IBM Summit Program: Weeks 20 - 22 | Alyssa J Cori: IBM Summit Program: Weeks 20 - 22

November 22, 2017

IBM Summit Program: Weeks 20 - 22

Check out weeks 1&2, 3&4, 5&67&89&1011&1213&1415&16 and 17-19 here!

The other afternoon I was talking with some of my fellow Summits about our upcoming graduation. Our last in person training ends on December 1st and we are officially part of our teams on January 1st. It's exciting that we'll be able to dedicate 100% of our time to our teams, but this also poses an issue for me: I'll no longer be part of the Summit program, so what in the world am I going to blog about on LinkedIn?! If anyone has any suggestions of content they'd like to read, please let me know! I'll keep thinking about it as we come to the end of a blogging era.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! These past 3 weeks were filled with training, negotiating, and meeting members of my team in-person! As my stream is finishing up the end of the Summit Program, we're all integrating with our landing team and learning about what it will take to be successful out there in the real world.
Now on to what has been going on for the past 3 weeks! Thanks to a Summit alum on my team (shout out to Gini) I got to listen in on a client call and am excited to follow the progression of a client interaction from initial conversations onward. I also spent time preparing for another in-person training the following week that was centered around negotiation.

The next week I headed off to Chicago and got to meet Gini in person, as well as my landing team manager who was in town. It's so funny how we create an idea of what someone will be like based on phone calls and profile pictures, and I'm happy to say that my team has been just as wonderful over the phone as in-person. Something I am still getting used to is being part of a geographically spread out team. I was spoiled last summer to have so many people around, especially my manager, making it easy to build relationships and connect. Now I am learning how to do the same through the phone, and email, and instant messaging. It's a bit of a learning curve, but definitely a good skill to master until we have inexpensive teleportation or holograms at our disposal.

After that meeting on Monday, I headed to Schaumburg where the negotiations learning lab was held. On the first day my partner Dan and I (remember we were partners at our very first learning lab?) presented a proposal we developed for a client in the oil and gas industry. Next up was our first solo negotiation.

I would love to be able to say that I conducted a negotiation as comfortably as I started with my sales calls (my sales studies in school had me prepared), but alas, I found myself floundering. When I finished my first negotiation call I was disappointed in my performance and unsure about how best to approach a negotiation conversation. It didn't help that I was the first person to go, so I had never seen how to do it.

Whenever you try something new and it doesn't go as smoothly as you hoped, it can be discouraging. But, I knew that this was all part of the process so I resolved that I would take the feedback given directly to me and to my peers and improve for each successive call. Easier said then done, of course, but the encouragement of my fellow Summits and recognizing that we were all being challenged together certainly helped. By the last negotiation at the end of the week, I was confident and effective in leading the conversation and proud of the final deal I created with the client. Being coachable is a key strength to have in the Summit program and I have seen it's benefit extend beyond the program for me and others.

This past week I've been back at work on the quotes I mentioned in the last post. I had the opportunity to update the leadership team on our status and projected outcome of this project and it was exciting to be able to talk about real clients and numbers that would make an impact on the team. Summit training is wonderful, but I must say I have been craving to move from the hypothetical to reality. When I get to answer a client's question (or at least find the right person who can) and move a project forward, I'm exhilarated.

I've also started to work with a team that helps clients to identify projects for software that they purchase as part of a larger agreement and make sure they are getting the best use out of what is available to them. It's a great way to learn more about the solutions I'll be selling and see how clients actually start using our solutions. In connection with this, a technical sales leader on my team came into the office, giving me another opportunity for an in-person meeting! Rochelle spent time with me talking about everything from the work described above, to what it takes to be a successful seller, to her very first deal.

The last big highlight of this week was going to a book club meeting at our Astor Place office. I'm not kidding when I tell you it has been a dream of mine to be in a book club, and I never seemed to find the right group until now. We read The Circle by Dave Eggers about a technology company that promotes questionable (at best) practices for its employees and consumers. We discussed how willing we, and the characters in the book, have become with sharing personal information and allowing technology into every crevice of our lives. I enjoyed the book and can't wait to continue to be part of this club!

The next time you hear from me about IBM I'll be reporting on my final training and graduation. Until then, have a great Thanksgiving!


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