Kevin Wilcox is a tenured sales specialist with experience in both hunting and consultative selling roles. He’s functioned in a variety of roles for companies including Oracle, Paychex, Workday, Knoetic, and Worksuite among others. His expertise has varied from marketing to recruiting and, most recently, true human capital management. In all of his roles, he’s worked directly with C-suite decision makers to build meaningful relationships, identify pain points, and alleviate bottlenecks through various solutions. Kevin is the newest member of the Ahura AI team, and this week’s How I Learn spotlight! This article will focus on him, his approach to sales, and the different ways that learning has played a key role in his success. 

Kevin, like many people, didn’t take a linear path to get into sales. Coming out of his undergrad at Bowdoin College, he initially wanted to work in finance. He started out as a financial advisor, a role which requires one to build 100% of their own business. He found, early on, that the best way to succeed in this field was by becoming an expert on his customers and the products and services available to them. Through a commitment to continuous learning and education, Kevin was able to progressively grow his business over time. Outside of studying to obtain his Series 7/63 and the other qualifications required just to sell the products, he pursued multiple other qualifications to increase his overall understanding of the space and ability to serve his clients. In his words, “I had a lot of letters after my name: ChFC, CLU, CLTC, and others…it really allowed me to become an expert in my field.” 

After some time, Kevin decided to transition into tech. He realized that he wasn’t terribly passionate about finance and decided to make the switch, beginning an entirely new learning process in an entirely new field. In his words, “I needed to constantly be feeding myself and understanding more about, not just the industry, but also just about being a better salesperson, a better consultant, and partner to my customers.” This continuous learning process may have started during his initial transition into the tech world, but Kevin has continued to hold a strong commitment to learning and upskilling throughout his career. Outside of staying up to date about the industries he works in and the tech space in general, he strives to take at least one online course per month covering a topic or area that’s outside of his expertise. Most recently (at the time of our interview), Kevin completed a course on people management. He said that the course was, “…a fascinating view into an area of business that [he] didn’t know much about”. He continued on to say that courses like these, “…always provide something that you can take back [to] use in your own business” even if it’s not directly related to your position or responsibilities right now. 

His years of experience and study in the field have led to the development of an overall approach to sales that is highly consultative and involves asking deep questions to truly understand customer needs. He uses a mix of different tactics, including Challenger Selling, Ninja Selling, and SPIN Selling with a particular focus on building strong relationships. Kevin helps guide the customer along the sales process by asking questions and offering his expertise in an effort to help all parties understand the customer’s true needs and how his products/services can fulfill them creating lasting value along the way. In his words, “…it’s a process where there’s a lot of learning [and] a ton of questions, more than some folks are comfortable with. [It’s about] really understanding exactly what they need, why they need it, when, and making sure that you’re there for any questions that they have [as] a true expert…”

Kevin’s experience and approach shows us just how integral learning is not only to the sales process, but also to the fostering of professional success overall. His commitment to lifelong learning throughout his career has proven extremely valuable, and we are beyond excited to have him as a part of the Ahura AI team. What do you think about Kevin’s approach to sales? What role do you think learning plays in the sales process? In fostering professional success overall? Let us know in the comments and tag us @AhuraAI so we can be sure to follow up with you. 

Author: Alex Murray, Operations and Client Success Intern, UC Berkeley ’23