What qualifications are important in Sales?
If you have made it this far in our overview you are obviously attracted to the idea of working in sales. Perhaps you are considering sales as an alternative career path or maybe you are attracted by the earning potential. Either way, the first step to embarking upon any new career is to understand what academic and professional qualifications are important to employers.
Although the sales industry is attracts people from all educational backgrounds, most recruiters look for a standard level of academic achievement – four GCSEs grades A-C or equivalent.
However, there has been a growing trend in recent years for employers to ask for graduates with a 2:1 or above, especially for technical sales roles. Technical sales people will usually have a degree or equivalent in a related subject, such as computing, engineering and IT.
Similarly, science graduates are hot property for pharmaceutical sales. Whilst those with a degree in languages are employed by companies who operate on an international level and need sales people to liaise with customers whose mother tongue is not English.
Once established in your sales career, there is the opportunity to study for professional qualifications in the form of Certificates and Diplomas accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management, or the Managing & Marketing Sales Association.
Indeed, when economic conditions are testing, sales employers will place more emphasis on recruiting better-qualified and more professional people. So although professional qualifications and postgraduate study are not always necessary to progress your sales career they can help your career development.
More important than academic and professional qualifications is evidence of how your experiences in your career so far will make you a good sales person. If you have never worked in the sector before, it will be useful to gain some work experience within a customer interaction role, such as bar work or in a shop.
There are normally plenty of jobs available in these types of places and they can prove invaluable in increasing your level of commercial awareness, customer relations and more importantly an understanding of the sales process.
Alternatively, if you have established good contact with someone in your network, ask if you can shadow that person when they go out on client appointments – this way you will get to see how the job is done for real and you will pick up some helpful tips on how to do the job when your time comes.