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Sales executive: Job description

Sales executives sell a company's products and services. Customers include individuals, businesses and government organisations and sales may be domestic (within the UK) or international, or a combination of both.

As well as approaching potential customers with the aim of winning new business; sales executives work to maintain good relationships with existing clients, gaining repeat business wherever possible.

The sales industry is target driven and as a consequence the work can sometimes be demanding and pressurised.

The title may vary in different organisations and a sales executive may also be referred to as a:

  • sales representative;
  • sales consultant;
  • territory manager;
  • business development representative.

Typical work activities

Typical work activities depend on the market and the setting. A basic distinction can be made between two types of sales:

  • business to business (B2B);
  • business to customer or consumer (B2C).

B2B sales involve selling products or services from one business to another. This is a typical avenue for graduates. For example, a sales executive in a company that manufactures fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), e.g. soft drinks, will sell to the retailer and may be involved in making a strong argument so the products get shelf space. Activities important for success include:

  • relationship building;
  • researching the market and related products;
  • presenting the product or service favourably and in a structured professional way face-to-face.

B2C sales involve direct selling to the consumer or end user. Examples include selling credit cards via the telephone or selling new cars in a showroom.

Typical activities for sales executives generally include:

  • listening to customer requirements and presenting appropriately to make a sale;
  • maintaining and developing relationships with existing customers in person and via telephone calls and emails;
  • cold calling to arrange meetings with potential customers to prospect for new business;
  • responding to incoming email and phone enquiries;
  • acting as a contact between a company and its existing and potential markets;
  • negotiating the terms of an agreement and closing sales;
  • gathering market and customer information;
  • representing their company at trade exhibitions, events and demonstrations;
  • negotiating on price, costs, delivery and specifications with buyers and managers;
  • challenging any objections with a view to getting the customer to buy;
  • advising on forthcoming product developments and discussing special promotions;
  • creating detailed proposal documents, often as part of a formal bidding process which is largely dictated by the prospective customer;
  • liaising with suppliers to check the progress of existing orders;
  • checking the quantities of goods on display and in stock;
  • recording sales and order information and sending copies to the sales office, or entering figures into a computer system;
  • reviewing your own sales performance, aiming to meet or exceed targets;
  • gaining a clear understanding of customers' businesses and requirements;
  • making accurate, rapid cost calculations and providing customers with quotations;
  • feeding future buying trends back to employers;
  • attending team meetings and sharing best practice with colleagues.

There are 52 jobs available in sales

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Written by AGCAS editors
July 2015

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