Archive

Video

Browsing

Now I can’t say I am a veteran of being a manager. I have only two experiences, one in my last job and at Dell Technologies I only have about 8 months of “Manager experience”. The reason I put it in air quotes is because you don’t always need a job title to lead and help manage people, however it sure does help.

In this blog I will be pulling from my experience leading people and some of the things that I learned becoming a new Manager, whether new to the company or a promotion within the organization.

Tip 1: Prepare before you Get Promoted

Well if you are already a new manager this might be too late, and it may sound counter-intuitive but if you are on the way up to this new role, there are a few things that can help you prep for it. I would suggest reading up on the topic of managing people, defining what type of manager you want to be or what type of manager the role allows you to be. It is very different managing 6 people or 15. Understanding that you can only do so much with the amount of time you have, will give you a lot of grace in the first 6 months of the new role. If it is an internal move, take time to get to know the job, the employees and scheduling in time to learn from others. If you know the hiring manager, ask them if you can participate in some of the meetings as a fly in the wall so you can learn the culture and language.

Tip 2: Be Available & Ask Questions

There is nothing worse than having a boss that is unavailable or hard to get a hold of. While you are taking the time to learn your new role, joining various leadership trainings, take time to lean into your new team. Get more involved, understand what they are going through and ask lots of questions. My favourite question to ask employees is “I have an idea, What do you think?”. Asking employees for their ideas is the ultimate display of respect and typically empowers them to solve their own problems.

Tip 3: Learn to Deal with Performance Issues

If you are not walking into a start-up company, you are most likely walking on to a team built by someone else. With that comes baggage from a previous manager; I don’t believe there is one role I have ever walked into where everything was working well. The previous boss may have been sweeping any poor performance issues under the rug. Part of your job as a new manager is learning a consistent and effective way to deal with employees who are not performing up to company standard. At the end of the day, your teams’ performance is a direct reflection of you. Don’t be surprised if the previous boss left some things to clean up and that you will need to learn how to deal with it in your own way.

Tip 4: Treat Every Employee with Respect and Listen

The organizational chart might show that your “role” is superior than your employees, however this is not to get confused with thinking you are better than them. Every job whether you are leading people or not, should also start with respect. Everyone deserves to come to work everyday and get treated with respect and dignity. A great way to start is be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Tip 5: Get a Mentor on Day 1

I cannot stress this one enough! I feel like in my current role, if I was to have a buddy or a mentor day one who has been in the same role as me relatively recently, I would of had a faster ramp time. Luckily I have a few right now and they make all the difference.

Did I get your attention?

I am not talking about taking a nap during working hours but talking about taking a nap during your lunch break.

Now napping is not for everyone, and most can’t relax enough to do it, but I feel like in the last two years, I have mastered how to take a quick 15-minute powernap at least 2-3 times a week. I am no scientist, but I have searched through the internet for the benefits, and I can feel the benefits.

The reasons I nap and scientific reasons according to sleepfoundation.org:

  • I enjoy it
  • Reduces sleepiness in the afternoon
  • Improves my learning and understanding
  • Aiding memory formation
  • Regulating Emotions

Napping is not for everyone. For some, it can be counterproductive; it can even result in sleeping issues at night. I would suggest not taking a nap anytime after 1:00 pm during work hours. Napping will only work if you are working remotely or have access to a sleeping lounge at work that is private or a car with comfortable seats.

Five Tips on how to take a nap during the day:

1. Plan Ahead

The reason plan ahead is first on my list, is if you don’t plan your naps, you have no business taking extra time during work hours to nap. If you only have 30 minutes for lunch, your nap time needs to be like clockwork. My husband and I once a month, do meal prep for a month of lunches. If you want to nap at lunchtime, you can’t be wasting time thinking about what to cook. I take my lunch out of the freezer in the morning and heat it up in the microwave so that I have enough time to relax.

If interested in the future, comment below and I would be happy to walk you through how we accomplish this meal prep every month.

2. Communicate to your Customers

Whatever industry you work in, you need to communicate your hours of operations to your customers, this includes all your internal customers. If you manage a team, have someone to report to, you need to communicate from 12:00-12:30 you are unavailable and who is covering you. This took months for me to communicate to my team and organization unless something is on fire to not call during lunch. It is important to take this time to rest and relax and step away from work. After months of reinforcing and officially booking it off in my calendar have I have managed to rarely be contacted during this time.

