All the Different Types of Sales Jobs

Updated July 27, 2022

Sales is a major component of companies across many different industries. When a business provides something to its clients, whether it is providing a product or a service, it often relies on salespeople to generate awareness and increase the number of items sold. Working in sales is a career option that many people pursue, as it can offer the potential to earn a high income.

In this article, we will cover the different types of sales jobs available.

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What does sales entail?

A sales job is an occupation that involves selling a product or service to customers. Many businesses rely on salespeople to sell their products and services, so several different sales jobs are available to those who want to pursue a career in this field.

To succeed in sales, individuals must be self-motivated, patient and able to handle rejection. Self-motivation is important because many sales jobs offer a lot of autonomy. You may work as the only sales rep in your region, selling a product or service to a portion of the country. Some salespeople work remotely and most travel extensively as part of their job duties.

Patience is also vital to the success of a salesperson as most customers will review all of their options before making a purchase. Consumers today are more informed than ever, and they often have more choices when it comes to the products or services they buy. Being patient is important because a customer can take as much time as they need to decide about what to buy.

In a sales job, you also need to develop skills that help you sell the features of a product or service and the benefits of buying it from you, rather than seeking it out elsewhere. Good communication skills are important to success in sales as you will spend much of your time communicating with others in person, over the phone and via email. It’s important to know how to manage your time efficiently and work with little supervision.

Related: Self-Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Types of sales jobs

Some sales jobs are more hands-on than others. For example, you might work as a sales manager, which involves overseeing a team of salespeople who are doing more of the actual selling of the product or service. In a retail setting, a salesperson does not have to push products quite as heavily as a salesperson working for a computer software company or medical device manufacturer. Certain sales jobs require you to travel, while others focus on selling to local clients. Here are seven of the most common types of sales jobs and an overview of each role. 

Related: 15 Sales Jobs That Pay Well

1. Retail sales associate

National average salary: $11.81 per hour

Primary duties: A retail sales associate works in a retail store and is responsible for greeting customers, providing assistance and answering questions about the products or merchandise for sale, suggesting items based on the needs of each customer, providing information about specific products, taking and processing payments and organizing the stock areas and selling floor.

Some retail professionals also assist with managing and ordering inventory, processing refunds and learning more about products to share information with customers. To succeed in retail sales, you must have a professional attitude, the ability to maintain enthusiasm and sincerity when interacting with customers and a willingness to learn.

2. Sales support representative

National average salary: $15.35 per hour

Primary duties: A sales support representative provides support to the sales team of a business in a variety of ways. Some duties in this role include processing orders, entering data, providing price quotes and invoices, keeping records of interactions with clients and potential clients, engaging in training related to the products and services the company offers, responding to requests for proposals and scheduling meetings and product demonstrations between sales representatives and clients.

3. Lead development and generation specialist

National average salary: $15.87 per hour

Primary duties: Another role in the sales department of a business is a lead development and generation specialist, which involves generating and developing leads that salespeople can follow up on and convert into customers.

The duties of a lead generation and development specialist include communicating with people to determine who is a potential customer, navigating conversations to uncover business needs and pain points, generating qualified leads and distributing them to the sales team, maintaining accurate records of communications with leads and clients and conveying details from conversations to salespeople.

4. Account manager

National average salary: $49,751 per year

Primary duties: Account managers manage the relationship between a company and its customers. The main duties include building and maintaining long-term relationships with their assigned customers, taking steps to make sure customers have their needs met by the company, identifying potential new customers, assisting with the strategic planning of the business, communicating client needs to other departments, managing client-related projects, forecasting and tracking client metrics and maintaining records of interactions with clients. An account manager is often the main point of contact for a customer.

5. Inside sales representative

National average salary: $50,483 per year

Primary duties: An inside sales representative works with existing customers to assess their needs and upsell additional products or services. Other duties include finding new sales leads, requesting and following up on client referrals, ensuring a smooth sales process, answering questions about specific products or services available and scheduling and attending in-person and phone-based meetings with clients. In some organizations, inside sales reps are responsible for increasing client sales at a set level annually.

6. Business development manager

National average salary: $68,163 per year

Primary duties: Business development managers also work with an organization’s sales team to generate new sales leads and contacts and develop various business channels. Duties include planning and preparing presentations and sales pitches, following up with potential clients, setting up and attending meetings in person and by phone, overseeing the development of product details and marketing documents, writing reports and providing client feedback to management and executive teams.

7. Outside sales representative

National average salary: $70,336 per year

Primary duties: An outside sales representative is a more traditional salesperson who conducts sales to customers through in-person interactions. These interactions can be with new or existing customers, although a company may employ inside salespeople to work directly with current customers.

Most outside sales representatives must provide product or service demonstrations, foster relationships with potential clients, travel within their assigned areas, schedule and attend calls and face-to-face meetings, maintain documentation of sales leads and closed deals, monitor competitors to understand customers’ needs and work closely with the marketing department of the company to raise brand awareness.

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