Field Sales Reps & Managers: The Complete Guide for 2023

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photo of Veloxy's CEO Samir Majumdar

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Field Sales Reps & Managers: The Complete Guide for 2023

photo of a field sales rep boarding a plane

Field sales is a critical aspect of many businesses’ sales strategies, with representatives and managers working in the field to meet with customers and close more deals.

Zippia reports that there are over 731,605 field sales representatives and 127,122 field sales managers currently employed in the United States. Field sales representatives are responsible for building customer relationships, understanding needs, and persuading them to purchase, while managers oversee teams, implement sales strategies, and ensure sales targets are met.

This complete guide will explore the importance of field sales, the roles and responsibilities of representatives and managers, challenges they face, tools and technology available to them, job market information, necessary qualifications and skills, salary ranges, and training and development opportunities.

But first, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:

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 customers, make sales presentations, and close deals. Field 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 person.

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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

What does a field sales representative do?

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

The duties and responsibilities of a field sales representative include, but are not limited to:

  • Prospecting: Field sales reps identify potential customers and determine their needs.
  • Building relationships: Reps build rapport with potential customers to understand their pain points and offer solutions.
  • Sales presentations: Field sales reps conduct sales presentations and product demos to showcase the company’s offerings.
  • Closing deals: Field 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: Field sales reps 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 leads and close sales deals.
  • Adaptability: Field sales reps must be adaptable to different sales situations and able to pivot their approach to meet the needs of each individual customer.
  • Organization: Field 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 leads, close deals, and grow their customer base.

photo of a persistent field rep

Is field sales a good career?

Field sales is a rewarding career choice for those who enjoy working with people and have a passion for sales. As with any career, there are both benefits and drawbacks to consider.

One of the primary benefits of working in field sales is the opportunity to meet and interact with a wide range of people from different backgrounds and industries. This can provide a great deal of variety and excitement in the job, as well as the chance to develop strong interpersonal and communication skills.

In addition, field sales representatives often have the opportunity to work independently and manage their own schedules, which can offer a high degree of autonomy and flexibility.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider, such as the need to spend a significant amount of time traveling, the pressure to meet sales targets, and the potential for rejection and disappointment when deals do not go as planned.

Despite these challenges, many people find that the rewards of field sales make it a fulfilling and satisfying career choice. With the right training and development, field sales representatives can develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the role and achieve their career 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 to meet with clients in person and build relationships, often resulting in long-term partnerships.

The field 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.

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 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 field 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

Field sales representatives require extensive training and development to be effective in their roles. This training can come in different forms, including classroom-based instruction, on-the-job training, and coaching from experienced sales managers.

There are different types of training available for field sales representatives. One of the most common is product training, which involves learning about the products or services being sold. Other types of training may include sales techniques, communication skills, negotiation skills, and product knowledge. Some companies also offer training in business processes, such as CRM and sales forecasting.

photo at a sales training workshop

To improve skills and knowledge, field sales representatives can also participate in workshops, conferences, and other professional development opportunities. Additionally, they can read industry publications, attend field sales webinars and podcasts, and network with other sales professionals.

One effective strategy for improving skills and knowledge is to seek feedback from customers, managers, and colleagues. This feedback can help sales representatives understand their strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan for improvement.

In addition, ongoing coaching and mentoring from experienced sales managers can help field sales representatives develop their skills and reach their full potential.

Investing in training and development for field sales representatives can lead to improved sales performance, increased customer satisfaction, and greater overall business success.

What does a field sales manager do?

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 duties and responsibilities of a sales manager include, but are not limited to:

  • 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 is a dynamic and challenging career path that offers many opportunities for professional growth and advancement. With the right skills and experience, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. However, like any career, it does come with its own set of challenges.

One of the advantages of pursuing a career in field sales management is the potential for high earning potential. Additionally, field sales management offers opportunities for growth and advancement within an organization, such as promotions to higher-level management positions.

However, field sales management can also be a demanding and high-pressure job. It requires the ability to manage and motivate a team of sales representatives while also meeting sales targets and delivering results. Successful field sales managers also need to possess strong leadership skills, communication skills, and the ability to analyze data and make strategic decisions. Despite the challenges, many individuals find that field sales management offers a fulfilling and challenging career path with the potential for 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 field 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 field sales teams.

Qualifications and skills required

To succeed as a field sales manager, you will need a combination of education, 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 field 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

Training and development are also essential for the success of field sales managers. Effective field sales management requires a range of skills, from leadership and strategic planning to communication and problem-solving. To acquire and enhance these skills, field sales managers need to undergo training and development programs.

There are various types of training available for field sales managers, such as leadership development, strategic planning, team building, and communication skills. Many companies offer on-the-job training and mentorship programs to help field sales managers develop the necessary skills for success.

