Telesales Representative: Job Description, Requirements and Career Info

A career as a telesales representative often requires no formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Telesales representatives are sales people who use the telephone to reach potential or existing customers. Those who sell their companies' products to other organizations can be called inside sales representatives. Selling done through phone calls to an individual might be referred to as telemarketing. Excellent communication and phone skills, persuasiveness, patience, persistence, and keyboarding skills are needed for either type of telesales position.

Inside Sales Representative, scientific and technical Inside Sales Representative, non-technical Telemarketer
Education Requirements High school diploma, but may require bachelor's degree High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED
Other Requirements Optional certification by Manufacturers' Representative Education Research Foundation (MRERF) Optional certification by Manufacturers' Representative Education Research Foundation (MRERF) Optional certification by Manufacturers' Representative Education Research Foundation (MRERF)
Projected Job Growth 11% (average) for 2012-2022* 9% (average) for 2012-2022* 8 to 14% (average) for 2012 to 2022**
Median Salary (2014) $75,140* $55,020* $22,740**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **O*NET OnLine

Inside Sales Representative Description

Sales representatives in business-to-business (B2B) sales may attend trade shows or conferences to keep up with the latest products and trends. However, because they work by telephone, telesales representatives spend most of their time at their desks, either in an office or working from home. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that inside sales representatives, also referred to as manufacturers representatives, may make 'cold' calls to try to start a relationship with a new customer ( In some organizations, inside sales representatives work to make appointments for other outside sales representatives who meet in person with the client.

In addition to their sales duties, inside sales representatives may be responsible for administrative tasks such as preparing sales reports, scheduling appointments or researching the prices and products of a competitor.

Telemarketers Job Description

Using scripts, product knowledge, and communications skills, telemarketer or telesales representatives generate sales and interest. They work to engage the customer and ask questions that keep the conversation going. They may make the initial contact and hand the prospect off once interest is established or an appointment is made, or they might be responsible for the sale from start to finish. Quotas are often set which require a telemarketer to make a specified number of calls or reach a minimum dollar or sales number. Sales to individuals may require evening and weekend shifts.


Telesales representatives must have excellent communication skills, including a clear, confident speaking voice and a friendly rapport with customers. While they may work from a script, telesales reps must also have the ability to be flexible and creative in dealing with customers. They must represent the company in a positive light at all times; this calls for optimistic people who aren't easily upset and who naturally like working with others.

Sales representatives must be persuasive and highly motivated to make sales. Since it is often necessary to establish a relationship with a client before a successful sale, they must also be patient and persistent.

Telesales representatives are often required to input sales data into a computer while on the telephone with a customer, so keyboarding skills are required. Employers sometimes look for sales representatives to be able to type a certain number of words per minute.


While sales of scientific products or other products requiring technical knowledge may require a bachelor's degree, often there are no formal educational requirements for a career in telesales. A high school diploma or GED is frequently all that is required. It may be helpful to study business, economics, statistics, or other business courses while in high school.


The Manufacturers' Representative Education Research Foundation (MRERF) offers a certified sales professional (CSP) credential. CSP certification is earned by attending a four-day interactive program offered by the MRERF ( Participants complete written and verbal exams on the third and fourth days in order to be certified.

Career Information

For this profession, the BLS reports on earnings according to the employer's type of organization or the product sold, rather than whether a sales job is conducted on the phone or in person.

According to the BLS, sales representatives for the scientific and technical segment of the wholesale and manufacturing category reported median earnings of $75,140 in May of 2014. However, those types of job were less common; about 20% of sales representatives worked in that sector in 2014. The median salary for all the other non-technical categories was a much lower $55,020 for the same period. The job outlook from 2012 to 2022 is 11% for the scientific and technical segment and 9% for those in the non-technical categories.

Telemarketers earned much less than sales representatives. O*NET OnLine reports that the median wage for telemarketers was $22,740 in 2014. The projected job growth for telemarketers from 2012 to 2022 is 8% to 14%, which is average.

While the sales calls themselves are often conducted during regular business hours, the other administrative tasks often assigned to the sales force can make for long days. Many telesales representatives work on weekends and in the evenings as well as during regular business hours.

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