Sales jobs: different expectations and different learning’s in different sectors ..


Growth in a job, ability to switch jobs across industries and career growth across product segments etc. are all dependent mostly on “you” the individual and your capabilities, However, your choice of a job, serves as a step towards your future, and if you don’t plan well, you may find it difficult to change course at a later date.

When ever you look for your next job , you can unknowingly end up choosing a job, from where an outward movement might be difficult. Normally we don’t realise till its too late, that whatever we do – leads to certain learning’s and experience that adds value to us and supports future growth, but it can also brand us and limit our growth.

Normally, we hear that companies hire for attitude and potential. This is true, however for key roles at managerial level companies also look for relevant experience in related sector or industry. This is one reason why you should understand the limitations and strengths of the experience and learning’s from your present job or planned job. 

We would look at the case with the example of Sales Jobs, and the expectations from a sales professional in various industries. **

Sales – is a business function, that is integral to any business.

Does it mean that a proven experience in Sales in some sector, should ideally groom you as a potential candidate for a sales job in any sector or industry ?

Whenever you look at a job role, and its intricacies – the business model, as to – What is being sold & How it’s being sold, would determine if experience from one sector gets you the essential skill sets to make you employable for any other sector.

FMCG , Telecom – Channel Sales

In FMCG segment, normally companies follow the channel sales model, where in the products get to a consumer through the channels comprising – Distributor, Retailers. There may also be some regional & local distributor, stockists etc. or some other intermediaries. 

The FMCG sales model is some what similar to the model followed by telecom operators – specially prepaid. Sales professionals from FMCG, are one of the best choice for sales positions in a telecom services company, if you are unable to find a candidate with relevant telecom experience. The FMCG & telecom services sales professionals are more focussed on creating volumes and driving sales through the channel. 

Consumer Durable, Consumer Electronics:

Consumer durable & consumer electronics also happen to be dependent on the channel model, however the value of every transaction is quite high. There may be also an enhanced need for product understanding in this segment, since the products are more complex as compared to FMCG & telecom services.

In all the above – the essential contribution by a sales person stays on appointment of channel partners, retention of channel partners, profitability of channel partners, and delivery by channel partners. There may be an additional focus on facilitating collection, developing field level promotional campaigns etc. and maintaining the positioning of the product in front of the customers as per companies brand guidelines.

Banking, Finance , Insurance: Sales in banking, finance is mostly direct sales – either you are selling at the branch, or you are selling investment solutions to the HNI’s. Focus is mostly on relationship and ability to build and sustain trust. If you land up in a sales job in Banks, Insurance companies, and investment advisory or services company, you might enjoy a great growth etc. within the sector however once you spend 2- 3 years in the sector, you may only be able to find your next job in the same industry. If at a later date you want to move to IT , Tech, Telecom or any other sector it can be extremely difficult.

Media Space selling for a print media product – is a again a different ballgame, and may get you a good experience that’s may only be appreciated by other print media companies. So, if you are selling advertisement slots in news paper it may be difficult for you to get into other sectors.

B2B Sales: This allows you to gain necessary experience to be able to gel in with almost any sector – since the focus is on your ability to create and nurture relationships & key account management. Again there are certain limitations – if you are in B2B FMCG food and B2B retail for retail majors, cash & carry stores, commodity companies etc. you gain a good experience of networking, relationship building and driving sales. B2B sales, in some other sectors like – IT, Technology, Telecom etc. additional focus in form of a good level of product understanding, solution selling etc. comes in the picture.

Your choice of job, needs to leverage your personality strengths, your area of interest, your future expectations and the learning’s that a job can give you to build on yourself and take your career forward.


Note: Telecom services also undertake sales through branded stores, direct sales , DSA channel models etc. Financial services are also available at retail points of presence. The sales models explained in this article is indicative of various sectors and may not be an exhaustive listing of sales model deployed by the companies in the concerned sectors.

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Would you want to think of the limitations posed by careers in direct sales, channel sales through DSA’s, tele-sales, retail sales etc. ? Write to us at, with your thoughts.

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