3 Reasons Why Sales Managers Like to Hire JMOs

In a recent blog post, I defined Professional Sales. In this post, I’d like to explain three reasons why I believe a Junior Military Officer is a good fit for Professional Sales. As a former Divisional Sales Manager for the world’s largest healthcare products company, I used three criteria to hire representatives for my team. They were my “must have” competencies, and I was unwilling to compromise when interviewing potential team members. Some of my peers felt that sales experience was a must for the level of sales for which we recruited, but as a former JMO myself with no sales experience, I know what it takes to be successful in a business-to-business (B2B) sales role. Here are the three competencies I feel allow JMOs to be successful in a Professional Sales role.

  • JMOs are DRIVEN. They possess the ability to achieve difficult objectives without a lot of direction or guidance. They take the initiative and don’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do. They have what Ron Willingham calls in his book, Integrity Selling for the 21st Century, a high Achievement Drive. Simply put, they have the energy, initiative and desire to reach important goals.
  • JMOs are ORGANIZED. In B2B sales, representatives have multiple accounts and each account has multiple call points. Remembering names, door codes, promises made, important dates, relevant emails and many other details on a daily basis is necessary for success. Organized sales representatives also know how to manage a territory. They focus on developing a detailed sales plan by quantifying and validating accounts and targets. They use data and information to make important decisions about who they will call on and know what impact that specific customer will have on their plan.
  • JMOs are LIKABLE. In professional sales, the foundation of the sale is the relationship. Military officers have great experience working with a wide array of people, from high-ranking officers to junior enlisted professionals. They have the ability to be flexible, adapt to their surroundings and make everyone feel valued. They understand that working with people is a primary driver in getting things done.

Certainly there are other competencies like autonomy and goal orientation that help sales professionals obtain success. That said, I have verified through my own experience that if you are DRIVEN, ORGANIZED and LIKABLE, you have what it takes to launch a successful business career in sales.

For my next blog post in this series, I’ll share why JMOs are attracted to Professional Sales.

Pete Van Epps