#TAKETHELEAD: Three Tips to Advance Your Sales Career

Building your career during a period of economic recovery requires initiative and creativity. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Taneishia Fields, an Experian sales leader, about her career and the importance of taking the lead in building her success. She highlighted three key areas of focus that were critical to her career development: understanding critical business drivers, focusing on key leadership priorities and increasing her visibility.

Taneishia Fields’ educational achievements and college internships laid the foundation for early career success. She was recruited by IBM to join their Atlanta team immediately after graduating from college to sell infrastructure services – optimizing servers, storage, and data centers.

Over the course of ten years, Taneishiawas promoted, relocated to Chicago, and expanded the complexity of her solutions with cloud and networking services which enabled her to sell into larger accounts. While selling into these larger accounts, Taneishia discovered her sales superpowers – she realized she excelled at solving problems and connecting with clients.

Smooth Transition to Financial Services

While Taneishia was happy at IBM, she was eager to expand her experience, and joined Equifax to selldecision management solutions.She was intrigued by financial servicestech solutions that affected everyday life – solutions that connected data with customers’ unique financial needs through predictive analytics, machine learning, and explainable artificial intelligence (AI). She dove deep into understanding the industry, product knowledge, and client needs. Two years later, a friend who was a successful Experian sales professionalshared an open sales role with Taneishia and she submitted an application.During the interview process, Taneishia was enthralled with the Experian recruitment team. She found them to be kind,approachable, and willing to help, and sheadmired and connected with the company’s leadership team. Additionally, Experian’s commitment to a culture of innovation, and diversity & inclusioncaptivated her. Here’s what Taneishia shared about her career journey.

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to advance their sales career?

A:No one is going to tap you on the shoulder. Don’t wait– you have to take the lead and take control of your career. I remember when I wanted to be promoted to a more seniorrole with greater responsibility. I asked questions, become more observant and perceptive, and I networked. I talked to peers and colleagues up and across my chain of leadership.  When there were conferences, happy hours, or other events, I made sure to attend them.I sought out information and discovered three things: 1) critical business drivers – what was essential to the business that I need to learn about; 2) key leadership issues and areas of focus, and 3) visibility – the more leadership sees your faceand willingness to help, the better positionedyou are for a promotion.

Finally, here is a tip to expand your knowledgeabout a business area or product: find the smartest person in the company, the SME in that field, and set up a 30-minute informational interview. Ask themwhat excites them about what they are working on? Where do they see their product or solution1-5 years in the future?

Learn more about taking the lead. Join us – we are here to #TAKETHELEAD!

Sistas In Sales & Experian are thrilled to invite you to a virtual experience for Black History Month. Join Sistas In Sales, the global leader for women of color in professional sales, and Experian, the world’s leading global information services company, on February 26th from 1:30PM – 3:00PM for a two-part experience – learning, networking, and recruiting.

Register Here

Q: In your experience, what does it take to be successful at Experian?

A: A competitive spirit. Experian is a competitive company and competitiveness breeds high performers. Additionally, you have to be open-minded and committed to continually learning both through corporate training initiatives and self-directed learning. Take the initiative, identify your knowledge gaps, and formulate learning goals, resources, and strategies. Keep your commitment to helping build trust andleverage your critical thinking skillsto drive strategy and execute. The sky’s the limit. Be too good to be ignored.

Q: How important is a tech background or a finance background to consider a sales position atExperian?

A:I didn’t have a finance background at all. I have the technical experience, but I think that Experian looks at the value you bring. During the interview process, talk about your dynamic skillset, knowledge, and your superpowers.  These may not align with the role you are applying for, butthis approach will get you noticed. Sell yourself and the value you bring.

Another quick tip: Have a 30/60/90-dayramp-up planthat clearly details how you wouldapproach the position andclose your skills and product knowledge gap to jumpstart your performance. A ramp-up plan shows that you’re serious,thoughtful, and you’re ready and willing to hit the ground running.  It sets you apart from other candidates.

Author’s note: Check out  the 30/60/90-day plan. The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins, is a tremendous 90-daysurvival guide that offers strategies for quickly getting up to speed in your new

Q: When you look back on your career so far, is there anything you would’ve done differently? Is there anything you wish somebody would have told you, early in your career?

A: I would’ve asked more questions. I think that when you’re younger, you’re afraid of asking dumb questions. I realized too late that this was one of my biggest early career mistakes. When you’re new in your career, this is the time to reach out to as many people in leadership as possible and say, “hey, I want to learn.This is my goal. What does it take? What do I need to do? Who do I need to talk to?” You can’t play the newbie card when you have been in an industry for 15 years.

Q: What’s your bestpiece of career advice?

A: Always be prepared. Prepare for everything: your next role, meetings, or a conference. Have something to say, so when you are called on, you have something impactful to say – that’s how you get noticed. That’s how you move to the next level. Be bold, leverage your knowledge and your skill set. Have courage and use it to your advantage. And when you have the opportunity to speak, your preparation will help you be impactful, clear, and articulate; you will shine.

Taneishia concluded our conversation with an excellent tip for taking the lead when it comes to managing your career.So many of us dim our lights. I hope this article helps you remember how amazing you are andreminds you to let your light shine.

Remember your brilliance. Do something each day that reminds you what it feels like to take the lead and make a difference. Whether it’s helping a neighbor, reworking your business plan, or listening empathically and connecting to your next client, keep moving forward.

You are brilliant, and I believe in you.


Cherilynn Castleman, Global Sales Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Executive Coach, has been a sales executive for 20+ years. With her natural talent for teaching and a drive to sell, Cherilynn uses her skills to coach and train other executives and sales professionals. Author of What’s In the CARDS? 5 Post Pandemic Sales Strategies.

Sistas in Sales, LLC (SIS) is a community for women of color sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly, find sisterhood – offering events, thriving Slack community with companies hiring now, and career coaching services. Learn more about Sistas In Sales membership here, connect with us on  LinkedIn, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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