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Old 09-26-2012, 05:00 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 4,657,969 times
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I am in a sales support role. More specifically, I work as part of the supply chain for an IT sales company. Here is what has been my experiences over the last year of working for this company.

* As part of the sales support team, you are a crucial piece of the operation. You will have a lot of responsibilities, from managing logistics, to closing out accounting details on your deals. That said, you are treated by the account managers as if you A) are of little value (blown up when something goes wrong, but no recognition when things go right) and B) only work on their accounts regardless of the fact that you are probably supporting several accounts.

* Every single issue or order you get is rush, rush, rush. Clients need this ASAP. Billing needs this ASAP. AP needs this ASAP. The vendor needs that ASAP. Expedite will become a common term in your vocabulary.

* Complete stress-fest on a day-to-day basis. Let me clarify, this is particularly if you're prone to stress. Some people claim to thrive on fast-paced, high responsibility settings. It is truly an undervalued attribute for sure.

* You will be undervalued. You know why? Because you don't bring in the cash. Anything an account manager demands or a client demands, you just need to deal with it and proceed to get it done. This seems to be the accepted mentality throughout the organization. You will have little say in how things are done, even if it makes your job easier. There is an extremely large gap in terms of value added between the sales folks and the sales support folks. Just think of high school and the gap between the varsity football players and the computer club kids.

* Work ridiculous hours on a week-to-week basis. Ironically, my work schedule is for 37.5 hours. I usually work anywhere between 40 and 60 with no OT pay. This is all to accommodate lofty promises from the account manager and absurd demands from the client. But since they bring in the money, you have to shut up and deal with it.

* No time off on month ends, quarter ends, or year ends. That's right. If you have PTO time, you must fit it all in during the beginning and middle of the months. You are not allowed time off during crucial business periods. That also goes for your vendor and client year ends. If they are having a year end, no time off for you. I can't even go home for Christmas anymore since that week is our "year-end" week. Also expect to work ridiculous hours on these particular weeks/ days. Sometimes you will work till midnight on New Year's Eve and work on the weekends if necessary to get everything booked.

* Emphasis on relationships. You will be expected to build strong relationships with your sales reps, clients, fellow teammates, and vendors.

* With most sales-based orgs, you usually do have the advantage of earning incentive pay. If you meet your metrics, you will get bonuses. The size of said bonuses depends on the company, of course, and how well they are doing.

Conclusion: If you are prone to stress, or very anal-retentive toward details in your work, this is probably not a good industry to work in. Take it from me, your mental and physical condition will be greatly diminished over time if you allow the stress to get to you. I am finding out after a year that this is not an industry for me. I am mentally and physically drained. I have had to go to doctors and a physical therapist as a result of the stress. Despite making regular visits to the gym, the stress still takes its toll on me. This is one of the lowest paying, yet most demanding fields I have worked in (Combat soldiers have it worse of course). Heck, if I'm going to be this stressed, let me at least work on Wall Street or in an ER, where I'm making some good money.

Anyway, if you would like more info on my experiences in a sales organization, I will be happy to share with you.

Last edited by Tekkie; 09-26-2012 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,077 posts, read 14,025,351 times
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Spot on. My difference is I realize without folks like you I can't do my job. Same with our telecom techs. So yes I have been rough on a few support staff, and I later called and apologized and brought them in lunch when they weren't expecting it. They were shocked because most of them always get treated like you.

My biggest sale ever I showed up as a suprise to the installs with pizzas for all the techs. That went a long way. They told me you are the only guy that doesn't think he is above us lowly install techs. I said without you I don't exist. I went back and told my manger how they mentioned how disguisted they were that the sales team reguarly threw them under the bus when things went awry and it was addressed properly and our branch numbers improved. It was no longer us vs them.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:15 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 4,657,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado xxxxx View Post
Spot on. My difference is I realize without folks like you I can't do my job. Same with our telecom techs. So yes I have been rough on a few support staff, and I later called and apologized and brought them in lunch when they weren't expecting it. They were shocked because most of them always get treated like you.

