Jessica Bevan has over ten years experience in sales. That's if you count her time as a five-year-old selling mandarins outside her house.
"My mother used to say I was an entrepreneur at a young age," Bevan tells Reseller News.
Bevan still has the gift of the gab that her mother recognised and today works as one of Telecom's Key Client Managers after gaining experience in other areas.
"I started off in telephone sales at the age of 18, and progressed from there," says Bevan. "I have worked in a range of industries, such as music and entertainment, in marketing and promotions, radio and now telecommunications."
Bevan, who has been with Telecom for two-and-a-half years, says it's par for the course to always look at career development and growth, but changing careers is not in the cards. It's where her ambition thrives.
"I can’t see myself ever leaving the sales environment," she says. "However I would love to become a sales leader one day."
How would you summarise sales-craft to a Martian?
A great sales person has the ability to build quick empathy with a customer by being a great listener and communicator resulting in longevity of the relationship. A good salesperson has the ability to uncover business problems and apply business drivers and solutions. They always take ownership and have accountability.
And how have you developed your craft since your mandarin days?
For me it’s all about surrounding yourself with successful mentors. Every role I have had, I have looked at the successful high performers around me and learned from them. I learn new techniques every day, and I feel it’s about being open to learning. If you’re not open to this, the ability to develop and grow stops.
What's your approach to making the pitch?
Every customer is different so the ability to quickly adapt your approach is extremely important. I would say for me, this is happens within the first minute of meeting someone. I do consider myself a persuasive person, in a more consultative way. There are many types of sales people I look at using the “challenger” style and I like to challenge a customer’s way of thinking while incorporating their perspective.
And have you ever put your foot in it with a client?
I would be lying if I said no. However, I do know experience gives you the ability to talk your way out of it a lot quicker. I usually try and make it humorous.
Does the pressure to hit quotas ever stress you out?
I must say it gets easier with time and comes back to the old cliché, “You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.” Targets are a huge part of any sales role, so as a client manager I am aware of the expectations required of me. I thrive on the challenge of exceeding any target presented to me and I actually look at targets as more of a challenge that alleviates a lot of the pressure.
How do you balance training against generating sales?
Planning is critical. Not only around your portfolio, but your. It is so easy to get caught up in your day-to-day requirements and lose sight if product knowledge to enable you to become a more successful salesperson in the long term. I always allow time for these areas. In regards to lead generation, the majority of the new business and acquisition is referral based business.
What was your biggest win in your career so far?
I worked on a tender for over twelve months and it required a huge amount of patience and perseverance based on what their current business was going through. The key to winning this was building trusting relationships with both internal and external stakeholders as well as the ability to connect their short and long term business drivers to our solution. It is around being held accountable at all times and utilising the virtual team that surrounds you. This enabled business consolidation, single point of contact for their telco and ICT services and the ability to future proof their business and technology roadmap by using a world class network.