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Becoming a Rainmaker in Your Sales Career

What Does it Mean to be a Rainmaker?

In sales, a rainmaker is somebody who brings in an abundance of income into the business. Rainmakers are A-Players that perform above any expectations placed on them by the company, and in many cases themselves. Becoming a rainmaker is nothing magical, it simply requires a clear and diligent focus on the task at hand.

The first step to becoming a rainmaker is asking the question, “How do I become a rainmaker?” Top performers in sales are constantly asking the right questions. Asking the right questions leads to getting the right answers, which is absolutely necessary to become successful.

Most rainmakers have a range of skills and abilities used to understand and form alliances, as well as challenge and push for the right outcomes to create success. Those who can make this happen are not only top performers in sales, but they quickly climb the career ladder.

The Winning Mindset

Many people think becoming successful has to do with where you are born and how privileged your childhood was. It’s a way of shrugging off their own opportunity to achieve the heights of economic success.

Anybody with the right mindset can become a rainmaker, never forget that.

Speak to people like the valuable interesting human beings they are. Often in sales people are just looking for the next client. They can only see people as wallets with feet. This is the exact wrong way to become successful. Treat people with respect and love, make connections without having the expectation of getting paid. This is why it’s very important to focus on areas that you are actually interested in.

Working in a sector you enjoy will make all the difference. Work will become a labor of love instead of a service to a soulless taskmaster.

The Skillset

To be successful in sales you need to have an understanding of these 4 fundamental skills:

  1. Listening
  2. Expertise
  3. Asking The Right Question
  4. Control

The emphasis today on personal and professional development has never been higher. There is so much free content out there that you would be foolish to ignore.

During your day while your commuting, working out, or walking your dog, you can be listening to valuable content in audio form. There are thousands of hours of books, lectures, and discussions about sales and how to rise to the top.

If you have time to read, check out these essential sales books for building a rock solid foundation in your career.

Listening

Sometimes we simply forget to listen. We are so busy trying to figure out the best way to respond to an objection that we don’t hear the individual’s actual problems. Most people will be happy to pay you if you can solve their problem, but what exactly is their problem? Locate what’s causing them the pain in their life and do your best to help. If you can’t, simply refer them to somebody who can. Use that as a stepping stone to build a network with other people in your industry who provide services you don’t.

Become An Expert

Again this is why it’s important to love your area of sales. It will be a painful journey to become an expert in something you don’t care about. Also, people in need will be coming to you for help, if you sell them your product or service, and it’s not the right fit, then you just caused even more problems for the individual.

Actually helping someone requires skill, knowledge, and experience. If you feel you lack any one of those 3 factors, do whatever you can to build on them as soon as you possibly can.

Questions

Asking the right question is the only way to truly know what your client, or potential client, really needs. Preparing some thoughts before a call can help, but you never know what somebody will actually say.

Keep an open mind, relax, and remember what you have to offer. That is the best way to allow the right questions to surface while you’re in an important conversation.

 

Control

Maintaining control during a conversation is incredibly important. This should come easily if you are truly an expert in your field. No client should be able to tell you how to do your job better than you’re already doing it, even though they may try. Once you lost control of the conversation the client will no longer see you as an expert and it will be harder to convince them that your service is right for them.

Conclusion

Maintain a high degree of skill and understanding in your field will instantly attract clients. The good news is that most people won’t bother putting in the hard work that will get you to the top. If you really want to blow away your competition in sales, simply follow the basic advice above, and don’t stop working so you can confidently call yourself a rainmaker!

Finding the Best Recruiting Agency

The goal of any recruiting agency is to help companies develop an organized revenue generating sales team. Many agencies seek to achieve this goal but few know how to actually get there. When working with an ad agency you must do some research into their practices to see if they hit these basic ideas:

  1. Hiring the appropriate employee
  2. Identifying Sales Talent
  3. Focus on Diversity

Most important of all is hiring the right employee. The right employee doesn’t necessarily mean the best, the sharpest, or the most ambitious. Hiring for a position is a case by case process. The first red flag when dealing with a hiring agency is distinguishing between hiring just anybody with interest vs hiring the right person for the right position.

Hiring the Appropriate Employee

A hiring agency must be aware of the importance of Account Executives. Every company needs at least one and usually should be the first sales hire.

They will be ‘full cycle’ AE’s in that they will handle the business relationship from beginning to finish.

There are many career paths for an AE, but in this case, they will essentially be an SDR, AE, and AM simultaneously.

  • Hiring only one AE removes competition from the sales process and disables you from seeing any sort of ‘average’ in terms of performance levels.
  • Before hiring SDR’s to book meetings for your AE’s, you need to make sure you have AE’s that can close deals.

Something that makes Rainmakers.co different from agencies is their understanding of the mindset of hiring the right salespeople. Particularly for hiring for startups and other companies with little brand recognition, there needs to be a hungry entrepreneurial spirit in the individual. Most agencies are just looking for polished and refined salespeople, but this isn’t always the right approach.

Agencies need to focus on people who close deals and nothing else. It doesn’t matter what the history or experience of the AM is, if they can close deals they are hireable.

There should be a focus on improving the SDR team’s output or improve marketing efforts before hiring more AE’s. A lot of agencies just funnel AE’s into a company and then they have to divide the opportunities so much that no AE meets their quota. This is bad for moral and financially inefficient.

AE conversion rates must be clear so the company knows exactly when to hire and when not to.

By the way, hiring for SDRs is a different ballgame. Great SDRs will certainly have adjacent skills to AEs, but they are not necessarily one in the same. Make sure the agency you’re hiring has an idea of the differences here. Without this kind of fundamental understanding, the recruiting agency is just a spot filler and not a company grower.

 

 

Identifying Sales Talent

Sales talent is unique and not necessarily easy to spot. For engineers and musicians, we can always see their talent in their final product. Salespeople have to be effective communicators, socially strategic, technical, hardworking and patient.

Any decent sales agency knows how to identify the following traits:

Intelligence

Agencies that focus on straight-A students from Ivy League schools are often missing the point of what makes a good salesperson. The best way to judge someone’s intelligence is through conversation and not reviewing their resume.

To really test the depths of a person’s mind, mega-investor Peter Thiel used to ask this question.

“What is an opinion you have the most other people disagree with?”

An intelligent person will be able to give a thoughtful response because intelligent people think outside of the box.

Ability to Grow:

Commonly referred to as being ‘Coachable’ but this doesn’t always work if the company has no idea how to properly implement sales. The hiring agency needs to identify people who are looking to grow and can benefit from their own mistakes. One of the most important traits is being humble and curious.

Motivated:

Hiring agencies need to find people who are hungry are ready to work. People like this are hard to come by but this is what separates a good agency from a bad one. They need to show you that the type of salespeople they are looking for are the ones that are truly out to grow, learn, and close deals.

