When we think of what it’s like to work in sales, the first thing that comes to mind is persuasion. The primary goal of a salesperson is to increase sales which requires a specific set of personal skills. No business can survive without sales. Therefore, with the job of the salespeople comes great responsibility. Although it is not an easy job, companies tend to hire people without any work experience and provide on-the-job-training.
We caught up with Michael Starsman, who shared with us what it is really like to work in Sales.
1. First, please introduce yourself briefly
My name is Michael Starsman, I am a Sales Development Representative with AppBuddy. I have been working on the AppBuddy campaign for the past six months, and have worked in sales for two years. Previously, I worked an array of jobs, from teaching English abroad, serving in the Army, to Account Management for a large shipping company.
2. Why did you decide to pursue a career in Sales?
Great question. I was working in a predominantly customer-service and logistics role that was rapidly wearing me out. My brother, who was also in the US Army at that time, invited me down to visit him in North Carolina one weekend, and I began to look for work. I went to the very first place that hired me; a company called Revgen that hires and trains people to work in tech sales. I was hooked once I started. I was no longer fast-reacting to the requests of clients, I was busy trying to find new clients. It was a great first experience.
3. Please describe the main responsibilities of the role? What do you do on a daily basis at work? What software do you use?
The majority of my day is currently focused on prospecting; phone calls, emails, LinkedIn, etc. The rest I use for conducting demonstrations, training with team members, or going to company functions, as needed.
4. Could you please describe the stages of a sales process where the Salesperson is involved?
The process varies from campaign to campaign, but the average process looks something like this:
- Prospecting (Finding those with a loose need for the product/service)
- Discovery (What specific pains can we solve for the prospect?)
- Confirm Value (Product/service brings value to the prospect)
- Confirm Power (Prospect is in a position to buy for the company)
- Confirm Mutual Close Plan (Who needs to be involved? What is the anticipated timeline?)
5. What are the most common ways to find new customers?
It depends greatly on the product/service, and whether it’s B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Customer); largely, phone and email are a reliable means of contact, but these are decreasing in importance, as social media outreach and targeted marketing are becoming increasingly effective.
6. How well does the Salesperson have to know the product that is selling? Is it common the Salesperson to team up with the product owner or with a consultant when selling the product?
Absolutely essential. Without it, the Salesperson does not have a product/service/platform to recommend. Even more essentially, however, is knowing how the product fits into the prospect’s setup and identifying the particular pain that your product solves. The Product Owner and the Consultant are great people to talk to for this, and they’re absolutely necessary for a successful implementation.
7. What are the different roles in Sales?
This greatly varies on where you fall in the Sales hierarchy. For example, because I am new to this campaign, my role is limited to my place in the office. Once I have become more established, I will have more opportunities to work from home and travel.
8. Can you tell us more about what Account Managers do?
Account Managers typically focus on keeping a product/service a valuable asset to the customer. One of the major reasons a customer leaves a vendor is due to an inconsistent experience; the Account Managers are crucial in ensuring the customer remains satisfied with what they have purchased.
9. What is the difference between Sales and Marketing? Is it possible to have Sales without Marketing?
Good question, but I probably would phrase it as ‘Is Sales a part of Marketing, or is Marketing a part of Sales?’ Without the visibility Marketing provides, and Sales doesn’t have anybody to contact. With Sales, Marketing has no budget to work with. They both need each other harmoniously for the company to succeed.
10. What are the basic qualifications and skills needed to start working in Sales?
We’re looking for hard working, self-starters with an entrepreneurial spirit and a high social intelligence. Extroversion isn’t required, believe it or not.
11. What are the skills needed to become a really good expert in Sales?
Adaptability, discipline, resilient, and have the ability to outperform every single day.
12. How do Salespeople get paid – base salary + commissions?
It varies greatly in the role. I’ve seen Salary+Commissions and strictly commissions.
13. How big are the Sales departments within the big companies?
Depends on how large a company. Enterprise-level organizations may have thousands of sales reps!
14. What are the possible career path options in Sales?
It varies greatly. Sales Management and Account Management are the most obvious paths, but there are many other salespeople who follow their entrepreneurial drive and start their own business.
15. What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
The long hours, and the amount of rejections it takes to achieve a win can really weigh on people.
16. What do you like most about your job?
Finding and providing people with a product that they never knew they needed, and challenging people to think about their business differently. That’s why I wake up in the morning!
17. A lot of jobs will be automated in the near future and fewer people will be hired in some industries. How do you see the future of the careers in the Sales industry?
I do, partially. Much of the Automation for sales relates to marketing and data entry, but how much longer will it be until AI can have a more intelligent conversation with a customer than you can? Very huge question.
You can connect with Michael on Linkedin