When she was a business major at The University of Texas at Austin, Tingting didn’t have much experience with sales. There are, however, no shortage of opportunities to learn how to succeed as a salesperson. The question then becomes: Where do you start? For Tingting, it was an easy decision.
“There were three main reasons why I chose AT&T,” Tingting said, “First, it’s a Fortune 10 company. You open yourself up for countless opportunities when you start here. Second, the program is based in Dallas, and Dallas is home. Third, and most importantly, was the diversity.
“We’re ranked Number 1 in Diversity by DiversityINC. Anne Chow is an Asian woman who is CEO of AT&T’s business unit. That’s very special to me. I’ve never been able to identify with a top leader who looked like me.”
It’s not just that Anne Chow is CEO of AT&T Business, she’s the first woman in the company’s history to hold the CEO position. Before that, she held leadership positions in areas such as engineering, marketing and customer care – just to name a few. Anne Chow’s success helped reveal to Tingting what was possible for her own career.
“That sort of company culture is very important,” she said.
Learning, Blitzing, Selling
When you join the B2B Sales Development Program, our leaders want to make sure you’re focused on learning. All participants are required to move to Dallas for training, close to AT&T University – where classes are held.
“It’s a pretty sweet deal,” Tingting said, “Going in, everyone is very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The program does a good job of matching you with mentors who are in classes ahead of you – peer mentors. The leaders you work with have also been through the B2B Program. They help you get comfortable quickly, and it feels like your time in the program flies by.”
There’s no such thing as a typical day in sales, which can feel daunting at first. You’ll likely be pitching, calling, or closing deals with entirely new clients and businesses each day. The program doesn’t shy away from this fact, but also helps participants like Tingting ease into the role with instructor-led classes and time with subject matter experts.
“You typically start the day in a classroom learning about some of the products and services in AT&T’s portfolio. Then, you move on to what we call ‘active blitzing.’ You pull a prospecting list, send targeted marketing emails and cold call companies you want to focus on. Later that day, you might get a call back from one of those companies you’ve been working with and they say they want to move forward. You’ll work with your manager who helps you close the deal with the client.”
However, there are highs and lows in any Sales position. The B2B Development Program is an opportunity to experience that reality and learn how to work with it.
“Being told ‘No’ during a cold call can be difficult, especially when it happens several times in a row. We think of it as a numbers game: Every ‘No’ you get is closer to a ‘Yes.’ How many calls does it take to land a meeting? How many meetings does it take to close a sale? How many sales does it take to hit quota? Even the best sellers, on average, only have about a 30% close rate.”
Tingting is no stranger to challenges in sales, but it hasn’t stopped her – when she finished the program she was number one in her class, among the top 2% of Sales Executives in our National Business unit and met over 100% of several sales goals.
“You have to keep grinding. It’s an expected part of the job and you’ll learn so much getting there. Some people even realize certain specialties, such as having success pitching a specific industry like healthcare.”
The People and The Future
“The best part of AT&T is the people. Everyone is so smart and outgoing. My group would spend time after work playing basketball or just traveling around Dallas. I’m closer with most of my B2B class than I am with my college friends – everyone always keeps in touch. After the program ends, you’re placed based on a regional preference you’ve selected. The top performers get first dibs on the location they’re interested in working in. No matter what region you’re placed in, though, after your training you’ll always have a network from the B2B Development Program that you can reach out to.”
Today, Tingting is the conduit between our sales and marketing teams as a Lead Market Development Manager. Through her knowledge of the AT&T Sales world, she consults with other departments on how sellers can attain stronger leads, more efficient tools, and improved selling processes. Other participants she worked with moved up to senior selling positions and some are even managing their own sales teams.
With so many of today’s leaders getting their start in our B2B Sales Development Program, it’s no wonder so many chose this path to get their start.
“If I could do it all over again, I would!”Learn More