What is the difference between a salesperson and a sales associate?

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There are several jobs available in the sales industry. Among them, there are the jobs of salesman and saleswoman. Both professions have the same objective. The only difference lies in their missions, one is more administrative, the other more commercial. Nevertheless, you can follow the same path whether you want to become a salesperson or a sales associate.

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What is the difference between a salesperson and a sales associate?

The jobs of salesman and saleswoman are both related to sales and business. Together, they represent the company that employs them to the customers. However, the sales representative plays the sole role of salesperson, while the sales associate is a sales consultant. In other words:

  • The salesperson is responsible for selling one or more products/services to customers. But first, he must start with prospecting, then follow up with an interview and a negotiation in order to conclude a contract; it is a front office job. He/she may often be required to travel and make face-to-face customer appointments.

  • the sales representative, on the other hand, is a sales consultant. He builds loyalty among existing customers and is also involved in prospecting for potential customers; this is a back office job. He/she supports the sales person, especially for the administrative part (estimate, order form, delivery form, invoice, etc.).

What are the missions of a sales representative?

The missions of a salesman in the company are to :

  • finding new customers: Indeed, prospecting remains his main task;
  • communicate with targeted customers to provide them with information about the service or product;
  • sell the service or product. This includes: negotiating prices, drawing up contracts and taking orders;
  • To accompany customers before and after the sale, i.e. in their purchasing process and in their future needs;
  • Retain existing customers in order to expand the customer base and renew business agreements;
  • manage the administrative part when he does not have an attaché or assistant with him.

What are the missions of a sales representative?

Among the missions of the commercial attaché are :

  • advising customers on services and products corresponding to their needs;
  • planning and implementation of commercial actions;
  • prospecting potential customers: contact them, then make an appointment;
  • retention of existing customers with new offers for example;
  • outcome evaluation;
  • the realization of the competitive intelligence;
  • the determination of the company’s sectors of activity ;
  • the collection of information related to the marketing strategy.

How do I get to be a salesperson or sales associate?

To become a salesperson or sales associate, you can choose between several paths. Just determine the level of education and type of degree you want.

  • For a Bac+2 level, there is the DUT Marketing Techniques, BTS International Trade, BTS Negotiation and digitalization of customer relations, as well as the BTS Sales Technician;
  • for a Bac+3 level, you can choose a Bachelor’s degree from a private school; or a professional degree in marketing of products and services, sales technician, trade and distribution, or a marketing technique BUT.
  • for a Bac+5 level, you can turn to the masters in business schools and universities.

What is the average salary for a salesperson and a sales associate?

The salary of a salesperson and a sales associate can vary depending on the size of the company, the sector of activity, the region of operation and the clientele. It may also depend on the employee’s status (entry-level or executive), as well as bonuses and commissions based on the achievement of objectives.

  • the average salary of a salesperson in France is around 50,000 euros gross per year (including bonuses)
  • The average salary for a sales representative is 30,000 euros gross per year. The attaché often evolves into a salesperson as he/she gains experience and skills.

What courses should I take at INSEEC to become a salesman or saleswoman?

To become a salesman or sales assistant, you can choose between the different courses in the Business specialization of INSEEC:

More information on our dedicated business FAQ.

Updated 13 July 2023