Focus on Diversity

We think diversity is perhaps the most important component for having a successful sales team. This has nothing to do with any kind of political agenda or hiring quota. Having gender, cultural, and experience based diversity will grant a company-wide base of human knowledge to draw from. It’s even more important for internal culture, however, as teams that lack diversity often form cliques, and the development of cliques at a startup is highly counterproductive.

We think you should try your best to hire for the following kinds of diversity when building your early sales team:

Gender diversity:

Study after study has concluded that sales teams with a sizable portion of women almost always outperform their male-dominated counterparts. For various reasons (perhaps being more empathetic generally), women are typically 5% more likely to close a deal then male salespeople.

Cultural diversity:

Having a mixture of cultural backgrounds at a company is vital to having a strong company culture. The more backgrounds there are, the more perspectives and ideas permeate the company. The more cultures you have represented within your company the wider the audience you can appeal to. This helps your sales team generate more leads and ultimately close more deals.

Experience diversity:

As we mentioned earlier it is important for early sales hires to be aggressive and hungry. This often times means hiring salespeople with less experience than usual who can ‘grow with’ the company so to speak. However, when a company starts selling large contracts to Fortune 500 companies, it most likely will need to hire more experienced sales reps who have done something similar. That being said, with a mixture (for example one experienced rep and two less experienced) the experienced rep can coach the newer ones, while the newer ones keep the experienced rep hungry and on her toes.

Conclusion

If the agencies you are looking at can’t articulate these fundamental ideas, run away. Here at Rainmakers.co we pride ourselves at hiring the perfect person for each particular sales job. Our focus isn’t on a hire’s GPA or long-term sales experience. Not because we are counterculture, but simply because that’s not what works. Are you hungry and ready to grow? Then we’re the agency for you.

Know What The Sales Manager is Thinking in Your Next Interview

 

If you are looking to get a new job in sales, then you need to master the interview. The first impression you make on your potential employer will make all the difference, so it helps to get into the head of your sales manager or hiring manager. Here are the various things they’ll be focused on, so you can prepare your interview and increase your chances of landing your ideal position. 

Can I Trust You?

People want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. This includes who they hire. If your sales manager doesn’t feel they can trust you, then they won’t want you out in the field with real customers.

Don’t hold anything back in your interview. Be honest with them. If you have a troubled past, or certain weaknesses, think of how to present them to the manager while making them seem like they are faults that you can easily overcome. This is better than letting them find something bad out after the fact.

Are You Motivated?

Sales is not easy. If it were, everyone under the sun would be doing it. However, with the right motivation, you can succeed by getting more customers in the door and sales ringing at the register.

This is one of the first things on a sales manager’s mind, too. They want to be sure that you aren’t just talking the talk, but that you are deeply motivated to walk the walk. So ask your sales manager what kind of exciting goals they have and communicate that you are excited to achieve them for the company.

Do You Keep Yourself Organized?

One of the marks of a great salesperson is the ability to keep themselves organized. When you are cluttered, you can’t focus as much. You spend more time finding papers and getting into the zone than with customers. This is a recipe for disaster.

Any sales manager will want to see that you present yourself well, keep yourself in line, and maintain a clean work area. You can communicate this by the way you dress, talk, and act during the interview. Ideally, they will simply pick up on it thanks to the way you carry yourself.

What Kind of Experience Do You Have?

No matter how great of a candidate you are, the more experience you have the better. Sales managers love it when someone who has sold before walks into their door. It means they don’t have to teach you the basics of sales. Instead, they can train you on their specific way of doing things.

Think creatively about your experience in sales. You might not think you have a lot of experience, but in reality you could have more than you think. Anything that involves talking to customers and helping them solve their problems could be characterized as selling, so don’t leave anything off your resume that sounds relevant.

What’s Your Attitude Like?

A great attitude is one of the best things you can have in like. Your sales interviewer is thinking about your attitude the entire time they are with you. They are picking up on signs, small and large, that you are either a positive or a negative person.

Don’t make the mistake of talking about inappropriate things or having a poor attitude in the interview. Read some positive books or blogs before coming into the meeting. It will put you in the right frame of mind and let you radiate a positive attitude.

When it comes to sales today, it is more competitive than ever. You need to have the right strategies if you are going to work for a company you love. Sales managers want to produce more sales for their companies by hiring people who understand what is most important to them. So prepare your interview by reviewing the items above to show them you are on the same page.

 

-Guest Post by Craig Middleton-

Craig has worked as a Business Consultant, Real Estate Agent, and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated at UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

4 Books That Will Increase Your Sales Productivity

Something we talk about a lot here at Rainmakers is the importance of continued education. There are so many masters out there that put all of their successes, lessons, and even mistakes in their books. Why make mistakes when you can learn from the mistakes of others? Books are amazing capsules for the human mind. There is almost no excuse for not learning from the greats who have made their knowledge immortal.

 

Sales is not something anybody can just pick up and do, there is a ton of human psychology involved that the layman cannot possibly comprehend at first glance. Nobody wants to spend their money. Most people have a fairly tight budget and don’t want to ‘waste’ their hard earned cash. That’s why you need to know how to give value to your customers while getting them into a buying mindset.

 

For beginners, the very first thing you need to master is how to be productive. If you can’t keep yourself busy for the work day, you will have no career in sales. Any decent salesperson is constantly generating leads, following up, making cold calls, networking, and closing the deal. There is no room for slack in this industry, here are the 5 books that will help you keep up.

 

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

This book is an absolute classic and must-read for any sales professional. If you haven’t heard of this book yet, then you are already behind. Maintaining a productive work day means keeping potential and existing clients in the loop at all times. You can achieve this by understanding the dynamics of human communication and social etiquette. The stronger your connections the bigger your network will become. This will open you up to all kinds of opportunities that will definitely keep you busy. If you haven’t yet, pick up this book immediately.

Check it out – How To Win Friends And Influence People

 

 

2. The UltraMind Solution, by Mark Hyman M.D.

The UltaMind Solution is not a a sales book at all, in fact it has absolutely nothing to do with sales. However, the issue here is productivity, and Mark’s book will unlock level of energy within you that you never would have thought possible before. By making a few simple changes to your diet you can achieve almost superhuman levels of energy in your day to day life. Any salesperson that is willing to commit to their career needs all the energy they can get. Mastering this book will put you head and shoulders above even the most experienced salespeople in your field.

Check it out – The UltraMind Solution

 

3. Secrets of Closing the Sale, by Zig Zigler

A critical part about staying productive is understanding how to close your sale quickly. You don’t want to spend weeks or even months tracking down a client to get them to buy. Learning how to close will free up your time so you can use it to generate more leads and close more deals.

