Common Sales Roles

Introduction
For people that do not have any meaningful experience working in a sales role, all sales roles appear to be the same role. Contrary to this general misperception, there is actually a significant amount of variety in the most common types of sales roles all of which require significantly different set of skills, experiences, and responsibilities.

Based on our experiences, there are at least six major types of common sales roles. Each type can affect the required skills and experiences for the targeted role.

Note that the titles used below are only intended for illustration purposes. In many instances, the titles that companies actually use for its sales roles do not indicate what the "real" job responsibilities are for each role. This title creativity is used by the companies that try to hide the fact that the role is in fact a sales role. 

Hunter/National Account Executive
This type of sales role involves spending a majority of the time pursuing new sales from new customers. This type of role usually requires strong prospecting, referral, and closing skills.  The depth and earning potential of this role can vary based on the size and complexity of the typical sale and the typical customer: i.e. Small Game, Big Game, Large Game, and Jumbo Game.

Rancher/Senior Account Representative
This type of sales role involves spending a combination of time pursuing new sales (add-on sales) from existing customers, and pursuing new sales from new customers that are close to home. This role requires medium prospecting, referral, and closing skills.  

Farmer/Account Representative
This type of sales role involves spending a majority of time growing sales from a base of existing customers. This role requires strong customer service and relationship building skills. This role will cultivate for new sales opportunities from their existing base of customers. The depth and earning potential of this role can vary based on the size and complexity of the typical sale and the typical customer: i.e. Garden Farmer, Field Farmer, Plantation Farmer, and Global Farmer 

Fisherman/Sales Associate
This sales role involves spending all the time responding to demands from existing customers. This role requires medium customer service and relationship building skills. The depth and earning potential of this role can vary based on the size and complexity of the typical order and the typical customer: i.e. Stream Fisherman, River Fisherman, Lake Fisherman, and Ocean Fisherman.

Route Sales Representative
This sales role is similar to the Fisherman except that the majority of the time is spent face-to-face calling on existing customers using a predetermined schedule or route. 

Ambassador/Busy Bee
This type of sales role focuses on the social aspects of selling and entertaining a base of existing customers. This role requires strong relationship building and organizational skills.

Additionally, there can be other types of complexities that can impact the skills and experiences required for the sales roles listed above:

  • The percentage of their time that is spent selling to new customers versus selling to existing customers. New Customer Sales Reps typically spend more than 60% of their time acquiring new customers, and Existing Customer Sales Reps typically spend more than 60% of their time selling to an assigned base of existing customers.
  • Whether the Sales Reps are Inside Sales Reps (work primarily out of an office) or Outside Sales Reps (work primarily on the road)
  • Whether they are Direct Sales Reps (employed by the company) or Indirect Sales Reps (either self employed or employed by another company)