Let’s face it – no kid ever says, “When I grow up – I want to be in Sales”. There are far more exciting careers like Pilot, Astronaut, or my son (4 years old) actually talks often of his dream to be a Race Car Driver. You look at even the very best salespeople – and they will acknowledge the difficult customers, the challenge of getting all the teams (Services, Solutions etc.) aligned with the Customer, the late nights, the anxiety felt every quarter closing…and the worst feeling ever: the feeling of losing a deal that you should have won.
When I was young, I dreamed of a career in “helping people solve problems”. Perhaps that’s a naive thought (I was 12)…and it sounds generic since on some level, everyone is working in a business that solves some kind of problem. My love of technology and the Retail industry brought me to a career in Retail Technology Sales, and when you think about it, Retail technology is in the business of making Retail more effective, more efficient, and getting people more of what they want.
Here are 6 thoughts on why I choose a career in Enterprise Software Sales, and why you might also.
- Sales are Essential
Every business needs sales in order to survive. They’re the critical lifeblood to the organization, and since they are so critical companies will invest well in their sales-force. Every business needs someone focused on Sales, and that means there is always a call for effective sales people.
- Freedom to Define your Workday
There are few occupations that give you the freedom to ‘manage your own business’ like Sales. You have the ability to structure your day as you need to. Perhaps essential follow-up phone calls in the morning, creative time to develop sales strategy or a new campaign. Leave time for emailing in the less productive afternoon hours. Yes, you are free to manage your time – but you are always at the whim of your customer. When they need your attention, you need to give it.
- Career Prospects
Sales as an individual contributor can be rewarding enough alone, but it becomes even more rewarding as you work with larger teams. Now you can leverage the power of the broader team to get things accomplished. Being successful there, means understanding those groups, their goals and motivations – and that is the primary qualification for leadership. Bringing teams together to accomplish the company goal often gets Sales leaders promoted to the head of the company.
- Sales is about Understanding People
Unlike Classical Economics, people don’t always act rationally, nor do they always act in their own best interests. Your job as a Salesperson is to understand why people do what they do. What motivates them? How can you generate interest, deliver value for each moment of their time, and develop trust. Your customer needs to believe in your product and it’s your job to help them understand how it provides them value – and will satisfy their needs. Perhaps you have an intrinsic understanding of people or empathy, or a desire to know people better? That will serve you well in Sales.
- Sales people understand Industry Trends.
I LOVE technology. I’m passionate about understanding what successful companies are doing that is new or different. Often, technology is at the forefront of improvements (excellent execution is also critical) or even huge changes in business. In Sales, you can be the ambassador for new industry trends, educating and evangelizing innovation to make business better.
The old joke about Salespeople is that we are “coin operated”. Sure, In many ways this is true – but there are many other ways Salespeople are compensated. Consider the sheer joy of winning! The happiness of working towards an objective of making the sale, and when the moment arrives you have a signed contract, …there’s nothing like that feeling. Also, working closely with many different people with shared goals, often shared late nights together or travel to remote locations – you get pretty close to those people. I have enormous respect for other team members I’ve worked with (and won with) and I hope I maintain those friendships for many years into the future.
Do you think there’s anything I left out? A motivating factor that might be unique to you? Feel free to comment or shoot me and email – I look forward to hearing from you. – Lornec@hotmail.com