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Becoming a sales rep at an IT company

Hey guys, I'm an advertising student who is especially interested in going into sales after I graduate, particularly at an IT company. After looking around, I have noticed that a lot of these companies often want their sales reps to have a technical degree backgrounds but I have still found a few that are offering entry level positions in their companies without the former requirement,

I was wondering if there were some sales people here who work in the IT industry, who could give me some tips on how to prepare and to also get into this kind of position. I have gotten interviews for some sales internships, but have found it hard to find any sales internships in IT and was wondering if there was another industry that would be good to have a sales internship at. Thanks so much for your help and I hope to make a lot of comrades on this forum!

-Vollow - by Vollow
PM me with any additional info you wish to provide including when you expect to graduate. My daughter is a headhunter specializing in IT, with very solid relationships in that field. - by Ace Coldiron
Hi Vollow and welcome to Sales Practice!

I spent almost 15 years in selling IT solutions to the Small/Mid sector, so I have compiled a list of 7 tips to help you get started:

1) Learn (as quick as you can) the business benefit that a particular solution would provide a customere e.g. don't sell the features, help the customer understand how they/their business will benefit by adopting the solution you are suggesting and back it up with technical facts etc

2) Depending on your field of IT sales, get onto as many "manufacturer" websites as you can and get trained up - a lot of them offer free training and allow's you to become certified or accredited within that field. When competing against other companies, accreditations (and proof that you have had manufacturer-based training) helps.

3) Go to the top 3 IT sales guys in your company and study them. See how they work and what they do. You don't have to copy them, just try to obtain fundamentals of how they sell and how they engage with their customers.

4) Be yourself - accentuate your strengths and work (like hell) on your weaknesses. Prospects and customers now when you are being natural and when your faking it.

5) Enjoy the ride - every sales position and career has ups and downs, especially in the IT sales industry - what seperates the "head in the sands" to the "dosh in the hands" is the ability to accept a "no" and move on and to learn to motivate yourself (at times when "influences" around you can be de-motivating).

6) Become a student of the "sales" academy - develop a passion for learning, understanding, adapting, doing and repeating this process again and again.

7) Use this website and check out the large amount of free downloads and advice available - don't ever get the mentality of having arrived and never get complacent - always be on a journey and always to eager and willing to learn.

One added tip, use testimonials and case studies whenever and wherever you can, especially where a case study matches the industry of a prospects.

Good luck and let us know how your sales career develops.

Go get 'em !

Tony - by Tonyd
Thanks Tony, I appreciate you taking the time to give this in depth advice.

I looked at the websites at some IT companies but it was really hard to find the specific softwares or services they use. I think my plan this year will be to get some IT certificates and was wondering what are the most common and important softwares/tehcnologies to learn first. I know that Oracle is an important data managing software, what would you suggest?

I was also curious about what your job at the IT company is like. Do you have fun working there? Is it mostly inside sales, outside sales or both? Do you also work B2B? It does sound really exciting and would love to get into this industry as well :) - by Vollow
Thanks Tony, I appreciate you taking the time to give this in depth advice.

I looked at the websites at some IT companies but it was really hard to find the specific softwares or services they use. I think my plan this year will be to get some IT certificates and was wondering what are the most common and important softwares/tehcnologies to learn first. I know that Oracle is an important data managing software, what would you suggest?

I was also curious about what your job at the IT company is like. Do you have fun working there? Is it mostly inside sales, outside sales or both? Do you also work B2B? It does sound really exciting and would love to get into this industry as well :)

Hi Vollow,

The main technologies that companies look at to either manage their data, storage or infrastructure, include:

Virtualisation (VMWare, Microsoft Virtual Server, Platespin, Vizioncore etc)
Continuous Data Protection (Symantec, Doubletake, Neverfail, CA etc)
Storage Area Networking (Dell, HP, IBM, NetApp)
Network Management (Cisco, Juniper, Netcordia, 3Com, HP etc)
Server Computing (IBM, HP, Dell), and
Server Software (Windows 2008 Server, Vista, Exchange Server etc)

I left my last IT-sales job last year, to start up my own Web Marketing business. I sold externally as an B2B IT Account Manager - and I very much enjoyed it.

As Lao Tzu once said "Know your competition" - in IT based sales, you need to know (asap) who you are up against, their strengths and weaknesses, and how your company can add more value (from the perspective of your prospective customer's point of view).

Tip: in B2B selling, you need to ascertain the following 4 items in any prospective accounts you go after: what is their budget, are they a decision maker (or have access to a decision maker), what are their project objectives (what problem are they trying to solve or opportunity they are looking to exploit) and when are they looking to change (timescale of project) - get those things covered off and the sky really is your limit!

Good Luck!

Tony - by Tonyd
As Lao Tzu once said "Know your competition" Tony
It was Sun Tzu, not Lao Tzu.

Lao Tzu wrote The Tao Te Ching which had nothing to do with competition. - by Ace Coldiron
Thanks for setting me straight, Ace. thmbp2;

I obviously don't know my Sun's from my Lao's!

Tony - by Tonyd
Well, that partially explains the Chinese success in business, thanks again! It's gonna be an interesting road! - by Vollow
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