Field Sales Representatives & Managers: The Complete Guide

photo of a field sales rep boarding a plane

Field sales plays a crucial role in business sales strategies. It involves representatives and managers who engage with customers in the field to close deals.

Currently, in the United States, there are over 731,605 field sales representatives and 127,122 field sales managers, as reported by Zippia.

Field sales reps build customer relationships in their sales territory, thereby better understanding their needs and persuading them to make purchases. Field sales managers oversee teams, implement sales strategies, and meet targets.

This guide covers the importance of field sales, roles and responsibilities, challenges, tools and technology, job market information, qualifications and skills, salary ranges, and training opportunities.

What is field sales?

Field sales, also known as outside sales, is a method of selling that involves sales representatives who engage with potential customers in person, typically outside of an office setting.

These representatives travel to meet with new clients in their assigned sales territory, making sales presentations and closing deals. Outside sales is often used in business-to-business (B2B) sales, but can also be used in business-to-consumer (B2C) sales.

photo of a field rep engaging with customer

Differences between field sales and inside sales

Inside sales, also known as remote sales or virtual sales, is a method of selling that involves sales representatives who work remotely, often from an office, and engage with potential customers primarily through phone, email, or video calls. Inside sales representatives do not typically travel to meet with customers in an assigned sales territory.

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Industries that use field sales

Field sales is commonly used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, industrial manufacturing, construction, insurance, and real estate. It is also used in industries that involve large, complex, or customized products or services, as well as those that require a high level of customer relationship management.

photo of a pharmaceutical rep and a doctor client

Field sales representative job description

Field sales representatives are responsible for generating sales leads, prospecting potential customers, and closing sales deals in person using a well-defined sales process. They are the front-line representatives of a company and are responsible for building relationships with new clients and representing the brand in the best possible light.

The typical job description includes the following field sales representative responsibilities:

  • Prospecting: Field sales representatives identify potential customers and determine their needs. This is commonly done via cold calling, emailing, and drop-ins.
  • Building relationships: Reps build rapport with potential customers to understand their pain points and offer solutions.
  • Sales presentations: Outside sales representatives conduct sales presentations and product demos to showcase the company’s offerings.
  • Closing deals: Outside sales reps negotiate pricing and terms, and ultimately close deals with clients.
  • Account management: After closing deals, reps may manage ongoing customer relationships, ensuring client satisfaction and identifying opportunities for additional sales.

Traits of a successful field sales representative

Successful field sales representatives possess certain traits that enable them to excel in this role. These traits include:

  • Communication skills: Outside sales representatives must be excellent communicators, able to listen to customers’ needs and respond with appropriate solutions.
  • Persistence: Field sales reps must be persistent in their efforts to generate new sales leads and close sales deals.
  • Adaptability: Field sales representatives must be adaptable to different sales situations and able to pivot their approach to meet the needs of each individual customer.
  • Organization: Outside sales reps must be organized in order to manage their time effectively, keep track of leads and prospects, and follow up on sales opportunities.

Field sales representatives are critical to the success of a business. They serve as the face of the company, representing the brand and building relationships with customers. Without field sales reps, businesses would struggle to generate sales leads, close deals, and grow their customer base.

photo of a persistent field rep

Is being a field sales representative a good career choice?

Field sales offers an enticing career path for those who relish human interactions and possess an innate sales drive. Like any profession, it has its pros and cons.

One major perk of outside sales is the chance to connect with a diverse range of people from various backgrounds and industries. This fosters a dynamic work environment, cultivates interpersonal skills, and fuels excitement in the role.

Furthermore, field sales reps often enjoy autonomy and flexibility in managing their schedules, allowing for a sense of independence.

However, there are challenges to consider, such as extensive travel across the sales territory, the pressure to meet sales targets, and the potential for rejection.

Despite these hurdles, many find field sales rewarding. With proper training, reps can develop the skills needed to excel and achieve their career sales goals.

Source: Zippia Logo

Field Sales Representatives - Earnings by State

Field sales representative jobs

Field sales representatives are professionals who sell products or services directly to customers or businesses outside of a physical office or store. They usually travel in their sales territory to meet with clients in person and build relationships, often resulting in long-term partnerships.

