Sales Representatives are professionals in charge of selling non-technical goods and services to retail, wholesale, commercial, industrial, and professional clients, both locally and internationally. They usually work for establishments that produce or provide goods and services (e.g. oil companies; food, beverage and tobacco producers; clothing manufacturers; motor vehicles and parts manufacturers; hotels; business services firms; and transportation companies).
A Sales Representative is not to be confused with a Sales Associate. The Sales function is divided into two broad categories based on the type of customer: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumers (B2C). A Sales Representative works for B2B companies, meaning these professionals take the products and services from one company or organization to sell it to another; while Sales Associates are B2C-oriented, meaning the customer is encouraged to buy the product or service immediately and directly from the Salesperson.
An industry can include both B2B and B2C. For example, an Author sells their manuscript to a Book Publisher, while the latter prints, publishes, and markets the book to a bookstore. These are all B2B relationships. However, when the final customer goes to the bookstore to buy the book, he’s creating a B2C relationship.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Sales Representatives are required to complete.
- Promoting sales and selling company products or services to new and existing clients to increase sales revenues:
- Identifying and soliciting potential clients;
- providing new clients with presentations on the benefits and uses of goods or services provided by their company or organization;
- servicing existing clients;
- managing client relationships through all phases of the sales cycle;
- conducting sales transactions through Internet-based electronic commerce (e-commerce);
- working closely with operations and customer support to ensure customer satisfaction;
- resolving customer complaints by investigating problems, developing solutions, preparing reports, and making recommendations to the Sales Manager;
- tracking volumes, numbers, and margins by reviewing Sales reports; and
- achieving weekly, quarterly, monthly, and annual volume and margin sales targets.
- Developing strong relationships with key accounts to maintain a high level of service and client loyalty.
- Estimating or quoting prices, credit or agreement terms, warranties, and delivery dates:
- Preparing or overseeing the preparation of sales agreements or other similar contracts;
- managing pricing and sales data, as well as activity reports;
- soliciting purchase orders in their corresponding territory; and
- following up with clients after sale to resolve any problems that may have arisen and providing ongoing support.
- Preparing and submitting activity and results reports to Sales Managers, such as weekly sales call plans and monthly and annual territory analyses.
- Performing various administrative duties, including preparing expense and commission reports.
- Keeping up-to-date on current market changes and trends:
- Attending educational workshops and reviewing professional publications in order to maintain professional and technical knowledge;
- reviewing and adapting to information regarding product innovations, competitors, and market conditions; and
- monitoring the competition by gathering current marketplace information on pricing, products, new products, delivery schedules, merchandising techniques, etc.
- Representing organizations that export and/or import products or services to and from other countries.
- Supervising the activities of other Sales Representatives.
- Promoting sales, servicing existing clients, and establishing new accounts.
- Planning and organizing their daily work schedule.
- Focusing sales efforts by studying existing and potential needs of clients.
- Resolving issues or complaints in a timely manner.
- Cold calling potential clients.
- Keeping up-to-date on current market changes and trends.
The average Sales Representative salary is $50,765 per year or $26 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $36,000 while most experienced workers make up to $71,000. These results are based on 3,194 salaries extracted from job descriptions.