What is a Sales Rep?  

Mar 30, 2023

What is a sales rep

Have you always been interested in sales, but not sure which role would fit you the best? Lucky for you when it comes to sales there are a number of positions to fill in just about any organization. If you are a self-starter and like meeting new people a sales representative could be a career of interest to you. In this article we cover many of the questions of being a sales rep so that you can  learn how to become a sales rep and  hit the ground running with your career search.


First, we need to start with defining what a sales rep even is. A sales rep is a person that represents a company by working directly with new and current customers to sell a product or service.  Whether it be through a new service to simplify a process or resolve an issue, an important aspect of being a sales rep is maintaining relationships with existing customers. Both your existing and new customer base is typically broken out into a sales territory that you are responsible for managing. These territories can look different depending upon the organization that you are working for. Oftentimes a sales rep will cover a section of the U.S.  This section, such as the Midwest, would include states from Kansas to Ohio.

What are the different types of sales reps?


A sales rep is a very versatile position – which can make it an attractive position within sales. We often think of work as the traditional full-time role with a 40-hour work week and benefits. The good news is that this is also true if you are a sales rep. You could fill a traditional 40-hour work week as a sales rep internally or externally depending upon which fits you best.


An inside sales rep is typically located in a central location with other inside sales team members, or possibly in a hybrid work environment. They handle daily customer issues over their computer or the phone and often provide backend support for the outside sales team when they are traveling.


An outside sales rep will handle customer issues as well, but will spend more of their time out traveling. They travel onsite to customer sites to deliver sales presentations, oversee product installations, resolve issues and more.


If a traditional full-time role is not something that you are looking for,  you have options. This is where the versatility of a sales rep really comes into play. If you are a more experienced sales rep and feel that you have a lot to bring to the table, you could offer your services as a 1099 contractor. You would then be representing a company on their behalf, and could possibly have the option to represent multiple companies at any given time if there are no conflicts of interest.

What industries have sales reps?


There are many industries where the sales rep market strategy really thrives. Medical is one industry that many people think of when they think of a sales rep. As a sales rep you could travel to medical practices selling a life-saving medicine. If the medical field is not for you, some of the other industries that you could work in include: real estate, construction, technology, and more.

What skills are necessary to be a sales rep?


The key role of a sales rep is to build relationships. A good sales rep communicates well and cultivates long-lasting relationships.  Many sales reps have a college education, but it is not necessarily needed. Most sales reps work remotely out of their home offices, so it is important that you are a self-starter and highly motivated. You will most likely be juggling meetings both on and off the road so it will be crucial to stay organized. If you work hard  to develop relationships, are a good problem solver and driven you are on the right path to becoming a successful sales rep.


What does a typical day look like?


If you are someone that enjoys a new challenge each day, a sales rep role could compliment your personality well. Each day can look different. You will have set office days that you tend to emails and make phone calls or present over a video call. Then you will have other days where you are on the road visiting with customers. This could be on site introducing a new product or overseeing a new product installation. The daily change of tasks is something that a lot of sales reps thrive on. In order to go through your daily tasks, you will be using different software and tools such as Outlook and PowerPoint. Many organizations will have sales tools like Map My Customers to make your job even easier. 


Is there room to grow professionally as a sales rep?


In most cases a sales rep is an entry level position within the sales team. This can include both brand new sales reps and seasoned ones. The salary range for a sales rep is highly dependent upon the industry and commission from your sales. Most sales reps will have a base pay, and then receive their sales commission on top of that base pay. Successful sales reps can make well into the six figures.

 If you are wondering who you might report to as a sales rep or if there is room for advancement, much like the sales territories, it could look a little different depending upon the organization. As a sales rep you will typically report to a sales manager and then your sales manager reports up to a sales director or vice president. The manager and director roles open up many doors for advancement within your career if you are looking for it.

How to become a sales rep?


There are many organizations that will hire entry level sales reps, and will provide the necessary training to help them grow. It can be useful to have prior experience, but is not always a requirement. Arming yourself with more information like what is presented in this article or reading industry blogs, such as the Map My Customers Blog are great resources to arm yourself with. Being a sales rep can be a job that will turn into a rewarding career for years to come. Most sales reps will tell you they love what they do, and to get started and don’t look back.