Job Title: Inside Sales Representative Computer Electronics
Type of Company: I work for a computer hardware, software and electronics distributor.
Education: BS, Marketing, Suffolk University
Previous Experience: I started as a customer service representative at my current company right out of college, then moved to electronics sales, then systems sales and back again.
Job Tasks: Phone sales involves providing a pleasant phone manner with customers, working up quotes over the phone and verbally quoting them or quoting part lists (bills of material for products people manufacture) on Excel spreadsheets and returning those quotes to customers. We are encouraged to follow up on the best opportunities and close the sale by getting the purchase order. A $5,000 or more quote is considered a better opportunity to pursue. Most requests are time-sensitive if not urgent on many occasions. It's important to work with the inside support channels to get the customer what he needs. We have a product specialist group to help work out large-volume pricing deals and special costs with the factory. We have a materials group that buys the inventory and can assist with urgent buys on factory material and there is an engineering group that can advise on technical inquiries on part numbers or drawing specifications. There is usually recommended booking (placing orders) and billing (shipping orders) dollars that management wants you to meet or exceed. It gets easier to meet this number once you know your customer's needs and spending potential. It is also important that the customer feels comfortable calling you and that you will take action in getting issues and requests resolved for them in a timely manner. A field representative (a sales rep who drives around visiting customers in person) is helpful in finding out about customer projects and having the inside person quote on these opportunities. The field brings more business to the company. It's up to the inside sales person to be available and helpful to both the field team and the customers they support.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The issues that are always occurring take away from sales time. There are shipment issues where the factory or warehouse sent the wrong part out. There are credit issues where the customer must provide references and tax exemption forms to open a credit line or increase it. Sales works with credit every day to help get orders shipped out. A lot of customers complain about shipping and handling charges. The salesperson has to reach a compromise with the customer on freight charges or make the decision to pay for the customer shipping. The situation will determine what is decided.
The best part of the job for me is talking to people and making their jobs easier by doing my job well. Learning about new people and staying on good terms with people you have serviced for years is the daily challenge. When you bring in good sales to your company, you are treated very well by management and earn the respect of your peers. You have a lot of freedom to do your work on your own. The sales dollars, gross profit dollars, number of line items shipped, number of returns, and the number of calls you take a day show your productivity level every day, week, and month. You are held accountable for all your dealings and numbers. It's a motivating pressure for some people and too much pressure for other people. I happen to be a laid back person so the structure and pressure keeps me moving.
Job Tips: If you are interested in a job like this, you may want to take an Excel course. We use a few software tools on the job which help us handle the volume of part numbers that we are asked to quote. Being familiar with software like Microsoft Outlook, scanning, faxing, and email are all helpful. You may also prefer to work for a hardware manufacturer, so reading up on how the companies are doing in the marketplace and knowing what they manufacture would be helpful in choosing where you might like to start working. If you have an interest in technology, you may want to take some related courses. Understanding how computer boards or systems work will give you more options and add value to any sales job you take.
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