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Getting into IT Sales/Consulting

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Danshand, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Danshand

    Danshand Nibble Poster

    Hello Folks,

    I am hoping to move to London in summer of next year and would like to break into the sales/consulting/account managing area of IT. I have 6 years experience in IT technical roles, but no experience in sales or facing customers. I am a very confident person and believe I have strong business acumen.

    Has anybody any advice into getting into this kind of role? It seems to be where the real money is, consulting and selling rather than being the 'techy'. I dont want to completely pull myself out of the technical side of things but would like to move into a customer facing role, as I believe my natural talents are being wasted at the moment.

    Has anybode on here made this kind of move, and can anybody offer any advice?


    Certifications: Many.
  2. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

    I don't have advice sorry but I think Craigie wants to do the same. One thing I do know is you are correct, wages are very good in that line of work. Good luck, Jim
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  3. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    Personally I'd draw a distinction between sales and consulting. I'm quite happy doing the latter but not the former.

    Sales positions are generally basic + commission and may require you to generate leads (i.e. cold calling). Consultancy work usually means you already have a foot in the door in terms of contacts and are more involved with discussions providing IT solutions rather than hard "sales".

    For sales you will generally be expected to provide proof of your previous work i.e. targets met etc.

    For consulting you will need an all round technical knowledge and an easy manner ind ealing with people.
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  4. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    The thing to bear in mind, what you are talking about is really diverse.

    - Sales is what UKDarkstar said, it's relationship buildng with prospects over many years, cold calling, prospecting etc.
    - Account Managing is looking after the customer, ensuring that once they are 'sold' all on-going issues are resovled and you are the company point of contact to sort any crap out and to manage the relationship on-going.

    To get the best of both worlds, you want to be heading towards a Pre Sales Role. These are the techies who are customer facing, they support the Sales Person (think of them as a wonderbra).

    The Sales person sells the company a solution for say backups, and you then explain how this would work inside of there environment.
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  5. Danshand

    Danshand Nibble Poster

    Great response here guys, thanks very much. Its like when I first wanted to get into IT all over again, you need sales experience to get into sales. I think technical pre-sales is the way to go, and from there getting into Sales. As I may have stated before, I am looking to move to London next summer so there should hopefully be lots of opportunities down there. I am worried about an initial drop in salary, but if it could pick up quickly it shouldnt be too much of a problem.
    I worry that my past experience is all technical, if I could get to an interview I am sure I would be able to convince people of my sales ability, by selling myself.
    Certifications: Many.
  6. craigie

    craigie Terabyte Poster

    Sales skills, same as IT skills take years to develop.

    I would personnelly, treat them like studying for an exam, get some books on Sales Skills, things such as:

    - Asking the right question e.g. Open Ended Questions rather than closed IT ones
    - Rapport building via things such as Neuro Linguistic Programming

    With Sales as well, you have to be a self starter, its the complete opposite to IT, where you do jack until something goes wrong.

    It's a completely different mindsite, make sure you are making the right decision!
    Certifications: CCA | CCENT | CCNA | CCNA:S | HP APC | HP ASE | ITILv3 | MCP | MCDST | MCITP: EA | MCTS:Vista | MCTS:Exch '07 | MCSA 2003 | MCSA:M 2003 | MCSA 2008 | MCSE | VCP5-DT | VCP4-DCV | VCP5-DCV | VCAP5-DCA | VCAP5-DCD | VMTSP | VTSP 4 | VTSP 5
  7. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Somebody forgot to tell me that! And here I've been self-starting my way through my IT career when I coulda been doing jack AND squat! :x Maaaaan... :dry
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  8. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Pre-sales consultancy work can be quite varied and stressful at the same time.

    I’ve had to do presentations on network proposals and then take questions from other techs\consultants and in some cases they try to catch you out but if you are well prepared then there should be no problems.

    You need to be a good tech imo but you need to be able to translate the technical features of a product into something that will benefit an organisation and improve their IT infrastructure.
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Exchange 2007\2010
  9. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    What he said.
    I've known people in both fields.
    To be a decent salesman (or 'business development executive' - however they choose to dress it up so you don't sound like a salesman) you need to be technically aware so that you come across as knowing your stuff (and to make sure you sell the client the right thing). You probably won't be as hands on though with the actual technology. So if you're happy to keep your skills up to date by reading magazines, that's fine.

    Some salesmen are 'account managers'. They may or may not be the person who sold the original product to the customer, but they are there to ensure repeat business through a mixture of customer care and badgering you down the phone every month to upgrade something.

    Consultants on the other hand are paid to be consulted, and you pay them even if you choose not to take their advice. If you do take their advice and allow them to implement the solution, often they get a kick back from their supplier that may or may not be passed on to you.

    That's a bit of a generalisation, but there you go.

    Being a consultant is a fairly noble and respectable thing to be - unless you're too chummy with your suppliers and prone to recommending things that people don't need. The good news is that you get paid for your time and effort whatever happens. The bad news is that consultancy is often an expensive extra which smaller companies may want to avoid. So you get tied up in bigger projects with lots of tendering and crossing the t's etc.

    The two sales jobs are probably the easiest to get into as they are high turnover positions. The bad news is that they are high turnover positions. :biggrin
    Many companies have the policy of 'meet your targets or you're out' so you might end up flitting around a bit. Salesmen don't seem to mind this because every salesman I've ever met has been the best in the industry and left their previous job because they were headhunted by a bigger company/owed money/worth more/stiffled by oppressive rules/had to make an ethical stance/started their own company etc. They were never sacked for being cr@p.

    Not a field I'd want to get into, but each to his own.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD

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