My biggest sale ever I showed up as a suprise to the installs with pizzas for all the techs. That went a long way. They told me you are the only guy that doesn't think he is above us lowly install techs. I said without you I don't exist. I went back and told my manger how they mentioned how disguisted they were that the sales team reguarly threw them under the bus when things went awry and it was addressed properly and our branch numbers improved. It was no longer us vs them.
Wait, so you treat your team to lunches on occasion?
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
12,675 posts, read 14,016,723 times
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I think you'll find people from all different career lines complaining that their line of work is the most stressful. You'll also find a lot of salaried folks from all different lines of work complaining about unpaid OT as being part of the deal. What it boils down to in my opinion is... There are good places to work, and not so good places to work.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:29 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 4,657,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire View Post
I think you'll find people from all different career lines complaining that their line of work is the most stressful. You'll also find a lot of salaried folks from all different lines of work complaining about unpaid OT as being part of the deal. What it boils down to in my opinion is... There are good places to work, and not so good places to work.
True, but I think what I described above is pretty common in sales. It's a completely different animal than most fields. I'm just shedding some light on what the experience has been like for me.

My employer is often rated as a "great place to work" because they do offer lots of perks. Nonetheless, if you don't like the environment I described above, I don't think it matters how many perks they offer. Your health is much more important than the amount of days you get off per year.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,077 posts, read 14,025,351 times
Reputation: 8925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tekkie View Post
Wait, so you treat your team to lunches on occasion?
I am unemployed now, but when I was I would give special attention to someone in sales support or tech that went above and beyond or was just getting hassled by one of my difficult customers. Sure buy them lunch, make sure their manager knew I couldn't have completed said sale without their help. I think the latter is more benefit to them and their job security. I was never sales manager just a regular rep.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:32 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 4,657,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado xxxxx View Post
I am unemployed now, but when I was I would give special attention to someone in sales support or tech that went above and beyond or was just getting hassled by one of my difficult customers. Sure buy them lunch, make sure their manager knew I couldn't have completed said sale without their help. I think the latter is more benefit to them and their job security. I was never sales manager just a regular rep.
Well, good for you! I wish I supported more reps like you. I rarely ever get recognition from them for a job well-done. Never have they spent money on me.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,077 posts, read 14,025,351 times
Reputation: 8925
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tekkie View Post
Well, good for you! I wish I supported more reps like you. I rarely ever get recognition from them for a job well-done. Never have they spent money on me.
That's sad because truly without a functioning team no one wins. I get the big picture. And I quickly found out that when I needed a favor from them I got my request done quicker than other reps. with major attitude. Kharma.
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:34 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 875,651 times
Reputation: 255
Actually the first sales support job I had..right out of college... Which...really wasn't that long ago, I had two bosses. One, who i call my mentor, and was the rep I supported was the biggest blessing I could have ever gotten in my first real job. He asked a lot of me yes, but always showed appreciation and taught me a ton about the industry and how to be successful. The other boss, who was the manager....really made things difficult, pitted people against each other I guess to try and make it competitive... But we really needed to work as a team. And really......lacked management skills...and a lot of other things. But it was definitely interesting bc when I got married and moved, I totally wish I could go back to just having that one mentor that showed his appreciation and encouraged me, and the one suckir guy...whi made every dy difficult...over the new...sociopathic....a-hole, treat you like you are a child, even though you have dramatically improved my business since you've been here.......jerk off of a boss.

But yes... The people you work with and for can make a difference on whether or not you feel like the stress is worth it....but the stress in those fast paced environments will almost always be there
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:13 PM
 
380 posts, read 1,013,883 times
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Well, I used to be a sales representative and the sales support people probably didn't get the recognition they deserved. However, when you are a sales person urgency is the name of the game. We have goals/quotas to meet (or we will lose our jobs) and we want to be paid for the deals we close. So, yea, we do come off like our deals are more important than everyone else's and we do need things done yesterday!

I always tried to be respectful and kind to sales support people and make their job easier by getting them whatever they needed to push the paperwork through. Sometimes a simple "Thank you" can go a long way in building a solid relationship with sales support.
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