 

This is the first book on the list that starts to dip into the psychology of what makes a person buy. Like we discussed above, people just going about their day aren’t necessarily ready to part ways with their money. But when you understand the psychological factors that get people buy, you will save a ton of time and energy during the sales process. Even if you get a hard NO, you pushed your client to the point where you know with complete certainty that they will not buy. Instead of them just being nice to you and leading you on for who knows how long, you’ll get your answer so you can move on to people who potentially will buy.

Check it out – Secrets of Closing the Sale

 

4. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink

‘To Sell Is Human’ is another must read book when it comes understanding the link between human psychology and selling. This book made the list because it is one of the most recent books that have achieved classic status on this topic.

 

Within its pages, Pink talks about the correlation between persuasion and selling. He also outlines that regardless of your profession, a challenge that comes up quite frequently in life is the ability to effectively persuade someone else of an idea. Whether it’s getting children to do their homework or convincing a significant other to eat at a restaurant of your choosing, there is always an element of persuasion or selling necessary. Thus, Pink is able to derive the name of his book from this basic principle.

Check it out – To Sell is Human

Conclusion

There are tons of books you can read on this topic but these 4 are absolute must reads. Increasing your productivity means getting smarter, being healthy, being motivated, and closing as many deals as possible. You will make mistakes, you will hit roadblocks, but committing  to success will pull you through. Once you start building momentum you will forget what it was ever like to be unproductive in your field.

 

Simple Tips to Get Ahead in Sales

Simple Tips to Get Ahead in Sales

Even if you don’t have experience in sales, there are many traits that can set you above your competition. Put yourself in the shoes of your employer, think about their process for hiring a sales candidate. Remember that the sales team is one of the most important departments within any company. When employers are looking for a new member of the sales team they are not only looking for experience, they are looking for a dedicated responsible individual they can depend on.

In order to best paint the picture of how important the hiring of a sales employee is, here are some facts. In any type of business organization, the process of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training job candidates entails substantial costs in time, money, and effort. A study conducted by CareerBuilder survey approximates the average cost of one bad hire costs companies $15,000. Consider all the things that go into making the wrong choice in the hiring process such as: reduced productivity, lost time to hire and train more deserving candidates, tarnished output quality, and spikes in customer attrition rate.

Now here’s where a lack of experience isn’t such a bad thing. Often times bad hires are simply people who aren’t fit for the job emotionally. Emotionally unfit hires usually have a dramatic effect on the morale of other employees. This can cause a decrease in standards, timeline efficiency, and an overall inability to meet goals. The last thing any employer wants is to have to go through the hiring process all over again after taking a hit in revenue and moral within the company.

Despite the immense costs of bad hires sometimes they still slip through the cracks. Here are some of the reasons why this problem exists in the first place.

  1. Most people don’t appreciate how important sales is to a business. People just wily nily apply for sales positions thinking of it as just a way to get a pay check.
  2. Not everybody is meant to be a salesperson. The industry requires a certain type of individual which we will discuss below.
  3. Sales-related certifications exist but are not taken advantage of by prospective employees or their employers.

People who lack sales experience and want to get started in the industry must do whatever they can to gain an advantage over other experienced candidates. Here are some quick tips on how to achieve that advantage:

1) Show Motivation

You must show a pure and true desire to take the position being offered. Like we talked about above, one of the biggest red flags for any new hire is somebody who’s just looking for a paycheck. This mentality is what can drain and even destroy a business. You must go above and beyond to show that you are ready and willing to take on all of the responsibility that entails keeping a business alive and well.

2) Do Your Homework

Before the interview, learn everything

you can about the company. Keep in mind that the person hiring you has been living and breathing their work for years. If you walk in and already have a firm grasp of everything the company is about, then it will be much easier for the person interviewing you to see you as part of the team. Additionally, it helps to show them how motivated you are for this particular position.

3) Know the Basics

Selling techniques and advanced methodologies can be learned way before the hiring process even begins. You don’t need actual job experience to understand the fundamentals of the sales process. With the advent of the internet, thousands of hours of educational information has been published, much of it for free. Know who the best salespeople of all time were. Know the greatest deals ever made and how they were made. Show your employer that you are a salesperson even though it doesn’t say so on a piece of paper.

Moreover, avoid candidates who can’t seem to listen and those who ask senseless questions. Blacklist anyone who doesn’t ask any question at all. Selling is a conversation and active listening and asking the right questions are key to successful customer engagement.

4) Be Professional

Proofread everything you send to your employer. Make sure you look in the mirror and make yourself look as best as possible. It may seem shallow, but you want to make a great first impression when you finally meet a potential employer face to face. Clean up your social media. A serious employer can easily search your name in Facebook to see if you are a wild and crazy party animal. Any embarrassing posts or inflamed political debates can turn an employer off. Arrive at your interview on time and respond to communications quickly. A punctual diligent person shows motivation and ambition which is exactly what employers are looking for.

Conclusion

All of this may seem like basic common sense but you would be surprised how many people, even experienced salespeople, make these mistakes. Set yourself apart from the pact the best you can by being the most reliable, motivated, and diligent person they have ever experienced.

How To Get a High-Paying Sales Job With Little Experience

Here is another great Quora question I will post the answer to here on our blog to help anyone reading this with a similar dilemma:

Q: How can I get a high-paying job in sales with little to no experience?

A: The best thing you can do in your position is to create the best possible resume you can muster. No matter how great your LinkedIn profile is you are still required to provide a resume, especially when you want to start with a high salary.

Starting a new career in any sector can be daunting. There is a prevailing hiring process which only glances at resumes for about 10 seconds before the reader decides to trash it or move forward. In the employers’ defense, during the hiring process, they are sorting through a minimum of 50 resumes. The goal is to make your resume pop so once the employer lays eyes on it, they are immediately intrigued.

I know this is probably demoralizing to your hope of making a career change, but don’t worry there’s a way to beat the system. Something you will learn about sales is that there are very precise models that once learned usually leads to success. This same concept applies to resume writing.

Here are some of the most important things to include into your resume to make sure you pass the 10 second test:

Make sure your resume stands out. 

Your resume needs to stand out. The first thing that will land your resume in the trash is making silly mistakes. Avoiding grammatical errors seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people forget to proofread their own document. Repeating cliché lines like “I’m a people person” and “My only weakness is that I work too hard” will not impress anyone. Customize your resume for the employer based on what you know the employer is looking for and do everything you can to support your claims with actual provable experience.  

It may seem basic, but these are the three key goals to be aware of when writing your resume:

1) to signal an Intention.

2) to convey Information.

3) to make an Impact.

So create one that is unique, memorable, personalized for each employer, and clear about the value and benefits you offer. You can’t sell yourself by being generic or timid.

