How do you select a sales job?

You must be wondering! Do we really choose a job? Or do the employers choose you? Do you select a job or do you get selected?

You are fortunate enough to be called for finalizing an employment contract by two different companies. You are confused. Which one is the best for you? Which job should you select? This is the situation and problem statement. It can happen to you and I. Logically, the highest paying job should be the one you should get employed at. But is that it?

I was asked this question yesterday by one of my children and I found myself writing down a list of pointers. It is worth-sharing as I amazed myself in narrating how mind worked out a complex question into simple steps.

1) Company profile: I really look at the company profile and see if it excites you as an external person. If you are a potential customer looking for a solution, would you consider this company as a potential supplier?

I would look at number of years the companies have been in business too. I am not advocating that you should not join a start-up company. The digital foot-print of the company is a good yardstick for me. This means that I would look for the company on Google to see how many hits do the company name get. I also tend to check whether the company name appear on Facebook, Twitter, IG, LinkedIn, G+, YouTube and other platforms. This gives me an idea about their activities and the online new items related to the company.

Needless to mention that, the well-known companies or shall we call them ‘Brands’ are always preferred.

2) Technology Life cycle, Technology level: I believe that in every industry there is a technology life cycle. Whether  you are selling ceramic tiles or robots, there is a technology involved in the design and manufacturing of those products. In the service industry too, one can look at the technology level of the service or tools used to offer the service is at.

Why is this important? I believe that most progressive companies and brands, invest in design of their products and innovation is key. This results in the ability to stand out in the market and offer something that many other competitors are not offering. So would you work in a modern innovative company or in a company with age-old technology with older generation products?

3) Opportunity to Learn: For me, life is a big learning cycle. I learn every day from some one, something or by myself. I learn in the job or in the social circles. One of the key factors that I have always considered is the opportunity to learn while picking up a job offer.

You can learn when you join a ew company in a different industry, different set of products, different technology, different department, different geography, or different job description. Any of these would enhance your learning opportunity and make you a better salesperson.

4) What are the future prospects? I always think one step ahead of the current job under offer. What happens for my future jobs? Is there an opportunity for me to grow?

Leading on from the previous paragraph, a better learned and experienced salesperson is considered for General Management positions than people who stuck to a silo job description.

Secondly, understanding the current trends in the market and predictions of future trends would help you determine whether you are on the right track or not. There are plenty of online articles, newsletters and industry news that you may follow to gauge a first hand information about the market and its trends.

Thirdly, I would add that having a mentor would really help. My view about a mentor is: Choose a mentor who has already done it, is successful and already sitting on the top; he will show you how he got there.

5) Location: What is the importance of the location of a job?

Ideally or technically it should not matter. But for me, I consider Location as an important factor when you are in the middle of your career. Firstly, I would live in a place which is safe and conducive for a family environment. Perhaps this point is not so relevant for some but my observation is that choosing a safe, friendly and social location will attract like-minded people thus proving to be the best bet.

Secondly, on an emotional side, you may choose to live closer to your home and family. Thirdly, on a business note I consider certain locations as hot locations where many companies have their offices and it is easier to find a future job without much hassle. I love to work in regional business hubs and locations of regional offices of big brands. Well, a combination of these factors have helped me to choose the right location.

6) Passion: What is the connection between passion and a job?

Many would say that if you choose a profession (Career) which you are passionate about, you may not work a single day. Every day will be a joy and constant flow of inspiration to contribute to the work at hand.  I think you should follow your heart too. I think you should listen to intuition. Of course, money is important and a job would bring you that but in the long run joining the right job will be beneficial for you in all different ways.

Is there a profession that you would love to do and makes you happy?

7) Type of the job: Some might call it the Job Title or Job Description.

For a salesperson there could only be three different roles that can come up.

An Internal sales person, customer facing sales person and a sales administrator. All three are important and have different roles to play. In my career I have never been a sales administrator as I always felt that it is an administrative job with zero interface with customers at all. An internal sales person job is mostly a telesales role based out of an office location. The customer interface is mainly through telephones, emails, social media and mail. A face-to-face interaction is quite rare and this could be a decision factor for someone who loves to face customers and discuss business.

The customer facing sales person is one of the most important roles in any company. They are specially groomed and trained to meet customers and pitch sales. They are also good in understanding the organization, knowing the influencers or decision makers and close a potential sale. In my career, I started as a pre-sales engineer preparing bids on a table to finally a customer facing salesperson. It took time for me as I learned and climbed the ladder but some of my contemporaries started from the customer facing salesperson role itself.

Where do you see yourself comfortable?

8. Money, money, money: The purpose of employment has to be remunerated through cash and other perks. Today salary and remuneration do play a major role in decision-making. For a salesperson, salary could be paid through a fixed base salary and a variable based on sales performances etc. Further, many companies offer additional benefits like medical insurance, insurance cover for you and your family, recreational facilities like club or gym memberships, bonuses, holidays, religious holidays, Transport allowances or car for business travel, spiritual facilities and such. A new element that could work as a big motivator is the offering shares in your company.

What salary package would motivate you as a salesperson?

9. Cultural Fit: This is a complex subject. It is best discussed in context and in person. But as a guideline, many organizations look for person who are a perfect cultural fit to their sales team and organization at large. For me, I will turn it around to see if you see the organization a cultural fit for you?

What does it mean? I think Organization culture is one of the biggest factors. If you ask a few people around: ” how is it to work for your company or XX company?”. You may be surprised to receive responses from employees, ex-employees and just anybody about the Organization culture of that organization. I may say that one of the factors is that Sales is a hot-seat job and salesperson is always monitored for performance as it directly affects the company performance. So one thing I always ask is what happens if you do not perform in the first quarter of your job? Would you get fired? or given a chance to analyze the problem, fix it and then move on to the next quarter? What if the problem is with the product or price or both? There are multiple reasons why a salesperson is not able to meet the targets.

I also think the age of the team matters a lot to me. Some would say that cultural fit would really ensure that you are not an odd person in the team. Finally, whatever criteria you want to select, the Cultural Fit could be a deal breaker.

10. Referrals: What does a referral have to do with a job? You might think the referrals are only for employers to check on your background or credibility. I didn’t mean it in that exact sense that you would ask for referrals. But the point is that I would consider asking my family, my mentor, an ex-employee, a potential customer for the company, a friend working in that company and such. Any positive referrals would give me confidence to join a new company.

Folks, that is my 10-point formula to select a new job and a new company. By no means the list is complete or exhaustive. Every industry and situation is different. Therefore, please use these as pointers while you add your own criteria to select a job.

All the best in your career and life. Let Abundance flow in your life.