By Funmi Alamu
Funmi is an IBM Brand Sales Leader in IBM Systems, West Africa Region. From her early career as a Field Engineer, through her roles as a Product Manager and Technology Consultant at multinational firms, to her current role as Brand Sales Executive at IBM, Funmi’s 17 year career trajectory shows what is possible with hard-work, careful planning, the right skills and experience.
She shares insights into her current role at IBM and advice for women who aspire for a career in Systems/Hardware.
A safe and secure home for data in West Africa
I currently manage IBM Storage hardware sales for the IBM West Africa market, I innovate with Enterprise customers and leading business partners to ensure IBM’s business revenue for the region is realized.
Sales adrenaline never gets old!
The most rewarding aspect of my role is rescuing and closing deals that are close to falling off the rails. Being able to recover and capture a sale is exhilarating and exciting. There is such a great sense of pride and accomplishment when the team’s hardwork and all the sweat and time, materializes into a client challenge getting resolved.
What is equally rewarding is developing strong relationships with my clients. As you earn their trust they open up and in the process gain invaluable business insight. These relationships allow me to discover business challenges, opportunities and it allows me play the role of trusted business advisor rather than just product or service pusher.
Room to explore and grow
For me, IBM is a strong brand, with huge potential and competitive advantage. Over the years IBM has been a market leader that listens to need and envision the future of our world. I realize that IBM offers its employees the opportunity to diversify as they progress and develop their career with IBM.
Developing my art
Even though I am an experienced Seller, I found the IBM advanced sales coaching invaluable. This insight into selling has helped me to create business opportunities, drive change by re-framing client perceptions and act on inspirational ideas essential to their success. I find that I’ve been able to gain client sponsorship sooner, close deals faster, with leadership exposure that will improve my career and confidence in relating with clients.
I find our regional team connects take the shape of a practical MBA where we brainstorm and analyze deals and customer behavior from a different point of view. This has helped broaden my scope and accelerate my success.
Our region tackles big data
As our CEO, Ginni Rometty has said, “the world’s next largest natural resource is data”, I see our ability to mine and analyze this to meet the different needs of the society, communities and business, makes us essential to our world,
Advice to women who aspire for a career in Systems/Hardware?
“Visibility, planning and work/life integration are all essential components which when combined, lead to career success.” Showing off cannot bring you visibility, I would choose taking on challenges and show-casing your capability. I strongly recommend building a network people around you that can harvest the potential in you and are willing to invest to see you grow. Finally careers are not handed to you, at IBM or anywhere else, you have to take charge yourself and in order to be in charge you need a plan.
Funmi Alamu is IBM Innovative Brand Sales Executive– Storage Infrastructure Solution Sales Leader, West Africa.
Take sometime to read other inspiring stories from women working at IBM Middle East and Africa here.
What will you make with IBM?