Between Views

I had an interview this morning for the director of sales position at a device manufacturing company. The business is 50 years old with about 100 employees. I’d report to the VP of operations. I’d have 3 sales guys reporting to me, a marketing manager, and a customer support manager. I’d assist with selling B2C, and B2B to OEMs and Endusers/Key accounts. The position is $145k+10-15% bonus, and a bunch of other benefits. Could have a should have asked for $225k and saw where that got me. Learning lessons.

Not a whole lot of traveling aside from trade shows, of which there are quite a few. I liked the VP of operations. Good guy. It’d be a nice company to work for. Lots of growth, no debt, lots of cash. The owners are two partners in their 70s who are pretty risk averse, but they have an innovative engineering team, and a product that’s positioned as a middle tier device that is affordable but offers great technology. They’re in a good spot. Their B2C business is a mess… they really have no idea what to do about Amazon. I emphasized the importance of cutting off all but a few resellers, and taking the business in house. They think it’s more work than it is. So, they’re losing money, and want to continue with their current model simply because it’s working, but I know for a fact they are leaving a lot of money on the table and they don’t know it. They just don’t want to mess with something that isn’t broken. I get it, but as someone who is constantly trying to improve and optimize at the first sign of inefficiency.


I have another interview for an Area Manager role. I have no direct reports, but manage a vertical of component technology products across of wide territory, and support the field sales/ key account managers/ End-user and OEM sales engineers to drive more business, as well as work with channel partners and their sales team. The component vertical I’m in charge of is not the core business, but it’s a $30 million territory, so it definitely is a significant role, and the particular technology that I’m responsible for is experiencing high growth. I’ll assist the field sales guys with projects and sales calls, and will also go on sales calls myself. I imagine there’s a lot of pipeline management, lots of collaboration, lots of reporting to keep track of. I believe travel is between 30-50% each month. They have offices in San Francisco, San Ramon (where our interview is), and Sacramento.

I have to do a 20 minutes PowerPoint presentation to their team of 3-4 in 40 minutes. I’m at a cafe just looking over my notes, the PP, and studying a bit. I’m very confident. I initially had all these fancy graphics and detailed slides, but then realized that is totally unnecessary, so I kept it very simple, distilled core points, and made it concise.

The company is the leader in the field, and the guys I’ve interviewed with so far seem to take themselves way too seriously. Not a great impression. They seem cool and likeable, but geesh. Lighten up. Talk to me like a person, not a new cadet, not like you’re in some ivory tower, and don’t be so abstract with the job description. Why was it so difficult to figure out the role? You either don’t know it, or you’re being intentionally obtuse to make it seem sexier than it is. So anyway.

And PowerPoint? I get it. But get with the times. It’s not a great tool for communicating. But whatever. I don’t make up the rules, I just follow them and play the game.

Anyway. I’m gonna grab a bite and head their way.

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