The Cranky Sales Engineer has been reading Paco’s musings on moving into sales with some interest. Having been laid off four times, and having made the transition between marketing and sales and back and back again, and having been a manager of sales engineers, he offers the following suggestions:
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers—The Cranky Sales Engineer is not interested in generic tasks that stink of pointless meetings. The Cranky Sales Engineer is impressed by numbers. A resume entry that says, “Led a cross-functional team responsible for…” is headed for the trash. A resume that says, “Grew product from $5M to $15M in revenue in 5-years” will get an interview.
Customers, Customers, Customers—The field is not interested in your ability to run a meeting or set a direction. The field is interested in your ability to please a customer. The Cranky Sales Engineer and his cohorts view customer satisfaction as the most important thing in the world. Specific entries on satisfying specific customers are key. “Conducted a customer satisfaction survey” is bad. “Increased customer satisfaction from 50% to 90% at Big-Company through a user council meeting” is good.
Sales, Sales, Sales—The Cranky Sales Engineer has reservations about misrepresenting one’s title on a resume. In the CSE’s organization, such a deception will get the applicant a quick visit to the exit. That said, highlighting one’s sales experience in explicit terms is good. If you were part of a $10M deal, say, “Worked with field to drive closure of a $10M deal” or better yet, “Instrumental in closing $10M deal at Big-Company” or better yet, “Instrumental in driving $12M in business in 2008.”
The Cranky Sales Engineer’s parting advice: “Numbers talk, bullshit walks.” Find out the real numbers behind the value you created. If you don’t have any real numbers this time, make sure you have them for the next time.