Meryl Streep (3-time academy award winner) wasn’t far off when she said, “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, and then finding myself in there”. I had a similar epiphany when I started to collate all my lessons learned after working in Software Testing for over 3+ years & then in Sales for over 5+ years. The only difference was it was not for the reel, but for real.
While I’m still trying to find myself in both these roles (testing & sales), I did find a few similarities between them. Here’s a compilation of what I’ve found so far.
Asking the Right Questions
Arguably the biggest weapon as a tester/salesperson is the ability to ask the right questions to have a clear context. The side effect of not asking enough questions is poor decision-making. That’s why it’s imperative that you take the time to ask more and better questions. At best, you’ll arrive at better conclusions. At worst, you’ll avoid a lot of rework later on. As a tester, it helps you plan your testing & have a strategy in place, & as a salesperson, it helps you plan your approach to penetrate a deeper & an apt market.
Keeping Exploration a part of your Approach
Having a checklist makes things simple, but doesn’t guarantee high efficiency or greater coverage. You need Exploration as a part of your approach to question the variables. As a tester, exploration not only gives you the freedom to experiment but also gives you a sense of curiosity along with good coverage of real-life use cases. Sales is no different, knowing your target audience & setting up prospective meetings is simple. But exploration allows you to find ways to help customers in ways sometimes the product owner themselves cannot imagine.
The Art of Selling
I know it’s painfully obvious how selling is important in sales, but this point is to highlight its similarity with testing. As a tester, knowing how to sell your bugs is a very important skill. I’m sure as a tester all of you at some point or the other would have encountered a bug you felt was a nice find & got really excited to share & make the stakeholders notice, only for them to sideline it as a low priority. I don’t recommend getting emotionally attached to your bugs/observations, but I do recommend advocating for your bugs smartly & selling it as a potential risk.
Let’s be honest, Regression Cycles are often boring in testing but saves you a lot of embarrassment later. Similarly in a dynamic world today, any change in the status quo is an excuse to do regression in contacting your potential clients & other prospects. It saves you the embarrassment of seeing your potential clients join hands with your competitors.
A Whole lot of Writing/Reporting
Both activities involve writing, too much for anybody’s liking. While testing
Involves writing bug reports & filling out a lot of data, sales involve writing numerous emails & making plenty of sales reports. Meaning both activities require a good amount of communication. Being friendly, precise & objective comes in handy to make communication effective in both the fields.
Both testing & sales operate in a time crunch environment. While sales is understandably so since closing a deal is more likely while the Iron is hot. Testing, on the other hand could do with more breathing space afforded to the likes of development & designing teams. But that is a discussion for another day.
Testing & Sales are also two of the very few things we all people do throughout our daily life. I having practised both of these since childhood continue to learn, enjoy & grow from both. To conclude, my translation of Meryl Streep’s quote from above reads, “I don’t try to be someone different when playing different roles be it testing or sales. I look for similarities and then adventure myself in finding a newer version of me.” Meaning I’ll continue to add more similarities as I grow personally in these roles together.
Originally published by Ankit Yadav5