These 10 Chicago Sales Pros Love Their Job — Here's Why

by Alton Zenon III
August 13, 2019

It’s easy to assume that salespeople were drawn to their roles solely for the commission — but that couldn’t be further from the truth. From selling a particularly engaging product to seeing the smiles they bring to clients’ faces, there are so many reasons to take up a career in tech sales. We spoke to 10 Chicago salespeople to learn about what they’re selling and why they love their jobs.

 

SMS Assist’s Vice President of Solutions Development and Sales Caspar de Wijkerslooth

SMS Assist’s Vice President of Solutions Development and Sales Caspar de Wijkerslooth gets excited about his work because of the immediate impact their product has on clients. The facilities management provider helps people during unexpected calamities — like when ACs and heaters are busted at the worst possible times — and de Wijkerslooth is ardent about giving businesses the assistance they need.

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

SMS Assist helps more than 186,000 commercial and residential locations maintain their properties. We do this through our cloud-based platform and a network of service providers that specialize in HVAC, landscaping, plumbing, floor care, electrical, and more. 

I’m passionate about what we do because we’re helping our customers deliver the best experience to their customers. Even more than that, we’re truly helping people — your family in Florida who has no air conditioning in July; your retail store manager who is without heat on a January day in Chicago; your restaurant manager whose only fryer goes down on a Friday night.

You can have the best technology, people, and process, but with a mutual partnership, you can be even more impactful.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role? 

Taking the partnership approach with my customers motivates me every day. In my experience, you can have the best technology, people, and process, but with a mutual partnership, you can be even more impactful. True partnership enables me — and SMS Assist as a whole — to always strive for more and look for new ways and opportunities to elevate my game. We make a direct impact on our customers’ businesses and their bottom lines, which drives me to run faster every day.

 

Paylocity team members seated outside

Paylocity’s platform helps companies manage their most important asset — their people. For Human Capital Management Account Executive Kyle Borgardt, his work at the company afforded him the opportunity to change things for the most important people in his life — his family. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

When asked what I do for work, I always tell people I work for a technology company that helps leaders work better and easier through payroll and human capital management software. When Paylocity first started, people still thought Y2K was going to end the internet, but our leadership was visionary in seeing what the future would hold and drove us on a path to building this unified payroll and HCM solution. The best part is that on top of having game-changing software, we support it with implementation and customer service of the same caliber. 

Paylocity has provided me the opportunity to drastically change the course of my family’s future.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role? 

I wake up each morning knowing that if I work hard, success will follow. Every sales rep wants to feel like they are getting out what they are putting in and here, I’ve found just that. Paylocity has provided me the opportunity to drastically change the course of my family’s future and it is my responsibility to ensure I do everything within my power to capitalize on that opportunity.

 

Outside shot of Guaranteed Rate's office logo

Homebuying is an intense, arduous and stressful process. Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending Ben Cohen at Guaranteed Rate knows this and uses his years of expertise to give homebuyers the best mortgage possible, meeting their specific needs. His efficiency-minded methodology also allows him to spend more time with his family. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

I am fortunate to have the support of an amazing team that shows up each day with the grit necessary to support my business success. I have worked in the mortgage industry for almost 15 years to become an expert in a variety of mortgage products. I hold myself accountable for my clients’ needs throughout every step of the lending process, realizing that purchasing a home is a lifelong dream. I know there’s no one-size-fits-all formula in the industry, so I try to look at every mortgage with fresh eyes and give every client a customized plan to meet their financial goals.

I try to look at every mortgage with fresh eyes and give every client a customized plan to meet their financial goals.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

Throughout my career, I have been motivated to give back to my community. I am also focused on streamlining my process, which allows me the opportunity to spend as much time as I can with my wife and three sons.

 

Tribune Publishing sales team in group photo

While some may think of Tribune Publishing as working primarily in the world of physically printed materials, the company has a strong digital side to it. Senior Sales Executive Phil Lipuma said he enjoys the work of providing Tribune’s digital tools to customers, seeing their results and acting as an honorary partner in helping them reach their goals.

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

One of the advantages of being a sales executive at the Chicago Tribune is the wide variety of solutions we can offer a client. This is actually a tough question to answer because the best solution to sell is the one that’s most effective for the client. But I am most passionate about our digital offerings because we can offer pinpoint targeting, great analytics, and can tailor our solution to best meet our client’s specific needs.

My main objective is having my customers think of me as a partner who shares their same business goals.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

I have always believed that your commission is a byproduct of great customer relationships. My main objective is having my customers think of me as a partner who shares their same business goals. What motivates me the most in my role is seeing a print or digital campaign come together and work for the client. Success is what creates repeat business. I am a true believer in having a positive attitude, having my clients trust me and rely on me as an expert. My clients’ success is my main motivation.

 

SPINS team member chatting next to a TV screen

When the products you sell directly impact your daily habits, you know you’ve found a job to be proud of. For Vice President of Sales Jeff Zyrkowski, the insights he provides to his client base at SPINS, data provider for the natural and organic products industry, have positively impacted him and his decision-making as a consumer. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

At our core, SPINS is a data company that is focused on helping natural foods brands and retailers grow their businesses. I take a lot of pride in our products and services because they work. I speak to clients on a daily basis and get to hear about the measurable impact we have made in their business. 

On a personal note, health and wellness have been major influences in my life. It’s really exciting to be at the forefront of new and emerging health trends. Our data influences the way I shop and eat.

Our data influences the way I shop and eat.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

My reps motivate me to succeed in my role. It gives me  great satisfaction to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Sales is a challenging profession, but when you find a company, product, and niche in the market that is truly unique, it can be a ton of fun. My favorite part of my role is doing whatever I can to foster an atmosphere of collective success. SPINS makes that part of my job very easy.

