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Become A Sales Specialist

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Working As A Sales Specialist

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $90,553

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales Specialist Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Duties

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically do the following:

  • Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending trade shows and conferences
  • Contact new and existing customers to discuss their needs and explain how specific products and services can meet these needs
  • Help customers select products to meet customers' needs, product specifications, and regulations
  • Emphasize product features that will meet customers' needs and exhibit product capabilities and limitations
  • Answer customers' questions about prices, availability, and product uses
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sale and service agreements
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information
  • Follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—sometimes called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents—generally work for manufacturers or wholesalers. Some work for a single organization, while others represent several companies and sell a range of products.

Rather than selling goods directly to consumers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. For more information about people who sell directly to consumers, see the profile on retail sales workers.

Some wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with nonscientific products such as food, office supplies, and clothing. Other representatives specialize in technical and scientific products, ranging from agricultural and mechanical equipment to computer and pharmaceutical goods. For more information about people who specialize in sales of technical products and services, see the profile on sales engineers.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who lack expertise about a given product frequently team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or concerns. The sales representative makes the initial contact with customers, introduces the company's product, and obtains final agreement from the potential buyer.

By working with a technical expert, the representative is able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time needing to gain technical knowledge.

After the sale, representatives may make follow-up visits to ensure that equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.

Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. When working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising.

In addition to selling products, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle administrative duties such as filing expense accounts, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans.

Staying up-to-date on new products and the changing needs of customers is important. Sales representatives accomplish this in a variety of ways, including attending trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales representatives and clients and to discuss new product developments. They also read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

The following are examples of types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives:

Inside sales representatives work mostly in offices while making sales. Frequently, they are responsible for getting new clients by “cold calling” various organizations, which means they call potential customers who are not expecting to be contacted in order to establish an initial contact. They also take incoming calls from customers who are interested in their product, and process paperwork to complete the sale.

Outside sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with current clients and prospective buyers. During a sales call, they discuss the client's needs and suggest how they can meet those needs with merchandise or services. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company provides, and they may inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because many sales representatives sell several complementary products made by different manufacturers, they may take a broad approach to their customers' businesses. For example, sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees in its use.

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How To Become A Sales Specialist

Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.

Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.

Training

Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.

New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.

Other Experience

Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.

Advancement

Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.

Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.

Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.

Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.

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Sales Specialist jobs

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Sales Specialist Career Paths

Sales Specialist
Account Manager Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager Account Executive
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Account Executive Regional Sales Manager
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Manager Key Account Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Territory Manager Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Developer Business Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Manager District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Sales Consultant District Sales Manager
Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Director
10 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Senior Account Manager Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Account Manager
Strategic Accounts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager General Manager Account Executive
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Marketing Director Sales Consultant
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Sales Engineer 3.8 years
Outside Sales 3.7 years
Sales Specialist 3.0 years
Account Executive 2.9 years
Sales Professional 2.8 years
Sales Contractor 2.8 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Selling Specialist 2.5 years
Sales Consultant 2.2 years
Sales Person 2.2 years
Sales Assistant 2.0 years
Sales Expert 1.9 years
Cellular Sales 1.9 years
Sales Associate 1.6 years
Adviser Sales 1.5 years
Sales Trainee 1.0 years
Sales Internship 0.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 4.6%
Internship 4.0%
Manager 3.9%
Specialist 2.7%
Top Employers After
Manager 3.5%
Specialist 3.4%
Internship 2.4%

Sales Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

53.3%

Female

44.7%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

79.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.3%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.9%

French

9.6%

German

4.3%

Portuguese

4.2%

Chinese

3.2%

Mandarin

3.2%

Italian

2.7%

Arabic

2.3%

Russian

1.7%

Japanese

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Hindi

1.4%

Korean

1.4%

Polish

1.0%

Cantonese

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Greek

0.7%

Tagalog

0.6%

Dakota

0.5%

Persian

0.5%
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Sales Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.0%

Arizona State University

5.8%

Pennsylvania State University

5.4%

Liberty University

5.1%

Michigan State University

5.1%

West Virginia University

4.9%

University of Central Florida

4.3%

University of Houston

4.1%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.1%

Ohio State University

3.9%

Florida State University

3.9%

Western Michigan University

3.9%

Florida International University

3.7%

Texas State University

3.7%

Iowa State University

3.7%

Strayer University

3.6%

Kennesaw State University

3.5%

Texas A&M University

3.5%

University of Texas at Austin

3.5%
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Majors

Business

34.7%

Marketing

9.6%

Communication

7.1%

Psychology

5.6%

Management

5.0%

Criminal Justice

3.8%

Finance

3.6%

Accounting

3.1%

Biology

3.0%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Nursing

2.5%

Computer Science

2.4%

General Studies

2.4%

Education

2.3%

English

2.3%

Political Science

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.2%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Public Relations

