In this edition of the IBM Early Professional Sellers blog series, Edcel Paul Tejare, a young sales professional from IBM Philippines talk about the highlights of his new seller journey and how he has been able to overcome challenges.
You’ve been in the Early Professional Sellers (EPS) program for several months. What are the highlights of the new seller journey?
I was part of the “blessed four” fresh graduates in Philippines who were onboarded for the Early Professional Sellers Program for ASEAN – a big blessing I will forever be grateful for. Who would have thought that my first job would be with my dream company? Back when I went to the US for an exchange program in high school, I came to pass by a huge building with the big IBM sign. Knowing how big of a computer company it was, I told myself “I will work there someday”. It may not be with that site in USA, but surely I did. Working for IBM for over 8 months now, I have come to know how blessed I am to have this opportunity – a turning point, a learning experience, and a fun work life, too.
What have you learned in your experiences as a sales trainee, and now as an IBM sales professional?
Being dubbed as the descendants of the known “Team Blue” of IBM, we know that the company has high expectations of us. This encourages me to deliver what is expected of us. I took it as a challenge to not just build myself around IBM but to establish a worthy career with The Big Blue. The Global Sales School is one experience I am very thankful for.To prepare for our professional career, we had a long six months of doing sales calls, write ups, simulations, and the new seller journey – it was surely difficult, but it was worth it.
I would always remember how I struggled to learn as a newbie but I eventually built up my self-confidence and believed that I can become successful with the help of my colleagues and self-perseverance. The experience had equipped me with the right weapons to face the challenging sales world beyond the walls of training rooms. Sometimes “what you know” is not enough. “Who you know” adds up to what you can become, what you can learn more of, and the right kind of guidance that a newbie needs in order to master the ins and outs of IBM and the sales world.
It’s not easy to get into IBM and it’s even harder to become successful if you don’t have the right kind of network and people to help you. I learnt from our hub manager that you have to build as much network as you can and be able to maintain that connection. The person you added on your network could be your next boss..
As we embark on the new seller journey, we try to make an impact and make ourselves an asset. The apprenticeship projects and the work we were exposed to adds to our value and expertise as sales professionals.. I am very thankful that my first-line manager had been very passionate and patient in leading me.. I learned from her that it takes initiative and the right attitude to sustain a career in IBM. She also emphasized the importance of asking the right questions from the right people in order to gain knowledge; that I shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, as a seller, we always have to ask and uncover ideas from people. I appreciate her patience and dedication to share her expertise and her time in grooming me to become a better seller, to be more confident, and to be ready to face challenges in the sales world.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
One memorable experience I had was when we went to a cocktail party with some big names in the market, CEOs, managers and people from the industry. We were just starting our seller journey, with only about three months in IBM, when one of our senior sellers left us with one IT manager and winked with the message “You can do it”. With no solid sales experience, and no sales pitch prepared, I couldn’t believe that what happens to movies really happens in real life – and I learned the importance of the phrases “That’s amazing”, “Very interesting” and “All right” when you have nothing else to say. Sounding like a true expert and a professional, and believing that what we have is the best in the market today, I was able to pitch a product to an IT manager. As we exchanged business cards, I winked at my senior seller and whispered “I did it”. Ah, the simple joys of a newbie in this big business world.
Overall, how do you feel about starting your sales career at IBM?
I am very happy that I am with IBM. Proud and firm, I see myself working here in the long years to come.
The opportunities here are much bigger and greener, or shall I say “bluer”. The training and experiences you get are very indispensable and do not just add to your CV but to who you are as a person.
Hearing people who had been here right from when they graduated from college up to many years of tenure – they still say “You are lucky you are here”.
I still can’t believe that someone like me who hasn’t sold anything in my entire life but lemonades on summer days and college yearbooks would be a client-facing seller for IBM. I would be very happy to share my stories to my friends, and how they can be part of a company as big as IBM, as long they believe in what they can do and strive to be the best in what they can do. I am Edcel and I am for happy customers!
Edcel is a Business Partner Representative for IBM Collaboration Solutions in the Philippines and also part of the Early Professional Sellers Program 2016.
Watch out for our next edition of the IBM Early Professional Sales interview.
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