Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Is a Career in Sales Right for You?

A career in sales can be a challenging but very rewarding field for former military leaders. Like many veterans, a successful salesperson should be driven, able to work autonomously, an achiever, and somebody with outstanding communication and presentation skills. Companies often look to former service members to fill their sales roles, because they want driven individuals to be the “face” of their organization. 

In fact, Orion utilizes a nearly completely veteran sales force and we are currently seeking an Account Executive for our San Diego office. Read on to learn more.

A career in sales should be attractive to many transitioning veterans, because, not only is it financially rewarding, it is a very autonomous field. Research, cold calls, scheduling, presentations, follow-up, and closing a deal are ultimately driven by you alone. Military leaders  tend to gravitate naturally towards operations, management, and project management, but they should know that compensation in sales can top that these fields.

Sales is also a proven path to leadership. 85% of chief executives and senior managers either started their career, or at least have spent some time in their career in sales and felt that their roles in sales were critical to their professional development and career progression. As a veteran, you are inherently a good leader. And when you couple sales experience with leadership skills, veterans are routinely selected for promotion into leadership positions faster than their peers.
All this said, however, veterans should consider the unique challenges that come with a sales career. Sales requires extremely hard work, even in the face of rejection. And that hard work has to lead to results, as that is the main area by which your performance will be measured. And, finally, landing the sale often requires an on-call mentality where you’re available when your customer is.

While the skills translation may not be as straightforward as that of a Navy Nuke to a civilian Power Plant Operator, veterans like Jacob Snyder, a former Army Special Forces Officer who is now a Sales Executive with a Fortune 100 Company, have found that their military background prepared them well for their new career. “My initial resistance to ‘sales’ was short-sighted, and Orion was able to explain the ins and outs of sales in a way that opened my eyes," Jacob explains, "I see parallels to my military career every day. The process of targeting a local National for information collection or influence in a combat zone is very similar to targeting a customer. You MUST understand them. This includes their background and sources of motivation. The end result is very different, but the process is very similar.” 

Okay, so you’ve weighed your options and have decided to pursue a career in sales. How do you translate your military responsibilities into a sales profile? Here are some tips:
  • Convince the interviewer that you have a record of performance and success, are competitive, possess outstanding drive and motivation, and the ability to work autonomously.
  • Convince the interviewer that you are a goal focused problem solver, with the ability to think on your feet.
  • Show that you possess strong presentation skills.
  • Be able to answer why you are interested in sales.
  • Let them know you are focused on sales.
  • Put together a brag book. Learn more about creating a brag book.
  • Review our prep module for sales interviews and practice sample questions.
If a sales position with Orion working closely with America’s leading companies in order for them to hire transitioning military veterans sounds interesting, we invite you to view a pre-recorded webinar (username: iprep, password: video) hosted by Brian Henry, Orion's VP of Officer Recruiting, which provides a detailed overview of the Account Executive position. Or click here to apply.

To read more about a career in sales, please click here.

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