Organize your profile into clearly defined sections

The main sections of a standard resume are:

  1.    Contact Information
  2.    Profile Summary
  3.    Relevant Certifications, Licenses, or Awards
  4.    Work Experience (typically arranged in reverse chronological order)
  5.    Education

Before you can add some flare, first you need to nail the basics. The foundation is organizing your document clearly and avoiding the common mistakes listed above. This is where you need to get a little bit creative. Depending on your employer, you can include your personal brand.

Your personal brand, which you probably have developed in the career you are currently in, is something that can shoot you to the top of the list. Any evidence of your work ethic, style, philosophy, or catchy description will make you stand out. Your brand should lead your resume, and everything under it should support your claim.

Your career objective is also a strong signaler to resume readers. If you can design your resume to show that this next position will be the achievement of a career goal for you, then you will display vision and commitment.

Make sure your resume is consistent

Structurally and content-wise, your resume should demonstrate a high degree of consistency. That means section headings and line spacings should be rendered the same way throughout the document and that entire resume conforms to a recognizable and visually appealing format.

The work history, achievements, figures, dates, and other information in your resume must be 100% accurate. There are a lot of people who are willing to lie and exaggerate the experience and achievements. They easily give into temptation to blur some lines to make themselves seem like the perfect person for the job. Unfortunately, sometimes this works. Leaving the employer in the awkward position of going through the hiring process only to find out that the person they hired has no idea what’s going on. Experienced employers are keen to this type of manipulation, even the slightest fib or inadvertent errors will destroy your chances of getting selected.

Go beyond a paper resume

Traditionally we would only have to send a paper document to an employer and that would be enough to clearly demonstrate our eligibility for a potential job. For better or worse, times have changed. If you make it past the first round of resume glances, then a potential employer may check your social media presence.

To prepare for this, the best thing you can do is update all of your professional information. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is clean and matches the tone and style of your resume. Create a digital portfolio that is easy to find when doing a simple search for your name. Any professional videos you have of yourself should be part of your digital portfolio of LinkedIn page if possible.

Employers want to see that you have adapted well to the digital age, don’t disappoint them.

 

Conclusion

The tips provided may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many resumes go out replete with errors. Creating a resume is like creating a product you are selling to a client. If you want to develop yourself in a sales career, you must first learn how to sell yourself! Good luck Terry!

The Top Characteristics Of Successful Sales Managers

Sales management positions are extremely rigorous and difficult positions. The men and women who earn a sales management job in tech startups or enterprises are the people who bring massive revenue and inspire huge results with their teams. To put it simply, a sales manager is what gets money through the door. Having a constant flow of income is the foundation of every business. If you can be the rainmaker for your employer, you will be treated as an invaluable asset. But the question is, how do you develop the skills to be a high functioning sales manager?

To develop your skills as a sales manager, sometimes you just need to throw yourself into the water to learn how to swim. But, before you do, here is one key ability you will need to be successful.

Know Your Ideal Position

Knowing your ideal position is a key ability you will need to master in order to be successful as a sales manager. Within sales, there are many different departments that require leadership. For example, business development teams need different leadership and management compared to sales enablement or field sales reps. Placing yourself appropriately within your team can be the difference between making in rain or feeling the pain. 

Think about it. The VP Sales or CSO at a bootstrapped tech startup is going to have everything on his shoulders – the training, process creation and development, hiring, coaching and stack development. However, the VP of Business Development at an enterprise organization will have more narrow, specific focuses. Depending on your skills and experience, one or the other position will be best for you and ultimately the company as a whole. 

Answering the questions of your ideal position will require some introspection. You must know yourself before you will be fit to manage an entire sales team. Do you love to help people? Being the business development leader will allow you to coach the SDR or BDR team. They’re learning, are thirsty for knowledge, and want to improve so they get promoted.

Put together a list what you like doing and the corresponding positions that match your interests.

 

Be an Advocate for Your Company and the People You Work With

The second part of your question deal with personality traits of a successful sales manager. One thing that employers love the most is having someone who loves the company as much as they do. What employees often don’t understand about the higher ups in their company is exactly how much they have dedicated their lives to making their company successful. When they see others with their level of commitment they instantly hold you in high regard.

Part of this process is gaining visibility and recognition among the leadership team and the sales team. Being open and available to as many people at the company is one great way to build trust and familiarity with you. Imaging the stuck up manager who only comes out of the office to bark orders and make impossible demands, do not be that guy. Don’t just make small talk either, the people you work with are human beings with unique stories and traits. Learn who they are and how they best fit within the company. As the sales manager you may find positions for people that will make them a lot happier and more productive, it’s a win for everybody.

This doesn’t only apply to your immediate group. Meet the marketing team and the content creators or whichever departments are relevant to the business. The benefit of this is to build relationships within the team and to show your real intention to join the team for reasons other than the salary. But, of course, you have to balance this process out. You can’t be too needy for attention either. Your social skills within the company is a skill and should not be overlooked just because your numbers happen to be good this month.

Let’s face it, many people at your company don’t necessarily want to be there every day of the week. If you can establish yourself as somebody they look forward to seeing, you will boost moral which will lead to a healthier more successful workplace for everybody involved, including yourself.

 

Never Stop Learning

Your skills are what will determine a large part of your success. Luckily there is a wealth of information about specific within the sales process itself. When you’re not working, you need to be absorbing as much information as possible from books, seminars, videos, and podcasts. You want to be the guy who is always up to date with the cutting edge of your field. If you don’t think you are up for the lifelong path to mastery, then consider a different field.

People who have been massively successful have written their entire life stories down for us to learn form. Sam Walton has a great book called “Made in America” that’s a great primer for any ambitious person in the sales field. We don’t have to make mistakes in order to learn, we can simply learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the pain all together.

Conclusion

Taking a position as a sales manager is a massive commitment. Be ready to put all your skills and energy to the test. When you become successful, don’t become a jerk about it. Make sure your team feels just as successful as you do when things go right, and just as much to blame when things go wrong. Good luck on your new position!

sales resume tips and best practices

24 Sales Resume Tips to Stand Out From the Clutter in 2018

Resumes still matter. While a LinkedIn profile is very important, some organizations (especially enterprise companies) will want to see a resume in order for you to apply. In this guide, we’ll provide 23 actionable sales resume tips so you can land the sales job you’ve always dreamed about.

The resume is continually evolving and what seemed standard and beneficial just a few years ago can become a disadvantage in the current recruiting environment. With employers receiving an average of 50 to 75 resumes per role they post, making your resume stand out can sometimes seem like a moonshot. Making matters worse, your resume generally has less than 10 seconds to make a positive impression and avoid being flushed down the drain.

Under these dismal conditions, what should a smart sales professional on the lookout for a dream job do?

First, don’t panic. If there’s a science to selling, there’s an art to writing resumes. All you have to do is learn it. Fortunately, career sites, professional coaches, and hiring managers have been sharing their insight on how best to make your resume shine.

