Thinking about a Sales Career
When thinking of a sales career many images can come to mind – from a door-to-door salesperson to someone working in retail. However, for the sake of simplicity, when we refer to a sales career here we’re referring explicitly to enterprise software sales – a sales career spent selling technology to customers. As a new sales representative you’ll likely be spending a lot of time making sales calls to reach out to potential new customers and learn if your solution is a fit for their needs. Once you’ve secured a meeting your next step will be to present a demo or meet your prospect on-site to show them the product. When you’ve closed a deal you’re one step closer to meeting your quota.
While often stressful, a sales career can be a very rewarding experience. You’ll frequently have the opportunity to travel in order to attend conferences and meet with customers. A sales career can also be very lucrative, with the chance to earn significant commissions on top of your base salary as an incentive for helping your company hit its sales revenue goals.
The Typical Sales Career Path
While no two careers are exactly the same, the typical sales career path starts with being a sales development representative (SDR). As an SDR you’ll learn the ropes and serve primarily to qualify sales leads for your account executives (AEs). Your goal as an SDR is to allow your AEs to focus their time on prospects with the money, decision-making authority and use case to buy your product. Once you become an AE yourself your focus will be on closing. You’ll take the leads given to you by marketing, your SDRs and your own prospecting and, to quote Alec Baldwin, “get them to sign on the line which is dotted.”
Successful AEs often advance in their sales career to enter sales management. As a sales manager, you’ll still be dealing with quotas and sales pipeline, but the focus will change from your own performance to that of your team as a whole. Instead of worrying about how you’ll meet your personal quota, your job will shift towards hiring and retaining the best salespeople and ensuring that they receive the training and coaching necessary to do their best.
Preparing Yourself for a Sales Career
There’s no specific course of study for those looking to embark on a sales career. Salespeople come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. However, all successful salespeople have a passion to help their customers succeed and a drive to meet and exceed their quotas.
They’re outgoing and prepared to face rejection in the course of their jobs. Remember, even the very best salespeople will come across plenty of prospects who have neither the the money nor the inclination to buy their products.
For those looking to get started, classics like Let’s Get Real Or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig and Solution Selling by Michael Bosworth provide an excellent primer on selling. Sales opportunities abound – a quick check online will turn up literally hundreds of open sales positions including right here at People.ai! If you’re interested, please reach out with your resume to Ben Daters, our Vice President of Sales, at Ben (at) people.ai.