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Sales Representative Advancement Opportunities

Sales representatives who wish to grow their careers may consider options moving into other forms of sales, managing marketing campaigns, purchasing for a company, or working as a sales manager.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Sales Representatives

Sales representatives play an important role in the growth of companies by locating customers, discussing with them their needs and how a company's product can fulfill those needs, and writing the contracts to complete a sale. Sales representatives can be inside sales reps, who work in offices, or outside sales reps who travel to the buyers. After working in this position, some sales representatives may wish to make sure they have a bachelor's degree and then expand their career. Some potential options might be to specialize in a specific market, to work on the other end of the sales chain in purchasing, or to manage and direct others. Some possible careers are presented below.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative $76,872 (2018)** 5% (wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives) Bachelor's degree
Marketing Director $83,324 (2018)** 10% (marketing managers) Bachelor's degree and experience
Purchasing Manager $115,760 (2017)* 5% Bachelor's degree and experience
Sales Manager $121,060 (2017)* 7% Bachelor's degree and experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale

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Career Information

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

One way for sales representatives to advance their career is to focus on sales within one particular industry. One popular choice would be that of a pharmaceutical sales representative. These professionals visit doctors' offices, pharmacies, and hospitals in order to promote the products developed by a specific pharmaceutical company to target a medical condition. They must have a thorough understanding of the product that they are promoting. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must conduct their tasks in compliance with federal law and keep all required company documentation. Due to the more scientific or technical nature of this industry, pharmaceutical sales representatives typically hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

Marketing Director

Sales representatives must make aspects of their product appealing in order to drive sales. Some may wish to focus on this aspect of their position and move into a position as a marketing director. These individuals design marketing projects and campaigns and oversee the work of junior marketing staff to properly develop the message. They must be familiar with the market and be able to distinguish the product offered by their company. Marketing directors typically have experience in marketing campaigns and hold a bachelor's degree.

Purchasing Manager

One potential avenue for sales representatives looking to advance is to use their knowledge of sales to become a purchasing manager. Purchasing managers set the guidelines for companies in terms of the procurement of a range of products. They review sales proposals in terms of price and quality of proposed products for sale and write and enter into contracts for the items that are chosen. Purchasing managers typically hold a bachelors' degree and have experience in the field. Recognition as a Certified Professional Purchasing Manager is available through the American Purchasing Society.

Sales Manager

Some sales representatives may wish to advance into a managerial role and consider a position as a sales manager. Sales managers lead the sales team of a company, either for the entire company or within one particular region. They must understand the financial impact of the sales work done by their team, as they are responsible for budgeting and for any special promotions. Managers may be responsible for hiring or training new sales representatives. They may interact directly with key customers or with those who have a complaint. Sales managers typically hold a bachelor's degree in a related area and have experience as a sales representative.

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