The National Sales Representative (NSR) Career Path at ATS

Three men sitting at their desks looking at their computers in a logistics office.

Are you passionate about providing effective solutions to customers and building strong relationships to ensure customer satisfaction? Are you looking to pursue a rewarding career as a sales representative? 

Look no further than Anderson Trucking Service (ATS)!

When students and job hunters see us at career fairs, they often think we’re only looking for truck drivers. That couldn’t be further from the truth! We offer a wide variety of positions — from sales, marketing, and customer service to information technology, operations, accounting, and more. 

As one of the biggest teams within our logistics company, ATS Logistic Services, Inc., you’ve probably seen openings for our national sales representative (NSR) role. The fast-paced position is a great role for individuals looking to problem solve and grow in their careers. 

If you’re looking to learn more about the position’s growth potential, you’ve come to the right place. 

As the vice president of corporate sales for ATS Logistics, I’ve not only held the NSR position but also helped develop the current NSR career path. 

In this article, you’ll learn more about what the position has to offer, including how you’ll move through the ranks, pay, and more.

What is an NSR at ATS? 

NSRs within our logistics company are responsible for reaching out to companies with products that need to move on semi-trucks. Our service is to align these shipments with their best-fit transportation solution, whether within the ATS fleet or from one of ATS Logistics' carrier partners around the United States. 

New sales representatives build a book of business from scratch. This means prospecting, qualifying, and strategically pursuing new business nationwide through cold calling and emailing shippers that consistently move products.

Once NSRs have cultivated a book of business and seamlessly onboarded new customers — which may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on numerous factors — they have to manage these relationships. NSRs act as the customer’s liaison within ATS Logistics and work hard to ensure customer satisfaction. 

The NSR role is classified as an inside sales position. Duties are primarily completed over the phone, via one-to-one video, and by email. 

Top sales representatives move millions of dollars of freight each year and earn six figures. They are very much the centerpiece of the business and work very hard to meet their goals. 

That’s just a snapshot of the position. You can learn even more about the NSR role at ATS here.

Coworkers at their desks chatting.

The NSR Career Path

At ATS, we focus on pouring into our employees. We continuously invest in our people and their development. We knew we needed a structure in place to help team members take small steps that add up to big career leaps over time. 

As a result, in 2020, we implemented an NSR career path that allows team members to move up the ranks as they leverage their experience and gain new customers. 

The pre-set NSR progression is as follows: 

  • NSR 
  • NSR II
  • NSR IV 
  • Senior NSR

During this progression, an NSR may be promoted to a sales manager role, in which they’ll oversee a team of salespeople. From there, they can also move into director-level roles. 

At ATS, it isn’t uncommon for individuals to pursue a different career path within the company. For example, we’ve seen NSRs move into marketing roles and driver managers become driver recruiters. 

This is an opportunity that will be available to you should you join the team at ATS. Your career path doesn’t have to be linear.

Advancing Your Career as an NSR

Moving through the pre-set NSR career path progression is dependent on both tenure and performance in the role. 

To move from an NSR to an NSR II, for example, an individual must be in their role for at least one year and maintain a set margin. Margins are based on gross profit, which is the money remaining from the shipper after the carrier is paid. (Net profit margin is the money left after all expenses — like benefits — are paid.)

After you’ve moved into the NSR II role, you’ll need to spend at least six months in each position before you’re eligible for a promotion to the next tier. Then you have to be an NSR IV for a year to become a senior NSR. By the time you reach the senior NSR role, you’ll have been with ATS for at least three years. 

With each tier, NSRs must meet and maintain a margin that increases with each tier. Maintaining margin milestones will push you into the next tier.

The NSR career path was designed to help team members move up sustainably. That’s why tenure is factored into the career path and margins need to be maintained from month to month. 

ATS is committed to the success of the program; we don’t want anyone to feel as if they’re progressing too quickly or too slowly through the tiers. 

Sales rep on a headset at her desk.


With each advance from one NSR tier to the next, a salary increase is awarded. 

The base salary (without incentive) of an NSR at ATS Logistics will depend on region and prior experience. 

