what is a sales representative?

A sales representative, also known as a sales rep or salesperson, is a professional responsible for promoting and selling a company's products or services to potential clients. Your form a crucial link between the organisation and its customers, playing a pivotal role in generating revenue, expanding market share, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Sales representatives can be found across a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, consumer goods, financial services, and more.

As a sales representative, you are a vital player in the growth and success of your organisation, responsible for acquiring new customers, building strong relationships, and driving revenue. You possess a deep understanding of your product offerings, employ effective sales strategies, and collaborate with other teams and sales reps. All of this helps you to secure a competitive edge for your company.

If working as a sales representative appeals to your confident and persistent nature, read on to find out more. Learn about the skills and qualifications that can help you thrive in this profession.

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average sales representative salary

According to Payscale, the average salary of a sales representative is ₹300,000 per year. Your salary in this profession can be quite variable, depending on how your pay is calculated. For example, you may be working on commission, in which case, your remuneration is directly tied to your performance. On the lower end of the scale, sales representatives in the early stages of their careers earn ₹178,000 and up. Meanwhile, more experienced and successful sales representatives can earn as much as ₹20,00,000 per year.

factors that affect sales representative’s pay

Your potential earnings are affected by several factors. For example, the industry in which you work can significantly impact your pay. Industries with higher profit margins, like pharmaceuticals and technology, often offer higher salaries than those with lower margins.

As with most professions, the more experience you have, the higher your salary tends to be. Companies are often willing to pay a premium for seasoned professionals with a proven track record. Your performance also matters. Many sales representatives work on a commission basis, meaning their earnings are directly tied to their performance in generating sales. High-performing sales reps can earn significantly more than their peers with lower sales numbers.

Two smiling colleagues (men) looking at a phone.
Two smiling colleagues (men) looking at a phone.

types of sales representative

The specifics of a sales representative role will vary depending on the type of role you are working in. Some of the most common types of sales representatives include:

  • inside sales representative: in this role, you are a professional who primarily sells products or services through telephone, email, or online platforms. You typically work in an office setting and manage a specific set of clients or territories.
  • outside sales representative: also known as field sales reps, you visit clients at their locations to demonstrate products, negotiate deals, and close sales. You often work independently and are responsible for managing your schedule and travel.
  • business development representative: focused on acquiring new clients, you identify potential customers, build relationships, and create opportunities for the sales team.
  • account manager: as an account manager, you are responsible for maintaining and growing existing client relationships. Account managers ensure client satisfaction and identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling products and services.
  • technical sales representative: as a technical sales representative, you possess in-depth knowledge of technical or specialised products and are responsible for selling them to clients who require a higher level of expertise.

working as a sales representative

Working as a sales representative requires a good deal of self-confidence and motivation. Maintaining a positive attitude in the face of rejection is essential to success in this role. Keep reading for more details on the nature of this role, including daily tasks and work environments.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for sales representatives include:

  • education: while many sales roles do not require a specific degree, having a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business, marketing, or communication, can be advantageous. Some industries, like pharmaceuticals and technology, may prefer candidates with a background in science or engineering.
  • certification: some industries or companies may require sales representatives to hold professional certifications, such as those offered by the National Institute of Sales Professionals (NISP) or the Indian Institute of Sales Management (IISM).
  • training: many companies provide on-the-job training for new sales representatives, covering product knowledge, sales techniques, and company processes. Some organisations may also offer formal training programmes or apprenticeships to develop sales talent.

sales representative skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a sales representative include:

  • communication: excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential for sales representatives, as you must be able to convey information about products and services clearly and persuasively.
  • interpersonal skills: building and maintaining strong relationships with clients is crucial, requiring the ability to connect with people, listen actively, and demonstrate empathy.
  • negotiation skills: you are adept at negotiating terms and conditions, pricing, and other aspects of sales deals to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • time management: managing your schedule, prioritising tasks, and effectively allocating time are crucial skills for achieving sales targets and maintaining your work-life balance.
  • adaptability: as well as responding effectively to objections or setbacks, you adapt to changing market conditions, customer needs, and product offerings.

FAQs about working as a sales representative

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of sales representative.

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