Career Story: Sales Consultant At A Financial Institution

Sales Consultant At A Financial Institution

Job Title: Sales Consultant

Type of Company: I work for a financial institution that provides a variety of services to people and companies. My division provides retirement plan services to companies.

Education: BS in Management, UMass Boston; Masters in Financial Economics, Boston University

Previous Experience: I started as a plan administrator in my present company. After 5 years I changed jobs internally, moved to sales/marketing, to see the other side of what I was doing.

Job Tasks: I work in with the sales department answering request for proposals (RFPs) for companies looking to have someone provide administration for the company's retirement plan. A company sends us a questionnaire asking us a variety of questions about our capabilities in providing services they are interested in. I answer the questions using a database. For many questions, I have to talk to different people in my company to answer a question completely. It usually takes at least a week (usually 2-3 weeks) to respond to a proposal. Once all questions are answered, and I have all of the other things I need to answer the questions I either email the response to the company, or bind in a sales book and mail it to the company.

As I said, my job requires me to work with a variety of people in my company. I work directly with someone in sales, this is the person who deals with the company that has submitted the proposal- I do not have direct contact with the outside company. I also deal with people in the investment department, administration, implementation, finance, legal and communications.

As the person who responds to proposals, I have to take information from other people and construct answers that are legible and correct verbally. In some cases, it is like being an editor, but that is not entirely my job, although I do have to make sure that as much as possible is grammatically correct, and correct spelling is a must.

In addition to responding to proposals, I have to respond to general databases for companies that work as consultants (not for specific clients, but provide general descriptions of our services). I also help keep our database of answers up to date with information so that we don't have to research questions when we get them, we can just find the answer in a database of updated answers.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I get assigned to a project (proposal) and it is my responsibility to coordinate the response process, and for the most part it is independent work. It does involve getting information from other people, which is the worst part of my job. Not getting information, but trying to get information on time when people are busy. That is tough, and make is difficult to meet deadlines at times. Since my job is done on the computer, another big plus is that I get to work from home at least once a week.

Job Tips:
1. If you are going to go into a role similar to mine, it is important that you have a strong grammar background.

2. In a sales role, it is important to know what you are selling/marketing. I could have started this job without prior experience, but my previous job has helped me jump ahead because I know what we are selling and how we do the work.

3. Be open if you want to get into sales. You may have to start off doing a different job, and work your way into a sales job.

Additional Thoughts: Since I am sales support, I am not as sales oriented as the sales people I work with, but I have to be as confident as them when working on projects. When I started my job, I had to show that I was confident in answering some questions, that helped me gain respect with some of the staff who tried to answer questions in ways that sometimes didn't accurately reflect what we could do for a company. Now that I have the respect, and confidence to stand up to everyone, people appreciate my input and like working with me. It is important to be as nice as possible to everyone, since I need help from different people when doing my job.

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