Author Archives: Michelle Kimbrough

Never Settle – The Meritocracy of Sales

“Happy people can look back and say they chose their life, not settled for it.”

– Shannon L. Alder

Everyone has different circumstances which drive their decisions in life. However, we all are so fortunate to live in America where we have the freedom of choice. As fellow veterans, you are aware of the sacrifices our brothers and sisters-in-arms have made to allow us that freedom. After fighting for your country, why settle for anything less than the ability to exercise that option?

As you begin your transition from the military, you have undoubtedly been told one or more of the following “rules”:

  • You have to be really flexible in location preferences to get a decent job.
  • You have to be realistic in your income expectations – remember you are just starting out in a new job.
  • Your most valuable asset is your leadership, so your ideal job is project management.

Those rules are fine for some people, and that is their choice. If these are rules you can live by, then stop reading this article now and go back to checking your FB feed for cat videos. But if you are like me and do not want to settle and be bound by these rules, then keep reading.Meritocracy

I knew that working in an office from 9-5 for a mediocre salary, in another town that I did not want to live in, was not my way to happiness. As I began my transition, I started looking into sales primarily because of the meritocracy of that aspect of business. You get paid based on the work you put in. Then I began to focus on the tech industry because of its continuing growth and impact in our everyday lives. Shortly after updating my LinkedIn profile accordingly, I received a phone call from Justin Ossola at Tech Qualled and the rest is history. If you’ve read my previous articles, you know all about that, but what happened when the dust settled? Was it everything I dreamed about? Short answer – YES!

I’m currently a Field Sales Account Executive at a national IT solutions provider. I absolutely believe in my company’s mission, and I have the best coworkers and mentor anyone could ask for. The best part – I get to work remotely which allows me the flexibility to spend time with my husband (on his crazy schedule, as he is still an active duty Army Officer). Do I have to perform at a very high level?  Are there leadership challenges? Absolutely! But I’m excited to wake up each morning and learn something new every single day. Tech Qualled prepared me with the resources, knowledge base, and skill set to successfully transition to this fast paced industry. They also ensured that we knew how to correctly leverage our non-tangible skills such as leadership, public speaking, and a commanding presence, to have successful customer engagements and close deals.

You don’t have to settle for being stuck in the 9-5. You absolutely can have control over your future. If you have ever thought about sales or the tech industry reach out to Tech Qualled today at www.staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com.

The Reality of Tech Qualled’s Online Training

SERE 100. Yes, we have all suffered through this online training! Every time someone used to tell me I had to conduct online training, this is what came to mind. Let me just click through these slides for about 3 hours untilOnline Training this suffering ends! So after the great excitement, I felt about being accepted into the Tech Qualled program wore off, I contemplated the anguish that was sure to come from 7 weeks of online training. Also, I had no idea of what to make of the two-week sales “boot camp” that accompanies the Launchpad Academy. But, I was ready for a challenge, a change of pace and a surefire way to break into high tech sales so I kept an open mind.

I’ve never been happier to admit I was so very wrong! From the very first week of training, I immediately knew it was going to be different from any other online course I’d taken before. There are slides each week, yes, but that is the only similarity to any other online course. There are tons of small quizzes to reinforce learning and break up any hint of monotony. Throughout each week there are research projects, written assignments, and video submissions as well. It seems like a lot of work at first but it is actually incredibly interesting and rewarding. For the first time in a very long time, I truly enjoyed what I was learning and felt that it would really have an impact on my future.

 By far the most beneficial portion of the training, however, was the interaction. Every Monday afternoon heralded a new live forum with a wide range of guest speakers from various tech companies. This gave usOnline Training direct insight into the world of technology and sales that we could not have gotten elsewhere. Throughout the rest of the week, if I had any questions about the material, I could reach out to any of the founders of the program, day or night, and they would ensure I fully grasped the concept. By founders, I mean individuals such a Jim Sheriff, a former top Cisco executive, and his wife Karen Sheriff who also has many years of experience in high tech sales and teaching. Once the week was completed, we commented on our end of the week discussion board, which brought on some very interesting interaction between other members of the cohort who may or may not have been just as challenged as me by some of the topics.

 Last but not least is the Launchpad Academy Sales Boot Camp: an intense 10-day face-to-face training in Fort Worth, TX, that absolutely blew my mind! Since my college Spanish class, I’ve never been in an environment that was so carefully tailored to ensure maximum knowledge retention. We had new guest instructors every single day that ranged from Account Executives and CEO’s that taught us about the sales process and negotiations, to specialized trainers such as Denise Harrington that refined our public speaking skills. I was in awe at the care that was put into the training everyday, the quality of the material and presenters and caliber of individuals that surrounded me. Don’t worry – it wasn’t all work, no play! During the last 5 weeks of the program, we started interviewing with technology companies and many of our cohort members received offers during the sales boot camp. To celebrate our inevitable success and hard work we went out as a group most evenings and enjoyed the fine dining and activities of the Fort Worth area.

 Are you a highly successful transitioning veteran interested in a career in high tech sales? Still don’t really understand the difference between a switch and a router or a private cloud and a hybrid cloud? Do you want a challenging and rewarding career in the tech industry but can’t seem to get your foot in the door? You aren’t alone. The Launchpad Academy program is built specifically for veterans – and it didn’t cost me a dime. Check out Tech Qualled at www.qualed.com or reach out to me for more information.

Beyond the Call of Duty – Veteran Recruiting Firms

I read somewhere that if you apply for a job that you know you would be great at, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. Most, if not all, veterans have an intrinsic desire to drive themselves to their limit. Whether or not you went to a service academy, commissioned through an ROTC program or enlisted to serve your country, you have demonstrated that you can go above and beyond the call of duty. However, when we make the choice to leave the service, there are limited veteran recruiting options for potential career paths that will satisfy this internal desire to push boundaries.

Making the decision to leave the service is not an easy one, but once your mind is made up, you have to figure out what you want to do. Do you want to go to graduate school? Do you want to work with a recruiting firm and most likely become a project manager? Do you want to continue in the field in which you worked in the military? I thought about all of these options, spoke with recruiters for various programs, and was constantly reassured that as long as I was super flexible about location and willing to take a pay cut, that I would most certainly get a job. But is that what I really wanted? Wake up, go to work, pay bills, come home, wash, rinse, and repeat? No!

I wanted a high-powered career, where I was challenged every day. As a female Army officer, I spent a lot of time being the only female leader, the only female in a course and even the only woman in the room. But I, along with many of my female counterparts, enjoy challenging the status quo. So why not continue to do so? Despite the technology industry being a male-dominated space, women, especially Army-strong women, have proven time and again that they can excel in tech. Also more than anything, I wanted a true meritocracy. These two desires are what led me to pursue a career in high-tech sales.

While most veterans have the skills necessary to be successful in sales, we lack the technical knowledge to hold our own in the tech world. And until recently there was no way to directly bridge that gap. Thankfully, the founders of Tech Qualled reached out to me and shared their vision of training and placing veterans into rewarding careers in high tech. After my first phone call with co-founder Justin Ossola, I never looked back! I recently completed the Launchpad Academy, have had several rounds of interviews with amazing companies, and can’t wait to get started in my new career.

So if any of this resonates with you, I challenge you to not drop your rucksack just yet. There are still exciting challenges to take on and walls to tear down. For more information on the Tech Qualled program, visit www.staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com. Are you ready to take the next step towards a rewarding career? Apply to the program here.