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The duties of a sales assistant may vary depending on size and type of company. Generally, the position supports the sales department by performing administrative duties and organizational tasks. A sales assistant must be able to balance multiple responsibilities at once with little supervision. Enthusiasm, professionalism and follow-up skills are useful in this position. There are seven main duties that will likely be a part of a sales assistant job.
Interacting with customers is one of the key duties of a sales assistant. When members of the sales team are busy or traveling, the sales assistant handles customer phone calls and emails. The assistant is also responsible for sending product samples and marketing material. In essence, the sales assistant is the liaison between the salesperson and the customer.
A sales department can be busy and stressful, and the sales assistant is a key to keeping the department organized. Sales assistants make travel arrangements, confirm appointments and input expense reports. When there are multiple salespeople, the assistant must stay focused and highly organized in order to balance everyone’s schedules.
Sales assistants spend a large portion of time on the computer and they must be skilled in this area. Duties may include updating forecast data, maintaining customer files and communicating information to members of the sales team. Good skills in document, spreadsheet and database programs are needed for this position.
A primary function of the sales department is to create customer presentations and proposals. The sales assistant is responsible for contributing information to these documents and editing content. Familiarity with presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint is useful, and basic graphics skills are beneficial.
Literature and Samples
The sales staff usually depends on the sales assistant to send literature to prospective customers. The assistant is also responsible for managing the inventory of the company’s marketing materials, brochures and product samples.
Most companies attend trade shows and industry functions to meet new customers. These events require a great deal of planning and organization. A sales assistant will be asked to perform a variety of tasks that may include registering attendees, making travel arrangements and shipping marketing materials. After the event the sales assistant may be responsible for sending product samples and setting appointments.
A sales assistant must be flexible enough to handle unforeseen challenges. The sales staff is often out of the office and the assistant becomes the point of contact for issues that may come up suddenly. Changing flights, shipping items or replacing a lost cell phone are just a few of the duties that a sales assistant may encounter. It is important to be resourceful and have quick decision-making skills.
Emily Meyer is an accomplished writer and contributor on matters of business, lifestyle, and current trends. A graduate of University of San Diego, Meyer runs a Southern California based consulting firm. Her work has been published in leading publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Elle, San Diego Magazine and Self.