Working in sales is incredibly rewarding, especially in terms of the exposure you get to customers, clients, and people in a similar business. It allows you to really harness your networking and working relationships, however, this isn’t to say that the job doesn’t come along with some things to be aware of.
For example, typical sales roles come with a base salary and then targeted bonuses are allocated on top of this base amount. This may mean that your base salary is lower than other graduate schemes because you’re, in theory, supposed to make the rest of your salary up in bonuses by hitting your sales targets. However, this does mean that if you under-perform you don’t hit the extra money. Typical sales roles will have a entry-level base salary of £18,000-£24,000, when the average for a graduate scheme salary (in London) is £30,000. But equally, this means that salary progression and promotion is quicker for most sales jobs as opposed to being stuck on a grad scheme for 2 years.
Another positive of a sales job is the qualifications you can receive within the job. Notable ones being; The Institute of Sales Management at Levels 2 to 6, The Institute of Customer Service and The Chartered Institute of Marketing. Usually, these qualifications are funded by your employer as well which is another perk.
What Types of Sales Can You Do?
You most probably have encountered a salesperson in your life more times than you thought. Sales isn’t just being able to blag products to customers, or how they are portrayed in films and shows. You can have sales across every industry, and sometimes its selling to customers, selling to external potentials, or even businesses. So it will be important to know the different types of sales you could be doing:
Inside Sales: you are responsible for maintaining existing client relationships. You are the main point of contact for your company’s clients and are expected to be building strong business relationships.
Outside Sales: this is considered as the ‘traditional’ method of sales which is face-to-face and done outside the office with potential clients. In this role, you will typically spend more time in your customers offices than your own and need to meet deadlines with little to no supervision.
Sales Support: this is a team-based sales role. You would be working to support the sales reps or ou could be responsible for investigating leads, creating customer profiles, analysing data or performing research.
Client Services: you would be responsible for working with the customers to ensure their needs are met. Client service focuses on the growth of the business and how internally they can help clients.
Account Managers: they focus on existing accounts. In addition to ensuring the needs of their clients are met, they will find creative solutions and innovative techniques to continue selling their companies services. Their main goal is client retention, rather than new client onboarding.
What Key Skills Do You Need?
As you can guess, the first necessary skill is Confidence. A good salesperson is naturally confident, which makes people feel comfortable with them and more likely to believe in what they are selling. You need to be confident in meeting new people and delivering your message, because people need to buy into you and the product/service you are promoting.
Another skill, which is linked to confidence, is your Personality and Persuasive Skills. You need to be someone that people like to invite to the parties and have around because this is what is going to grow your sales network with clients and other salespeople. Building rapports and nurturing these relationships is so important in sales, while keeping in mind that you need to be persuasive in what you’re selling.
When you’re working in sales you need to be able to Communicate. You will spend a huge amount of time communicating with people in your company and clients via email, phone and in-person, so all your forms of communication need to be excellent and remember presenting skills!
A lot of the sales work can sometimes be down to how Self-Motivated and Driven you are. Sometimes these sales won’t find themselves and its you that will need to be doing the leg work in order to find potential customers and relationships. Every target you get given, you need to have the desire to smash and exceed, this isn’t the job for someone that is happy just guiding along and just doing well.
Lastly, you need to have Commercial Awareness as with Business-to-Business sales, a commercial awareness is what is going to distinguish yourself from other salespeople. It means you can put yourself in the customers shoes and understand their business requirements and describe your product/service in the most appealing way. Top Tip: read about the business world and look out for trends that you can talk about.
Top 9 Graduate Jobs in Sales?
- Sales Executive
- Field Sales Executive
- Telesales Executive
- Sales Analyst
- Tech Sales Representative
- Business Development Representative
- Sales Consultant
- Account Manager
- Sales Recruiter
As you can see, there is a huge variety of roles on offer. This makes narrowing down your options even more important, especially when it comes to what sector you want to join. Internships are a great way to find out what sales jobs are out there and what is the best fit for you.
What are the Best Companies to Target?
Now that you know the top graduate jobs in sales and what positions to look for, you probably want to know what employers would be best to target. These employers listed have a strong track record for hiring graduates and nurturing their sales potential. However, careful not to limit yourself to these options and really think about what the company does before applying because, as a salesperson, you will need to know your company inside and out.
- AstraZeneca – One of the UK’s biggest global health export firms, headquartered in Cambridge.
- Mars – Confectionary and pet food giant, ubiquitous around the world.
- Goldman Sachs – Investment banking corporation working primarily with financial institutions.
- Konica Minolta – Provides business solutions, such as legal security and IT infrastructure.
- Semex – Innovative genetics company treating livestock for disease and breeding impairments.
Well-Known Companies hiring this year:
- Apple – This two-year programme involves rotation across different functions within the company’s retail stores, with a focus on leadership.
- BT – you’ll be expected to rotate across a number of different teams as you sell products and services to businesses ranging from small start-ups to large organisations.
- Diageo – working directly with customers to maximise sales, you’ll be responsible for promoting the company’s iconic brands, including Baileys, Guinness and Smirnoff, if you make it onto the three-year program.
- Microsoft – join their graduate digital sales scheme and work towards an industry-leading certification accredited by DIT.
- Nestlé – the food and drink company’s sales graduate scheme sees you spending six months in field sales as a territory manager, another six months in an ecommerce role and a year in customer business management.
- Samsung UK – the sales stream of its two-year programme gives you the chance to either work in head office or travel across the UK in a field-based role.
- Unilever – across three placements those on customer development and sales graduate scheme will build their experience and develop commercial expertise. You’ll be working with renowned brands such as Dove, Lynx, Magnum and PG Tips.
- Virgin Media – during the two-year sales graduate scheme, graduates will rotate across areas such as wholesale, enterprise and the public sector, successfully managing customer relations and becoming a master of B2B sales.
Book an appointment with Henley Careers to know more about what types of sales roles are there for you, and how you could be moving towards applying for these graduate schemes. Also, work experience is incredibly important for getting into a sales role so the careers team will be able to help you identify and find good work experience opportunities to further your CV.
If you’re still interested in researching other sectors and industries for potential jobs, check out some of our other blogs that talk about how to get into the Finance, Accounting, Marketing & PR or Consulting sectors.