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Exploring Sales Industries

What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s a question we’ve all been asked at least a hundred times, but were you ever provided with a list of options to choose from? Did anyone ever break down ALL the career possibilities available to you? If your answer is no, you’ve come to the right place. To help students find their dream jobs we are exploring sales industries to highlight ALL of the opportunities available to student professionals and soon-to-be graduates. 

What types of sales industries are there?

Sales is everywhere. You’ve already been involved in sales in one way or another. You were either selling something (an idea, product, or service) or being sold something. Brandon Payne, Sr. Account Executive at Shopify has over 20 years of sales experience but shared that he was not always a salesperson. He started his professional career as an entrepreneur and eventually pivoted to sales as it is such an integral part of everyday life. Brandon emphasizes how considering a career in sales can significantly increase the career opportunities available to you.

Here is a list of potential industries that seek sales talent

  • Technology and Software: Grouped into tech and software are big data companies, business intelligence, cybersecurity, and Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Medical/Healthcare: Medical devices, pharmaceuticals, homecare, or management and insurance align with the medical/healthcare industry 
  • Finance: Commonly referred to as Fintech includes all monetary services available to us
  • Real Estate: Real Estate sales are focused on the building and development of either commercial or residential properties 
  • Entertainment: Sports, media, music, and attraction make up the entertainment sales industry
  • Consumer goods: Consumer packaged goods (CPG), wellness products, and e-commerce are sales-focused industries
  • Shipping/Transportation: Supply chain, manufacturing, and logistic services related to shipping/transportation sales 

IMPORTANT NOTE: When thinking of a career path in sales it’s important to determine if you’d prefer to work in business-to-consumer (B2C) sales or business-to-business (B2B) sales. There are a lot of incredible opportunities in B2B sales but as consumers, students have less exposure to these business-focused companies. This lack of exposure imposes a restriction on career choices for students unwilling to learn more about B2B companies.

What are some common entry-level sales roles?

The title of entry-level sales positions varies depending on the company and the job description related to the role. The most common entry-level sales roles tend to be Sales Development Representatives (SDR) and Business Development Representatives (BDR). These two roles are often distinguished by the roles that focus on inbound or outbound sales. Again, these titles may be different depending on the company. For example, in medical sales, an entry-level sales rep might be listed as a Jr. Sales Executive. Pay attention to the job description to avoid missing potential job opportunities.

How do majors align with sales?

On November 9th, we held off the last Sales Educational event of the year and our panelists highlighted how their passions and natural skillsets are what ultimately led to their careers in sales. One of our panelists, Zach Cable, Sales Executive at Randox majored in fine arts before switching and earning a degree in biochemistry. Zach ultimately aligned his interest in scientific research with the medical sales industry. This is a prime example of how your interests and major can align with a future sales role.

What skills do you need to get into sales? 

Sales are all about being personable and having strong communication skills. When interviewing for an entry-level sales role, interviewers tend to look for soft skills rather than technical skills. Soft skills are defined as personal attributes such as adaptability, teamwork, critical thinking, communication, and more! Penelope Yamauchi, former student-athlete and current sales professional at Vendition highlighted the impact relating your personal life experiences to roles you are interviewing for can have on landing a sales role. This shows you’ve done your company research and have found beneficial parallels between yourself and the role. 

CSS is here for you! 

The CSS National Team is here to aid you through all stages of your professional journey. Our website is stock full of resources to help you prepare, apply, and navigate the early stages of your career. If you want to learn more about the different sales industries, visit the blog section of our website. All of our sales educational events are recorded and available to students to watch and learn from. Click here for the recording of our Exploring Sales Industries event where panelists Brandon Payne, Zach Cable, and Penelope Yamauchi shed light on sales across the different industries.