Territory Sales Representative Careers: Salary & Job Description

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A territory sales representative earns an annual average salary of $65,800, but is it worth all the training requirements? Get real job descriptions and see the truth about career prospects to see if a territory sales representative career is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Territory Sales Representative Career

A territory sales representative travels to specific territories to sell goods to vendors. Continue reading for the pros and cons of this career field.

Pros of Being a Territory Sales Representative
Mobility of meeting clients instead of calling in an office*
Job opportunities are projected better for non-office sales representatives*
Responsible for helping clients find new products and showing them how they work*
Relative independence away from an office**

Cons of Being a Territory Sales Representative Career
Large amount of traveling via car*
Meeting sales goals can be stressful*
Possibility of working beyond 40-hours a week*
Possibly uncomfortable for shy workers**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net

Essential Career Info

A territory sales representative, also known as an outside sales representative, is a sales representative who travels to a specific territory to sell goods to vendors. According to the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics (BLS), a territory sales representative meets with both existing clients and prospective clients to sell or discuss new products. Depending on the product being sold, a territory sales representative may show samples or demonstrate how the product works in front of the prospective client.

A typical territory sales representative spends most of their time traveling around a region and meeting face-to-face with clients. They may jump right into a sales discussion or ask consulting questions to a client, in hopes that they can help sell a new product to them. The sales representative also monitors how competitors and their marketing strategies are performing in a geographic area and will provide advice to sales management on new ways to market a product. A typical work week can expand beyond 40 hours a week because of time spent meeting with clients after hours and travel-time.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

Salaries for sales representatives vary. The BLS, using data it accumulated and published in May 2014, calculated that the average annual salary for all sales representatives was $65,800. The bottom tenth-percentile of sales representatives earned an average annual salary of $26,790, while the top tenth-percentile of all sales representatives earned an average annual salary of $116,230.

The BLS projects the field for all wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives will grow by 9% from 2012-2022. The BLS indicates that a wider range of products and technologies will lead to increased demand for these sales representatives.

Training Requirements

According to O*Net Online, a territory sales representative needs to have excellent sales and marketing skills. Since they travel, a territory sales representative must be confident to highlight, explain, demonstrate and train workers on how a product is used and its advantages over competitors. The sales representative must also be personable as they travel directly to see current and potential clients at their offices.

In terms of direct training, the BLS states that there are no formal education prerequisites to become a territory sales representative. Many companies or educational seminars hold training sessions where you can learn effective communication techniques and marketing skills. The BLS notes that some companies hold 2-year training programs where you can learn the basics of marketing. However, O*Net shows that many sales representatives hold an associate's or bachelor's degree.

What do Employers Look for?

Many firms desire an outside sales representative who is outwardly positive and self-motivating. These qualities are highly regarded in the marketing sector and are necessary when traveling across regions of the country to sell products. Many firms also want a person who is in constant communication with vendors and management so that the firms can know how sales are going. Recent job postings as of March 2012 include:

  • An Orange County, California, territory sales representative is needed to sell pet food products. The representative should focus on independent pet retailers while monitoring the competition from other pet food companies in the region. Candidates should be vocal about how the company can change marketing strategies seen in the local area.
  • A pharmaceutical company needs a territory sales representative to travel near the Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, region to inform doctors and hospitals about the latest drugs the company created. The seller needs to explain the science and medicinal background of each drug thoroughly and provide samples. Since the position involves highly technical skills in medicine, a few years of experience in healthcare and a bachelor's degree is preferred.
  • An apparel company needs a territory sales representative to travel around the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, region. The outside sales representative needs to coordinate with local sales managers and book appointments with vendors. Monthly sales goals are set-up, and the job requires a bachelor's degree.

How to Stand Out in the Field?

One way to professionally demonstrate your expertise in the marketing and sales field is to gain certification. The BLS notes that certification is offered through the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). The Certified Sales Professional (CSP) designation demonstrates an individual's ability to not only market goods, but to also consult with clients and vendors about potential products that will help them. The certification consists of a 3-day seminar that includes a written and verbal exam.

A common way to stand out in the field is to hone your personality skills. According to O*Net, most of the responsibilities of an outside sales representative consists of marketing goods to vendors with a persuasive, pleasant and consultative attitude. An ideal territory sales representative needs to be able to communicate well and critically think about what is best for the vendor or client, not just complete a sale.

Other Fields to Consider

One alternative career that you may find similar to a territory sales representative is a public relations specialist. A public relations specialist is an individual who either helps promote a product through the media or responds to the media inquiries concerning the product. Like a territory sales representative, you need to understand marketing, client needs and possess great communication skills. On the other hand, you do not often travel or meet clients face-to-face. According to O*Net Online, job growth is predicted to be faster than average from 2010-2020, and the mean annual wage was $53,000 per year in 2011.

Another occupation to consider is a product demonstrator. A product demonstrator typically sells and shows how a product is used in front of a public audience. They may show the product live at trade shows or demonstrate how the product is used online through video. A territory sales representative often shows how a product is used in front of a client and needs to persuade the client to purchase the product. However, a product demonstrator seldom acts like a consultant with a client one-on-one, and they need to perform in front of large audience sizes. According to O*Net Online, job growth is predicted to be average from 2010-2020, and the mean annual wage was $24,000 per year in 2011.

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George Mason University

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Saint John's University

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University of Delaware

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  • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General
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Colorado State University Global

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