July 21, 2023

Life in Sales at Cengage Group

From Strategic Account Managers to Customer Success Managers, sales jobs come with a wide range of titles. But, at Cengage Group, no matter the title or business represented, employees working in sales have one thing in common: an unwavering commitment to customer service and satisfaction. To help answer the question ‘why work in sales?’, we spoke with six employees to talk about their life in sales at Cengage Group.


Working In Sales


Working in Sales: Supporting Classrooms

April A., a Strategic Account Manager (SAM) with Gale, has worked at Cengage Group for about eight years. April and her team support curriculum initiatives in five states and she is also the Team Lead for the SAMs whose primary responsibility is Gale In Context: For Educators.

While she says that she didn’t always see herself working in sales, she has so many reasons to love her life in sales. “Yes, my job is about closing business, but it’s also about helping people, solving problems and collaborating with both customers and colleagues.” She adds, “Sales is a puzzle I have to solve and I love that it keeps me on my toes and requires me to bring my A game daily.”

“Because Gale is recognized as a publisher and library partner, it is our job [as salespeople] to build brand awareness around how Gale content can support daily classroom instruction. Strategic Account Managers are hunters, uncovering challenges in districts through conversations with stakeholders. I collaborate across many Gale departments and represent the ‘sales voice’ by supporting product, marketing, sales, finance, customer service and others as needed.”


Working in Sales Supporting Classrooms

April adds, “The K12 team at Gale is a powerhouse. We have so many intelligent, creative and hardworking people who challenge each other while supporting one another in our daily work. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by eager collaborators and I love the opportunities to brainstorm and tackle challenges, even across teams and departments. I love the impact we have on teachers and learners, helping them provide safe, current content to their classrooms every day.”

For those interested in working in sales, April suggests reading, listening to podcasts and following sales leaders on LinkedIn to learn more about a professional life in sales. She advises seeking out mentors, asking questions and trying new things. “Never stop learning – and remember to learn from everyone around you.”


Life in Sales: Building Relationships

Shelita B. is a Regional Customer Success Manager (CSM) for U.S. Higher Education and has been a part of our sales team for almost eight years. Her favorite part about working in technology sales is “working with instructors and learning what they are most passionate about regarding teaching. It’s so cool connecting with and learning from such brilliant minds. I love that we are constantly learning as a technology company and that every day is different.”

Shelita’s life in sales includes “providing creative sales strategies, hosting customer facing events and trainings, nurturing large and VIP accounts, executing learning management system (LMS) updates and changes, and working with data and spreadsheets to make information more digestible for Account Executives. I help bridge the gap between teams to cross-pollinate and share best practices.”


life in sales building relationships

Shelita says, “The people who experience the greatest success [working in sales] know it’s all about building relationships and being prepared and consistent. That’s the recipe to win and continue to win year over year. The most important thing for someone to know entering [sales] is that it’s a lot of work, and it never really ends, but its more rewarding – the relationships, connections and of course the many ways to bonus.”


Why Work in Sales: The Culture

Maria B., Senior Account Executive, began working for Cengage Canada when it was established three years ago. She says what she likes best about working in sales is “the strong culture, which promotes a positive, structured work environment that helps each of us achieve success.” She adds, “I like that the culture motivates everyone to do their best. We have a clear mission, objectives, expectations and values that guide us. There is open communication and feedback is encouraged.”

“The thing I like most of all is that it is an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated for the work they do,” she says. “The people I am surrounded by are the biggest drivers of my success and the reason I love my job. Our Regional Sales Managers and Director of Sales support us and ensures we have the resources and skills needed to be successful.”


why work in sales

In her current role, Maria is focused on growing market share and supporting the customers who currently use our resources. “I work with university professors and spend the majority of my time on campus, matching our resources to the needs of the professors and their students,” says Maria. “There are never two days that are the same and I love that I get to meet with professors from a wide variety of disciplines. I work as part of a larger team alongside our digital solutions managers, marketing managers and product team to secure adoptions of our titles and innovative online learning platforms.”

The best piece of advice that Maria has ever received is to “think of yourself as a lifelong learner. Continuously learning means you are always gaining new skills and allows you to become flexible and adaptable in your career path. I think possessing a willingness to learn is an attribute that is highly valuable in any workforce.”


