The Dirty Little Secret about Mid- to Senior-Level Sales Jobs
About 1,000 times a year I hear candidates tell me, “Sales is Sales.”
Here’s the problem. When you become a mid to senior-level salesperson your sales job opportunities narrow.
Every day I have to tell sales candidates, “No.” I have to say:
--“No, I won’t present you to my clients because you’ve never sold software. Sorry, but hardware and IT services are NOT software.”
--“No, I don’t have anything suitable for you because you’ve changed industries haphazardly with every job move over the last twenty years.”
--“No, I can’t help you because you’ve spent the last seven years selling security solutions and now you want to sell marketing applications to the business side.”
The most common rebuttal I hear is to “no” is---
“Sales is sales!”
It is on one hand --but it really isn’t.
If it were, I’d be out of a sales recruiting job.
Let me explain.
Everyone’s sales career starts out with a “sales is sales” theme, but as you progress through your sales career and develop your sales chops, you become more valuable to employers.
But only to certain employers.
Not all employers.
You’ll be highly desired by some organizations and not impressive to others.
At a certain point in your career, normally around the seven year mark, your area of specialization is the primary attribute which separates you from everyone else.
It's Domain Expertise, Not Sales Skills that will Land You a New Sales Job
Industry specialization is your “career capital.” Your specialization is the reason why companies are hiring you instead of someone else right out of college. It’s the reason they’re offering you a sales job with a generous base salary rather than going with another candidate who’s far less expensive and inexperienced.
If you have the expertise, you’ll need less training, and less time to ramp- up.
After all, the more experience you have, the higher capital outlay a company will make to bring you on board. You’ll enjoy a higher compensation plan and a substantial base salary.
Companies like customers, are only willing to pay higher wages when they receive more value.
What’s your value when you develop a specialization?
--How to talk to your buyers so they will listen.
--The different buyer personas.
--Where are the bones are buried in your market.
--Contacts that can help you get a quick start.
--The problems you're solving.
--The subtle nuances and quirks of the industry you’re calling on.
When you’re looking for a new sales job, your greatest value is not in your “sales skills.”
It’s in your area of expertise.
Your deep domain proficiency, knowledge, and specialization are valuable to a certain segment of employers.
Your sales skills will help you keep your sales job. But they are the foundational skills required to enjoy mid-level sales roles. In order to get a new sales job, a high paying sales job; your area of specialization will be the key factor that drives up your wages beyond the earnings of entry-level salespeople.
There will be one particular class of suitors who’ll find you most attractive--employers in similar spaces or employers calling on the same vertical markets. Your value will be tied more closely to your area of expertise rather than your proven ability to “sell.”
When you’re looking for a new sales job, the best question is to ask yourself is not necessarily about what you want, but what you have to offer, and who’s willing to pay for your market expertise.
Skyrocket your sales career with these questions:
· Who will find your background most attractive?
· What kinds of companies call on the same types of clients you do now?
· What other companies are in the same space you’re currently in today?
If you’re ready to find a new sales job, think about what you bring to the market outside of your “sales skills.” Look for companies who will value your expertise, contacts, or industry knowledge.
When you focus your sales career on an area of specialization, your sales job prospects will naturally narrow.
But your value to specific prospective employers will increase.
In a crowded and hyper-competitive climate, you’re more likely to achieve success if you can stick to an industry segment and develop industry knowledge, contacts, and proficiency.
Are you ready to harness the power of your domain expertise and find a new software sales job?