If you’re interested in working your way up to a career as a sales representative for a business that sells to other businesses, starting as a sales coordinator will help you learn whether this line of work is right for you. While there’s no universally accepted definition of what a sales coordinator does, the term is usually used to describe an assistant who helps salespeople who solicit commercial accounts. Dipping your toe in the water as a coordinator before you take the plunge as a sales rep will get you the understanding and experience necessary to start a successful career.
Salespeople such as retail store personnel and telemarketers generally don’t need assistants, and the title sales coordinator is primarily used to describe a person who handles administrative and support duties for salespeople who sell to commercial clients. Before applying for a job as a sales coordinator, confirm whether or not you’ll have sales duties, or an opportunity to break into sales at some point, if that’s your goal.
Once a salesperson closes a contract, she’s eager to get working on the next prospect. With each contract she signs, her need to make sure she delivers what she promises increases, potentially taking her away from selling. Sales coordinators assist sales staff by managing the execution of contracts. For example, if a client purchases advertising in a magazine and gets a free banner ad on the website and a discount at the magazine’s annual trade show, a sales coordinator will make sure the designer includes the client’s ad in the correct issues, the tech department puts the client’s banner on the company website and the tradeshow department bills the client the discounted amount for its booth. Sales coordinators check contracts regularly to give reps heads up on expiring clients and to ensure all aspects of each contract are fulfilled on time, giving reps a calendar of expiring contracts each month or quarter. Sales coordinators often enter contract information into the client database and company billing system.
Collateral Materials Tracking
Sales coordinators ensure the sales staff does not run out of brochures, sales kits, price lists, contracts and other collateral materials they use to make pitches. A sales coordinator learns how much lead time she must give the production department to get materials printed, checks with the sales staff to see if they want materials updated before they’re printed again, and works with the design staff to proof all materials.
A sales coordinator makes sure all sales materials on the company’s website are up to date and accurate and that all banners and links sold to customers are working. They provide sales staff with traffic reports regarding client banners and links and keep company website traffic reports at the fingertips of sales reps who use them during sales calls. If the sales department relies on social media, a sales coordinator might make Facebook posts or send tweets written by the sales reps.
In addition to contract management, sales coordinators keep in touch with clients to ensure they are happy with and using their purchase. Some clients, for example, might not take advantage of their free banner ad or link. For this reason, sales coordinators send reminders to make sure clients get maximal benefit from their purchase, making them more likely to re-sign when the contract ends. A coordinator might call a new client to ask if they’ve used the product and how it is working. If the customer has a simple problem, such as website link that isn’t working, the sales coordinator is the client’s contact.
Sales coordinators can get their feet wet selling by researching and prospecting potential clients for busy sales reps. This might include calling a client’s administrative assistant to ask a number of questions that will help a sales rep determine whether or not a businessperson would benefit from the company’s product or service. Sales reps use the golf analogy of “teeing up” a prospect before the rep makes contact, motivating sales coordinators by giving them a monetary bonus if a teed-up contact turns into a client.
A sales manager needs to know how her sales team is doing, but is often selling and doesn’t have time to keep collecting information from each rep. If a department shares a sales coordinator, the reps will turn all sales numbers into the coordinator, who compiles them into a report for a sales manager. A sales manager might require sales coordinators to update customer databases as mail comes back undeliverable, emails bounce back or phone numbers no longer work.
Marketing and Promotions
If the sales department is involved with any marketing activities, the coordinator is the one who handles the details. For example, when sales reps travel to trade shows, their coordinators ship and track their booths and sales materials. They will send pre- and post-show materials to current and potential clients, arrange the logistics of a company cocktail party, order T-shirts or other giveaways and check and inventory all materials that arrive back at headquarters after the show.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.