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Sales Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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Sales is the process of persuading people to invest money in the products that your company offers - whether this is selling a video camera or an advertising space in your newspaper even the skills of another person - and ensuring that the sold product lives up to the expectations of the client.

You may work in one of two capacities when working in sales: Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C). B2B is delivering products to other businesses, for example through paid for advertising space, whilst B2C is directly to the consumer, e.g. telesales. The large majority of graduate jobs are in B2B sales.

You are likely to take on a role as an account manager, progressing to senior account manager and later potentially a sales director. In this high level position you are likely to have the responsibility of managing sales people below you.

Sales is a large part of many businesses, and in most cases companies are driven by the work of their sales team, as they are at the forefront of the business and thus able to see and respond to what the clients and consumers require.

Those working in sales need determination, drive, a thick skin and the ability to bounce back from set-backs without letting in deter from their immediate performance. Sales is an extremely competitive industry to be involved in, with daily, weekly and monthly targets that must be hit and certain results that must be successfully achieved. The best sales people are those that believe in what they are selling, are persuasive enough to convince clients to buy, and are able to deliver the products that their clients request in order to build and sustain good working relationships and further business.

Despite the high pressure aspects of the job, working in sales has many positives and can be extremely rewarding for the right people. Money, largely coming from commission, is one of the top reasons why graduates get into sales. Travel is also a large perk of many sales jobs.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

General sales positions do not require a degree in any specific area, as people skills, confidence and persuasiveness are the most important skills that those working in sales can posses.

However, if you are looking for a graduate job in sales most employers will be looking for candidates with at least a 2.1 in any subject.

If you are selling a very specific product, for example pharmaceuticals, it may be useful to have a qualification in this area in order than you have all the technical knowledge required.

After gaining some experience in a sales environment you may look into professional qualifications offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing or the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

The skills required of sales people are multi-faceted. Whilst being persuasive and often borderline pushy, it is important not to come across as aggressive out of fear of losing the deal. Drive and resilience are two of the most important skills that you must have in order to succeed in a sales environment, as well as the ability to deal with high pressure situations, tight deadlines and frequent knock-backs.

From a business perspective, you must be fully aware of the market that you are selling into, as well as having a strong commercial awareness.

Other important skills for those working in sales include:

What graduate sales job can I do? TOP ^

The opportunities for graduates in the sales sector are increasing, as companies look for well-rounded individuals with a knack for business. Having a degree means that you may be able to entry the sales sector at a higher position than those who are not graduates, and it may be easier for you to reach management level.

Graduate jobs in sales are overwhelmingly B2B.

Graduate sales jobs may include the following, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Graduate sales executive
  • Account director/ executive
  • International account director/ executive
  • Telesales advisor
  • Sales management
  • Business development executive
  • Event sales director
  • Customer-facing selling expensive consumer products (one of the few times graduates may land B2C roles)

Average sales salariesTOP ^

As a graduate working in sales you are likely to receive a basic salary of around £20,000, whilst managers could be on £40,000 and directors £50,000.

As such a huge part of any sales role is commission, meeting and exceeding your targets could mean that your basic wage could be doubled. Overseas travel, entertaining and impressing clients and company cars may also be perks of some sales jobs.

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