My Education: BA, Marketing, Fitchburg State College (Fitchburg, MA)
My Prior Experience: I graduated from college in 1989, entering the sales world as an account representative for a Worcester advertising agency. Several years later, I joined a high-tech firm in the test and measurement field as a domestic sales rep, then moved to the international group, where I supported the Asian market. After seven years with this company, I joined a start-up software company, where I sold for an additional seven years. I have now been working for past four years for another software company selling to the medical, communications and automotive industries.
My Company: My company develops and sells software used to model systems in the medical, communications, automotive and aerospace/defense markets.
Job/Career Overview: I sell our software to engineers, physicists, and computer programmers who design systems and equipment for their companies. Our software enables them to design and test their systems on a computer, which is much faster and more cost-effective than building actual prototypes. Take a car company, for example, that needs to build a new engine for a car. Our software allows them to create a computer model of the engine (the horsepower, number of cylinders, size, etc), and change it very quickly to test different models for power and fuel efficiency. My specific job is to identify our customers' requirements (what they need our software to do) by asking them many questions. I then try to show them how our software can help them. Of course I also have to determine if they have enough money to purchase our software. But mostly I need to show them how our software does the job better than competing products can. Once they purchase our software, I follow up with them to make sure they are successful and satisfied with our product.
I rate this career 7 out of 10.
The best part of my job is being able to speak with engineers from many different industries. I have customers designing cars, airplanes, rockets, sound systems and systems used to treat diseases, to name just a few. It is very fulfilling knowing that companies can design better, cheaper products by using our software.
The worst part of the job, as with any sales job, is rejection. You need to call a lot of people to find just a few who will benefit from your product. Most people are patient and polite when you ask the questions which qualify them as a potential customer for your product. However, some people just don't like it when a sales person calls them, and they let you know it!
To be a successful sales person, you need to be convinced that the product you're selling has a definite value to the people you call on. You need to know how the product works and about the benefits that it can bestow. You need to be persistent (remember, there are a lot of no's), patient and professional to everyone, even those who aren't very friendly when declining your product.