8-5 job no weekends, very easy to move up in the company. They showed me how to sell B2B, as well as to show and deliver value first. WE just became the 6th largest independent office supplier in the country. I provide superb customer service, which is why I have such a loyal customer base. We pride ourselves in our timelyness in delivery and response. Managers only assigned 6-7 sales reps, so that you always individualized attention. The VP has moved up from the sales force to the management team so we have a certain amount of empathy given to us because he has been in our shoes.
The constant sales increase, Very agressive sales plan, as well as the left hand never knowing what the right is doing/ We only do Inside Sales so we are constantly cold calling. There is no Outside Sales Department which I believe is crucial in our line of work. We offer no contract so that customers do not feel wary trying us out. However that allows our customers to search around and look for the cheapest price. Our online ordering website is far below par. Sometimes Management can be trite and condesending. The ever changing focus, the fact that one week we focus on this and then the following week we are told to change that paradigm.
Advice to Management
Include Sales people help decide the changes needed to inhance and improve the company. Acknowledging a job well done...
Hours: 8-5 is pretty normal. However they do expect you to come early and stay late if you want to be successful. No weekends.
Promotions: Its pretty simple, you do well, and you move up.
This company prides itself in customer service. They do a pretty good job at delivering on this promise. Honestly, you're not really selling a commodity here, you are selling yourself. Anybody can buy the exact same product you sell, for the exact same price somewhere else. If you're good at communicating to other people the value of buying from yourself, than you can do well here.
They definitely teach you how to sell based on value and relationships. There is no doubt that you will be better at sales after you have worked here.
Base-pay: With the economy the way it is, fewer and fewer companies are offering a base pay, and its nice to have this when you're starting off.
Summary: This used to be a good place to make some decent money, however with businesses going under all over the place, there are less clients to sell to with the same pressure to do well. New sales are very hard to come by. Even the senior sales reps are doing well just to maintain their business, much less increase it. Everybody you call knows who you are and has been called 12 times over the past year and said "no" every single time. Don't expect to be calling fresh leads. If you think you're good at sales, then you won't succeed here, if you know you're good at sales you could be making more money somewhere else and selling a more interesting product . It may be the right place for you if you've been hit by the tough times and are out of a job or if you're looking for your first job and don't have any other offers. However with the success rate here at around 10%, I highly recommend you not to leave a stable job or move from out of state for this job.
Turnover Rate: Don't be fooled by all the "Best Place to work in Gwinnett County" stuff that they throw at you during the application process. Its a bogus claim. A manager specifically told me they expect to keep 1 in 10 people they hire. This held true for pretty much every training class that went through while I was there. About 1 in 10 was still there after the first year. Its very hard to work at a place that is constantly hiring and firing people. When you're starting off in sales, if you don't think the company believes in you, you won't be successful.
The product: If you can sell pens and paper, you can sell just about anything. Which leads me to ask, why would you want to be selling pens and paper? At Sunbelt, you're not learning a new skill like you would be if you were involved in something like IT sales, or VOIP sales, or some other technology. Learning a new skill about technology will open the doors for more opportunities down the road, both sales and non-sales..
Trainer: The trainer is outsourced, and I found this a little odd. She has been there so long that she is very familiar with everything and overall her material is pretty good. But she's never sold office supplies and doesn't understand the "ins and outs" of the industry. This allows her to be objective, which can be a good thing, but she does a poor job at relating with the struggles you will have.
Benefits: No 401k match, you do not get any sick time or vacation time until after the first year (and only a week after that). The medical and dental packages are sub-par (wait til you get your dental bill, you'll realize they went on the cheap plan)
Weird Gimmicks: They tried adding new rewards to have more incentives for successful performance. For example you get colored business cards when you get promoted, a better parking spot, or dual monitors at your desk. It leaves the impression that the company isn't invested into you until you're doing good.
Compensation: Instead of having a ramp-up bass+bonus plan, you make base+commission. Commission is great if you've been at the company for a couple years and are generating a lot of revenue, but if you're just starting off you will be treading water for a while. At my previous job you received a $1500 bonus (on top of your base) every time you hit your goal, so you could actually make some legitimate money right off the bat. At Sunbelt you will make a base + 5% commission on profit for your first 6 months. Best case scenario you're doing $20,000 after 6 months, which is about $5,000 profit, and equals a lousy $250 in commission. Trust me, if you're one of the few that is good enough to be selling $20,000 after 6 months, you could be making a lot more money somewhere else. One thing I noticed with this pay structure was that the few good salesman that could have seriously benefited the company left because they could make much more elsewhere.
Advice to Management
Not that its their fault, but the managers are too busy with their own clients to have their own sales team as well. All they do is look at your numbers. There is hardly any interaction, maybe 5 min a day. Bottom line is they are not managing, they are observing. I really enjoy hands off management, but its nice to have an open line of communication with your managers, which I felt like I was unable to have here. Unless your a top 5 salesman in the company, you will rarely, if ever, be legitimately encouraged by a manager. I would like to see weekly meetings 1 on 1 with the managers where they talk about the job, and the struggles and successes you are having. Perhaps they review at least one phone call with you per week. Also once a month they have a meeting where they discuss personal goals with you, completely unrelated to work. This shows they care about you as a person and not just as an employee.
Also, there's too much confusion between the manager and the trainer. The reality is, salesman need one person they go to, and the roles of the manager and the trainer often overlap. Its confusing and would make more sense if the manager played a more hands on role for developing his team.
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