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What Are the Different Types of Sales Qualifications?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Employers look at a number of different types of sales qualifications when hiring for business development and sales roles. These include educational qualifications such as training courses, higher education, and certifications. It also includes qualifications such as experience within an industry, experience in sales, and often, past success in terms of quotas or sales rankings. Employers may also consider other factors, such as the ability to travel, strong presentation skills, and an ability to negotiate successfully.

Education can be an important factor when considering sales qualifications. In many cases, the best-paying positions, including sales management positions, require the candidate to have at least a bachelor's degree. Some companies prefer or require an MBA for sales managers. Other companies, however, are more concerned with a candidate's experience and are satisfied with an associate's degree or some amount of professional development training. Still others work with high school diplomas as long as the candidate has the right type of personality and can meet the other requirements of the position.

For many employers, experience is the most important of the sales qualifications. Some employers are willing to work with anyone who has a strong history of sales-related roles. Customer service and, sometimes, customer-facing retail experience can qualify a candidate for some inside sales positions. Employers seeking to fill outside sales positions most likely want a candidate who has experience in outside sales. They may also want someone with sector experience, meaning that, if the company sells to businesses, it wants someone with business-to-business experience, and if it sells directly to consumers, it wants a salesperson with business-to-consumer experience.

It is not unusual for companies to search for sales candidates with experience or education in a specific industry. This is particularly true of highly technical industries such as telecommunications, engineering, and aeronautics. Required sales qualifications for positions in these industries might include a formal degree or functional experience in the applicable field. This means that the salesperson might, for example, need to be an engineer or have IT project management experience.

Many sales roles require extensive travel, public speaking, and a presence at trade shows. This means that speaking ability, ability to travel, and a professional appearance may be critical sales qualifications. Employers also commonly look for high motivation, persistence, and clear communication skills. Employers frequently ask sales candidates for quota or ranking data, which tells the employer how successful the candidate has been in the past.

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