Life in Sales: Developing Essential Skills for Success

Kenny L. has been with Cengage Group for five years and was recently promoted to Senior Regional Sales Manager. He says the promotion has been fantastic and that “the team . . . has made the transition seamless. They work extremely well together and have not skipped a beat. They appreciate the ability to have more close partners to share ideas and gain insight. I have seven reps that report to me as well as two Associate Regional Managers. We work as a team of managers in the large region to make sure the reps have what they need to be successful.”

Kenny shared that the most challenging part of his job is “managing my time between working with the Associate Regional Managers and the sales reps to make sure everyone gets what they need from me.” The most rewarding part of working in sales is “seeing the growth in all of the reps as well as the huge growth in the two Associate Regional Managers in such a short period of time.”


life in sales developing essential skills for success

Continuous learning and growing as a professional are priorities for Kenny. “I try to leverage my colleagues in different situations. I have also started to develop a group of mentors that I am able to reach out to and learn from on a regular basis. Additionally, I take advantage of the vast number of courses available through Cengage Group. To me, the skills most crucial to succeed in this career are being trustworthy, being genuine, being a good communicator and being driven for success and by the success of your team.”


Why Work in Sales: Opportunities for Growth

Maureen R., Director of Software Sales, joined Cengage Group in April. She says, “Cengage Group’s recruiting team and HR team stood out to me in their ability to connect with me regarding my goals and a keen interest in my career aspirations. The recruiting team supported me by helping me learn about what it meant to be part of the Cengage Group team as well company benefits and support for engagement with my colleagues. My recruiting process was supported by a quick, streamlined interview process and consistent check-ins to make sure that I could provide feedback on the hiring process. I was surprised to receive a survey asking for anonymous feedback while I was a candidate and [again after] my hiring. I also was very excited to join an organization which has been recognized by the Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award as a Best Place to Work in 2023.”

Stepping into a role as a people leader working in sales isn’t always easy, but Maureen shares that it was a smooth transition. She says, “I am glad to have the ongoing guidance and support from my fellow team members to lead my team. We take our onboarding seriously and this was a great experience for me as I was able to join new hires from across our various business to learn more about our credo, our Employee Resource Groups and gain knowledge about our different groups.”

In her current role, Maureen leads Infosec’s SaaS sales team that supports cybersecurity teams who need to continue the career development of their workforce and meet business and regulatory requirements. Throughout her career, Maureen has worked in several different industries, and most recently she says, “my professional experience has been enhanced by understanding cybersecurity technology, the human centered focus and the impact the current threat landscape has on our customers.” She adds, “One of the best parts of my role is helping my team be curious about the organizations they work with to help understand their goals and expected outcomes as well as what is fueling those priorities.”


why work in sales opportunities for growth


Working in Sales: Making a Difference

Karen H., Senior Sales Director for the US and Canada, has been with National Geographic Learning, a part of Cengage Group, for about seven years. She shared that she stays motivated knowing the work that she is doing makes a difference, “not only from a results standpoint, but also to my team and to the teachers and learners we serve. At the end of the day, I feel good if I've added value to most of what has crossed my desk (or Zoom screen).”


working in sales making a difference

Karen and her team focus on one thing: helping students learn English. “In contrast to most publishing teams that are defined by their sector, my responsibilities span all sectors, from K12 to adult education. Our students range from refugees and recent immigrants to international students who come to the US and Canada to learn English and either return home to a better job or stay for an advanced degree. Our specialized focus means we are experts and that expertise drives customer engagement, which helps us deliver the right solution to improve learner outcomes.”

To anyone who is interested in working in sales, Karen says, “[Sales] is absolutely the best place to start a career because it grounds you in the ‘why’ and helps you develop a customer centric perspective, which almost always steers you in the right direction. It is also a great transition for anyone looking for a role where you can make an impact quickly. [Life in sales] is fast paced, requires great problem-solving and communication skills and your results are visible and measurable. There is no hiding in sales. I've spent more of my publishing career on the editorial side of the house, but I got started in sales and returned to it because I missed it. My advice? Go for it!”

Join Us

If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to work in education  technology sales at Cengage Group, read more Employee Experiences and visit our Careers page to view open sales jobs.

This content was originally posted as part of an employee takeover on our LinkedIn page. To see more, follow us on LinkedIn.