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Building a Successful Sales Career: Lessons Learned from a Sales Manager

Noction is a developer of network intelligence solutions for the niche market of multi-homed BGP networks. In order to raise product awareness among potential buyers, the company places significant emphasis on its B2B sales team, which plays a critical role in acquiring new customers, nurturing relationships, and building loyalty.

In this article, we delve into the insights of Cristina –  an experienced Noction Sales Manager, regarding the opportunities and challenges of pursuing a career in B2B sales. We also discuss the necessary skills and qualifications for success, why the art of sales is more complex than it may seem, and how Sales Managers stay motivated in this demanding yet fulfilling profession.

Why did you choose to work in sales?

Working in sales was never on my mind. Why? At that point, I was convinced that a person was either born a salesperson in their heart or not. And I did not feel I had it in me naturally, cause I’m a bit of an introvert.  I also had limiting beliefs about sales. In my opinion selling was somewhat dishonest because it meant disguising some level of truth for one’s own selfish benefit.

I got into sales by accident, like most sales reps, I think. Pursuing this opportunity has taken me on a self-discovery journey, facing my deepest fears and gaining a new perspective on myself. At the beginning of my career, I could not imagine that in a few years, I will be able to connect with total strangers on an emotional level, build relationships and sometimes speak with industry moguls like they are good friends of mine.

My perspective on sales has evolved a lot too. I have realized that many professionals actually seek to explore new tools so they can be aware of the new technology and be able to face the competition. And I feel very good about myself when I manage to help them find a solution to the problems they face.

Describe your typical day as a Sales Manager at Noction?

In sales, you rarely get the same day twice. However, there are some activities that need to be done daily and consistently. The morning starts with checking the schedule, prioritizing the tasks, and answering urgent emails.  I don’t like waiting a day for a response so I make sure I don’t take a day to reply either.

And of course, as one can imagine, the day is filled with lead generation & qualifying, discovery calls, demos, and meetings with customers – an inherent part of the sales process.

What are the most important skills to acquire for success in sales?

Having been in sales for a while, I can say there are a few key skills that really make a difference.

Let’s start with being inquisitive. This is all about having that natural curiosity and a desire to understand the needs and preferences of potential clients. I’ve always found that actively listening to what clients say and asking the right questions can yield invaluable insights. It’s not just about making a sale; it’s about understanding their needs and preferences on a deeper level.

One more important skill is the ability to think on your feet. Sales is like a rollercoaster ride; you never know what’s coming next. Whether it’s a sudden change in client expectations or an unexpected challenge during a negotiation, being agile and resourceful is key to staying ahead of the game. It comes together with critical thinking. Being able to analyze different options, evaluate strategies, and make informed decisions is what sets apart a good Sales Manager from a great one.

Last but not least, is taking initiative. As a Sales Manager, you need to be proactive. That means taking control of situations, identifying opportunities, and always looking for ways to improve and innovate.

What were your sales career challenges, and how did you overcome them?

For me, the biggest challenge was facing rejection during my daily interactions with customers. It’s not easy to hear “no” repeatedly, but it’s very important to never give up. Cause you may have been turned down by 10 prospects in one day, but that eleventh call could score you the biggest deal of the quarter. 

With time, I learned to view rejection as a necessary part of the sales process.  Now I see it as an opportunity to improve my approach and better understand the needs and concerns of my customers. 

Another challenge particularly in B2B sales is the length of the sales cycle. It can take months or even longer to see tangible results from your efforts. This is disheartening for many salespeople, especially at the beginning of their careers. 

However, with time you start to understand that the sales process is a marathon, not a sprint. Every call you make and every meeting you have brings you a step closer to closing the deal. And my favorite technique to keep myself motivated during all this time is mentally portraying my future paycheck (laughing). 

Would you agree that receiving an additional commission on top of the base salary is the most attractive part of working in sales?

We’re all getting up early in the morning to earn our bread and butter, that’s true. And commission is a significant motivator for many sales professionals, as it directly ties their earnings to their performance. However, it’s not necessarily the only attractive aspect of the job. For me, a good sales position is a balanced mix of financial incentives, recognition and career advancement opportunities.

Knowing that I’m selling a great product and my daily efforts help our customers solve their network issues is quite rewarding. Also, I can clearly see my contribution to the company’s growth in sales figures and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

At Noction, we’re always on the lookout for talented salespeople who are eager to grow with us. Are you interested in B2B sales? If so, we want you to join our amazing team and take your career to the next level! You’ll get to sell our products across multiple channels worldwide. Sound interesting? Check out the details here!

Tags: hr

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