Uncategorized University Talent

VMware Sales Academy 2017 Spotlight Series – Leon de Jager



Name: Leon de Jager

Role: Inside Sales Associate

VMware Office Location: Cork

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in Technical Sales?

From a young age, I had the intrinsic drive to try and sell things. I’m talking about going house-to-house selling grapes from my garden or selling Pokémon cards when the Pokémon craze hit the schools. This naturally developed over time to a point where I wanted to make more complex sales, where you sit down with a customer and have a real discussion to define their needs and proceed from there.

I chose to work at VMware for to three main reasons:  1) I have the opportunity to master how to solution-sell, 2) VMware operates in the fast-changing industry that offers huge opportunities to grow, and 3) VMware is a market leader in the Information Technology industry.

  1. Share a general overview of the structure of the VMware Sales Academy training program. 

The VMware Sales Academy is a six-month training program hosted at VMware offices around the globe. The VMware Sales Academy European hub is at VMware’s office in Cork, Ireland.  During the first two months of the program, you will get acclimated to Cork and get to know your co-workers. There will be teambuilding events and dinners in abundance, which help create a strong bond between all the new graduates participating in the program. You will also start to build a holistic understanding of the products and services that VMware has to offer, as well as how to communicate with VMware customers.

After the first two months in the program, you will start to have your first customer contact. In your role of Inside Sales Associate (ISA), you will have the opportunity to put the knowledge and training that you have gained over the previous two months into practice. The main aim is to get in conversations with customer leads to identify if VMware can offer any value to their organization. In the following four months, you will develop a sound skillset through a combination of training and practical experience building.

Six months into the program, you get assigned a territory and obtain the role of Inside Territory Executive. Over the next two years, you will start working towards a Field role in the country that you represent.

  1. What has been your biggest takeaway from participating in VMware Sales Academy?Has ithelped kick-start your career post university? If so, please explain how. 

The VMware Sales Academy has been extremely valuable in my personal and professional development. VMware does not hold back on offering you the right tools to become successful in your role. I have been privileged to sit together and talk with top executives, I have received professional Sales coaching, and I have had the opportunity to travel on international networking trips to highlight a few examples of these offerings. These benefits and opportunities have been invaluable.  If I must name one main takeaway from all these experiences, it is to keep asking questions until you truly understand the business of your client.

  1. Share a brief guideline of what to expect in the first six months in VMware.

In the first six months at VMware, expect to receive a lot of new information and to absorb a lot of new experiences. You will quickly build a network of friends and colleges that will make you feel comfortable. Aside from that, you can expect a mentor with whom you can ask a variety of questions. The work-life balance here is great, but do expect to work hard. The more effort you put into your work, the more it will pay off for you.

  1. How has coming to work at VMware’s Cork, Ireland office helped prepare you for your role once you move back to the Netherlands? Please share some of the benefits of living in Cork, Ireland.

Before moving to Cork, I did not really know what to expect of the city. For me, the major reason to move to Cork was because of the huge investment VMware was making in my career. I have not regretted moving to Cork for a moment. Cork is a great place to live. The people here all are very open and friendly, and there is a vibrant nightlife that has the most amazing live bands. Cork is well renowned for its food, and as a foodie, I can vouch for this. Furthermore, due to the university and multinationals located here, the city is very alive and full of young people. All of this makes me feel welcome and at home, and that is why I believe living in Cork, Ireland is helping prepare me for living and working in the Netherlands upon my completion of the VMware Sales Academy program.

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