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Become A Technical Sales Representative

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Working As A Technical Sales Representative

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Make Decisions

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical Sales Representative 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 Technical Sales Representative

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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Technical Sales Representative Career Paths

Technical Sales Representative
Account Manager
Director, Inside Sales
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Operations Manager Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Regional Sales Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales, Americas
13 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Store Manager District Sales Manager
Division Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager
Global Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager General Manager Territory Manager
Territory Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Store Manager District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager District Manager District Sales Manager
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Project Manager Product Manager
Market Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Marketing Manager Sales And Marketing Manager
Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Business Development Manager Senior Account Manager
Manager, Account Executive
5 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Regional Manager National Sales Manager
International Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Customer Service Manager Inside Sales Manager
Inside Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
General Manager Owner/Operator Sales Account Manager
Regional Account Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Territory Business Manager
District Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Sales Supervisor Inside Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager, Mid Atlantic Region
9 Yearsyrs
General Manager Territory Sales Manager Eastern Regional Sales Manager
Central Region Sales Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Territory Sales Manager Eastern Regional Sales Manager
Northeast Regional Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Technical Sales Representative?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Technical Sales Representative
Cashier 10.6%
Manager 4.2%
Server 3.1%
Internship 2.9%
Technician 2.5%
Owner 2.1%
Top Careers After Technical Sales Representative
Cashier 6.8%
Owner 3.6%
Manager 2.9%
Server 2.6%
Consultant 2.4%

Do you work as a Technical Sales Representative?

Technical Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Male

64.9%

Female

25.7%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

French

9.8%

Portuguese

5.1%

German

5.1%

Arabic

3.1%

Mandarin

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Russian

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Italian

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Swedish

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Dakota

0.8%

Swahili

0.4%

Romanian

0.4%

Gujarati

0.4%

Cheyenne

0.4%
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Technical Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.6%

Michigan State University

6.4%

Texas A&M University

6.0%

University of Texas at Austin

6.0%

Ohio State University

5.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.2%

Kaplan University

4.5%

Texas State University

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.3%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

4.1%

Purdue University

4.1%

University of Houston

4.0%

The Academy

3.8%

University of Cincinnati

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.6%

Texas Tech University

3.6%

University of Arizona

3.3%

Wayne State University

3.3%

Houston Community College

3.1%

Strayer University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

32.1%

Marketing

7.1%

Biology

5.2%

Computer Science

4.5%

Chemistry

4.5%

Management

4.5%

Electrical Engineering

4.1%

Criminal Justice

4.0%

Communication

3.9%

Psychology

3.8%

General Studies

3.4%

Nursing

2.8%

Education

2.6%

Finance

2.6%

Chemical Engineering

2.6%

Information Technology

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering

2.5%

Health Care Administration

2.4%

General Sales

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.6%

Other

27.8%

Associate

11.5%

Masters

10.8%

Certificate

4.4%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$50,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$124,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Technical Sales Representative make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Technical Sales Representative in the United States is $78,961 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $50,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $124,000.

Real Technical Sales Representative Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products HTC America Innovation San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2014 $155,000
Technical Sales Representative Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Nov 10, 2016 $152,550
Technical Sales Representative Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 20, 2014 $141,750
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Apriori Technologies Concord, MA Feb 14, 2013 $135,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products Collective Digital Studio, LLC Beverly Hills, CA Sep 23, 2014 $130,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Buckman Laboratories International, Inc. Memphis, TN Apr 02, 2014 $125,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Mastercard International Incorporated NY Jun 17, 2014 $123,325 -
$175,100
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Gemalto, Inc. New York, NY Sep 05, 2014 $123,323
Technical Sales Representative Cytec Industries Inc. Woodland Park, NJ May 03, 2013 $121,262
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Milestone Inc. Shelton, CT Apr 07, 2014 $120,000 -
$125,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products Manpower Us, Inc. Miami, FL Jun 27, 2014 $115,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Zensar Technologies Inc. Oak Brook, IL Jan 15, 2013 $115,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Larsen & Toubro Infotech Limited Edison, NJ Jul 30, 2013 $110,552
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Mirth Corporation Costa Mesa, CA Apr 23, 2014 $110,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products C&F KOEI Phyto Corp. La Palma, CA Mar 03, 2014 $85,363
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Hauni Richmond, Inc. Richmond, VA Jan 31, 2013 $85,080
Technical Sales Representative Goulston Technologies, Inc. Monroe, NC Sep 08, 2015 $85,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products Orgill, Inc. Memphis, TN Apr 25, 2014 $84,531
Technology Sales Representative Oracle America, Inc. Denver, CO Aug 02, 2014 $83,773 -
$129,500
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products AIV, L.P. Houston, TX Aug 30, 2013 $83,533
Technical Sales Representative II Peroxychem LLC Woodbridge, NJ Apr 01, 2014 $83,271 -
$84,597
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products Hair Leader, LLC Norcross, GA Aug 21, 2013 $81,390
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Cardinal Health Dublin, OH Sep 03, 2014 $68,996
Technical Sales Representative Anton Paar USA, Inc. Ashland, VA Sep 18, 2016 $68,100
Technical Sales Representative-Mining Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC Christiansburg, VA Jul 14, 2014 $68,000 -
$98,000
Technical Sales Representative-Mining Georgia-Pacific LLC Blacksburg, VA Jun 19, 2014 $68,000 -
$98,000
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products DAKO North America, Inc. Carpinteria, CA Dec 13, 2013 $67,954
Technical Sales Service Representative Meadwestvaco Corporation Covington, VA Apr 15, 2013 $67,700
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Syniverse Technologies Inc. Tampa, FL Oct 30, 2013 $66,997
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products Chiron America, Inc. Charlotte, NC Mar 19, 2014 $66,950

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Top Skills for A Technical Sales Representative

  1. Customer Service
  2. Product Line
  3. Territory Sales
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Used technical skills to properly aid customers in successfully diagnosing and repairing operating systems which led to excellent customer service.
  • Developed new supplier contacts for increased profitability and product line diversity.
  • Increased territory sales by a minimum of 20% annually, finishing 110% to plan for 1998.
  • Provided technical support to laboratory personnel and product recommendations to laboratory personnel across the country at technical support call center.
  • Excelled in establishing new accounts expanding existing accounts and recovering lost accounts.

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Top 10 Best States for Technical Sales Representatives

  1. Wyoming
  2. Texas
  3. Colorado
  4. Iowa
  5. Utah
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Delaware
  9. West Virginia
  10. New Hampshire
  • (132 jobs)
  • (4,802 jobs)
  • (1,769 jobs)
  • (1,244 jobs)
  • (1,103 jobs)
  • (1,828 jobs)
  • (2,700 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (227 jobs)
  • (308 jobs)

Top Technical Sales Representative Employers

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