A sales rep’s journey of professional growth
To gain better insight into how young professionals in the electronics industry have survived and thrived, The Representor interviewed Claudia Guerrero, account manager at Techni-Source Corp. Guerrero shared how, in her professional journey as a manufacturer’s representative, she has built her confidence by leaning on past experiences in supply chain management and perfecting the art of following up, meeting prep and practicing empathy.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, personally and professionally.
First, let me say thank you for the invitation to participate in the Fall issue of The Representor. From a professional standpoint, I’m originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, where my career started in supply chain at Sanmina. After moving to the U.S. and working a few more years in purchasing, life took me to the rep world with Techni-Source and I became an outside sales representative in October 2020. Personally, I like to spend my free time playing/practicing golf, going to the gym and going on walks with my lovely pug Coco. With all these activities I like listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts. Recently I’ve started to meditate by controlling my breathing. I do this exercise every morning for at least five minutes, which seems to improve my focus and relaxation.
How long have you worked in the electronics industry?
I’ve been in positions of supply chain and mostly planning and purchasing for around 11 years. I have been with Techni-Source for five years, although only three as an outside sales rep.
What made you choose this industry as your current career path?
My bachelor’s degree is in International Business, so the supply chain field was fitting. I was ready to try something new after 11 years and decided to move to the sales side.
What are some of the main challenges you encountered as you embarked on your career journey?
One challenge, for sure, was starting my field sales career at the time when the world was shut down. Another challenge was trying to be patient with the learning curve that the new rep position has, which in my situation was the engineering side of things. Third, learning and understanding how the products from the manufacturers we represent fit with each customer. As a supply chain professional, you mostly deal with part numbers.
What are some steps that you have taken to overcome these challenges and to ensure that you can establish and nurture a successful career?
Looking for tools and skills from my previous positions that could help me is how I realized that “follow up and empathy” have been key in my business relationships and development with customers, distributors and principals. Training and exposure to different scenarios, markets, products and customers are some of the other factors that have built my confidence and helped me overcome the challenges along the way.
What are training tools or networking/ industry events you find beneficial to your professional growth?
All the manufacturers that we represent at TSC have some sort of onboarding training as well as quarterly product releases with training and quizzes. Attending Arizona ERA chapter events has been fundamentally important for my network since all the key players are meeting at the same spot and collaborating for the same goal. The EDS Summit in Las Vegas, ERA’s annual conference in Austin and being part of the ERA NEXGEN group have all helped to grow my network.
Do you think there is enough new talent entering the electronics industry and what could make this field more attractive to future young professionals?
No, unfortunately not. What could make this field more attractive to young professionals? We can start with some sort of marketing event to make it known to young people as I believe there’s not much information and understanding as to what exactly an electronics manufacturers’ representative is. The world changed in 2020 as well as the way of doing business. We need to adapt to the new ways of developing relationships and listen to the newer generations.
Where do you see your profession and the industry 10 to 20 years from now?
We ARE the future; this is the industry you want to be in. It is exciting to see the world changing, evolving and adapting with all the technological developments, particularly with AI, automation, power harvesting, sustainability and connectivity.
Professionally, what keeps you up at night?
Probably all of the ideas and situations that I imagine. If I’m scheduled to meet with a customer, distributor or any of our principals, in my head I try to mimic and play the situation with different scenarios. It’s a way of practicing a little bit for the meeting and trying to plan and structure the meeting. If there’s something that I didn’t think about before, I send myself an email to follow up the day after or before the meeting.