Finding the right career can be confusing, especially in an area like sales. The industry is incredibly vast and most of the time, knowledge in a secondary field is required, like real estate, beauty and medicine.
If you’re a natural communicator, are good at persuading people, and a great influencer, then a career path in sales is ideal for you.
But do you find yourself unsure of what area to crack? Or are you wondering what the best sales jobs are? Our list of the most popular careers in sales can point you in the right direction.
1. Sales Manager
Average Salary: $60,592 / £33,686
Do you have great management skills and experience in leading a team? If the answer is ‘yes’, you could aim for a sales manager position. Sales managers lead, instruct and supervise a sales team. They set strategies, goals and objectives and ensure that targets are met. As a manager, you will have the responsibility to build a sales plan, arrange rotas and train newcomers. Overall, a sales manager must ensure that the team is meeting the customer acquisition and revenue growth targets of the company.
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2. Real Estate Agent
Average Salary: $50,300 / £19,707
If you have an eye for properties, a charming personality and excellent selling skills, consider becoming a real estate agent. As a real estate agent, your main objective will be to convince buyers to purchase a home, apartment, office or piece of land. Other duties can include marketing responsibilities, such as building marketing plans for listings. Fundamentally, your main focus will be on closing deals by learning the marketplace, considering the client’s needs and wants, and negotiating offers.
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3. Financial Services Sales Agent
Average Salary: $64,120 / £23,000
If you have a keen interest in commodities, securities and financial services, you could opt for a position in the financial sector. As it’s a broad industry, you could be working in banking, insurance or stock exchange. As a financial services sales agent, you will recommend products and services such as insurance policies, credit cards, loans and stocks. Prepare to keep up with the markets and economy so you can sell products that suit client situations, and expect to deal with big amounts of money.
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4. Travel Agent
Average Salary: $38,700 / £16,916
Sales professionals have the option of becoming travel agents. This role involves planning, coordinating and selling travel services to holidaymakers or businesses. With the use of good communication and negotiation skills, a travel agent will promote tour packages, excursions, and arrange all necessary requirements for a memorable holiday. As a travel agent, you must be willing to listen to clients’ preferences and propose the right travel package that also meets their budget requirement. This sales career also involves dealing with complaints, networking with tour operators and staying up to date with tourism trends.
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5. Advertising Sales Agent
Average Salary: $51,740 / £21,537
If you have the gift of the gab and are good at persuading people, then a career in advertising could be for you. An advertising sales agent can be found working at agencies, in radio, television, and Internet publishing. They are responsible for selling advertising space to help promote their clients’ business needs. Advertising sales agents will locate clients and present advertising proposals, among other duties such as developing promotional plans and arranging budgets.
6. Manufacturer’s Representative
Average Salary: $61,660 / £25,883
A manufacturer’s representative will strive to endorse and sell agricultural and mechanical equipment. This role typically requires some technical knowledge regarding the products that you’re selling. As with any other sales role, networking skills and the ability to negotiate prices come in handy, especially when having to chase clients through business directories, trade shows and conferences. Besides, a manufacturer’s representative’s client-base will usually include businesses and government agencies, so you’ll need to have great public-speaking skills as you’ll usually be required to host presentations.
7. IT/Software Sales Representative
Average Salary: $53,756 / £44,962
If you have a knack for computers and technology, consider finding a career in IT sales. From selling software to computer hardware, this position requires a professional to use technical jargon and make complex explanations to highly technical individuals. You might be dealing with large IT companies or retail stores and have the responsibility to engage in sales meetings and product demonstrations. To succeed in the field, IT sales representatives must stay on-trend as the technology landscape is constantly and rapidly changing.
8. Medical Device Sales Agent
Average Salary: $61,003 / £34,515
Healthcare and medicine are fast-growing, ever-changing industries and a career in either one can be promising. If you choose to become a medical device sales agent, know that the growth is tremendous. This is one of the top sales jobs and clearly the highest-paying - according to MedReps, medical device sales reps can earn a salary of over $165,000. This position involves selling equipment like medical and surgical products to public and private healthcare institutions using cold-call methods. It’s, therefore, best to equip yourself with great customer service skills.
9. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Average Salary: $78,224 / £39,870
Like medical device sales agents, pharmaceutical sales representatives have the responsibility of selling products to healthcare providers. These include pharmacies, public and private hospitals and doctors’ offices. They will usually work for a single supplier and use sales techniques like cold calling and on-site visits to promote their products. A pharmaceutical sales representative requires medical expertise and product knowledge so they can successfully describe a drug’s components, side effects and uses. These sales professionals will also need industry awareness and superb customer service skills.
10. Foodservice Sales Agent
Average Salary: $49,291 / £23,097
As a foodservice sales agent, you will engage in networking among restaurants, schools, churches and government organisations. These individuals primarily work for a food vendor or manufacturer and aim to sell their food-related items to various establishments. The position requires great determination, communication and the ability to truly understand the client’s food needs. It’s important to keep in mind that foodservice sales can be quite a challenging role in terms of competition and working overtime.
11. Independent Sales Representative
Average Salary: $49,529 / £20,748
With enough self-motivation, you can choose to go for an independent sales representative role. As an individual representative, you can work in a wide range of industries to endorse a company’s products or services. These professionals are usually hired to do the work alone, without a salesforce team alongside them. The individual, therefore, has to be incredibly ambitious and confident and ready to take risks. These positions are generally commission-based and involve having to attract new clients, build relationships and inform them about the company’s products and services.
12. Account Manager
Average Salary: $53,360 / £27,108
An account manager acts as a client’s main point of contact in a company. They are responsible for building and maintaining customer relationships and understanding their needs. As an account manager, you will be responsible for maintaining the sales strategy, providing clients with the right recommendations as well as managing and developing client accounts. You will connect with business executives and stakeholders and help them through email, phone, presentations and in-person meetings.
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13. Sales Engineer
Average Salary: $72,388 / £31,391
If you have engineering qualifications and a few sales skills up your sleeve, why not go for a sales engineer position? You should have the ability to explain complex scientific and technological products using the right jargon and terminology. Sales engineers will try to sell a product by thoroughly describing its parts and functions and by convincing clients why their tool is the go-to item. Prepare to deliver technical presentations, assess client equipment needs and help clients solve issues with installed equipment.
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14. Retail Sales Representative
Average Salary: $41,848 / £17,997
Retail sales representatives are mainly located in stores, with the responsibility of selling products and building customer loyalty. This position involves greeting customers, providing basic product information and processing store payments. Retail sales representatives are also in charge of ensuring shelves are stacked and tidy; they may also help with visual merchandising and stock evaluation. To succeed in this position, you should be customer-friendly, informative and on-the-ball.
15. National Sales Director
Average Salary: $108,838 / £67,836
Last on our list of the best sales careers is a national sales director. A national sales director is generally at the top of the sales pyramid in large national companies. They are in charge of planning and supervising the sales strategy in all sales offices nationwide. This role involves working closely with sales managers to ensure goals are being met and collaborating with the marketing department when building sales plans.
Whether you’ve just left school, or you’re fresh out of university, this list of professions might help you find the sales career of your dreams. It might even convince you to take a new route and aim for a higher position. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that sales can provide a promising professional future.
Let us know which sales career you’re most interested in and if there are any we left out by commenting in the section below.
Salaries are intended as a guide and vary depending on employer and level of experience.
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by a variety of sources, including the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, PayScale and the National Careers Service.