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In fact, despite the organizational changes, the sales team at AtTask now reports the highest employee satisfaction ratings in the company’s history.
Director of Sales
A self-proclaimed “entrepreneur at heart,” Don Robinson says working in sales is one of the most entrepreneurial positions one can have. “Sales and revenue generation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurialism. Abundance gives options not otherwise obtained. It fuels the entire organization. I love that momentum and the excitement of growth,” he says.
Robinson joined Rakuten MediaForge in 2011 and says the company’s cutting-edge technology was initially intimidating, which made it all the more exciting. “By applying myself and working harder than I thought was possible, I have overcome what I was sure were insurmountable odds for success,” he says. Under Robinson’s leadership, the company has seen a 75 percent year-over-year growth, with Robinson alone contributing more than 20 percent of the company’s entire revenue.
Robinson says one of his most challenging experiences was moving from sales to sales management. “With the commitment needed to be a sales performer, it is quite an adjustment to transfer that attention to others, and to re-define success by what my team accomplishes,” he says. “I can honestly say it is more gratifying for me to see others succeed beyond their imagination, versus my own accomplishments.”
Clarient Inc., A GE Healthcare Company
For James Thackeray, sales is all about building relationships. “Right out of college, I determined I was best suited for sales but have been careful to make sure that I found offerings I would be passionate about and selling situations where I could develop long-term sales relationships with customers,” he says.
In 2011, Thackeray joined cancer-diagnostic company Clarient, where he took over the Utah, Nevada and Idaho territory—an “anemic” territory that was bringing in only $700,000 in annual revenue. By the end of 2012, he had increased that figure to $5.25 million, and he was on track to reach nearly $6.5 million in 2013.
In 2013 he negotiated a $2 million contract with the largest hospital network in Reno, Nev.—Renown Health Systems. It took two years to seal the deal, but Thackeray used that time to build strong relationships within the hospital network. “Although we charged more for our testing, we helped the client understand how some of the services we provided were not only higher in quality than the industry standard but how we could help them generate more income as a hospital by using our services,” he says.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Midwest Commercial Interiors
Since Sean Wright joined Midwest Commercial Interiors in 2010, the company has experienced its most profitable years in its 75-year history, says Marshall Tate, CEO of Midwest. Under Sean’s leadership, “from 2011 through 2013, the company has enjoyed a 25 percent compounded annual growth rate, along with record profitability,” Tate says.
Success didn’t come overnight for Wright, who joined Midwest during one of the company’s most challenging times. According to Tate, Wright implemented a dramatic strategy shift and innovated new company processes, such as adding a 3D design element that allowed clients to become involved in the design process. “The success of these efforts is manifested in significant market share gains and the highest client satisfaction ratings in our history,” says Tate.
Wright says the most rewarding part of working in sales is conquering challenges. “I think the greatest sales people are masterful orchestrators, making something very complex appear simple and well coordinated.”