3. Find a sleep-friendly environment

To fall asleep quickly, you need to have a space that should be conducive to napping. Depending on where you are, you might not always have a luxury mattress and pillow. Ensure where ever you are it is dark, cool and quiet. After years of practice of napping, I can even fall asleep in the busiest rooms, however if you are a junior sleeper, you might want to go in a room with the door closed with zero disturbances.

4. Practice Meditation and set aside your worries

Thinking about work stresses will not help you fall asleep faster, if there is anything urgent or pressing you will not be able to nap. These stresses will keep you awake thinking of solutions, if the problem can’t be solved prior to lunch and it can’t be solved that day, you shouldn’t worry about things that can’t be fixed within the hours. These problems will always be around. Try practicing some relaxation exercises, there are so many apps with assisted breathing or yoga techniques. I typically, take the most basic practice of breathing with my apple watch or focusing on every part of my body starting with my toes and allowing them to relax.

**Disclaimer** I practice personal development on a weekly basis and set aside time to focus on the things I control and letting go of the things that I can’t. This includes therapy, church, writing and communicating with my partner. It can be hard to set aside your worries.

5. Set an Alarm

Most of my close peers say it is impossible for them to just nap 10-20 minutes, they need two hours. I believe everyone can use an extra two hours to nap but from my experience, it is when we don’t sleep well at night. When you are napping on your lunch break you absolutely need to set an alarm. When you nap for a short time it will provide a restorative sleep without drowsiness. If you want to feel alert and productive after your nap, don’t sleep past 20 minutes.

Inside sales, what is it? Who can do it? How do I know if I can move to a sales role? Depending on what type of organization you join, inside sales can be a slightly different role. I will save that for another blog post in the future of the difference between working for a start-up vs a Fortune 500 company.

I started my career after taking marketing in college, and I had no desire to go into sales. When I saw the salary for marketing vs sales, that is what caught my attention. Also, back in early 2012, it was tough to land an entry-level marketing gig. I feel like I didn’t choose to go into sales, but it just happened that way. I do want to tell you, if you have a marketing background or business you can 100% do sales. Also, if you love listening to people or helping people, this role is the most satisfying, as I get to help people every single day.

If you are a student or thinking of doing a career change, there are a few things you should know about inside sales. The last thing I would want you to do is take a job for inside sales and don’t like it!

What is Inside sales?

The most pragmatic definition of inside sales is: Selling remotely. I have heard of many definitions, from virtual selling, professionals selling done remotely, selling phone to phone, etc.

Well, you might be asking what the difference is between Outside Sales vs Inside Sales. Right now, not much: due to the pandemic. The easiest way I can explain it to you is inside sales is the act of identifying, nurturing and turning leads into long-term customers through phone, video, or email or through social selling.

What do Inside Sales Reps Do?

Here are some examples of daily tasks you will have to do at any company for an inside sales job:

  • Build and nurture relationships with customers to establish trust with you and the organization
  • Demonstrating understanding of full product line, able to pitch, propose and quote a solution for the customer
  • Resourceful in finding the correct people within their organization if the customer has additional questions.
  • Work together with marketing, operations and whatever other department may come in contact with your role. (there could be a lot)
  • Working towards their monthly, quarterly goals, including quota, sales calls and other KPIs. Typically in this role, there are several KPIs.
  • Utilize your companies CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool) Entering all sales activities in the tool every time you have a touchpoint with the client
  • Forecasting on a weekly basis to your manager

What do the best Inside Sales reps do? In my Opinion.

All of the above and more!

  • The best inside sales reps are those that never get comfortable. They are consistently coming to their peers, mentors and/or manager asking how to get better.
  • Understand how forecasting works, and able to forecast their business by 70%+
  • Have a positive attitude; content with their role
  • Customers love them, and you hear about it.
  • Helping their peers

I have only been in sales for just over 10 years, I know I have a lot of experts that read/watch my videos. I am wondering what your opinion is on what makes the best inside sales reps? Feel free to comment below and thank you for reading/stopping by!

