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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Background: Currently work for a Building Intelligence company. I have worked for this company for 2.5 years, starting out as a Jr Tech and worked up to the Lead Controls Tech/programmer for the WY branch. It is a good company with good people, both at the local level and the corporate level. I never intended to stay a controls tech for more than 5 years, and want to move up in this company in a management role.

My branch president approached me a few weeks ago about a Controls Sales Engineer position we have had open and need to fill after the last guy quit in March. I hadn't considered it, as pulling me from my division would directly affect all major ongoing projects, and my division manager doesn't currently have a replacement for me. I also wanted to get into management, not sales. I do want to move up in this company, and the branch president feels this is the best move for both me and the company. He feels sales experience is excellent for applying for management positions if I decide to go that route in the future.

Today, branch president took me to lunch to talk about the sales position for a second time; more of an informal interview. He has worked out a plan with my division manager where I could transition into the new sales position over the course of several months starting in the fall, if I accept the position. This would allow a clean break from the tech position, and hopefully a smooth start into the sales position.

Current Position:
- 65k year (gross)
- Paid hourly
- Will make around 85k this year (gross) with OT
- Company vehicle
- report to division manager

Sales Position
- 65k year (gross)
- Guaranteed commission for first year (amount to be negotiated if I accept offer)
- Salaried positon
- 7% commission on actual job profit for any job I sell
- Lose company vehicle and either use my own or grab one from the fleet when going out of town
- Company credit card
- More flexible schedule
- report to branch manager (division manager's boss)

All benefits remain the same between the two positions. The last guy in this sales position made 115k (gross) during his first full year. He only had the position for 1.5 years. I have done the estimating side of the position in the past, but never the sales side (wining and dining, golfing, skeet shoots, corporate trips, etc). I don't know if it is something I will like to do long term, but both my branch manager and division manager feel it would be a great stepping stone to something better if I do not like sales.

One major complication is my best friend since kindergarten is at the same level I am in our division. He takes care of the office side of things, while l take care of the field side of things. He is the one that got me hired in this company. Our current configuration works really well, but both of us want to move up. He is the other internal candidate for this sales position. Obviously if he wants it, I will let him have it out of respect for my friend. The problem is, this option may set me back on where I want to go in this company. Right now he is waffling on taking the new position.

So, WWPBBD? Keep riding the field position into a management role, or jump into sales, giving up an hourly position for a salary + commission position in the process? My only real gripe with this company has been the crappy medical benefits, but if I clear 100k+ a year then the benefits wouldn't be as big of a deal. Have any of you made the switch from field hand to sales? Any other suggestions/experiences to share? Thank you.
 

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Take sales position, open your own business, steal clients, tell the boss to shove it.
This.

I've worked for companies where the Head Sales guy made more than the president.

It was a somewhat similar company to your's (broadcast video, heavy ON THE tech sales). SALES IS DEFINITELY ON THE GLIDE PATH TO MAHOGANY ROW. At the same company, I'd say half the CEOs had come from sales (They ate a CEO every 2 years at that company, whether they were any good or not).

My only pause would be the "Sales TECH" position. At the company I mentioned, that's a dead end job and folks stay in that position for 20 years. By then, they're hittin' $160K or so.

Its the dick-swinging sales guys that wine and dine the clients that make the big bucks. :smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This.

I've worked for companies where the Head Sales guy made more than the president.

It was a somewhat similar company to your's (broadcast video, heavy ON THE tech sales). SALES IS DEFINITELY ON THE GLIDE PATH TO MAHOGANY ROW. At the same company, I'd say half the CEOs had come from sales (They ate a CEO every 2 years at that company, whether they were any good or not).

My only pause would be the "Sales TECH" position. At the company I mentioned, that's a dead end job and folks stay in that position for 20 years. By then, they're hittin' $160K or so.

Its the dick-swinging sales guys that wine and dine the clients that make the big bucks. :smokin:
This is a wine and dine type of sales position. They call it a "sales engineer," but it is just a generic sales position for our building control lines. Our highest paid guys are sales guys that have been doing it a for 10+ years, many of them 100% commission. I would have the option to eventually go that route in the sales position if I wanted to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Take sales position, open your own business, steal clients, tell the boss to shove it.
My buddy and I have seriously considered this. Need a few more years of experience first. We are both 26 right now, so still pretty green in the grand scheme of things.
 

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How is the "profit" on the job reconciled?
 

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This is a wine and dine type of sales position. They call it a "sales engineer," but it is just a generic sales position for our building control lines. Our highest paid guys are sales guys that have been doing it a for 10+ years, many of them 100% commission. I would have the option to eventually go that route in the sales position if I wanted to.
Gotcha.

Party on, dude. You too can have a $400 dinner. :smokin:

Do it.
I wouldn't worry about competing with your friend. Just don't throw him under the bus. :evil:

http://youtu.be/nx-lLeKkqEQ?t=115
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How is the "profit" on the job reconciled?
As the sales guy, I would work with clients to develop relationships that lead to bids for work. I would then estimate and bid a job, which is performed by the division that I am currently the lead field guy for. Whatever the difference is between actual costs vs. total bid amount is the profit. If I estimate costs and profit accurately, and my current division executes at or below my cost estimate, I am sitting pretty, potentially with more profit than what I estimated. I am also able to bid other division's work, as well as equipment sales, but I would have to share the profit with the salesman assigned to that division.

