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It’s hard to imagine making a career out of meeting people, building relationships, and talking about things you love. Isn’t that just something you do with your friends?

Actually, it’s a large part of sales and account management, and for people who love making and cultivating those connections—especially surrounding a product that they’re passionate about—it’s the perfect career choice.

Just ask these five professionals, who each found a unique path to a sales-based role. They’ll tell you that they love interacting with people on a daily basis, helping their clients grow and succeed, and promoting a product they truly believe in. No cheesy or insincere sales gimmicks here!

Read on to learn how they each got to their current role—and how you can land something similar.

Brooke Goodbary

Senior Account Manager, PaperG

“I don’t think I really had an idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up,” laughs Brooke Goodbary, “and that probably extended well into college.” Despite that lack of direction, she decided to study political science in undergrad, then traveled to Europe to earn her master’s degree in international studies.

A previous role as a recruiter helped her realize that she enjoyed managing relationships, so in her post-education job search, Goodbary had two major requirements: She wanted to continue working in a client-facing role, and she wanted to join a company she truly believed in.

She focused her job search on San Francisco, and was immediately drawn to PaperG’s culture, vibe, and the awesome team she’d get to work with. Now, as a senior account manager, she works with the advertising technology company’s largest partners, launching new accounts and cultivating existing partnerships—exactly what she was looking for.

Jacci Levine

Account Executive, H.Bloom

After graduating from Ithaca College, Jacci Levine was looking for a career that combined her passions for sales, marketing, and design. She started following the H.Bloom CEO’s blog in the New York Times and quickly realized that she really connected with the floral design company’s vision and business model. “I was kind of proud of the business before I started here,” she shares.

She applied and landed a role as a sales associate as part of the seed program, then later moved into the multi-faceted role of account executive. Besides managing a roster of current clients, she also prospects new business by meeting with hotels, restaurants, and offices that may be interested in using the company’s services.

Spencer Christeck

Senior Account Manager, Xero

After graduating from UC Berkeley, Spencer Christeck began his career managing his family’s general contracting business. But when he transitioned into a role at an enterprise software company, he realized just how much he missed interacting with people and small businesses.

Enter: Xero. In an account management role at Xero, Christeck has the opportunity to work with small businesses, showing them how they can use the company’s streamlined accounting technology to manage their bookkeeping.

With the ultimate goal of growing Xero’s partnerships and user base, Christeck spends most of his time working directly with potential and existing partners, but he also teams up with the company’s training and events departments. Together, they make a big difference in their clients’ lives and businesses: “We play an integral part in improving the health of small businesses across America,” he shares.

Bill Paul

Senior Enterprise Business Consultant, Bigcommerce

Bill Paul knew what he wanted from the start and immediately went after it. He went to a hiring event put on by Bigcommerce, an international company that helps small businesses get the software they need to do big things, and, after hearing what the leadership team had to say, immediately approached the CFO. “I said to myself, ‘I have to do anything I can to get this job,’” Paul shares. “I had a conversation with him and pretty much told him how badly I wanted it.”

The CFO obviously saw something in him, because just a few days later, he got the call and received a job offer.

The thing that drives Paul’s passion for the job is largely the people he gets to work with on a daily basis. “Being able to empower small business owners is so important to me,” he shares. Every day (after a quick ping pong game) he and his team jump on the phones, building relationships with current clients or digging in to new leads.

Amy Wanke

Sales Manager, SXSW

When it came to deciding what she wanted to do as a career, Amy Wanke was a self-described “lost girl.” “I didn’t know what I wanted to focus on,” she explains. And so, she took classes in subjects ranging from broadcast media to editing to entertainment law.

But despite those varied interests, the moment Wanke heard about SXSW, she knew it was the place for her. She cold-called the office, asked for an internship, and within three years, landed a full-time gig as sales manager.

She spends most of her time in meetings, but they’re not the sleep-inducing meetings you might be used to. In fact, she loves them; each meeting brings the chance to interact with a different team and discuss a different topic, and she loves being able to work with such a wide variety of people. “It’s never boring!” she says.

Hear From Amy | Work at SXSW

Updated 6/19/2020