How do I Become an Administrative Sales Assistant?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

An administrative sales assistant is a support professional that works within a sales department. In some cases, the assistant reports directly to the manager of the department. However, in larger sales departments it is not unusual for this type of sales assistant to be assigned to a specific group of salespeople, providing the team with a wide range of clerical and sometimes customer oriented support. If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to become an administrative sales assistant, here are some things you should know.

Administrative sales assistants typically handle tasks for sales departments.
Administrative sales assistants typically handle tasks for sales departments.

All the skills that are associated with any type of administrative assistant position are also true when it comes to offering administrative support in a sales environment. Usually, the basic requirements for any administrative assistant job will also be true for the sales-related position. Most companies will require a minimum of a high school education, competent computer skills, strong organizational ability, and a demonstrated talent for communicating effectively with people within the company.

Administrative assistants may handle preparing documents necessary for sales.
Administrative assistants may handle preparing documents necessary for sales.

In order to become an administrative sales assistant, it is a good idea to take classes that help to sharpen basic clerical skills, including working with databases, presentation software, and preparing letters. While some of these skills are acquired in high school classes, many people master these abilities by taking courses at a local vocational school or community college. It is also not unusual for people to accept an entry-level clerical position elsewhere within the company, giving them a chance to learn the nature of the company as they hone these basic skills.

An administrative sales assistant may be assigned a specific group of sales people.
An administrative sales assistant may be assigned a specific group of sales people.

Along with these basic administrative assistant skills, there are several other key talents that are necessary in order to become an administrative sales assistant. These include the ability to qualify leads for the sales team, strong people skills that make it easy to build rapport with prospects, and a willingness to hold demonstrations on site or by electronic media at the request of a salesperson. Record keeping using software designed for sales tracking purposes is also considered an important skill with this type of work.

It is important to note that the exact duties associated with sales administrative jobs will vary from industry to industry, as well as from company to company. Some will require a fair amount of interaction with prospective clients as well as existing clients where there is opportunity to sell additional goods or services to the customer. Others are strictly in-house support roles, while others may be called upon to accompany salespeople to conventions, conferences, or on site visits to a prospect. You may become an administrative sales assistant that works within a sales department that handles both retail and wholesale business. The assignment may be to a single salesperson or you may serve as support to the entire sales team.

In many ways, the decision to become an administrative sales assistant is an excellent way to enter the world of sales. Functioning in this capacity can make it possible to learn and master some of the basics of selling, such as understanding the difference between a qualified and unqualified lead, how to define a prospect, the nature of upselling, and how to understand the sales cycle. Because the sales administrative assistant will work closely with the sales team, exposure to all these tools and terminology can educate the assistant and possibly pave the way for moving on to the role of salesperson.

An administrative sales assistant may report directly to the manager of the department.
An administrative sales assistant may report directly to the manager of the department.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

Bhutan

@SauteePan -That is true. I wanted to add that some administrative assistants decide to set up a clerical service that is virtual in nature.

This is a growing field as many small businesses need help with clerical documents from time to time. Hiring a virtual service allows a company to hire someone to help them with a temporary need without having to hire someone to work on staff.

It saves the company a lot of money and it is easy to execute additional demands once the customer establishes an account with the service. A virtual administrative assistant is a position that did not exist ten years ago. It is amazing what advances in technology can do.

SauteePan

@Cafe41 -I agree. This also happens in the real estate business. The administrative assistant training involves taking messages from prospects in order for the agent to schedule appointments.

Some administrative assistants become so interested in the field that they decide to become agents and are often mentored by the current broker that they work for. This is really a great way to see what the real estate business is like before considering obtaining your license to sell real estate. It is a lucrative business but it is not for everyone and this is one way to find out.

cafe41

I think that many college graduates that are not able to find a job are considering working as an administrative sales assistant.

It is a great way to break into a new company and learn the sales field. Usually these administrative assistants will have to have a strong command of Microsoft Office, Excel and PowerPoint.

An administrative sales assistant normally prepares presentations for the sales executives which give them a taste of what the job is all about. You really have to have a strong attention to detail along with a cordial and friendly demeanor.

I know of a few friends that got promoted to an Account Executive position from an administrative job like this. It can happen but you have to work hard.

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