IBM Summit Program: Weeks 13&14 | Alyssa J Freitas: IBM Summit Program: Weeks 13&14

September 27, 2017

IBM Summit Program: Weeks 13&14

Check out weeks 1&2, 3&4, 5&67&89&10, and 11&12 here!

Last week I went back to school. Well, not exactly, but it certainly felt like it. Fresh pencils, workbooks, and highlighters lined the tables in the conference room where my fellow summits and I spent the entirety of last week. It was our first “Top Gun” training session in the Palisades, NY where we learned about systems and platforms, including both what IBM offers and the landscape of the marketplace.
Click to read more or pin to save for later! The first Top Gun training is under our belt! Learning about systems and platforms this time around, as well as meal planning and how to maximize your impact on your territory
Sitting in the front row, my usual territory to make sure I am engaged the entire time, we began with a pretest. Although I was slightly above the mean, let’s just say that we were all starting out with a long way to go and would have to study for our daily quizzes and final exam. The first day we covered z Systems (mainframes) and power systems, as well as heard from a summit graduate who is a tech seller about his role and from an executive speaker.

On day two we moved into storage, compliance, technology support services, and dipped our toes into cloud. The following day we completely dove into cloud, learning about our cloud infrastructure and platform portfolio, our managed services, and hybrid cloud (which was my favorite presentation). Our presenter for hybrid cloud showed us how you can easily use APIs offered on Bluemix (IBM’s cloud) to create apps with sensors and natural language and translation and a whole host of other capabilities.

On the fourth day, we went into analytics and big data. IBM’s solutions and corresponding services were presented, rounding out the final information we were tested on. It was fun to put on my favorite study playlist from college (oh college, the good old days of 4 months ago) and get ready for the exam. I know it may seem strange to use the word “fun,” but when you are going over information you are actually interested in, I find studying to be quite enjoyable. Sitting in my room in the conference center where we’d all been eating and learning and staying together, I felt like I was completely immersed in IBM. Not to mention it was like a campus with a lake and walking paths through the woods and recreation space.

After the exam we all went out on the town to celebrate and I had such a good time talking with my peers (when the main subject wasn’t systems and platforms any longer). Interacting with people from across the country, with all different backgrounds, always makes for wonderful conversation. I especially loved talking with Austin (subtly slipping in a shout out here) about how work ethic and dedication will play such a big role as we continue to learn the technical side of our role. And how, at the end of the day, everything is going to work out just fine in our careers even when we are feeling especially challenged.

On the last day we had another executive speaker and learned about critical situations that sellers have to face when things go wrong for our clients. We parted ways, but not before taking the picture above using Paul’s drone!

This week was pretty packed each day, which is exactly how I like it. I’ve been listening to webinars more frequently to learn tips and tricks for the CRM (customer relationship management) system IBM uses in anticipation of being in the field and living by tracking my sales activity. On Monday night I did take a bit of a break from my usual work to go down to Astor place to learn about a wellness app that IBM makes available to employees called Zipongo for meal planning. While I don’t think I’ll start using it any time soon (with all of my travel and visiting friends I’m not home nearly enough to do this. Also, I have a feeling that ice cream for breakfast wouldn't really fit in a meal plan and I need to have the flexibility for those sort of days), it is good to know about for the future. I appreciate how IBM doesn’t just say that they want employees to lead a healthy lifestyle, but actually enable us to improve.

Much of this week has been spent in preparation for upcoming training. With a presentation next week on negotiating tactics and a financial selling workshop with prerequisites on the horizon, I’ve been checking off many items on my to-do list. Much of my energy has also been dedicated to working with a few sales teams to maximize their in-territory impact through account research, prospecting, and identifying ways to partner with other teams for mutual benefit with complimentary solutions aka building lots of spreadsheets and loving every second of it.

I’ve also been continuing to connect with new people regularly, including sitting down with one of the presenters from Top Gun to ask a whole host of questions. It’s great when you can talk in person, and I love coming into the office every day. Some of my fellow summits and I formed a team to suggest how our office space can be improved to promote collaboration and made a video with our ideas to enter a contest. Wish us luck that we win some money to make it happen!

-AJF

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