The Types of Careers in Sales (With Average Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

Published 13 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

People who work in the sales industry aim to provide customers with a positive shopping experience. This can encourage professionals to expand their knowledge and prioritise customers who wish to buy a company's products. Learning about the different jobs you can apply for in this industry can show you what skills you can develop beforehand. In this article, we discuss the different types of careers in sales and provide you with their average salaries, skills you can develop in advance and a short guide on how you can progress on this career path.

Related: 50 Sales Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

8 careers in sales

Understanding the different careers in sales can help you discover what jobs you might be passionate about. There are several benefits to working in this industry and pursuing a career that involves customer experience. For example, personal growth, flexible working hours, network building, increased productivity, constructive criticism and developed communication are a few advantages that might help you succeed. Below is a list of jobs you can find in the sales industry:

1. Sales representative

National average salary: $65,357 per year

Primary duties: A sales representative is someone who sells products to a customer and works with them to understand their needs. They usually plan orders, create new accounts, organise work schedules, contact other sales departments and exceed company goals. Their key priority can be to showcase new products to a range of different customers in organisations, businesses and other government-based agencies.

Read more: What Does a Sales Representative Do for a Business?

2. Sales manager

National average salary: $103,171 per year

Primary duties: A sales manager usually develops new strategies for the team when approaching different customers. They can also set goals, guide new employees, create a sales plan, monitor the company's data, develop training sessions and encourage team members to resolve customer issues in the workplace. They also frequently collaborate with other managers in different departments, such as the marketing team.

3. Sales engineer

National average salary: $98,198 per year

Primary duties: A sales engineer can sell technical and scientific products to other consumers. They might also create presentations for new advancements, collaborate with sales teams, plan deliveries, help customers with problems, showcase machinery and research technological trends. Research departments typically help sales engineers to market their latest products.

4. Account manager

National average salary: $83,761 per year

Primary duties: An account manager is someone who interacts with the customer in one-to-one business meetings. They can prepare sales reports, find business opportunities, maintain customer accounts, provide client support, assist with technical issues and enhance professional relationships. Someone in this position may have the choice to focus on small or big accounts.

5. Retail sales assistant

National average salary: $69,858 per year

Primary duties: A retail sales assistant usually sells products to a customer in a shop. They can arrange products on shelves, process payments, tidy the shop floor, greet customers, monitor warehouse stocks and serve people on the tills. Providing customers with a positive experience in the shop can increase sales and expand the business.

Related: How to Become a Sales Assistant (With Top Skills)

6. Customer success manager

National average salary: $80,600 per year

Primary duties: A customer success manager is someone who helps customers transition to active users of their products. They can focus on maintaining a professional relationship and retaining customer loyalty. Building plans to increase customer satisfaction can benefit their position and boost the performance of the business.

Related: What Is Inside Sales?: Definition, Salary and Skills

7. Sales operations manager

National average salary: $92,831 per year

Primary duties: A sales operations manager helps to ensure a smooth transaction between team members and customers. They can oversee the sales process and provide new plans that might enable the organisation to grow. Someone in this position usually monitors the work performance of employees and may advise them on how to achieve their career goals.

8. Director of sales

National average salary: $133,065 per year

Primary duties: A director of sales can resolve customer issues related to their products. They can also design plans, evaluate product costs, manage budgets, develop new relationships, oversee sales operations and lead team members into future transactions. Ensuring the organisation runs smoothly when approaching customers can be their main priority.

Important skills for sales

Most people develop their skills before finding a career in sales, so it might be worth expanding your knowledge in this industry. Researching your preferred job beforehand can teach you about the necessary skills for that role. Here are some examples of skills you can develop when pursuing your chosen interest:

Communication

Talking to customers about specific products can require strong communication skills. This is to ensure the customer understands what they're buying and how they can benefit from the transaction. Team members usually work to improve their tone and manner when approaching the next sale, as this can help clients to feel comfortable. Understanding how to convey your message through words can develop your communication skills.

Related: 5 Communication Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Customer service

Most careers in sales can require exceptional customer service skills. Team members who interact with customers and provide them with a positive experience usually succeed with their transactions. Attempting to understand the customer's needs can ensure you suggest the right product or service. Expanding your knowledge of business sales can help improve your customer service skills in a busy environment.

Negotiation

Some customers might request a lower price for certain products in the company. This can lead a salesperson to negotiate terms and find a solution they might both agree on. Finding the reason for their request and understanding why they want to change aspects of a transaction can help you form a plan. Developing your negotiation skills might require effective planning and the ability to persuade a customer.

Computer literacy

People working in sales usually work on modern technology to record business data. This can enhance their technical skills when managing customer accounts and marketing new products on social media. Learning how to navigate Microsoft packages might benefit you before you progress in your career path. Developing technical skills can increase your work performance when approaching computer software in the workplace.

How to begin a sales career

Recognising the steps on how to progress in the sales industry can help you obtain the right qualifications and experience. This might improve your resume and impress the employer when applying for your next role. Here is a simple guide on how you can succeed in sales:

1. Obtain a degree

Studying for a bachelor's degree in marketing can teach you how to sell products to a customer. Other lessons might include advertising strategies, identifying target audiences, analysing data, improving campaigns, managing a business and implementing brand images. This course may last around three years, with the chance to extend your education. If you're interested in the sales industry, it might be worth completing this degree to expand your knowledge of customer service.

You can also complete the master of marketing degree for an extra year. This course can show you marketing concepts, accounting plans, modern tools, global markets and strategies to improve your leadership and critical thinking skills. Gaining this extra qualification can enhance your resume and teach you tips about strengthening your professional skills. Most of these courses can encourage students to pursue their ambitions and strive for a career in sales.

2. Complete certifications

You can complete the Certificate in Professional Sales if you want to overcome certain challenges in the workplace. This can help you monitor your own performance and set long-term goals that might benefit your career. Completing this course online can show you how to use your developed skills for sales transactions and customer interaction. A training certificate like this usually requires you to write assignments, reports, essays and projects to present your knowledge.

3. Gain work experience

It might be worth applying for an entry-level job, such as a sales assistant. This can provide you with practical experience and further knowledge of retail. Gaining enough work experience might benefit your resume and how you perform in a busy environment. An employer may want to hear about previous employment, so it can help to discuss your duties in a sales role.

Related: Interview Question: 'What Are You Passionate About?'

4. Apply for the position

After updating your resume with your qualifications and experience, you can apply for your chosen position. It can be a good idea to send your application to different companies, as this can increase your chances of getting the job. Once you're in an interview, you can express your interest in customer service and how you want to provide a positive experience for everyone. The employer might question you about why this is your passion and what you can bring to the role.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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