what is a sales executive?

As a sales executive, you take on the role of liaison between customers and the company. From initial contact to facilitating continuing business, your ability to build and nurture a profitable relationship has a direct impact on your company's growth and performance. Successful sales executives are naturally good at creating a personal connection, utilising this skill to negotiate deals.

As a sales executive, you might also take on the role of client relationship manager once the initial sale has been made. As the main point of contact, you can provide helpful insights with regard to the expectations that individual clients may have in order to up-sell further opportunities.

what do sales executives do?

Sales executives can work in all industries, and any organisation that sells products or services requires someone in this role. As a sales executive, you can work in business-to-business (B2B) sales or in business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, acting as the primary point of contact between your employer and its target market.

In order to be effective, you should be very familiar with the products and services that you are selling. This might involve attending product training events and seminars but will inevitably require travel to meet with clients, which makes this job ideal for those who love visiting new places. A successful sales executive needs a wide-ranging skill set that includes good people skills, well-developed communication skills and the ability to anticipate customer needs.

Would work as a sales executive suit your natural skills in communication and relationship building? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a sales executive role.

sales executive jobs

average salary of a sales executive

According to ONS, the average base salary for a sales executive is £32,940 per year. Entry-level positions can attract an annual salary of £20,400, while very experienced sales executives can earn well over £100,000. In addition to the base salary, employers motivate sales executives by paying bonuses when certain sales targets are met. In many cases, sales executives also enjoy various other benefits such as medical insurance, pension schemes and paid holidays.

what factors affect a sales executive's salary?

Sales executive salaries are largely dependent on the amount of experience that you have. For instance, senior sales executives earn a higher base salary than junior or entry-level sales executives. In addition, the industry in which you work and the products or services that you sell can influence your earning potential. For example, sales consultants that work in the IT industry might earn a higher salary than sales executives that work in the food industry.

Most sales executives earn performance bonuses in addition to their base salaries, and working in a big city can significantly affect the bonus that you can potentially earn. In general, bigger cities have a higher cost of living than smaller towns, which will be reflected in your overall remuneration. On top of that, a city location can make it easier for you to meet your targets as larger companies tend to base themselves in these environments. In some cases, sales executives work on a commission-only basis, which means that there is no guaranteed base salary, and earnings are totally dependent on the number of sales made.

smiling male
smiling male

types of sales executives

The types of sales executives include:

  • business to business (B2B): as a B2B sales executive, you will mainly be selling services and products to other businesses. B2B sales executives use their skills to develop business relationships with procurement officers and usually focus on selling larger volumes of products to business customers. B2B sales executives generally require a deep understanding of the corporate procurement process to excel.
  • business to consumer (B2C): as a B2C sales executive, you will be selling products and services directly to end-users or customers. B2C sales executives generally manage a larger volume of clients than B2B sales executives and focus on selling smaller quantities to individual customers.

working as a sales executive

Curious to find out what a sales executive does daily? Read on for insights on your career prospects and daily duties.


education and skills

At entry-level, many sales executive positions require no academic qualifications, but it can be beneficial to an application to have a qualification in a business-related field. In some cases, a specific degree qualification might be required for a company that specialises in medical or chemical products. In general, academic qualifications are less important than attitude and core competencies when it comes to a role as a sales executive.

skills and competencies

For success in the role of a sales executive, your required sales skills and competencies include:

  • people skills: being able to properly connect with clients requires good interpersonal abilities and excellent written and verbal communication skills. Anticipating a client's needs is important, but the ability to effectively communicate your understanding of their requirements is vital.
  • ability to work independently: sales executives often work towards specific targets with little or no supervision. In order to reach your goals, you must be able to manage your own workday and prioritise tasks in order of importance.
  • organisational skills: tracking absolutely everything is how you will turn a natural affinity for relationship building into a successful career as a sales executive. From contracts to travel schedules, negotiation documents to sales reports, you must be able to keep up with your administrative responsibilities in order to advance your career.
female and male walking outside office buildings
female and male walking outside office buildings


FAQs about working as a sales executive

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