North American Association of Sales Engineers

North American Association of Sales Engineers

European Association of Sales Engineers

They could never be in Sales

(by Roger McNamara) One of my Sister-in Laws has a great personality, she is very comfortable engaging people in conversation with a very pleasant demeanor. She is intelligent and articulate and conversant in many different subjects. For years I have been telling her that she should be in sales. While it might be out of her comfort zone initially, she could adapt and beside the income potential is somewhat limitless with the right product and organization. My Sister-in Law does not agree with me, as I think she sees selling and the profession as some kind of less than respectable career. Why is that? I remember my Mother years ago when I told her that I had received my first sales job. Her response was that she was not sure Sales was a career. I remind her a lot about that comment.

In the US today by some counts as many as 42.8 Million people are involved in the sales profession, selling some kind of product or service and that number is growing. Think about this, roughly 13% of the population is involved in some sort of direct selling as a career. Now that can be from Retail to Enterprise, it is all selling. This is a truly amazing number particularly as I have never met someone who went to College to get a 4 Year degree in sales. By the way, I too fit firmly into this category with a 30-year sales career having acquired a Degree in Marketing Administration…….huh.  I mean Doctors go to school to get medical degrees, Engineers go to school to get engineering degrees, Lawyers go to school to get Law Degrees but generally no one goes to school to get a sales degree.  Why is that?

You often hear young children being asked by their parent what they want to be when they grow up?  Ask yourself, have you ever heard. “Mom, I want to be an Enterprise Sales Director.” No, you typically hear a profession like a Doctor or Lawyer or Professional Athlete of some kind. The reality is little Johnny or Mary is more likely to grow up to be in Sales of some sort, and I for one do not think that is a bad thing. I guess though you must let kids dream a little. So when is the right time to start shaping a career? For Sales that seems to be late in a 4-year College term or even after it when the job hunting begins. That is a shame because these students could have spent productive time developing and acquiring skill and knowledge in school for the profession.

Sales is the lifeblood of every business. Without sales there is no revenue, there is no profit, there is nothing for the shareholders. Without sales there is no growth and nothing for Management to argue about and point fingers at. As Jack Nicholson said in a Few Good Men. “You need me on that wall, you want me on that wall.” Yes, Salespeople are on that wall 24 x 7. And unlike any other function of the business, salespeople are paid on performance. We know that typically salespeople have lower salaries than average Staff employees or no salaries at all, with the bulk of a salesperson’s income dependent on their performance. What a great proposition for the employer.  You pay for success, now there is a concept. Try doing that with others in the company. Wouldn’t you love to see Marketing folks paid on the number of great leads they produce? I think not.

In this blog we will not solve all the ills of sales but is nice to dream out loud and imagine a world where salespeople were revered as much as great doctors. Where companies valued Salespeople as much as they valued their product and services. After all, if your product and services were that great, why do you employ salespeople in the first place, simple it needs to be sold. It would be nice if salespeople did not have to endure battles over shrinking compensation while other parts of a business bloat with expense. It would be nice if parents encourage their children into careers that worked for their personality rather than what worked for show with their relatives and friends. It would be even greater if guidance counselors mentioned sales as a career option to High School Students before they got to college and dispel the myths of the profession. Hearing from a person of trust that a career in sales is less like that of selling cars and more like a professional career would be great. It would be very nice if more Colleges offered a 4-year degree in sales. One because I would like to meet a graduate that could claim this but more to a give a chance for individuals to learn the profession that has so much upside and where it could accelerate people to higher levels of sales more quickly.

Roger McNamara Bio:

Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple Industries and across the globe that include : Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR’s, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales,  B2B and Wholesale. Roger has also developed the insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces in general to be able to better position their products and gain share particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at

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