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A sales support representative may have many different functions depending on the definition of the role within the company. In general, however, the intent of the role is to execute activities that support the primary sales staff. This can include administrative tasks such as making travel arrangements and scheduling meetings as well as sales-specific tasks such sending out sales materials and preparing quotations. In some cases, a sales support representative may be responsible for inside sales to existing accounts.
There are a number of different support activities involved in sales. They vary widely based on product factors such as type, price point, and complexity as well as company factors such as size, industry, and structure. An activity assigned to a sales support representative at one company might be assigned to an administrative assistant, an account representative, or a member of the marketing team in another company.
Common duties include presales activities such as market research and lead generation. For example, sales support representatives might review the participants in an industry trade show to find good prospects and identify contacts. Depending on the employer's process, he or she would then provide that information to the sales staff for follow-up, send information to the prospect, or make the initial cold call to determine interest.
Support professionals are frequently involved in the sales process as well. This might include scheduling meetings between the prospect and the sales executive and might also include attending such meetings. It might include obtaining pricing, coordinating bid efforts among departments, and creating the final bid package or quotation.
During the postsales period, a sales support representative is most often involved in the review and reporting process. This can include analyzing the final profit numbers against the target goals or creating reports for one or more sales executives. For complex sales projects, such as those involving multiple goods and services, it can also include participating in meetings designed to identify what went well during the project and what could be improved in the future.
Occasionally, the title of sales support representative is used to describe an individual who supports the company through selling. In this case, the representative may actually be part of the primary sales force rather than part of the support staff. As such, the representative might be responsible for product presentation and deal closing as well. This is most often the case in small companies or those whose product offerings do not require much customization.