Sales support associates provide administrative assistance to a company’s sales department, doing everything from performing clerical duties to helping make a sale. Sales support associates must be well-rounded and be prepared to perform a wide range of tasks, from answering phones to handling mail to filing and billing to dealing with customers and clients.
Sales support associates answer customer questions and complaints, reply to emails, route calls and often follow up with potential clients by making sure the product or service sold by the sales department has been delivered as promised. Generally, support associates work on tasks that some might consider mundane, but are essential to making a sale and helping a company to stay profitable.
A sales support associate needs to possess strong written and verbal communication skills because he is in regular contact with everyone from sales department supervisors to customers. He should be motivated, organized, courteous and professional. Most sales support associates will also need to have a basic understanding of math, filing procedures, typing, computer programs and how to operate office equipment.
There are no set requirements to become a sales support associate, because the industry is so wide-ranging and each company has different guidelines pertaining to sales. Most companies prefer candidates with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some are more likely to hire sales support associates with a certificate or license, while others look for those with a college degree. In the event a degree is needed, those hopeful in finding work in sales support generally focus on courses in marketing, math, finance and communications.
Jobs for administrative and support associates is expected to increase by 11 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is about as fast as average for all other occupations. While there is no firm data for support associates specific to sales, their jobs are expected to increase along with the rest of the industry. “Opportunities will continue to be best for those office and administrative support worker supervisors … who show leadership and team building skills, and who are able to multitask, communicate well, and keep abreast of technological advances,” the BLS reported.
Sales support associates earned a median wage of $10 per hour to just less than $23 per hour in February 2010, according to the PayScale website. Those wages were based on the associate’s experience and industry in which he was employed.