fields that require the sale of products or services.

Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a sales professional and what it takes to become one yourself.

Sales Job Duties

A salesperson’s responsibilities depend on the type of company they work for and the specific product or service they sell. In general, however, a salesperson’s duties may include:

  • Boosting sales by providing customers with product knowledge, answering their questions, and suggesting items that are not yet on their radar
  • Acting as a liaison between customers, product manufacturers, and other departments within the company
  • Serving as an ambassador for the company by building relationships with current and potential clients
  • Searching for new business opportunities by meeting with key decision makers in prospective industries to identify new markets or products
  • Establishing pricing for products and services based on market research, input from the company, and customer needs
  • Providing feedback to management about potential customer service issues
  • Executing marketing campaigns targeted at specific customer segments

Sales Salary & Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2020, the median annual wage for sales and related workers was $41,500. However, with the highest earners bringing home more than $102,920 annually, the sky is the limit for those who can work hard and make the most of their talents.

The field is expected to see a 2% decline in employment over the next 10 years. This is due to an increase in online shopping and a decrease in retail store visits, which will lead to a loss of jobs in the retail sector. However, this does not mean that sales work is dying out. While the field is changing, sales people will still be needed in the future to talk to customers and maintain contact with them.

Sales Job Requirements

Sales representatives must have a combination of education, training, and experience.

Education: Most employers prefer candidates who have earned a high school diploma or GED. Some organizations may require candidates to have an associate’s degree in business or marketing. This degree can provide students with the foundation for this position, but many of the skills needed to succeed are learned on the job.

Training: Many employers provide extensive training to their sales staff. This training can include classroom courses, online training programs and on-the-job training. When receiving on-the-job training, candidates can expect to learn about the company’s products and services and how to sell them. They will also learn about the company’s target market and how to communicate effectively with customers and clients. This type of training is often specific to the company and its products and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not required for this role, but they can help candidates increase their earning potential and marketability. Some of these certifications include Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) and Certified Sales Development Representative (CSDR).

Sales Skills

The following skills are required for this job:

Leadership skills: The ability to lead and motivate a team, whether in person or through electronic means.

Ability to influence others: The ability to persuade others and close deals.

Salesmanship: The ability to sell products or services, whether by telephone, online, or face-to-face.

Problem-solving skills: The ability to solve problems on the spot and resolve customer issues.

Organizational skills: A salesperson must be able to keep track of customer accounts and appointments as well as their own sales quotas.

Time management skills: Salespeople must be able to manage their time effectively between clients and other tasks like paperwork and presentations.

Analytical skills: Salespeople must have strong analytical, numerical, and spreadsheet skills in order to make accurate forecasts about client needs.

Sales Work Environment

Sales work can take place in a sales office or store, on the road, or over the phone. Sales workers sometimes follow a route or set of territories and visit clients or customers in person. They may also stay in one place and use the phone to contact clients and customers.

A sales worker may be employed by a large business, such as a retail store, insurance company, or real estate agency. Or they may work for a small business that sells a variety of products, such as office supplies. A sales worker’s job can include selling to businesses or individuals. Their work environment depends on the industry they are in and the type of company they work for. In most cases, however, their workplace is very busy because it is usually well-trafficked by both customers and coworkers.

Sales Career Path

Getting Started

Sales is a profession that requires salespeople to be assertive, persuasive, and comfortable with rejection. Most salespeople do not begin their careers with clearly defined job descriptions; instead, they are given general guidelines to follow. Salespeople must be able to adjust to changing conditions and unexpected problems. New salespeople with little or no experience earn an average salary of $35,000 per year with most of the income coming from commissions.

Five Years Out

After five years in the field, salespeople have gained significant experience in dealing with clients, and they have learned how to handle objections effectively. A salesperson can move up the ladder by becoming a sales manager, sales representative, or sales administrator. These positions often require additional education or training.

Ten Years Out

By the time they reach the ten-year mark, some salespeople have become managers or department heads in large companies. Others have opened their own businesses where they employ other salespeople. Many people stay with the same company for their entire careers, which offers some stability but pays less than starting out on one’s own.

Sales Trends

Here are three trends influencing sales. Sales professionals will need to stay up-to-date on these developments in order to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Social Media

The social media trend is not only affecting how consumers engage with brands but also how they make purchasing decisions, according to recent research from McKinsey & Company. The study found that roughly 80% of all product searches now begin online, and those searches often lead to purchases made on the internet instead of at physical stores or through traditional channels like brick-and-mortar shops or call centers.

With this shift in buying habits, it has become increasingly important for companies and marketers alike to develop an effective digital strategy that allows for more direct engagement with potential customers over time; this includes strategies like building brand awareness via influencer marketing as well as other emerging practices such as content marketing or live video streaming on sites like Facebook Live or Instagram Stories.


As consumer preferences change rapidly due to shifting market demands related to technology and globalization – among other factors – adaptability becomes one of the most valuable traits for successful employees in any field today; adapting involves learning new skills regularly so workers remain competent even when their expertise may be disrupted by changes occurring within their company or industry.

Consumers Have Increased Demand for Social Responsibility

In recent years, consumers have been paying closer attention to social responsibility and sustainability efforts in the organizations they purchase from. For example, a recent survey found that 74% of respondents said they would be more likely to buy a product if it came from an organization with strong environmental policies. In order to stay relevant in this environment, sales professionals will need to demonstrate their company’s commitment to sustainability practices like recycling and reduced carbon emissions.

How to Become a Sales Professional

1. Planning Your Career

The sales industry is a competitive one, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you’re interested in becoming a sales professional, the first step is to identify which aspect of the field most interests you. For example, some sales professionals work with businesses while others sell products directly to consumers; these two roles require very different skill sets and may even have separate educational requirements.

Once you’ve identified your desired role(s), make sure that this career path aligns well with your lifestyle needs; for instance, those who want to sell products directly to consumers will likely need to travel frequently or live near major metropolitan areas where they can find customers. Additionally, many entry-level positions in this field are commission-based so earnings vary widely depending on performance; as such, it is important for new employees to choose companies that offer competitive compensation packages from day one,

2. Writing a Resume

The most effective sales resumes do not merely list duties or responsibilities; they also show how those tasks were performed effectively, with measurable results.

3. Applying for Jobs

When applying for sales jobs, take advantage of any personal connections you have. You may want to ask your personal network (friends, family, and acquaintances) if they know anyone who works at the company. Even if they don’t, they may be able to offer insight into what makes a good salesperson. In addition, make sure you look at the job description carefully to ensure that you are a good fit.

4. Ace the Interview

In addition to being able to speak knowledgeably about the company’s products or services, a sales candidate will want to emphasize relevant experience and the ability to think on one’s feet during the interview. This is a role that can often involve fast-paced situations, so you will want to demonstrate that you can remain cool under pressure.


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