How Soft Skills Can Make You a Better Sales Engineer

Alyson Schreider, Sales Engineering Manager at SalsifyThis interview was edited for length and clarity One look at Alyson Schreider’s resume is all you need to know that she is a talented woman with a wealth of experience. As a Sales Engineer at Salsify, Alyson leads a team of driven individuals dedicated to making the ecommerce experience more efficient and user friendly, for brand manufacturers and their customers. Prior to stepping into this leadership role, Alyson worked as a Sales Engineer for six years and has since developed a knack for meeting the needs of her clients, team, and leadership with courage, vulnerability, and spunk. You might be wondering – how did Alyson manage to create such a successful career in a role that is largely dominated by men, in an already male dominated industry? To answer this question, we must look back to a professional experience Alyson had that was unlike any other experience in her career. Some of the skills that Alyson has relied on to succeed as a Sales Engineer include the ability to temper expectations, being honest about one’s limitations, and being determined enough to get better. These skills enabled her to excel at leadership and build a meaningful and impactful career. When asked how she developed these skills and her advice for other women interested in a Sales Engineer role, Alyson pointed to a life changing experience that shaped her into the professional she is today. “I learned these skills when I worked in public safety with police officers because there were actually life and death situations – in 911 dispatch, you have to make sure all the systems are working at all times and so I got really good at providing and managing expectations in some pretty stressful situations.” This ability to assess and manage expectations while clearly and honestly relaying information proved to be a powerful skill – not only in her job in public safety, but also throughout her entire career. But it wasn’t just this ability that helped shape her into the dynamic professional she is today. “I realized that the more I communicate and the more I’m honest about what I am doing or what I can or can’t do, the more people meet you where you are. Then, I’m able to find out what I need to know quickly.” Alyson learned early on in an unexpected professional experience, what was needed to be an effective sales engineer: tempering expectations, communicating clearly, and resolving to learn that which is unknown at the moment. This story proves two things – first, it shows that skills can be learned in any environment and used in any role. Second, it shows that having the courage and vulnerability to admit what you do and do not know while resolving to learn and grow, will make you far more successful as a Sales Engineer than you might initially think. Alyson further corroborated these two points when asked to share her insight on how one can successfully transition into a pre-sales role and what skills are needed to do so.  “I think the desire to dig in and work hard, be curious with customers, be empathetic, and ask questions will help you understand what you need.” Alyson went on to encourage those that are interested in applying for a Sales Engineer role not to be discouraged by the technical side of the job as she continued to highlight the value that soft skills bring to the role. “Being willing to build and create relationships with customers is really important. Technical aptitude depends on what we’re looking for at the time – sometimes we want someone really technical and sometimes we don’t. Other times, we want someone that’s great at building relationships, becoming the trusted advisor to a customer and willingness to learn the technical side. The key is to go for it – don’t be afraid to fail.” While Alyson’s experience in public safety helped prepare her for her job as a Sales Engineer today, it wasn’t the only influence on her career. When asked what enabled her to effectively do her job, Alyson shared the following insight: “All of the different work I’ve done with customers and being around and understanding different types of personalities and how to communicate with them really helped me. You have to understand that you can’t just go in with the same approach with every single person.” Alyson managed to pull skills from various client facing professional experiences to empower her to succeed in her current role, and it’s something we can all learn to do as well. Finding The Right Fit Finding transferable skills to help Alyson excel in her role was paramount to her success, but it isn’t the full picture. Without the support and empowerment of her company, Alyson might not have had the opportunity to put those skills she developed over the years to good use. “I had previously worked at a company that was very team oriented and collaborative…it was very fun and dynamic…it was really a great place to work…it was a family type environment so I was looking for something similar, and a product that I could really get behind…so when I joined, that’s exactly what Salsify ended up being. I wanted a team where everyone was helpful to each other.” Alyson went on to share how the support at Salsify gave her the opportunity to grow and go for opportunities she might otherwise not have access to without the support of her leadership “…I had been thinking I wanted to be a manager, and I told my leadership [about this before there was an opening] and they shared that there would be an opening within a month” “They’re very encouraging of [helping you] try something else. There’s movement whether it’s upward or laterally based on what you want to do.” Even without formal experience as a Sales Engineer, that shouldn’t deter women from exploring pre-sales as a career option, as there are

