4 Careers in Sales — and 3 Skills and Traits You’ll Need to Succeed


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Working in sales is a good fit for many people, opening up the doorway to a lifelong career that’s both lucrative and intellectually satisfying.

There are actually quite a few paths to consider if sales sounds like it’s for you, so here are a handful of examples, as well as the key capabilities you’ll need to bring to the table to blossom in a sales environment.

SDR (Sales Development Representative): Great if You’re Interested in a Tech Career

Anyone starting their tech career as an SDR is going to find that the advantage of this role is that it means people without technical degrees can still break into this fast growing industry.

As an SDR, your primary focus will be on developing relationships with prospective clients and turning them into customers. Your ability to identify potential opportunities through market research, analyzing data sets, setting up meetings or calls with prospects will be key traits needed here as well.

Account Executive: The Perfect Fit for Creative Problem Solvers

As an Account Executive, your primary focus will be on helping customers solve their business problems. You’ll need to build relationships with clients and create solutions tailored to their unique needs.

Your ability to think outside of the box and assess customer feedback is essential here. Additionally, strong communication skills are a must, as you’ll need to explain complex concepts in simple terms, so that prospects can easily understand them and make informed decisions about purchasing products or services.

Finally, staying organized while managing several different accounts simultaneously is vital, ensuring all aspects of each project run smoothly from start to finish.

Customer Success Manager: Make Your Mark by Helping Clients Succeed

This role is all about providing exceptional customer service and support, from onboarding new customers to resolving any issues they may have during their journey with your company.

People skills are paramount here, as you’ll need to build trust and empathy quickly in order for customers to feel comfortable confiding in you when faced with challenges or problems. You also need to be able to set goals and measure the metrics of success, to ensure that you’re actually hitting targets.

Inside Sales Representative: A Role for Intuitive Thinkers

Like many sales careers, this particular niche is another customer-facing role that involves a lot of one-to-one time with prospects, whether you’re following up on freshly generated leads, or even using cold calling to canvas for new conversion opportunities.

Here you’ll have to not only be a compelling communicator, but also someone who’s able to intuit the issues that leads are faced with, and craft a suitable pitch to pull them down the sales tunnel based on their unique circumstances.

Teamwork is crucial to inside sales representatives, because they can be the first point of contact with prospects, and they’ll usually end up handing over cases to colleagues to close the deal.

Skills & Traits

You’ve probably got a sense of some of the personal skills you’ll need to offer in a sales career, but let’s talk about them in more detail:

Resilience and Adaptability – Crucial Traits When Working with Customers

As a Salesperson, you’re often faced with customer objections or challenges that may seem insurmountable at first. But having the ability to stay calm under pressure and adjust your approach accordingly is crucial, enabling customers to trust that you can help them find solutions no matter what situation they’re facing.

Additionally, being able to empathize with their needs while still remaining professional will show clients how much value your products or services bring.

Persuasion & Negotiation Tactics – The Core of Every Salesperson’s Arsenal

While building trust with prospects, it is necessary to have the ability to negotiate mutually beneficial deals that satisfy both parties.

You’ll have to be able to identify what kind of incentives will make prospects more likely to purchase, whether it be discounts, special offers, or customized solutions tailored specifically for their needs. And above all else, having excellent communication skills will set you above the pack, as you endeavor to explain the value of your product without seeming too pushy.

Data Analysis & Business Acumen– Fundamental Values to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Understanding your company’s products or services inside out is the only way to convince customers to convert.

Having an eye for detail is part and parcel of this, as data-driven insights can help inform decisions about which prospects should be targeted, and how best to approach them.

Moreover, having strong leadership abilities will come in handy when managing multiple accounts in tandem, allowing you to delegate tasks efficiently while still staying on top of your other responsibilities.

The Bottom Line

It’s definitely worth looking into sales careers if you’re nearing the end of your studies, particularly if any of the skills and traits mentioned above align with your own personality.

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