Additionally, field sales managers can benefit from attending conferences, seminars, and workshops focused on sales management and leadership. These events offer opportunities to learn from industry experts and network with other sales professionals, providing valuable insights and knowledge that can be applied to the field.

Overall, training and development are critical for field sales managers to continuously improve their skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. Investing in the development of field sales managers can lead to better performance, increased productivity, and more successful sales teams.

photo of an executive development seminar

Challenges in field sales

Field sales can be a rewarding career, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. It’s important for sales representatives and managers to be aware of these challenges and develop strategies to overcome them.

Here are some of the most common challenges faced in field sales, along with some tips on how to address them:

  • Time management: Field sales reps have to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, which can make it challenging to prioritize tasks and manage their schedules. It’s important for reps to use tools like calendars and scheduling apps to manage their time effectively.
  • Sales productivity: With so many different sales activities to manage, it can be difficult for reps to focus on the most important tasks. One way to increase sales productivity is to use sales automation tools that can streamline the sales process and free up more time for reps to focus on closing deals.
  • Access to technology: Not having access to the right tools and technology can be a major hurdle for field sales reps. It’s important for companies to provide reps with the necessary technology and ensure that they have the proper training to use it effectively.
  • Communication: Communication is critical in field sales, but it can be challenging to stay in touch with team members and managers when working remotely. To address this challenge, reps and managers should make use of communication tools like video conferencing, messaging apps, and email.
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction: Although virtual communication tools can be useful, they can’t fully replace the value of in-person interaction. Reps may find it difficult to build relationships with prospects and clients without the benefit of face-to-face meetings. To overcome this, reps should prioritize in-person meetings when possible and use video conferencing when face-to-face interaction isn’t possible.

By understanding these challenges and developing strategies to overcome them, field sales reps and managers can ensure that they’re working effectively and efficiently to drive sales growth.

photo of a burned out sales manager

Top field sales strategies

Field sales representatives and 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 representatives and managers have a variety of tools and technologies at their disposal to help them manage and streamline their sales processes. These tools are designed to help field sales teams improve their productivity, track their progress, and increase their effectiveness.

One of the most important tools for field sales is customer relationship management (CRM) software. This type of software allows sales reps and managers to track customer interactions and sales activities, manage customer data, and keep track of sales performance. CRM software can be used to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, track customer behaviors and preferences, and improve the accuracy of sales forecasting.

Another useful tool for field sales teams is sales enablement software, which is designed to help sales reps and managers create and deliver effective sales presentations and content. This type of software can include presentation software, content management systems, and tools for creating and managing sales collateral, such as brochures, videos, and case studies.

Mobile applications are also becoming increasingly important for field sales reps and managers, as they allow them to access important data and tools on-the-go. Mobile apps can be used to access customer data, view sales reports, and communicate with team members, among other things.

In addition to these types of software and technology, there are many other tools available for field sales teams, including sales automation software, data analytics tools, and online meeting software. These tools can help streamline the sales process, improve team collaboration, and enhance the overall effectiveness of the sales team.

One field sales software that is gaining popularity in the market is Veloxy. Veloxy is a mobile-first, AI-driven field sales solution that helps sales reps automate administrative tasks, access real-time data, and improve their sales productivity. Veloxy’s features include email tracking, meeting scheduling, automated logging, and sales analytics. It also integrates with the leading CRM system—Salesforce.

Overall, field sales tools and technology can provide significant benefits to sales reps and managers, including increased efficiency, improved communication, and better customer insights. With the right tools and technology, field sales teams can work smarter, not harder, and achieve better results.

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

The importance of field sales professionals

Field sales professionals play a critical role in strengthening customer relationships and generating more revenue. The importance of field sales professionals cannot be overstated, as they are often the front line of communication between a company and its customers.

Here are three key reasons why field sales professionals are so important:

  1. Personalized Customer Experience: Field sales professionals offer a personalized customer experience that cannot be replicated by other sales techniques. By meeting with customers in person, field sales professionals can build trust and establish a rapport that leads to long-term customer relationships. They can understand a customer’s needs, answer their questions, and provide tailored solutions to meet their specific needs.
  2. Faster Sales Cycle: Field sales professionals can help speed up the sales cycle by providing immediate answers and addressing customer concerns. They can handle objections in real-time, and they can tailor their pitch based on the customer’s reactions. This level of engagement leads to a quicker buying process, which benefits both the customer and the company.
  3. Valuable Customer Feedback: Field sales professionals have the opportunity to gather valuable feedback from customers that can be used to improve products or services. They can learn about customer pain points, preferences, and opinions, which can be used to guide future sales and marketing efforts. This feedback can also help a company understand its competition and adjust its sales strategies accordingly.

Overall, field sales professionals play a crucial role in their ability to build relationships with customers, understand their needs, and offer tailored solutions. They’re simply 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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