1.9%

Kinesiology

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.6%

Other

23.2%

Masters

11.5%

Associate

10.3%

Certificate

3.2%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.6%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Sales Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SW Sales Specialist/Associate Partner IBM Corporation Montville, NJ Oct 14, 2016 $210,118
Equities Sales Specialist Investec USA Holdings Corp. New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $190,000
Data Security Solution Sales Specialist IBM Corporation San Francisco, CA Mar 06, 2016 $160,001
Data Security Solution Sales Specialist IBM Corporation San Francisco, CA May 20, 2016 $160,001
Consulting Partner-Sales Management Specialist Amdocs, Inc. Richardson, TX May 04, 2015 $160,000
Derivatives Business and Sales Specialist Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Sep 01, 2014 $157,000
Data Security Solution Sales Specialist IBM Corporation San Francisco, CA May 26, 2016 $142,336 -
$210,000
Sales Specialist, Systems Hewlett-Packard Caribe B.V. (Puerto Rico) San Juan, PR Jul 30, 2015 $141,182
Licensing Sales Specialist Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $135,000
Solutions Sales Specialist* (Cont'd In H.14) Microsoft Corporation New York, NY Feb 10, 2015 $133,000 -
$153,000
Mobility Sales Specialist Vodafone Us, Inc. D/B/A Vodafone Americas New York, NY Jun 05, 2016 $130,437
Flexible Films Specialists-National Acct. Sales Victory Packaging, LP Houston, TX Apr 14, 2014 $130,000
WW Competitive Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Somers, NY Aug 06, 2013 $127,548 -
$158,000
Pre-Sales Specialist Teradata Operations, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 06, 2015 $124,750
BPM Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Somers, NY Jun 17, 2015 $109,782 -
$115,000
Solutions Sales Specialist Microsoft Corporation Cambridge, MA Jun 27, 2016 $109,000
Systems Sales Specialist Parker Hannifin Corporation Cleveland, OH Dec 14, 2016 $107,723
Solution Sales Specialist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Aug 28, 2014 $107,000
Solution Sales Specialist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Mar 06, 2016 $107,000
Solution Sales Specialist-Smb Coverage or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jan 21, 2016 $107,000 -
$127,000
Test Center Channel Sales Specialist NCS Pearson, Inc. Bloomington, MN Apr 26, 2016 $105,581
Outside Sales Specialist II Dell Marketing LP Round Rock, TX Jun 02, 2014 $105,089
Licensing Sales Specialist, Smsp Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Oct 13, 2016 $91,000 -
$111,000
Licensing Sales Specialist Microsoft Corporation Bellevue, WA Jan 07, 2016 $91,000
Sales Specialist Siemens Energy, Inc. Orlando, FL Apr 14, 2016 $90,976
Advisory Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Somers, NY Dec 16, 2014 $90,813
Sales Specialist Ciena Corporation Miramar, FL Aug 09, 2016 $90,563
System Sales Specialist Parker Hannifin Corporation Pittsburgh, PA Aug 01, 2014 $90,000 -
$110,000
System Sales Specialist Parker Hannifin Corporation Phoenixville, PA Aug 06, 2014 $90,000 -
$110,000
Point of Sale Specialist Ascena Retail Group Pataskala, OH Nov 26, 2014 $86,000 -
$106,300

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Top Skills for A Sales Specialist

ProductKnowledgeCustomerServiceSkillsTerritoryMonthlySalesGoalsSalesGrowthSalesQuotaMarketShareCustomerSatisfactionHospitalsSpecialOrdersSalesFloorCustomerRelationsProductLineInternalMedicineCustomerBaseSalesRepresentativesNewAccountsNewSalesPrimaryCareApple

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Top Sales Specialist Skills

  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Customer Service Skills
  3. Territory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Attend weekly sales meetings to gather new product knowledge and analyze current buying trends of the public.
  • Provided strong communication, interpersonal and excellent customer service skills.
  • Reversed 3 year history of declining sales through effective territory management.
  • Worked as part of the department team to meet monthly sales goals.
  • Developed strategies with internal corporate departments to expand sales growth.

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