Graduate Sales Jobs Providing a Fulfilling and Rewarding Career

13 mins

Starting a career after graduation brings a mix of excitement and uncertainty, particularly ...

By Pareto Team


Starting a career after graduation brings a mix of excitement and uncertainty, particularly when exploring the variety of graduate sales jobs. Sales is more than the traditional image of persuasive cold calling. If you're a recent graduate thinking about a sales career but unsure about the many sales jobs available, rest assured that you're not alone.

In our comprehensive guide, we have brought you five of the most popular and exciting graduate sales jobs that have the potential to provide you with a fulfilling and rewarding career. We will discover the typical roles and responsibilities and the skills and qualifications you need to succeed in these sales jobs. 

Sales Development Rep (SDR)

Sales Development Reps focus on generating new business opportunities by identifying, contracting, and qualifying potential customers. Their goal is to take these qualified leads and nurture them into the sales pipeline. They then hand them over to a sales executive and account manager to close the deal. Their success is measured by the number of sales-qualified leads they collect each month.

Roles and Responsibilities of Sales Development Rep

Here are the typical roles and responsibilities of a sales development rep:

  • Generating prospecting lists of decision-makers in target accounts. 

  • Manage relationships with existing customers with the aim of upselling and cross-selling  

  • Booking outbound meetings through avenues such as emails, cold calls, social outreach, and networking

  • Follow up and engage with prospects who have enquired about the business’s services or products 

  • Delivering relevant marketing content to prospects 

  • Using CRM, sales enablement tools, LinkedIn, and sales intelligence to improve the sales process

  • Collaborate with the wider sales team to develop strategies for reaching sales and targets and engaging with customers 

  • Taking part in internal and external training to develop crucial skills such as customer experience, selling, and account management

What Skills and Qualifications Do Sales Development Reps Need? 

Sales development reps need a combination of skills to excel in their role. These skills include:

  • Time Management - SDRs need to effectively manage their time to prioritise tasks and meet sales goals

  • Knowledge of CRM Tools - Knowing how to use these tools can support keeping track of customer data and automate tasks in order to work more efficiently 

  • Active Listening - Crucial for understanding customer needs and building rapport

  • Communication - Strong verbal and written communication skills are vital for engaging with existing and potential customers and your fellow sales team 

  • Research Skills - Sales development reps should be able to conduct in-depth research on potential customers and the latest market trends to identify new business opportunities. 

  • Resilience - Sales development reps often face rejection and challenges, so they need to be resilient and continue to be motivated

  • Adaptability - They need to be flexible and adaptable to different customer needs and situations  

  • Empathy - Sales development reps need to be able to understand and empathise with customers’ needs to build strong relationships

The amount of experience you need to be considered for a sales development rep role can depend on the employer. Some employers may ask for 2-3 years of sales or customer service experience, but for other businesses, it is an entry-level position, making it a good way to start your career in sales. A bachelor’s degree in business or a related field is also a requirement for many businesses.  

Salary for a Sales Development Rep

The current base pay range for a sales development rep in the UK is between £29,000 and £41,000. The average additional cash compensation is £11,152

Account Manager

Second on our list of graduate sales jobs is the role of account manager. Account managers are tasked with seamlessly integrating sales and customer service functions to efficiently manage a company's product or service sales and distribution. Their primary focus is revenue generation through sales and the maintenance of client relationships, often involving the supervision of a team of sales professionals. Account managers are responsible for devising campaigns, monitoring their progress, and setting sales targets for their teams to achieve.

This role fosters heightened collaboration between a company's sales and customer service teams, as account managers handle an array of existing clients while actively seeking and securing new ones. They work closely with sales teams to identify optimal methods for generating new leads, and simultaneously, they maintain regular contact with long-term clients to explore innovative avenues for recurring business.

Role and Responsibilities of an Account Manager

Here are the typical roles and responsibilities of an account manager:

  • Overseeing a varied portfolio of existing client accounts

  • Creating and managing campaign ideas, ensuring their successful execution

  • Leveraging existing industry contacts and clients to uncover new business opportunities

  • Taking charge of a team of sales professionals, providing leadership and conducting training sessions

  • Ensuring team members have the necessary resources to meet their sales targets

  • Analysing customer feedback to pinpoint areas for improvement

  • Setting up sales territories within the organisation

  • Delivering updates on campaigns and presenting statistics to key stakeholders

  • Collaborating with existing clients to manage expectations and foster relationships

  • Performing administrative tasks such as audits and conducting performance

What Skills and Qualifications Do Account Managers Need? 

