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Company: IBM Canada

Position: Inside Sales: Lead Development

Employed: ~3 years

Degree: Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) at the University of Windsor

What drew you to your current field?
I fell into the sales and marketing field after working in HR for a few months at another large company. After some major changes within that company, I took six months off to re-group and see what else was available. What initially drew me to this field was a combination of having the chance to broaden my current skill set within a whole new industry, and having the ability to apply my wealth of skills, diverse background, and passion for helping people attain their goals in order to realize my own.

How did you find your current position?
I was referred by a friend and former colleague at IBM in a non-sales role who was aware of my sales background and thought I would be a good fit. I was interviewed for a lead development role within IBM Canada that would provide me with the opportunity to strengthen my prospecting skills and learn all about the IT industry.

Tell us a bit about your responsibilities.
I contact small, medium, and large enterprise business clients in North America through targeted marketing campaigns to uncover interest in IBM offerings, generating qualified sales leads in response to marketing initiatives for software, hardware, and services solutions.

What's the most challenging aspect of your position?
The most challenging aspect is navigating through the company matrix to ensure that clients' goals are met, in addition to my business objectives. There's a great need to understand the business objectives of all of the members of any given sales team in order to properly negotiate and ensure that there's a win-win solution for everyone involved.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing a deal through from beginning to end and knowing that what I do helps the company be successful. It's rewarding to provide value to the customer by listening and finding a solution that will help improve their business.

What skills have you learned through your work experience?
Through my work experiences I have learned negotiation skills, the importance of integrity, listening to everyone in the room, consultative selling, managing the expectations and emotions of others, and leadership.

What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
To be truly successful in any sales career, I believe that all sales professionals should have a good understanding of the big picture, all of the small pieces that make it work, and maintaining a positive attitude with the notion that business changes everyday (especially in sales).

Is there one accomplishment you're most proud of to date?
It changes by the week. Overall, I would say being able to accomplish tasks that others may deem too difficult. For example, I identified a solid sales opportunity generating multi-million dollars of additional revenue within a large highly-regarded global account where several other sales representatives were all competing for the client's trust and time.

What are your future career goals?
My future career goal is to utilize my current experience to transition into a marketing (preferably customer retention type) role where I can contribute my strong and transferable, organizational, communications, and customer centric skills to generate, simulate, motivate, and retain loyal, conquest, and net new clients.

What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job?
The hardest part for students seeking their first job is being able to demonstrate their experience within their field. My advice is to volunteer, take internships, and build a network of advocates to help build your brand. Being able to communicate your challenges into successes is what's going to land you a job.
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