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Sales executive: Job description

Sales executives sell their company’s goods and services. Customers may include businesses, governmental organisations and individuals, both in the UK and abroad.
Sales executives approach potential customers with the aim of winning new business, as well as maintaining good relationships with clients. 

They are also responsible for making repeat sales to their employer’s existing customers. Sales is a targets driven industry and the work can sometimes be demanding. 

Within the sales environment a number of other job titles are also used to refer to a similar job role, including: 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) and 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 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 meeting and sharing best practice with colleagues.
 
 
AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
July 2013
 
 

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