NSRs also have the opportunity to make commissions when they reach specific goals. There is no cap on the commissions salespeople can make at ATS Logistics, so the sky really is the limit with this role. 

Naturally, as you make more money and move up the NSR tiers, your incentive tends to be higher. This salary boost helps NSRs ride out the highs and lows of the transportation market.

Related: How Much do Logistics Sales Representatives Make?

Job Responsibilities 

As you advance through the tiers as an NSR, your job will largely remain the same. You’ll still be prospecting, cold calling, and otherwise hunting for ways to increase your book of business. 

However, the larger your book of business gets and the longer your tenure with the company, the more your focus will shift toward customer management. You may spend more time, for instance, managing and retaining customers as an NSR IV than you would as an NSR. To reiterate, you’ll have a heavier customer pipeline earlier on whereas in higher NSR tiers you’ll be focusing on customer growth and retention.

As you advance from tier to tier, we do typically see some form of informal leadership start to present itself. NSRs begin to help newer team members, they become more strategic about their book of business, and they consistently demonstrate the company’s values. 

NSR Tips for Success 

If you want to move up the NSR tiers as efficiently as possible, there are a few ways you can do so. 

First and foremost, always be eager to learn and ask for advice. ATS has a lot of tools in place to help NSRs grow and develop. 

Team members are in place at ATS to help you retain customers and work on your book of business. You don’t have to worry about your book of business if you want to take a vacation. There are also tools in place to help you support customers; be sure you leverage them. 

Do you remember working on big projects in college that made up half your grade? Professors hold office hours with the hope that students will come to them for guidance and feedback. 

Think of your role as an NSR like that. Make use of your manager’s “office hours” and the tools available to you.

Be clear with your manager about your career goals and set forth an actionable plan to achieve those goals. Continuously revisit those goals with your manager and make adjustments as needed. 

The transportation industry is tough; the market is cyclical and it’s easy to let it get you down as it affects your margin. Sometimes a customer gets bought out and you lose a big piece of business. Sometimes you put your eggs in one business and that industry takes a hit. Sometimes new management comes into place and they decide to ship with a new company. 

There are a lot of factors out of your control as an NSR. As you work with varying dynamics, you have to be able to ride the highs and lows and strategize effectively to balance your book of business. Adaptability is important. Being willing to try new things will take you far in this career path.

As cheesy as it sounds, positivity goes a long way. You’ll hear a lot of no’s throughout the day, but with persistence and positivity, you’ll hear those yeses you need to build your customer base. 

With time in the role, you’ll learn to be more efficient and know when it’s time to stop working a dead lead. Look to your peers for advice in this area. They can give you feedback on your calls and talk you through barriers you might be coming up against.

Building strong relationships with your customers is also key. When you hold on to those customers and build that great relationship, you’ll have the opportunity to network. Chances are, they know other shippers in need of a reliable carrier. If you do good work, they’ll recommend you. 

At the end of the day, consistency is key. Every activity you do compounds. Be consistent in your efforts and work closely with your manager to reach your goals. 

Two men on office chairs talking closely over a document.

Start Your NSR Career Today!

The NSR position at ATS is not just a job; it's a pathway to professional growth and financial success. NSRs play a critical role in connecting companies with transportation solutions — cultivating a customer base from scratch through diligent prospecting and relationship management. 

This inside sales role involves significant interaction over the phone, email, and video, requiring a combination of persistence, adaptability, and a positive mindset.

ATS’ commitment to employee development is reflected in the structured NSR career path, which facilitates progression from entry-level to senior positions based on tenure, performance, and the ability to meet increasing margins. 

If you're seeking a rewarding career that offers both professional growth and financial rewards, we have an opportunity for you. With a supportive environment focused on development and success, ATS stands ready to help you achieve your career ambitions as a sales representative.

Check out our open positions today. We have options across the country to meet your needs.

Crystal Lahr

Written by Crystal Lahr

Crystal is the vice president of corporate sales for ATS Logistics, where she develops business plans and strategies, among other things, to promote the continued success and growth of ATS Logistics. Since coming to ATS in 2012, Crystal has served in several positions, including Regional Carrier Representative and National Sales Representative, before earning her way to director. Watch Crystal's Bio Video:

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