Computer sales support staff are the key point of contact between an IT organisation and its clients. They are responsible for answering queries, providing technical advice and introducing new products. Typical tasks include:
- attracting new business through activities such as cold-calling, networking and meeting with potential clients
- organising sales visits
- clarifying customers’ and clients’ requirements and recommending the appropriate products
- negotiating contracts
- undertaking relevant research
- maintaining sales records
- giving demonstrations
- making and giving presentations
- attending trade exhibitions, conferences and meetings
- preparing tenders and proposals
- reviewing sales performance
- writing reports and sales literature.
Travelling, tight deadlines and the need to meet sales targets can make the work pressurised at times.
Computer sales support staff are employed by computer manufacturers, software/systems houses, IT consultancies, IT services organisations, computer suppliers and IT solutions providers.
Jobs are advertised online, by careers services and recruitment agencies, and in newspapers and in relevant publications such as TARGETjobs IT & Technology, IS Opportunities, Computing and Computer Weekly. It is also worth attending on-campus presentations given by IT and technology employers and applying early for advertised positions during the first term of your final year at university.
There are routes into this profession for both school leavers and university graduates.
It is often possible to enter the profession with a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in any subject. However, some employers may prefer graduates from relevant degree backgrounds such as computer science, software engineering, electronic engineering, physics or mathematics. For graduates without relevant qualifications and/or experience, a postgraduate IT qualification can be helpful. It is worth noting that some graduate employers require candidates to have at least a 2.1.
Relevant experience gained in any commercial/sales area involving contact with customers or the general public is advantageous. You can also apply for IT and sales-related industrial placements, summer internships and insight programmes.
- Strong technical and sales skills
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Commercial awareness
- A meticulous and logical approach to work
- The ability to meet high standards in programming aptitude tests
- The ability to work under pressure and meet sales quotas