“I’m not a sales person.”
At the beginning of my career, I shared this mindset. During my collegiate job search, I immediately said I would be open to any career that wasn’t sales — specifically inside sales. At the time, I believed sales wasn’t “well thought out,” and I felt like it was seen as less important by many organizations. It was not a career discussed in honors programs, by entrepreneurial speakers; and none of my internships were “sales internships.”
During my college tenure, I completed 8 internships — and ironically enough, 6 of those internships had sales responsibilities. Since then I’ve learned that sales is one of the most strategic roles in a company. In fact, an individual contributor in sales can be one of the most strategic resources for a company.
“I am a sales person!”
Proven sales talent is one of the most vied for roles in technology today and the shortage of qualified and prepared talent is absolutely profound.
In the past year, I’ve consulted with 20 companies in technology. Some were global, billion dollar companies who were pivoting from an outside sales model to an inside sales model; and others were young and aggressive start-ups looking to build out sales strategy. No matter the size of the business, every organization is looking for quality sales talent. Period.
“We have to change the legacy of inside sales from administrative, volume-oriented, and call center focused, to a strategic, qualitative, powerful and growth-oriented legacy.”
The gap in talent is similar to the gap faced in product development talent (web designers, developers, etc.) — which means we have to build programs to foster and prepare new sales talent. We have to equip our emerging talent with sales internship experiences, and coursework that’s focused on sales development.
Finally, we have to change the legacy of inside sales from administrative, volume-oriented, and call center focused (with a limited career path) to a strategic, qualitative, powerful and growth-oriented legacy. Outside sales is no longer the only path to higher income and career growth for individual contributors.
Programs like TechPoint’s Sales Bootcamp are being created to cultivate sales talent to bridge this gap for Indy tech companies. Of course, this leaves the big question: Who should consider Strategic Inside Sales as their next career move?
- New graduates: SaaS inside sales has opened up the door to shorter sales cycles, demo over the web capabilities, early management opportunities, and tremendous income potential.
- Career pivots: Strategic inside sales allows proven professionals in other functional areas to make a pivot without a negative impact on income potential.
- Outside sales professionals: Selling over the phone and web allows proven outside sales professionals to reduce travel, improve work/life balance without a restart on income potential.