What a week. My team has been working hard on the launch of our Springboard Sales Graduate program while I’ve been working with some fantastic young salespeople working for companies in and around Bristol who are committed to making a difference in their lives.
It’s funny how 2 events that look completely different from each other can in fact be intrinsically related.
That’s exactly happened this week. Let me explain.
Many of you may have heard of our Springboard Sales Graduate Program. Well, this week my team have been launching the first round of evaluations for graduates seeking to join the program. We will be selecting only those graduates who have the drive, commitment and focus necessary to be successful in a high level B2B sales role. Those in the business world who have been successful in sales (which is about 7% of those that are actively in a sales role) know that success in sales demands these competencies and more.
While my team have been doing this, I’ve been coaching a wonderfully diverse group of young people in what it takes to build a successful career in sales.
That’s when I came across 2 young people, each from a different company and very different backgrounds but each sharing a common commitment to their own success in life. In the time I spent with each of them, I was inspired by the intelligence and focus that they had and their ability to work out the path they wanted to take to the top. This is what really fascinated me… the path that they have taken and why.
Craig and Anne have both identified ‘Sales’ as their path to the top. When I spoke to them about why they chose to be in sales, I heard a similar story. At school, they had a somewhat negative view of sales, which many people do. When they thought of sales, they thought about pushy salespeople that were slick and fast talking but lacking in substance.
After completing their studies they joined their respective companies and saw that the sales roles in those companies were different from what they expected. They were very high-level roles that demanded intelligence, warmth and honesty to achieve success. This opened their eyes.
What fascinated me more as I spoke with these young people was that they recognised that the senior leadership in the companies almost exclusively came from a sales background. These leaders had great people skills, confidence and the ability to get the best out of their teams. In short, they drove their teams to success based on their own drive, focus and commitment.
Anne was the real ‘Go Getter’ of the two. She made a commitment to move from Marketing into Sales. She initially worked as the internal sales support for the company’s top salesperson until the opportunity came for her to take on a front-line sales role and she never looked back. The key reason I was speaking to Anne was to assess her for a sales leadership role with the company. At the age of 24 she was about to move into a senior leadership position with a fast growth company and leap-frog over many people more senior to her in years and experience. I can’t imagine how successful she will be by the time she’s 30!
As for Craig, he’s now on the first rung of the sales ladder and has just beaten his budget in his first year in a sales role. Many of his sales colleagues have missed their targets for the year but Craig did the hard yards and is now on a career path where people in the company are paying real attention. That’s why I was there.
The story of Anne and Craig is the story of Springboard. While Anne and Craig had to find their own way into a sales and leadership career, Springboard can accelerate this possibility for the lucky few that get into the program. Like Anne and Craig, Springboard puts young graduates on the path to leadership by showing their value early in their career.
It’s your life, you get one shot at this. Are you going to take it by the scruff of the neck like Anne and Crag and push towards a successful fast growth career path or are you going to sit in the back of the room along with a hundred others who are waiting for their success to ‘come along’?
I don’t think the choice is all that tough… do you?