A career in B2B sales is an underdog when it comes to prospective career choices. It is also the most ignored, most overlooked option. Let’s be honest, none of us went to college dreaming about a career in sales, and that is okay! Most of us stumbled upon sales as a career only accidentally. Well, that is true for me at least and around 90 per cent of my sales colleagues!
Growing up, I never thought I would end up so interested in sales that I will make a career in it. I was actually pursuing computer engineering in college. But, in the midst of it, I realized coding or any other tech job will never be something I would enjoy doing, I wasn’t good at it nor was I curious or excited about it.
I was good at communication skills, had good presentation and storytelling skills and I enjoyed it. I then started looking for a field that would allow me to combine my knowledge of computer engineering and my soft skills.
And then there was a light bulb moment.
It dawned on me that Tech sales was a career option that would suit my skills and my experience the best. Since then, I have been slowly falling in love with the science of sales. I have been in this field for more than fifteen years now. And I have to tell you, there would be no other career I would have enjoyed as much as I enjoy sales.
There is a tonne of career options today compared to when I was a student. In today’s internet world you can do whatever you want to.
The Internet has levelled the gaps between haves and have nots, even people from poor backgrounds can have access to the best of education.
I genuinely believe that in today’s era anyone with willingness and passion can pursue a career in whichever field he wants to and do good for himself and his family.
If you are a student, who is at crossroads, wondering what career path to choose, if you are in some mid-life crisis and contemplating if sales might be a good option for you, you might want to give this blog a read.
So here are five reasons why you should consider a career in B2B Sales:
A career in B2B sales means High earning potential:
Sales is a goal-driven career. Every salesperson has a revenue goal to achieve for his organisation.
A salesperson has a job because he can achieve a certain revenue target for his organisation. If they didn’t have targets to reach they would not be called salespeople. I am not aware of any organization that will give their salespeople leeway with targets.
Every organisation wants more sales and wants to reward people who can get that additional business for them.
Most of the salespeople have a significant split in their fixed and variable components. They get variable components only once they achieve their sales quota.
So the more you sell, the more you earn. By overachieving their sales target salespeople have an opportunity to make multiple times their salary. Many salespeople make a lot of money which may not be possible with other corporate career roles.
Most of the jobs in the corporate world pay employees fixed salaries. Your income as a professional is restricted to your salary.
If you are a person who likes to get rewarded based on performance then a career in B2B sales can give you that opportunity.
2. A career in B2B sales allows a good Work-life balance
In B2B sales you manage a selected set of accounts and your sales activity is restricted to these selected accounts.
So, if you plan your activity and have clarity on what you need to do with your set of accounts, you have an opportunity to have a lot of time in your hand once you complete your set of activities.
As a salesperson, you need to learn about your products and services and select a set of customers. Once you have done all of the above, you build a relationship with your customers. And after this, you don’t spend much time learning about your products and services again. You don’t spend much time continuing to build relationships with your client.
Whatever time you invested earlier is your initial investment. You keep getting returns of your investment by incremental investment of Business development activities.
There are very few professions that give you this kind of flexibility.
Also, sales is a target-driven role, organisations don’t care how many hours salespeople put in their job. They are more concerned about whether their salespeople achieve their sales quota or not. This flexibility allows you the opportunity to have a good work-life balance.
Having a career in B2B sales has made it easier for me to focus on my mental and physical health. It allows me to spend time with my family. It gives me time to work on creating sales enablement content as a side hustle.
3. A career in B2B sales is a test for your soft skills
B2B Sales is the science of dealing with people to generate business. B2B sales organisations hire highly skilled sales professionals because even highly advanced machines and softwares can’t deal with people.
People have emotions, they are unique, they are unpredictable and you need a good set of soft skills to get work done from other people.
Think of people you like the most; your mom, your best friend, your siblings, your favourite teacher. One of the reasons you like them is because of the soft skills they continue to exhibit towards you.
There are many soft skills which you need to learn to be a good salesperson. However, if I have to list the top 4 they would be Listening, Communication Empathy, and Teamwork
Listening is an act of giving someone your undivided attention; to understand and be curious and not to judge.
We have two ears and one mouth so we could listen twice as much as we can speak.
Why is listening skill important for sales professionals? Why do organisations hire salespeople with good listening skills?
In our parlance, the synonym of selling is helping. A salesperson’s primary role is to help his customer. It is to guide them to make a better purchasing decision.
If your primary role is helping someone, there is no way you can help them if you can’t listen to them. Listening gives you clarity of what problems the opposite person is facing. It helps you understand the person who is speaking and their reaction to the problem.
Listening is the biggest respect we can give to our customers. Research shows in an ideal sales call, the customer talks 70% of the time and the salesperson talks 30 % of the time.
So if you are a good listener, chances are you will be a good salesperson.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple once said,
“People will try to convince you that you should keep your empathy out of your career. Don’t accept this false premise.”
Empathy isn’t just an important soft skill, it is what makes you a good human being.
As important as empathy is in our personal lives, it is also very important in a sales professional.
