Sales executives are responsible for promoting and selling products and services to customers.
They connect with potential customers (individuals or businesses) and explain the benefits of their products/services, in order to gain agreement for a purchase.
The role is often targeted, meaning that sales executives are required to make a minimum amount of sales every month, quarter or year.
This comprehensive guide includes a full sales executive job description and everything else you need to know about the role, including salaries, skills, weekly duties and more.
- Sales executive job description
- How much do sales executives earn?
- What does a sales executive do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs sales executives?
- Which junior jobs progress to sales executive roles?
Sales executive job description
Sales executive | Strive Fitness
About Strive Fitness
With five locations around the Midlands, Strive Fitness is focussed on making people happier and healthier. We cater for people of all ages, and will be able to find the gym membership that’s right for you. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply be more active, our team at Strive Fitness can help.
About the role
We are looking for an engaging sales executive to help grow memberships across our gyms. You will report to the sales manager and take responsibility for locating prospective clients and bringing them into the Strive Fitness family.
- Generating new sales opportunities by approaching walk-ins, cold calling and networking
- Contacting prospective customers who have sent enquiries, and converting them to members
- Conducting gym tours for prospective members and suggesting suitable membership options
- Preparing new membership documentation, explaining terms to customers and arranging payment methods
- Establishing relationships with local businesses with the aim of promoting our corporate gym memberships
- Delivering consistent levels of new member sign ups to the gym
- Organising open day events where members of the public can tour the gym facilities
- Preparing regular reports for the sales manager summarising progress against KPIs
- Representing Strive Fitness at a range of community and fitness events
- Working closely with the marketing and events teams to leverage existing opportunities
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full time position based in Strive office
- Flexible working hours based around client meetings
- Travel required across our five sites
- Proven experience in a customer facing role – preferably sales aligned
- Friendly and outgoing personality
- Self-starter who can work with little supervision
- Goal-oriented with the ability to track and achieve KPIs
- Interest in the health and fitness industry
- Driver’s licence and access to own transport beneficial
Contact us to apply
If you have a passion for the fitness industry and want to help more people achieve their personal wellness goals, send your CV and cover letter to Jane Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
How much do sales executives earn?
Sales executive salaries are usually a combination of a base wage plus performance-related bonuses, with an average base salary of £30,000.
Sales executive salaries in the UK
- Low: £23,000
- Average: £30,000
- High: £42,500
Sales executive salaries will vary depending on;
- Product or service being sold – Often, the more valuable the product/service the executive is selling, the higher their earnings potential will be
- Performance – With sales roles usually being commission based (meaning staff earn a percentage of the revenue they generate through sales) the more units an executive sells, the more they will earn
- B2B or B2B – Products being sold to businesses (B2B) will usually be more valuable than products being sold to personal customers (B2C) – therefore B2B sales roles often pay more than B2C
- General salary factors – Such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, an experienced pharmaceutical sales executive with a strong track record, selling large amounts of expensive products to businesses, will achieve a higher salary than a call-centre sales executive selling individual low-cost homeware products to personal customers.
Remember these figures are averages taken from job advert samples and do not take into account extra benefits like commission, bonuses, overtime and healthcare.
What does a sales executive do?
Breaking down the job description jargon, here are the typical tasks and responsibilities that sales executives will carry out in an average work week;
- Lead generation – Researching and identifying new potential customers to approach, booking sales appointments with them
- Cold calling – Contacting potential customers by telephone, email or in person to introduce them to the business, service or product they are selling
- Customer service – Building and maintaining relationships with customers in order to create trust and drive sales
- Selling product benefits – Explaining the features of products and explaining how they will benefit the customer
- Creating proposals – Writing quotes and proposals for new and existing customers based on their needs and the products or services best suited to them
- Maintaining a database – Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track customer interactions and sales
- Closing sales – Persuading customers to agree to purchase a product or service
- Achieving targets – Meeting targets set by business to achieve a certain amount of unit sales or amount of revenue, in a month, quarter or year
- Upselling and cross-selling – Persuading customers to upgrade their products, or purchase associated products from them
- Market research – Monitoring the competitor market to understand how other products and services on the market compare to their own
- Reporting – Maintaining regular reports for sales managers around goals, sales and prospective clients
- Networking – Representing the business at a range of events and conferences where there are opportunities to promote the product or service
- Maintaining product knowledge: Keeping an expert knowledge of their product or service, including updates and variations
What do sales executives need?
Sales executives need to possess a number of skills, experience and sometimes qualifications to fulfil their roles.
Specific requirements may change by industry, but here is an overview of what is needed.
Junior sales executives will usually need candidates to demonstrate experience in a customer service or sales environment. Larger organisations will often offer junior sales positions within their graduate training programs.
