McAfee fosters an inclusive environment where we value varied life experiences. To showcase women who are making an impact and inspire others, we launched our Women in Sales Series.
In Part 1, McAfee women described industry opportunities and how they continue to break boundaries to develop rewarding careers.
Here in Part 2, we introduce women whose unique past experiences helped shape their career paths. They share critical skills for success and words of encouragement for those considering a career in sales.
Practice clear communication and collaboration: “In a sales role, you constantly communicate with customers to help them achieve their desired outcomes with evolving solutions. We need people who can maintain relationships while demonstrating their relevance to stakeholders, C-level and highly technical engineer roles. My more successful peers are those who can navigate through various layers of organizational complexity because they know it takes dedication and expertise from everyone on the team to close deals. Keeping team members informed and constantly collaborating is critical throughout every step of the sales process.”
— Amy, Enterprise Sales, Charlotte, North Carolina
Be confident and take the leap: “My experience started in IT after I graduated from college. Later, I joined technical support at McAfee and was asked if I was interested in a sales engineering role. I didn’t have the experience but was excited to try something new and made the decision to leap into a sales career. My experience in technical support helped me get up to speed in sales engineering, and I love it.”
— Carine, Presales/Sales Engineering, Plano, Texas
Build relationships and know the business: “If you’re focused and determined, you can succeed in sales. The most challenging part for me was picking up the sales piece as I already had a technical background. If you want to get into presales, half is relating to people and building strong relationships with the customer. The other half is engineering, and here, you need to learn enough of everything to hold knowledgeable conversations. Investigating resources quickly to source answers for the customer is also important. Be confident in yourself and your abilities.”
— Elizabeth, Presales/Sales Engineering, Plano, Texas
Find your passion, then network: “I’ve found a degree in psychology handy in a sales career. It is easier for me to engage with people, read a situation and build rapport. With some experience, I saw a future in sales and carved out my career path. I thought the life of a field sales rep was exciting — greater earnings, more flexibility and so on. Once I knew I had found my path, I looked for opportunities to network with sales executives, get exposure and learn from them. Networking enabled me to build a name for myself and a personal brand.”
— Kate, Enterprise Sales – Federal, Washington, DC
Leverage your transferable skills: “I previously worked in real estate designing high rise office buildings. I eventually wanted to try a different field. My presentation and project management skills were transferable, so I changed industries to telecom and began as a technical trainer. I eventually moved into a sales engineering role here at McAfee and am currently in a sales architect role.”
— Melissa, Presales/Sales Engineering, Plano, Texas
Understand the customer’s needs: “Sales is about cultivating relationships, understanding the customers’ needs and finding the best solution for them. These are the essential skills when considering a career in sales. You’ll never know if you can be successful if you don’t attempt it.”
— Marta, Inside Sales, Cork, Ireland
Build a social platform and know when to speak up: “Look at your collective skillset and see how you can leverage it for sales. Be sure to showcase it on your resume and social channels like LinkedIn. Then network, network, network. Have a few good mentors in your corner who can make some connections for you internally and externally. But remember, are responsible for your career — you must speak up and make sure your career goals and desired career path are known by leadership.”
— Paige, Sales Operations, Plano, Texas
Spend time on people: “When I first began my career in sales operations, it helped me immensely to try and understand other’s points of view. You cannot find success in a vacuum and people are complex. My advice is to take time to understand people. Then, with dedication and hard work, the value you add will show through.”
— Preet, Sales Operations, Plano, Texas
Speak the language: “Presales is a bridge that links the technical to the sale, which means you need to understand two languages: technical and business. It is challenging, but also very exciting. For those looking to enter the industry, I recommend you leverage social media and connect with people to tap into their wisdom. This is how I found my current position.”
— Sandra, Presales/Sales Engineering, Sydney, Australia
Understand your team and global partners: “Go for it! The sales industry is unlike any other. A sales role offers an opportunity for anyone with a willingness to put in the work. In my position, there are two key indicators for success — understanding what motivates my team and navigating the nuances of interacting with diverse, global partners.”
— Sophie, Sales Project Management, Cork, Ireland
It takes not only the range of talent these women bring to the table, but also passion, motivation and courage to thrive. Next week, meet more McAfee women in sales who will provide their perspectives on traits needed for a successful career in cybersecurity sales.
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