Name: Clarissa Gent
Degree and university: Manchester, Chemistry
Title: Sales Manager, Rackspace
WHAT IT IS YOU ACTUALLY DO? I manage a team of 10 sales representatives who sell IT services globally. My job is to coach and develop a buzzing business sales team and drive them to hit both their individual and team targets.
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN SALES AS A CAREER? Upon completion of my degree I initially pursued a career within the Pharmaceutical sales sector, however because I wanted to be a part of a more fast-paced and dynamic office and team environment, I started looking at different options.
I found Rackspace and opted to pursue a career within IT Sales as the sector is constantly evolving. The sector and its endless possibilities have truly captured my imagination, which makes it a pleasure to sell. However, most importantly the people I work with are fabulous – they aren’t geeks (well they may be, but they hide it well!!) — they are all really intelligent, charismatic people who are passionate about what they do, which is the reason I have never looked back!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AND ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES? Without a doubt, the people. Across the business in Sales and IT Support I work with passionate, driven and intelligent colleagues who know how to work hard and play hard. You are constantly learning and developing when you work in IT, and I love the ever-changing environment. The best part of my job is developing people and seeing them succeed. I work with a huge variety of people and I love the challenges and diversity it brings to my day.
I can’t really see any downsides. The sales targets can be tough but that is what motivates me to work harder, and the sense of satisfaction when you smash them is fantastic.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS/STRENGTHS YOU NEED TO MAKE A SUCCESS OF WHAT YOU DO? I believe you have to be enthusiastic, driven and hungry to learn. You need to be passionate about what you do. For example, hosting isn’t just technology, it insures a company’s reputation online – we are a vital part of our customers’ company. Everyday we support and drive our customers’ success and that is what I get excited about. That passion is infectious and our prospects/customers love it. It truly is the secret sauce that makes us successful.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR GRADUATES WISHING TO COME INTO THIS SECTOR? I would advise new graduates to look at the smaller IT companies with great growth opportunities in addition to the large blue chips. If you join a small firm at the right time you have a fantastic opportunity to climb the career ladder as the company grows. Look for a company with a great culture and a product you can be passionate about.