As I was starting my professional career, there was one thing I knew for certain: I wanted to work in the business of sports and entertainment. As I went through college internships, I did everything from run in mascot races, make cold sales calls and execute on-site activations! As I accrued more experience, I started to realize that I was happiest and my best professional self when I was developing business.
The biggest hurdle I soon realized is this department is difficult to break into as a young professional – companies want someone with a lot of experience to handle these major deals. That’s why for my post I want to focus on the different ways entry-level employees can tackle B2B, spearhead the conversation, and land the account. These points also apply to breaking into the industry or standing out from your colleagues, so hopefully there’s one takeaway here for everyone!
Get creative with your networking.
Everyone’s told how important networking is and I couldn’t agree more. But to take it one step further, how creative can you get to make that individual remember you? One person I wanted to do business with posted an inspirational quote every day on LinkedIn. So, for the holidays, I sent him a book of inspirational quotes to pick from. Another kept stressing that they were in a PICKLE moving inventory for their team, so I sent them a jar of dill pickles with the note “What can I do to help?”. Another person was so nervous for an announcement regarding his team that he said he could eat a whole box of Snickers…you get the idea. Stand out from the crowd with your creativity, stay top of mind and you’ll find many more doors opening in your professional career.
Do as much as you can, as often as you can, for as many people as you can, without expecting anything in return.
This was a big takeaway I learned from a past internship. If you continue making yourself available without any expectations, it will go a long way – especially when you’re young and don’t have as many commitments. Along these lines, if you’re able to take your boss’ biggest problem and make it go away, there is serious value in making them look good for the company. Keep working diligently with your team, be a problem solver and continue asking yourself, “What can I do to make my team better?”
Take a genuine interest in who you’re trying to do business with.
This one’s important – just like you should be knowledgeable about your product in sales, you should always be informed on the companies you’re doing/trying to do business with. Know their history, stay up to date if they’re in the news and make sure you communicate that in conversations. Everyone wants to do business with people they like, so if you demonstrate your interest, it’s an easy way to increase your chances of working together.
Don’t take it personally.
This was a point I picked up through a Clubhouse Webinar focused on corporate partnerships: Other businesses will ask the ugly questions “what is your budget” and “who is the decision maker”? If they don’t like the answers, that could be the end of the conversation. I’m a very passionate person and it shows in my work, so thinking they didn’t want to partner with my company drove me crazy! Eventually I trained myself to not to take it personally when businesses didn’t want to work together. In fact, I now go into intro calls asking those ugly questions – it’s a good idea to set expectations from the beginning so neither party is spinning their wheels.
These keys trained me to be the professional I am today, and hopefully they’ll be useful for you. B2B can be tough at times, but with the right attitude and persistency, it’s one of the most rewarding careers. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have about the industry!
Hayley Coppola is a Business Development Manager at TickPick, the company is a secondary ticket marketplace for consumers. She also has experience at Prolific 1, another ticket management company focused on helping it's partners manage inventory and set pricing to optimize the fan experience. There she was a Business Development Executive. She also has experience at Octagon as an Account Trainee for Rolls Royce Motor Cars and worked internships with Steiner Sports and the Cleveland Indians. You can learn more about Hayley by visiting her on linkedin here.