Field sales is a vital part of many of the biggest B2B and wholesale companies’ sales strategies, employing over 790,000 people in the US alone. Whether you’re looking to become a field sales representative yourself, plan on managing a team of field sales reps, or want to expand your company sales strategy, you need to understand all the basic information first.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything to do with field sales, including the field sales representative job description, salary, responsibilities and duties, necessary skills, and more.
Field Sales Representative Job Description
Field sales, also known as outside sales, is a face-to-face sales strategy companies use to cultivate new leads, keep existing customers satisfied, and facilitate new sales. B2B and wholesale businesses employ the most field sales representatives as their income mainly relies on repeat purchases from long-term clients.
Therefore, a field sales representative’s job description involves two main activities:
- Researching and qualifying potential leads by traveling to their place of business and offering products or services.
- Regularly meeting with existing customers face-to-face to build relationships, satisfy their needs and wants (ex., help with maintenance, place replenishment orders, negotiate prices, etc.), and maximize profitability.
Field Sales Representative Salary
The field sales representative salary depends on several factors, including education, performance, and, most of all, location. To help you get a better idea of how much you can expect to make as a field sales rep, we’ve compiled this list of average salaries by location:
According to Glassdoor, a field sales representative working in the US earns, on average, $62,329 per year in base pay and $91,376 with additional pay variables factored in.
However, this number fluctuates depending on the state you work in. For example, in Texas, you can expect to make around $62,486. In California, $64,904, and in Washington, $67,899.
As you can imagine, the yearly salary varies just as much across European countries, if not more than in US states. For example, in the UK, you can expect to earn the equivalent of $27,179; in Germany, this would be $34.655. In the Czech Republic, $16,455, and in Spain, around $30,000.
Field Sales Representative Responsibilities & Duties
In our earlier sales job description, we’ve already touched on what a field sales representative does, but field sales reps have even more responsibilities and duties beyond that. These include:
- Negotiating & closing new deals using a variety of sales strategies
- Meeting personal and team sales quotas
- Working with various teams to maximize sales and profits
- Building relationships with customers in their territory
- Researching and cultivating new leads in their territory
- Regularly traveling around their territory and meeting with customers
- Managing multiple customer accounts at once
- Maintaining close records of all existing customers and potential leads
- Acting as a reliable brand representative across customer-facing interactions
- Spreading awareness about problems and educating customers on how the brand’s products and services can help solve them
- Monitoring industry competitors, products, and services to establish room for growth and improvement
- Attending seminars, learning courses, and sales events to improve skills and ensure high performance
Field Sales Representative Skills
Field sales representatives typically don’t need any diplomas or titles from their higher education – save perhaps a Bachelor’s degree in some companies/industries. However, to successfully fulfill the duties and responsibilities outlined above, field sales representatives need to have a wide variety of skills. These include:
- Strong communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills to help bolster good relationships and promote successful sales
- Good sales skills and a strong grasp of various sales techniques to help close deals and maximize profits
- Good time-management skills to attend to their assigned customers and responsibilities in their territory
- Strong computer skills to efficiently work with required work-related tools
- Critical-thinking skills to help identify customer problems, needs, wants, and limitations and effectively assess opportunities to grow in the market
- Being independent with a strong work ethic to handle all their responsibilities without the need for direct supervision or assistance
- Good problem-solving skills and the ability to think on their feet to quickly solve personal and customer problems, helping build trust and satisfaction
- Quick learner to absorb necessary information regarding the products/services and adapt to new changes
- Good listener and an approachable personality to help cultivate long-lasting customer relationships easily
Field Sales Representative Interview Questions
Do you want to become a field sales representative? Below you’ll find several examples of questions you might encounter. These include:
- Describe the sales techniques you’re most familiar with. Which ones do you find the most and least effective?
- How do you source potential clients? Considering our products, what do you think would be the most effective methods for our company?
- Who do you think our clients are, and what would you suggest to increase our market share?
- When do you stop pursuing a client?
- What do you do after you close a sale?
- Describe the customer decision-buying process. What’s your role in each phase?
- Have you worked with Salesforce.com? What other CRM software do you know?
- What keeps you motivated in this job?
- Walk me through a successful cold call.
- What tools do you use to forecast sales trends?
- What information do you need to prepare a quarterly report?
- How do you prepare yourself for a presentation to a new client?
- How often do you communicate with existing clients?
- How do you identify customer needs?
- How would you sell me something more expensive than the competition?
- Explain how you deal with negative clients giving examples from your past experience.
- Describe a situation where you failed to reach a sales goal. What happened, and what did you learn from that experience?
- What would you like to learn more about to become a better Field Sales Representative?
- Are you comfortable working outside the office and possibly traveling a lot?