Here are 23 sales resume hacks that will compel recruiters to take your application to next level.

1) Go for high impact.

Ideally, resumes should pack a punch. But that is hardly the case in real life. In fact, recruiting managers regularly receive hundreds of generic resumes that look and sound similar, echoing the same cliches, and even sharing the same grammatical errors. Not surprisingly, weak resumes just become fodder for the recycling bin at the end of every recruiting period.

Remember: The three goals of sending a resume are…

1) to signal an Intention.

2) to convey Information.

3) to make an Impact.

So create one that is unique, memorable, personalized for each employer, and clear about the value and benefits you offer. You can’t sell yourself by being generic or timid.

2) Leave a strongly positive impression.

Making an impact is good, but standing out for the wrong reasons is definitely bad. A resume that seeks to differentiate itself through artificial methods (i.e., larger/smaller paper size, loud colors, too much images, arrogant/disrespectful language, radically different content formats, etc.) will likely get the resume owner into a blacklist.

Do this instead: you can still be creative and impactful while adopting best practices, maintaining high standards, and conforming to effective formats. There are many ways to leave a positive impression: crisp language, elegant and readable formatting, relevant but rare sales skills, remarkable sales accomplishments, highly sought after certifications, awards and accolades.

 3) Customize your message for every employer.

Your resume may be about you but it is also very much about the recruiter. Avoid sending a one-size-fits-all resume, especially to employers you really admire and want very much to join.

As a rule of thumb, always think about the specific recruiter or employer you are aiming for when authoring or structuring your resume. Consider one or more of the following —

  1. Mention the specific employer in the Current Career Objective section (if you intend to have one.)
  2. Respond directly to the employer’s job post or ad by highlighting your skills, certifications, training, or qualifications using the style, ordering, or language used by the recruiter.
  3. Research about the services and products of the employer and make the case for how you can sell such offerings.
  4. Showcase the value and benefits the employer gets if they were to hire you.

4) Make it sweet and short.

Your resume is the elevator pitch you use in the job market. Go ahead: Be impactful and make an impression but do both as fast as you can. Go for a single-page resume whenever possible and avoid exceeding two pages. Unless specifically requested by the recruiter, never send multi-page resumes.

5) Always have a summary section.

Provide a quick way for the recruiter to assess your credentials and potential value using a summary section near the beginning of your resume. If you are not using an Objective section, then positioning your career or profile summary just after your Contact Information section is best.

In the summary, showcase unique experiences and accomplishments. Mention the demonstrable benefits the employer can expect to get when they hire you. The summary section should be articulated using elegant and crisp language and should clearly articulate your value proposition.

6) Watch your language.

Avoid trite, formal, legalistic, or jargon-ridden text. Think about recruiters forced to skim through dozens of resumes that sound like a lease agreement or a private policy statement every single day.

Instead, go for a smart and casual business tone using crisp and simple but elegant language. Use power words (contextual terms that resonate with specific types of employers) but refrain from cliches and stale expressions.

Oh, and if you happen to get that interview, watch your body language too!

7) Be readable.

Every aspect of your resume — formatting, sectioning, print quality, fonts, language, etc. — should be optimized for readability. Think of your resume as an app or a website and recruiters as users. User experience (UX) must be optimal for recruiters to even consider reading key sections of your resume. If your resume is haphazardly formatted or uses confusing language, recruiters will be more irritated than impressed.

8) Think strategically.

Depending on your situation, you can use a historical, functional, hybrid, or other types of resumes. For example, consider complementing a standard curriculum vitae with a video resume if you are trying to land a job with a media or advertising company. Use a functional resume if you are entering the workplace fresh from college and you have very little employment history to speak of. Always adopt what is best for your particular situation.

9) Answer common questions recruiter/employer

Anticipate the questions employers ask when looking for top talent. Using your resume, provide quick answers to the most pressing questions they might ask. Here are some you should consider:

  1. What are your most important achievements when it comes to sales?
  2. Have you won any award or accolade?
  3. How did your previous employers benefit from your performance?
  4. What is your average win rate for all the employers and products you worked with (Do not answer if your performance is less than sterling.)
  5. What’s the estimated value in real dollars of the deals you have successfully closed for each employer?
  6. Which sales skills or techniques have you mastered? Show proof.
  7. How do you handle challenging leads or situations.

10) Formatting matters.

Adopt a stylish format but don’t get too creative that recruiters begin to focus more on visuals and optics instead of your core message. Consider the aesthetics of your resume but not to the point that you de-prioritize brevity, readability, or conciseness. Use prominent section headings to help recruiters easily find what they are looking for. Deploy bullet points instead of long paragraphs whenever applicable.

11) Organize your profile into clearly defined sections.

The main sections of a standard resume are —

  1. Contact Information
  2. Profile Summary
  3. Relevant Certifications, Licenses, or Awards
  4. Work Experience (typically arranged in reverse chronological order)
  5. Education

Depending on the situation, your strategy, or the availability of information or support, you can include one or more of the following optional elements:

  1. Personal Brand Tagline (this can be a personal quote or a catchy description that highlights your credentials, favorite technique, or mantra/philosophy as a professional)
  2. Current Career Objective
  3. Achievements (Bulleted items. Use if f there are too many to include in the short summary)
  4. Personal Info (Use only if somewhat relevant to the role or company you are focusing on. If so, you can mention volunteer work, hobbies you are passionate about, or non-work related achievements that enhance your character. Avoid mentioning sensitive issues such as politics and religion).
  5. Character References

12) Provide complete and clean contact information.

Make it easy and convenient for recruiters or employers to get back to you when they need clarifications or when they want to go ahead with a job interview. Give clear, complete, and correct email addresses, phone numbers, and home address. Provide the links to your LinkedIn profile, portfolio site, blog, or other personal/professional websites.

However, do not use or mention email addresses, blogs, or other identifiers that do not help your personal brand. Email addresses such as loverboy1299@gmail.com or blog sites such as Bad Girl’s Revenge hardly exude competence or professionalism.

13) Achievements vs. Responsibilities

Always favor accomplishment over responsibility. Describing your skills, tasks, and functions is ok, but telling a story about how you use those skills or performed those tasks to achieve organizational goals is a lot better. So instead of merely saying that you performed sales ops functions as an analyst, you can say that you created a data-driven strategy that helped sellers improve their win rate by 10%.

14) Don’t include the Stone Age in your Work Experience section.

If you have been in the job market for awhile and have worked for quite a number of employers, focus on your career milestones in the last ten years or so. Recruiters are more interested in your current and more recent employment history than they are about your stint as a part-time librarian when you were in high school. For the same reason, arrange your employment history in reverse chronological order. Use brief descriptions and cite noteworthy achievements whenever applicable.

