A career in technology sales offers a world full of boundless possibilities - both financial and non-financial reward aplenty. Travel opportunity, dynamic workplaces, an ever-changing landscape, lucrative remuneration, and so much more. Resilience, energy, curiosity, integrity and a human-centric approach are all factors for success in IT sales.
We reached out to five of the IT sector’s respected leaders to explore why they chose a career in technology sales, to offer insight for those who are looking and exploring or continuing a path in IT sales.
Duncan Thomas - Country Manager, ANZ at Recorded Future
“I have always loved IT / Tech, but unfortunately I don't have the temperament to be on the technical side of the equation; compiling code was always a source of frustration! But I wanted to be part of what I think is the most important change to the way we work since the industrial revolution.
So with that in mind, I looked at what I was good at - interacting with people - and have to say there are no regrets. The tech industry is constantly changing, with new tech and approaches to learn on an almost daily basis. This is what excites me; the constant change. Added to that the excitement of chasing a deal, listening to customers and aligning their requirements with your offering. What's not to enjoy?
I will say the most important skill I have learnt over the years is to listen. Listen to the customer. Listen to their requirements, and listen to their objections. The industry is filled with lots of very smart people, so use it as an opportunity to learn. The old saying that you have two ears and one mouth are very true, and is the correct ratio you should be using when talking to potential clients.
So if you enjoy working with people, listening and acting on that information, as well as constant change, then this is the field for you.”
Terrie Anderson – VP APJ at Risk IQ
“I chose information technology as a second career after working in capital sales to media and industry. I realised I love the excitement and challenge of blazing a new trail, solving a new problem, meeting a new market demand - which is what this industry does every day. For example, initially I was selling high value infrastructure for new Telcos as the market was deregulating.
IT is fast paced, filled with super cool and very smart people; career progression and financial rewards are available. An opportunity came to move across and specialise in cybersecurity, to do an ANZ start-up for a global company, and I jumped at the chance. It felt like being, once again, on the edge of a whole new era. There were very few women working in this space then, so it was rewarding to support initiatives to bring diversity into cybersecurity.
I am still selling in cybersecurity. I love what I do, I love the industry and I am very fortunate today to be working with a key client in a richly diverse and supportive culture with a highly respected leadership team. I have had a life I never could have imagined since joining IT. I have been based in New York, New Zealand, Australia and Europe and have been able to travel the globe, both professionally and personally, as a consequence. I have been privileged to meet some of the world’s leaders in Security and Government, and visited fascinating and emerging countries as part of my roles.
Everyday, I enjoy the benefits of an amazing and adventurous life thanks to the decision to join IT sales.”
Nick Lennon - Country Manager, ANZ at Mimecast
“Technology sales was always going to be my calling as my father had a career in IT and my mother a saleswoman. But what drives me today is the ability to help people solve a problem by understanding a customer’s business, IT and security goals as best as possible.
Cybersecurity specifically is an extremely fast paced sector which challenges you and the team you are in to continue to learn and adapt, so a growth mindset and hard work are the keys to success. As they say, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard!”
>> Read Kaliba’s recent blog, ‘A Day In The Life Of A BDR at Mimecast’, here. <<
Subhash Raghavendra - VP and Country Manager Singapore at Nashtech
“If there is a sense of gratitude and accomplishment, I think it’s when the clients have achieved their set objective. It is this feeling that I derive when I see my clients succeed. Over the last 18 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with clients in trying to understand their challenges and help them solve them, and in the process have built long-term relationships with them. It is these relationships that have helped me navigate the tough challenges along the way. I would like to recall a wonderful tip that my ex-boss gave me earlier on in my career”
“Look after the relationships and the business will look after itself”.
Sean Walsh - Country Manager ANZ at Centrify
“Interest in technology – Right from an early age I was surrounded by new and interesting technology. With the rapid advances in agriculture technology (AgTech) through to PC’s, networking, server-based computing, risk and compliance, and today, with my long career in cybersecurity. Each day is a wonder on how far we have come and how far we can go. The challenge is seeing and applying the right tech to meet the jointly discovered requirements, to achieve a great outcome, over what some will do which is a poorly thought out scope which equals a very average outcome.
Enjoyment of solving problems – We can all solve a problem, but we at best can only ever see a couple of sides to the problem at hand. This is why I put my arms around these problems or issues and look for as much advice as time will allow to get to a thought out and nuanced decision. No one has every answer. Teamwork ensures we see as much as possible.
Exciting fast paced industry – We are living the dream in IT or security technology. Nothing is standing still, and everyone is looking for the next efficiency or advantage. But with the way this wonderful planet is, we have many new technology fields emerging for all of us to explore, I feel that the next major technology boom (if it’s not already here) will be front and centre main stream energy supply from sources that were seen as fanciful not so long ago; the real commercialisation of space and the ocean.
One thing that is 100% certain: human creativity and ingenuity will ensure we continue to innovate, create, and succeed with building more and more successful people, teams and organisations.
Parental influence – I was blessed to have some very special people to guide me in my life. From natural “people persons”, to deep thinkers who helped me see things from a different perspective. Coming from a farm in Ireland to the other side of this spectacular globe has helped me grow and mature. We have feet in both hemispheres – North and South. But the warm and deep true love from my own family, and the now extended family that we have built here in Australia, has been our single greatest achievement.
Global career development opportunity – I am living proof of the many people who rolled up to this amazing land. 20+ years and this is home. I have worked hard, created many jobs, roles, and successful businesses. But also, I am so proud of the fact I was accepted here in Australia and worked hard which ensured I was presented with some key opportunities.
Earning potential – This is in our own hands. As some may say, it is not a solo effort or journey. Yes, people can make a ‘quick buck’, but that is not consistent or very reliable. We are a team - customers, partners and our internal team - to get the outcomes we desire. It may surprise many people, but I am not focused on the reward from a deal or project. If you do all the right things and are open and transparent, the reward will come.
True purpose to make things better – As sales professionals we should always strive to do and make things better and improve the outcome for our customers and partners through the correct and efficient use of technology solutions. We find, guide, and solve challenges and issues. Fundamentally we work for our customers and if they are happy and successful, our job is done.”
We thank technology leaders Duncan Thomas, Terrie Anderson, Nick Lennon, Subhash Raghavendra and Sean Walsh for allowing us this insight into their respective careers in technology sales.
If you are looking for a job in technology sales, or you are looking to recruit in the IT sales space in Australia, Singapore or Hong Kong, please connect with the Kaliba team, and don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too.