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I work for a small company that works solely with one of the top 3 wireless carriers. My role is to take the Natl Acct Managers outside of the normal cell phone box and help them uncover out of the box solutions, but more importantly, help consult with our own internal teams to best stage, QA and deploy large solutions throughout large organizations (Fortune 100). We are a full service wireless solutions integrator. There are 10 of us around the country and right now we are called Regional Sales Managers (as we are responsible for specific regions and the account managers within those regions). This is ok but we are refining our identity for 2009 and one of those proposed changes is our titles.

I feel that a title like "wireless consultant" signifies a retail environment (which we are far from) and something like "Area Sales Manager" or "Channel Manager" lumps us into a very large group of folks that have MANY different duties.

If you think of the larger organizations in the US and when you hear that they have hired a consultant, it implies that someone is coming in to help them add efficiencies to their business and improve processes. The term "consultant" has an association of higher end professionalism and aptitude with it (at least in my mind). This is my pick.

At the end of the day does it matter? Maybe not, but we pride ourselves as providing a Nordstrom-like experience at every interaction a customer/prospect has with our company and when I hand my card to a C-level executive I want to feel like my title matches precisely with what I do.

Thoughts?

ashdenver's picture

Gotta say, from a personal POV, here's how I see some of the titles you've mentioned:

Sales = "pushy, looking for their own wallet's best interest, not mine"
Consultant = "repackaging existing stuff in a shiny new package"
Manager = "peon not worthy of meeting with C-level"

Not that this really helps you all that much. But since you work for someone else's company, how much sway over the job title do you really have? (Some places wouldn't care what you call yourselves as long as you're delivering results; other places want to retain tight control over consistency in titles.)

jhack's picture

"Consultant" typically implies someone paid to provide insight or guidance, etc. "Sales Consultant" usually means a technical or pre-sales role.

How about getting rid of titles altogether? Just hand them your card, with your name on it, along with your company and contact info.

And if there's nothing wrong with your titles, why change them? Or simplify it to "sales manager." Does your title need to indicate that you are organized by geography?

John

yahtzee's picture

[quote="ashdenver"]Gotta say, from a personal POV, here's how I see some of the titles you've mentioned:

Sales = "pushy, looking for their own wallet's best interest, not mine"
Consultant = "repackaging existing stuff in a shiny new package"
Manager = "peon not worthy of meeting with C-level"

Not that this really helps you all that much. But since you work for someone else's company, how much sway over the job title do you really have? (Some places wouldn't care what you call yourselves as long as you're delivering results; other places want to retain tight control over consistency in titles.)[/quote]

Our CEO is actually asking for our input. It doesn't necessarily have to change but if someone wants a change, he expects a good case for it. Again, I realize that it doesnt really matter but I'm not a fan of being called a sales manager as I dont have any direct reports (and I have been a true sales manager before with direct reports). I dont like anything that contains "sales" or "manager". I like "consultant."

jhack's picture

Business Development?
Sales Consultant?
Solution Engineer?
Creative Wildcard?
Minister of Communications?

John

yahtzee's picture

[quote="jhack"]"Consultant" typically implies someone paid to provide insight or guidance, etc. "Sales Consultant" usually means a technical or pre-sales role.

How about getting rid of titles altogether? Just hand them your card, with your name on it, along with your company and contact info.

And if there's nothing wrong with your titles, why change them? Or simplify it to "sales manager." Does your title need to indicate that you are organized by geography?

John[/quote]

Hey, John. Hope you have been well. The carrier that we work with does pay us when we are engaged in the deals or when we bring the deals to them. We are in fact providing insight and guidance to companies. It is a far cry from determining how many cell phones a company needs. Things that a large carrier cant do on their own. As I mentioned to ashdenver, our current titles are so common within our industry and dont really tell customers that we are true consultants. We are organized by geography but not sure that's super important.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Yahtzee,

Do your districts have names? For example, you could be National Accounts Consultant, Western Division

I think that gets the scope in there (National accounts are pretty big), consultant, and that you service a distinct geographic area.

*RNTT

HMac's picture

Solutions Architect?

I had that title with great success. One caveat: I wasn't working with any highly technical/IT type companies - where "architect" tends to have some associations with it.

-Hugh

RobRedmond's picture

I recommend you just forget about your title. Titles are meaningful inside organizations because they tell other people how much power you have and what you have power over. But when you are a liaison to another company in a line position, your title is irrelevant. They don't care about your power. They are your customer. The only title you need to remember is "servant."

Jut about anything you put on business card will be read as "sales guy." Just your name and contact info, your company - that ought to do. Leave the titles back in the office.

asteriskrntt1's picture

I totally disagree with Rob's point. I think titles are extremely important as the bundle of what you do to make your first impression. Your title helps the person you are meeting understand where you might fit in their world.

This would be the same as not putting your titles on your resume and just writing the company name. I am pretty sure you don't put your titles on the resume just to show your internal role power.

A business card is one of your sets of marketing tools. It needs to have a title.

