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Become A Sales Support Specialist

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Working As A Sales Support Specialist

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $77,847

    Average Salary

What Does A Sales Support 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 Support 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 Support Specialist Career Paths

Sales Support Specialist
Project Coordinator Account Manager Key Account Manager
Account Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager Branch Manager
Branch Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Merchandiser Sales Account Manager
Business Development Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Manager National Account Manager Channel Manager/Sales Manager
Channel Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Territory Sales Manager Account Manager
Corporate Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Corporate Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Director, Inside Sales
6 Yearsyrs
Support Specialist Account Specialist National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager National Account Manager
Global Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Business Consultant Inside Sales Representative
Inside Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Real Estate Agent Outside Sales Representative
Inside Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Support Manager Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Inside Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Support Manager Account Manager National Sales Manager
International Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Territory Manager Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Product Manager
Market Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Service Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Territory Manager
Sales Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Sales Representative And Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Production Manager Processing Manager
Sales Support Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Senior Sales Representative Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Sales Coordinator 2.5 years
Sales Assistant 2.1 years
Sales Internship 0.5 years
Top Careers Before Sales Support Specialist
Internship 4.8%
Cashier 4.0%
Teller 3.8%
Manager 2.5%
Top Careers After Sales Support Specialist
Manager 3.2%
Specialist 3.2%
Owner 2.6%
Teller 2.5%

Do you work as a Sales Support Specialist?

Sales Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

63.1%

Male

35.4%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

62.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.9%

French

5.8%

Portuguese

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Japanese

4.3%

Carrier

3.6%

German

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Mandarin

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Italian

2.2%

Dutch

1.4%

Bulgarian

1.4%

Bosnian

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Serbian

1.4%

Croatian

1.4%

Macedonian

1.4%

Polish

1.4%

Turkish

0.7%
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Sales Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.5%

Strayer University

6.3%

Northeastern University

5.5%

University of Iowa

5.1%

Georgia State University

4.7%

Austin Community College

4.7%

Montclair State University

4.7%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.3%

Kaplan University

4.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.9%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.9%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

San Jose State University

3.9%

University of Houston

3.9%

Appalachian State University

3.5%

George Washington University

3.5%

Illinois State University

3.5%

James Madison University

3.5%

University of Central Florida

3.5%
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Majors

Business

36.2%

Marketing

8.0%

Communication

6.0%

Psychology

5.3%

Management

4.5%

Accounting

4.0%

Computer Science

3.5%

Finance

3.4%

Liberal Arts

3.0%

Health Care Administration

3.0%

General Studies

2.8%

Education

2.7%

Human Resources Management

2.6%

English

2.4%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Information Technology

2.1%

Sociology

2.1%

Political Science

2.1%

History

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.4%

Other

24.1%

Associate

11.6%

Masters

11.5%

Certificate

4.2%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.5%
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Sales Support Specialist Videos

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Real Sales Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sales Support Specialist Citibank, N.A. New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $150,000
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Newtown, PA Nov 15, 2013 $115,000
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Newtown, PA Jan 10, 2013 $115,000
Tech Sales Support Specialist III FRS America, Inc. Waltham, MA Sep 10, 2014 $110,000
Sales Support Specialist 5-Refurbished Systems Business SU Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. Malvern, PA May 08, 2015 $110,000
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 08, 2015 $100,171
Techinical Sales Support Specialist Securonix Inc. Addison, TX Mar 25, 2016 $98,800 -
$110,000
Sales Support Specialist Flextronics International USA Overland Park, KS Oct 16, 2015 $96,637
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Newtown, PA Mar 18, 2013 $95,000
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Newtown, PA Mar 15, 2013 $95,000
Sales Support Specialist Nokia Inc. Irving, TX Mar 18, 2013 $91,500
Sales Support Senior Specialist Sap America, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jun 09, 2016 $88,562
Global Sales Support Specialist ABB Inc. Somerset, NJ Nov 30, 2016 $88,100 -
$105,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 08, 2016 $76,315 -
$85,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 08, 2016 $76,315 -
$90,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix Inc. Redwood City, CA Dec 08, 2016 $76,315 -
$85,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 08, 2016 $76,315 -
$85,000
Vertical Sales Support Specialist Mitel Delaware Inc. Plano, TX May 24, 2016 $76,215
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix LLC Jersey City, NJ Sep 12, 2015 $75,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt, LLC Atlanta, GA May 08, 2014 $74,776 -
$90,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix LLC San Bruno, CA Apr 17, 2014 $74,610
Technical Sales/Support Specialist Comrex Corporation Devens, MA Sep 13, 2013 $70,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 24, 2016 $69,368
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 26, 2016 $69,368
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 28, 2016 $69,368 -
$95,000
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 25, 2016 $69,368 -
$79,996
Technical Sales Support Specialist Saviynt Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 09, 2016 $69,368
Sales Support Specialist Cessna Aircraft Company Wichita, KS Apr 22, 2013 $69,030
Technical Sales Support Specialist Securonix, LLC Addison, TX Sep 11, 2014 $68,307

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Top Skills for A Sales Support Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Sales Support
  3. Proposals
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Handled customer relations and quality management, customer service, product innovation, pricing, dispute resolution and general customer support.
  • Provide sales support to internal and external wholesalers including hypothetical portfolio construction, sales prospecting, and fund flow/demand insight.
  • Customer-focused financial sales consultant for nuclear medicine division with focus on customized commercial, municipal and federal financing leasing proposals.
  • Maintained telephone/TV/Internet customer database using data entry and macros.
  • Maintained and managed close relationships with customers and technical support in diagnosing and solving critical technical issues

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Top 10 Best States for Sales Support Specialists

  1. Minnesota
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Michigan
  5. Rhode Island
  6. North Carolina
  7. South Dakota
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Colorado
  10. North Dakota
  • (888 jobs)
  • (1,225 jobs)
  • (256 jobs)
  • (947 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (1,248 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (707 jobs)
  • (830 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)

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