15) Even an A+ won’t compensate for poor sales metrics.

Highlight your academic achievements if you are new to the workplace. Mention relevant papers or projects you’ve made, as well as honors you have earned as a student. If you’ve been around though, prioritize work experience and accomplishments over education. That means positioning employment history above education in your resume.

16) Certified, trained, and ready to roll.

Recruiters seek candidates who have undergone verifiable training programs or have earned relevant field certifications. Position the Training and Certification section if the role you are applying for strongly requires such qualifications. Some of the most coveted certifications in sales include the Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP), Certified Sales Executive (CSE), and Cornell University’s Executive Leadership Certification.

17) Get personal if it helps your brand.

You can opt to add a Personal Information section in your resume if space permits and if mentioning something beyond your sales career enhances your professional brand. For example, volunteer work for a worthy (non-divisive) cause certainly helps create a picture of social responsibility and commitment to a community. A hobby such as scale modeling may explain how you have developed discipline and a keen attention to detail. On the other hand, your sports life may explain your highly competitive nature.

18) Sales is a numbers game.

Quotas, win rates, and revenue are all expressed as numbers. Your sales performance is measured in metrics. That is why a salesperson’s resume without the right numbers will never make the cut. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements to help recruiters assess your potential.

19) Get visual.

If you can fit them in your resume, visual aids such as graphs and charts can add style and clarity to your message. Some resumes look exactly like infographics. However, you should only add visuals if it matches your message and is relevant to the particular employer you are currently engaging.

20) Inaccuracy will destroy you.

The work history, achievements, figures, dates, and other information in your resume should always be accurate. At worst, inadvertent errors will erode your chances of getting selected, specially if you have comparable rivals for the position who have submitted error-free resumes. On the other hand, intentional inaccuracies (i.e., lies) — when caught — can send your name into a database of blacklisted jobseekers. More importantly, you wouldn’t want to be branded as “dishonest” in an industry that already attracts its hefty share of suspicion.

21) ABC means “always be consistent.”

Structurally and content-wise, your resume should demonstrate a high degree of consistency. That means section headings and line spacings should be rendered the same way throughout the document and that entire resume conforms to a recognizable and visually appealing format.

Content-wise, the resume should have a uniform tone and language when articulating your value proposition or when describing your achievements. Furthermore, all information you include in the resume must agree with all the information about you that can be accessed publicly (such as your profile on LinkedIn and other social media sites). Most profile inconsistencies are likely to be minor but a few might erode your authenticity as a sales professional.

22) Review, update, and polish.

Unless you’re close to retiring, resumes are always works in progress that require constant review, updating, and polishing.

Proofread your resume for structural, grammatical, or factual errors. Allow your friends or a professional editor to help you polish your resume. Remember, incorrect grammar and spelling impacts how recruiters view your professionalism, discipline, and attention to detail. Use relevant, crisp, and smart language to show the depth of your understanding and demonstrate your potential as a sales leader.

23) Go beyond a resume or a LinkedIn profile.

Resumes have traditionally been the primary ticket for navigating the job market. You send a resume to signal that you’re interested in and applying for a job at a particular employer.

There are now many other channels for reaching businesses looking for talent. These include LinkedIn, online portfolio sites, and referral systems. There are even tools that allow you to create infographic and video resumes. These forms are becoming more popular. Lastly, don’t overlook specialist services that provide profile pages for field/sector-specific professionals. Salespeople for example, can create compelling online profiles on Rainmakers.

24) Make your brand worth selling.

You are a brand as much as a seller. If you can sell esoteric products and services few people care about, then you should be able to sell yourself.

As an integral element of your personal sales and marketing kit, your resume plays a crucial role in getting you through the screening door and into the position you are aiming for.

You’re good at selling so practice what you do best: research like crazy about the customer (employer), customize your pitch to establish a strong connection, articulate your value proposition (the benefits the employer gets by hiring you), and clinch the deal.

sales recruiter vs job search pros and cons

Sales Recruiter vs Traditional Job Search: Pros, Cons, and Everything In-Between

Should I use a sales recruiter to advance my career? Or is it better to search for a sales job the traditional way? In this article we’ll be diving into the pros and cons of each.

Whether you are an employer or a job seeker, success at finding top-notch sales talent for your business or at nabbing the dream job that leads to your ideal career path in sales depends on the particular recruitment method you choose.

Employers can run a careers page on their company website, post urgent vacancies on job boards, participate in job fairs, give shoutouts over social media, or partner with specialist recruiters and search consultants.

Job seekers on the other hand, can explore the same platforms businesses use to find talent. They can join local career events or engage employers on social networks. They can also check out a company’s careers page, probe popular job boards, seek the help of specialist recruiters in their industry.

Each of these methods have their merits and drawbacks. But given the daunting challenges both employers and job seekers face in the highly competitive world of sales, identifying the best recruitment method right at the onset for your unique situation can be a game changer.

To help you out, here’s a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of common traditional job search methods as well as those associated with specialist sales recruiters and search consultants.

Using Sales Recruiters: Pros & Cons

While specialist recruiters and talent search consultants have been offering job-matching services for years, not many employers and jobseekers are aware of the unique and tremendous value they provide. This is unfortunate considering the shrinking ratio of ideal matches to the number of completed onboarding engagements as the talent market becomes more competitive and complicated.

Job recruiting agencies specialize in bridging the goals and needs of an organization with those of highly skilled professionals. Often, businesses consult these agencies only when they need to fill high level positions or when they need to keep their search off the radar.