 

Paro's Financial Consultant Thomas Aviles

Financial Consultant Thomas Aviles at Paro loves the ubiquitous nature of connecting companies with finance professionals that can help their business. And in doing so, he’s able to create opportunities for himself and his family that improve their lives alongside clients — something he thinks everyone has the ability to do.

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

What’s so exciting about Paro is we’re changing the way finance and accounting work is done and making it easy for businesses to access top talent in a way they never have before. I love knowing I can help any business, in any industry, at any stage. I’ve seen high-growth tech startups in San Francisco accelerate with us, struggling manufacturing companies in Ohio turn around, and the owners of the small business across the street have more confidence in their finances. This broad prospect and client base is a dream as a salesperson, knowing we can help essentially every business.

Sales is one of the few professions left that allows you to climb economic classes with pure grit and determination.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

A mentor once told me that motivation is fleeting — having purpose is much more powerful. My purpose has always been to make my family proud and to set us up for a better future. Sales is one of the few professions left that allows you to climb economic classes with pure grit and determination. It doesn’t matter what school you went to or what connections you have — your numbers will speak for themselves. For me, it’s afforded me a life I’ve only dreamed of as a kid. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to succeed. 

 

UPshow team members chatting outside their office

The healthcare industry is one where every decision can have a significant impact on patients — even what’s shown on the TVs in medical facilities. UPshow’s Vice President of Sales Kristen Graves specializes in getting the company’s platform on these very screens. She is appreciative of the autonomy she’s given and the reactions she gets from clients when she provides a mind-blowing solution.

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

I work with my team to sell UPshow within the healthcare industry. We’re a patient engagement platform built to be shown on shared TV screens in hospitals, clinics and waiting rooms. I love selling it because the sky’s the limit in terms of strategic ways you can use the platform to affect outcomes and meet goals. I love the sound of someone’s voice or the look on their face when they realize they are able to do something they never thought possible with UPshow. It’s a really smart product and there’s always a lightbulb moment with a customer. 

I know I have the support of every single person around me, and I support them in everything they are trying to create.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

I love the fact that every day when I walk in the office, I’m given a blank canvas and the tools to create something that can help shape the future state of the company. And the best part is that I know I have the support of every single person around me, and I support them in everything they are trying to create. It’s a really special place and it makes you truly want to be a part of the fabric of the story of UPshow.

 

Infutor Data Solutions team playing darts in their office

As Infutor Data Solutions’ head of the education market, Sales Account Executive Grace Kingston is proud to help colleges and universities do meaningful research by providing them with relevant consumer data about a variety of interesting topics. Having the backing of not only the rest of the sales team, but every other department as well, makes her work even more rewarding. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

Infutor’s unique datasets and solutions enable our partners to link, verify and instantly gain access to the most complete and accurate information about their consumers to make informed marketing and risk mitigation decisions.

Leading the education vertical at Infutor, I have had the privilege of partnering with many top colleges and universities. We provide these institutions with historical consumer data to support their research efforts that help them understand how economic changes, policy proposals, rent, natural disasters and other valuable research initiatives impact society. Using these findings, universities can help address the uncovered issues. How many salespeople get to say that they are truly helping make a change?

Although the company has grown significantly since the start, support and teamwork remain at the forefront of the organization.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

The people. Although the company has grown significantly since its start, support and teamwork remain at the forefront of the organization. Everyone supports each other and provides the sales team with the tools and resources they need to succeed. 

We are all working hard towards a common goal, which motivates me to succeed. Sales in other organizations can sometimes feel like a team of one, but not here. We understand that in order to be successful, every individual and department needs to work together. I have the opportunity to not only succeed financially here, but to also grow professionally and pave my own path.

 

SNACKNATION's sales team in group photo

Everyone loves snacks, and Senior Account Executive Ben West at SNACKNATION loves selling them. Why? Because they’re snacks, and he enjoys being able to offer bags of pre-packaged deliciousness to people. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

I sell snacks! Saying that never gets old. I love seeing the reactions when I tell people I sell snacks for a living. It’s usually a combination of equal parts confusion and jealousy. Everyone loves to talk about snacks — what they love, what they hate, a snack that changed their life, so it’s a blast.

I love seeing the reactions when I tell people I sell snacks for a living.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role? 

Our sale requires us to build trust quickly and practice empathy during every interaction. Our customers are busy office managers, admins, and facilities professionals who are juggling a lot of different projects and deadlines. I am motivated by how SNACKNATION can give our customers time back in their day, while making them look like office superheroes. 

 

Ansarada sales team in group photo

Business Development Director Patrick Lyons is a team member at Ansarada, but you could almost consider him an unofficial employee at each of the client companies he serves. He’s eager to help his clients optimize their business relations through the company’s dealmaking platform and loves hearing about the big wins he’s helped them achieve. 

 

Tell us a little bit about what you sell and why you’re genuinely passionate about offering it.

For a business to succeed, it needs to know what it has to offer. The Ansarada pathway is used to assess the current state of your business and uncover areas that require immediate attention — allowing you to optimize event preparation with 100 percent certainty that you’re ready to execute. 

My biggest passion about the platform is giving our clients the tools to act with confidence and achieve their most critical business outcomes — from raising capital, due diligence, tenders, selling an asset, audits and more.

Our clients are transforming their business to an ‘always on’ state and I enjoy hearing the stories that bring out the true value of our product.”

 

Beyond a commission, what motivates you to succeed in your role?

What motivates me is the ability to help business owners realize the maximum potential of their business. With the platform, our clients are transforming their business to an ’always on’ state and I enjoy hearing the stories that bring out the true value of our product. Internally, I love coming to work everyday along side people who care about building the Ansarada brand and living out its values each day.

 

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