If you prefer to read it, here is the transcript 🙂 👇
How I Got The Account Management Role At Cisco
Today I will tell you today a little bit what my path was and where I want to go and what you can learn from my mistakes.
So at the beginning I was a sales promoter, a person who stands in an electronic store and tries to sell products of a specific company to clients.
And I had to walk up to those people, start a conversation with them, talk about their needs, close the deal & then report it to the company.
So I did like that job a lot, quite a lot. I did it a couple of years and at the end of my degree (business administration), I had to decide what do I want to do next? Should I do accounting, should I work in a field where I have to increase the revenue for a company?
And I decided to do the latter, because I wanted to be in direct contact with people becauseI found out that I am more on the extroverted side and I actually enjoy talking with people.
But I believe it's not a prerequisite to be extroverted to be a good salesperson.
And so I applied for Cisco's graduate traineeship program.
I did their sales traineeship in which I had to do role plays where we played sales conversations. And after that I got into an SDR position where Cisco gave me their unimportant accounts...
...with which they didn't have done business in the last few years. And this was very challenging because talking to somebody, even Cisco is a quite known name but when I called them they were not really sure why I'm calling them.
I had to get their interest and get the conversation going somehow. So I learned a lot there. I learned one thing that you got to start a call with a real good topic on hand which will raise their interest, which will make them want to talk to you.
After I graduated, I got promoted into an account management position which by theory is easier because you are actually talking to accounts who have bought from that company before.
A Typical Day of An Account Manager at Cisco
So first thing is to get into the office.
Actually not always.
STEP 1: Go To The Office
We do have a home office policy, so I could theoretically stay at home. It helps a lot to go to the office. I'm a lot more productive than being at home. So I think if I can give you one tip, then try both and see where you're more effective.
I personally like to have people around me. That really motivates me to be active, to get up. And sales is a lot about energy.
If you're low mood, if you don't have energy, it's hard to call somebody because you don't feel like it.
STEP 2: Talk to Your Most Important Team Mates
So yeah, once I'm in the office, I talk to my Solutions Engineer. So I have a counterpart who is the account SE. That person knows about all of my accounts as well, and they are the people who drive more of the technical conversation.
That's of course already after I created the demand. After we spoke to the partners, then it's time for my technical team to actually show the customer how we can solve a problem in a technical way.
How is this done? For example, we do this by delivering a demonstration.
STEP 3: Go Through Important Emails
So once I talk to those people, it's time to actually go through emails. So I'm not sure if that's the best way of doing it, but yeah, you need to go through emails as well and answer those.
I think it's even better to do the proactive (e.g. calls) things before that. But it's very challenging because once you have the email application opened, you will have the desire to finish that first.
I believe that one can be more successful if one prioritizes everything which is harder to do, and being proactive, so reaching out to people is harder than reply to some emails.
STEP 4: Do Your Outreach
Okay, I replied to those emails, I looked at everything which our partners have managed to do, the deals they have registered with us as a vendor, and then it's time to also reach out to people I haven't spoken before, or to also reach out to people I have spoken before.
Because a relationship, in my opinion, only develops if I reach out to those people multiple times. If I only talk to them one time, even if it's a great conversation, a relationship won't develop.
STEP 5: Do Your Meetings (External & Internal)
And then what fills my day very often is meetings that are somehow prescheduled.
Those can be escalation calls with customers who have bought something but who are not there yet with using this way how we advertised it to be, it can be some internal calls as well, of course.
But then it's also partner alignment calls to get aligned on the status of specific opportunities and ways we can move those opportunities forward.
So I would say half of the time is spent on meetings and talking, and half of the time is spent organizing it, going through our systems to get all the data I need to do my work most effectively, to spend the other half where I talk to have the information I need.
InBetween: Do Customer Meetings (Prioritize those!!)
So, yeah, at the end of the day and when I'm actually in Vienna, for example, I try to have three customer meetings per day. One in the morning, one for lunch, and one in the afternoon.
I found this ratio to be perfect because in between, you also need to travel, and you also need to reply to many things that come in. And if you do more conversations, if you have more meetings than that, those things won't be done, which is also bad.
So you need to find a healthy mix for you.
Here are some more interesting topics: