Five Ways to Jumpstart Your Sales Career

By Sam Levy, SVP of Sales, Oracle NetSuite
To people on a see-saw, with one being launched into the air inside a rocket.

If ever there were a time to improve your sales prospects or shore up your career, now is it. Opportunities are everywhere, especially in sales – so how can you level up your sales career? Whether you’re just getting your start or are a newly minted sales manager, here are some tips on jumpstarting your career and creating standout experiences inside and outside an organization. 

BE DELIBERATE ABOUT OPPORTUNITY

Sales is a fast-paced world so – no matter the environment – you must be intentional about the opportunities you go after. It’s important to find roles that will not only offer you the opportunity to grow within the organization but provide you with a network of support. Team culture is incredibly important throughout any sales organization as it allows you to not only succeed individually but help contribute to those team wins. After all, every deal that is closed requires a network of individuals who aren’t just fulfilling the client’s initial goals but seeing the project through to deliver on long-term objectives.

BE SCRAPPY WITH THE TOOLS AT YOUR DISPOSAL

When selling remote, communication is key. This includes being as deliberate and as prescriptive as possible. Encourage your prospects to ask as many questions as necessary to understand how you can help them solve for those challenges. 

Remember that every organization’s preference can be different. Make sure you are identifying the preferred method of communication with your prospect that supports the dialogue you are looking to foster with them. In this mostly virtual environment, we’ve all become dependent on email and group Zoom meetings to help a deal come together. While these tools and technologies are great to support communication, don’t forget to pick up the phone and have those one-on-one conversations as well. 

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

After the seismic change every organization has experienced this past year, retaining and acquiring new customers remains paramount. It seems obvious but truly knowing your customer means understanding the landscape they are operating in, understanding their challenges, and relying on data that will provide a holistic view of who they are. 

New customer acquisition for any organization can be tricky, but refining your selling tactics to reflect your prospect’s current experiences and realities is critical. Whether you’re in the business of selling a product or service, make sure the approach isn’t tone deaf. Remember to be empathetic and demonstrate how you’re able to help solve for the challenges they face.

NEGOTIATE AS YOUR REAL SELF, NOT YOUR BUSINESS SELF

Be professional, but make sure you’re bringing authenticity to your work. Sales is a people business. While we are selling solutions, products, or software to a prospective client, remember: You are appealing to another human, who ultimately is looking for their needs and goals to be met.

Individuality, honesty, and professional integrity continue to go a long way. We’re all human, and closing the deal can sometimes mean letting your guard down to be personal or vulnerable with a prospect. Bring your authentic self to the sales table when helping to communicate and work through difficult scenarios with both your team and clients. As you’re getting started, listing your strengths and weaknesses can be a way of creating a sense of self-awareness and signaling to your team members where you can best help “close the deal” – and where you might need support. Transparency is key.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO EMBRACE THE UNCONVENTIONAL

Conventional thinking would have you believe that “the customer is always right.” However, this isn’t always true. A prospect can come into discussions with you having one solution in mind, but don’t blindly make a sale just to close a deal. Becoming a standout sales representative sometimes means a little pushback to ask more questions and better understand their needs – not just what a prospect thinks they need. As sales representatives, we can be facilitators of a sale, but don’t let this overshadow the value you bring to your customer. If you want them to walk away with a memorable experience and an inclination to recommend you and your business, you need to not just close the deal, but be thoughtful with your recommendations to meet a customer’s needs – even if that looks different from their original vision. 

There’s no doubt this year has been difficult. But opportunities still abound and organizations are looking for standout sellers who can succeed. Whether you’re fresh out of school or are looking for the next opportunity, these techniques can help pave the path to a successful sales career.

Sam Levy is SVP of Sales at Oracle NetSuite.