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Technical Sales Representative

Technical sales representatives sell technical goods and services to government, commercial, and industrial establishments. They may sell commodities such as computers, software, and business machines or services such as technical analysis and consulting services.

  • Avg. Salary $77,650.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.17
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 20,200
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Account Manager, Broker, Manufacturer’s Sales Representative, Manufacturing / Product Technical Representative, Manufacturing / Product / Service Representative, Sales Broker, Salesperson

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Technical Sales Specialists - Wholesale Trade (6221) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Technical Sales Specialists Wholesale Trade (G121) 
  • 2011 NOC: Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade (6221) 
  • 2016 NOC: Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade (6221) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

46%
46%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Technical Sales Representative is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Technical Sales Specialists - Wholesale Trade
OBJECTIVE

Interest in troubleshooting technical problems related to equipment; may train customers' staff in the operation and maintenance of equipment

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading to promote sales to existing clients; may supervise the activities of other technical sales specialists

innovative

Interest in analyzing information to identify and solicit potential clients, and to consult with clients after sale to resolve problems and provide ongoing support

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Technical sales representatives are sometimes called account executives, sales engineers, or account managers. In general, they:

  • Identify sales opportunities
  • Identify key customer requirements and show customers how their organizations’ products or services satisfy those requirements
  • Negotiate and close sales deals
  • Follow up with customers to ensure satisfaction and expand business opportunities
  • Maintain knowledge of competitor activity
  • Manage technical presentation and promotion of products and services
  • Provide support to contractors and end users
  • Maintain and update data about their territories and accounts

Technical sales reps must know:

  • Their company’s business strategy and product lines
  • How products are used
  • Competitors’ products and strategies
  • Customers’ needs

Technical sales reps spend much of their time visiting potential buyers and prospecting sales. In many cases, they sell the service first. This may be followed up with the purchase of a product months later, and sometimes longer. This is especially true in industries such as agriculture and oil and gas.

Most technical companies designate specific territories for their sales reps. Sales territories may be defined:

  • Geographically
  • By market segment, such as medical or legal
  • By type of organization, such as government department, financial institution, or oil company
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

The technical sales field is highly competitive. Companies may set goals or quotas and offer incentives to those who make the most sales. Because their incomes may depend on commissions, sales reps are under constant pressure to maintain and expand their client base. Many work long hours. They may need to entertain customers in the evening.

Some reps have large geographic territories and travel frequently. They may be away from home for several days or weeks at a time.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Technical sales representatives need:

  • Self-confidence, persistence, initiative, and enthusiasm
  • Communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to ask questions and learn clients’ needs
  • Organizational skills and self-discipline to manage their time
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • The ability to cope with uncertainty, stress, and long hours
  • The ability to navigate multiple avenues, such as social media, conferences, and  sales shows, to connect with potential prospects
  • The ability to take rejection and keep pushing forward

Technical sales reps are not involved in the service of a product. Their role is to sell it to clients. For this, they need excellent communication, negotiation, and people skills. They should enjoy analyzing information to identify and solicit potential clients and to find solutions to their problems. They should feel at ease with public speaking.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most employers prefer to hire technical sales representatives with technical qualifications plus many years, sometimes decades, of experience working with the type of product they sell. Depending on the industry, employers may seek applicants with a background in equipment operation, trades, business administration, marketing, engineering, computer science, pharmacy, or agriculture. Computer skills are often required.

Universities, colleges, and technical institutes throughout Alberta offer suitable programs. Entrance requirements vary depending on the program and the school.

Employers often offer product-specific, in-house training programs for sales reps. These may range in length from a few weeks to several months. They may be offered at head office or other locations.

Sales reps must keep up with technological changes affecting their customers’ companies.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Technical sales representatives work for:

  • Technical and industrial equipment manufacturers and resellers
  • Computer software firms
  • Engineering and technology service firms
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Communications companies

They may work full time or as self-employed contractors.

Advancement opportunities depend on the size and nature of the company and the individual’s sales abilities. Many companies require front-line sales experience for advancement to senior positions.

Technical sales representatives are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6221: Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the G121: Technical Sales Specialists Wholesale Trade occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 270 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

 

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most technical sales representatives work on a straight commission basis. Some, such as those working in the oil and gas or agricultural industry, have salaried positions. Some companies offer a base salary plus commission or an incentive system of payment. Company cars (or car allowances) and expense accounts are common in this occupation.

Total earnings vary widely depending on the type of product being sold and the industry.

Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.38 $43.27 $26.15 $24.04
Overall $20.80 $87.91 $38.17 $34.43
Top $23.00 $74.52 $45.09 $40.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
Retail Trade
Transportation and Warehousing
Wholesale Trade
Information, Culture, Recreation
ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing
Construction
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

46%
46%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

30%
30%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

10%
10%

Vacancy Rate

4%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
  • Aviation
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Professional Sales Association website: www.cpsa.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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