Boy, wasn’t college fun? Waking up late. Napping midday. Staying out all night. Skipping class. Every seniors’ dream come true.
Coming out of school, it felt like I was on top of the world and feeling great. I landed a job as an SDR before I even graduated. Amazing company, well positioned in the network security industry. What could have been better?
What I didn’t realize was how intense and demanding a 9-5 could really be. I went into my first corporate job thinking I could approach it like school, but in reality, I was sorely mistaken.
I struggled. I frequently left early, wasn’t retaining the content and industry knowledge needed to engage with prospects, and quickly became someone people looked down on. What didn’t help was that the department and my position lacked direction, leadership, and training capacity. It got depressing. After a month and a half, I was almost ready to quit.
A well timed family vacation to Maine separated me from the struggles at work. I fought with the idea of quitting vs. sticking it out to see what would happen. I showed back up to work a week and a half later to find myself with a new boss and on a new team.
My new boss, the Director of Inside Sales, pulled me into his office that day. He sat me down and just got straight to the point. He told me what my coworkers thought of me, told me I was not performing the way I needed too. It sunk in really hard that I was failing. But then he simply asked me, what’s going on with you? Why do you think you’re not being successful? Is there anything wrong? How can I help?
This was huge for me! Not a single time while I was starting out, did I feel like someone actually cared about me, personally. Not only that, but he asked me what I thought I needed to do my job better.
Realizing this was either the time to quit or the time to take action, I chose to take action.
I told him everything. Why I was struggling, why I wasn’t motivated to come into work. The list went on, but he listened. After I was done, he paused for a minute and then said, “Okay, here is what we are going to do”.
He set up more product trainings for me, one-on-one sessions with successful reps, and moved me into a new cube away from the negativity I had brought up during the time in his office.
Immediately, things turned around. I had an engaged director who cared, a new manager working with me and helping me on the phone, and an entirely new atmosphere to work in.
Within two months of that, I was a top performing rep, comfortable on the phone, and was even trusted with training and shadowing new hires at times. This helped me gain confidence in my role and position at the company.
From then, nothing has been the same. I was quickly promoted to Team Lead of Sales Development and I reported directly to our Director. I had all the responsibilities of a manager and was still covering a sizeable territory while crushing my number. I’ve had the chance to work with a multitude of departments on various projects. Interviewing candidates, evaluating new sales software, improving processes, training new hires, and leading team success.
Everything I learned in the almost two years on the Sales Development Team led me to yet another promotion. Now a Commercial Territory Manager for Canada. This is a massive opportunity!
If there is anything you should learn from my story, it’s that you are the creator of your own success! You are in direct control of how you perform with the people and situations around you. This should feel empowering! Seize your dreams and the opportunities in front of you and always be learning!
Beyond that, if you ever have the opportunity to lead and manage, understand that every SDR is different. My Director recognized that, and it led me to where I am today. I can’t thank him enough.
Best of luck in your SDR journey,
– Sean Hoekzema-
Sean has been playing soccer since he was young and absolutely loves the outdoors. Backpacking, Traveling, Camping, Ping-Pong, Snowboarding, Disc Golfing, and going to the gym are some of my favorite things. Sean’s motivation stems from fulfilling himself and those around him whether it be through competition, sports, fun, or simply working together to solve a problem.
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