Pros

  1. Industry-wide connections. Specialist job recruiters virtually know all business leaders in their industry who are relevant to talent recruitment. In particular, sales recruiters know which specific enterprises (and their associated decision-makers) have an urgent need for fresh sales talent. They also know which sales leader or which sales organization have ample leg room (wait, a new series B funding?) to hire exceptional sellers even when the actual need in terms of headcount has yet to materialize. They are even aware of open jobs that stay under the radar. These HR veterans know exactly who to call up and how to engage these people with the aim of creating recruitment opportunities and completing a hiring cycle.
  2. Domain knowledge. Tech recruiters know the fundamental aspects regarding the human component of technology development just as sales recruiters know which skills are in high demand among sales teams; and how people can proactively fit into the selling process. They know account-based, social, solution-based, and other methods of selling; and which type of selling credentials or experience matches each framework. Specialist job recruiters under retainer arrangement with top brands know the corporate culture and preferred worker personas of the companies they serve. This insider knowledge enables sales recruiters to orchestrate the best and longest lasting people-job matches in the industry.
  3. Time-saving. Because sales recruiters operate with surgical precision, both employers and job seekers who use their services save considerable amount of time compared to casting very wide nets using traditional ways of job search. Sales recruiters unburden employers from the task of creating a shortlist of good candidates. They also help job seekers avoid doing multiple interviews for each company they apply to by simulating the filtering effect of the interview process for them.
  4. Trust. Top sales recruiters know the terrain and the dynamics of what they are doing such that they consistently deliver acceptable outcomes. This reliability builds trust, especially among hiring managers who are often beset with hundreds of diverse resumes that require long, tedious hours of diligent review just to sift a few good candidates from hordes of unqualified applicants. Job seekers handled by leading sales recruiters get extra mileage on their application, as a result of employer trust.
  5. Passion/driven to perform. Aside from being experts, specialist job recruiters are passionate about their role and are driven to perform because outcomes dictate their profitability. Like sales professionals, for example, sales recruiters need to “close winning deals” between a company and a sales applicant. The more such deals they close, the better their revenue and reputation get. That means you can expect job recruiters to share the responsibility of job-hunting for you.
  6. Cost-effective (for job seekers). Some sales recruiters do not charge fees from job seekers up front. That means sales professionals can seek help from multiple job recruiters without paying anything until they successfully land a job. However, payback happens upon any successful onboarding. Some recruiters — especially those focusing on the C-suite — which provide premium services do require payment at the onset. Nearly all job recruiters charge participating employers for their specialist services, either via a retainer, contingency, or other types of arrangement.
  7. Good hand in the negotiation table. Job recruiters have excellent negotiation skills, developed from years of balancing employer, job seeker, and sales recruiter priorities (they make money by playing off the relative values being exchanged by jobseekers and employers). These negotiation skills sometimes result to better compensation packages for jobs seekers but not always.
  8. Game-changing career advice. Some specialist job recruiters provide crucial career advice for free. Because they need to close acceptable deals with employers, they need to prime all talents under their care for every hiring challenge ahead. As domain experts, they know which skills, certifications, or credentials a job seeker needs to successfully land a particular sales role. They even advise applicants on how they should behave and answer questions during interviews.

Cons

  1. Incurs costs. While the cost of engaging specialist sales recruiters differs across companies and sectors, their services always come at a price. Both employers and recruiters contribute to job recruiter revenue, with employers — especially those that retain third-party recruiters and talent scouts — generally accounting for the larger share. However, there might be arrangements where potential salaries of new hires get undercut to partially subsidize business costs.
  2. Mismatching. While job recruiters are expected to know the career landscape and the businesses that make up their industry, a few desperate recruiters may tag a job seeker for an opening that poorly fits the applicant’s skills just to force a deal into conclusion. This unfortunate behavior results to disappointment on both the employer and the job seeker.
  3. Underselling. To make a hire more palatable to employers, job recruiters sometimes agree to less than optimal employment packages relative to a candidate’s credentials. While these recruiters know an applicant’s true worth, the lower pay grade or sterner benefits makes it easier to close the hiring loop and move on to the next applicant. .
  4. Difficulty in identifying trustworthy recruiters. The specialist job recruitment and talent search industry has grown over the years, with many new players adopting lower operational and ethical standards. This makes it more likely to engage misguided agencies — especially those operating within a contingency arrangement — who might forego high standards (re: perfect talent-job matching, cost assessments, etc.) just to close a recruitment deal.

Tips for Dealing With Sales Recruiters:

Deal only with reliable job recruiters. Check their reviews on Google and Glassdoor, and always check references.

Don’t neglect traditional job search methods — especially those that take place on interactive social channels — even when you do decide to work with a specialist recruiter.

Traditional Job Search: Pros & Cons

This category covers how to get a sales job by using online job boards, career websites, professional networks/trade portals, job fairs, and print-based/publisher-driven classified ads.

We’ve written about ways you can hack the job search process before, so check that out as well!

Pros

  1. Ubiquity. Millions of jobseekers/career professionals and thousands of companies/ employers use job boards, and most have accounts on networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  2. Familiarity. Extensive usage and broad exposure make online job boards, print media advertising, and social/professional networks highly familiar to both employer and jobseeker. Posting a job ad over these traditional channels will almost certainly be noticed by active job seekers who can, in turn, easily send applications, create online worker profiles, or upload resumes.
  3. Searchability. Most job boards and web-based networks provide advanced targeted search functionalities, allowing both employer and job applicants to streamline their search based on location, industry, compensation preferences, experience, and other factors.
  4. Ready access and ease of use. Nearly all companies and professionals who have an internet connection can easily access, use, and optimize job boards and social networks for the purpose of seeking employment or hiring talent. Over the years, both parties have become quite familiar with the interfaces and inner workings of these online talent marketplaces.
  5. Fast turnaround. Posting job ads, resumes, and applications takes very little time. Depending on the job requirements and the availability of native messaging functionalities, getting responses tend to be reasonably fast.
  6. Multiple portals, publishers, and channels to choose from. While professional networks like LinkedIn are relatively uncommon, there are literally hundreds — maybe even thousands — of job boards to choose from. Aside from the Big Three (Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com), other notable players include Glassdoor, SimplyHired, USAJobs, CraigsList, Dice.com, and Robert Half. There are also regional and industry-specific talent marketplaces like Behance (for digital creatives) and StackOverflow (for software programmers).
  7. Low cost. Professionals who are job hunting can use social networks and job boards for free. On the other hand, employers have to shell out some amount to post job ads over most of these channels. Meanwhile, big-name brands with high employer ratings can expect steady traffic on their own career web pages, which they can leverage for free.
  8. Flexible posting terms. Job boards offer highly customizable post parameters and arrangements for employers when it comes to ad copy, duration, and targeting.
  9. Linkable. Online ad posts and worker profiles can be hyperlinked to company websites or online portfolios so that searchers can get more details about an employer (corporate culture, brand, etc.) or a job applicant (work samples, recommendations, etc.).
  10. Interactive/network-building. Online job boards and social networks are highly interactive, with a few having their own native messaging capability. Even when interactions don’t immediately result to onboarding, applicant-employer engagements help grow a job seeker’s professional network or a company’s talent pool.

Cons

  1. Multiple channels to engage. Given the runaway number of job boards and social networking sites, both employer and job applicant need to maintain presence and update their accounts on multiple platforms. Doing so requires additional time, effort, and focus.
  2. Intense competition. Because professionals and companies go to job boards and professional networking sites by default, competition for top-notch talent and highly desirable employers intensifies.
  3. Prolonged processing time. Employers often need to review dozens to hundreds of applications for each position. This makes the process of short listing ideal candidates quite time-consuming even as sending applications can be lighting-fast.
  4. Posting costs can pile up for hard-to-fill positions. Jobs with a long or a highly demanding list of requirements may attract many unqualified applicants but few candidates who have the necessary skills to competently assume the role. The relative rarity of qualified candidates may compel employers to keep their posts active on job boards for longer periods.
  5. Generic applications to job posts. Job seekers who explore multiple job boards may send the same generic application and resume across different platforms. This behavior results to less-than-ideal applicant-job matches because job seekers give inadequate focus on the unique needs of each employer.
  6. Possibility of good candidates not making targeted search results. Many job seekers optimize their profiles and resumes for a job board’s native search engine, primarily by using keywords. Depending on the search parameters activated, this may result to some good candidates slipping through an employer’s hiring funnel.
sales engineer career path

Sales Engineer Career Path: Everything You Need To Know To Be Successful

Wherever the need for technical, business, and people skills converge, you’ll likely find a rare breed of talent: the sales engineer.

