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Become An Inside Sales Representative

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Working As An Inside Sales Representative

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $50,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Inside Sales Representative Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Duties

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically do the following:

  • Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending trade shows and conferences
  • Contact new and existing customers to discuss their needs and explain how specific products and services can meet these needs
  • Help customers select products to meet customers' needs, product specifications, and regulations
  • Emphasize product features that will meet customers' needs and exhibit product capabilities and limitations
  • Answer customers' questions about prices, availability, and product uses
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sale and service agreements
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information
  • Follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—sometimes called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents—generally work for manufacturers or wholesalers. Some work for a single organization, while others represent several companies and sell a range of products.

Rather than selling goods directly to consumers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. For more information about people who sell directly to consumers, see the profile on retail sales workers.

Some wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with nonscientific products such as food, office supplies, and clothing. Other representatives specialize in technical and scientific products, ranging from agricultural and mechanical equipment to computer and pharmaceutical goods. For more information about people who specialize in sales of technical products and services, see the profile on sales engineers.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who lack expertise about a given product frequently team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or concerns. The sales representative makes the initial contact with customers, introduces the company's product, and obtains final agreement from the potential buyer.

By working with a technical expert, the representative is able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time needing to gain technical knowledge.

After the sale, representatives may make follow-up visits to ensure that equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.

Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. When working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising.

In addition to selling products, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle administrative duties such as filing expense accounts, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans.

Staying up-to-date on new products and the changing needs of customers is important. Sales representatives accomplish this in a variety of ways, including attending trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales representatives and clients and to discuss new product developments. They also read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

The following are examples of types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives:

Inside sales representatives work mostly in offices while making sales. Frequently, they are responsible for getting new clients by “cold calling” various organizations, which means they call potential customers who are not expecting to be contacted in order to establish an initial contact. They also take incoming calls from customers who are interested in their product, and process paperwork to complete the sale.

Outside sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with current clients and prospective buyers. During a sales call, they discuss the client's needs and suggest how they can meet those needs with merchandise or services. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company provides, and they may inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because many sales representatives sell several complementary products made by different manufacturers, they may take a broad approach to their customers' businesses. For example, sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees in its use.

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How To Become An Inside Sales Representative

Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.

Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.

Training

Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.

New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.

Other Experience

Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.

Advancement

Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.

Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.

Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.

Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.

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Do you work as an Inside Sales Representative?

Inside Sales Representative Jobs

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Inside Sales Representative Career Paths

Inside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Representative Account Executive Territory Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales & Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Inside Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Inside Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Representative Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Representative Territory Manager District Sales Manager
Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Director
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Consultant
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Branch Manager Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Outside Sales Representative Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Senior Account Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Manager Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Inside Sales Representative?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Sales Trainee 1.0 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.5%
Teller 3.2%
Manager 3.1%
Cashier 3.0%
Server 2.2%
Top Employers After
Manager 2.4%
Owner 2.4%

Do you work as an Inside Sales Representative?

Inside Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

53.1%

Female

45.5%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

81.6%

Hispanic or Latino

10.2%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.7%

French

8.3%

German

4.2%

Portuguese

3.9%

Japanese

3.1%

Chinese

3.0%

Mandarin

2.7%

Italian

2.0%

Russian

1.6%

Korean

1.5%

Cantonese

1.2%

Carrier

0.9%

Arabic

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Dakota

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Greek

0.7%

Swedish

0.5%

Hindi

0.5%
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Inside Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.3%

Texas State University

5.6%

Southern New Hampshire University

5.1%

Texas A&M University

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.8%

Northeastern University

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.2%

Liberty University

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.0%

University of North Texas

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.9%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.7%

Northern Illinois University

3.5%

University of Houston

3.5%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.5%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.5%

