The sales department of a company is populated with sales reps that perform different functions. Field sales representatives are salespeople tasked with going into the field – out into the wide world – to pursue their sales goals.
A field sales force focuses on selling products and services to other businesses or wholesale organizations. They may also be involved in direct selling to residential customers.
Field sales representatives visit customers within their assigned territory to develop and maintain relationships while also closing deals.
Field Sales Representative Duties
A typical sales representative job description includes various activities to support the sales process. Field sales representative responsibilities could involve attending industry events as the initial contact for potential customers.
Consider some of the other main duties that field sales reps will perform as an integral part of the sales team.
Represent the Company’s Product
Field sales representatives must be familiar with their company’s products and services. They also do well to stay informed on the activities of their company’s competitors.
A field sales rep is often the first face potential clients will see. They should have a keen product knowledge and be ready for all sales opportunities.
Field sales representatives can maximize profitability by being ready to pursue all avenues of reaching new customers and getting repeat business from existing customers.
In that effort, they may attend B2B events or use in-person cold calling or other selling methods to reach customers and get more leads.
Build Rapport with Prospective Customers
The successful candidate for a field sales representative focuses not only on closed sales but also maintaining relationships with customers.
Field sales representatives may perform important functions like giving sales presentations to new clients and noting a customer’s specific needs and interests.
Once a relationship with clients is established, field sales reps work to deepen the customer relationship with regular contact to ensure proper account management and cultivation.
Outside sales agents also spend time preparing sales reports for management on their sales territory and keeping them informed on market conditions in the area and the potential for new accounts.
Develop New Leads
Field sales representative responsibilities include searching out prospective clients. Depending on the industry, these sales leads may be pursued through cold calling or door-to-door sales.
The outside sales team may coordinate with other departments and supply sales management with valuable data on market trends and potential customers from their sales territory.
This data can be input into a customer relationship management (CRM) system for follow-up by either the field sales team or inside sales representatives.
Field Sales Representative Skills
A field sales representative job involves the skills required for most sales industry positions. Fine interpersonal skills are a must.
The sales agent is concerned with developing customer service skills while following the company’s sales processes.
The top skills required for field representative jobs include:
- Organization skills
- Negotiation experience
- Ability to address customer complaints
- Self-motivated attitude
- Market research abilities
Field sales representative education is an important part of their skill set. A high school diploma or GED is likely required, and technical positions may benefit from a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
Many companies look for field sales representatives that have sales experience. Entry and mid-level field sales team members may require two years of experience.
This can show sales management that they have a good record of reaching sales quotas.
Average salary ranges will vary depending on experience, location, and the industry.
Differences Between Field Sales Representatives and Inside Sales Representatives
There are a lot of similarities between field sales representatives and inside salespeople. Both are concerned with converting new leads into acquiring new accounts and providing a top experience for customers.
The main difference between the two is where they perform their duties. Inside sales representatives will work from an office setting or remotely from a home office.
On the other hand, field sales representatives meet with new leads or customers at other locations and may visit customers at their business or conferences and events.
Good interpersonal skills are a must since field sales representatives meet face-to-face with potential clients. They should be good listeners.
Field sales representatives will have great networking abilities and a good knowledge of their products. They may also have good sales demonstration abilities to show off their product line.
Generally, a field sales representative will deal with more complex and expensive products or services and aim to reach decision-makers in prospective customers’ organizations.
An inside sales team member will often use cold calling methods and be involved in selling less complex or sophisticated products.
Strategies for Finding Field Sales Representatives
Companies want to develop sales strategies that match their sales process. Here are some key methods that help to ensure your efforts are helping you reach your sales goals.
Set Field Sales Objectives
A sales team will bring together each sales professional’s strengths, including the field sales representatives. Sales managers must understand the best way to organize the field sales agents so that all areas are covered within their region.
Balance the number of field sales reps with the number of managers and inside salespeople to ensure the most efficient sales strategy.
Provide clear goals to field sales reps but don’t micromanage. Many outside sales representatives will thrive when given proper guidance and autonomy to accomplish their goals.
Optimize Your Recruitment Strategy
Ensuring successful sales campaigns means starting with a proven recruitment process. This means determining upfront what skills, knowledge, and experience your sales reps should have when hired.
Be ready to repeat the hiring process as your company grows or needs change.
Cross-training inside salespeople on field sales tactics may be beneficial. This would allow for lateral transfer of the sales team members.
Develop the Right Sales Compensation Plan
Every sales representative should feel motivated and rewarded for their hard work. Devise a sales compensation structure that addresses your company’s needs and meets field sales representative expectations.
Gather input from sales team members and the industry standards to see what type of structure best fits your situation. Many companies can offer a base salary plus a commission structure.
Others may favor a commission-only compensation plan to motivate field sales representatives toward higher sales goals.
Whatever method you choose, monitor sales performance to see where adjustments in compensation and incentivization can be made.