What is the job description for a sales specialist?

A sales specialist is an individual who explains the features and benefits of products and services to potential or existing customers to encourage them to make a purchase. Depending on the employer, sales specialists may also be called sales associates or sales representatives.


Some sales specialists work in stores and are only responsible for waiting on individuals and recommending additional products to increase sales. Inside sales specialists work outside of store settings and contact existing customers over the phone or in person in an attempt to secure more business, whereas outside sales representatives work on identifying and developing new business over the phone, at in-person sales presentations and through networking.



Sales specialists typically have sales goals that must be met or exceeded in order to obtain salary increases, earn bonuses or even maintain employment. Because of this, a sales specialist’s work may become stressful, particularly during periods of slow sales.


The required education for sales specialists varies greatly depending on what product is being sold, but a high school diploma or GED is usually the absolute the minimum. For selling technical, medical or scientific products, a bachelor’s degree may be necessary.


Successful sales specialists possess people skills, outgoing personalities and the ability to handle objections and communicate persuasively. Often, employers prefer to hire specialists with demonstrated skills over those without a proven skill set but with post-secondary education.


As of March 2010, sales specialists averaged annual salaries of $30,976 to $89,000, according to Payscale.com. Additionally, specialists reported earning average annual commissions of $3,800 to $19,518.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing

OSI Pharmaceuticals: Sales Specialist Job Description

Life Sync Corp: Sales Specialist Job Description

Payscale.com: Sales Specialist Commission

Payscale.com: Sales Specialist Salaries by Years Experience