Utah Valley University

3.3%

Ohio State University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

37.4%

Marketing

10.7%

Communication

8.3%

Management

5.0%

Psychology

4.3%

Kinesiology

3.2%

Accounting

3.1%

Criminal Justice

3.0%

Finance

2.7%

General Studies

2.7%

Political Science

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

English

2.4%

Education

2.1%

Public Relations

1.8%

Economics

1.7%

History

1.7%

Computer Science

1.7%

General Sales

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.0%

Other

23.3%

Associate

10.0%

Masters

9.4%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.7%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Inside Sales Representative Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Inside Sales Representative Celanese International Irving, TX Mar 18, 2015 $93,454
District Manager Inside Sales Representative Schneider Electric It USA, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 30, 2015 $85,000 -
$110,000
District Management Inside Sales Representative Schneider Electric It USA, Inc. Miami, FL May 26, 2016 $85,000 -
$110,000
Inside Sales REP 5 Symantec Corporation Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2010 $83,025
Inside Sales Representative Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Nov 10, 2014 $77,542
Inside Sales Representative-Outbound UL LLC (UL Verification Services Inc., Subsidiary) Fremont, CA Mar 11, 2015 $70,000
CNG Inside Sales Representative Cisco Systems, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 20, 2013 $68,931 -
$94,800
Inside Sales Representative Illumina, Inc. San Diego, CA Apr 15, 2016 $65,936 -
$85,936
Inside Sales Representative III (Sales Engineer) Vignette Corporation Austin, TX Feb 07, 2010 $65,000
Inside Sales Representative Illumina, Inc. Apex, NC Aug 16, 2016 $64,605 -
$80,000
Inside Sales Representative AHT, Inc. Pell City, AL Aug 16, 2011 $61,200
Inside Sales Representative Sonnick Partners, LLC D/B/A Silverline New York, NY Jan 12, 2015 $61,000 -
$75,000
Pulp Inside Sales Representative International Paper Memphis, TN Jan 01, 2015 $58,500
Inside Sales Representative, Technical Products ALFA Laval Inc. (Us) Houston, TX Sep 25, 2015 $57,866
Inside Sales Representative, Outbound Hewlett-Packard Company Rio Rancho, NM Sep 12, 2015 $57,235
Inside Sales Representative TYCO Electronics Corporation, A Te Connectivity Ltd. Company Middletown, PA Aug 22, 2016 $56,400 -
$59,000
Inside Sales Representative TYCO Electronics Corporation, A Te Connectivity Ltd. Company Middletown, PA Aug 22, 2016 $56,306 -
$58,000
Inside Sales SMB REP EMC Corporation Hopkinton, MA Nov 01, 2011 $56,000
Inside Sales Representative BMC Software, Inc. Cary, NC Mar 09, 2016 $51,605 -
$82,500
Associate Inside Sales Representative EMC Corporation Franklin Town, MA Jan 19, 2015 $51,000 -
$69,000
REP. Inside Sales Service Contracts Life Sciences Qiagen, Inc. Germantown, MD Jan 01, 2013 $50,000
Inside Sales Representative Nimble Storage, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2015 $50,000 -
$80,000
Inside Sales Representative ( Qiagen, Inc. Germantown, MD Jul 11, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
REP. Inside Sales Service Contracts Life Sciences Qiagen, Inc. Germantown, MD Sep 09, 2013 $50,000
Inside Sales Application Representative Myers-Aubrey Company Tulsa, OK Nov 01, 2012 $48,000
Inside Sales Representative BMC Software, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2016 $47,549 -
$82,500
Inside Sales Representative Rethink Rewards LLC San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2011 $47,200
Inside Sales Representative Data Systems International Kansas City, MO Sep 04, 2013 $45,000

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Top Skills for An Inside Sales Representative

ProductKnowledgeCustomerServiceSalesTerritorySalesRepsMonthlySalesGoalsCustomerBaseNewAccountsEnsureCustomerSatisfactionOutboundCallsCRMPurchaseOrdersCustomerRelationsSalesforceInternetColdCallsNewCustomersSalesQuotaInboundCallsOrderEntryPotentialCustomers

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  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Customer Service
  3. Sales Territory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Executed product and segment marketing activity to generate market interest through product knowledge store events and advertising campaigns at store levels.
  • Delivered superior customer service and effectively communicated, influenced and interacted with customers, vendors and co-workers.
  • Developed a sales territory selling children's books to public libraries and schools nationwide over the phone.
  • Supported 6 outside sales reps, responding to numerous inquiries for price and delivery information.
  • Open new accounts, inform company policy to our new customer on boarding and complete monthly sales goals.

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Top Inside Sales Representative Employers