Starting a career in sales is an exciting decision, but one that can also be daunting as you embark on a new direction in your life. 

Sales is an exciting pathway because there are many different sales career possibilities, but whether you’re thinking of becoming an inside or outside sales rep or working in a specific industry like pharmaceuticals, car sales, or construction equipment, understanding the fundamental process of sales is key to success. 

In this guide, we'll explore everything in the world of sales – from uncovering the typical sales career path to delving into its benefits, and resources you can use to start your career in sales; we'll help you assess if a sales career aligns with your aspirations.

Starting a career in sales

What Do Salespeople Do?

Salespeople play an essential role in any business. They act as the driving force behind generating revenue and expanding the customer base. Each day presents new challenges, but that’s one of the many reasons sales reps love what they do. 

There’s plenty that goes into the daily roles of a sales rep before getting to the actual sale. As a sales rep, you’ll be taking on many different roles to meet each customer's needs and demands. 

Here is a look at some of the day-to-day tasks a sales rep will do to be successful.

Prospecting and Lead Generation

Regardless of the industry a salesperson is in, first and foremost, salespeople are tasked with prospecting to identify and cultivate new leads

To accomplish this requires understanding the target market and consumer behavior. Once you’ve recognized potential opportunities, you then need to get out there physically or virtually and meet with your prospects. 

The most common ways salespeople get in touch with their ideal buyers are by cold calling, outbound email campaigns, and social selling.

Planning your day to maximize your selling potential is crucial for an outside rep, as being in the car can take away half your day. With a sales tool like Badger Maps, prospecting is much simpler. Badger Maps is the best sales prospecting tool for outside sales reps.

You can explore your territory with a simple search before you ever hit the road. Use keywords like industry, business name, and/or product type to find your ideal customers in half the time. 

The app allows you to see all your prospects on an interactive map to understand better and prioritize them. You can also create filters with different data about your customers, like priority, business type, or next steps. These filters allow you to get a smarter view of your territory and focus on the accounts that matter the most

With other important sales features such as route optimization, customer data visualization, and check-ins, sales reps save an average of 8 hours a week from better planning, becoming more focused and organized, and driving more efficient routes.

The time saved on the road can be used on productive sales activities, which has resulted in the average team of 10 Reps selling $936k more the year they start using Badger Maps.


"After getting Badger Maps, weekly meetings per rep jumped from 12 to 20. This led to a 22% increase in annual revenue."

Brad Moxley

Business Development Manager, Cutter & Buck

Sales reps that use Badger Maps can also mobilize their CRM, allowing them to access and update relevant customer information directly from the field. 

This enables them to sync and leverage their important data in their CRM, all from their mobile device.  

Badger Maps can integrate with leading CRMs such as HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Zoho, NetSuite, Insightly, and many more.

If you want to start a career in sales and make the most of every day on the road, the best sales tool you can use is Badger Maps. 

Sign up for a free trial today or schedule a demo and start your sales career with a mapping and routing tool that will take your sales performance to the next level!

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.

Customer Engagement

Once leads are identified, sales professionals engage in the art of persuasion, leveraging effective communication skills to express the value of their product or service. Building and nurturing customer relationships is equally crucial, as trust often plays an important role in the decision-making process.

Sales roles also involve a strategic element, requiring individuals to analyze market trends, competitor activities, and customer feedback. The best salespeople know the importance of being able to adapt, as the sales landscape is dynamic and subject to constant change. 

They leverage data and analytics to refine their approach and stay ahead of the curve.

Follow Ups

Did you know that 80% of deals require 5 follow-ups or more before closing? That means your follow-ups should focus on the customer and address their needs instead of just trying to close a sale as soon as possible. 

Focus on being diligent and following up with potential customers to ensure that deals aren’t lost just because you didn’t follow up enough. 

Following up is a skill that salespeople need to develop. It’s definitely a challenging part of a field salesperson’s duties and requires trying different techniques and some trial and error. 

Don’t forget that an extra call can make a significant difference between winning or losing a deal.

Sales also involves a commitment to customer satisfaction. Beyond closing deals, salespeople are responsible for maintaining post-sales relationships to ensure customer loyalty and the potential for repeat business. 

In essence, salespeople are the bridge between a company's products or services and the customers who stand to benefit from them, making their role indispensable in driving business success.

The Sales Career Path

Sales jobs are everywhere, from small local businesses to some of the biggest companies in the world. They come with different titles and tasks, but at the heart of it, all sales gigs share the same idea. 

Where you go in a sales career depends on your experience, the company you work for, and the industry you're in. 

Picture this: you start as a new Sales Development Representative and, with time, hustle your way up to a big-shot executive. There's no one-size-fits-all plan for a sales career journey, but it generally starts from beginner to manager and executive roles

Sales is great because it offers room to grow and some serious cash potential. So, if you want to ride the sales wave successfully, you've got to know where it all begins and how to hit your career goals.

