Education Requirements For A Sales Career

Few reputable firms in any industry accept anything less than a four-year degree from an accredited university. It is rare to find a business-to-business (B2B) sales position with a GPA below 3.1.

For some business-to-consumer (B2C) sales jobs, an accredited degree is not required.

Still, sometimes industry regulations, such as those in insurance, real estate and finance, require standardized tests such as the Series 63.

B2B sales is substantially different than selling directly to the consumer.

Whereas each consumer varies in background, most C-level executives a salesperson interacts with boast impressive educational backgrounds.

MBA degrees hold little to no weight when pursuing a sales career. Our firm has seen many resumes of Ivy League graduates overlooked because success in sales and having a fancy MBA are mutually exclusive. MBAs, out of just about all verticals, are the least potent degrees in the sales world.

A specialized undergraduate degree, e.g. a chemistry degree, is more marketable than a Master of Business Administration.

Niche sales representatives are rare and therefore heavily recruited by competing firms.

What if You Don’t Have Your Degree and You’re Going Back to College?

Be extremely over-prepared for sales job interviews. Stay optimistic, but expect an invitation to intern prior to full employment with salary and benefits. Keep in mind that it may be best to bring a writing sample and a PowerPoint presentation to the interview.

Since such a big portion of sales is done over email these days, great writing skills are a must in any kind of sales. Grammatical or spelling mistakes are embarrassing and if you make them frequently enough you can lose clients.

For a PowerPoint, concentrate more on looks than content. PowerPoint is a necessary tool for salespeople. A skillfully done presentation keeps the audience engaged during a sales meeting.

To this end, investment in a course or two on PowerPoint and any important software specific to a certain sales position is never a bad idea.

 

 Ken runs KAS Placement sales recruitment executive search a recruiting firm in NYC helping job seekers in the U.S. including Chicago sales recruiters

 

Read the original article on KAS Placement Staffing. Copyright 2011.

inside sales careers

What A Career In Inside Sales Entails

Inside Sales Jobs:

In most instances, inside sales positions involve heavy volumes of cold prospecting via the telephone or via mass emailing attempts to target clients.

However, I have seen companies use this term to describe quite the opposite. Instead, they use the term “inside sales” to describe what is really pure account management. That means the position isn’t heavily focused on finding new business.

Hiring companies often list desired qualities of the ideal inside sales applicant including, “hungry,” “aggressive,” and, “not afraid to close a deal.”

These arguably unflattering adjectives apply to inside sales because selling over the phone or via mass emailing has become increasingly more challenging. This sort of inside sales job quickly turns into a scenario with no chance for any type of positive outcome.

If the jobs are pure cold-calling positions, companies will usually try to recruit younger salespeople by focusing the total compensation package, instead of an at- or below-market base salary.

This “total comp” focus is usually followed by an inflated OTE number (“on-target earnings,” the total predicted money made by the sales representative if he or she hits all the quota goals). A company that inflates OTE possibilities usually uses a “We want someone who sees the bigger picture” spiel.

Here’s a hint: only interview for inside sales jobs if you know the company or the position pays a secure base salary with full benefits.

However, seeing the term “inside sales” in a job description doesn’t always signal a trap.

Benefits of Taking an Inside Sales Job:

  • You are around a manager and can train, grow and immerse yourself into the culture of the organization.
  • Due to the entry-level nature of the job, you’ll probably be around peers your own age who share a similar interest in sales.
  • For the right person, the consistent prospecting via the phone and the web can quickly lead to a leadership role within the organization.

 

I’ve seen 25-year-olds earn significantly more responsibility handling both basic sales representatives and the more important clients, whose continuous business results in large commission checks for the young all-star.

Those who make it out of the trenches alive quickly morph into VPs and Regional Managers.

Read the original article on KAS Placement Staffing. Copyright 2011.

Taking a Job in Outside Sales Early in Your Career

Outside sales, as opposed to inside sales, typically refers to a sales job in which the sales rep is consistently meeting in person with their target buyers. This can include extensive presentations, attendance at trade shows, as well as a few nights a week in a Holiday Inn.

With the exception of a few industries, outside sales jobs are usually a little more senior than inside sales roles, as the sales professional is, more likely than not, meeting prospects without being accompanied by a senior member within the company. To younger sales job seekers, outside sales jobs can seem prestigious, interesting and just as important fun. However, be careful what you wish for and take the following into consideration before you pursue either an inside sales job or an outside sales job, or better yet a hybrid of the two.

Some downsides of taking an outside sales role early on in your career:

– Any young sales rep just graduating college or a few years out of university should be immersed within a corporate culture that breeds learning, growth and teamwork. Due to the fact that most outside sales jobs are work from home positions, the young sales representative misses out on the corporate experience, and because of the remote location they are much less apt to be promoted within the company and, if so relocation is probably in the cards.

– When organizations downsize their sales staff, they first look to the outside sales reps. This is primarily for the single reason that they don’t have to lay somebody off while looking them in the face. It sounds harsh, but such is corporate.

–  Regardless of one’s expense account, the outside sales employee always ends up incurring out-of-pocket costs due to different travel expenses that are non-work expenses.  Related to this, entertainment while on the road traveling is fun, new and exciting at first, but gets old quick quickly.

