In this edition of the IBM Early Professional Sellers blog series, Eloise Tan, a young sales professional from IBM ASEAN talk about her new seller journey and her thoughts on cognitive business and disruptive technology.
You’ve been in the Early Professional Sellers (EPS) program for several months. What are the highlights of the new seller journey?
The EPS program is fun, challenging and exciting. Just two weeks before I started my first day at IBM, I was added to the EPS social media community which allowed me to get acquainted with my peers before meeting them. During my first week at IBM, my peers and I were given the opportunity to network and dine with IBM executives. I chatted with an IBM Vice President over dinner about the possibilities of Watson. Subsequently, we had roundtable discussions with several sales leaders and even enjoyed a lunch session with the Managing Director of IBM Singapore at the golf course!
I also attended the IBM Singapore Sales Rally for the first time, and got to see and listen to the inspiring speakers, leaders and award winners on stage! I love being a part of the EPS apprentice projects, where we rotated in different business units to better our understanding of IBM offerings and develop our selling skills. The most interesting project I was involved in was the Global Business Partner Project which allowed me to work with several channel partners, and I had the chance to attend a partner conference. Together with my team, we even got to produce our very own videos to showcase our creativity and how we can add value to IBM.
In this new era of cognitive business and disruptive technology, how do you think you are making an impact in your role as an IBM sales professional?
The wave of digitization is shaking every industry and has changed the way people engage and do business. In the era of cognitive business, organizations that ride on the wave will be able to increase organizational efficiencies, reduce redundant services, and be the next market leaders. The rise of big data, increased visibility of feedback channels, such as social media and the preference for on-demand services would mean that organizations have to act faster and in a nimbler fashion.
I consider myself to be a digital native, so to me, this is not a disruption but a second nature. As an IBM sales professional, I help my clients embrace the cognitive era by sharing and educating them on how data can be collected and analyzed for informed decision-making. I want to be a part of their digital transformation, and guide them through the technology disruption.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced in this program and how have you overcome them?
I come from a management and marketing background, so my biggest challenge is my lack of technical knowledge and capabilities. Thankfully, many of my peers in the EPS program have very strong technical capabilities. Whenever I need clarification or support, they are always happy to lend a helping hand or guide me. I also get career advice from my hub manager and seniors.
At the same time, I read up on technology news and follow technology updates on social media. IBM’s Think Academy is another platform that I use to improve my understanding of IBM’s business, industries, products, and services.
How do you manage work-life integration in IBM?
I enjoy running and I try to run at least twice a week. I’m also learning golf and I try to visit the driving range weekly. I volunteer at my church’s youth ministry as a producer to help plan service programs for the church.
I’m very comfortable with integrating my work and personal life. Work-life integration allows me to have more control over what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. During peak seasons where there’s high workload, I have less time to catch up with my friends, so I stay connected with them on social media while at work, and I answer business emails and attend calls after business hours. This flexibility allows me to fully optimize my time and increase my efficiency. I get to trade some work time for longer family dinners and continue my work after my dinner, at my preferred location.
Thanks to mobile devices, remote work arrangements, and being in IBM, a global integrated enterprise, planning my work around time and space is easy and effective.
What are the qualities that graduates should have if they want to embark on a sales career?
- Always listen to your client’s pain points before any selling. Do not assume knowing what is best for them. Listen and understand the client’s position and perspective so that ultimately, you can provide the best solutions to their problems.
- Having the ability to identify with clients, to feel what they are feeling and respect their opinions and positions. Sales is about serving people, and helping clients to achieve their dreams and goals.
- Always be aware of the circumstances and surroundings as you to know how your products or services might positively impact your clients. Be ready and prepared to present and make a sales pitch at any moment.
Eloise Tan is AP Hybrid Cloud Digital Offering Rep and also part of the Early Professional Sellers Program 2016.
Watch out for our next edition where we interview another early professional in the US.
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