My current division manager (direct boss) is excellent at what he does, and makes a ton of money by bringing in jobs way under budget IF the original bid is accurate. Unfortunately he only has about 5 more years before retiring. What will more than likely happen is whichever one of us (my buddy and I) doesn't take the sales position will be groomed for the division manager position. Together we will be able to do well, for sure. That would be the point we would look at potentially starting our own firm, but let's start with baby steps here.
 

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Take the sales job.

The more you learn of the entire business the better off you will be in the future.

I hate smarmy sales guys, but I also have sales guys that have cried when I left former positions... some from joy, some for loss of opportunity and partnership. I still call them today when I have a question and not sure if I trust my new 'rep'.

If the branch president tapped you knowing it would have a potential negative impact, it means it is because he sees an upside to you being in sales. That plays in your favor.

If you are concerned, ask him if you can go back to inside work if it isn't your forte.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Take the sales job.

The more you learn of the entire business the better off you will be in the future.

I hate smarmy sales guys, but I also have sales guys that have cried when I left former positions... some from joy, some for loss of opportunity and partnership. I still call them today when I have a question and not sure if I trust my new 'rep'.

If the branch president tapped you knowing it would have a potential negative impact, it means it is because he sees an upside to you being in sales. That plays in your favor.

If you are concerned, ask him if you can go back to inside work if it isn't your forte.
I fully agree with your second sentence, which is why I am open to try pretty much anything for work if the money works out. I came into this from a completely unrelated field (running casing crews on oil rigs), but have made it to where I am now in a relatively short time by taking risks and willing to try new things to make money. It never hurts to gain experience and try different things.

Everyone involved is open to me going back to the field or into a different position if the sales position does not work out. I am excellent in my current position, it just isn't something I particularly enjoy. I am a versatile employee that everyone above me has made it clear they don't want to lose no matter the position I am in.

Everything said here can also be said for my friend, as he is better than I am at a lot of what we do, we are just two very different people when it comes to personality, the way we interact with people, and our methods for achieving an end goal, among other differences. I am definitely more of a people person than he is, which is part of why I am being pushed towards the sales position.

Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This was my first thought.

The guy with the red pen can make "profit" whatever he wants.
There is a very close relationship between the sales engineer and the division manager performing the work. The profit entirely depends on that division's performance.
 

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Sales is one of the best paying fields, but it really depends on personality. You should ask yourself "Do people instantly like you?" or do you have to work on it, and is that a problem or an end-game (I love it!)?

I could DO tech sales, but I would be exhausted each day as making people like me, or even talk to me, is a trial for me. You???
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Why'd the last guy leave after 1.5 years? Just curious.
He and my former boss (the position I have now) quit together to form their own company in March using an old control line we had abandoned. The short time spent in the sales position was, I believe, completely coincidental. Both him and my former boss were 15+ year employees of the company before leaving. The salesman before him had the position for over a decade before moving into an equipment only 100% commission sales position, as he was no longer able to complete all of the work himself.
 

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He and my former boss (the position I have now) quit together to form their own company in March using an old control line we had abandoned. The short time spent in the sales position was, I believe, completely coincidental. Both him and my former boss were 15+ year employees of the company before leaving. The salesman before him had the position for over a decade before moving into an equipment only 100% commission sales position, as he was no longer able to complete all of the work himself.
Really? They created a business to chase a retired product line? Seems absurd, unless there is a HUGE installed base and no incentive to move forward.

So, if they come crawling back, do you get thrown aside?
 

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I went from a diverse background in a short time frame (manufacturing engineer, sourcing specialist, supervisor over a couple people, buyer, design engineer) to now an applications engineer (sales).

I enjoy 80% of the job which is more than other positions i have had. The product line I kept (I got rid of one a few months ago) is slightly more out of the box and less cookie cutter like our other line.

I vote give it a try. You're 26, you can always switch to a different position if you find out you don't like it. I would make it clear, if you haven't already, that this isn't a decade position like the old guy for you and you have goals/aspirations to move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sales is one of the best paying fields, but it really depends on personality. You should ask yourself "Do people instantly like you?" or do you have to work on it, and is that a problem or an end-game (I love it!)?

I could DO tech sales, but I would be exhausted each day as making people like me, or even talk to me, is a trial for me. You???
I love talking with people and developing relationships with customers and other contractors. I can tell quickly if someone doesn't like me, and depending on who that person is I decide if I want to work at a relationship, or quit trying and let our work speak for us and develop a relationship that way. Either way, at the end of the day I want our customers happy, and that gives me fulfillment in my work, as lame as it may sound.
 

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OK, another thought ...

You said: "and want to move up in this company in a management role. "

So, bargain with that: "Hey boss. With successful experience in tech and sales, don't you think my skills would then be an excellent fit for for a management position? What's the path from sales rep to management look like?"
 

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I love talking with people and developing relationships with customers and other contractors. I can tell quickly if someone doesn't like me, and depending on who that person is I decide if I want to work at a relationship, or quit trying and let our work speak for us and develop a relationship that way. Either way, at the end of the day I want our customers happy, and that gives me fulfillment in my work, as lame as it may sound.
Not lame. Honest assessments have value... You potentially fit the Sales Rep mold.
 
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