I have been blessed to work at a fast-paced startup here in the bay area. One concept that I have picked up on through my 4 years in the Sales Development world is that everybody is always looking for the next best thing — the next role, more money, the next cool apartment in San Francisco, etc. In this post, I want to share my experience relating to hard work, dedication, going above and beyond, and how to begin a successful path to becoming a leader.
I began my first Sales Development Representative (SDR) role in November of 2015. Coming from the Parks and Recreation field, I was clueless but confident nonetheless. I quickly picked up on the competitive environment that surrounded me. It reminded me of my days as a student-athlete — always wanting to win at everything I was involved in. Given my sports background, I made the connections between the lessons I had received from past coaches and my new corporate environment. Here’s what clicked to me:
Step 1: Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.
A few days into the job and it was clearer than ever before that now was the time to grind, crush the phones, and try to attain a higher quota than anybody in my path. I reminded myself that if I put my mind to something, I can get it done. About 6 months into my professional career, I began to dive into things I wasn’t necessarily open to doing in the past. I had nailed the basic meeting setting and opportunity creation at this point, and it fueled my desire to grow within the business. In order to grow, I needed to expand my knowledge and continue to add to my tool kit, which leads me to my next point:
Step 2: Continue to learn.
Almost any circumstance life brings to you, connections can be drawn to the sales world and the challenges that come with it. For example, I’ve had spirited debates with colleagues throughout my career where I let emotions get the best of me. That has led me to learn two things: 1) don’t make the same mistake twice; and 2) pass down my experiences to my team so they learn from my mistakes. Continuously educating yourself gets you a long way in a business setting. I was first promoted to Team Lead of Sales Development in April of 2017. This is when the organization factor came into place. Next, I’ll discuss how I stepped my game up:
Step 3: Stay organized and take notes.
With my new role came an increased exposure to executives, and strategic meetings. With these new responsibilities, I needed a system to feed information back to my team in a comprehensible fashion. I quickly realized that being organized was going to be a high priority for me. I have found that handwriting a to-do list for the next day before leaving the office has done wonders for me. Try it out for yourself!
Related Download: The Clear & Complete Guide to Account-Based Sales Development
All in all, I have enjoyed and will continue to enjoy my time at EverString. This startup world has many parallels to sports – you win some, you lose some, but if you have an open mindset, you’ll be able to see success. Heck, try some of the things I’ve suggested above!
Also, be as competitive as you can be. Have some grit to beat out your competition internally and externally. I have been the SMB and Direct SDR Manager now for 3 quarters. It has been a wild ride. I will continue to learn, be available to mentor, and have the same mentality throughout this journey. I have had the pleasure of working with some awesome leaders within the company, as well as building relationships with prospects. Huge shout out the EverString Team, y’all are some rockstars!