Working in sales at a startup might be the best move you can make as a co-op student looking to get started in the world of business. Currently – I work in sales at Lending Loop on the small business advisor team, and it has been a great experience since the start.
Here are my top five reasons why working in sales at a startup is a great choice for your next work term and your career.
Reason #1: The role is dynamic, and hands-on
At a startup, you’re trusted to do more than in corporate environments. You’re given a role and are often asked to do tasks usually reserved for more senior sales staff in larger organizations. You’ll learn by experience and be given a considerable amount of responsibilities, which means a better learning experience overall.
I was on the phones within two weeks of starting and began to hone my sales experience. I’ve already developed relationships with hundreds of future clients, built up my own opportunity pipeline, and contributed to two new clients within the first month.
Reason #2: Directly contribute to success
Successful startups grow quickly. When you are only in a role for 4 – 8 months, you want to witness impact. Watching the company grow during your work term is exciting – it keeps you focused on your role. In a larger organization, your projects or contributions may take months to be implemented, or may never be implemented.
The reason I like sales is that I can directly contribute to the companies revenue targets and have a sense of accomplishment from my impact week over week, month over month. It was extremely exciting a month into the co-op role to learn a future client I had pitched ended up becoming a client with the company.
Reason #3: Your ideas are valued
At a startup, the team is still learning and evolving their tactics and strategies. This means you have more freedom to develop your own “style” and pitch. You can also try different strategies and word tracks week by week to test what works and share the insight with your colleagues. At Lending Loop, every week I try a new word track strategy or focus on a specific client demographic. At the end of the week, I report back during our sales meeting if it worked or not, and how to improve.
Reason #4: Work with senior leadership
Startups typically have a flat organizational hierarchy. This gives you the opportunity to interact directly with the CEO and other senior leaders at the company. For someone starting their career, this is extremely valuable. You get the opportunity to learn and share ideas with those at the top, and as a result, you’ll pick up more than just the day to day skills required to do your job. You get to see how they lead, manage their time and run a fast-moving company. You also get a deeper insight into the organization and long-term vision.
As an added bonus, you’ll build your network with leaders from the start. This can help open doors down the road, whether you’re looking to start your own company one day or are simply looking for an introduction to another individual or company.
Reason #5: Great Culture
Startup culture is well known as friendly and close-knit compared to a corporate environment. This benefits you as a co-op student having an easier time integrating into the team, and enjoying your time with the company. This can be as simple as having game nights with the team or having a relaxed dress code – which makes you feel more comfortable in your co-op role.
As a co-op student, you shouldn’t have to worry about office politics or strict dress codes when you’re trying to develop your skills. The startup atmosphere takes the stressful “fluff” out of the work environment and allows your developing skills to shine. A strong company culture is important to succeed as a co-op student, and generally, startups are upbeat, positive, and collaborative in nature. At Lending Loop – almost every week we have a team/group activity – whether it’s poker night, a team lunch, or a golf tournament. All are exciting opportunities to network with your peers and make friends.