Our summer 2022 marketing internship experience has been full of memorable moments, challenging situations, and fun times, but above all, learning.
Over the past 10 weeks, we had the opportunity to work and learn about things that we’ve never touched before: Salesforce, Marketo, Monday.com, Salesloft, running a swag store, and so much more. We were astonished to find out that there were so many different departments within Marketing, and we certainly had little to no knowledge of Sales.
During the internship, we were able to unpack what it means and what it takes to be a salesperson. We discovered that salespeople can earn a vast amount of money, grow out gray hairs faster than the average human, and even occasionally cry themselves to sleep at night. In short, the struggle of sales is real.
After some reflection on our experience, here’s our take on sales.
What It Takes To Survive in Sales
Being a salesperson is hard, to say the least.
We’ve learned that knowing where to begin is only half the battle. So, what does it take to get started? Let’s talk about it.
- Patience: A “go-getter” attitude, and being aware that leveling up takes time. Give yourself some grace and recognize that you might have to stretch your patience to be able to make a sale.
- Perseverance: A drive for success, but open-mindedness to failure. Giving up is not an option.
- Productivity: Being intentional with the way that you communicate with others and going the extra mile to ensure success.
We also learned that these three skills take time to develop, and can always be improved upon. But, with passion and will, growth is boundless.
While these qualities are critical to include in an SDR’s toolkit, they are still 100% applicable to anyone trying to develop personally and professionally. As marketing interns, we make a conscious effort to work on both hard and soft skills daily by completing career development tasks and projects as we strive for growth. We’ve also been able to develop these tangible skills for our toolboxes by learning from SDRs in 1:1 meetings and applying these to our interests and goals in the marketing field.
How Salespeople Stay Driven
Salespeople: Snobby, annoying, and stubborn people that will do anything they can to sell something to you, not because they care about you or the product, but because they want the money.
This is what comes to many peoples’ minds when told to think about who a salesperson is. It’s safe to say that this stereotype does not hold true in most cases. So, let’s debunk this myth!
While salespeople can earn a substantial amount of money, the truth is, their journeys are often extremely arduous uphill battles. Working in sales requires a very competitive, self-driven, independent, and entrepreneurial nature. Salespeople leverage every sale into more sales. They don’t simply lie down, relax, and drink some wine whenever they close a deal. Instead, they use it as a driving force for them to keep pushing.
Salespeople typically have a flat salary with a commission-based income, meaning that beyond their flat salary, they have to reach a certain quota of closed deals in order to earn more money. That’s why the end of the quarter is the busiest and potentially the most stressful time for salespeople.
An outbound SDR once described his first 12 months of being an SDR as “hell.” He said he had to outwork everyone around him, sacrifice nights and weekends, and do everything he could possibly do to become a successful salesperson. However, he knew one thing was for sure: the hard work definitely paid off.
As marketing interns, we resonate with this. During our time here, we realized that our time, effort, hard work, and perseverance is never for nothing.
How To Create Wins
We’ve observed that selling relies on three things: knowledge, consistency, and personalization.
Knowing your product seems to be the keystone of any deal. While some calls may include questions and uncertainties, being able to reassure the necessity of what you’re selling allows for more long-term wins. The product builds credibility, leading to trust, hence improving your ability to really gain buy-in and build long-term loyalty.
Whether or not it’s an uninvolved prospect, consistency matters. Many sellers understand the importance of “customer first” and find it helpful to make their customers feel special.
In this day and age, it’s clear as day when an email, phone call, or message is automated. Customers are smarter than ever, making personalization more important than ever. Creating a specific and tailored selling experience for your customer will not only help a sale but ensure a long-lasting relationship.
During our experience as marketing interns, we used these three components to make an impact and create meaningful connections with our teams. Our tenure at Salesloft included a lot of learning, and we slowly gained more and more knowledge about our operations. We applied it in our day-to-day consistently and made sure to include personalization in every interaction.
Working in sales is not easy. But, it can shape you into a more productive, motivated, and driven person on both a personal and professional level.
Completing an internship with Salesloft in a sales environment has provided us with a new outlook and new tools for our toolkits. I think it’s safe to say that there are both hard skills and soft skills that go into this position. Exploring both has been the key to acquiring a deeper understanding of the sales industry and what it takes to be an SDR.
We all took a moment to think about what we plan to do with our polished sales toolkits.
“The competitive nature of sales is something I think can be applied across the board. The constantly evolving environment seems to bring out the best in peoples’ performance and growth.” – Blake Zerbe
“I think that the soft skills that a salesperson develops should not be overlooked. I plan to reflect more on a salesperson’s qualities and strategies and apply these skills to help myself grow and reach my goals in marketing.” – Nicole Caiati
“Sales experience provides a valuable skill set that can be applied to our everyday lives outside of work. If you think about it, we are constantly selling our ideas and opinions to others.” – Pauline Shin
There’s so much to unwrap about sales and we know that there’s always more to learn.
Well, that’s our take on sales from Salesloft interns. What’s yours?