Job Title: Sales Consultant At Large Software Company
Type of Company: I do pre-sales work to help our company sell its identity and access management software to public sector organizations such as Department of Defense, state and local government, and education.
Education: MS in Engineering Management, Northeastern BS in Engineering, US Air Force Acacdemy
Previous Experience: I started in the engineering ranks of a small access management company and then spent time at a mid-sized software company. Both were acquired by larger companies prompting moves from me.
Job Tasks: My job involves preparing demonstrations for customer that involve multiple software products from our company as well as 3rd party software (software from other companies). I typically have one or more pending demonstrations or proof of concepts that require customization of the software to better fit the use cases of the client. I travel a portion of the time to present our solutions. I respond to requests for information/proposals (RFIs &RFPs) on occasion that require technical writing that helps the reader understand how our software works.
My day-to-day work typically involves checking email, giving presentations, sometimes on site at a client or over a web conference. I spend time on the phone, sometimes helping customers with the product after they've made a purchase, though this is typically only done in support of another follow-on deal. I spend a lot of time documenting the work that I do to make it easier for others to repeat my work.
I have occasional staff meetings with our team and attend training sessions on related software products and processes. I am required to submit timecards weekly and track activity in a customer relationship management product. I read technical articles related to my field to stay current. I work at home so I don't get to interact with other employees except when I travel or go to instructor-led training.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I enjoy the customer interaction the most, trying to understand what they are trying to accomplish and build a rapport so that they trust me as an adviser and not just a salesman. I enjoy hanging out with the other members of the sales team.
The most frustrating part of my job is dealing with some of the internal 'support' organizations that are supposed to be there to help but tend to hinder deals more often than not.
1. Don't waste time with certifications and fancy paid training. Get in the door via internship and volunteer work experience, then do some of the 'dirty' jobs like inside sales or QA. You'll gain valuable perspective.
2. Practice your communication skills if you want to be in sales. Get in front of people whether it be toastmasters, or some other public speaking engagement.
3. Always ask yourself, "what value am I providing to the team?" If you don't have a good answer then step up for more responsibility.
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