The Role Of A Sales Executive: Responsibilities And Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 14 December 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A business's sales department contains both team and individual goals to help sell enough products and services to make a profit. The sales executive oversees this area, ensuring the team stays educated and motivated so they can reach their goals. Knowing their roles and responsibilities helps you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we will discuss what sales executives do, and what skills and qualities they need and examine a sample job description.

What Is A Sales Executive?

Sales executives, or sales managers, lead offices of sales associates who offer goods and services to customers. Their primary function is to manage this team to create profits for their company. Sales executives identify prospects, maintain customer relationships and identify ways to grow their sales figures.

Related: What's the Difference Between Sales and Business Development?

The Role Of A Sales Executive

The role of a sales executive varies based on the industry, but most share similar responsibilities. Because they often manage a team of sales associates, sales executives might combine leadership responsibilities with sales expertise to excel at their jobs. If you are considering a career as a sales executive, you might expect to perform some of these duties:

Managing a team

Some sales managers may work independently in a sales department, but often they manage a team of sales associates. The sales executive sets department goals for the team, individual quotas, and timelines for achieving these. It is important to provide frequent feedback, communicate any updates or changes and be available to your team to answer questions.

Related: Team Management Skills (Definition And Ways To Improve Them)

Creating goals

Sales executives may receive department goals from their superiors or they may create goals themselves. Often these are units to sell or dollar amounts. Each sales representative is responsible for achieving their own goals, and the sales executive tracks the progress towards meeting these. You might also create professional development goals for how people on the team can develop their skills. For example, you may require everyone on the team to take one workshop a year on current best practices in sales.

Generating reports

Sales executives generate several reports. Depending on the industry, they might create conversion reports, sales data, trends, length of sales cycles, or lead aging. They might use these reports to encourage or educate their teams or to share with sales directors or other high-ranking employees. Generating reports requires basic computer skills and the ability to interpret data to make adjustments for reaching your goals.

Researching markets

Market research is the sales executive's way to learn more about target markets, consumers, and their competition. In this role, you gather and interpret market data and might identify prospects for each member of the team to cold-call. Research might also include consumer trends. This helps you forecast goals and see what adjustments your company might make in response. For example, if the market primarily purchases email software with video capabilities but your company does not have that yet, you might communicate this need to the relevant teams.

Reviewing processes

More than monitoring the markets and sales departments, sales executives ensure their teams work efficiently within their organization. This includes identifying clear roles for team members, communicating with other departments for needs, and reviewing tools and systems to ensure the teams have the resources they need to complete their job. You might also evaluate the sale process for individual associates from prospecting to managing customer relationships to see if every step achieves the desired results.

Building relationships

Selling products to a customer is only the first step in maintaining a relationship. Sales managers call customers to ensure their products matched their expectations, offer products that complement their previous purchases, and update them on product and company updates. You can create standard durations for associates to connect with their customers to ensure the relationship is current.

For example, sales representatives might contact their customers two weeks after a purchase, then every six months with a personal note. Consider asking for feedback, responding quickly, and addressing their concerns to build trust and maintain positive relationships.

Top Five Skills For A Sales Executive

Here are some of the top skills that successful sales managers have and that you may want to include in your job description:

1. Analytical skills

Analytical skills are those required to collect and analyze information and problem-solve to make decisions. Sales managers use their analytical skills to review data, identify the key pieces of information that are most relevant, draw meaningful conclusions and identify actionable takeaways. For example, if a sales executive notices fewer purchases from new customers in December, they may increase their up-selling goals to recover any potential lost income.

Related: Analytical Skills: Definition, Tips and Examples

2. Communication skills

Communication skills refer to someone's ability to give and receive information. Communication skills include active listening, speaking clearly and concisely, and observing body language and other nonverbal cues. Sales managers communicate with the right people at the right time, effectively and accurately delivering information using whatever medium they choose.

3. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are the soft skills that people rely on for interacting with others. They include a range of behaviors and tactics, from communication and listening to attitude and collaboration. These skills are critical for working as part of a sales team, keeping sales professionals on track and motivated, and showing a genuine passion for the team's goals. Sales managers must be able to work well with peers, leadership, and direct reports.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)

4. Strategic planning

Strategic planning is the process of setting goals and identifying actions that a company can take to achieve those goals. Sales managers must be able to gather evidence related to products and historical sales, determine objectives necessary to achieve organization-wide goals, and identify the steps necessary to achieve those objectives. Following these steps can help create an actionable plan that can help you achieve your revenue goals and develop your strategic planning skills:

  • Assess your current situation

  • Identify your customers

  • Identify any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market

  • Determine your strategy

  • Define revenue targets

  • Position your brand, products, and services

  • Define roles to execute

Related: What Is Strategic Planning and How To Do It in 6 Steps

Following these steps can help create an actionable plan that can help you achieve your revenue goals and develop your strategic planning skills.

Related: How To Create an Action Plan (With Template and Example)

5. Leadership skills

Leadership skills are critical for a sales manager to organize, manage and motivate a sales team. Leadership includes several skills, including mentoring, team-building, delegating, trustworthiness, and creativity. Leadership skills also include the ability to give clear and constructive feedback to improve the skills of individual sales professionals.

Other skills a sales executive might need include:

  • Negotiation

  • Basic math and business knowledge

  • Computer and software skills

  • Prospecting

  • Storytelling

  • Active listening

  • Public speaking

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles

Essential Qualities For A Sales Executive

More than skills, qualities are traits and behaviors that can help you excel in a role. Some of the most important qualities include:

  • Dedicated: sales executives dedicate themselves to excelling in their role, achieving their goals, and supporting their team. Even if results differ from planned targets, the sales manager focuses on larger goals and continuous improvement.

  • Persuasive: Persuasion is important in sales because the primary goal is to sell enough products and services for a company to earn a profit. In competitive markets, sales executives convince consumers why their products are better than others and they educate sales associates on effective persuasion methods.

  • Motivating: Once the sales manager sets their team's goals, they motivate the sales associates until they reach or exceed them. This can mean celebrating individual sales, rewarding outstanding results, and possibly introducing a low-stakes competition among the team.

  • Patient: Patience means both listening to your customer's needs and understanding that sometimes customers want to wait to make a purchase. It is important to judge the situation and work patiently as building a lasting relationship can be more productive than a one-time sale.

  • Resilient: Sales managers might face rejection, often in the early stages of prospecting. It is important for you to understand that this is not necessarily a reflection on your character or your abilities as a professional and that you must continue to motivate yourself.

Related: How To Improve Your Sales Skills: A Step-By-Step Guide

Job Description For A Sales Executive

Here is an example of a sales executive job description:

Position Summary

Super Greeting Cards, Inc. is looking for a sales executive who will lead our local sales team. In this role, you can expect to coordinate with our marketing department to generate leads, project sales, and establish team goals. Other responsibilities might include preparing budgets and approving expenditures, generating and presenting reports, or planning and coordinating training programs for new and existing members of our sales team, depending on the needs.

Sales manager responsibilities

  • Establishing sales objectives by forecasting and creating sales quotas for the team and individual sales representatives

  • Creating and executing strategic plans as determined by market trends and historical data.

  • Managing team performance reviews and creating reward programmes for top performers

  • Managing, coaching, and motivating the sales team to improve their skills, ensure they achieve a high professional standard, and help them achieve their monthly sales goals

  • Generating and presenting monthly sales reports to executives

Education and professional qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in business or related field but we encourage candidates with three to five years of relevant experience to apply

  • Experience in planning and implementing sales strategies

  • Exceptional customer relationship management

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Sales management experience is a plus

  • Fluent in Hindi and English

The model shown is for illustration purposes only and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

Related: Always Be Closing Sales Approach: Definition And Tips

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