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Become A Technical Sales Specialist

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Working As A Technical Sales Specialist

  • 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

  • $94,992

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical 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 Technical 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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Technical Sales Specialist jobs

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Technical Sales Specialist Career Paths

Technical Sales Specialist
Account Executive Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager District Manager District Sales Manager
Division Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Marketing Consultant Marketing Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Operations Manager Regional Sales Manager
Northeast Regional Sales Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Regional Sales Manager
Regional Sales Director
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Consultant Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager Manufacturer's Representative Territory Manager
Regional Territory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager District Manager
Senior District Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Technical Support Manager Director Of Sales
Senior Sales Director
9 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Senior Account Manager Account Executive
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Market Development Manager Territory Sales Manager
Southeast Regional Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Product Manager General Manager Account Manager
Strategic Accounts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Office Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
West Coast Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Sales Engineer 3.8 years
Outside Sales 3.7 years
Sales Contractor 2.8 years
Sales Professional 2.8 years
Product Specialist 2.6 years
Sales Specialist 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Manager 3.5%
Specialist 3.4%
Top Employers After
Owner 4.0%

Technical Sales Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

70.4%

Female

27.3%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

80.7%

Hispanic or Latino

9.3%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

2.1%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.2%

French

13.2%

German

7.9%

Italian

7.9%

Portuguese

5.3%

Carrier

5.3%

Hindi

5.3%

Chinese

2.6%

Filipino

2.6%

Vietnamese

2.6%

Igbo

2.6%

Mandarin

2.6%

Russian

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Afar

2.6%
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Technical Sales Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.8%

Pennsylvania State University

6.1%

Auburn University

5.3%

Texas State University

5.3%

University of Connecticut

5.3%

Northeastern University

5.3%

University of South Florida

4.4%

East Carolina University

4.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.4%

Michigan State University

4.4%

University of Notre Dame

4.4%

University of Georgia

4.4%

Louisiana Tech University

4.4%

Western Michigan University

4.4%

Mississippi State University

4.4%

Wayne State University

3.5%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

3.5%

Kent State University

3.5%

North Carolina State University

3.5%

Texas Tech University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

27.1%

Marketing

9.8%

Computer Science

8.5%

Biology

6.6%

Electrical Engineering

5.5%

Management

4.3%

Communication

4.3%

Psychology

3.6%

Finance

3.4%

Political Science

3.2%

Information Technology

3.2%

Computer Information Systems

3.0%

Chemistry

2.8%

Economics

2.6%

Computer Networking

2.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

General Sales

2.1%

General Studies

1.9%

English

1.9%

Management Information Systems

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.7%

Other

18.2%

Masters

17.9%

Associate

9.2%

Certificate

2.3%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.2%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Technical Sales Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Services Technical Sales Specialist IV Dell Marketing, LP Cupertino, CA May 05, 2014 $170,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell USA L.P. Naperville, IL Nov 17, 2014 $160,800
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell Marketing L.P. Somerset, NJ Jun 29, 2015 $160,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell Marketing L.P. Hillsborough, NJ Jun 29, 2015 $160,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist Dell Marketing L.P. Somerset, NJ Sep 11, 2015 $156,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell USA LP Monroe, NJ Apr 28, 2014 $150,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell Marketing LP Round Rock, TX Aug 28, 2015 $150,000
Business Analytics Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Marlborough, MA Jun 01, 2015 $137,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist Dell Marketing L.P. Plano, TX Jul 06, 2015 $134,222
Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation New York, NY Jun 29, 2015 $128,662
Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation NY Jun 29, 2015 $128,662
Mobilefirst Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Durham, NC Aug 20, 2015 $115,000
Services Technical Sales Specialist III Dell Marketing L.P. Plano, TX May 30, 2016 $115,000
Technical Sales Specialist Sailpoint Technologies, Inc. Rahway, NJ Oct 16, 2015 $115,000 -
$150,000
Technical Sales Specialist Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp. Fremont, CA Oct 01, 2014 $112,557
Hadoop Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Sayreville, NJ Nov 19, 2015 $112,100 -
$232,700
World Wide Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation San Francisco, CA Jul 22, 2016 $110,989 -
$169,000
Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Atlanta, GA Aug 13, 2016 $110,526 -
$194,970
Websphere Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Iselin, NJ Jun 17, 2014 $93,496 -
$126,500
Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Somers, NY Jul 07, 2016 $91,562 -
$160,000
Technical Sales Specialist Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp. Fremont, CA Oct 01, 2011 $90,000
Technical Sales Specialist Enzymatics, Inc. Dublin, CA Oct 01, 2012 $90,000
Technical Sales Specialist/Strategist Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jan 20, 2010 $88,470
SR. Technical Sales Specialist Rockwell Collins, Inc. Tustin, CA Apr 06, 2012 $88,326
Mobilefirst Technical Sales Specialist IBM Corporation Durham, NC Aug 08, 2015 $88,300 -
$183,500

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Top Skills for A Technical Sales Specialist

ProductSalesTerritoryTechnicalSalesSupportCustomerServiceProspectiveCustomersStorageHospitalsCustomerSatisfactionTradeShowsProductKnowledgeLabSalesGoalsProductLineProductDemonstrationsBusinessDevelopmentSpecialtyInternalMedicineGastroenterologyBusinessPartnersConcept

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Top Technical Sales Specialist Skills

  1. Product Sales
  2. Territory
  3. Technical Sales Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Manage territory providing product sales, support and direction to Hospitals, Doctors, Universities, Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Clients.
  • Initiate, develop, and nurture new leads in territory utilizing specific sales processes, metrics, and weekly call schedule.
  • Provided technical sales support, which included defining and designing the detailed technical aspects of proposed solution.
  • Maintain quality control/satisfaction records, constantly seeking new ways to improve customer service.
  • Attended trade shows, and demonstrated products to prospective customers.

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