In a nutshell, a sales representative is someone who demonstrates and sells products. A sales representative’s role is most often confused with another sales job description — sales associate. However, although the key responsibility of both positions is to sell a company’s products and services, these are two very different roles. While sales associates are often B2C-oriented, meaning they sell goods directly to end customers, a sales representative will most often work in a B2B sector, selling services and products to businesses, government agencies, and organizations.
A sales representative is one of the key roles in wholesale and manufacturing businesses, as these are exactly the people responsible for promoting and selling a company’s goods. Sales representatives are required to collaborate closely with customers to identify what they need and shape relevant solutions tailored to these needs. Also, sales representatives are responsible for ensuring a smooth sales process. Finally, a sales representative role also implies promoting a company’s services and products and seeking out new leads.
Generally, there are two types of sales representatives — inside and outside. An inside sales representative is someone who engages with existing and prospective customers from the office. This role implies cold calling and sending lots of emails every day. An outside sales representative, on the contrary, is someone who engages with clients being physically in the field (i.e. outside office setting). Therefore, this position implies lots of traveling within the assigned territory and face-to-face meetings with customers.
As a rule, a sales representative job description includes the following responsibilities:
- Showcasing and selling a company’s products and services with the aim to increase profit
- Figuring out customers’ needs and wishes
- Create and suggest relevant solutions that meet customers’ needs
- Ensuring a smooth and effective sales process
- Establishing trusted and lasting relationships with existing and prospective customers
- Finding new leads through business directories, cold calling, client referrals, as well as face-to-face presentations or meetings
- Meeting sales quotas