Growing a career in sales and solutions

Posted on May 05, 2015

Elearning

Kelly Bradley of Sponge

Thinking about a role in business development but not sure what it involves?

Experienced Solutions Advisor, Kelly Bradley, shares her story of working within the Sponge team and what a graduate could expect from our latest opportunity

What was your background before you came to Sponge?

My background was pretty mixed pre-Sponge! I had an administrative role within a law firm, and worked in both media sales and marketing. My education was initially creatively focused and I completed a Diploma in Art, Design and Media before eventually turning my attentions to studying for my Law with Business degree! 

Before university, my job was a traditional sales role. From telesales to field sales, my role involved both cold-calling and account management. Whilst I enjoyed the role, I never aspired to be in sales, and after six years, decided to give myself a new challenge by studying for my degree.

After completing my degree and deciding a career in law wasn’t for me, I inevitably fell back into sales. Not long after however a friend had moved to Sponge and I decided to submit a speculative application. I was a bit unsure about going back into sales at first but it quickly became obvious that I was going into a completely different environment. The focus is all on the customer and the solution, with no hard sales!

So what makes it different?

From a personal perspective, this role is a real challenge, and I learn something new every day. The industry is fast paced, and in the sales team we have the opportunity to meet and work with some of the biggest clients in the world.

The Sponge sales team is very collaborative with everyone working together and forming a really supportive network to help each other deliver proposals. Unlike previous experiences, the focus is on team goals and objectives. There is no competitiveness between us, we celebrate success jointly and have very open communication to share ideas and support one another.

I would also say that the client focus is very different from what I’ve known before. We spend a huge amount of time getting to know our clients, building up relationships and understanding their needs. In sales, we are the clients key point of contact during the initial stages, while we’re developing a solution with the team, so it’s really important for them to be able to trust us and have a good relationship with us.

What does a typical week look like?

I often have client meetings or trade shows to attend, which could be anywhere in Europe. Alongside this my day includes calls and web meetings with clients to keep in touch about events and upcoming projects.

If there is a competitive proposal to produce for a client, I will spend a lot of time speaking to the other teams including Solutions Architects, Design, Development and Instructional Design, to make sure that the solution we are recommending is the best possible fit for the customer. If they like our proposal then often the next step is a presentations to clients where we bring to life our ideas and recommendations.

The great thing is that because we make custom-made elearning, and because our clients are from such diverse sectors, every proposal we work on is different, meaning a typical week is pretty varied!

How has your career progressed since you joined us?

Before joining Sponge I had very little technical knowledge and no experience within elearning. Thanks to an intensive training programme I am now up to speed on the latest developments within the industry and able to offer clients advice with confidence.

Since I started in the role I have taken on the account management of key clients and have also won new contracts. My presentation skills have progressed in leaps and bounds, providing me with a firm set of skills to apply at every step of the process. I am also always learning more about effective learning solutions and hope to continue to do so in order to ensure my career continues to progress in the right direction!

What could a graduate expect from a role at Sponge?

At Sponge, you’re involved from day one. You get a really great, hands-on training experience and get to learn from people that are really experienced at designing and building solutions. You will be able to support on proposals and client-handling and keep growing until one day you will be able to lead on your own proposals. You will be challenged, and will have the opportunity to share your ideas and experiences.

As an expanding team there is a lot of potential to develop your skills and grow your career within a leading organisation. 

Are there any negatives?

I sit far too close to the vending machine……. There are always snacks in the team and I have no will power when it comes to chocolate…. or crisps….. or biscuits!

If you’d like to be part of our solutions team or want to know more about our opportunities, check out our current vacancies.

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