The outside sales job market is always evolving and remains an important area of focus for many businesses.

Overview of the job market

According to SBI Growth, the employment of sales representatives is projected to grow by 1 to 14% for more than half of all companies in 2023. As businesses continue to compete in crowded markets, the demand for effective field sales representatives will continue to grow.

Field sales representative job boards

When searching for exciting career opportunities in the field sales industry, it’s essential to explore job boards that cater specifically to sales roles. Here are three highly recommended platforms to kickstart your job search:

  1. LinkedIn: As a leading professional networking platform, LinkedIn offers a dedicated section for sales jobs. It provides a vast collection of outside sales positions, allowing you to connect with recruiters, showcase your expertise, and explore opportunities in your desired location.
  2. Indeed: A well-known job search engine, Indeed aggregates job postings from various sources. It offers a wide range of field sales openings, empowering you to filter results based on location, experience level, and company size.
  3. SimplyHired: Another popular job board, Simply Hired, features an extensive range of field sales positions. With its user-friendly interface and powerful search filters, you can easily find relevant job opportunities and apply directly through the platform.

Qualifications and skills required

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually the minimum requirement for entry-level field sales positions. However, a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field may be required for more advanced positions.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential for field sales representatives, as well as a high degree of self-motivation, excellent problem-solving abilities, and a customer-focused attitude.

Salary range

The salary range for field sales representatives can vary widely depending on factors such as industry, location, and level of sales experience.

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a field sales representative in the United States is $61,703 per year, with a range of $59,000 to $146,000 per year. Additionally, many field sales representatives receive performance-based bonuses or commissions, which can significantly increase their total compensation.

Overall, a career in outside sales can be a rewarding choice for those who are passionate about building relationships with customers, overcoming challenges, and driving sales growth for their organization.

Training and development for field sales reps

Effective field sales representatives require extensive training and development. They benefit from various learning approaches, including classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and coaching from experienced managers.

Training for field sales reps encompasses product knowledge, sales techniques, communication and negotiation skills, and business processes like CRM and forecasting.

photo at a sales training workshop

To enhance their skills and knowledge, reps can engage in workshops, conferences, and professional development opportunities. They can also leverage industry publications, webinars, podcasts, and networking with sales professionals.

Seeking feedback from customers, managers, and colleagues helps reps identify strengths and weaknesses, enabling them to devise improvement plans.

Ongoing coaching and mentoring from experienced managers empowers field sales reps to reach their full potential.

Investing in reps’ training and development yields improved sales performance, enhanced customer satisfaction, and overall business success.

Field sales manager job description

Field sales management is the process of overseeing and directing the sales activities of a company’s field sales team. Field sales managers are responsible for setting sales targets, developing sales strategies, and motivating their teams to meet their goals.

The average job description includes the following field sales manager responsibilities:

  • Recruiting and hiring field sales representatives
  • Setting sales targets and goals for the team
  • Providing training and coaching to field sales representatives to improve their sales skills and techniques
  • Monitoring and analyzing sales data to identify trends and opportunities for improvement
  • Developing and implementing sales strategies and action plans to achieve sales goals
  • Building and maintaining strong relationships with customers and prospects
  • Collaborating with other departments, such as marketing and customer service, to ensure seamless coordination of activities
photo of a sales manager speaking with his team

Traits of a successful field sales manager

Successful field sales managers possess a combination of interpersonal, leadership, and business skills, including:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to build and maintain relationships with customers and team members
  • Effective leadership and management skills to motivate and inspire their team
  • Strong business acumen to understand the company’s goals and objectives and translate them into actionable plans for the field sales team
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills to identify issues and opportunities and make data-driven decisions
  • Adaptability and flexibility to respond to changing market conditions and customer needs

Is field sales management a good career?

Field sales management offers dynamic growth and advancement. With the right skills, it’s a fulfilling career choice. However, challenges exist.

