Sales is not your typical job. With diverse clients and changing demand, every day is different, creating an exciting and refreshing work environment. It also provides you with a diverse skill set through developing your communication skills, increasing confidence and helping you build a strong professional network. With these skills being transferable across industries, sales also gives you the freedom to take your career in various directions... and with tech startups on the rise, sales is more important than ever!
Want to learn more about the reality of working in sales? Here are some experiences of fellow Commerce students who have interned in sales position over the years.
Companies: BlackBerry, Shopify Plus
Position: Sales Intern
The past two summers I have worked at BlackBerry and Shopify Plus as a Sales Intern. My role at BlackBerry involved selling BlackBerry’s enterprise software, and at Shopify I worked on the Market Development team. Following my first internship in tech sales, I knew I wanted to start my career in that field for several reasons. Firstly, sales matched my personality and strengths almost perfectly (outgoing, competitive, driven, and in a fast-paced environment) and allowed me to spend most of my day talking with customers and solving their problems. Secondly, tech is currently the hottest industry (especially in Toronto) and there are plenty of new companies popping up which sell products that improve people’s businesses, processes or even their livelihood. Sales is the best career to start out in because you get a grounding in every function of a company, and your work is a direct function of how much $$$ you can make (which if you are a high performer can be higher than consulting or finance).
Position: IBM Summit Internship
I was fortunate enough to be selected for an IBM Summit Internship in the past summer of 2018. Throughout the 4 months, I had the opportunity to work with a number of different teams including the Canadian Commercial Markets team and the Canadian Digital team as well as assisting a number of different client executives at the firm. What really stood out to me while working in the tech industry was just how rapidly things can change. If you are passionate about technology and want to be in a role that constantly challenges you to learn and better position yourself to customers, then IBM is a great place to start. IBM is one of the oldest tech companies as it has been around for over 100 years yet it has to constantly reinvent itself and target new areas of growth such as Cloud, Blockchain and AI. Therefore, anyone who is interested in working in tech sales needs to understand that simply being good at talking to customers and negotiating is not going to make you great at your job. You need to constantly be educating yourself on the new developments in technology and look for ways to educate your clients on how to use that technology to stand out in their industries. Overall, I had an excellent experience at IBM that gave me a great foundation for a future career in tech sales as I received hands-on training from some of the best in the industry.
Company: Vidyard, Miovision
Position: Sales/Business Development Representative
I have had the opportunity over the past two summers to work at fast growing tech companies, Vidyard and Miovision, as a Sales/Business development rep. The opportunity to have a direct impact on revenue at such an early point in my career has given me hands on experience that is incomparable to the traditional internship. Speaking with C & VP level executives on a daily basis and communicating value has allowed me to develop highly transferable skills in negotiation, determination, and resilience that will help define my career well into the future. Whether talking about an idea, a product, or yourself, you will always need to convey value and sell. To me there is no better foundation to build than one in the sales industry.