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Selling is hard. A personal journey.

  • September 18, 2023

When I first started my last job, I was very different from my peers. I was an account executive with zero experience selling into higher education, the industry we were focused on. Everyone else on the team was an education industry veteran, having spent their career in the space. This was unusual, given how challenging it can be to sell into any protected industry. Understanding the buying process and how to answer specific technical and security related questions necessary to ultimately move an opportunity forward were not taught, but learned through trial and error.

Historically, most businesses in these protected industries will prioritize veteran talent that understands the lingo and has the relevant network. I remember playing along as people mentioned words like: LMS, LTI, HECVAT, VPAT, ERP, SIS etc etc etc.

I must have looked like such an amateur as I vigorously jotted down notes and nodded my head when the buyer asked about our level of security, integration capacity, and accessibility standards.

I have always believed in raw talent. Technical knowledge can be taught and relationships can be built. Hunger and ambition, however, can’t be taught. It’s intrinsic.

So as the sales process becomes more complex—which is driven by smaller budgets and more complex technical and security evaluations—leveling up reps on technical / security knowledge is shifting from luxury to necessity.

I think back to my younger self and how my eyes glazed over as I read through technical specs, our privacy policy, and many other documents that felt meaningless to me. My document drive felt like a useless warehouse filled with outdated or irrelevant source documents. So I turned to slack where I would wait hours for a response from a colleague.

All the while I daydreamed of a database that could tell me about our products security and technical specifications, how to communicate those specs to a technical buyer, and how to leverage that when responding to the many security questionnaires and RFPs that were sent my way.

If you relate to this, we built IRIS for you.

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