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19th Jan, 2021

Rob Russell
Rob Russell
Job Title
Regional Managing Director

One of the biggest impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has been the greater importance it has placed on home-based sales roles and the internal sales function. With widespread restrictions on visitors within workplaces, the role of the field sales professional has changed significantly.

Businesses have had to completely change the way they communicate with their customers while still managing to achieve their sales targets. 

Clearly there are challenges still ahead for some sectors, food service for example, but other industries like technology and biotechnology are well placed to see significant growth this year.

Standing out in a competitive job market 

While the number of available jobs has reduced, and the volume of available candidates has increased, there are still ways in which candidates can stand out from the crowd. Having a ‘key achievements’ section on their CV detailing their most impressive sales is one way. Another tip is for candidates to follow up any applications with a phone call to increase their memorability – and the chance of gaining an interview.

Be selective with applications and give each one the care and attention it requires. The more thought that is put into applications, the higher the chances of success in finding the right role.

Sales salaries and benefits

Those currently in a role are more nervous and reluctant to move, given the uncertainty, but businesses that can demonstrate results and a clear plan of how to succeed, despite the coronavirus restrictions, will be best placed to secure the brightest talent.

While remuneration will always be an important factor for sales professionals, the past year has given employees an insight into the benefits of flexible working. Businesses that continue to operate with a degree of flexibility will attract more professionals than those who do not.

What salaries can you expect?

Reed’s 2021 Sales Salary Guide allows you to benchmark the most popular roles in the sales profession across 12 UK sectors.

North East

Business confidence has returned in the North East, as has sales growth, and the recruitment market is now moving again at almost the same rate as before the pandemic.

Business development managers have seen a pay increase of 8% and can anticipate an average salary of £39,100. This may be due to the increased need for new business wins during the economic downturn. However, business development executives’ salaries have remained broadly the same over the past year.

South West

The South West has seen an overall 11.8% growth in sales salaries this year, compared with the 6.4% average UK growth. Most roles in the region have seen an increase in salary, notably a 10.6% rise in pay for sales director roles, and a 5.4% increase for technical sales roles. 

The only role in the region that has seen a decrease in salary is sales negotiators, despite there being growth from 2019 to 2020. It will be interesting to see if this role continues to decrease, with companies adapting to the ‘new normal’, or if this is a temporary dip in the region.

West Midlands

The pandemic has been a mixed bag for sales professionals across the West Midlands, with sector being a key factor in how businesses have performed. Companies that have performed well are mostly those who have had a role to play in how the country has coped with the pandemic: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and technology, for example.

Unsurprisingly – due to the importance of remote selling – telesales managers have seen a growth in salaries this year. In 2019, the average salary was £31,300, this grew slightly in 2020 to £31,600, but for 2021 the average salary is now £34,900.

Sales executives in the region have also seen growth of 5.2% and should anticipate a salary between £24,400 and £35,800. I suspect the reason for this large range is down to what the company is selling, and the more in-demand products might see this positively reflected in the top end of salaries.

For more information on what you could be earning, or the salaries you should be paying, download Reed's free Sales Salary Guide 2023 now. The guide contains insight and salary data for the industry across the UK and will help you make informed decisions in the year ahead.