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Sales as a career

Sales as a career
Highlights

A career in sales and marketing is a fast paced and a rewarding career. The career experience chiefly depends upon your personal sales skills, and on...

I am an MBA in marketing specialisation from Bangalore university and I am very confused whether I should go for an indoor sales job or an outdoor sales job. I am keener for an indoor sales job but am confused about the career scope for the same. Please help!

- Azfar Alam

A career in sales and marketing is a fast paced and a rewarding career. The career experience chiefly depends upon your personal sales skills, and on the company, you choose to work. As the sales team generates revenue for the company, sales professionals are offered higher than average salaries and on top of which they avail benefits such as car allowance, gas cards/ petrol reimbursements, cell phone, laptop, sales contests, expense accounts, and the list goes on.

Sales representatives can work on indoor or outdoor sales. Indoor sales mainly involves a lot of work over the phone and on the internet and not much of a face-to-face interaction, and that is why it is also termed as remote sales/virtual sales. However, it is not telemarketing and neither is it customer service.

Indoor sales is now the fastest growing segment of sales and lead generation and this has lead to a rise in its growth and a simultaneous increase of jobs in this field. According to an article on indoor sales on ‘Forbes.com’, indoor sales industry is rapidly maturing and is the fastest growing segment of sales, and lead generation. It says that outdoor sales is slowly converging into indoor sales and according to a survey, four years ago, outdoor sales representatives spent 41 percent of their day selling remotely. Two years ago it rose to 46 percent and it is now crossing 50 percent. This has been possible with internet technology, hosted CRM, social media, immediate response, local presence, and telephony tools, all integrated together. These are termed as power tools for sales persons.

Some of the skills required by an indoor sales person are:

  • Listening skills and an ability to read between the lines.
  • To build rapport with prospects by being genuine, insightful, and helpful in each stage of the sales process.
  • Making contact with leads and knowing whom to contact and when to contact.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of the product.
  • Good organisational skills, to reduce stress involved in the sales industry and to impress the customers.
  • Honesty and professionalism, to keep up every single promise, whether it is calling back or sending an email.
  • Provide support and service to customers to generate and close sales.

Outdoor sales or traditional field sales on the other hand, is a face-to-face interaction and generally requires a lot of travel. The role of an outdoor sales representative in generating new commercial business, and reach the business target is, to effectively manage his - designated territories and the physical visits to customer sites.

The essential skills required for all this is:

  • Passion, Integrity and work ethic.
  • In person presentation skills.
  • Extreme enthusiasm.
  • Excellent listening skills and exceptional verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Being self-motivated and have the ability to work on his own as well as in a team
  • An extreme sense of accountability and self-motivation to set your own work schedule, since nobody is there looking over your shoulders.

This becomes difficult at times, as answers are not available readily in contrast to you working in an office.

If you do not like to be bossed over then this could be an apt choice as you will not have a boss or groups of the management team looking over your shoulder all day (as managers occasionally work with you in the field).

For some this turns out to be a lonely job as even though you keep meeting clients all day, you miss out on the corporate culture.

Career advancement in an outdoor sales role is a challenge, as one has to work remotely, with home/office being in another state and not working in an office setting wherein you have an option of taking different paths in your career. Sometimes promotion can also mean relocation

It is seen that when an organisation downsizes its staff, the first target becomes the outdoor sales representative.

Personally, I would suggest that at an entry level, you should not be taking an outdoor sales position because being in an office and learning to cold call and getting familiarised with corporate environments is always priceless.

What is TOEFL scholarship programme and what is the eligibility? - Kirti Srivastava, Uppal

TOEFL, Test for English as a Foreign Language is a standardised test to assess proficiency in English, for students whose native language is not English and who are planning for higher studies in an English speaking country. More than 9,000 colleges, agencies and other institutions in over 130 countries accept TOEFL scores.

The annual TOEFL scholarship (2014) program conducted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) is ten scholarships with award money of U$$7, 000 each. The fund is disbursed after the student arrives on campus and can be applied to their tuition fees only.

Eligibility:

Citizen of the country from which you are applying.

Candidates should begin study in-between August 2014 to December 2015 at a university listed in the TOEFL destinations directory.

Candidates who score a grade point average of 80 or more on a 100 point scale or 3.0 or higher on a 4-grade scale.

Have a valid high TOEFL test result.

Should complete initial application by October 30, 2014.

Along with high academic achievements, the candidate is required to have an outstanding ability to communicate in English, demonstrate good leadership skills, innovative and creative (reflected in essays) and well rounded extracurricular activities.

(Refer link: http://www.ets.org/toefl/scholarships).

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