What was your biggest hurdle or learning curve in the sales academy?
Ruby: I graduated from a liberal arts school and struggled with identifying what strengths I could bring to a technical software role. However, I was able to overcome that because of the 1 on 1s with my manager and other very involved individuals within the company. My manager was attentive to my strengths and challenges, she was able to adjust the activities we did within the sales academy to highlight my strengths and tackle my challenges.
Joshua: I believe the biggest hurdle for me was to be creative. I always had a hard time coming up with ideas that were naturally my own and being a part of this program challenged me to think outside of the box.
Sharlyn: The biggest hurdle and learning curve for me was not having a technical background. Not having that experience and knowledge in Sales, it became difficult to understand our products, how they help our clients, and how to talk about them intelligently in the beginning. Learning about each line of business, choosing a product, company, and business challenges from research and then having the opportunity to present a mock sales presentation helped and challenged me.
Angele: Coming from a very technical engineering school I did not often have the chance to do presentations or to hone my communications skills. A huge part of being a sales engineer is being able to communicate the technical results in a way that resonates with the client which might include both technical and nontechnical people at the same time. The sales academy provided us with numerous presentation challenges to help develop these skills and position our products.
How did the activities in the program challenge you? What skills did you sharpen?
Sharlyn: Conducting research, looking through annual reports and investor presentations is a different kind of research that I did not do in college. I had never seen a sales presentation before and I was not sure if my approach was the “right way.” It was challenging to understand the reports, but the program gave me an understanding of what to look for while allowing me to sharpen my presentation skills, research skills, explore my creativity, and remain open-minded and curious. The Sales Academy also provided me with the opportunity to hone my networking skills. Throughout the program, we met many individuals from various parts of the organization. It was fascinating learning about what motivated them and about their own career paths.
Angele: Learning all of Pitney Bowes offerings was challenging for me. There are four different lines of business in the Software organization and each has an extensive list of products. It was complicated learning all of the different aspects of the business and how they can be combined to form a solution for a client. I sharped my presentation and communication skills as well has how to be a young professional. I also increased my technical skills and took skills I learned from my Biomedical Engineering degree and applied and heightened my technical abilities to use them in my new role as a software sales engineer.
Ruby: You cannot really become good at something unless it is put into your everyday practices. And that is what we did in the sales academy. For example, as a cohort, we wanted to enhance our verbal presentation skills in different settings. So, any chance we got to talked about something as small as what we did for the week, we treated it like a presentation that we were giving to a client. This helped me get more comfortable giving presentations professionally and it personally helped me build my confidence as well.
Anthony: One of the most challenging activities we participated in was the mock sales presentation. This was particularly challenging because it was our responsibility to take all the information we had been given and develop a 30-minute pitch to show off our product knowledge and our ability to show the company that we could provide them value. This opportunity gave me confidence in my ability to challenge the customer and bring them outside their comfort zone. It also helped me understand that in the world of sales, you must be ready to move quickly. Some skills that were sharpened included time management, asking the ever so important “qualifying questions” about budget, authority, and timeline.
Joshua: We started off learning the solutions Pitney Bowes has within our software department, which challenged me to listen to what was being said. We were required to perform mock presentations to clients based on extensive research on the company’s critical challenge they faced. We were practicing research on companies, which sharpened my skills on what to look for while analyzing an industry. Doing presentations helped me be more confident in front of others while having a better understanding of my body language and tone of voice.