Saturday, February 10, 2007
Tales of a Strategic Sales Executive: Bitch from Hell *
My first full week as a Strategic Sales Executive has left me exhausted. Mainly because I have a whole line of new products to learn about and I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. It's kind of slow-going when you have so much to slog through. I feel I'm not yet quite behind the 8-ball.
Since I suffer from a chronic self-confidence problem, I feel like my first week was a waste. Except for this one juicy bit I have to tell you: I've already administered my first bitch-slapping. Which is an important milestone in the career of a Strategic Sales Executive, if you ask me. Here's how it happened.
We sold one of my products to one of the Big 4 firms back in November or December. Note the timeline here. We sold it LAST YEAR. I didn't become a Strategic Sales Executive until February 1 of THIS YEAR.
The Account Manager who handles this particular account told me she was going over to this Big 4 firm to do some training on the product and discuss with them some implementation problems they've been having. She invited me to tag along so I could meet them and learn more about this new product. I thought that was really nice of her, and I told her I'd go with her depending on what else came up on my calendar.
This Account Manager sent an email to a group of us asking for a conference call so we could all discuss the account and help her get ready for the training session on Monday. The email went to me (as a courtesy), the technology team, a few other marginally related people, and Anne, the Strategic Account Executive who is in charge of general oversight of this Big 4 account.
I didn't reply right away because I wasn't sure if I was going to participate.
A few hours later, one of the tech consultants and I received the following email from Anne, the Strategic Account Executive:
"Tom and Jim, we would like you to attend the training session at the Big 4 account on Monday. It starts at 3:00, but please arrive no later than 2:30. (no name as a signature)"
Hmmm, I thought to myself. I hadn't even committed to the conference call, let alone the actual training session. I mulled it over, and a few hours later sent the following reply-all email to the conference call group:
"I will make every effort to attend this call. Thanks, Tom"
A few hours later I received the following reply from Anne:
"Tom: We need you at the customer site on Monday. Please be there by 2:30. Thanks."
Did this Strategic Account Executive just issue me a command? WTF? I don't even know this person.
I decided to call one of my Account Manger friends, Kate, who has worked with this group for several years.
"Hi Kate!" I said. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I asked her if she knew this Anne person.
"Oh yes, very well," she replied, rather cheerily. Hmmm.
"Oh. Well.... what is she like?" I asked.
"What's she like?"
"Well...honestly?" Ooh, this sounds promising!
Kate replied "I've requested several times to be removed from every single one of her accounts."
She went on to explain that Anne is a bitch from hell who would try to order around God Himself if she thought He might actually do her bidding. People involved in this salesy line of work, or at least the ones who are complete assholes, are often like that. Instead of asking people to do things, they just bark out orders, figuring a certain percent of the population will just do what they say even while resenting them for being so bossy.
Well Gentle Readers, the CP is not so easily pushed around. Especially by some bitch from hell whose job title is clearly on par with his own.
I spend too much energy fuming over things like this, especially when I'm new on a job. It's very important to me to be seen as a helpful person and a team player. I've never been one of those "that's not my job" people, because I hate those people. But I decided that the audacity of this Anne person was going to be nipped in the bud, at least as far as my dealings with her are concerned.
I called my boss.
"I just wanted to confirm the duties of my position. Am I supposed to be helping them clean up this mess with the product at the Big 4 firm?"
"Absolutely not," he replied. "I need you to concentrate on making new sales."
Just as I thought.
I related the story of Anne's charming emails. He promptly sent out a reply-all to Anne's message, clarifying my role and telling her he expects no involvement from me on this project.
A few hours later she replied "Ok, sounds good. I just thought he could be there for moral support. But he doesn't have to if you don't want him to."
OMG, what a fucking bitch.
Moral support? She was ordering me to go there to provide moral support? What the fuck does she think I am?
And I love how she tacks on that I don't have to go if my boss "doesn't want me to." Seemingly to imply that if he didn't have an opinion on the matter, my ass would be there if SHE wanted me there.
"Watch your back. She is pure evil and will stab you hard the second she gets a chance," Kate warned me. I checked with my other friends who know her and they all said the same thing.
So now it looks like I have a witch mad at me. Just like poor Dorothy. This is exactly what I need as I begin a new career path as a Strategic Sales Executive.
Just to be safe, I did call my old boss yesterday, asking if (theoretically) I could have my old job back if I wanted it.
I'll keep you posted.
* Inspired by the now defunct Melinda June series, Satan in the Office. Her mom made her take down those posts for fear of professional retribution.