Sales Support Job Description: What Do Specialists Do?
Updated 19 August 2023
Sales support specialists provide valuable support to the sales team. If you're interested in a sales career, you might consider an entry-level position in this role. Understanding what sales support specialists do, what credentials they require and where they work can help you determine whether this is the right career choice. In this article, we describe the role of a sales support specialist, share common duties listed in a sales support job description, explain their skills, qualifications and work environment and answer FAQs about the job.
What is a sales support specialist?
A sales support specialist provides administrative and operational assistance to a sales team. They help sales representatives to achieve their goals by providing them with the necessary tools, resources and support to be successful in their jobs. Sales support specialists ensure that the sales team operates effectively and efficiently, which ultimately helps to drive revenue and achieve business goals. They're usually the first point of contact for customers, possess excellent communication skills and build strong relationships with clients.
Sales support job description
A sales support job description covers many duties, including the following:
Processing orders: A sales support specialist is responsible for processing customer orders accurately and efficiently. This includes verifying order details, checking inventory levels and ensuring timely delivery.
Managing customer enquiries: A sales support specialist responds to customer enquiries, addressing any concerns or issues they have. They communicate with customers via phone, email or web chat.
Providing product information: A sales support specialist provides customers with detailed product information, explaining features, benefits and pricing.
Preparing sales presentations: They help sales representatives prepare sales presentations, including creating slides and other visual aids.
Conducting market research: A sales support specialist conducts market research to help the sales team better understand the market and its competitors. This includes gathering data on pricing, product features and market trends.
Assisting with sales forecasting: Specialists help the sales team with sales forecasting by gathering data on markets and customers.
Managing customer relationships: They build and maintain strong relationships with customers, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Coordinating sales meetings: A sales support specialist helps coordinate sales meetings by arranging schedules and booking meeting rooms.
Handling customer complaints: They handle customer complaints, resolving issues to the customer's satisfaction.
Generating sales leads: A sales specialist helps generate sales leads by conducting research, identifying potential customers and contacting them via phone or email.
Tracking sales performance: They track the sales team's performance, analysing data on sales figures and identifying areas for improvement.
Providing training: A sales specialist helps with training the sales team on product knowledge, sales techniques and customer service.
Developing sales materials: They develop sales materials, including brochures, flyers and other marketing materials.
Managing databases: A sales specialist manages customer databases, ensuring the accuracy and completeness of customer information.
Supporting the sales team: They provide administrative support to the sales team, such as scheduling appointments, sending emails and organising sales files.
Maintaining sales records: Specialists also maintain accurate sales records, ensuring they record and store sales transactions properly.
Assisting with inventory management: Specialists sometimes assist with inventory management, ensuring they maintain stock levels and fulfil orders.
Analysing sales data: A sales specialist analyses sales data, identifying trends and patterns that help the sales team make better decisions.
Coordinating marketing campaigns: Specialists also coordinate marketing campaigns with the marketing team, ensuring that sales efforts align with marketing goals.
Staying current with industry trends: A sales specialist stays current with industry trends, attending industry events and reading industry publications about the latest developments in their industry.
What skills do sales support specialists require?
Sales support specialists typically require a combination of soft skills and technical skills to excel in their roles. These include the following:
attention to detail
sales support software proficiency
forecasting and planning
Sales support qualifications
Although exact requirements may vary by employer and industry, many employers expect specific qualifications for an entry-level position. Many companies require at least a bachelor's degree in business, marketing or a related field, although some companies may consider candidates with a diploma or an equivalent qualification. Additionally, employers usually require a minimum of one or two years of experience in sales support or customer service, and candidates with previous experience in a sales-related field typically have an advantage.
Sales support specialists also require a good understanding of common office software, sales support software and customer relationship management software. Experience in customer service and sales-related fields is also beneficial. Strong customer service skills are typically a hard requirement, as specialists handle customer enquiries, complaints and other issues professionally and efficiently. Specialists also require a good understanding of the products or services they're selling, so they can explain their features and benefits to customers.
Sales support work environment
A sales support specialist works in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment that requires a high level of focus and organisation. They typically work in an office setting, either independently or as part of a team that supports the sales team. The work environment for a sales support specialist usually involves frequent interactions with customers, vendors and colleagues. A sales support specialist's busy workday includes a range of activities, such as answering phone calls and emails, processing orders and invoices, providing product information to customers and coordinating with other departments within the organisation.
Support specialists work full or part-time, depending on the organisation's specific needs. Some specialists may also be on call to support the sales team only when necessary, such as during peak hours or busy seasons. Many retailers hire support specialists for holiday seasons and promotional periods.
Sales support FAQs
The following are some answers to frequently asked questions about sales support specialists:
How does a sales support specialist differ from a sales representative?
While both a sales support specialist and a sales representative share similar duties, their roles are different. A sales representative sells products or services directly to customers. They focus on generating new business by finding potential customers and persuading them to make a purchase. Sales representatives often work on commission and earn based on their ability to close deals and meet sales targets. A sales support specialist provides administrative and operational support to the sales team. They don't typically sell products directly but instead, provide support to the sales team to help them be more effective.
What kind of career progression is available for a sales support specialist?
One common progression path for a sales support specialist is to move into a management position. As they gain experience and demonstrate leadership skills, the company may promote them to a sales support manager or a sales operations manager role. In these roles, they manage a team of sales support specialists, setting goals and targets and ensuring that the team is providing effective support to the sales team. Another progression path is to move into a more specialised role within the sales support function. For example, they may become a product specialist or a customer service specialist.
What are some challenges that sales support specialists face?
Sales support specialists face various challenges in their roles, including handling a large volume of requests, managing multiple tasks simultaneously, meeting tight deadlines, handling difficult customers, staying updated with changes in products or services, managing complex data and adapting to new software tools. To manage these challenges, sales support specialists are highly organised, adaptable and customer-focused. They prioritise their tasks effectively, stay current on changes to products and sales processes and use their customer service skills to de-escalate tense situations. They also learn new software tools quickly and manage complex customer data.
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