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How to Get Into Sales - A Practical Guide

Hilti Account Managers

How To Get Into Sales?

Are you intrigued by the dynamic world of sales and wondering how to break into this rewarding field? At Hilti, we understand that a successful career in sales requires a unique blend of skills, determination, and strategic thinking.

In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps to launch your sales career, whether you’re a recent graduate or looking to pivot from another industry. So, if you’re wondering how to get a job in sales then allow us to guide you through the detail.

What is a Job in Sales? 

Many people begin their careers working in sales - it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn all about a business, giving you a chance to make meaningful connections. A salesperson partners with existing and prospective customers by building relationships and finding solutions for their needs. You’ll get to know the products and/or services the company offers, build your knowledge base and gain a perspective that could open opportunities for the future.

Why Choose a Career in Sales?

Working in sales means venturing into a field that’s dynamic, financially rewarding and filled with unlimited opportunities. Sales is an area that continues to grow. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales occupations are projected to increase by 3% from 2020 to 2030. That might not sound like much, but when you’re talking about a career area as big as sales, that’s around 300,000 new sales roles every year. 

Sales isn't just about closing deals; it's about building business relationships and finding solutions for customers. Buyers are more likely to engage with a salesperson who can show they understand that customer’s unique business challenges.

 

5 Types of Roles in Sales 

Sales encompasses a broad range of roles across various industries: 

  1. Inside Sales

    An inside sales representative typically works from an office and communicates with customers over the phone or via email. They focus on generating leads, qualifying prospects, providing customer service and closing sales remotely.
  2. Business Development Manager

    Business development managers (BDM) focus on identifying opportunities and building relationships with potential customers. BDMs are responsible for expanding the businesses’ customer base.
  3. Account Manager

    Account managers (AM) nurture relationships with prospective and existing customers, ensuring their needs are met and addressing issues that come up. AMs are also responsible for providing high level consultation and demonstrating products and/or services.
  4. Sales Manager

    A sales manager is responsible for a team of sales representatives. They set goals, train and develop the team, monitor performance, and conduct performance reviews. It’s the sales manager’s responsibility to support and enable the team to meet sales targets.
  5. Sales Associate

    Sales associates work in retail, working directly with customers in a retail store setting. They provide customer services by answering customers’ questions, demonstrating product, and processing sales transactions. 

Skills Required for a Career in Sales 

A successful sales representative needs key skills to set them up for success in the role. 

Communication

Effective communication is fundamental. You need to be able to identify your customer’s pain points and articulate the benefits of what it is you’re hoping to sell. Being persuasive is important to be able to influence and convince potential customers of the value and relevance of what you’re offering.

Negotiation

Negotiation tactics are crucial in sales when it comes to refining the agreement. You’ll have expectations to meet for your customer and for your employer as well. And once the sale is complete, it’s just as important that you’re able to maintain relationships. 

Time Management

Time and territory management is important too. You’ll have to stay on top of your workload and deadlines, and if you’re customer has given you their time, be sure you turn up when say you will.  

Emotional Intelligence

Being self-aware and sensitive to the situation; knowing how and when to reach out to customers, shows empathy for them and their situation. These interpersonal skills will help you build a rapport with your customer and ensure an ongoing, productive partnership. 

 

Education and Qualifications Required

While many sales roles don’t have strict educational requirements, some specialist roles, such as sales engineering, will require higher qualifications. Having these will enhance your prospects and skills. Here’s a few educational pathways and certifications that are relevant to sales and could help you get the role you want: 

  1. Bachelor's Degree:

    While not mandatory, a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, communications, or a technical degree if you’re working in engineering, construction, scientific or technical sales, offers a solid foundation. It demonstrates a level of commitment and can open doors to higher-level positions.
  2. Professional Certifications:

    There are several certifications that can boost your credibility and ability in sales, such as Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Certified Professional Salesperson (CPSP) or Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP).
  3. Industry-Specific Training:

    Depending on the industry you're interested in, you might benefit from specialized training, or certification that’s relevant to the sector.
  4. Sales Training Programs:

    Many companies offer in-house sales training and education programs to new hires. These programs cover topics such as sales techniques, product knowledge, and customer relationship management. 

Networking and Professional Development 

Sales is a career area that’s often referred to as ‘a people business’. That means it’s about cultivating and maintaining relationships, and the best way to do that is through networking and development. Check out these suggestions on how to maximize opportunities. 

  • Join an Industry Association. Becoming a member of an industry-specific association or organization related to sales will help you meet others who share your interest for sales. Conferences, seminars, and networking events to connect with peers and learn about industry trends are a great way to develop your career. 
  • Social Media. Building your network on a platform such as LinkedIn can do wonders for your connections. Engage with industry thought leaders, share your insights, and take part in groups. 
  • Seek Mentorship. If you can find an experienced sales representative willing to offer you mentorship, take the opportunity! Someone who can offer guidance and advice, based on their experience will give you an added boost along your career path. 
  • Workshops, Webinars and Continuous Learning. Signing up for workshops and webinars that focus on best practices, negotiation, and relationship management to keep you fresh and engaged in current trends. Sales techniques and strategies are constantly evolving, so it’s worth investing time in sales books, podcasts, and online courses to sharpen your skillset. 

Sales offers a dynamic and rewarding path for people who enjoy building relationships and are willing to embrace a challenge. With a willingness to network and problem solve, you can thrive in the diverse world of sales and unlock opportunities and rewards that can offer you ongoing fulfilment. 

 

Sales Opportunities at Hilti 

Hilti offers many of the sales opportunities we’ve outlined above - including Account Manager. 

As an Account Manager at Hilti, you’ll get to know the products, services, and software we offer from every angle, partnering with customers to uncover their business challenges and becoming their best partner for productivity, safety, and sustainability.  

You’ll be supported with frequent feedback and encouraged to achieve your goals while helping customers achieve theirs. 

Whether you’re already highly experienced or early in your sales career, at Hilti we’re looking for a certain mindset. We’re seeking individuals who are capable of being hands-on, think big picture, and work well in an inclusive team environment. Don’t have construction experience? No problem! Most of our account managers come from a non-construction background and thrive in role with our in-house product training.   

If a sales role at Hilti sounds like a good fit for you, search our open sales roles now.

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