Joining the sales engineer (SE) team was a project that was 3 years in the making. In 2017, I started at Zia Consulting as an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Developer. However, by my second year, it was clear to me that I was more interested in being an SE. I saw how SEs had a unique opportunity to dig into specific problems with a customer and find and customize solutions. This was not something I could do to the degree I wanted in my role as ECM Developer.
I developed a coaching relationship with two employees who guided me toward an SE position. One of my primary interests was working with clients to solve challenging business problems. As a Developer, I began to focus on projects that would broaden my understanding of the work that went into using different softwares and solutions. This enabled me to better estimate work and talk through specific problems, needs, and vision with potential clients.
In 2022, I was approached by the team to begin the interview process. That began in February, and by April I transitioned to the SE team. I have to say that the interview process was different from any other I had experienced. Zia is grounded in five core values, including awesome smart, caring and compassionate, driven and hard working, getting the right things done, and the Zia family. The interview process is meant to establish that I aligned with these and had the necessary skills to perform the role. To do this, I met with the majority of the team at least once, both in one-on-one and group interviews.
I appreciated the one-on-one coaching that I received because it prepared me for the interview process and the tasks required to perform the role. While I had worked with most people on the team in some capacity since I started at Zia, I gained a lot more insight into the different personalities and group dynamics from going through the process. While they ensured I was a good fit, I also ensured I felt comfortable and excited about the role.
Largely I knew what to expect in my new role. Participating in meetings, making estimates, and giving presentations is a major part of my job. While I hadn’t realized the work would ebb to the degree it does, I was able to engage in problem solving by understanding the customers’ business problems and juggling multiple opportunities at different stages of the sales cycle. In my experience, Zia gives you opportunities to “lean in” as Mike Mahon, President and CEO, likes to say. I have been given opportunities to lead in ways that my peers in similar roles have not received, largely due to the smaller company size. This has played out in a few ways. I was asked to get up to speed on new offerings with our partners. At least they were new to me! Of course there is always the potential to make mistakes. However, I feel like the team puts me in appropriate situations, ones that are safe for me to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from the process. This has been an awesome opportunity to grow and coach on how I can better myself professionally.
I was, and continue to be, very excited to try new things and complete tasks throughout the sales cycle. Work is a big part of my life, and I want my time to be well spent. At Zia, I am given opportunities to push outside my comfort zone and develop deep relationships with employees, customers, and partners. It is easy to get stuck in the day-to-day grind, or even become complacent. As a young professional, I encourage you to embrace challenges, lean into uncertainty, and go after positions that are fulfilling. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about my process, are interested in learning more about the role of an SE, or want to talk about the work Zia does to support companies in embracing digital transformation, modernization, and hyperautomation.