3 reasons why sales is the best start to your business career

Whatever your goals are in business, spending some time in a sales team gives you the skills to achieve them. Sara Brooks tells us more.

Back in November, Sales Confidence staged another one of its exclusive events for sales leaders, at the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street. As always, we were treated to deep insights from a world-class line-up. Based on these talks, we put together some articles, so even if you couldn’t be there, you can still get inspired.

Sara Brooks

Sara has enjoyed a terrific sales career around the world, including all over the US, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. Now, Sara is in London, as VP of Sales for Pleo. Pleo helps businesses make their company spending simple and seamless.

Sara shared with us how, as a sales leader, hiring can be tricky because people don’t think a career in sales is right for them. That is, until they try it. Sara was one of those people herself.

‘I graduated with a business degree and I wanted to marketing, like most people do. It’s sexy, cool, exciting.’

But after stumbling into a sales role, Sara uncovered her passion for sales. She also discovered that sales provides you with all the skills you need to build a successful career in business.

Here are Sara’s three reasons why sales is the best accelerator for your career in business.

1 — Accelerated learning

You learn quickly in sales. Why? It’s because you receive feedback on everything, every minute of every day. Every time you make a call to a prospect, they’ll let you know what they think about you. You’ll also be schooled on every aspect of sales by your colleagues and managers.

They’ll show you how to talk, present yourself, pace yourself when you talk, have executive presence and how to negotiate; all essential skills in business. After a year in sales, you’ll find you’re a professional. Is there any other job where you are exposed to so much so quickly?

2 — Company culture

One of the things Sarah frequently hears when trying to find people to work in sales is that sales is sleazy. They’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street and they think that’s what sales is like; people using underhand tactics to sell people things they don’t want.

Of course, most sales teams aren’t like Stratton Oakmont. Sales teams that are like that are a reflection of their company’s culture and values. People need to know what sales is really about.

When you join a company with a culture of learning, where people put thought into their selling, led by people who want to make you into a leader as well, you have the springboard for a great career.

3 — Business acumen

At Pleo, salespeople take control over the entire sales process, from identifying a lead through to the close. You have to prospect your own leads, which makes you think about the value you will provide to a prospect when you call them up. You have to consider other questions too, such as:

· How are you going to make them successful?

· Why should they buy from you?

· Why should they care?

Answering these questions requires business acumen. When you have these skills you can take them with you on your career path, wherever you want that path to lead.

Over to you

For Sara, a sales team is the best business school there is. It’s just as attractive as marketing, PR, management consulting or anything else. As salespeople, we should promote this message. It will benefit us all as the talent pool increases.

Now, I want to know what you think. What do you love about sales? What skills did you learn early on in your career that have served you well?

Let us know in the comments below.

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