This year marks my 15th at IBM. It’s the only company I’ve even been employed at, and a big part of me wants to keep it that way.
By Khaled Sultani
Despite starting in a data entry job straight out of college, IBM was a refreshing surprise after years of studying the principles of micro/macroeconomics. It was fun – I made friends, took time to network, and as I got a better understanding of what the company did, I started plotting the way for my progress. I wanted to be in sales. So when an opportunity presented itself, I immediately took it.
What Being a Seller Taught Me
As a seller, I found myself as the face of a company that’s been delivering value for over 100 years. As it continuously innovates, it transforms itself to make way for new opportunities not just for its clients to grow but its employees as well. I understood early on that building a brand as a go-getter, establishing customer relationships, and delivering value was paramount in this line of work, so I started working hard in the various brand sales roles which I had the pleasure to be in.
Throughout my sales career, I’ve followed some guiding principles which were not only focused on results, setting goals, and measuring performance. People buy from people, even in today’s Enterprise world. I saw how our clients were truly seeking professional interactions that focused on a differentiating customer experience, and when they see this, they would buy, probably even at higher rates. These interactions include everything from discovery, awareness, cultivation, advocacy purchase, and support thereafter. Coupled with a strong work ethic and being dependable, with a touch of a compulsive follow-up behavior, I found this recipe a winner.
Being given the opportunity to move from Systems to Software, going from on-premise Middleware to selling Cloud, very few organizations around the world offer the dynamics that Big Blue can. I have been offered quite a few job opportunities (with great pay) in various organizations throughout the years, but I keep telling myself the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Even more so, at IBM’s rate of transformation to new strategic imperatives, and acquisitions, there always are fantastic opportunities for those of us who want to leave their mark on the world!
My Guiding Work-Life Philosophy
As my career progressed, balancing responsibilities for work, family, education, and other commitments started to become increasingly difficult. And in a world that doesn’t stop, flexible work schedules are a vehicle in IBM for maintaining a healthy Work/Life Balance that I have cherished the most. I believe that Work is something you do, not a place you go, and with that philosophy I found my work become so much more efficient.
I’m proud to admit that I learned a lot about myself over the years and being exposed to the great minds of peers, mentors, and managers, and many leadership styles, I find myself continuing my personal development every day.
I am happy to say that I know what I want to do next, and as life sometimes throws you curve balls, I will be here, at IBM, working hard to make it all happen.
Khaled is Hybrid Cloud Sales Manager for IBM Middle East .
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