Career Development

What Does a Product Specialist Do?

Find out what a product specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a product specialist.

Product specialists are the people who help you decide what to buy. They’re often found in retail settings, but they can also be employed by manufacturers or other companies that sell products directly to consumers.

Product specialists may work on their own or as part of a team. Their job is to provide customers with information about the products they’re selling—including why those products are worth buying and how they can be used effectively.

Product Specialist Job Duties

A product specialist typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Meeting with customers to discuss their needs, building rapport with them, and providing product recommendations
  • Presenting products to customers through verbal descriptions or demonstrations
  • Reviewing customer orders for accuracy in pricing, quantity, terms, and other details
  • Presenting product samples to customers for evaluation purposes such as new products or items being considered for purchase
  • Identifying customer needs and recommending appropriate products based on knowledge of products and brand offerings
  • Working with vendors to order new products or out-of-stock items
  • Recommending new products based on customer preferences and needs
  • Coordinating deliveries of products to customers, including arranging for shipping and scheduling pickup times
  • Managing inventory by ordering supplies from manufacturers and distributors based on sales trends and forecasts of future demand

Product Specialist Salary & Outlook

Product specialists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company size and location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions or bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $102,000 ($49.04/hour)

The employment of product specialists is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for product specialists will stem from the continued growth of e-commerce and online retailing. As more consumers shop online, product specialists will be needed to help customers find the products they want and to explain the features and benefits of those products.

Product Specialist Job Requirements

A product specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Product specialists are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as marketing, business or engineering. Some of the most relevant majors for this role include marketing, advertising, business, finance, economics, mathematics, statistics and computer science.

Training & Experience: Product specialists typically receive on-the-job training to learn the specific products and processes of their companies. This training may last for a few weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the products and the company’s size.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications prove an individual’s qualifications to current and future employers. Product specialists can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and advance their career.

Product Specialist Skills

Product specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in product specialist roles. You may be required to communicate with customers, suppliers and other members of your team. Effective communication can help you build relationships with others and ensure you understand each other. You can also use communication skills to relay information to your team and answer questions they may have.

Product knowledge: Product knowledge is the foundation of your ability to be a product specialist. You should be able to answer questions about the product you represent, including how it works, what it does and why customers would want to buy it. You can develop product knowledge by researching the product, reading reviews and talking to customers.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help you provide quality service to customers. Providing quality customer service can help you build trust with customers and encourage them to make future purchases. You can use customer service skills to answer questions, solve problems and provide solutions to issues customers may have.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues that may arise during the product demonstration process. You can use these skills to help customers understand how to use a product and how to troubleshoot any issues they may have. You can also use problem-solving skills to identify ways to improve the customer experience.

Organization: Organization is another skill that product specialists can use in their careers. You may be responsible for keeping track of inventory, maintaining product displays and keeping records of customer orders. Being organized can help you complete your tasks efficiently and effectively.

Product Specialist Work Environment

Product specialists work in a variety of settings, including office settings, retail stores, warehouses, and manufacturing and production facilities. They may be required to travel to different locations, both within the United States and internationally. Product specialists typically work regular business hours, although they may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays to meet deadlines or to attend trade shows and conventions. Some product specialists may be required to work overtime on a regular basis.

Product Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how product specialists work. Product specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Product Specialists

As technology becomes more complex, the need for product specialists who have a deep understanding of how it works will continue to grow. This is because customers are increasingly looking for products that work well with their existing systems and can be easily integrated into their daily lives.

Product specialists who are able to understand the latest technologies and how they work will be in high demand, as they will be able to help customers find the products that best meet their needs.

The Importance of Being an Expert in Your Field

In order to be successful in any field, it is important to be an expert in your area of expertise. This is especially true in business, where being knowledgeable about your product or service can make the difference between success and failure.

Product specialists are professionals who have a deep knowledge of their product or service. They are able to answer questions about its features and benefits, and they know how to market it effectively. As businesses become more competitive, the importance of having a product specialist on staff will only continue to grow.

More Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing Teams

As marketing and sales teams collaborate more often, product specialists will need to learn how to work together.

This trend is becoming increasingly common as businesses realize that both departments play a critical role in the success of a product. By working together, product specialists and salespeople can create a better understanding of what customers want and how to sell them on new products.

How to Become a Product Specialist

A product specialist career can be a great way to get your foot in the door of a company that makes products. As a product specialist, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the business and develop relationships with key people within the organization. You’ll also gain experience working with customers and understanding their needs.

To become a product specialist, it’s important to have a strong knowledge of the company’s products and services as well as its competitors. You should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of customer needs and be able to communicate effectively with both internal and external stakeholders.

Related: How to Write a Product Specialist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Product specialists typically start their careers in entry-level positions, such as product support specialist or customer service representative. With experience, they may advance to positions such as product manager, product marketing manager, or sales engineer. In larger companies, product specialists may advance to director-level positions, such as director of product management or director of product marketing.

Product specialists with strong technical skills may move into technical positions, such as software engineer or systems administrator. Those with strong sales skills may move into sales positions, such as account executive or sales manager. Product specialists with strong writing and communication skills may move into marketing positions, such as marketing manager or marketing communications manager.

Product Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are passionate about the products we sell and the people we sell them to. We are looking for a Product Specialist to join our team and share that passion with our customers. The ideal candidate will have a deep knowledge of the products we sell and the ability to communicate that knowledge to our customers in a way that is clear, concise, and helpful. He or she will also be responsible for staying up-to-date on product changes and updates, and providing that information to our customers. The Product Specialist will be a key member of our team, and the success of our company depends on his or her ability to help our customers find the products they need.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand and be able to articulate the features, benefits, and value proposition of the products you are assigned to
  • Understand the competitive landscape for your products and be able to position them accordingly
  • Develop a deep understanding of customer needs and requirements and be able to map them to specific product capabilities
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for customers during the sales process, providing expert guidance and support throughout
  • Work closely with the sales team to develop and execute account plans and strategies
  • Conduct regular business reviews with key customers to ensure satisfaction and identify upsell/cross-sell opportunities
  • Prepare and deliver presentations, demonstrations, and other forms of communication to internal and external audiences
  • Create and maintain all relevant product documentation, including data sheets, user manuals, installation guides, etc.
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments and share insights with the wider team
  • Proactively seek out feedback from customers and other stakeholders to inform product development decisions
  • Help shape the product roadmap in collaboration with other members of the product team
  • Assist with various ad-hoc tasks and projects as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience in product management, product marketing, or similar role
  • Experience developing product strategy and roadmap
  • Strong analytical skills and experience with data-driven decision making
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Proven ability to work cross-functionally with engineering, sales, marketing, and support teams

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • 7+ years in product management, product marketing, or similar role
  • Experience in SaaS, enterprise software, or other technology industry
  • Experience managing a team of product managers
  • In-depth knowledge of agile development processes

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