Imagine if you were a customer, What kind of a salesperson would you to deal with? Someone who just wants to promote their product and close a deal with you? Or someone who actually empathizes with you, wants to help you solve your problems?
A salesperson is essentially a problem-solver. And you can’t have a problem-solving mindset without empathising with your client.
Being an empath gives you the ability to understand your customer’s problems as well as the customer as a person. It allows you to get into his shoes and look at his situation. That’s the best advantage you can have in influencing someone as it will help you to choose the right things to do to convince him.
Good communication skill is a common competency found in Job descriptions for a sales position. As a salesperson, you are expected to articulate the value of the product and service you sell to clients.
In B2B sales, salespeople are expected to relate the benefits of their solution to the business problem their clients are facing. This is a highly advanced skill.
Throughout the sales cycle, you continue to present the product and services you sell to different stakeholders within the customer organisation.
You are expected to narrate stories of your past wins to your prospective clients to build trust and credibility.
You can do all this if you have a good command of the language, you can express your point succinctly without beating around the bush.
This skill is extremely useful when you meet Sr Executives at the clients’ side who are pressed for time.
So if you like presenting a topic, you have good command over your language and you are good at storytelling, then sales is a good fit for you. A career in B2B sales will not only help you use your communication skills but also allow you to excel at it.
Sales is perceived as a field of individual contributors, probably because every salesperson has his individual targets which he has to achieve.
However, it doesn’t work like that in B2B sales.
In B2B sales, when you are selling complex solutions to large organizations, a single salesperson doesn’t go and close the deal alone. There is usually a team of experts working along with him in building that solution and convincing the customer to buy it.
So, as a salesperson, at times your role is to facilitate, manage and lead the team to achieve a common goal of winning the deal. Your teamwork decides how much value your team can deliver and what kind of buying experience you can provide to the customer.
Sports has a similar analogy.
Take the example of PV Sindhu.
She has won a silver medal for India in the 2016 Olympics and garnered appreciation across the globe. We recognize PV Sindhu and celebrate her achievements but there was also an entire team of experts like fitness coach, badminton coach, diet coach and many more behind her, who made sure she was the fittest and prepared to win medals for India.
Imagine if PV Sindhu did not have that team behind her. Imagine, if you as a salesperson did not have a good team or a good product. What would have happened then?
You might be the face of the deal. You might be the most rewarded, most recognized for winning that deal, but there is a significant contribution of the team to help you win it.
To be successful in B2B sales you should love to work in a team and lead them without sounding bossy.
So if you like working in a team and display good leadership skills, you will do good in B2B sales.
Problem-solving is the reason why businesses exist. Products and services are developed by organisations to solve their customers’ problems and newer and newer products will be built to solve existing problems and future problems.
Mobile phones solved the problem of communication. Luxurious cars like BMW, Audi solve the problem of its customer’s self-esteem.
As a salesperson, you have a job because you can solve problems for your customers.
Our definition of a salesperson is: Salesperson is a professional who listens and understands customers’ problems and helps solve them by recommending products and services it has.
B2B sales hire highly skilled professional people because customers need assistance to solve their complex problems which may not be possible by an E-commerce site with all its AI and explainer videos.
Customers need salespeople because they need help to solve their problems. Seasoned salespeople with their experience and knowledge can solve those problems for them.
So if you are someone who gets excited by problem-solving, you love working in a team to solve some major business problems, B2B sales is waiting for Salespeople like you.
5. Continuous learning :
B2B sales is a profession of dealing with people. As a salesperson, your entire job would revolve around people. And that is the tricky part.
7 billion people on the earth, 7 billion different personalities. Every person is unique, every client you will encounter is different. You will have to behave differently with different clients. You will have to cater to their unique needs. And that is why Sales is a profession that demands continuous learning. There won’t ever come a point where you will be done learning about people and business. There will always be a new client, there will always be something new to learn.
Different customers = Different problems = Different solutions.
The best example of why we need to continuously update ourselves in this profession is present in our current situation. Two years ago we would not have thought that we would not get to meet our customers face to face or Virtual selling will be such an important part of our selling methodology. Over the past two years, we have learnt to adapt ourselves to this virtual selling and also excel at it. And now that things are finally returning to normal we need to learn the hybrid way of selling.
As a salesperson, you will always come across challenges that are completely new to you. To be a good salesperson in B2B sales, you need to therefore have a ‘Life long learning’ mindset. You need to keep upgrading yourself to stay relevant in this profession.
There is a famous quote from Henry Ford:
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
If you love learning and consider yourself a student of life, B2B sales can be a great option for you.
I won’t lie to you. Sales isn’t a profession meant for everyone. Some people do well in it some people don’t but people who do well exhibit above mentioned traits.
Sales is an extremely rewarding and uplifting profession. As professional salespeople, we help our customers to make a purchasing decision and eventually uplift their life once they receive benefits from the products and services we have to offer.
It’s a privilege to be a professional salesperson, help people and make a lot of money for yourself and your organization.
I hope this blog has given you clarity on whether to choose or continue with a career in B2B sales. If you found this blog interesting, do like and share. If you have any questions regarding sales as a career, please leave a comment. I am always happy to help.
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