Job Title: Sales Executive
Type of Company: My company calibrates laboratory test equipment used in the manufacturing sector, in life sciences, telecommunications and any industry regulated by the FDA, FCC or NRC.
Education: BS, Mechanical Engineering
Previous Experience: I started working for a family mechanical contracting firm and stayed for 2 years. But I wanted to be in sales so I got into selling commercial and industrial air filtration systems. I remained in that business for another seven years. After that I transferred into sales in software/hardware in information technology. I did that for a decade and have just left (thanks to the economy) to move into life sciences and medical device sales.
Job Tasks: I am responsible for developing new business and maintaining existing business through the sales of all company service and product offerings throughout New England. This means I need to prospect for new business, qualify its feasibility for success, present our capabilities and secure a business relationship based on a financial transaction.
A typical day on the job might involve spending up to half of my time on the phone reaching out to prospective customers where I learn about their needs and promote our capabilities. Upon reaching an interested prospect, I then follow up with emails or further technical information and schedule further conversation. A portion of my day will be spent following up with those whom I initially contacted in the recent past. I'll also spend time with clients in various stages of a sales cycle which might include presenting proposals, answering questions, or visiting them onsite. The goal of my work is to increase our business in the New England region, where the market ids very competitive. It is my job to figure out, or understand, where gaps exist in the services offered by our competition and to try and fill them. I'll frequently be juggling sales cycles with 50-100 customers and/or prospects, so it's important to be very organized. I have a Blackberry where I can access email if I'm on the road because it's very important that I'm accessible by my colleagues as well as to my customers. I need to schedule calls and visits with my clients and confirm them on a daily basis, so I have to maintain a calendar on my Blackberry too.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is having a customer who recommends you to another customer. This means that the solution I'm delivering has been working successfully for at least a few months. It's a tremendous confirmation of the work I've done and validates the trust I've built with the customer. I also get to travel and see a variety of different places and processes. I make my own schedule and don't sit in a cube or an office. I work out of my home which is very nice.
The worst part of the job is the pressure to perform and taking the blame for the whole company if things go wrong.
Job Tips: There's no real course work offered by universities for a career in sales. If you want to learn how to sell, get into a position and just do it. Once you get some experience, try to get into a company that offers sales training through Miller Heiman or Basho or something comparable. Once you have some experience and some formal training, you'll find the skills are very portable. Sales requires a tremendous amount of stamina and resilience because it's very competitive and difficult but it's the most important position in any company....ask any CEO.
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