You may be surprised to learn that science and sales have a lot in common. However, that is the case according to recent findings. In fact, a recent trend of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors find business and sales to be a perfect fit for their skill sets and strengths. STEM is a vital part of generating economic growth and advancing science innovation but it also works itself seamlessly into sales, which is also data- and experiment-derivative.
By reading this article, you will learn more about this trend, find out how and why it is happening and discover the natural links between science and sales.
The Changing Landscape of Sales
While traditional practices, good communication skills and relationship building are still valuable, there’s no doubt that the landscape of sales has changed dramatically. Traditional sales tactics were heavily relationship-based but the buyers of today are more driven by data, science and facts than ever before.
The relationship-building aspect of sales is far less important today than it was in the past. Many people find there’s no need to wine and dine potential customers or investors or take them for an afternoon on the golf course to try and close a deal.
Today’s deals are often closed over detailed spreadsheets and extensive analytical forecasts which explains why thousands of companies across the country are seeking to add individuals with STEM-related skill sets to their sales teams. Plus, buyers have an endless wealth of information available right at their fingertips thanks to the internet.
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However, many buyers also lack the skills to interpret that information in a meaningful way. The salesperson used to be the primary source of product and service information but that’s no longer the case.
In most cases, anyone is able to access reviews, write-ups, data and specs. Companies have transitioned into new selling strategies that understand sellers have access insights that prospective buyers of yesterday didn’t without one-on-one, personal interaction with a salesperson.
STEM majors not only understand how to interpret the data but also can use their skills and knowledge to convert that information into sales. Additionally, they thrive in data-rich environments and aren’t afraid of new technology.
Just listen to the way that sales position titles have changed: sales engineer, sales data analyst and technical sales representative — some of which didn’t even exist a few years ago and are a far cry from the “salesman” of yesterday.
As the world becomes more digital and technology-driven, STEM innovation has leaked into all industries and areas. More sophisticated products and services require a more technically savvy sales team behind them.
STEM innovation not only helps build new products, but it also improves modern sales teams and their sales strategies. It clearly establishes service or product value, understands the customer base, utilizes technology and analyzes effective sales strategies through experimentation and knowledge of best practices.
Beyond the Laboratory
Many people have a myopic view of STEM-related fields and jobs and it’s true that, at first, it may seem hard to conjure up what sales, business development and STEM have in common. Many people have stereotypical ideas of STEM job positions and believe these students end up behind a microscope in a lab or behind a keyboard, crunching numbers.
While there’s nothing wrong with these jobs, it’s okay to think outside of the box. These skill sets are becoming increasingly more valuable and offer bountiful opportunities beyond the traditional paths in a variety unique careers that are less expected such as sales and business development.
Further examining this trend, a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the seventh most popular career for STEM graduates in the U.S. is in sales. Additionally, sales is also the most popular non-computer related field for stem graduates.
The numbers don’t lie, the demand for stem skill-sets is high and rapidly growing therefore graduates are responding accordingly. Students are more willing than ever before to go into sales and business development roles even though they’re not exactly the first job that comes to mind.
The Business of Science
Best business practices are a delicate mix. However, each business needs to ultimately express the value of its product or services clearly, concisely and convincingly. Individuals with STEM skill sets can interpret data and analyze information to enhance productivity, explain their value to customers, boost sales and improve overall sales team performance.
STEM and sales are both strategic, results-driven and focused on problem-solving. Mathematics majors will be familiar with probability and statistics, both of which play a part in weighing options and planning for and around their possibility of success. Good decision-making skills are key to high job performance.
Sales and business development still require work and interaction with people. After all, there’s no doubt that relationships are highly beneficial for sales and business growth.
Salespeople who are motivated and passionate about what they are selling are often the most effective. However, sales are also a scientific process because it’s highly process-oriented.
Strategic thinking and a true understanding and appreciation of the product make any salesperson a standout in their field. STEM skills are the edge that pushes individuals to rise above the competition.
STEM at Work
Real, quantifiable results are based on science. STEM majors know how to identify results and what to do with them. After all, sales are about strategy and who can strategize better than a scientist, engineer, mathematician or a technical wizard? Even more so, if the product happens to be a STEM product such as medical supplies, who better to explain what the product does and its value than someone who understands it’s true worth?
STEM majors aren’t afraid to ask questions and dig for answers. Similarly, those who are good at sales aren’t afraid to ask tough questions. These include:
- Are numbers down?
- Is the same sales pitch used in the past no longer effective?
They aren’t afraid to come up with new ways to improve productivity. Salespeople and STEM majors are about continual growth, education and improvement.
Sales, Science and Technology
Sales technology has likewise evolved with the more informed buyers of today. Sales is becoming more and more technology-driven.
Technology eases that gathering and analyzation of data and also helps salespeople visualize, understand and reach their goals. Individuals who enjoy the challenge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are no strangers to technology and aren’t intimidated to learn new software.
In a world that wants people to buy more, faster and easier the only way that that is made possible is through technology. Technology helps people work smarter, not harder.
Any and every successful business owner knows that it’s essential to keep up with ever-changing technology. Overall, STEM majors hold an important piece to the puzzle, meaning that they tend to constantly find themselves right at home when it comes to sales and business.
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