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Occupational Profile

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 $83,912.00
  • Avg. Wage $40.33
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 18,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Account Manager, Broker, Manufacturer's Sales Representative, Sales Broker, Salesperson

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

48%
48%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Technical Sales Representative is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Technical Sales Specialists - Wholesale Trade
NOC code: 6221
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 Dec 15, 2016

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 customer 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.

This requires that technical sales representatives know:

  • their company's business strategy and product lines
  • how products are used
  • competitors' products and strategies
  • their customers' needs.

Technical sales representatives spend much of their time visiting prospective buyers and "prospecting" sales.

Most technical companies designate specific territories for their sales representatives. Sales territories may be defined geographically, by market segment (for example, medical, legal) or by type of organization (for example, government departments, financial institutions, oil companies).

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

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 often depend on commissions, technical sales representatives are under constant pressure to maintain and expand their client base.

Many technical sales representatives work long hours. They may be required to entertain customers in the evening.

Some technical sales representatives 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 Dec 15, 2016

Technical sales representatives need the following characteristics:

  • self-confidence, persistence, initiative and enthusiasm
  • good communication and negotiating skills
  • analytical and problem solving skills
  • the ability to network, build rapport and gain trust
  • the organizational skills and self-discipline required to manage their time effectively
  • the ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • the ability to cope with uncertainty, stress and long hours.

They should enjoy dealing with people and analyzing information to identify and solicit potential clients.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most employers prefer to hire technical sales representatives who have technical qualifications plus several years of experience working with the type of product they sell. For example, depending on the industry, employers may require job applicants to have a background in equipment operation, trades, business administration, marketing, engineering, computer science, pharmacy or agriculture. Computer skills are often required.

Suitable post-secondary programs are offered by universities, colleges and technical institutes throughout Alberta. Entrance requirements vary depending on the program and the school. However, in general, the entrance requirement for:

  • two year diploma programs is a high school diploma or equivalent with appropriate courses at the Grade 12 level. 
  • degree programs is a competitive average in English Language Arts 30-1 and four other appropriate Grade 12 subjects (for example, Pure Math 30, Social Studies 30, 30 level sciences).

Employers often offer product specific in-house training programs for technical sales representatives that may range in length from a few weeks to several months. Training programs may be offered at head office or other locations.

Sales representatives must keep up to date 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.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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 be employed full time or work 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 level 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 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.

Over 16,900 Albertans are employed in the Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 270 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As technical sales representatives form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for technical sales representatives.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Most technical sales representatives work on a straight commission basis; some have salaried positions. Some companies offer a base salary plus commission or an incentives system of payment. Company cars (or car allowances) and expense accounts are common in this occupation.

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

Technical sales specialists - wholesale trade
NOC code: 6221

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 $16.83 $51.15 $29.37 $28.85
Overall $20.19 $66.49 $40.33 $38.46
Top $25.99 $98.08 $53.98 $48.56

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
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Manufacturing
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Wholesale Trade
Construction
Transportation and Warehousing
Business, Building and Other Support Services (aka Management, Administrative, and other Services)
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

48%
48%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

34%
34%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

7%
7%

2015 Vacancy Rate

3%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
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 Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Professional Sales Association website: www.cpsa.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. 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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