Sales roles and the personalities that gravitate to them have a complicated history. At its core, selling is about winning, but winning – especially your professional life – almost always comes with more than a boost to your ego. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on the top of the “sales pyramid” which is business to business (b2b), enterprise sales.
The people that want to try their hand at this sophisticated, solution-based selling are eager for large challenges. They are also eager to be rewarded based on their talents and effort expended; much like high-level athletes. And like those athletes, where the competition is highest, often the reward is too. “You closed a deal with [insert Fortune 100 Company here]? That’s incredible! How long did it take? What were the dynamics? How high up did you go in that organization?” And eventually, but often shamefully whispered…. “What was your commission from that?”
We shouldn’t whisper that! There is effectively a 0% chance that the talented, motivated, and hard-working person who “closed that deal” did it only for the sake of helping the Fortune 100 company achieve their strategic or tactical goals. They did it to bring home some bacon too! We all know this, yet it’s still the elephant in the room.
At Tech Qualled, the company I co-founded, we have had thousands of conversations with smart, talented, driven men and women (veterans and non-veterans alike) explaining that there is not only room for but a need for their attributes in the complex IT selling arena. Ignorance is not bliss as a job seeker when you think sales is only in retail, it’s only transactional and should come with a gross feeling after the fact.
With the right intangible skills – grit, drive, competitiveness, resilience, ability to listen and communicate effectively – those eager for a new career can enter an industry where on target earnings (OTE) start in the low 6-figures and often run into $300K-500K/year after just a few years of success. It’s hard to find a role that comes with that much-earning potential but is completely disconnected from pedigree or previous academic and professional credentialing.
In the spirit of economic mobility; rising tides that lift all boats; and the American Dream, each of us should celebrate an industry in an economy where this exists. A first-generation college grad, immigrant, or servicemember is no longer limited by a glass ceiling. Instead, he or she can truly break into a new tax bracket, create new opportunities, and achieve goals otherwise off-limits without certain privileges, introductions, and sheepskins.
For more information on Launchpad Academy’s training and placement program, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Breedlove is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tech Qualled. He has 17 years of active duty military leadership experience where he flew and instructed in the MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter and the C-40A Clipper transport jet. His passion for helping transitioning veterans maximize their professional potential led him to found Tech Qualled where he leads daily operations.
Nick is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and received a Master in Public Administration degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. Today, he lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he enjoys his family, his faith, and soccer.