As the long summer days of August come to an end, my new role as a sales development representative with a learning and development company is in full swing.
In my previous update, I was excited to have just completed my very first sales call and had a positive conversation with a leading company in the consulting services industry. However, after that call, I found myself with an empty calendar and began to doubt if I would be successful in reaching additional prospects.
Was I going to make any sales? What would I share with my colleagues in my next update? And, most importantly, would I get to continue on my sales journey?
These questions circled my mind while I was visiting family on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC and I knew it was time to update my mindset so I would feel more positive about my progress.
With some helpful coaching from Mary Jane, I persisted with my outreach and experimented with my targeting and messaging — and things have been going really well!
Here are my metrics so far while working part-time with my new team:
- I’ve reached out to 200 people
- I’ve booked 11 introductory meetings so far
- I’ve had 14 additional positive responses (e.g. from people who wanted to learn more or were interested in setting up a conversation at a later date)
(Given that Tegan began her sales journey in early June and is working on this project part-time in the summer, her stats are impressive. She’s received responses from 12.5% of the people she’s approached and has had detailed conversations with 5.5%. -MJ)
A Combined Approach
I’ve found the most success with a combined approach of phone calls, email, and LinkedIn to reach people, especially over the busy summer holiday period. The meetings I’ve booked so far have been with a variety of companies that fall within our ideal customer profile, from smaller teams to leaders in the software and energy industries in Canada and the US. It has also been encouraging to hear back from several teams who don’t currently have a need but expressed an interest in adding us to their vendor list, or who would like to reconnect at a later date.
Although I haven’t set up any sales calls for my team yet, I’ve learned a lot about my prospects in our conversations. In my past experience working with startup teams, “customer discovery” has been a key business activity for finding a product-market fit. Similarly, talking with a variety of professionals in the learning and development space has given me valuable insight into their unique needs and challenges.
Mary Jane has discussed the benefits of allowing curiosity to guide conversations; this perspective has helped shape my approach and made my conversations with L&D professionals both productive and enjoyable. By being curious, I’ve learned about my prospects’ existing training programs, the challenges they’re facing, their process for selecting vendors, how they set their learning targets, and more.
Staying the Course
Overall, I’m really excited things have been gaining momentum and that I’ve been able to book conversations consistently. Even with a great support network, I’ve found it easy to feel discouraged at times in the early stages of my sales journey. However, consistent effort and patience have been paying off. My next challenge will be to guide my conversations toward a sale and use my newfound insights for even more effective outreach.
Additionally, since my work in sales for my new team has been on a trial basis, I’ll find out next week if I will get to continue my sales journey – wish me luck!
With this series of posts, Tegan Samija is sharing with us, in real-time, how she navigates learning to sell … everything from picking up the phone, speaking with potential clients and booking meetings. I’m joining her on this journey as her occasional coach and I’m really pleased that she’s agreed to write about the experience.