The rigorous career path sales engineers take may not readily appeal to everyone, but is easily among the most lucrative. It certainly takes a lot to be a sales engineer. But for the best of these specialists, the effort is well rewarded.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median wage for sales engineers clocked in at US$98,720 as of May 2017, with professionals in the wholesale electronics, computer systems design, and telecommunication sectors reeling in six-figure salaries. The top 10% of sales engineers across industries earned north of US$160,000.

But even more valuable than their hefty compensation, sales engineers tread a challenging career path that straddles the sweet spot between the human and the technical side of sales. They also get the opportunity to become experts at the diverse skills required to be competent in their craft. They develop bit-level, nut-and-bolt understanding of business solutions and learn the techniques of impactful marketing and customer engagement, enabling them to establish trust and meaningful connections with people and organizations.

Lastly, sales engineers are not constrained by a rigid, single-track career path. They can choose to stay within their domain and provide leadership as senior sales engineers, move up in the organization as part of management, or transition laterally as a valuable resource for other teams such as marketing, product development, customer success, and research.    

What is a sales engineer?

Sales engineers are specialist professionals trained in the precise language of technology, the core aims of businesses, and the fluid behavior of customers. They bring clarity to clients’ technical needs, help fine-tune solutions to squarely address those needs, and assist sales teams in articulating product value on multiple levels.   

Depending on their functional focus, sales engineers either complement reps, account executives and other peers from the sales department during customer engagements; or serve in the field as quota-carrying, commission-earning sellers themselves. In either case, sales engineers are involved in selling sophisticated equipment, software, hardware, industrial, and other technological products and services.  

Sales engineer duties

Many of the tasks sales engineers perform are similar to those assigned to other sales professionals: generate interest about their product, conduct market research, manage customer queries, and close deals. In addition to these tasks, however, sales engineers also—

  1. Give technical demos and presentations;
  2. Gather customers’ technical requirements;
  3. Help tailor complex solutions to fit specific customers’ unique situations; and,
  4. Train customers in the installation, use, and optimizations of technology solutions.

Some sales engineers also work with Product Development to evolve existing services or create new ones based on customer feedback and their own experiences in the field.

What skills does a sales engineer need?

To be excellent at what they do, these specialists need to have a deep, extensive knowledge of their products and services, as well as the business acumen, interpersonal skills, and customer empathy required to positively connect solutions and buyers.  

The vast majority of sales engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field (science, IT, engineering, mathematics). On the other hand, competent sales engineers who have different academic backgrounds compensate their lack of formal technical education with extensive training and field experience. Not all sales engineers started as technology-related professionals. A few were former sales reps or account executives who just happen to like technology and who were determined to learn, train, and get extensive experience in technical sales.

In any case, sales engineers should be at a continuous learning and re-training mode, given the rate of change and disruption in the digital economy. Sales engineers can’t afford to be caught off guard when the technologies they are selling or the sales techniques they are using suddenly became obsolete or irrelevant in the emerging priorities of business.

How much do sales engineers earn?

Compared to their peers in the sales department who earn a median annual income of US$27,020, sales engineers receive more than three times as much at $98,720. This paycheck is also much higher than the average US salary of US$37,690 for all occupations.   

And that’s just the average. The most competent and experienced sales engineers easily bring home six-figure salaries, with some exceeding US$162,740.

However, Glassdoor reported that avg. base for sales engineers is $101,552 (as of April 2018).

sales engineer salary image

Possible sales engineer career tracks

There is no single route that can define the sales engineer career path. Instead, sales engineers can opt to take any of the following tracks:

  1. Senior sales engineer.
  2. Full sales role.
  3. Lateral transition to a new business unit.
  4. Sales management.
  5. Entrepreneurship.

1) Senior-Level Sales Engineer

Like many other roles, sales engineers often transition from a base rank (e.g., technical sales trainee) to higher ranks characterized by greater responsibilities or degree of specializations (e.g., associate sales engineer, corporate sales engineer, senior corporate sales engineer, team lead, etc.).

Sales engineers who have become subject matter experts provide insight, leadership, and guidance in the sales organization. Veteran sales engineers can handle — and are often given — the responsibilities of team leads and managers. Technologist and investor Robert Schneider wrote that many professionals remain happy and contented sales engineers for decades.   

2) Full Sales Position

Some sales engineers may want to also reap the hefty commissions earned by accomplished sales reps in their sales force. Shifting to a full sales role has its share of perils however. According to John Care of Mastering Technical Sales, the failure rate of sales engineers turned full sales reps hovers around 72.5% within two years. It is possible for sales engineers to still succeed as full-time sellers only if hardcore selling is their true passion.   

3) Lateral Transition to a New Business Unit

It is not uncommon for competent sales engineers to apply their sales and technical skills in other fields such as product development, marketing, post sales (e.g., customer success, technical support), and research. In some cases, it is possible to transition into and join the new unit altogether as a valuable resource with many field secrets to share.  

4) Sales Management

Successful sales professionals are inherently ambitious and their central skills (strategic, communication, marketing, leadership, customer engagement) equip them for bigger and more impactful roles. Sales engineers are no exception. They already possess the required skills to sell an idea — as well as the technical background to articulate just how exactly the idea will solve a customer’s pain point. Because they also have business acumen, veteran sales engineers can aim to eventually serve in the C-suite by delivering exceptional value to their organizations.

5) Entrepreneurship

A well-rounded skill set that covers business, people, and technology is a foundational element for creating successful startups in the digital economy. Veteran sales engineers can use their learnings and experience to create their own solutions and build their own client portfolios. The only challenge is to ensure zero conflict of interest/ breach of contract/intellectual property infringement with your former employer, especially if you are serving the same market or offering similar solutions/products.  

The Job Outlook for Sales Engineers

The official projection for sales engineers remain modest at 7% job growth, representing 5000 new sales engineering jobs to be generated in the U.S. from 2016 to 2026. While this is just about the average job growth for all occupations, the statistic does not highlight the real benefit of taking the career path of a sales engineer. The skills that make sales engineers tick are transferable credentials that will also enable a professional to excel in just about any other field. That’s because the triad skill sets of technology, business, and people happen to be exactly the same ingredients needed to drive success in the job markets of tomorrow.