It is a common dilemma of whether to work in a Sales profile after doing an MBA in Marketing. The Marketing profile job includes Digital Marketing, Market Research, Branding, Content and Social Media Marketing. But very few firms employ in these roles like Nielson, Gartner, Convonix and Advertising & Media firms. Marketing is an umbrella term that involves Sales as a major part of it.
The question arises whether is it good to go for a Sales profile. Though the term sales sound very challenging, hectic, and not-so-desirable kind of work after the MBA, it is true up to an extent. The entire Sales job involve the following:
Market Intelligence/ Research, Competitive Profiling & Analysis, Resource & Database Management, Strategic Sourcing & Lead Generation, Customer Profiling & Relationship Management, Pre-sales, Sales Planning & Closing
There is a higher demand for Sales profile in the market, as the Sales team is quite large then the marketing team in any firm. Sales can be of a product as well as services, as in the IT industry where services and solutions are sold to the clients. Thus, the parameters for analyzing the performance in a sales job might also vary.
One must learn these mandatory skills required for sales- negotiation/persuasion, strong communication skills, analytical skills/reasoning, problem-solving skills, interpersonal and team skills, positive attitude and drive, helping one succeed in the long-term.
There are various courses to improve communication skills conducted within B-schools as well as outside.
- One can gain the opportunity of expanding ones’ general awareness and improve public speaking in the Toastmasters’ club organized at various places weekly.
- Also, there are many B-school competitions where one can master the art of persuasion and negotiation with the concept of virtual money and virtual market.
- One can enhance problem-solving skills with Case study competitions.
- Class presentations, Group discussions, Case studies, etc are a part of the curriculum in B-schools that inculcate the skills listed above.
- One must expand his/her network with different kinds of personalities as they have to deal with various customers/consumers, clients, partners thereby widening the scope of his/her network. This is beneficial in the long run providing varied learning experiences because today’s success depends on more one connects with the third party to increase sales and provide efficient after-sales services.
- A salesperson must have all the skills incorporated as usually one can easily switch from a sales role to a marketing profile at the latter stages in career but vice-versa is not possible as the skills learned for sales at the start of career are important and difficult to inculcate as one grows.
Most of the product based firms give their employees the sales target, which is the number of products to be sold daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. Certain Sales target KPIs are current sales revenue, ROI generated, Number of walk-ins/ Number of leads generated, Rate of conversion, Number of units sold, Number of accounts opened, etc. Thus, your bonus that you get is proportional to the ROI you generate for the firm.
There are various advantages as you start your career with Sales, be it any sector like IT, FMCG, Durables & White goods, Real Estate, etc. Marketing is an umbrella term that involves Sales as a major part of it. Marketing calls for revenue expenditure while Sales involve revenue generation.
- There is a higher demand for Sales profile in the market, as the Sales team is quite large then the marketing team in any firm. The roles & responsibilities are varied and diverse for a sales job. Therefore, most of the companies hire for the Sales profile for the Marketing management students.
- Also, one can network with different people- customers/consumers, clients, partners thereby widening the scope of your network, beneficial in providing varied learning experiences because today’s success depends on more one connects with the third party and increase sales and provide efficient after-sales services.
- One can easily switch from a sales role to a marketing profile at the latter stages in career but vice-versa is not possible as the skills learned for sales at the start of career are important and difficult to inculcate as one grows.
- The package offered (CTC) is quite higher for sales jobs as compared to marketing, also giving huge bonuses and additional perks for meeting the sales targets on time and based on overall performance. This gives a kick start at the beginning of a career in sales for well-known firms like ITC, HUL, Nestle, Puma, Godrej, and real estate firms.
Sales can be of a product as well as services, as in the IT industry where services and solutions are sold to the clients. Thus, sales are an essential aspect of any business as one earns revenue by either selling a service, product or a solution.
Territory Sales Executives are the key point of contact between an organization and its clients or potential customers within an assigned territory, their roles and responsibilities being:
They identify the local business opportunities and challenges, specific consumer needs and characteristics, after which they introduce the firm’s products and services to potential clients, thereby helping the organization to grow its customer base. Being the point of contact between the organization and the client, he/ she needs to negotiate contracts and packages, organize sales visits as and when required for answering queries and offering advice. As a sales executive, he/ she must maintain accurate records and report on regional sales results (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually), review the sales performance of all the salesmen aiming to achieve monthly or annual targets. They work closely with salespeople and other internal teams to meet individual and group sales quotas in order to recommend ways to promote and sell our products, helping the organization establish its reputation in your assigned region. They also answer customer questions about features, pricing, and additional services, and indulge in cross-selling products by collaborating with sales representatives from different territories to share best practices and support a cohesive sales approach. It is advisable for executives to attend trade exhibitions, conferences, and meetings for being updated about one’s area.
Key skills for Sales Executives:
- Maturity and Confidence
- Perseverance and Patience
- Effective Time management skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including effective communication skills
- Deep Commercial and business awareness
- IT skills and Numerical skills
- Ability to speak more than one language fluently
Pre-requisites of becoming a Territory Sales Representative:
Prior work experience as a Sales Representative and familiarity with the current industry is an added advantage. It is required him/ her to have an experience with CRM software, with excellent communication skills. One must be resilient with a proven track record in sales.
