Career Success Story: Charles Chuman's Path to High-Growth Sales
Charles Chuman's career might be described as a laundry list of places, faces, and causes. Work opportunities and learning goals have taken him from Chicago to Lebanon, then on to Iraq, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, before returning stateside to Indiana, Washington D.C., and finally back to the Windy City. He has worked as a journalist covering Middle East politics while studying Arabic as a graduate student at American University of Beirut. He's developed new market strategy for a startup investment firm, rallied supporters as a field organizer for Obama For America, and contributed to efforts around energy policy in D.C. Throughout the diverse turns and reaches of his career path, the common element has been early-stage interaction with the seminal ideas of the day: Middle East, Obama, energy, startups. And now, healthcare tech.
A graduate of our spring 2015 sales training course in Chicago, Charles champions healthcare innovation for a growth-stage Chicago startup. I caught up with Charles to learn more about his new role:[bctt tweet="Interview with @charleschuman, #startup #sales executive at @ContextHealth."]
Tell us about your job at ContextMedia
What is a typical day like?
ContextMedia seems to be more of a scaleup than a startup. What do you like about working for a company at this growth stage?
Tell us about your interview process. Why do you think you ultimately got the gig?
The second round is an in-person interview, generally with a team member and a department manager. For me, I spoke with the top sales rep and one of our sales managers. This is where many applicants begin to drop out. Our managers are very good at making candidates feel comfortable and letting them know about the company. We want to hire people who really, truly want to work at ContextMedia. Equally as important, we want people who truly want to work in the area they are applying for. Since we are scaling, we want salespeople or accountants who want to work in sales or accounting and do not one day hope to work in product or marketing.
The fourth round is usually with a manager, a member of senior leadership, and a co-founder.[bctt tweet="Traits @ContextMedia looks for in #salespeople? Adaptability + empathy - @charleschuman"]
At each step, a candidate must show a combination of ethics, competitiveness, grittiness, and friendliness, and must remain consistent as to why she wants to work in the specific role she is applying for.
What does an aspiring startup salesperson need to know about the Chicago tech scene?
What advice do you have for incoming students in our sales training program?
Start scheduling coffee chats during your second week of the program. Ease your way into them. Start by asking Startup Institute alumni and instructors. We're non-judgmental and have been in the exact place you're in right now.[bctt tweet="Start to build your #network with @StartupInst alumni + instructors, says @charleschuman" via="no"]
After you feel comfortable, work your way up to the highest levels, not necessarily in terms of job title, but in terms of your own personal comfort level. Figure out if a certain person intimidates you and why, and work your way up to asking them for a coffee chat.
The more you network and the more you schedule coffee chats, the more you will come to understand yourself, what other people find interesting about you, and how you will fit into the startup scene. This is critical intelligence that you can use to craft your own personal elevator pitch. You will learn the language startup people use, what catches their attention, what books they've read, what companies are booming, what products don't actually work, and more. It's invaluable, and it's only available to you for a very short period of time.[bctt tweet="The more you #network, the more you'll come to understand yourself, says @charleschuman"]
Interested in launching your tech sales career? Our free sales and account management course guide will tell you everything you need to know about our eight-week program.