01National Sales Director
A national sales director develops broad sales plans and objectives to be followed by all sales offices nationwide. Such plans need to flexible enough that regional or local offices can adjust them as necessary to meet certain needs that might be specific to their locations. The overall goals and objectives, though, need to be firm.
A person with this job works closely with regional sales directors to make sure sales plans are properly implemented and goals are being met. They also are expected to coordinate with the marketing department when developing sales plans and strategies.
As of 2018, the average salary for a national sales director exceeds $100,000, according to payscale.com, and a bachelor's degree in a related field and several years of experience are expected.
02Regional Sales Manager
A regional sales manager typically oversees sales managers at multiple locations in the same general area. This job title may be used in retail or nonretail industries, and the size of a region may vary from company to company.
This individual can be expected to travel frequently to stores or offices in the region to work closely with individual sales managers. They help implement corporate-wide sales plans and make sure they are being followed and that sales goals are being reached at each location.
In nonretail settings, they may manage major accounts within the region.
Average pay for this position, as of 2018, is just short of $80,000 annually, according to payscale.com. A bachelor's degree typically is required, but candidates with significant sales experience may be considered without one.
The title sales manager covers a lot of different industries, both retail and nonretail. A common example of nonretail settings would be local media outlets, such as newspapers, radio stations, or television stations that sell advertising.
The sales manager is responsible for overseeing the sales staff, implementing sales strategies, and making sure sales goals are met. At larger companies or even smaller companies with multiple locations, the sales manager might work with a regional sales manager.
Sales managers frequently will have a hands-on role with a location's largest, most significant, or most sensitive accounts.
As of 2018, sales managers earned an average of about $53,000 annually, according to payscale.com.
04Inside Sales Representative
Sales representatives who handle walk-in clients or take phone calls from prospective clients are considered to be inside sales representatives.
This covers a broad range of industries, but regardless of what is being sold, good customer services skills are of utmost importance. A person in the position needs to greet potential clients, direct them to the product or service that best meets their needs, and close the sale.
Average pay for inside sales reps, as of 2018, is about $42,000 annually, according to payscale.com.
05Outside Sales Representative
Outside sales reps actively seek new clients either through phone calls or by visiting clients personally, and the work can involve a broad range of industries. In addition to seeking new clients, outside sales reps typically have a list of accounts they maintain and regularly contact.
As opposed to being in an office all day, much of an outside sales rep's time is spent on the road visiting clients. That travel, though, typically is limited to the city or general area surrounding the sales rep's home office.
Like an inside sales rep, a person in this position should have excellent people skills and communicate well with clients and potential clients.
As of 2018, payscale.com reports the average salary for outside sales reps to be about $48,000.
Sales assistants typically perform a variety of tasks to support sales managers and sales representatives in their duties.
Many of the responsibilities may be clerical, but sales assistants also help research and identify potential clients, put together sales presentations, and sometimes serve as a point of contact for existing clients.
Pay for sales assistants has a relatively wide range, depending on industry and responsibilities. Some sales assistant jobs may be considered entry-level, but earnings can be higher for those with more responsibility. As of 2018, average pay was about $38,000 annually, according to payscale.com.
Sales engineers sell products designed specifically for different fields or industries. The products often are related to manufacturing or science or are otherwise complex, and selling them requires a detailed knowledge of how they work. For this reason, expect a bachelor's degree in a relevant field to be a minimum requirement for any position as a sales engineer.
Median pay in 2017 was just shy of $100,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
08Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales
Sales professionals in this field are similar to sales engineers, but the products they are selling are less technical and typically require less expertise to understand. Otherwise, the job still involves selling on behalf of wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses and government agencies, among other potential clients.
Overall, job growth for this field is projected to at 5 percent, which falls within the range of average for all professions.
Median pay in 2017 was about $60,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is an area where multiple job titles are used to describe the work being done. Job titles commonly used include sales representative, sales associate, sales consultant, or just the word sales. Sometimes the word retail is included in the word sales.
Even jobs listed as assistant store manager typically are sales positions just like any other. Many retail outlets view all full-time employees as potential managers-in-training, so with few exceptions, expect that any title that has "store" in it refers to a retail sales position.
Median pay in 2017 was about $23,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sales Position Titles
What to Search for When Looking for a Sales Position
Jobs in sales cover a broad range of industries and responsibilities, and they also are described with an even broader range of job titles. Anybody selling something—whether it be a product or a service—can be said to be in sales, and the job titles used to describe those doing the selling frequently change as businesses try to set themselves apart from the competition.
Traversing these many titles can be challenging for those seeking work in the field, especially when doing a search on internet job boards. When doing such a search, it's important to understand the duties associated with the most common job titles in sales and what the market looks like for specific jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average job growth for all professions for the decade from 2016 to 2026 should be between 5 percent and 9 percent, but sales-related jobs are expected to grow at only 3 percent during that time. In other words, growth in the field is projected to be below average.
While college degrees generally are not a requirement for many sales jobs, it will be much easier to get started in sales if you do have one. Jobs on this list that are an exception to that assertion are noted.