The manufacturing sector is a hotspot for sales professionals, employing massive sales forces and investment top dollar into recruiting, training and rewarding its people.
According to Selling Power magazine's annual ranking of the largest sales forces in America, the manufacturing sector employs almost 500,000 salespeople and produces more than $3.2 trillion in sales every year. That levels out to $6.5 million in sales per person, the largest contribution to revenue compared with other industry segments.
And Microsoft reigns near the top of the list.
The company, which employs an estimated 36,000 salespeople in the U.S., is doing a lot of hiring. We spoke to the company to find out what its plans are for the future.
Microsoft is seeing a lot of new product action right now, and its an "exciting time for the company," according to a Microsoft spokesperson. Internet Explorer 9 is close to a finish, and the company launched the Windows Phone 7 earlier this month. And despite all the noise about Apple and Google, the company posted a 51% profit jump in its earnings report Friday. The positive sales numbers also indicated a good start for Windows 7.
The company is hiring for both new university graduates as well as experienced sales professionals.
In job candidates, Microsoft looks for people with technical knowledge, as well as core competencies like practical sales experience. Sales professionals at the company are spread out over a host of functions, including account technology specialists, who work with businesses to deploy products, advertising sales, and industry sales for customers in the financial, retail, healthcare and other industries.
Account technology specialists, for example, need at least five years pre-sales and technology experience, and college degrees in engineering and computer-related fields are preferred. For solutions sales professionals, who spearhead the larger deals with clients, at least 10 years of experience in CRM and business solutions is needed, as well as a proven technical acumen.
The company provides interview tips and the insider view on what it's like to work at the company on JobsBlog, where you can ask questions about an interview or about the application process and get them answered by recruiters.
Microsoft also has a college training program for new hires without much experience, which provides mentorship and training.
According to the Microsoft careers website, there are over a 100 positions available in sales in the country, though each position advertised could indicate a need for more than one hire.
There are a lot of salespeople in America. Roughly one in every fourteen Americans works in a large sales force, according to Selling Power magazine. The 500 largest sales forces in the U.S. employ almost 22 million salespeople. That is an increase of about 2%, or 300,000 salespeople, from last year.
The 2010 ranking of the SP500 includes companies in manufacturing, services, insurance, automotive-dealers and direct-sellers.
The states with the largest number of SP500 companies are New York, California and Illinois.
Write to Shareen Pathak
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