Getting to connect with people everyday. The autonomy and flexibility. The potential for high commission.
Ultimately, there are plenty of exciting reasons to start your career in sales.
Working in sales will enable you to learn the skills you need to sell anything — even yourself for future career moves. You'll also become a master of communication, increase your confidence through closed deals, and build an impressive professional network that will benefit your career now, and into the future.
Here, let's dive into six reasons you should start your career in sales, according to HubSpot sales professionals.
1. Sales offers a crash course in business acumen.
Heather Baynes, an Enterprise Account Executive at HubSpot, told me one of the biggest benefits to starting your career in sales is the learning opportunities it presents, which will set you up for long-term success in any role.
As she puts it, "Sales offers a crash course in business acumen … In many environments, you can skip the MBA and go with what you learn in sales."
Baynes adds, "Working in sales also offers exposure to all divisions and levels of an organization, which offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities from the CEO down. A sales person will have this exposure within their organization and in many client/prospect organizations."
If you're a recent graduate with no prior business experience, sales can be a fantastic opportunity for learning more about how an organization runs, what matters most in a business setting, and how to conduct yourself professionally with both peers and even C-level executives.
2. Sales allows you to strengthen your communication skills.
Regardless of which career path you choose (and even outside of the office), communication is undoubtedly one of the most important skills you can strengthen to succeed professionally.
Strong communication skills helps you connect with colleagues, managers, and customers. And, as you move up in your career, communication skills is also a vital trait for enabling you to lead others more effectively.
HubSpot's Manager of North America Business Development, Advika Mukherjee, told me, "Sales is a great first job for folks who are trying to hone their communication and active listening skills."
"You have to listen and communicate effectively every day to be successful. Those are two major transferrable soft skills that you can apply to other roles (and even personally) as you progress throughout your career."
Mukherjee adds, "Sales wasn't the career I thought I'd be in when I graduated college, but I'm glad I stumbled upon it!"
(Mukherjee isn't alone — only 39% of salespeople intend to go into sales. The remaining 61% become salespeople a bit more accidentally!)
Additionally, when I surveyed 300+ individuals, I found a little over half (51%) marked "communication and listening skills" as the number one most important trait to succeed in sales.
Thompson says, "I onboarded a little later in the game after working in various other roles and I sure wish I had started my career in sales! If I could go back, I would choose sales for the sheer amount of transferable skills. Among other skills, sales forces you to adapt to various people and situations, which strengthens interpersonal communication."
Thompson adds, "I would also say that sales encourages you to network, network, network! Which ultimately puts you in a stronger position down the road should you choose to switch career paths."
3. Sales will help you gain confidence.
"The #1 thing I've gained from working in sales is confidence," HubSpot Solutions Engineer Carrie Buth told me.
Buth continues, "Sales has allowed me to gain confidence in speaking to large groups or very senior prospects, in presenting demos and solutions, in navigating difficult situations and conversations, and, ultimately, in advocating for myself."
Unsure how to build confidence in sales? Take a look at our The Ultimate Guide to Confidence to begin exploring resources that will help.
4. Sales helps you increase your resiliency.
"Everyone should do a stint in sales to learn that rejection doesn't debilitate you, that hearing 'no' isn't a bad thing, and that someone's work ethic and drive has a direct impact on how much they can earn," says Anya Taschner, a HubSpot Inbound Success Coach Manager.
Taschner continues, "Sales helps develop social skills, ability to negotiate, conflict resolution, and, above all else, resiliency."
"If you can resist defeat and withstand the pressure, working in sales is a crash course in many of the most critical things you need to navigate the human experience."
HubSpot BDR Matthew Healey seconds Taschner's point, telling me, "For a recent grad, moving into sales is a strategic way to start your career because it builds resilience (or grit, as we like to say) to overcome obstacles, and forces you to be quick on your feet to strategize/find a resolution."
5. Sales will enhance your collaborative skills.
Inbound Success Coach at HubSpot Sahil Rikhy told me he believes starting a career in sales can help you develop three critical skills.
- Collaborative skills
- Consultive skills
- Conversational skills
As Rikhy puts it, "These are three skills that no matter where you go or what you do (even outside your professional life), will always play a part in giving you an edge. A sales role puts us in front of the customer, so we have to learn how to be comfortable talking to others and how to navigate conversations, and of course guide them through to the end."
"Mastering these skills first in your career will make future opportunities a lot easier to tackle, since you've already gotten your hands dirty before."
6. Sales can offer financial freedom.
Baynes told me another big benefit of starting your career in sales is the financial freedom sales can offer.
She told me, "When you work hard in sales, you can achieve anything. You can build personal and generational wealth if you ask questions of those who have gone before you and put some investment strategies in place."
Baynes adds, "All of this is said with a big 'must have'. It has to be the right culture where you can be free to do your best, where you feel supported and where you can be your most authentic self. The alternative makes sales a tough place to be."
Of course, your salary varies widely depending on your specific sales role — a sales development rep (SDR) will make a different salary than a account executive (AE) will make, and an AE will make a different salary than a sales engineer.
But one thing is certain about any sales role: Your performance largely dictates your pay. The more deals you close, the more potential financial rewards.
Why Sales is the Best First Job
Ultimately, starting your career in sales can help you whether you stay in sales for the long-run, or eventually switch to a different career trajectory.
As we've covered, sales can help you foster and strengthen both soft and hard skills that are critical for any professional role.
Additionally, being in sales will help your personal life, as well — particularly as it comes to both communication and listening skills, and confidence.
As Senior Account Executive Chris Locke puts it, "For me personally, sales has put me in a position to exponentially grow my career and expand my network. Whether you choose to stay in a selling role or move to a different profession, sales will give you an invaluable skillset that will be helpful in all facets of your life."
Locke adds, "If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would pick sales every time."
Ready to start your career in sales but unsure where to start? Take a look at Which Type of Sales Job Is Right for You? to explore which specific career path is best for your unique strengths.