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A Guide to A Career in Sales

An overview of the Sales Industry

Consumerism is always carving a bigger mark on our lives, and the sales industry is booming because of it. Every single product on shelves and digital shopfronts is backed by a sales process of some description; behind the scenes of most established companies, you’ll find a hive of professionals working to hit the targets set for every week, month and year.


From cars and consumer goods to events, finance, health and properties, the sales industry supports almost every facet of our work and leisure, often without us realising it. And with the rise of online retail, this fast-paced sector is constantly evolving. As such, it’s an exciting industry for ambitious graduates with the gift of persuasion on their side.

How does it differ to other consumer & retail routes?

Tapping into our needs, dreams and concerns is a real talent; as a people person, you’ll find yourself pushing an open door in a sales career, with lucrative gains for effective salespeople that can bring others round to their way of thinking.

As sales sheds its unpopular reputation for cold calling, moving towards a new age of helpful, transparent customer service, it’s not just about quick wins. If you’re a strong sales person with a passion for a product or service, there’s a real chance to help consumers make informed decisions that will better their lives in some small measure.

Types of roles in the sector

The hierarchy of sales offers plenty of scope for progression; here are just a few roles you could square up to as you climb the ladder:

Sales Professional – Every sales department needs persuasive individuals who can deal with potential customers and close deals, either in person or over the phone.

Sales Manager – Salespeople need confident leaders to set targets, manage resources and keep the team motivated. Sales managers co-ordinate a team to success.

Area Sales Manager – Talented managers move on from managing single teams, to co-ordinating multiple departments over a city, county or country.

Account Manager – High value clients expect a dedicated service, with one person who they can turn to for orders, issues and questions. Account managers keep clients happy and strive to grow the value of every account over time.

Business Development Manager – Successful businesses are always looking for new revenue streams; business development managers focus on the bigger picture, growing the influence of a brand and building networks.

The skills organisations look for

Persuasion: Could you sell snow to an Eskimo? If you were born with the gift of the gab, a sales career might be right for you.

Perseverance: You aren’t phased when a conversation doesn’t go the way you hoped first time. You’ll try and try again until you succeed.

Communication: You love meeting and talking to new people, and explaining complex subject matter in a simple, engaging manner.

Time management: Deadlines are part and parcel of how you work, and you’re comfortable juggling several balls at once. Check out Bright Network's Tips for Time Management.

Confidence: Whether it’s approaching a prospect out of the blue or networking in a room full of strangers, you’re a naturally confident person.

Did you know?

  • The time you make a sales call matters; ideal times are 4pm and 8am, while 11am and 2pm are deemed to be the worst.
  • Technology is transforming sales, with social media, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data shaping how we buy and sell goods and services.
  • Entry-level salaries for graduates in sales average around £25,000, with attractive earning potential for managerial roles.

In conclusion…

Sales is a popular career path for graduates wanting to gain skills and experience in a dynamic work environment, with plenty of opportunities for progression, as well as lots of transferable expertise that you can carry forward in your career.

Sold on the prospect of a career in sales? Discover the latest grad schemes and jobs to take the first step to employment today.

Next: Graduate Jobs in Sales