A sales executive oversees sales for a business and, along with other executives, develops sales targets for a company’s products or services and performance goals for the sales department. In this role, you are in charge of hiring and training new salespeople, developing long-lasting client relationship strategies, and seeking out prospective new customers. You provide your sales team with leads and monitor their progress as they make contact and turn them into new clients. When not performing those duties, a sales executive analyzes sales data and prepares budgets.
To become a sales executive, you need to have a mix of experience, both as a sales representative and a sales manager. In addition to work experience, most sales executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, though in some cases significant work experience can replace education. If you do pursue a degree, you should study business, contract law, finance, accounting, or economics. In addition to academic qualifications, you should have strong leadership, verbal communication, and customer service skills, as your responsibilities include managing other people.
Successful sales executives have a mix of managerial and sales acumen, a goal-oriented personality, and interpersonal and analytical problem-solving skills. Your interpersonal skills are necessary both for working with your department and developing client relationships. Analytical problem-solving is important because you need to analyze large amounts of sales data and create successful sales strategies that you can then pass along to the sales department. A background in sales is also important because you need to understand the issues your staff faces.
The career path of a sales executive depends on whether you start your career straight out of high school or attend college first. If you begin directly after high school, you should expect to spend several years as an entry-level sales representative. College graduates are on a similar trajectory, but they may not need as many years of experience as salespeople before advancing to a managerial position. Some sales executives transition to working in the marketing or advertising departments.
What Is the Difference Between a Sales Executive and a Sales Manager?
A sales executive and a sales manager are both senior members of the sales department. However, there are significant differences besides just rank. Primarily, a sales manager is more in charge of the day-to-day management of the sales staff. While you may have some goal and strategy setting duties, this job is typically more focused inward. A sales executive, however, is in charge of the company’s sales strategies overall. In this role, you can look outside of the sales department. A major aspect of your job is developing client relationships. Some employers may blend the responsibilities of these titles into one.