Congratulations on making the dive into your first job in the technology sales arena!!! Whether you’re in IT, engineering, biotechnology, or telecommunications… your personal brand and reputation will be established thru your extraordinary performance because nobody remembers “average.”
Depending upon the products, services, and sales cycles, most companies will give their new sales pros at least 90-days to score a win and/or to build a viable pipeline of qualified sales opportunities. So here are a few tips to consider as you immerse yourself into the financially rewarding but pressurized world of technology sales.
1. You get a new report card. As a student, your GPA validated your performance and potential. In sales, nobody cares about potential or academic pedigree. You’re now validated by your quota achievement and W-2.
2. Know your products, but don’t aspire to be an expert – you’re in sales. Instead, study the niche marketplace you’re in and learn to present a compelling business value proposition; prepare great questions in advance of meetings, and defer to the real experts to reconcile technical viability and compatibility.
3. Don’t mistake activity for progress. Your sales activity is going to be monitored, annotated, and posted for internal viewing, but in the end it’s your sales revenue achievement that will keep you employed or viable. Learn to develop high-quality sales activity.
4. Live on the base and then save or invest your commissions. Of course, you’ll be tempted to go out and buy expensive toys and splurge on luxuries your colleagues have. Treat yourself well, but strive to enjoy a lifestyle that will accelerate your run to financial independence.
5. Work in 30-day increments. You may have a quarterly or annual quota, but it’ll be difficult to maintain consistent intensity if you focus on longer periods of time. You can do anything in 30 days. Think “one-month- at-a-time” and the year will be awesome!
6. Observe the winners but be careful and selective when adopting their methods. That which you see may only be the tip of the iceberg with the mass of real content unseen, and possibly incompatible with your personal principles.
7. Optimize your commute time – make your car a lab. Listen to podcasts, motivational CDs, books on tape, and recordings of presentations to keep your edge
8. Treat your rest as seriously as you do your work. As a new sales athlete, you will expend a significant amount of emotional and physical energy to be competitive. Rest, recover, and then compete in top form.
9. Socialize with your colleagues, but remember they’re also your competitors and may use informal “down time” to size you up and probe for your weaknesses.
10. Get your boss involved early in every legitimate opportunity and leverage her experience to drive your sales process. Once she’s invested time and you win together, you increase your value.
-Chris Bell, III