Episode 2: Playing the Long Game | Katerine Mackey

This week, JR and John chat with Kat Mackey, former Colby College women’s hockey player and current Senior Manager of Inside Sales at Dell EMC. It may be Season 3 but our MoC podcast guests continue to keep things fresh and provide actionable new insights and great ideas to help athletes transition to sales—both in landing new jobs and advancing their careers.

Listen to the pod for Kat’s unique perspective on finding the right role, career growth, and longevity—and read on to get JR’s take on the conversation.

Kat Mackey makes some interesting points in a unique way. Two of those things that go hand and hand (not coincidentally) are what I want to focus on.

Consider the Long Game

Kat’s only employer since college has been Dell EMC—she’s had a focus on the long game from the start. For me, this long-term view highlights five important things that are part of a shift to tech sales and continued career progression, aka longevity:

  • Pitching yourself. You must be able to tell your story in a compelling way and Kat suggests being explicit when describing the impact of your actions—make sure the interviewer knows how you can help them. Connect the dots for them.
  • Finding the right fit. You need to set your initial “big money” criteria aside and make sure that you find the right company, product, leadership, and team—for YOU. Consider every offer in total, with an eye on the future.
  • Focusing on what you love. Kat talks about how often we fall into the trap of going almost-mindlessly through the motions and suggests that we consider our actions with more intent—what do we love doing? What do we want to do more of? Less of? Why? Find opportunities that play to your passions and your strengths.
  • Merging your passion with a career path. Look beyond total compensation to total career opportunity—is there a clear and known path for you to take that leverages what you’re good at and what you love? Find that and do that. Make sure you know what that path looks like before you accept an offer, and make sure you execute in a way that sets you up for the next big move you’d love to make.
  • Leading others. Whether you go into management or not, you’re always going to be leading others. People will be watching you—make sure you’re demonstrating the behavior you want to see in them.

Continuous Development

This runs parallel to an end-to-end career path, or at least it should. We often advise people looking to shift to sales careers to:

  1. Be coachable. You need to demonstrate that you want input/advice and you need to demonstrate how you put that feedback into action.
  2. Be curious. Always watch others, always ask what makes them successful. Read books. Take training. Learning new tricks and techniques won’t just happen—asking the right questions and putting the answers to work for you is a great way to get and stay ahead.
  3. Be willing to work. It will be hard but, done right, it will be worth it. If you put the work in, if you plan for the long run, you will get out of it whatever it is you want to. It may be money. But it may also be something else. Maybe you the schedule flexibility that allows you to play golf or to coach your kids’ youth sports teams. If you’re willing to do the work, you will, as they say, reap what you sow.

We stress the importance of finding a company willing to invest in you and your development at least as much as you are willing to invest in yourself. And that’s true as you advance your career too. Being a coachable and curious hard worker will help get you there and it will help keep you there—working for a company willing to support you in this growth is key!

As Shift Group celebrates its first-year anniversary, I sit here proud of all we’ve accomplished. We are in it for the long game, and we are committed to continuous development. For our candidates, that means access to world-class training, even after you’re on the job. For our partners, that means you can be confident in your new employees, knowing that your Shift Group hires have successfully completed a world-class sales training camp and that they have ongoing access to training that helps them sharpen their game.

Tune in to the podcast to hear how the focus on the long game has helped Kat become a true sales pro. And reach out to me if you have any questions about how Shift Group can help you—whether you’re a candidate or a hiring company, we can help you set yourself apart from the competition.

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