Lady with question marks

Candidate FAQs

There’s a lot to consider when taking your first steps down the career path. We understand how challenging and confusing it can be and how much choice there is out there. Inevitably, we are surrounded by friends and family who think they know best, not to mention we’ve all got those people around us who seem to have all the answers!


Well this is for the normal people out there – who are considering a career in sales, believe they’re probably suited to it but don’t have all the answers, and probably haven’t even thought of all the questions!


We hope this is helpful, but don’t hesitate to contact one of our consultants if you have any further questions or if you just want to get the ball rolling!

B2B sales, short for Business to Business, refers to companies or people that sell products or services directly to other businesses. This is opposed to B2C, or Business to Consumer, where products and services are sold directly to consumers. There is quite a difference between the two. The negative connotations sometimes associated with sales tends to originate from B2C, where you’re called mid-way though your dinner by someone who won’t let you put the phone down until you’ve bought double glazing!


The business to business environment is very different, where a lot more time is spent understanding your customer and where the customer is often looking to buy what is being sold as it will have a direct impact on the success of their own business.

As a sales professional your ultimate aim is to influence and persuade people to buy what you are selling for their business. Depending on the product or service being sold, the method of sale will differ but ultimately a few key principles will remain the same.

  • You need to be reaching out to as many relevant people as possible – the more people you engage with the more likely you are to achieve a sale!

  • You are going to be speaking to lots of different types of people so your ability to adapt your style and approach to suit will directly impact your success

  • Selling is competitive - other people will be trying to position their offering ahead of yours and some people you approach will just not be ready to buy. Being positive, resilient and goal orientated is key to success. It’s true, you do need to be able to handle rejection and recognize it for what it is rather than take it personally

  • You'll have great fun. Becuase of the competitive nature of sales, the sales environment is a great place to be. It has a buzz and a level of excitement not normally found in other functions within a business. Further, the sense of pride and achievement gained upon making a sale is something that rarely wears thin – sales professionals in their 50’s and 60’s still get that same sense of elation upon achieving a sale and it’s a great feeling.

Salary? As a sales professional you need to start thinking package. A key element of sales professionals earnings is commission (monetary rewards for hitting targets). Your package is therefore made up of 3 elements: basic salary, commission & benefits. An example is: Ben’s total package is £50,000 OTE (On Target Earnings)- £25,000 salary with £25,000 commission or Joanne’s package is £35,000 - £28,000 salary with £5,000 commission and a £2000 bonus. Although Joanne has a higher basic salary her total package is considerably lower and for the same output Ben could potentially earn an extra £15,000. Every company will have a different offering, so it is really important to ask your consultant how the total package for any given position works.


One thing you need to be aware of. Certain sales jobs and sectors will often talk about huge commissions. Commission is obviously based upon what you actually achieve, therefore in addition to understanding how you earn the commission element, it’s also important you understand how realistic it is that you will earn it. It’s also important to understand the non-cash benefits – extra pension contributions, private healthcare insurance, extra annual leave, travel ticket loans could all be of particular benefit to some people.


HOT TIP – Don’t ever decide whether to look at a role based on basic salary alone – you could be missing out on the best role to get your career off to a flying start.

The best way to proceed is to give us a call and ask to speak to one of our consultants. However, you can also Upload Your CVor apply for any of the jobs we currently have on our website.


Regardless, the first stage will be to have a call with one of our amazing consultants who will ask you all about you and what you’ve achieved so far. They will talk to you about why you think you’re suited to a sales career and give you the opportunity to ask any questions.


If we can determine that you are suited to a career in sales and understand what it will involve (don’t worry – only at a very basic level) we will invite you into our offices for a face to face interview, or a video meeting if you are unable to make it to our offices.


This gives us a unique opportunity to really get to know you personally and to discuss what you want to achieve in your career and what you want from a role. Your consultant will be able to offer some great advice (whether we can help or not) and point you in the direction of any resources that could help you prepare for interviewing etc. They will then discuss any relevant roles with you and determine whether you’d like to proceed with an application. Our aim is to arrange an interview with the client’s we select as suitable and to then guide you through the entire interview process - including how to navigate the offer process and through to starting your new job! Your consultants will be with you every step of the way, making sure you are fully prepared for every stage, providing real feedback as you progress and even staying in contact once you’ve started your new position and throughout your career.


