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Duties & Responsibilities of a Sales Executive

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Sales executives sell products and services for a company in order to boost profitability and increase market share. Businesses in various industries, from health care to engineering, hire sales executives. These employees come from a variety of backgrounds, and may have expertise with the item that they are selling. A technical sales executive, for example, may have an engineering background to support the understanding of products in the industry.

Maintain Market Awareness

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In order to tailor their sales pitches, sales executives need to keep abreast of changes in the market that impact their target audience. They must understand dips and rises in demand for clients' products, lifetime and wear of machinery, and changes in the stock market that may hinder sales. In addition, they should be aware of the sales strategies of competitors, both for their business and their clients' businesses. The more alert a sales executive is, the more accurately the needs of customers are targeted and new market opportunities identified.

Meet a Bottom Line

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Most sales executives have quarterly and annual sales goals that they strive to meet throughout the year. To do so, they attempt to convince existing clients to increase their purchases from the company--a process which is called "upselling"--or search for new clients. Often, sales executives operate on the idea that it takes less effort to retain current customers than to find new ones, and, therefore, focus their energy on upselling.

Maintain Relationships

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A sales executive is often a master of relationships with clients, vendors and employees. A good relationship can lead to new sales leads, increased purchasing and referrals. Sales executives put a great deal of time and energy into creating and nurturing their relationships, and make a point to offer value and opportunity wherever possible.

Manage a Territory

Depending on the nature of a business, a sales executive may be responsible for taking care of clients in a geographic region and be the person called with problems. Managing a specific sales territory often involves travel to meet with customers and suppliers to ensure that operations are smooth and to reinforce the strength of the relationship.

Negotiate Contracts

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For ongoing projects or large orders, a sales executive is responsible for negotiating the terms of the sale and drawing up a contract. This ensures that both parties understand what is and is not included in the order and protects against liability. In the sale of equipment, for example, a sales executive may negotiate prices for the setup, installation and testing, in addition to the initial purchase.


Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.

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