Types of Sales Careers

Sales Beginner and Mid-Level Careers

1. Sales Development Reps (SDRs) or Business Development Reps (BDRs)

SDRs, or BDRs, kick off the sales process by bringing in qualified leads. It’s essential for them to have strong interpersonal and organizational skills, as their job is to research and engage with prospective customers.

Some of the most important metrics they follow are how many calls they make per month or how many leads they get, with compensation often comprising a base salary, commission, or a mix of both.

An SDR or BDR can be an Inside or Outside Sales Rep. The difference? Well, that lies in their approach to engaging with customers. 

Inside Sales Reps primarily work remotely, using phone calls, emails, and virtual meetings, while Outside Sales Reps focus on face-to-face interactions, often traveling to meet customers in person

For extra guidance on managing your career path in outside sales, check out this helpful podcast with Mike Hayes!

2. Account Manager

Account managers play a crucial role in business growth by building and sustaining customer relationships. Acting as the go-to person for customers, they advocate for customers, stay informed on industry trends, and focus on increasing ROI through long-term sales strategies, often collaborating with sales teams for cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

Sales Manager Careers

1. Account Executive 

If you've got some sales experience, stepping into an Account Executive (AE) role is a natural move. As an AE, your focus shifts to understanding customer needs, giving demos, and addressing inquiries that will help you close sales deals.

Success is measured by the number of sales closed, but be ready for rejection – it's part of the game!  Resilience and relationship-building skills are essential, and prior experience in entry or mid-level sales is a must.

2. Regional Sales Manager

Regional Sales Managers oversee sales representatives in their territory, managing a team that includes SDRs, inside and outside sales reps, and account managers.  To succeed in this role, you need strong leadership, motivational, and analytical skills and the ability to develop strategies for selling more, create reports, introduce new products, and make impactful hiring decisions.

Sales Executive Careers

1. Director of Sales

Sales Directors set goals, devise overall strategies, and recruit top-performing reps, requiring a track record of strong sales and leadership. This role demands marketing and customer satisfaction expertise for implementing new sales tactics. 

As a manager, the responsibilities include planning, budgeting, and representing management. Consistent growth and the ability to inspire are crucial for success in this position.

2. VP of Sales

Sales experts with leadership prowess can jump into the role of Vice President of Sales, overseeing national or regional operations. 

Achieving this milestone in your sales career requires scaling your sales team and company, generating revenue reports, staying abreast of industry trends, enhancing sales efficiency, and effective communication with executives and the board. 

The increase in responsibilities comes with a nice pay increase, something to keep you motivated as you scale the ladder!

3. Chief Sales Officer

The Chief Sales Officer (CSO) is a rare and competitive role, typically found in large companies, marking the apex of a sales career. 

Reporting to the CEO, the CSO is responsible for strategic sales, leadership, business development, and revenue growth, collaborating with the executive team to develop complex strategies. 

This entails leading sales forecasting, setting targets, overseeing execution, and ensuring cross-functional efficiency, with a focus on reporting results to stakeholders.

Determining whether a sales career is right depends on your strengths, interests, and goals. 

A sales career could be a good fit if you enjoy building relationships, are resilient in facing challenges, and thrive in a dynamic, changing environment. 

You will need excellent communication skills, the ability to understand customer needs, and the willingness to adapt to changing market trends.

Additionally, consider if you're comfortable with performance-driven metrics, performance-driven pay, and the potential for rejection. 

Exploring entry-level sales positions and seeking insights from experienced sales professionals can provide valuable perspectives. 

Ultimately, only you can determine if a sales career is right for you, but keep in mind that a lot of the skills needed to be successful in sales are skills you can develop and improve! So don’t be discouraged, and keep reading to see how to get started in sales. 

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with Cian McLoughlin to discover why you are winning and losing in sales!

How to Start a Career in Sales with No Experience

There are many different ways to get started in sales, from figuring out what interests you to networking to doing training or mentorships. 

There is no right or wrong way to get started. The important thing is that you start. If you’re stuck, try some of these tips to land your first job in sales!

  1. Explore industries that interest you when considering an entry-level sales career. Research the products, company culture, and career paths of salespeople within potential companies, ensuring excitement for both short-term tasks and long-term potential.
  2. Leverage your network, recognizing its value in the sales world. Connect with individuals on a sales career journey, join professional sales organizations, and attend networking events. Stay open-minded in conversations as opportunities may arise unexpectedly.
  3. Identify roles that offer training or mentorship, recognizing the value of support in navigating the challenges of a sales career. Consider your weaknesses, strengths, and growth needs when seeking a company that can help you evolve into a sales leader.
how to get into sales with no experience

Getting your first job and finding your footing is challenging in any industry. The important thing is that you don’t let this deter you

Show you’re a valuable candidate to any hiring manager by conducting thorough industry research to understand products and services before sales job interviews. Demonstrate your ability to educate yourself and customers about offerings, understand the target customer base, and build trust.

Additionally, you want to be able to embrace the unknown and be adaptable! This is a key trait in sales. Products, companies, and leadership structures can change, requiring resilience and quick thinking. Highlight your ability to adjust to change, showcasing how it contributes to success in a dynamic sales environment.

