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What are the responsibilities of a Sales Executive?

Extensive Responsibilities of a Sales Executive; Evolution of their job position

What comes to one’s mind when the word ‘Sales’ pops up? Traditionally, people would think it as of an aggressive approach to convert the customer. Many things have changed over the past years.

When new freshers enter the world of sales as Sales Executive, their roles and responsibilities are not what a common man assumes. A Sales Executive acts as the chief point of contact between an organization and its clients.

A Sales Executive at the fresher level performs tasks like searching for leads, sorting out the potential ones, making calls and connecting them with the core team of the organization.

The tasks may appear to be easy but they require a proper level of knowledge and expertise. A Sales Executive is expected to have a good hold over their soft skills.

Soft Skills are the non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They define your behaviour and attitude towards your colleagues and clients. An average sales executive must have the following skills:

  • Communication- Communicating with your team and clients forms the basis of all the other skills required. If an entry-level sales executive can circulate their thoughts smoothly, they can also convert the potential client with no aid. It further serves as a factor for their future growth.
  • Motivation- No other employee thrives on staying motivated as much as a sales executive does. The act of sales is relatively unpredictable. One does not know if the sales would take place even until the last stage. Thus, it becomes crucial for the executive to boost up their motivation.
  • Presentation- What could a Sales Executive possibly do when they have plenty of ideas but no solid way to present them? The answer is, quit. Accurate presentation of ideas is necessary because a sales pitch can either break or make the prospect.
  • Teamwork- Many sales executives work under their sales manager. All of them possess unique ideas of their own. It is principal to work collectively as a team to reduce unnecessary overlapping of ideas and work.

Apart from the soft skills, a Sales Executive must have a good hold of their major responsibilities which include:

  1. Research and examine sales options- An organization may have many options to pitch in their sales ideas to. However, the right manner to go on with the process is to conduct detailed research and examine the options thoroughly. A Sales Executive performs this task.
  2. Cold Calls with clients- A Sales Executive is required to call potential clients and give a gist of the ideas to lure the client. Cold Calls are ‘blind shots’ and there is no guarantee of conversion.
  3. Meet with potential clients- After removing options who did not respond well over cold calls, a list of actual clients is formulated. A Sales Executive meets with the clients online or in-person and presents the ideas and pitch. Accurate presentation of ideas is of utmost importance.
  4. Maintaining relationship with the client- Post the conversion of a client, maintenance of good relationships with a client is vital. This function is performed by a Sales Executive.
  5. Keeping sales records- A Sales Executive keeps the record of sales over the year to determine the sales rate. It also aids in examining the progress of an organization.
  6. Staying up-to-date with sales trends- Sales patterns change over the year frequently. It occurs due to multiple reasons. In a competitive work culture, it is crucial to stay updated with all of the changes taking place. It helps in analyzing the trends and introducing newer strategies to boost sales up.

The basic responsibilities of a sales executive stated above always remain constant. But, it must be noted that the method/way the sales are performed is never the same. The pattern has evolved over the past years and is likely to change in the future.

The Evolution of Sales

Whenever one talks about evolution, one needs to go back to the beginning of it. The Evolution of the sales industry takes one back to the aggressive selling methods. The stages of evolution include:

Stage 1

This stage was active years ago. An example of an average sales executive of Stage 1 consists of Ms Kohli who is a tall and beautiful woman. She wears proper office attire and carries a handbag full of sales brochures with her.

She believes in talking a lot and convincing the client by using any aggressive method of sales. In those times, women were considered to be convincing and manipulative, thus Ms Kohli uses her skills to the best of her capabilities and convinces the customer into buying the product/service.

The roles and responsibilities of Ms Kohli revolve around door-to-door or telesales, word of mouth and maintenance of records over the paper.

With a mock example of a sales executive in the first stage, it can be understood that the techniques used by them were aggressive and they aimed to sell either by hook or crook.

They had to keep a manual record of data and would carry multiple business cards with them to cater to the needs of the clients at any point in time.

Stage 2

This stage evolved from using truculent selling techniques. They rejected this approach and called it ‘old-fashioned’.

An example of a sales executive from this stage consists of Ms Kohli who has overcome the phase of using primitive methods.

She believes in pitching in the sales idea after having a deeper understanding of the client. She analyzes the needs of the clients and matches them with the sales pitch.

It helps her in relating to the client and addressing their problems effectively. The standard method of pitching the idea is explaining it in a single line without pressurising the client. Does she focus on giving a detailed description of the product? The answer is, NO.

She aims at talking less and listening more. In this process, she describes the sale in the shortest possible manner.

With the evolution of technology, Ms Kohli now has tech-savvy features. She uses a CRM System and keeps a record of the sales over an excel sheet. The process has been simplified.

Stage 2 example showcases the change in the approach of the sales executives. It leads to a change in their attitude towards the customer. The workload has significantly reduced with the aid of technology. Additionally, effective teamwork has become the need of the hour.

Stage 3

The current stage also referred to as Stage 3 revolutionised the sales method further. Ms Kohli now has the freedom to alter the sales pitch as per her understanding of the client. The approach of listening more remains the same. But, the act of describing the product/ service has narrowed down even more. After a general description, the focus moves back to the needs of the client.

An example that explains this well is the approach of CRED, a company that uses current affairs as a form of its sales pitch. Olympic champion, Neeraj Chopra is a part of an advertisement regarding the usage of credit cards.

Ms Kohli’s workload regarding the management of work has reduced significantly. By using tools and technology for sales, she can automate tasks like:

  1. Data entry
  2. Emailing prospects
  3. Lead generation
  4. Scheduling calls
  5. Sharing notes and collaborations with other members

Thus, it can be stated that Stage 3 has experienced rapid advancement.

The question is, will any changes take place further?

Yes.

Changes are bound to take place. The method used by the sales executives right now may be rejected in the future.

Future of Sales

As the AI plans on entering the work culture by the end of the decade, the method of sales is likely to change. The Sales Executives would enter ‘Stage 4’. This would include customised sales pitches for every customer. The roles and responsibilities of a Sales Executive would be simplified.

Creative freedom would be given and the environment would be user-friendly. Technology will play a pivotal role in every aspect of sales.

References:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/evolution-sales-executive-ravi-ramamurthy/?trk=articles_directory

https://www.demodia.com/discovering-demand/the-evolution-of-sales-representatives

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/07/24/the-four-phases-in-sales-management-evolution/?sh=40ad96d84f54

https://www.upgrad.com/blog/sales-executive-job-description/

https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/job-descriptions/sales-executive-job-description

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