Field Sales Representative Tools
Most people imagine that being a field sales representative is all about working with people. And they’re right to a certain extent, but as a field sales rep, you’re also likely to find yourself working with a variety of tools to help you achieve your goals. These include:
- Sales Cloud by Salesforce lets users run their entire sales process and connect customer touchpoints across disparate systems, applications, and departments.
- Resco Mobile Sales is a mobile and offline-friendly solution with everything your sales team may need, including route planning, to-do lists, customer care, reporting, and more.
- Xceleration is a web-based platform offering the rewards, motivation, and knowledge necessary to create effective sales incentive programs.
- Brainshark provides a comprehensive sales enablement and readiness platform, including onboarding, product launches, new markets, and competitive news.
- ReferenceEdge is a native Salesforce application for managing customer reference/advocate information and automating the reference request workflow.
- FirstRain uses data science and real-time analytics to help managers make timely decisions and machine learning to help sales leaders make sense of their internal content.
- Adobe Connect allows you to create digital training, webinar, and collaboration experiences, including interactive learning and compelling micro-sites.
- Slack helps sales teams work smarter with cross-functional partners. Managers can set up public channels for improved visibility between sales, marketing, product, and support, so all groups work toward the same goals.
- Gong captures sales conversations, phone calls, web conferences, and emails. It then uses AI to uncover patterns and opportunities.
Field Sales Representative Examples
So you want to become a field sales representative. But where should you seek employment? Below are several examples of companies employing field sales representatives across different industries. These include:
- Coca Cola
- Ford Motor Company
- Toyota Motor Corp.
How to Become a Good Field Sales Representative
Becoming a field sales representative may seem daunting, especially after reading about all the responsibilities and skills required. However, you need to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t worry if you don’t think you have everything you need yet.
Follow this short guide, and you’ll soon become an excellent salesperson.
#1 Prepare a Sales Strategy
The key to a closed deal is careful preparation. So, before you ever meet with a potential client, you should have a plan of action ready. Consider your sales pitch and all the possible outcomes, and prepare your next steps accordingly.
#2 Be Organized
In sales, it’s best not to leave anything to chance. There will be a lot of data, interactions, touchpoints, and customers to keep track of in your new position, and trying to remember or write them all down is just asking for trouble. Instead, step into the modern age of sales with a paperless mobile solution you can access anytime and anywhere.
#3 Become a Storyteller
Studies have shown that people prefer good storytelling to dry facts. If you can communicate an engaging story, people are 55% more likely to buy your product/service. Think about how you can spin a tale about your company and its other customers to make your lead want to become a part of your journey, and you’ll immediately see the difference.
#4 Respect Your Customers
As you should know by now, being a field sales representative is all about building good, long-lasting relationships. Sometimes that means sacrificing a sale to earn a lead’s trust. Don’t prioritize short-term profits if you know the customer won’t be satisfied in the long run.
Admit if your product is not a good choice for the customer right now, keep the price fair, and remember to balance your and the client’s goals. Strike this delicate balance, and everyone will be happy.
#5 Don’t Take the Job Personally
A part of being a salesperson is getting turned down. Not every pitch will be a success. Some people let this get to them, but you need to remember that it’s rarely anything personal. If you want to make it in this industry, you need to learn to take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and go meet with another client.
Trends to Follow for Field Sales Representatives
Field Sales, just like Sales in general, changes quickly. Each week seemingly brings out new trends and best practices to follow to maximize your company performance. To make sure you don’t get left behind in the dust, we’ve compiled these trends to keep an eye on.
Invest in Sales Automation Software & Tools
In Sales, each second saved can mean a dollar gained. Earlier in the article, we’ve discussed several examples of software and tools you can use to streamline your sales processes. Nevertheless, it’s a point worth repeating.
Experts estimate that 30% of sales activities can be automated. This includes meeting scheduling, quote generation, meeting follow-ups, rep assignments, and lead scoring. But which tools should field sales prioritize?
Leverage a Powerful CRM
82% of companies use Customer Relationship Management tools for sales reporting and automation. Primarily, CRMs are used to keep all sales assets and information centralized in a single tool to encourage collaboration, streamline processes, and boost efficiency.
Field sales representatives can use CRMs to visualize their sales funnel, find points of significant customer drop-off throughout the journey and troubleshoot. Furthermore, they can save themselves the trouble of repetitive tasks by automating necessary, but monotonous activities, such as the ones described above.
Navigate Field Sales with Route Planning
Before a representative can even initiate the sales process, they first need to physically get to their lead. This can often be time-consuming and costly, especially if the route isn’t planned appropriately.
Despite that, only a fraction of companies currently use field service route planning to cut time and cost. However, the tides are changing, and smart industry players have started to incorporate these solutions into their operations.
Simply put, field sales representatives are the backbone of many of the biggest companies’ sales teams. The position is great for anyone who doesn’t want to spend any extra time in school and make some nice money traveling and chatting with people from all walks of life.
Work on your skills, take the information from this article to heart, and give field sales a shot! It might just be the career you’ve been looking for.