Photo: Carly Gillis Photography
After a successful junior fall semester at Brown University, I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my winter break than to return to work as an intern at Seismic. While I spent this past summer on the marketing side, I made the move to inside sales and was thrown right into the fire as a Client Development Representative.
Here were a few of my major takeaways from Seismic and how I’ll be applying them to better myself as a student and teammate back at school:
1) Senior Leadership is Vital for Success
Within days of working at Seismic, I uncovered that our atmosphere and dedication to work is a direct reflection upon the founders and senior leaders of the company. Their vision and ability to lead by example reflects the type of work ethic that is expected and practiced by all employees. Learning from their relentless example inevitably made me work harder.
This leadership can be applied to my leadership on the football field. Heading into my senior year, I want nothing more than to graduate with a championship. Like the desire of building a billion dollar company, it will take every senior on the team to preach such a vision. We need to commit to everything we do not only for ourselves, but also for the younger kids on the team. They are watching, learning from, and playing at a level based on our every action and decision.
I learned quickly that nothing would ever be handed to me as I continue to pursue a career in sales. I could send hundreds of emails a day and receive zero responses. It often takes many attempts and extra effort to see results.
“Persistence” reflects the importance of proactively meeting with my professors and TAs. They have hundreds of students they have to worry about; why should they award me a decent grade without my effort to see them for extra help as much as possible? Like making the extra effort to speak with potential customers about why they should be using our software, I need to apply that same effort in my classes to get the grades I want.
3) Long-Term Relationships Matter
I found that one of the most important things about growing a company is to maintain positive relationships with customers and clients. I learned that a “sale” isn’t as much of a sale as a partnership. It is important to address customers’ needs and help them reach their goals. That’s how you stand out in comparison to competitors. Our customers are the oil that keeps the machine moving. A start-up cannot succeed without happy customers.
Now, I may not be nearly as bright as the brainiacs next to me in class, but I make up for it to by trying not to blend in. Since starting at Seismic, I’ve been recommended by professors for leadership positions at school, including being a class TA and participating in a work-study – all through developing relationships, splitting off from the norm, and proving that I care.
4) Ask For Help
As an entry-level employee at a rapidly growing company, I was often assigned to a number of different tasks from more than one person at the same time. It was easy to get confused or overwhelmed by what I was doing. Beyond that, I previously had very little knowledge in the world of marketing and sales. I was never once given a hard time for asking for assistance. If anything, it made my work better and I was more appreciated for my efforts.
At school, I’ve gotten way better at using my resources to my advantage. Whenever I’m struggling in a class or feel like I don’t have enough time in my day between football and class, I to remember that I have 120 teammates, a number of friends, dozens of coaches, and a handful of understanding professors that are always willing to help. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed about. In the long run, it’s made me a better student and employee.
5) Set Your Goals High and Never Be Satisfied
One of my favorite parts about working at Seismic is that everyone sets their goals extremely high. I quickly learned that there is no such thing as 9-5 at this office. I almost felt guilty leaving for my offseason workouts every night considering that more often than not, others were taking the last train home. They didn’t do this because they had to – they did this because they wanted to. When deals came through, they were immediately on to the next. Like the great Tom Brady once said, “You know what my favorite ring is? The next one.” Likewise, no Seismic employee is nearly content with our recent second round of funding. I’ve learned that there is always more to be accomplished and to set the bar as high as possible.
As if I weren’t already motivated enough in the classroom, Seismic President Ed Calnan told me that if I don’t get another 4.0 this semester that my gig here is up and I’ll be back home scooping ice cream all summer. I think he’s serious. Challenge accepted.