Advantages include high earning potential and promotion opportunities. Yet, the job demands managing and motivating teams, meeting targets, and making strategic decisions. Successful managers lead with communication skills, data analysis, and strong leadership.

Despite challenges, field sales management offers a rewarding and exciting path with long-term success.

Field sales management jobs

Field sales management is a crucial part of any successful field sales team. Field sales managers are responsible for overseeing and leading a team of field sales representatives, ensuring that they meet their sales targets and objectives.

Job market

Field sales management is a growing field, and there is high demand for qualified and experienced outside sales managers. The job market for field sales management positions is expected to grow in the coming years, as more companies recognize the value of field sales and invest in their outside sales teams.

Field sales manager job boards

If you’re an experienced sales professional looking to take the next step in your career as a Field Sales Manager (also known as Regional Sales or Territory Sales Manager) , it’s crucial to explore job boards that specifically cater to managerial roles. Here are three highly recommended platforms to kickstart your job search:

  1. Glassdoor: Known for its extensive database of company reviews, Glassdoor also offers a wide range of job postings, including Field Sales Manager positions. You can find opportunities from both established organizations and emerging companies, along with insights into company culture and salary expectations.
  2. CareerBuilder: With its comprehensive job search functionality, CareerBuilder is an excellent resource for Field Sales Managers seeking new opportunities. It provides a vast array of managerial roles, allowing you to refine your search based on location, industry, and company size.
  3. LinkedIn: As a leading professional networking platform, LinkedIn offers a dedicated section for managerial jobs, including Outside Sales Manager positions. It allows you to leverage your network, showcase your leadership skills, and connect with recruiters actively seeking experienced managers.

Qualifications and skills required

To succeed as a field sales manager, you will need a combination of education, sales experience, and skills. While specific requirements can vary depending on the company and industry, here are some qualifications and skills that are commonly required:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field
  • Several years of experience in sales, preferably in a field sales role
  • Strong leadership and management skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving abilities
  • Knowledge of the industry and the products or services being sold
  • Proficiency in sales software and technology

Salary range

The salary range for field sales management positions can vary depending on the industry, location, and the size of the company. According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for a field sales manager in the United States is around $80,000 per year, with some positions paying more than $180,000 per year.

Overall, field sales management can be a rewarding career path for those with the right combination of skills, experience, and education. With the growing demand for field sales teams, the job market for outside sales management is expected to continue to grow, providing ample opportunities for those who are interested in this field.

Source: Zippia Logo

Field Sales Managers - Earnings by State

Training and development for field sales managers

Field sales managers require continuous training and development to excel in their roles. They need a diverse skill set encompassing leadership, strategic planning, communication, and problem-solving.

Training options include leadership development, strategic planning, team building, and communication skills. Companies often provide on-the-job training and mentorship programs for managers to acquire essential skills.

Attending sales management conferences, seminars, and workshops offers valuable insights from industry experts and networking opportunities. Investing in the development of field sales managers improves performance, productivity, and the success of sales teams, ensuring managers stay abreast of industry trends.

photo of an executive development seminar

Challenges in field sales

Field sales presents exciting opportunities, but it’s not without its challenges. Sales reps and managers must confront these hurdles head-on and develop effective strategies to overcome them for sustained success.

Here are some common challenges in field sales, along with tips to address them:

  • Time Management: With a vast sales territory to cover, prioritizing tasks and managing schedules can be demanding. Utilize calendars and scheduling apps to optimize time allocation.
  • Sales Productivity: Balancing multiple sales activities can be overwhelming. Leverage sales automation tools to streamline processes and increase focus on crucial tasks.
  • Access to Technology: Limited access to essential tools can hinder performance. Ensure reps have necessary technology and receive proper training to maximize its benefits.
  • Communication: Remote work can create communication gaps. Utilize video conferencing, messaging apps, and email to maintain effective communication with team members and managers.
  • Face-to-Face Interaction: Building relationships without in-person meetings is challenging. Prioritize face-to-face interactions when possible, and rely on video conferencing for remote connections.

