Many college seniors hunting for jobs and weighing their options find themselves asking:
Why choose a career in sales?
For those who know little about the ever-evolving world of inside sales, it’s a fair question. But anyone familiar with the industry knows that there’s no shortage of benefits to choosing a career in sales.
Most soon-to-be graduates don’t really understand what a sales career is all about. When they think about roles in sales, common misperceptions come to mind: Death of a Salesman, unwarranted promotional calls from Comcast, and going door-to-door selling knives.
These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, sales careers are low-risk and high-upside. And while some cold calling may be involved early on in your sales career, the days of field sales are coming to an end; few inside sales reps ever have to leave the office to close a deal.
But the problem remains: the advantages of sales careers haven’t been fully realized by college students heading off into the “real world.”
Hiring is Hard
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal called Why It’s So Hard to Fill Sales Roles dug into this issue. Companies hiring for inside sales roles often have a difficult time attracting talent.
According to Harvard Business School’s US Competitiveness Report, it takes 41 days on average to fill tech sales jobs, compared to just 33 days for all other jobs. This extended hiring process presents a real challenge for high-growth companies.
Paycor, a cloud-based SaaS company, claimed that it had to cut back its revenue forecast by $2 million because hiring fell short of goal in 2014.
The Surprising Lack of Interest in Sales Careers
So why aren’t more young people eager to jump into sales careers?
Well, there are a few common stereotypes responsible for this lack of interest:
- It’s high-risk and ultra-competitive.
- You’re either born do it it or you’re not.
- The primary objective is to take people’s money.
Do any of these misconceptions possess an ounce of validity? Maybe, but they’re certainly blown out of proportion.
Debunking the Myths
Let’s dig into these stereotypes a little bit…
Is a career in sales risky?
Not as risky as one might expect. Recent graduates just getting their feet off the ground may be hesitant about jobs with base salaries and commission, but this skepticism isn’t entirely justified.
The average base salary for sales jobs has increased nearly 12% from 2010 to 2014, while commission has remained stable. Not to mention that sales reps in the tech space reeled in a median annual wage of $75k in 2012 — that’s more than double the median for the average worker.
Is sales ultra-competitive?
While there is undeniably an inherent competitive aspect of sales, this isn’t the Malice at the Palace. Rather, sales teams foster healthy competition by encouraging teams to work together to achieve common goals. Individual goals are also made more collaborative through gamification, using apps like our sales leaderboard and Champ.
Are some people just born to sell?
Sure, you could argue that some people are genetically designed to be more extroverted than others. But you don’t have to possess a certain chemical makeup to be an effective salesperson. Sales is more about hard work, strategy, and persistence than your gene pool. In addition, it’s not just one personality type that makes for a good rep. Introverts actually bring a lot to the table in the field of sales, and a successful team will be made up of a solid mix of both.
Do salespeople just want to take people’s money?
While the ultimate goal of sales is to generate revenue, inside sales isn’t about ripping people off. Rather, it’s about improving people’s lives and businesses with your product or service. It’s about proving that you can make people’s lives easier through consultative selling.
Why You Should Choose a Career in Sales
If you’re a college student or recent grad considering a career in sales, don’t be blinded by the stereotypes. Inside sales is a promising career path that can provide you with:
- a financial safety net
- job security
- opportunities for upward mobility
To learn more about what your career in inside sales could look like, check out our Sales Career Paths Chart.