Generally, inside sales teams have a reputation for high turnover. Inside sales reps can have a short shelf life before they get enough experience to be considered for a sales role with more accountability or perhaps a client facing role. With the internet being available everywhere and at your fingertips through smart phones, it still surprises me when an inside sales representative resigns without a resignation letter or 2 weeks notice. It’s not difficult to Google resignation letter templates. A resignation letter can be as basic as 2 lines. I am resigning. My last day is X. It is respectful to give 2 weeks notice but not always necessary. The moral of the story is, don’t forget your manners when you decide to resign from your current position.
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There is new dress code at my office, effective today. The organization has allowed for jeans to be worn Monday to Thursday. Of course, there are rules in regards to this jeans rule but that is not what I want to talk about today.
The thing is, I am not a fan of this change at all. I strongly encourage you to wear business casual even if your organization allows jeans. Perception/image goes a long way and the way you dress can have an influence on how you are perceived at the office. Employees may believe that dressing professionally indicates to coworkers that they are motivated, skilled, hardworking, and serious about their workplace responsibilities (Peluchette & Karl, 2006).
There is the old rule of thumb that says dress for the job you want, not the job you have. As a young sales professional, this truly applies as you likely aspire to be in a client facing role in the future. If you do, you can kiss your jeans goodbye.
Inside sales is a great way to discover if this is a great career path for you. Sales is one of the only jobs where you can have full control over the amount of money you make. However, it is also a learned skill that anyone can do. It does not mean that everyone will be good at it or like it. Like any other skill, you should allocate time to improve your skill by reading sales books, attend sales training, participate in online forums, and so on. In my younger days, I often heard people say “he or she is a natural”. Yes, some people are naturally more skilled than others. Everyone can play golf but not everyone is good at it.
Forecasting is a learned skill. You get better at it the more you do it. A great tip for forecasting is to only forecast a deal if you have the following information:
– You have a verbal from the prospective client
– You have a committed date as to when they will receive the agreement
– You understand their need/timeline as to when they need your product or service
A deal can be forecasted if you can answer ALL of the above.
Funnel management of pipeline management can be challenging for some. I have spent almost 9 years at Ceridian (http://www.ceridiansmallbusiness.ca/) in the small business division. This is a highly transactional environment. New inside sales reps to my team sometimes find it challenging managing their funnel. A general guideline that I like to use is having your funnel be 3 times your quota. Ex: $20,000 quota should have $80,000 funnel. However, this is a general guideline. You have to take into consideration your close ratio.
Core responsibilities of having a job, let alone a sales job, are:
– Come to work on time. Traffic happens and there are always exceptions, but you don’t want to be that person who is chronically late. Or, the person, who I like to refer to as “drama”. These are the inside sales reps that get a accidents, their cars won’t start, their alarms did not go off, they were up late last night, and blah, blah, blah. You are an adult with responsibilities. I expect you in the office on time. This can be especially harmful for moral if you are working on a team compensation plan.
– Respect your lunch hour. It is an hour, not an hour and 10 minutes. Your peers are hungry and waiting for you to return so they can go for lunch. Again, be responsible.
In addition to hitting your target and your metrics, respecting your peers and managing yourself is important. This is even more critical if you are on a phone queue as you are expected to be available to receive calls.
Different sales models, office cultures and managers will have different expectations. It is acceptable for you to have that conversation with your manager if they have not laid out clear expectations for you.
Please note that sales environments are unique. I can treat people differently, yet fairly. If my top inside sales rep frequently comes in late, I likely won’t make a big deal about. If my poorest performer is frequently late, you be sure that I will quickly address it. Sometimes, exceptions and autonomy are earned.
When I meet with candidates for interviews, I am still sursprised by the lack of preparation candidates put forth. Sure ways to guarantee you will not get hired:
1) You are late for the interview.
2) You don’t have copies of your resume wtih you.
3) You can’t answer the quesiton about what it is the company does.
4) You have no questions for the person or people interviewing you.
5) You don’t give specific examples.
Compare an interview to your exam days in post secondary. Would you show up to an exam without studying? Same rule applies to an interview. Do your homework!!!