Check out this sales resume and interview guide that will help you get your first sales job!

Making a Career Change to Sales

Exploring a transition to a sales career from a different industry? 

Have no fear! Breaking into entry-level sales positions typically doesn't require specific degrees or prior experience. The skills gained in finance, marketing, public relations, customer service roles, and other industries can be transferable to sales, demonstrating your ability to do the role to potential employers.

To successfully navigate this shift, it's crucial to delve into the specific requirements favored by hiring managers for the roles you're targeting. Effective communication, relationship-building, and problem-solving abilities are highly sought after. Demonstrating autonomy, organizational skills, and self-motivation further enhances your appeal.

Consider the compensation structure as well. 

Different companies compensate in different ways, which may only work for some. Figure out what will motivate you but also provide the safety net that some people may need when it comes to pay.

Even with prior sales experience through school or previous jobs such as retail, committing yourself to a new career can be daunting. If you’re still second guessing whether sales is right for you, let's weigh the pros and cons to empower you to make an informed decision!

Why Sales is a Great Career

Like all careers and industries, sales has its fair share of pros and cons. 

While the downsides, such as performance-based compensation, persistent rejection, or repetitive lead chasing, can be deterring, it's also important to see the benefits of a career in sales.

So, what makes sales a rewarding and promising career choice?

Benefits of a Career in Sales

Benefits of a career in sales

1. You Gain In-Demand Skills

Over time, salespeople gain essential soft skills such as persuasion, communication, creativity, collaboration, flexibility, time management, and customer service. These capabilities hold immense value in various careers, not just in sales. This can benefit you if you ever decide to leave sales; these skills will ensure you have what it takes to succeed wherever you go.

2. Advance Your Career However You Want

There are plenty of opportunities to move your career forward in sales. Entry-level salespeople may eventually have the chance to transition into more experienced roles. 

Whether you want to grow within a sales role or move to a leadership position, the skills you learn will be applicable. 

The best part? You can do it at the pace that you’re comfortable with! Some people spend years, even decades, before deciding to move up or around in their careers, while others can do it in under a year. Movement and growth can be found in many aspects of sales without necessarily getting a promotion.

3. Variety in your Day-to-Day Work

A career in sales involves the continuous learning of new sales techniques

You’ll always be meeting new people, and depending on your company and role, you might also be able to travel. 

Even better? If you’re an outside salesperson, your territory IS your office! You’ll be driving to new locations every day, and those days will never look the same, which will keep you motivated and excited as you face different challenges every day.

That excitement and unpredictability can be a real draw for someone who doesn't like to do the same thing every day.

4. Relationship Building and Networking

Sales roles offer plenty of opportunities for relationship building and networking

Sales professionals interact with customers, prospects, and colleagues, fostering connections that can lead to future business opportunities, career advancements, and even friendships. 

Building a robust network can be invaluable for personal and professional growth. So make sure you attend networking events, utilize LinkedIn and other networking tools, and keep up-to-date with events and conferences.

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with David J.P. FIsher to learn how to make better connections when networking!

5. Earning Potential

While income shouldn’t be the only determining factor for choosing a career, it is very important. 

Sales roles often come with attractive earning potential, with the opportunity to earn commissions or bonuses based on performance. Successful sales professionals who consistently meet or exceed their targets can enjoy substantial financial rewards, making it an appealing career choice for those motivated by financial incentives. But remember that the best, high-earning salespeople are passionate about their jobs and what they sell.


Consider your strengths and interests to assess if a sales career aligns with your goals. Networking and exploring entry-level positions can also help you decide whether sales is right for you.

We went over the many aspects and benefits to consider when entering a career in sales, and now you have all you need to begin your sales career!

Good luck as you embark on starting your career in sales!

How to start a career in sales with no experience?

To break into sales without experience, consider internships, entry-level positions, or seeking mentorship from experienced professionals. Starting in sales involves understanding your target market, building relationships, and consistently meeting or exceeding targets.

Can anyone get into sales?

Anyone can get into sales! Enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn often hold more weight than formal qualifications. Still, if you need more preparation to get into sales, consider taking sales courses and trainingsreading books, listening to podcasts from sales leaders, taking business classes, or applying for internships and/or entry-level positions where you can learn the ropes.

Why do you want to get into sales?

Someone might be interested in a sales career because it offers the chance to connect with people, the potential for financial success, and the excitement of meeting and exceeding targets. Sales appeals to people as it allows for continuous learning and the opportunity to contribute directly to a company's growth.

How long does it take to get good at sales?

The time it takes to get good at sales varies from person to person, but consistent effort, ongoing learning, and adapting to feedback are key elements for improvement. Don’t measure your success in comparison to other salespeople; measure it in comparison to your company’s objectives. If you find yourself falling short, reach out to top performers or leadership. This will show your willingness to seek help and improve and will give you good insight into what steps to take to improve your sales game.

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