Looking for some career advice

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Blokko
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Looking for some career advice

In my early career I was a coding monkey working on a back office system for the financial services industry.  For almost 20 years since then I've been implementing client reporting systems, again into the financial services sector.

I now have the opportunity to apply for an internal transfer to a Go To Market role for a new product that is complimentary to the one I've been working on for so long.

I've got extensive experience in and knowledge of the market / sector, I have a deep understand of the current and the new product from both a technical and user pov and I know many of the Clients that are target audience through previous projects.  But I have zero sales / marketing experience.  Competitor analysis, market sizing, building a message and value proposition - all very new to me.

I said to my boss that I was looking for something new, something different that was going to put me out of my comfort zone - this seems to tick all those boxes!

It would be a good move on so many levels (should I get offered the job, of course).  A chance to get away from a legacy product that is a little unloved and neglected within the company to work on the shiny new toy that everyone is excited about and where all the R&D budget is going.  The chance to do something new and challenging and to up my profile in the company.  The chance to make / influence decisions.  The chance to fall flat on my face and fail miserably :-)

So, your thoughts, feedback, comments, suggestions please.  Has anyone made a similar career jump?  Anyone currently work in a GTM role who can offer me any insight?  Anyone tried a career pivot in their early 50's under different circumstances who can offer up any pearls of wisdom?

Happy to communicate via BlatMail, email or any other tech platform if posting here is not appropriate.

murph7355
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Go for it.

If you know the product and market you should be able to pick up the bits you currently don't feel as strong in (especially if there's support available - how big's the firm?).

Stretching yourself is what life is all about.  

 

Piers300
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You say you have no Sales experience. However, you really understand the product to a very high degree. When I was working in control systems as Sales Director, in my experience my Technical Manager was the best salesman I ever had working for me. Put him in front of the customer and he would showcase the product to a level none of my sales guys could do. Yes, you can do courses on selling, but if you know the product and show the customer what it can do, then the sale normally follows. 

Good luck with the decision.

 

Piers

BMS7
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After 30+ years in sales, I can assure you that you already have selling skills. How many times have you had to "sell" an idea to co workers , or more importantly your boss/bosses. Particularly when you knew the product better than they did.
As Piers said, selling is about knowing your product and being able to tell people about it. An enthusiastic, knowledgeable and genuine person are ideal characteristics for a good person...as well as a good salesman.

And you have the huge advantage of doing it in house. You know and understand how the company works. It would be a much bigger jump if it was changing companies as well as everything else. 
Best of luck with your decision. INNW? If not now, when? 
Bruce
 

wild bill
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I agree with all of the above. I suspect if you don't try it you will be forever asking yourself 'what if'?

If you have deep product knowledge the selling bit is really more straightforward than people might have you believe. I'd suggest the marketing bit may require greater learning but then that's what the day is for isn't it, learning new stuff. 

Your post suggests youre already bored doing something that doesn't challenge you so go for it

Wrightpayne
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Some good advice there!

If you don't apply, some numpty may get the job who you have to work with and support anyway. Not a primary reason to go for it but can be a cause of long term disgruntlement.

Good luck!

 

Ian

Alastair B
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On the promotion marketing front......a key part of B2B marketing is all about ensuring the features your product has can be easily translated (by you) into benefits your customer needs and understands. So the message depends on who is your customer at the time, e.g is it the IT dept or the Finance dept, this will probably require a different benefit articulation for each even though the features of the product are the same. 

JonT
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Most (tech) companies I've been at split technical sales from partner management. An FAE (field application engineer) will handle the technical side of things, while the traditional salesman does the schmoozing and actual negotiation. Marketing might be distinct again. I moved from being a pure techie to FAE probably 10 years ago; I'm less involved with customers in my current role, but still on the marketing side of things rather than engineering. 

Biggest differences - you'll probably end up being more interrupt driven and short term focussed. You tend to be juggling lots of things rather than working on a distinct project. I prefer it, but it is different. You may not get the same sense of ownership/satisfaction around seeing products in the market if you haven't worked on them.

GTM I don't see as a sales role - at least at my current place it's a product marketing function. You might find a couple of days training course useful - if nothing else will help with the lingo. When I moved more into marketing I did some with Chartered Institute of Marketing (company paid for it) which were definitely worthwhile. They run a huge range so try and pick something that looks relevant. 

In the current climate it's possibly also a more transferable skill than incredibly detailed technical knowledge of possibly an esoteric product? (I've generally made moves with half an eye to - "what next, what happens if this doesnt' work out?" too).

Steve Cragg
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Steve

Although in a totally different context I had a similar major leap in 2000. Up to then I had been in a number of maintenance and project management roles in the petrochemical industry. I ended up heading up all engineering activities on a large top tier COMAH chemical plant and after a while realised that was probably the ceiling within that company.

I was then approached by a technical consultancy business that was looking to establish a new office and they asked me to head this up. This took me from a totally internal role to a commercial role responsible for finding premises, proposing strategy, developing a business plan, doing business development, recruiting staff etc. so this was a major change for me. This led me to an MD position with an engineering based manufacturing business in 2013 that I am still with.

Although a little scary at times I loved every minute of it and it gave me the chance to develop my career in a totally different direction. If you want the buzz of stretching yourself and enjoy learning new things, go for it. If you don't you will always regret not giving it a go.

Good luck!

 

Croc
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Hi Steve, 

As the person who pays for the company's expensive IT things, stuff, toys, applications, people, etc., I get turned off by a seller who has no clue about their product.  I will always talk to a person who knows their stuff and how it will fix problems I have.  Most smart people in business are the same as me.   Sales skills can be learned easily as a lot of it is common sense.  Technical expertise and how it can work for a user is a lot harder.  So I think you are in a great spot to start working with.

You do have to evaluate if either path is a career dead end.  Staying where you are in a product that is meandering along with no clear development path or investment into it, is likely a bad thing.   But is the new product viable?  Sounds like it is.  But even if it is not, it does reinvigorate a resume.  Shows you have versatility.  Shows you can be cutting edge.  Gives you a chance to polish presentation and communication skills.  All of that is really good if you do have to go to the market and find another job.  

Never be afraid of failing.  We all do - most people just cannot admit it.  I have some spectacular career face plants in my history and yet you get up, brush the dirt off, have a drink to console the sorrows, and somehow bounce back into the fray with time.  No reward can happen without some risk being taken.  Remember, your choice to do nothing has risk attached to it as well.  

Good luck with making your choice.  

Cheers 

Mike

PS - are my investment folks going to be bombarding me to buy this shiny new product of yours?  Maybe take that one offline...

Mike

Tim S
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Don't stay in a role that bores you - take a risk, especially if your boss and the company are supportive. Consider also future earnings potential - salary/bonus/car/share options etc. Also potential future career progression - better to be at the bottom of a ladder than stuck at the top. Good luck!

Tim