A technical director represents the bridge between the dream for a video game and its final reality by determining if a project is technically possible.
“To work for a company like Cisco, that provides the technology to fuel the things we love like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, is really rewarding!”
“I’m really proud of my first sale ever!” Five months into the Cisco Sales Associate Program, Vanessa sold a video conferencing solution to an accounting firm. The firm had four offices in Northern Ontario and wanted them all to be connected. Vanessa, with her sales and technology knowledge, worked the deal from start to finish. This was the first video conferencing deal for the inside sales team in Canada! (Inside sales representatives call up prospective clients to learn more about their businesses. Then they determine if the prospect can use Cisco’s products or services, to better their business, and attempt to close a sale. An inside sales rep typically does not travel to the client. Instead, the rep does most, if not all, of their sales presentations over the phone or through web conferencing.).
Vanessa mashes up sales and technology. She always loved sales and saw it as an opportunity to join the ever growing tech world. After graduating from university, in communications studies, she was accepted to the Cisco sales associate program. This is for new graduates that are looking for a career in IT sales or engineering. They recruit around 100 university grads from around the world for a one-year extremely intensive training program. After Vanessa completed the program she was field ready (as in ready to go out and talk to real customers). She had learned Cisco technology, selling skills, and the ins and outs of the tech industry.
“Every day is different but for the most part I’m calling customers and trying to generate new business.” Once Vanessa connects with a customer she’ll set up a time for them to talk to her and a Cisco systems engineer. Vanessa’s customers are usually IT directors and business owners. These customers know technology and know their systems! So, Vanessa brings along an engineer for the first sales call.
“It’s most effective having a engineer on the call. We get right to the heart of our customer’s technology needs.” For example a clothing company needed new networking gear including switches and routers to connect its retail stores across Canada. After working with the customer and Cisco engineers, Vanessa engages a partner (Cisco doesn’t sell directly to their customers. They partner up with thousands of big names such as Bell Canada, Telus, IBM and Allstream to name a few). From there she and her team build a suitable networking solution for the customer.
There are many solutions that Vanessa and her engineers can implement to help customers reach their technology goals. Whether it’s to enhance collaboration capabilities amongst their employees by means of video, voice, or Cisco borderless networks architecture or if they need more functionality from their phone system allowing for a more productive workforce. She can even suggest consolidating to cut costs in the data centre by means of virtualization.
“I like helping someone’s business and also making someone’s job easier.”
Vanessa learned many skills in the training program that she now puts into practice being a full time sales rep. And she can really do the tech talk. “I learned about cable! How it works. What goes on inside that router. It’s not just about plugging it into a wall!”
Cisco is a worldwide company. “If you put your time in and really learn you can go anywhere you want. You can explore opportunities in other parts of the world.”
Vanessa chose a major at university that didn’t turn out to inspire her. She switched two years into an economics degree and went into communications. “The switch was tough but I was determined to finish on time! I worked really hard.”