Those working in sales can do so in a wide range of areas. Sales are not always made directly between businesses and the public; in fact, many sales careers are focused on making business-to-business (B2B) deals, for example, or selling things like advertising space, or even selling people into job vacancies in the recruitment side of sales.
Jobs in B2B sales
B2B salespeople usually sell items in bulk. For instance, rather than selling a single pint of beer to a thirsty customer, a B2B salesperson (working for a specific brewery) might set up an agreement where 10 kegs of beer are sold to a pub every week throughout the year. B2B sales is less focused on cold calling and direct sales tactics – it’s much more about understanding client objectives, building relationships with clients and maintaining those relationships, so that consistent sales plans can be established and put in place. These people need to develop an in-depth understanding of their market, so they can fulfil their client’s demands quickly and efficiently.
Jobs in telesales & media sales
A career in telesales is very different to B2B sales. People working in this area sell and market things over the telephone, everything from mobile phone packages, insurance or energy services. Many charities and university alumni services also use telemarketing methods to request donations.
Media sales basically involves selling advertising space to different companies across a range of different media: directories, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and websites. Wherever you see an advert, that ad has been sold by a media sales professional – anything from double page spreads in the centre of a glossy magazine and adverts down the side of articles on news websites, to adverts local newspapers.
Recruitment is a pretty different kind of sales job. Rather than selling products or services, people working in this specialism are essentially selling people into job roles. Essentially, people in recruitment act as an intermediary between companies and talented individuals: it’s all about finding the best candidates for certain jobs and selling them into companies that demand their specific skills.
Sales professionals can also work in areas as wide ranging as the automobile industry, construction (selling construction materials), selling property as estate agents, and conducting face-to-face direct sales.
School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) in roles like trainee sales adviser, telesales operator and junior sales executive.
They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like sales consultant / supervisor, sales manager, telesales professional and salesperson. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.
School leavers could also look at the sales-related courses on offer at further education college and university.