6 Entry-Level Sales Jobs + How to Get One

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Explore entry-level jobs in sales and the steps you can take to launch your sales career.

[Featured image] An entry-level sales representative speaks with a potential customer via a video chat on a laptop.

What is an entry-level sales job? 

An entry-level sales job is a job you can do with minimal or no prior experience in sales. As part of a sales team, your main function is to drive sales for a company, by presenting and selling products, generating leads, and meeting sales goals. 

In an entry-level role, some of your day-to-day tasks might include:

  • Reaching out to potential customers 

  • Crafting personalized emails to communicate with prospects and existing customers 

  • Educating prospects and customers on products  

  • Scheduling calls and meetings with prospects and customers

  • Collaborating with other teams or departments within a company to increase sales 

If you are creative and strategic and enjoy interacting with others, sales might be a rewarding career path for you. Many of the skills you’ll build in sales such as persuasion, active listening, and business acumen may transfer to other professions. Sales can be a versatile career path, as a variety of industries need sales professionals, including health care, medical devices, insurance, real estate, retail, financial services, technology, education, publishing, and more.

Read on to discover sales jobs at the entry level and the steps you can take to get an entry-level sales job. 

6 entry-level sales jobs

If you’re considering a career in sales, you may be wondering what jobs are available, how much they pay, and what your responsibilities would be. It’s a good idea to research entry-level positions early in your job search to get a feel for career opportunities that may fit your goals. Below, you’ll find six sales job titles, along with information about average salaries in the US  for roles with 1-3 years of experience, responsibilities, requirements, and career advancement. Use these as a model for your own research process.

*All job information is taken from Glassdoor and Indeed for United States jobs as of July  2022. 

1. Outside sales representative 

What they make: $80,651 [1]

What they do: Represent the company in different service areas, make outbound calls to sell products, build relationships with customers, research market conditions and the competitive landscape

Skills and qualifications they need: Bachelor’s degree (when products require technical, medical, or specialized knowledge), presentation skills, communication skills, ability to travel

Where to go from here: Sales manager, account executive, sales development representative 

2. Inside sales representative 

What they make: $84,031 [2]

What they do: Ensure customers have a smooth sales experience, educate customers on products, process payments, follow up with customers

Skills and qualifications they need: Bachelor’s degree (when products require technical, medical, or specialized knowledge), some experience in commission sales, customer service skills, communication skills

Where to go from here: Senior inside sales representative, sales manager, account executive 

3. Sales development representative 

What they make: $74,297 [3]

What they do: Outbound sales and marketing activities, initiate contact with potential customers, generate qualified leads

Skills and qualifications they need: Knowledge of customer relationship management (CRM) tools, ability to educate prospects on products and services, proficiency with different marketing channels, communication skills 

Where to go from here: Account executive, senior sales development representative, sales manager

4. Sales associate 

What they make: $54,468 [4]

What they do: Assist customers in store or over the phone, present products and services to customers, help customers complete payments, process orders  

Skills and qualifications they need: High school diploma or equivalent, some customer service experience, communication skills, knowledge of payment systems, ability to explain products to customers 

Where to go from here: Store manager, sales manager, sales representative, sales development representative 

5. Account executive 

What they make: $90,705 [5]

What they do: Help maintain existing customer accounts, develop new accounts, find new sales opportunities through networking, maintain sales records

Skills and qualifications they need: Bachelor’s degree in business, business administration, marketing, or related field; knowledge of marketing and sales principles, knowledge of CRM tools

Where to go from here: Enterprise account management, sales manager 

6. Account manager 

What they make: $83,558 [6]

What they do: Work with customers post purchase, oversee new customer orientation, act as liaisons between customers and companies, present additional products and services for cross-selling and upselling

Skills and qualifications they need: Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field, critical thinking, negotiation, customer service, and collaboration

Where to go from here: Regional or enterprise account manager, senior account manager

How to get an entry-level sales job 

Once you settle on a career path in sales, you can begin the process of finding an entry-level position with the steps below.  

1. Set sales career goals

Setting goals is a great way to clarify what you want out of your career and how to focus your efforts. Answer the following questions to generate new ideas:

  • What interests you in sales? 

  • What are your salary expectations? 

  • In which industries would you like to build your sales career?

  • What kind of sales persona would you like to cultivate?  

  • What are your long-term career growth goals?

2. Build sales skills. 

Even at the entry level, a sales position will require you to build key sales skills, as explored below. 

Technical sales skills you can build include: 

  • Knowledge of sales tools, like customer relationship management (CRM) software, can make it easier to manage customer data.

  • Knowledge of sales processes, such as prospecting, presenting, handling objections, closing, and following up, can make it easier to master company processes. 

  • Knowledge of the products and services you represent means you can confidently present them to customers and explain their benefits. 

Workplace sales skills you can build include: 

  • Emotional intelligence is important to understanding customers’ goals and challenges, developing a rapport with them, and exhibiting empathy and understanding. 

  • Communication means you can listen intently to customers’ experiences, educate them effectively on products and services, and guide customers toward making an empowered purchase decision.

 

  • Organization is critical to keeping track of customer data and communicating with customers efficiently. 

There are several ways to build sales skills, including taking courses and getting some experience in sales, such as a retail sales position, even before applying for entry-level jobs. You can also learn valuable sales skills and concepts with a degree in business, marketing, or a related field.  

3. Build a sales resume.  

As you hone your sales skills and gain experience, it’s a good idea to have a resume that showcases your qualifications for entry-level sales positions. Google “sales resume keywords” or “[industry] sales resume keywords” to include in your resume so it can be seen by recruiters who use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to process incoming resumes.

Read more: 10 Ways to Enhance Your Resume

4. Apply for entry-level sales jobs. 

Search general job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor for entry-level job openings in sales. You can also search sites that are geared specifically to sales, as explored in the  chart below: 

Sales job search platformsDescription
AA-ISP Career CenterJob listings for inside sales positions
SalesTraxJob listings for tech sales positions
SalesHeads.comJob listings for a variety of industries and positions
RainmakersPlatform for experienced, skilled salespeople in tech
SalesJobsJob listings for a variety of industries and positions

Once you select your desired positions, gather all the information and work samples you need to apply and create a schedule for submitting applications. How many jobs will you apply for each week?

Read more: How to Prepare for an Interview

Learn sales with Coursera. 

Taking online courses can be a great way to gain sales skills and explore career options. Check out these Professional Certificate programs offered by industry leaders Hubspot and Salesforce.

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Salesforce Sales Development Representative

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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Lead Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Process Engineering, Inbound Sales, Sales Enablement, Content Creation, Customer Success, Sales, Outreach Sequence, Social Selling, Customer Experience, Inside Sales, Sales Presentation, Data Analysis, Data Management, Data Visualization (DataViz), Sales Team Management, Onboarding

Related articles

Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “Outside Sales Representative Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-outside-sales-representative-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,31.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022. 

2. Glassdoor. “Inside Sales Representative Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-inside-sales-representative-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,30.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022. 

3. Glassdoor. “Sales Development Representative Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-sales-development-representative-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,35.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022.

4. Glassdoor. “Sales Associate Salaries, ​​https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-sales-associate-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,18.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022.

5. Glassdoor. “Account Executive Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-account-executive-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,20.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022.

6. Glassdoor. “Account Manager Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-account-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,18.htm.” Accessed June 29, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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