Account managers need a number of key skills to succeed in their roles. These skills include:

  • Empathy - The capacity to understand and empathise with a client’s challenges, needs, and pain points is crucial for building strong relationships

  • Time Management - Strong time management skills are important for prioritising tasks and meeting client needs

  • Negotiation - Negotiating and closing deals is crucial for driving sales and meeting targets

  • Leadership - This is valuable for managing client accounts and collaborating with internal teams to meet client needs

  • Adaptability - The ability to adapt to changing client needs and market conditions is vital for success in the role

  • Industry Knowledge - A good understanding of the industry and market trends is essential for providing valuable insights to clients and driving sales

  • Strategic Planning - Developing and executing strategic account plans is crucial for driving long-term growth and success

As well as these skills, account managers are also required to have a Bachelor’s degree in Sales, Business Administration or a related field. Many employers also require a certain amount of experience in sales, this experience will depend on the employer. 

Salary for an Account Manager 

The current base pay range for an account manager in the UK is £30,000 to £40,000. The average additional cash compensation is £9,448.

Business Development Manager 

As a business development manager, your primary responsibility is to uncover new business opportunities that contribute to revenue generation, enhanced profitability, and overall business growth. This entails engaging in thoughtful strategic planning and positioning within relevant markets, as well as finding ways to improve the business's overall operation, position, or reputation.

Your role within the organisation may vary; you could either have an individual focus or lead a team of staff, depending on the structure and needs of the business. You can also specialise in B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer).

Roles and Responsibilities of a Business Development Manager

Here are the typical roles and responsibilities of a business development manager:

  • Conduct research to pinpoint and evaluate new business opportunities, encompassing emerging markets, growth areas, industry trends, potential customers, strategic partnerships, and innovative products or services.

  • Generate leads and engage in cold calling to reach out to prospective customers, initiating potential business relationships.

  • Conduct face-to-face or phone meetings with customers and clients, fostering and developing strong relationships.

  • Identify and establish connections with relevant contacts within organisations to facilitate business development initiatives.

  • Understand customer needs and respond effectively, devising plans to meet their requirements.

  • Attend relevant seminars, training courses, conferences, and events to stay informed about industry trends and changes.

  • Possess in-depth knowledge of the business's products or services and provide informed advice to others.

  • Collaborate with the marketing department to discuss promotional strategy and activities.

  • Ensure organisational alignment by communicating the need for change and obtaining staff support.

  • Think strategically, envisioning the broader business landscape and setting aims and objectives to enhance overall business development.

  • Carry out sales forecasting and analysis and present your findings to senior management.

What Skills and Qualifications Do Business Development Managers Need? 

To be successful in a career as a business development manager, you will need the following skills. 

  • Communication - Business development managers must have strong communication skills to develop and maintain relationships with customers and stakeholders 

  • Research and Strategy - Strong research skills and vital for understanding the client's needs and market trends and developing effective business strategies. 

  • Time Management and Planning - A strong ability to set goals and plan and manage projects. 

  • Networking - Building and maintaining a professional network is essential for identifying new business partnerships and opportunities. 

  • Team Management and Leadership - Business development managers may be required to manage and lead teams to achieve business goals

  • Negotiation - They also need to be tactful and diplomatic and have the ability to negotiate and close deals effectively 

While it is possible to become a business development manager without a degree through experience in sales roles or through an apprenticeship, many entrants do have degrees. A degree is essential especially if you apply for a place on a graduate training program. 

Having a degree in business management or business development are most advantageous. Other relevant subjects include: 

  • Business studies 

  • Marketing 

  • Economics 

  • Accountancy

  • Finance

  • International relations

Transitioning into a business development manager role is feasible from related positions, including roles like commercial manager, account manager, sales executive, business development executive, and sales manager.

Salary for a Business Development Manager

The current base pay range for a business development manager in the UK is £36,000 to £60,000. The average additional cash compensation is £14,266.

Sales Engineer 

Sales engineers shoulder the technical sales responsibilities related to a company's products and services. In this role, you collaborate with customers to grasp their requirements, devise solutions that align with those needs, and relay feedback to your employer. This ensures that products and services are designed and manufactured accurately to meet client specifications.

They work closely with fellow members of the sales and marketing teams to create product sales information. Additionally, they engage with clients to clarify requirements and offer appropriate solutions. Serving as the crucial connection between customers and the company, they hold a pivotal role in guaranteeing product-market fit. Moreover, they ensure that other sales professionals are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively carry out their sales responsibilities.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Sales Engineer 

Here are the typical roles and responsibilities of a sales engineer:

  • Develop and deliver technical presentations to explain products or services to potential clients

  • Assess equipment needs and determine system requirements

  • Provide sales support

  • Conduct meetings with customers and fellow sales engineers

  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand client requirements

  • Secure and renew product orders

  • Regularly review improvements in the sales process

  • Recommend product and service upgrades to customers

  • Explain to customers how improvements will reduce costs or increase production

  • Set up and measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Assist in researching and developing new products

What Skills and Qualifications Do Sales Engineers Need? 

For a successful career as a sales engineer, you will need the following skills. 

  • Technical Knowledge - A robust comprehension of the technical intricacies of the products or services is indispensable for proficiently engaging with clients and addressing their needs.

  • Analytical Thinking and Problem-Solving - Sales engineers should demonstrate the capability to analyse intricate problems and offer effective solutions for clients.