Senior sales executives will usually be expected to bring a database of clients or be able to demonstrate their ability to build a client base from scratch. They will also need to have specific product or service knowledge, for example in financial services or pharmaceuticals.
Sales executive skills
Sales executives work in a fast-paced, high-pressure workplace where targets are integral to the role so they should be able to demonstrate the following capabilities;
- Communication skills: Being an active listener and able to communicate effectively by phone, email or in person
- Relationship management: Building and maintaining ongoing relationships with a client base to achieve repeat sales
- Confidence: Being able to present the benefits of a product or service with conviction and passion
- Resilience: The ability to bounce back after rejection and move on to the next sales opportunity
- Teamwork: Working as part of a broader sales team, and building relationships across departments such as marketing and finance
- Negotiation: The ability to work out prices and terms with clients, that are agreeable for both parties
And the more industry specific “hard skills” include:
- Industry knowledge: Thorough understanding of the marketplace within which the product or service is being sold, including competitors
- Product/service knowledge: An expert knowledge of the product or service being sold is crucial to build trust with customers and make sales
- Sales ability: Solid skill in dealing with people, building good relationships and consistently close sales
Sales executive qualifications
It’s not essential to have a formal qualification to become a sales executive, with many successful candidates able to gain entry level jobs with GCSEs or A levels.
However, in industries where more complex products are sold (e.g. pharmaceuticals, IT etc.) it may be expected that sales executives have an undergraduate degree in marketing, business, or a field related to a specific product.
There are also specific sales-related qualifications, such as:
NVQ Certificate/Diploma in Sales
City & Guilds offer Level 2 and Level 3 sales qualifications to help sales professionals build capabilities in a range of areas such as inbound and outbound telephone sales, processing sales orders and buyer behaviour.
Institute of Sales Management (ISM) qualifications
The ISM is the professional membership body for the sales industry, and has a set of regulated qualifications ranging from Levels 2-6. Level 2 is aimed at aspiring sales professionals with little or no experience, while Level 6 is for senior sales roles like directorships.
What is expected of sales executives?
Typically, sales executives will be expected to commit to the following;
- Target achievement – To achieve their OTE (On Target Earnings) many sales executives will be contractually required to make a minimum amount of sales of their product/service every month, which will be measured by the number of units they sell, or the revenue they generate
- Long hours – Due to the target-driven nature of the role, sales executive often work much longer hours than contracted, to ensure they hit targets and earn more commission
- Frequent travel – Those selling expensive products will often travel to meet customers
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s office with travel to meet clients
Sales executive benefits
Sales executives will have access to a range of benefits over and above their base salaries, including:
- Commission – Sales executives will normally receive a percentage of the revenue generated from sales they have made. High performers making plenty of sales, can see salaries hugely increased with commission.
- Performance-related bonuses – In addition to commission
- Pension plans
- Training and development
- Corporate discounts
- Company cars
- Petrol and phone allowance
Who employs sales executives?
Any business that sells a product or service could potentially benefit from the services of a sales executive – helping them to secure customers, make sales and generate revenue.
Larger organisations will have whole teams of salespeople, whereas smaller businesses may have just a couple of employees focusing on sales and business development.
Sales executive employers can be divided into 2 main categories;
- Business2Business (B2B) – Those who sell their products/services to other businesses
- Business2Consumer (B2C) – Those who sell their products/services to individuals
Although some companies will have both a B2B and a B2C department. For example, Microsoft sell different types of software to businesses and personal computer users.
However, a sales executive will usually work solely in one of these categories, focusing their efforts on one type of customer.
Here are some typical employers of sales executives and what they would hire them to sell:
- Software providers: Business email services (B2B) / Home PC operating systems (B2C)
- Financial services: Business loans (B2B) / Home insurance (B2C)
- Consumer electronics: Phones, TVs, printers (B2C)
- Pharmaceuticals: Hospital drugs, equipment etc. (B2B)
- FMCG: Food and drinks to supermarkets (B2B)
- Automotive: Car fleets to businesses (B2B) / Cars to personal customers (B2C)
- Magazines/Newspapers: Advertising space (B2B)
Which junior jobs progress to sales executive roles?
Sales executives are entry-level positions, usually recruited straight from school or university. It may help candidates if they have gained customer-facing experience in retail (such as sales assistant) or hospitality roles, which will demonstrate their understanding of customer interactions.
Which senior jobs do sales executives progress to?
Sales executives can progress within the sales industry or choose to branch out into other areas of commerce.
Sales managers are supervisory staff who are responsible for recruiting, training and managing a team of sales staff for a business or department.
Sales executive job description – conclusion
A career in sales can be high-stakes when it comes to meeting quotas and KPIs, but many candidates flourish in this dynamic work environment.
There are plenty of opportunities to exceed financial targets and build on a good base salary, as well as a clear career pathway across a range of different industries.