There are so many preconceived notions about the role of a Sales person in the IT industry. Opinions range from a job full of perks and travel, to pitching concepts which the delivery team then must live up to.
While there is some truth to this, the role of Sales is so much more. I say so, having worked in the IT sector for 25 years on the delivery side, working for Financial Services technology companies, before moving to the dark side (ha ha) – and getting involved in sales! While my previous background gave me the required edge, I entered a new world of event participations, demonstrations, estimations, RFPs and much more. As part of the Sales team, in a role of presales, I was helping the salesperson validate our prospective clients’ needs, propose and present the right solutions, and ensure that delivery held true to the deal.
This journey eventually led me to move into a Sales role.
While there is definitely ”fun” in sales, in building relationships with your clients, having conversations about their goals and challenges, and ultimately “Winning” deals, I am finding that the most rewarding aspect is in creating value that the client can clearly see. This happens when we tackle a challenge or an initiative objectively and with an open mind instead of starting from a place of knowing what you want to sell and trying to convince your clients to buy it.
Also, over last 13 years as a sales professional, I have noted that there are keys to ensuring lasting and real value for clients:
- Listening to their challenges, understanding their level of knowledge, the barriers they are facing and what they are trying to accomplish
- Exploring ways to approach these challenges and objectives, together with the client
- Updating the client and internal stakeholders about opportunities and progress, so they have the information necessary to make decisions
- Solving in ways that are realistic, feasible, mutually beneficial and potentially outside the box
- Supporting the Client’s buying process – Helping the client understand and articulate the true value of the solution to their business owners and decision makers
- Being flexible in our ongoing engagements with our clients and the challenges they may be facing internally with competing priorities, agendas and objectives
- Managing risk jointly by helping our clients understand critical issues and risks and often sharing in those risks
To me, helping a client achieve a strategic goal is rewarding – whether that goal is legacy transformation, or automating a complex manual business process. I see that, if I follow the above principles, the results are often the same – creating win-win outcomes with our clients; ensuring customer delight and achieving business priorities.
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