By addressing these challenges head-on, field sales reps and managers can enhance their effectiveness, drive sustainable sales growth, and improve the sales process.

photo of a burned out sales manager

Top field sales strategies

Field sales representatives and their sales territory managers are constantly looking for effective strategies to increase sales and build relationships with customers. Below are some of the top field sales strategies that can help achieve these goals:

  • Build relationships through personalization: Personalization is key to building strong relationships with customers. Field sales representatives should take the time to get to know their customers on a personal level and tailor their sales approach to meet their needs.
  • Focus on building trust: Trust is essential in any business relationship, and field sales representatives should prioritize building trust with their customers. This can be achieved by being transparent, honest, and following through on promises.
  • Leverage technology: Technology can be a powerful tool for field sales representatives and managers. Sales software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and sales enablement tools, can help them streamline processes, manage customer data, and improve communication.
  • Use social selling: Social selling involves using social media platforms to build relationships with potential customers and generate leads. This can be a highly effective way to reach new audiences and build a strong online presence.
  • Build a strong sales team: A successful field sales team requires a strong foundation. This includes recruiting and hiring the right talent, providing training and development opportunities, and fostering a positive team culture.
  • Be proactive: Field sales representatives should be proactive in seeking out new business opportunities and identifying potential areas for growth. This can include attending industry events, networking, and reaching out to leads.

By implementing these top field sales strategies, sales representatives and managers can improve their sales performance and build long-lasting relationships with their customers.

Field sales tools and technology

Field sales teams have an array of tools and technologies to enhance their sales processes, boost productivity, and track progress effectively. These resources streamline operations and improve overall sales performance.

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM software tracks customer interactions, manages data, and monitors sales performance. It identifies upselling opportunities, tracks customer behaviors, and enhances sales forecasting accuracy.
  2. Sales Enablement Software: This software empowers sales representatives and managers to create and deliver compelling presentations and content. It includes presentation software, content management systems, and tools for managing sales collateral.
  3. Mobile Applications: Field sales reps access critical data and tools on-the-go using mobile apps. They can access customer information, view sales reports, and communicate with team members effortlessly.

Other field sales tools include sales automation software, data analytics tools, and online meeting software.

Notably, Veloxy is an AI-driven, mobile-first platform gaining popularity. It automates administrative tasks, provides real-time data, and boosts sales productivity. Veloxy integrates seamlessly with Salesforce and offers features like email tracking, meeting scheduling, automated logging, and sales analytics.

screen shot of field sales software
Veloxy - Top 50 Field Sales Software

The importance of field sales professionals

Field sales professionals are vital for nurturing customer relationships and driving revenue. They serve as the face of the company, playing a crucial role in customer communication.

Here are three key reasons why field sales professionals are essential:

  1. Personalized Customer Experience: Field sales professionals offer a unique, personalized touch that sets them apart. By meeting customers in person, they build trust, establish rapport, and cater to individual needs, fostering long-term relationships.

  2. Accelerated Sales Cycle: Field sales professionals expedite sales by providing immediate answers and addressing concerns. Real-time objection handling and tailored pitches result in a faster buying process, benefiting both customers and the company.

  3. Valuable Customer Feedback: Field sales professionals gather valuable feedback, helping improve products and services. Insights into pain points, preferences, and opinions guide future sales efforts and inform competition analysis.

Overall, field sales professionals excel in building customer relationships, understanding needs, and providing tailored solutions. Their contribution is invaluable to businesses of all sizes.

Final thoughts

Field sales professionals, whether representatives or managers, play a critical role in growing any business. This complete guide is a helpful resource for anyone in an existing field sales role or considering one.

Try the tips above to increase your sales productivity and efficiency, close more deals, and achieve a higher salary and position.

Got questions? Ping me on LinkedIn.

Otherwise, here is a list of other helpful field sales content:


Samir Majumdar

Samir Majumdar

Samir is the CEO and Co-founder of Veloxy. After spending 20+ years creating corporate systems, boosting revenue, and eliminating inefficiencies, Samir started Veloxy to help sales professionals shorten sales cycles, accelerate pipelines, and close more deals.

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