-Until you are a senior executive of a Fortune 500 company, the travel arrangements that your company budgets for you are not exactly corporate jet nor luxury sedan with a driver.  Most outside sales reps drive an economy company car (or put miles on their own car) and enjoy a few hours on a regional jet flight, sitting on top of someone whom they do not know nor do they want to.

Some upsides of taking an outside sales role early on in your career:

–Learning how to conduct in-person meetings is an important skill to obtain when the sales professional is young. However, because sales and business is done more and more over e-mail and web conference, this type of skill is not even as close to as useful as it was just 15 years ago.

–Some inside sales jobs are purely cold-calling and do not carry as much responsibility as outside sales jobs.  Typically, inside sales jobs serve as lead generators for the outside sales representatives within the organization. Therefore, many outside sales representatives have a dedicated team of cold-callers (dedicated to the entire outside sales force, not individually) to generate leads for these individuals to meet with. If the commission plan is still reasonable with this type of assistance, outside sales jobs can be quite lucrative.

–Outside sales positions teach the young job seeker responsibility and accountability for one’s actions as, for many younger professionals, working from home can bring on decreasing motivation and work ethic.

In the end, I do not recommend entry-level job seekers taking an outside sales position right after they graduate college.  Being in an office, learning how to cold call and becoming familiarized with corporate environments is a lot more priceless than a used Ford Escort, an old Dell computer and flight delays to Minneapolis in February.

Read the original article on KAS Placement Staffing. Copyright 2011.

Death To The Salesman By “Draw Against Commission” – 7 Pay Packages Explained

Entering the world of sales means that you will also be entering the world of commission. Having a salary that is partially or wholly linked to a commission means that your job performance is directly linked to your paycheck. That means as an employee, you have more control over your earning potential.

 

Depending on your contract, it may even be possible to earn an uncapped amount based on how good of a salesperson you are, and how successful you are at executing your employer’s sales goals.

 

However, key to earning money on a commission structure is knowing and understanding the different commission structures. Finding the right commission plan for you involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses, assessing your long-term work ethic, and carefully negotiating a contract that will best suit your style and compensation needs.

 

The following are the most common commission structures in sales, and each structure’s pros and cons.

 

1. Straight Salary:

 

With this compensation method, the amount of money that can be earned per year is determined up front. An employee’s pay cannot be changed unless the contract is re-negotiated.

 

Pros: Your salary is in no way impacted by your sales performance, and you can rely on having a certain amount of money in the bank every month. 
Cons: There is no incentive to excel, and it is easy to become complacent about your job. A great salesperson may also realize he/she could earn more with a commission-based structure.

 

2. Salary Plus Bonus:

 

This is one of the most reliable pay structures in the sales world. An employee who agrees to this method of compensation will receive a pre-determined salary each pay period. At specific interval(s), an employee will also receive an additional bonus if performance hits or exceeds earning goals.

 

Pros: Pay is not impacted by performance. 
Cons: Earnings are somewhat capped. A talented employee who is successful in completing sales may earn less with this structure than with a commission-based structure.

 

3. Base Plus Commission / Salary Plus Commission:

 

This is the most common form of compensation in sales. With this structure, a salesperson will receive a pre-determined and fixed annual base salary. Commission earned is based on the number of completed sales.

 

Pros: You’re always guaranteed a steady stream of income from your base salary. 
Cons: The commission rate will probably be lower than the commission rate tied to a salary that is straight commission.

 

4. Straight Commission:

 

Straight commission means there is no base salary. An employee earns a percentage of each sale, but this is the only way to make money.

Pros: The amount of income you earn is entirely in your control. 
Cons: Pay is not tied to hours worked. If you cannot close sales, you will not earn any money.

 

5. Variable Commission:

 

Variable commission is similar to straight commission. However, the rate of commission goes up and down depending on whether sales goals have been exceeded and by how much.

 

Pros: You will be motivated to perform to your potential, since the better your performance is, the more money you earn. In other words, rewards are directly linked to performance.

 

Cons: There is sometimes an emphasis on quantity over quality, meaning that customer satisfaction may not be a priority for your employer. It is also hard to determine how much your commission will be before the end of an earning period.

 

6. Draw Against Commission:

 

This salary plan is completely based on commission. At the start of each pay period, an employee is advanced a specific amount of money, known as a “pre-determined draw.” This draw is then deducted from your commission at the end of each pay period.

After paying back the draw, the employee keeps the rest of the money.

 

Pros: A draw gives you money to start with and build upon.

 

Cons: If you cannot earn more than your draw in a pay period, you will owe money to your employer (which often can be paid back in a later, more profitable, pay period.) However, if you have several bad periods, you may soon run into significant debts.

 

7. Residual Commission:

 

As long as an account is generating revenue for the employer, the employee will continue to receive commission on that account every pay period. Over a period of time, this will become a steady income that can be relied upon.

 

Pros: An employee will reap the benefits of a referral for an extended period of time, and the money can quickly add up. As your base of sales grow, your residual commissions will also increase.

 

Cons: Losing an account can drastically decrease your salary. Working on residual commission means an employee must take the time to develop great communication skills in order to build and keep long-lasting relationships with account managers.

Read the original article on KAS Placement Staffing. Copyright 2011.