What Is a Sales Job? (With Examples of Common Sales Roles)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 October 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A job in sales can be very rewarding, both financially and in terms of your sense of achievement. These sorts of roles often require you to be imaginative, persuasive and flexible. There are many different sales positions, and knowing what each of them involves can help you decide whether a career in sales is the right choice for you. In this article, we explain what a sales job is and what the different roles are.

Related: 15 Sales Jobs That Pay Well

What is a sales job?

When you're looking at career choices, you might be wondering, what is a sales job? A job in the field of sales typically involves actively selling your company's products or services. This might involve consistently meeting customers in person or contacting them over the phone. Sales positions could require you to simply meet with and respond to customers, whereas others may require you to actively seek out new ones and generate leads. You might be assigned specific goals or sales targets, be required to negotiate contracts with clients, deliver presentations or demonstrate the use of a product.

If you have some experience, you could be responsible for a team of salespeople or prepare detailed and regular reports for your employer and managers. Alternatively, you could be responsible for acquiring stock for your company to then sell.

Related: 9 sales training games to boost your sales techniques

Different types of sales jobs

There's a lot of variety in the field of sales, with different levels of responsibility, role-specific requirements and career prospects. Below is a list of nine different sales positions:

1. Travel agent

National average salary: £19,127 per year

Primary duties: Also known as travel consultants, travel agents book trips and help with travel arrangements for their clients. These could be travel arrangements for leisure or business purposes. Travel agents must be able to listen carefully to a client's needs and be able to make good suggestions. This involves good communication and sales skills, in addition to being able to solve problems and carry out administrative tasks. Common responsibilities of a travel agent include the following:

  • Meeting with clients to ascertain their specific needs

  • Making recommendations based on client requirements

  • Making and arranging bookings online

  • Offering advice regarding travel restrictions, visas, vaccinations, insurance and vehicle hire

  • Meeting specified sales targets

  • Keeping clients updated about changes or cancellations

  • Helping clients choose and develop a suitable holiday package

  • Advising clients on planning independent travel

2. Sales administrator

National average salary: £20,716 per year

Primary duties: A sales administrator, also called a sales administration assistant or sales office clerk, is responsible for processing payments and sales orders. They also arrange deliveries and offer support to customers after sales are made. They need to know their products well and be able to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers. They also require persistence and persuasiveness, along with some business management skills. Their duties typically include:

  • Dealing with customer enquiries in-person, over the phone or by email

  • Taking orders from customers and processing payments

  • Providing customers with after-sales support

  • Updating company records

  • Carrying out credit checks and dealing with paperwork

3. Sales assistant

National average salary: £22,578 per year

Primary duties: Also known as shop assistants, store assistants and retail assistants, sales assistants are involved in the selling of products and assisting customers. This role primarily deals with customers in person, often from behind a counter in a shop or similar retail space. Their duties typically include:

  • Serving customers and answering their questions

  • Receiving, unpacking and sorting new stock deliveries

  • Rotating and replacing existing stock

  • Maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of the shop

  • Taking cash and card payments

  • Dealing with returns and refunds

  • Promoting shop products to customers

  • Arranging products on shelves and displays

Related: How to Write a Sales Assistant Cover Letter (With Examples)

4. Retail manager

National average salary: £25,274 per year

Primary duties: Retail managers are responsible for looking after shops and stores, motivating their colleagues to meet their sales targets and generally promote their company. They must be able to work well with others, communicate effectively, listen to and address customer enquiries and lead others. The typical duties of a retail manager include:

  • Management and motivation of sales staff

  • Helping other sales professionals meet their sales targets

  • Providing reports and performance reviews to senior management

  • Maintaining budgets and costs

  • Keeping up-to-date on market and industry trends

  • Identifying new business and sales strategies

  • Organising promotional events insight and outside of the shop

  • Maintaining and tracking stocks and orders

  • Managing the recruitment and training of new staff

  • Maintaining and analysing sales figures

  • Generating sales and revenue forecasts

  • Dealing with customer queries and complaints

  • Assessing and researching competitors

Related: 35 Retail Interview Questions (With Example Answers and Tips)

5. Estate agent

National average salary: £25,949 per year

Primary duties: Also known as a real estate agent or property agent, an estate agent sells or arranges rent for residential and commercial properties. They act as negotiators and salespeople between the owners and the prospective buyers or tenants. If they specifically deal with rental properties, they may also be called a letting agent. In addition to the ability to sell, communicate and be persistent, estate agents typically need a driver's licence. This is because they often show prospective buyers or tenants around properties in person. The common duties of an estate agent include:

  • Visiting sellers and landlords for valuing properties

  • Booking viewing appointments for potential buyers or tenants

  • Communicating with potential buyers or tenants and helping them find suitable properties

  • Receiving feedback on viewings and answering questions

  • Generating leads for conveyancing and mortgages

  • Managing auction sales

  • Dealing with legal professionals, surveyors and financial advisors

  • Negotiating between buyers and sellers

6. Sales representative

National average salary: £26,187 per year

Primary duties: A sales representative might also be called a salesperson or sales executive. They meet clients, contact them and persuade them to buy their company's goods or services. They need to be persistent, persuasive and have excellent communication and customer service skills. Although they're quite similar to sales administrators, a sales representative plays a much more active role in identifying and pursuing new customers. Their responsibilities typically include:

  • Seeking and contacting new customers

  • Following up with existing customers

  • Managing enquiries and issues

  • Developing and delivering product presentations and demonstrations

  • Attending conferences to learn about their industry and its trends

  • Meeting specified sales targets

7. Insurance account manager

National average salary: £28,020 per year

Primary duties: Insurance account managers, also known as relationship managers and insurance sales executives, are responsible for the development of business accounts and promoting sales of their company's insurance products and services. They require in-depth knowledge of their company's various products and excellent verbal communication and persuasion skills. Their duties typically include:

  • Developing good relationships with customers and long-term clients

  • Developing working relationships with brokers and other professionals

  • Monitoring sales performance

  • Ensuring that the rules of the financial services industry are met

  • Setting up the handling of claims and supporting teams with new policies

  • Pitching and developing new business accounts

  • Organising and leading meetings

  • Promoting new insurance products to customers

  • Handling several business accounts simultaneously

8. Sales manager

National average salary: £38,461 per year

Primary duties: A sales manager is an experienced member of a sales team who is responsible for organising, leading and coaching teams of sales professionals. This involves helping them meet specified targets and developing their skills. In addition to sales and persuasion skills, sales managers also need to have leadership, organisation and management skills. The role often involves the following:

  • Recruiting and training sales staff

  • Reporting to senior management

  • Maintaining, updating and analysing sales figures

  • Recruiting and training new sales employees

  • Identifying new opportunities and analysing competition

  • Developing sales strategies and achievable targets

  • Leading and motivating a sales team

Related: What does a sales manager do? (plus skills)

9. Purchasing manager

National average salary: £40,051 per year

Primary duties: Also known as procurement managers, purchasing managers are responsible for acquiring the goods, services and equipment a company needs. This typically doesn't involve dealing with the final customers of these goods or services but rather the process of acquiring them from suppliers. This is a role that requires significant business management, organisation and analytical and negotiation skills. They also tend to be quite good with numbers, have a lot of patience and are adept at identifying new opportunities. The typical duties of a purchasing manager include:

  • Identifying the goods, services and equipment that are needed

  • Identifying and following industry and market trends

  • Negotiating purchases and prices with suppliers

  • Researching and contacting new and alternative suppliers

  • Monitoring stock levels and forecasting future needs

  • Assessing tenders from potential suppliers

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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