  • Presentation Skills - Proficiency in delivering compelling and effective presentations is crucial for showcasing the value of the products or services to clients.

  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills - Strong communication and interpersonal skills are vital for establishing and maintaining relationships with clients and internal teams.

  • Teamwork Skills - Sales engineers frequently collaborate as part of a sales team, necessitating the ability to work effectively with diverse personality types.

  • Public Speaking - The capacity to speak confidently and effectively in public settings, such as trade shows and seminars, is significant for sales engineers.

  • Demonstration Skills - The ability to effectively demonstrate the features and benefits of products or services to clients is crucial for sales engineers.

  • Technical Discovery Skills - Proficiency in asking the right questions and understanding clients' technical needs is vital for identifying opportunities and providing tailored solutions.

Sales engineers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in a technical field. The majority of sales engineers have a degree in engineering, where they’ll choose a speciality of the industry they want to work in. For example, those working in pharma may have a degree in chemical engineering. Along with your degree, it is also advantageous to build up your experience in a sales environment before applying for a sales engineer role. 

Salary for a Sales Engineer

The current base pay range for a sales engineer in the UK is £40,000 to £72,000. The average additional cash compensation is £13,610.

Field Sales Executive

Last but certainly not least on our list of graduate sales jobs is field sales executive. Field sales executives play a significant role in driving businesses by effectively selling products or services to customers. In their capacity as Sales Executives, their primary responsibility is to promote and sell the company's offerings to individuals, businesses, and government organisations. Sales scenarios can involve domestic markets, international markets, or a combination of both.

As Sales Executives, they actively approach potential customers to secure new business and emphasise the importance of maintaining strong relationships with existing clients, aiming for repeat business whenever feasible. Whether operating in Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) sales, their strategic efforts contribute to the company's growth and enhance its market presence.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Field Sales Executive 

Here are the typical roles and responsibilities of a field sales executive:

  • Utilising customer sales methods like door-to-door, cold calling, and presentations to convert prospects into satisfied customers

  • Conducting research and forecasting sales while developing and assessing the effectiveness of sales strategies and methods

  • Establishing and working towards individual and team sales targets

  • Keeping a close eye on competitors, analysing their products and marketing strategies

  • Regularly visiting customers to evaluate their needs and desires

  • Representing the organisation during customer meetings and presentations

  • Reporting and offering feedback to management based on collected financial data

  • Managing customer accounts and maintaining detailed records of sales

What Skills and Qualifications Do Field Sales Executives Need?

You will need the following skills to succeed as a field sales executive:  

  • Communication - Effective communication skills play a pivotal role in cultivating relationships with customers and articulating product information convincingly.

  • Product Knowledge - A profound understanding of the products or services being offered is critical for addressing customer inquiries and showcasing their value.

  • Analytical Skills - The capability to analyse customer needs and market trends aids in tailoring solutions and identifying new opportunities.

  • Technical Skills - Proficiency in utilising sales automation software, CRM tools, and data management platforms enhances productivity and effectiveness in the field.

  • Time Management - Efficient time management is crucial for prioritising tasks and optimising customer interactions.

  • Active Listening - Listening to customer needs and concerns is indispensable for providing customised solutions and building rapport.

  • Negotiation - Strong negotiation skills prove beneficial in closing deals and achieving sales targets.

  • Adaptability - The capacity to adapt to varying customer needs and market conditions is key for success in the field.

  • Teamwork - Collaboration with internal teams and support staff is often essential for addressing customer requirements and resolving issues.

  • Networking - Establishing and maintaining a professional network is valuable for identifying new leads and opportunities.

Candidates holding a bachelor's degree in business administration, business management, marketing, communications, economics, or related disciplines are essential to pursue roles as field sales representatives. Successful candidates should possess proficiency in a diverse range of sales techniques and effective pipeline management. 

Salary for a Field Sales Engineer

The current base pay range for a field sales engineer in the UK is £25,000 to £38,000. The average additional cash compensation is £8,096.

Let’s Wrap Up Our Graduate Sales Jobs 

Sales offers a range of rewards and exciting opportunities for recent graduates, encompassing various roles suitable for diverse strengths and preferences. Graduate sales jobs entail more than cold calls - they allow you to identify potential customers, integrate sales and customer service, uncover new business opportunities, bring technical expertise, actively promote offerings, and present distinctive challenges and rewards. 

A sales career promises professional growth and provides the satisfaction of contributing to a company's success and fostering lasting client relationships. For recent graduates contemplating a path in sales, so many possibilities await, offering the potential for a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Looking for the Latest Graduate Sales Jobs? 

When it comes to kickstarting your post-graduate career, we're not your typical recruitment agency. We have a unique approach to finding, evaluating, and placing our graduates, focusing on sales roles. As a leading sales recruitment company in the UK, we aim to support graduates in the early stages of their professional journey.

Contact us today, and let us support you in finding the latest graduate sales jobs.

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