*RNTT

RobRedmond's picture

I'm not sure I understand the difference between disagreeing and totally disagreeing, but nonetheless, Mark recommends you not even carry a business card because your goal is to capture other people's contact information so you can reach them, not to be reachable by them. I have done intercompany liaison work for 12 years. I've don't remember giving anyone outside of our company a business card with a title on it in that time. I currently have no business cards for my real job. I figure my email signature does the job.

When you come from company X and are the rep for your company to company Y, they already know you are their "rep" and where you fit into their world because you tell them when you meet them. And, your title isn't relevant to their world. It's relevant to yours.

A resume requires a title because you are pleading for work and those receiving it expect you to report that accurately. The title itself isn't what is important as much as what sort of line work you did, or whether you led, supervised, managed, managed managers (directed), or operated at the executive level (managing directors and higher). We don't use the title to figure that out. We ask you what you did and how many reports you had.

When I read your resume, and I'm hiring a bunny herder, I don't care if you were the lead or the chief. If I need someone to manage bunny herders, I will ask, "Did you manage bunny herders?" I won't rely on your title.

I know a lot of people really get hung up on their title. They will even go to their boss and complain when their title changes from chief bunny herder to bunny herd lead because it sounds less prestigious.

On a business card it isn't so important, though. Look above. People are suggesting all sorts of ways to obfuscate the role by coming up with all sorts of vague titles that are not going to convey what you do.

You are your company's representative to them. You are an ambassador. You're not an account manager. You don't manage, and they are not an account, they are people. You aren't a salesman, because you visit without trying to sell them anything. You aren't a solutions architect. You don't design buildings that solve problems.

If you hand me a business card, mostly I just want the phone number, email address, and mailing address so I can keep in touch and send you thank you notes and such. If your title says you are a solutions architect or it says something like, "The guy you call when you need us," I'm not going to react differently. Although the latter might make me smile, remember you more, and strike up a conversation.

jhack's picture

Cards without titles work.

In the 90's, I worked at a major (and then well-respected) financial services firm. Business cards either said nothing or said "Vice President." They never indicated what you were VP of - it meant you had authorization to sign contracts on behalf of the company.

It was very easy for people to move from role to role, as market opportunities or projects required. You could be a project manager in the spring, QA lead in the fall, and work with the traders on the floor over the summer. People didn't get caught up in "That's not my job description" silliness. (performance reviews etc were another matter which I won't go into here).

Basically, people were focused on executing their current mission rather than clamoring for title. It was good.

John

fchalif's picture

I find the title "Manager" very powerful. I think that that word alone under my name on a business card would be very cool.

Consider what a Manager does:

Communicates Effectively to Maintain or Encourage Effective Future Behavior

Most of us in the MT community understand the description of a Manager I have written above, even if it may not suit each members specific interpretation. Imagine how many conversations you can have simply having to answer the question "Manager, manager of what?" There is so much to talk about. You can tailor your answer based on who you are talking to. If it is a customer in the telecoms industry, it can mean that you will provide solutions to them in a reliable and timely manner, at the right price. That is what the customer wants to hear, and likely much more, but we all know that you are going to have to "Communicate Effectively to Maintain or Encourage the Effective Future Behavior of your team members to get it done versus the competition.

Putting any other word in front or behind "Manager" is meaningless to me. Having interacted with Manager-Tools, its podcasts, attended the conference and read most of the books on the MT list, some twice, I have developed an appreciation for the word Manager that I never had before.I have encouraged my staff to follow my MT path and get their own feel for what a Manager does. I have stated that once they get it and walk that talk, that any qualifier like "Production" or "Sales" is unimportant. If I know that this person is a "Manager", than I know they can do almost anything in our company. (PS: Our Company's work is not highly technical). I also usually state that I myself am on that journey and that I am not yet there.

Yathzee: The answer above may not be what you are specifically looking for, but the essence of it is to search for the ability to deliver performance to your customers. The title is far less important than the impact you have on your team and your customers. Basically, you want them to remember your name, hence the discourse above. If you achieve what all of us in the MT community are striving for, than your title will not matter much. Hope this has helped.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Rob,

We can agree to disagree. That being said, when the first line of someone's response to my comments is to mock me or my choice of words, I am pretty sure that I won't be reading the rest of their response, be it in a forum like this or from an employee.

*RNTT

terrih's picture

[quote="jhack"]Cards without titles work.

In the 90's, I worked at a major (and then well-respected) financial services firm. Business cards either said nothing or said "Vice President." They never indicated what you were VP of - it meant you had authorization to sign contracts on behalf of the company.

It was very easy for people to move from role to role, as market opportunities or projects required. You could be a project manager in the spring, QA lead in the fall, and work with the traders on the floor over the summer. People didn't get caught up in "That's not my job description" silliness. (performance reviews etc were another matter which I won't go into here).

Basically, people were focused on executing their current mission rather than clamoring for title. It was good.

John[/quote]

Man, I would like to suggest this at my company... at least the part about no titles on the cards.

I am responsible for having business cards printed, and several times I've had to reorder for someone just because their title changed from "High Muckety-Muck" to "High & Mighty Muckety-Muck." What a waste of corporate resources. :wink:

bug_girl's picture

I've been in my current position for 14 months. We've had 3 mission statements and 5 different logos during that time. :shock:

I'm not bothering to update my cards anymore.

terrih's picture

:shock: is right!!