A Step-by-Step Resume Guide for Aspiring Sales Stars

Entering the competitive world of sales can be a daunting prospect, especially for recent college graduates. If you’re just stepping into this field, you know that making a strong first impression is crucial. That’s where your resume comes in – it’s not just a document listing your experiences; it’s a powerful tool to showcase your potential, ambition, and the unique value you bring to the table. To help you navigate this journey, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on crafting a resume that not only stands out but also opens doors to rewarding sales careers. Understanding What Employers Look ForSales employers are on the lookout for candidates who can demonstrate exceptional communication skills, resilience, adaptability, and a results-oriented mindset. These qualities should be the backbone of your resume, shaping how you present your experiences and skills. Structuring Your Resume for SuccessA well-structured resume makes a significant difference. Start with a clear heading and contact information, including a professional email address and a link to your polished LinkedIn profile. Follow this with a compelling summary statement that encapsulates your sales potential and eagerness to grow in the field. Education is more than just your degree; it’s a chance to highlight relevant coursework, projects, and extracurricular activities that have prepared you for a sales role. When it comes to experience, remember that every part-time job, internship, and volunteer opportunity has taught you valuable skills that are transferable to sales. Don’t forget to include any relevant skills and certifications that can give you an edge. Highlighting Your Unique ValueAs a woman of color, you bring unique experiences and perspectives that are incredibly valuable in sales. Use your resume to articulate these strengths, and don’t shy away from quantifying your achievements. Whether it’s leading a successful project in a student organization or initiating a community event, these experiences showcase your leadership and impact. Tailoring Your Resume for the Sales IndustryCustomization is key. Tailor your resume for each sales job application, incorporating keywords from the job description into your work experience and professional & skills summaries. This shows employers that you’re not only attentive but also highly interested in the role. Avoiding Common PitfallsEven the most impressive experiences can be overshadowed by simple mistakes like typos, generic statements, and overly lengthy resumes. Ensuring your resume is error-free and concise is as crucial as the information it contains. Seeking feedback from mentors or peers can provide invaluable insights and help polish your document to perfection. Utilizing Resources and NetworkingIn your journey to crafting the perfect sales resume, you’re not alone. Our “Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit” is an essential resource designed to guide you through this process. From understanding sales terminology to negotiating your worth and revamping your resume, this toolkit is your companion in achieving resume mastery. Moreover, attending the Aspiring Sellers Summit can supercharge your journey. This event is not just about learning from the best in the industry; it’s about connecting with a community that supports and uplifts each other. It’s an opportunity to showcase your ambition and dedication to prospective employers who are eager to meet talented individuals like you. ConclusionCrafting a standout resume is your first step towards a fulfilling career in sales. It’s about more than listing your experiences; it’s about telling your story in a way that resonates with employers and highlights your potential. Remember, your resume is a reflection of your ambition, skills, and the unique value you bring to any sales team. As you embark on this journey, don’t forget to leverage the tools and resources available to you. Are you ready to take the next step in your sales career and start crafting a resume that opens doors to new opportunities? Download the “Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit” and consider attending the Aspiring Sellers Summit to enhance your skills, network, and chances of landing your dream sales job. Your journey to sales success starts here!

How to Ace Your First Sales Interview with Confidence

Entering the sales profession unfolds an exhilarating world of opportunities and challenges, especially for women of color who are making their mark in this dynamic field. Whether you’re embarking on your career fresh out of college or shifting from another profession, your first sales interview is a pivotal moment. This blog post is dedicated to guiding you through the preparations for this crucial step, enriched by resources such as the “Your Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit” and the Aspiring Sellers Summit to boost your readiness. Understanding What Sales Interviewers SeekInterviewers in the sales domain are on the lookout for candidates who showcase excellent communication skills, adaptability, resilience, and a results-driven mindset. These attributes signal your capability not just to sell but to flourish in the competitive sales landscape—a space where women of color have demonstrated significant growth and success. Researching the Company and IndustryA deep dive into your prospective employer’s mission, products, services, and sales strategies, coupled with an understanding of the latest industry trends, sets you apart from other candidates. This level of research shows you’re not just seeking any job, but a role where you can make a real impact. Tailoring Your Resume and PitchBefore you start tailoring your resume, consider delving into the “Your Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit.” It features a Resume Revamp Guide specifically designed to accentuate your sales-relevant skills and experiences, ensuring your application captures attention. Crafting a personal narrative that highlights your unique journey as a woman of color in the sales arena can make your application resonate more deeply, spotlighting your resilience and the diverse perspectives you bring to any sales team. Practicing Common Sales Interview QuestionsGetting comfortable with typical sales interview questions and honing your responses can prepare you to effectively showcase your problem-solving capabilities and strategic approach to sales challenges. It’s about highlighting not only your ability to meet sales targets but also your innovative strategies for overcoming obstacles and driving results. Demonstrating Your Sales MindsetThe sales profession demands resilience and a growth mindset—qualities that women of color in sales possess abundantly. Demonstrating your dedication to continuous learning, adaptation, and excellence in sales will underline your suitability for the role and your potential for growth within the company. Leveraging the Ultimate Sales Success ToolkitIf you haven’t yet explored the “Your Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit,” now is the time. This invaluable resource is essential for interview preparation, offering insights into essential sales terms, negotiation strategies, and more. We strongly recommend downloading this toolkit as a foundational step in your comprehensive preparation, equipping you with the knowledge and strategies necessary to excel in your sales interview. Elevate Your Interview Success at the Aspiring Sellers SummitThe Aspiring Sellers Summit is a premier opportunity for women of color to enhance their interview prowess and engage directly with sales industry leaders and hiring managers in a supportive environment. This summit is your chance to transform interview preparation into tangible success, providing a platform to demonstrate your ambition and skills within the sales realm. Preparing for your first sales interview is about more than rehearsing responses; it’s about showcasing the unique journey, potential, and diverse perspectives you, as a woman of color, bring to the sales profession. Engaging with the “Your Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit” and participating in the Aspiring Sellers Summit are proactive steps not just toward acing your first interview but also toward laying the groundwork for a thriving career in sales. Embrace this moment as your launchpad to a rewarding sales career. Download the “Your Ultimate Sales Success Toolkit” today and consider registering for the Aspiring Sellers Summit to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Your journey to sales mastery begins now, supported by resources and a community eager to see you succeed.

Navigating Your First Sales Job Offer

Congratulations! You’ve aced the interviews, dazzled the hiring managers, and now you’re on the brink of landing your first sales job. But before you pop the champagne, there’s one crucial step standing between you and your dream role: negotiating the job offer.