Outside Sales Representative Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

An Outside Sales Representative, or Field Sales Representative, meets with customers in person to identify their needs and close sales deals. Their main duties include traveling to assigned territories to meet with potential and current customers, negotiating sales contracts and telling clients about new products, updates and features.

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Outside Sales Representative duties and responsibilities

Outside Sales Representatives are responsible for increasing sales by developing and maintaining relationships with customers and clients. Duties may include identifying prospective customers, following up on potential sales leads and maintaining relationships with existing customers. Outside Sales Representatives may also recommend marketing strategies designed for a target market. Examples of Outside Sales Representative duties and responsibilities include:

  • Identify and establish contact with potential customers
  • Schedule and perform product demonstrations with potential customers
  • Develop and maintain relationships with existing customers
  • Attend industry trade shows to identify potential sales leads and make meaningful contact with existing customers
  • Follow industry trends to identify new opportunities for potential sales
  • Recommend marketing strategies to target a specific region or demographic
  • Generate and submit sales reports to management

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Outside Sales Representative Job Description Examples

What does an Outside Sales Representative do?

Outside Sales Representatives are members of the sales team who travel to businesses within their respective territories. They meet with business professionals either in their office, at a coffee shop, in a restaurant or at the customer’s location of choice to present sales proposals, sell them products or address any questions or concerns the customer has. 

They travel to both prospective and current customers’ locations to check in on their experience with the product, provide a demonstration or answer any questions about their product or service. When they make a sale, the Outside Sales Representative types it up in a sales report for their manager to review.

Outside Sales Representative Skills and Qualifications

A successful Outside Sales Representative candidate will have various skills and qualifications to perform the required duties, including effective communication, public speaking and presentation skills. Additionally, an Outside Sales Representative candidate should have knowledge of industry trends, marketing strategies and consumer psychology. Examples of Outside Sales Representative skills and qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated ability in meeting sales objectives
  • Impeccable interpersonal communication skills
  • Thorough understanding of the industry and industry trends
  • Familiarity with marketing strategies and consumer psychology
  • Proficiency with the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software
  • Ability and willingness to travel for trade shows, demonstrations and client meetings

Outside Sales Representative Salary Expectations

The average salary for an Outside Sales Representative in the United States is $71,145 per year. Some Outside Sales Representatives earn additional compensation in the form of sales commissions, such as an average of $18,000 per year in commission. The average salary and salary distribution ranges vary based on the size and complexity of the company. 

Outside Sales Representative Education and Training Requirements

An Outside Sales Representative candidate is likely to have graduated from a four-year college or university with a degree in business management, business administration or a related discipline. Additionally, non-degree credentials such as the Certified Professional Sales Person offered by the National Association of Sales Professionals may indicate a quality Outside Sales Representative candidate.

Outside Sales Representative Experience Requirements

Outside Sales Representative candidates should have experience in sales with a demonstrated ability to achieve sales goals. Additional experience in marketing and consumer psychology may indicate a quality Outside Sales Representative candidate capable of converting prospective buyers to loyal customers. Experience specific to your industry, product or service may also contribute to the success of an Outside Sales Representative candidate since it demonstrates existing knowledge to support sales goals and objectives.

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Frequently asked questions about Outside Sales Representatives


Who does an Outside Sales Representative report to?

Outside Sales Representatives typically report to Sales Managers, who assign them their territories, clients and job duties. If clients have concerns about the Outside Sales Representative or if the Outside Sales Representative has comments about the client, they report this to the Sales Manager, who works to resolve these issues. The Outside Sales Representative usually completes field work, so they’ll often conduct their one-on-one meetings with the Sales Manager via phone calls or video conferences.


What settings do Outside Sales Representatives work in?

Outside Sales Representatives spend a significant portion of their time driving or flying to their clients’ locations. They may stay in hotels and spend a majority of their time at the client’s office, pitching a product to them or negotiating a contract. Some Outside Sales Representatives also travel to industry events, like conferences or seminars to provide product demonstrations and to build connections with more potential clients.

Sometimes, Outside Sales Representatives come to the office to attend meetings or strategy sessions. Other times, they typically work from home, remotely or in their hotel office. 


What's the difference between an Outside Sales Representative and an Inside Sales Representative?

While Inside and Outside Sales Representatives typically work on the sales team pitching products and negotiating contracts to clients, they have a few key differences. Outside Sales Representatives spend a majority of their time traveling and meeting clients in person. They’re rarely in the office. Inside Sales Representatives are often in the office every day, making cold calls or checking up on clients and answering questions via phone calls, emails or video conferences. 


What makes a good Outside Sales Representative?

A great Outside Sales Representative should have great communication abilities and interpersonal skills to help them identify the goals of customers and present their product in a way that meets or exceeds these milestones. They should also enjoy changing work environments, as their days are usually different and don’t typically follow a routine. 

A strong Outside Sales Representative must also have effective critical thinking and problem-solving skills to quickly answer customers’ questions and solve their potential issues with the product or service. Since they typically don’t have a hands-on Manager overseeing their daily work tasks, Outside Sales Representatives should also have impressive self-discipline and time-management skills to ensure they stay on top of their tasks to regularly meet deadlines and hit quotas.

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