Sales Careers: An Overview for the Uninitiated


Hi everyone, I’ve decided to make a little informative series on the various Job Types and Industries, for those that may be curious about what a different career or field could be like. We’ll start with overview type posts, and add more specific focused articles to the series gradually. First up in this series, one of the job types that has the highest demand. I’m here to share the general basics of Sales.


Sales is a vital function of virtually every business, as it involves the process of promoting and selling products or services to customers. Sales professionals are responsible for building relationships with potential and current customers, identifying their needs, and persuading them to make a purchase.

Sales jobs can be found in a wide range of industries, from retail and consumer goods, business-to-business (B2B) sales, custom engineering, and technology. The specific duties and responsibilities of a salesperson may vary depending on the type of product or service being sold and the target market.

A salesperson is responsible for promoting and selling products or services to customers. This can include identifying potential customers, creating sales pitches and presentations, negotiating prices, and closing sales. The specific job functions and responsibilities of a salesperson may vary depending on the type of products or services they are selling and the industry in which they are working. However, some common tasks that a salesperson may be responsible for include:

  • Identifying potential customers through market research and outreach efforts
  • Creating and delivering sales pitches and presentations to potential customers
  • Responding to customer inquiries and providing information about products or services
  • Negotiating prices and terms of sales with customers
  • Closing sales and ensuring customer satisfaction
  • Keeping track of sales and customer interactions using sales software or CRM tools
  • Providing feedback to management on market trends and potential new products or services
  • Attending industry events and conferences to stay up-to-date on industry developments and build professional relationships.

There are two main types of sales roles: inside sales and outside sales. Inside sales professionals typically work in an office or call center environment, making sales over the phone or through other forms of electronic communication. Outside sales professionals, on the other hand, are responsible for meeting with clients and prospects in person, either at their place of business or in the field. Depending on the specifics of the company and product, there may also be possibilities for remote roles as a salesperson.

How much do salespeople make?

The pay of a salesperson can vary greatly; depending on experience, products sold, the industry, and on how much of the product or service is sold by the salesperson. There is a very real potential for big earnings for those willing to put in the effort.

Salespeople often receive a commission as part of their compensation. A commission is a percentage of the sales that a salesperson makes. For example, if a salesperson has a 10% commission rate and they make a sale worth $100, they will earn $10 in commission. Commissions are often used as an incentive for salespeople to sell more, as the more they sell, the more they will earn in commission.

Some companies pay their salespeople a salary in addition to a commission, while others rely solely on commissions to compensate their salespeople. Commission rates can vary widely depending on the industry, the type of product or service being sold, and the experience and skill level of the salesperson.

What qualities lead to success in sales?

To be successful in sales, it is important to possess a number of key skills and personal qualities. These include excellent communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to build and maintain relationships, problem-solving and negotiation skills, and a strong work ethic. Sales professionals should also be confident and self-motivated, with the ability to handle rejection and setbacks.

For those who are interested in a career in sales but may not possess all of these skills naturally, there are ways to develop and improve upon them. One way is to seek out sales-related training and education opportunities, such as courses or certifications.

These days, there is also a wealth of information online from professionals willing to share their experience and tips on websites like YouTube that you can use to supplement the gaps in your knowledge. It can also be helpful to seek out mentors or role models in the sales industry, and to practice and refine your skills through role-playing and other exercises.

What does a Sales position look like in different industries?

Sales professionals are the driving force behind revenue generation and business success across various industries. As industries differ in their products, services, and target markets, sales positions also exhibit unique characteristics and requirements. Discover the distinct dimensions of sales positions across diverse industries and gain insights into the strategies that drive sales success in each field.

In this section, we delve into the world of sales and explore how it manifests in different industries. From the dynamic realm of software sales to the fast-paced environment of the food and seafood industry, we examine the key aspects of sales roles, including customer engagement, product knowledge, negotiation skills, and relationship building.

Follow the links to see what kind of positions we currently have available as a salesperson in the selected industry. Job advertisements give some great insight into what qualifications companies seek in potential employees.

Latest Sales Jobs

[Industrial Pumps] Distribution Sales Manager | $100K-$150K OTE

Location: Vancouver, WA
As the face of the company to distributors and customers, you will play a crucial role in driving sales and expanding market reach.

[Agricultural Equipment] Sales Manager | $150K-$175K OTE

Location: Othello, WA
In this role, you will have the opportunity to lead and manage a dedicated sales team, ensuring peak performance and delivering exceptional service.

[Office Equipment] Sales Representative | $100K-$150K OTE

Location: Marysville, WA
The ideal candidate will excel in both hunting for new business and managing established accounts, demonstrating an adeptness in creating their own book of business.

[Hydraulic / Automation Components] Branch Manager | $110K+ OTE

Location: Seattle, WA
The ideal candidate will have a background in industrial products and sales, and will be responsible for leading the growth of the company’s flagship brand in the area.

In the building materials industry, a sales position would involve selling products such as lumber, concrete, roofing materials, windows, doors, and other construction-related supplies. Sales representatives would typically engage with contractors, builders, architects, and other professionals involved in construction projects. They would provide product information, generate leads, negotiate pricing and contracts, and strive to build strong relationships with customers in order to meet sales targets.

Learn more about the Building Materials industry here.

How can I find a job in sales?

There’s always demand for salespeople. A quick search on Indeed for “sales representative” yielded 268,578 results in the United States, and over 4,000 results within 100 miles. There may be different options elsewhere though, so be sure to check out resources like LinkedIn, Facebook, ZipRecruiter and more. (while you’re here, why not take a look at our current Sales jobs?)

To get a sales job, it is important to have a strong resume that highlights your relevant skills and experience. Identify your strengths and accomplishments that suggest an ability to perform well in sales, and be sure this information is intentionally focused on in your resume. Networking and building relationships with professionals in the industry can also be helpful in finding job opportunities as well as to get some company specific insights.

Many sales positions require a bachelor’s degree, although some may only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers are willing to forego an education requirement if you already have applicable experience.

Overall, sales is a diverse and dynamic field that offers a range of career opportunities across a variety of industries. To succeed in sales, it is important to possess a range of skills and personal qualities, and to be willing to continually develop and improve upon them. With hard work and dedication, anyone can build a rewarding career in sales.


If you liked this article, stay tuned for information on other industries and job types!

In the future, I’ll dive into more specifics on what a sales job may look like within different industries and specialties.

If a career in Sales interests you, take a moment to check out the Sales jobs we have currently available.