Why you might want to consider starting your professional career in business-to-business (B2B) selling and sales management:
- B2B sales representatives have substantial independence and clear feedback on efforts. They are responsible for results and have considerable latitude in work scheduling, with much less supervision than colleagues in the office.
- Since most B2B sales reps have compensation packages with a commission component, their income reflects the extent and quality of their work. Successful B2B reps have 6 figure incomes which may be higher than their bosses. According to The Dartnell Corporation, average entry level sales reps earn about $40,000; intermediate level reps earn about $55,000; senior reps earn about $80,000; and national account reps earn about $90,000.
- B2B compensation is higher. For example, the average Federated Insurance first year insurance rep income in 2002 was $82,000, while the top half of reps earned $197,244. The typical first year pharmaceutical sales rep earns over $60,000 per year.
- The training and experience in personal selling and sales management improves communication, organization, leadership and people skills necessary for promotion to senior levels of management. Many CEOs launched their career from sales and sales management positions. For instance, most senior level executives of IBM came from the sales organization. Many consumer products and pharmaceutical firms require that marketing managers be recruited from the company’s sales department.
- Selling careers are noted for job security. Various sources predict that outsourcing of white-collar jobs overseas will increase from 300,000 to 3 million over the next ten years. It today’s environment of outsourcing and layoffs, skills and adaptability are the only sources of job security. Sales skills are highly valued and experienced B2B sales reps are in high demand. Because the sales force is the only function of a business which is responsible for revenue generation it is the last area for layoffs. Other functions are costs of business. Unlike other white-collar jobs, face-to-face professional selling can’t be outsourced overseas.
- There are far more sales positions, compared to other types of marketing related positions. There are over 12 million sales positions, compared to 300,000 advertising positions. For instance, GE has a sales force of 25,000, Prudential has a sales force of 20,000, and IBM has a sales force of 9700. A recent search on the HotJobs.com website revealed the following number of job openings in New Jersey; advertising/public relations (81), marketing (185), and sales (746). The Wall Street Journal website revealed the following the following number of national management level job openings: advertising (27), public relations (28), marketing (587), and sales (3588).
- Professional selling is an especially relevant career path for individuals seeking a position which a high level of entry level responsibility, autonomy, independence, challenge, variety, and significant interaction with people. This career is an excellent choice for students with demonstrated people skills, communication skills, and leadership skills. Successful selling career require individuals with high levels of determination, persistence, energy, self-motivation, competitiveness, flexibility and ambition.
- Professional salespeople act in the capacity of consultants, requiring the ability to diagnose customer problems and offer solutions. They act as relationship managers who build and maintain long-term partnerships with customers.
- A professional salesperson, whose compensation is primarily commission-based, is an entrepreneur. Like a founder of a small business, that salesperson gets satisfaction and financial rewards from building their business.