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Transactional to Consultative

Sales roles fall on a spectrum from the transactional to the consultative. ON the transnational side, salespeople process many deals. Their interactions with the customers are limited, mostly explain options and making recommendations. On the consultative side, salespeople spend time working with the customer to understand their problem and find or create the best solution for their unique situation.

Transactional sales roles are quickly being replaced by technology. Customers can self serve, learn all about the options on websites that can make recommendations. Consultative sales, however, is less likely to go away. Human intelligence is needed to tease out a customer's core issue and separate priority from noise. Relationships are also crucial to the role–something that's hard to replace.

Why I Chose Sales Over Marketing

I chose a job in sales over marketing because I want control over my career and I want it as quickly as I can get it.

If you’re still early in your career, a stint in sales will make you a better CEO or entrepreneur down the road, it will get you promoted faster,and the extra money you earn now will become more options later.

Let me be clear, if you’re established in your career, if you have substantial career capital–in marketing, for example–this advice won’t apply to you. But if, like me, you’re more potential than experience, you may benefit from the following.

I found myself choosing between two jobs at the same company: one for a position in inside sales, the other in the marketing department. Up to that point all of my experience had been marketing. I studied it in college and tried to leverage those lessons in internships. Sales as something independent from marketing was a mystery. My bias was towards marketing, but luckily I had advisors that helped me realize both positions needed honest consideration.

Ultimately I chose the sales job because I believe it will help me gain control over my work faster.

Working in sales…

  1. will make you better in future roles (executive, manager, entrepreneur).At higher levels of an organization, politics and persuasion become more important. Sales forces you to work through social anxiety and persuade others by appealing to their interests–the same skillset needed for high influence positions.
  2. will get you promoted faster.In sales, you are only as good as your number. Your results are posted for everyone to see. When you succeed people will notice it was you. In marketing, team projects and difficulty tracking outcomes mean your contributions can get lost.
  3. will earn you a higher income, giving you more options later.Money matters. A higher income will help you build a reserve faster, cash that can be drawn on to pursue future opportunities.

I don’t have any double blind studies to back up my assumptions, but they were formed after many conversations with smart and experienced people. Their answers weren’t always the same, but from their thoughts and mine, I followed what made sense to me. I hope you’ll find it useful.

If you have a different perspective or something to add, please publish a blog post and email me the link. I’d like to read it.