Typically, the average time frame from initial contact to job offer is 2 to 4 weeks but has been as little as 24hours!


HOT TIP – Limit the number of jobs you are applying for at any one time. If the jobs are selected carefully and based on you and what you’re looking for you should only need to undertake 3 or 4 processes at any one time. Any more will start to negatively influence the effort and research you put into each opportunity, reducing the likelihood of success considerably.

This is a crucial part of the process for you! At Certus Graduate we make the time to meet with all of our clients so that we understand their business, its vision and, most importantly, it’s culture. Your success will be hugely influenced by the people you work with and the environment in which you work.


Our meeting will help us to determine the best opportunities for you by learning more about your personality, your drivers and aspirations. Further still, by meeting with us you’ll get the opportunity to get further insight into the world of sales, the movers and shakers and the companies about to become the next big thing. We will also be able to give you feedback on how you present and further advice/pointers on things you can do to improve your candidacy. We have a wealth of knowledge about the world of sales and love sharing it with our candidates, helping them to position themselves to get the job of their dreams.

Whilst businesses in virtually every sector have a sales function, the type of position, size of the team and the sales process adopted will significantly influence what type of sales professionals are required and whether there is a role for an entry level or trainee sales position. We therefore work most within those sectors where businesses can support and invest in junior sales positions and where businesses are looking to achieve high levels of growth. These tend to be technology (software & SaaS), conferences & events, media, business services, recruitment, FX & Financial Services. However, there are always exceptions and the best thing to do is to look through our current vacancies or talk to one of our career coaches.

One of the challenges when talking about sales roles is the number of job titles used, often for the same thing, meaning we often hear candidates expressing incorrect pre-conceived ideas about what they do and don’t want to do.


All sales roles can essentially be broken into two main areas: new business - finding and winning new clients for an organisation and; account management - improving revenue spend within existing clients.


The majority of entry level and trainee roles are within new business and often are focussed on the early stages of the sales cycle, researching and making initial contacts to set up discussions with senior colleagues. This is particularly common within fast growth technology companies. Job titles can include:

  • SDR – Sales Development Representative

  • BDR - Business Development Representative

  • BDE - Business Development Executive

Within other sectors, sales roles are divided by the sales value, with entry and trainee level responsible for the full sales process but only on the lower order values. These roles can have titles including:

  • Sales Executive

  • Account Executive

  • Internal Sales Executive

  • Broker

On the account management side, dealing with existing accounts, job titles are typically:

  • Account Manager

  • Junior Account Manager

  • Telephone Account Manager

We work with businesses across the United Kingdom

This can vary widely and depends on many factors including; size of company, number of trainee positions, type of product/service, culture etc.


Some companies have a highly structured sales training program over a defined length of time, others use on the job learning with a ‘buddy system’. Some are very relaxed and others are very rigid schemes. Depending on the product you’re selling, the training could last a week, after which you’re expected to carry a full target and deliver revenue whilst in other businesses you are viewed as a trainee for up to a year with the sole emphasis being on learning and positioning yourself for the future.


The key thing here is to work closely with your consultant, ensuring they understand what is important to you, to ensure the companies you select to apply for will suite your requirements and training needs.

Not always! Whilst there are indeed a small number of companies that demand a degree level education, or even a specific level of degree (i.e. 2:1 or above), the majority of companies mean graduate calibre when using the term ‘graduate’. In most cases, it’s your hunger for success, determination to succeed and desire to work in a competitive environment that the most important facets.


As a sales professional you will often be required to follow up discussions with emails or formal proposals so the ability to read and write to a business level is required, as is the need for good numeracy skills.

Absolutely not! We always want to hear from aspiring sales professionals. Whilst the likelihood is that we won’t look to put you in-front of clients straight away, we’ll be able to offer lots of advice in terms of things you can start to do to prepare for your job search to put you ahead of the competition!

Any Further Questions?

We'd love to hear all about you and talk to you about the amazing career that is professional sales.

  • Pick up the phone and give us a call on +44 203 758 7890.

  • Register Your CV and you can send us your CV and contact details

  • Send us an email to info@certusgraduate.com

We look forward to talking with you soon!