How I Went from Sailor to Sales

Posted by Lance Ramsay on Nov 11, 2020 10:00:00 AM

There’s an old adage among veterans that the military is a great place to be from. This is certainly true for me, as the knowledge and experience I gained by attending the U.S. Naval Academy and as an officer on board a Destroyer has served me quite well throughout my current career in the corporate world. For starters, there’s no doubt that my military service helped me get an excellent civilian job when I transitioned out of the Navy – I was hired into my first “tech sales” position by a former USMC Colonel who overlooked the fact that I had no direct experience in sales. That early vote of confidence, and the mentorship that came along with it, motivated me to work especially hard and strive to be among the very best in my newly chosen field.

From the moment we took our oath of office in the military, we were expected to act with the highest level of integrity and accountability in every endeavor and aspect of our lives. This rigorous standard of conduct makes total sense in the military, as the stakes are very high— sometimes involving matters of life and death. As the officer in charge on the bridge of a Destroyer in the Persian Gulf, some 320 shipmates were counting on me to keep the ship out of harm’s way while they worked or slept below decks. Although (thankfully) the stakes aren’t usually as high in the corporate arena, the recent COVID-19 pandemic and our crucial role in enabling companies to send their workers and contact center agents home to work remotely did highlight how we never know when our work might have a significant impact on the lives and safety of others.

The importance of acting with integrity and accountability, instilled from my earliest days at the Naval Academy, has been a key factor in my success as a sales professional. There’s a saying that I believe holds true: “Trust is the coin of the realm.” To trust that what I’m proposing to a customer will solve a business problem is absolutely critical for me to be effective in the sales process and successful long-term. One useful practice to help with this is to put myself in the customer’s shoes. If I work hard and focus on making my customer successful, my own success typically follows. Furthermore, I’ve found that it’s important to ensure that whatever I’ve sold actually delivers the positive outcome (business value) that we’ve promised to the customer. It’s a small world, and our professional reputation really does matter.

Another core tenet ingrained in the military that has carried over to my work in tech sales is the critical importance of teamwork to successfully accomplish any mission. There is an indisputable force multiplier effect that a cohesive, well-oiled team will bring to bear on a sales opportunity or successful project. When I’m part of a team of professionals working together to achieve a goal or solve a problem, I learn more—and it’s usually a lot more fun. It was through this sort of multi-functional teaming approach that we achieved one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my career: playing a key role in assisting a customer to move from last to first in the JD Power rankings for Customer Care.

A final thought: ConvergeOne has been a particularly good fit for me (and vice versa) because with my background as a naval officer, I am accustomed to having significant authority, along with bottom-line accountability for results. Unlike many traditional, rigidly hierarchical corporations, ConvergeOne has empowered me to make many decisions at the field level and work with our customers in a very collaborative, entrepreneurial way.

At ConvergeOne, we believe the diversity of thought, perspective, and background are key ingredients to personal fulfillment and business success. To learn more, visit our Diversity + Inclusion site.

Topics: Diversity + Inclusion