The sales force of the U.S. is 22 million sales professionals strong. The beauty of sales is that each of these 22 million salespeople has likely had a wholly unique sales career path to get where he or she is today. If selling is in your DNA, there’s really no place you can’t take it. As such, determining the best next step in your sales career path can be a bit of a challenge. To help you narrow it down, we’ve compiled a list of the most common sales career paths out there.
Whether you’ve been selling since you were in diapers or are just starting a career in sales, here are three avenues you can take your passion for selling:
- Full-time sales professional
Is your interest in selling and nothing but selling? If you enjoy the act of selling and don’t care to do anything else, a career as a sales professional could be a good fit for you. Sales professionals make good salaries, retain control over their schedules, and forgo any of the peskier responsibilities that come with more management-focused roles. Depending on where you work, you could be paid on a salary or be commission-based. And there’s really nowhere you can’t go as a sales professional.
- Sales or business management
If, on the other hand, you enjoy managing people and budgets, moving into management could be a good path for you. As a manager, you can climb the corporate ladder without taking on the full responsibility of being a business owner yourself. Your sales career path could look like this: salesperson to sales manager to regional manger to to sales VP, all the way up to even CEO.
- Business owner
You have to have sales in your blood to be a successful business owner. If you also have an entrepreneurial spirit, then you’re golden. The challenges with owning your own business, however, are that selling is now a small part of your responsibility. There’s also people and financial management now. Your compensation is now based on how much your team sells less any expenses, so you’d better keep both selling and managing expenses close to your heart.
How take your sales career path to the next level
When it comes to making the next move in your sales career path, it can be hard to land the sales job you want. Sales recruiting firms can be a great asset, as they continually screen companies and applicants looking for the perfect fit. They take ownership of the entire process, managing your journey from application to acceptance. Some sales recruiters services even take it one step further by offering additional support after you’ve been hired such as sales management and training.
That said, there is only so much a sales recruitment firm can do for you to help you land the next job in your sales career path. To help them help you, it’s important to make yourself marketable and ensure you stand out from the crowd. If you’re in the early stages of your sales career, it can be easy to get bogged down feeling like your lack of experience will hold you back. This isn’t necessarily the case, however.
In sales, experience isn’t always the most important thing. Particularly if you’re aiming to get a job at a larger company with a big sales force already, the hiring manager is more likely to look for other attributes. The best salespeople are strategic in their thinking and always have a plan. A hiring manager is more likely to be impressed by a candidate with a clear road map for his or her sales career path.
Other good places to focus your education is on social media. Over 78% of sales representatives who use social media in their selling process outsell their counterparts who were not on social media. In addition, those salespeople with marketing skills as well tend to produce 25% more profits than salespeople with no marketing skills.
When it comes to sales, it’s important to remember selling, at its core, is a social business. A sales recruitment agency will help you get your foot in the door, it’s then up to you to sell yourself.