TRANSITION OUT OF THE MILITARY
“I spent five years in the Marine Corps as a pilot, and my transition out was a little unique. The last few months of my time in the Marines was filled with quite a bit of uncertainty. I found out I was going to receive a medical separation which completely shook up my entire “career” plan. I had worked hard to earn my spot as a pilot and planned to do 20 years in the Marines… now that had all changed. Following my transition, my family and I moved across the country back to the southeast and I began job searching. Shortly after, I received a Linkedin message from Brian Wiktorski at Tech Qualled. He told me about the Launchpad Academy program, and a career in tech sales, and how the skills and leadership experience I had in the military would translate into a civilian career. It was exactly the career I was looking for.
EXPERIENCE WITH TECH QUALLED
Launchpad Academy was an incredible opportunity. I learned an enormous amount about technology, but most importantly I learned how to sell in a B2B Sales role. Before beginning the program I thought I had the “salesman” personality, but Tech Qualled showed me how much more I had to learn. They truly helped me develop the skills necessary to be successful in a tech sales role.
The most impactful thing I learned in Launchpad Academy was knowing when to shut up and listen. Silence is uncomfortable but if you stay silent for a few seconds, the project will fill the silence with more information or give ground in a negotiation. Tech Qualled’s “Expansive Questions” training was also a game-changer.
TRANSITION INTO HIGH-TECH SALES INDUSTRY
During the last few weeks of the program, we began applying to roles inside of Tech Qualled’s ecosystem. I was a geo-restricted candidate, but since I was willing to interview at companies a little outside of my geo-preference, I had many other opportunities. The interview process was great; I applied to seven different roles and was able to interview with four different companies that were each very unique. It was a tough choice because there were quite a few companies each with a lot to offer. Ultimately, I chose Empirix, and I have truly loved the company so far. I will say, it has absolutely been challenging, but my team has really invested in me and my success.
ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL CANDIDATES
- Trust the sales process.
- Learn to ride the emotional roller coaster and be focused on the goal.
- Learn to push, sometimes customers need it.
- You have a military background so people will look to you to have a strong work ethic, don’t disappoint them.
- Continue your development after you get hired, reading, podcasts, etc.
- Cold calling isn’t dead, (I have a few opportunities now from cold calling, and one will close shortly!)
- Network! You are the CEO of your own personal brand.
- Don’t just try and hit your quota. Set an almost outrageous goal, then reverse engineer how to get to that goal. If you fall a little short, then no big deal, you probably still smashed the goal management set for you.
- Have fun and be competitive!
What is it like being an Account Executive?
Being an Account Executive has a lot of highs and lows. You have to learn to ride the emotional roller coaster that is sales. But, if you trust the process and apply what you learned at Tech Qualled, you will be successful.
What does your quota look like at Empirix for year one?
My quota for my first “year” was pretty aggressive considering I only had about 2 quarters to meet it. So here is my approach:
- Based on the data our company collected, our sales cycle is typically 3-6 months. We converted our pipeline to a win rate which is about 1/3. So I knew my pipeline at the end of Q4 had to be about 3 times my quota to meet my number.
- I started prospecting very aggressively. I sent cold calls, emails and used LinkedIn. I took a multichannel approach and have received a pretty good response rate. I’m also prospecting partners. We operate in a niche of the telecom industry and it’s always easier for a partner like C1, Presidio, Avaya, AT&T or Verizon to bring us to a deal. It is a win-win for everyone. I would say Jeb Blount is pretty spot-on, “you have to keep your funnel full with prospecting, whether it is directly into new accounts, partners or even expanding your footprint with existing accounts, you have to do it.”
Collin Alexander lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and two kids (both under the age of 2! Shout out to those sleepless nights!) He graduated from the Citadel and commissioned in the Marine Corps upon graduation. As a former graduate of Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy Cohort 14, Collin now works at Empirix as an Account Executive.
Empirix Inc. is a privately held company that designs and manufactures service assurance testing and monitoring equipment for IP-based communications networks such as Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, IP Multimedia Subsystem-based, next-generation network and 4G wireless networks.