When you think about sales, how many will say, “I could never sell anything, no, that’s not me”. Whether you work in actual sales, marketing or, even IT, everyone is in sales. Whether we are selling a physical product or service to an external customer, marketing our product or program to an internal customer or teaching our children how to advocate for themselves in a difficult situation at school, we are all selling all of the time. We are selling ideas, concepts and even our own brand.

I’ve spent most of my career in sales, marketing and IT consulting. In sales, I was managing a quota, constantly thinking of ways to generate leads, increase interest so I could close the deal with my external customers. In Marketing, I was developing programs to help internal constituents sell more effectively which included interacting with external customers by creating a world class customer experience for them to drive outcomes they defined. Having been part of 1,000+ resource IT organizations comprised of engineers, product owners and analyst types, I see how much they too are focused on their end user and how, in fact, they are selling to their internal customer every day. In consulting, it’s important to always think of your stakeholders by delivering on your commitments better, faster and more efficiently.

What is an external vs. an internal customer?

The concept of internal and external customers may be one that you’ve never considered, especially if you’re outside of a direct sales or marketing role. Fairly apparent that external customers are those who buy products and services to fill a need or solve a problem. Who are internal customers? In IT, it’s those end users who use your products or to whom you supply a service. In HR, you have a couple of internal constituencies — business leaders in the organization and the employees of the firm. In every job/role, we all have customers — internal or external. When we look at it this way, we should always be striving to achieve “customer” satisfaction.


Customer satisfaction has become a paramount measurement of success. Have you been asked to take a survey recently? (You don’t have to answer, that was a rhetorical question!) Everyone is asked constantly to rate their experience, to evaluate a product and/or the person who provided the service. We are measurement focused. The belief is that if we can measure where we are today, we see how far we are from where we need to be and define areas/ways to improve to get where we want to go. Getting feedback from internal and external customers may help uncover areas of need, define new requirements or to simply provide an increased level of customer satisfaction.

So when you think you’re not in sales, think again.

Who are you serving in your job? Is it customers (internal or external), your manager and the officers of the firm, the employees in your company, yourself? Living in a service mentality will keep you focused on providing the best possible you and getting positive results (e.g. reaching quota, achieving high levels of customer satisfaction, keeping end users productive and engaged, growing your team). Everyone is selling and, if you’re not, maybe think about how what you do affects others or how you want to influence them. Focus on them, and you may be surprised how you impact your “customers” and your results. You might change your opinion about your ability to sell when you see the positive impact this shift of mindset has on YOUR brand.

– Dina Greenwald, Vizionara Consultant