Typical employers of sales executives:
Staff with specialist knowledge employed in industries such as pharmaceutical, healthcare, and publishing.
- BSc in Marketing or Business Administration or a Diploma in Sales techniques is a plus
- There are routes into sales for both university graduates and school leavers as well. Any degree subject is acceptable, although relevant qualifications are preferred for some positions, particularly within medical or technical sales. Relevant experience gained in any commercial area involving contact with customers or the general public can be beneficial.
- Larger employers run vacation courses and placements which can give a useful insight into the profession. Job shadowing, networking, and speculative applications are advisable.
- Promotional prospects are excellent – progression can be into senior sales roles or into related employment areas such as marketing or management.
- As a territory sales manager, what is your management style?
Try to avoid labels. Some of the more common labels, like progressive, consultative, persuasive, can have several meanings or descriptions depending on which management guru you listen to. The situational style is safe because it says you will manage according to the situation, instead of one size fits all.
2. What experience do you have with respect to this particular territory sales manager position?
Speak about specifics that relate to the position you are applying for. If you know you do not have much experience in the job you are applying for, plan for this question ahead of time and ensure you can provide some relatable examples based on what you have done. All interviewers will appreciate confidence and pride in the work experience you have earned and your passion for transferring these valuable skills to your future role or position.
3. What have you done to improve your knowledge territory sales manager position in the last few months?
Here is an opportunity for you to showcase a wide variety of things you may have done both personally and professionally that will get your potential employers interested. Be sure to think about this one in advance in the event that it comes up. Even if you don’t have something that is specific to the role you are applying for, don’t be afraid to list hobbies or other non-work related activities here. This shows that you are the go-getter they are looking for. Ensure that you are motivated, self-sufficient, and can manage your time effectively.
4. Tell me about yourself
This is by far one of the most common questions in any job interview, used by the interviewer as an icebreaker, ideally to put you at ease and get you speaking openly and honestly. Unless you are asked about something specific, focus on your education, your work history, relatable hobbies, and outside interests, as well as your current situation. Be sure to start chronologically and indulge in storytelling art.
5. Why should we hire you?
On the one hand, you have an opportunity to really stand out from the pack. Alternatively, You shouldn’t assume the skills of other applicants. Focus on your own strengths, and if the interviewer hasn’t given you an opportunity to mention that one quality about yourself, now would be the time. In summation, clearly illustrate what in specific has made you a good employee, and how you envision yourself contributing to and benefiting the company.
6. How did you come to find out about our company and what do you know about us?
This can be a great way to stand out from other applicants and demonstrate initiative. Almost every company will have a website, Facebook page, Instagram account, or some sort of digital footprint. Spend a bit of time doing some online research:
Check out their “About us” or “Culture/Mission/Vision” pages on the website.
7. Why are you leaving your last job?
A question if answered properly can be a deal-breaker. If you’re currently employed and leaving of your own accord, craft your response around enhancing your career development and seeking out of new challenges. If your current employer is downsizing, be honest about it, remain positive, but keep it brief. If your employer fired you or let you go for cause, be prepared to give a brief – but honest – reply. No matter how tempting it may be, or how “unfair it was that they let you go” steer clear away from any and all drama and negativity. Any experienced employer understands that sometimes things happen. Staying positive is key here.
8. What are your strengths?
While this question is an invitation to do some chest pounding, remember to illustrate strengths that will benefit the employer and are relative to the position, like:
- Being a problem solver
- Adaptable and Flexible
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Positive attitude
- Possess effective time management skills
- Leadership skills
- Good team player
9. What are your weaknesses?
The purpose of this question is to see how you view and evaluate yourself. One the one hand, if you suggest you don’t have any weaknesses, your interviewer will almost certainly see you as a liar, egotistical, or both. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to present a positive skill in disguise as a weakness, like “I work too hard” or “I am a perfectionist”. Any experienced interviewer will see through this.
Some of the weaknesses that you can mention are:
- Undergoes micro-management
- High emotional quotient
10. What do you see yourself doing in five years?
This one is all about job commitment. Some people make job-hopping a career in itself. Portray you are the one who sets goals, has a vision, is a reliable and loyal employee, demonstrating commitment towards the firm and the responsibilities. While no interviewer expects someone to stay at a company forever, try and craft your response in such a way that shows progression in your career, and alignment with the Company’s needs and future.
11. Do you have any questions?
This one you can almost be assured will be asked, and you better have some ready. By asking questions you demonstrate initiative and show that you care enough about the job to have done some research. Ask questions that focus on areas where you can be an asset. Beyond this, other questions may be more direct including productivity, expectations, training, and other logistics. All this being said, try and limit the questions to no more than three or four.
- Background Research
- Practice makes perfect
- Have some examples ready for the situational questions
- Dressing for Success and don’t be afraid to close the deal
- Be sure to ask questions