-Jess

When was the last time you asked for a raise? For me, it always feels like an awkward conversation to ask for more money. I don’t want to come off as greedy or not happy in my current job. I just want to make more! Often you need to ask yourself, when will you be happy with your salary? If you are always looking for more money every year, you most likely should go into sales or become a doctor.

Being a sales leader, I often hear employees complaining about money or passively asking for a raise without any thought. Sometimes it is done publicly and sometimes it is in 1:1s that are unplanned and unorganized. In this blog post, I will break down some best practices on asking for a raise.

Now, I hate to break it to you but if you are looking how to quickly get a raise this blog post is most likely not directed to you. Unless you have already been doing the below things for over a year. Then you are ready to ask!

6 Months to 1 Year in Advanced:

1. Take on more responsibility

Being in sales now for over 10 years, people never want to take on more responsibility before they got the raise. This is the biggest downfall most go through is thinking you deserve more money before taking on any new tasks. Often this is the opposite, I never have received a raise by doing my standard job.

I am not advising you to take on new responsibility if you are not excelling at your current responsibilities. There is a process, take time to get really good at your job and when you are a little faster, a little better, start adding additional tasks to your job because you have time to do them. If you had more responsibilities and you are currently not ramped in your job, it will have the opposite affect.

2. Discuss Goals/Objectives in every 1:1

Every time you have a meeting with your manager, have your short terms objectives and goals ready to discuss and how you are doing against them.

Most employees don’t take this initiative, they wait until their manager follows up on the things you mentioned in your career development session or your quarterly business review.

3. Ask for Feedback

This ties into the tip above, during your 1:1s its important to ask how you are doing against your goals. If you only wait until your career development sessions or your end of year review you might be in for a shock when you hear feedback. It’s hard to ask feedback; the ones that can ask for it are further ahead in their career.

4. Demonstrate your Accomplishments, wins and value you have in the business

Now I recently posted on Instagram that no one is going to announce your wins and hand you a seat at the table.

You need to continue to be your biggest champion. The most important thing that you can do is consistently exceed expectations. It is an accomplishment to do your standard job but it is more of an accomplishment to do your job effectively as well as go above and beyond

5. The Meeting

Set up a specific meeting about 1-3 months prior to when typical pay raises are issued. You want to come prepared and have all your accomplishments noted down for your discussion. Practice!Practice!Practice! I know it sounds silly, but most of the time people are not comfortable having this conversation. The best way to get better is to practice with a friend, spouse, in front of the mirror. Ensure you are confident, you know exactly what you are going to say and prep objections that you may hear from your manager.

After doing the prep work, your conversation with your manager will feel a lot easier!

Good Luck out there! If you don’t succeed, ask for feedback and figure out how to fill the gaps.

-Jess

Now that the world has been completely turned upside down since March 2020, according to stats at Miro, over 40% of people are working from home, and remote positions are on the rise (article here), which means more and more remote interviews in the future. I even believe when offices open up again, we will still have remote positions and remote interviewing. Just for reference, my last three job interviews I have done in the last three years have been remote.

1. Test Your Technology

Nothing is worse than jumping on an interview right at the start time and your technology is not working or your internet is down. If you have the luxury at home to have one or more devices. Set up a second device in case the first one doesn’t work.

Go ahead and pre-download the software on your computer, if its webX, zoom, teams, etc, get well acquainted with how the software works and any features you may want to use.

2. Dress for the Job

This one is quite straightforward. Depending on what type of job you are applying for, you want to dress for the role and if you were going into the office. I would suggest business casual, the ones that wear a suit to me or a blazer always stand out to me.

If you are going to wear sweatpants or shorts with your outfit thinking that no one will see it, ensure you don’t need to stand up for the entire interview. I have seen people’s children come in or doorbells ringing, and they stand up, and the magic of you wearing business casual is gone!

3. Make sure you are early

This goes hand in hand with testing your technology. If you were interviewing in person, you would most likely arrive at least 10 minutes early. I would suggest joining the call 8 minutes early due to the software’s loading times, and you want to make sure no one is waiting for you.

I am a big stickler for time and hate when people arrive late to any meetings.

4. Make Eye Contact

I have spoke about this in my other youtube video, is how to look good on zoom. You want to ensure you are front and centre of your camera and connecting with the interviewer as much as possible.

Its very hard to connect to someone’s side of the face or head.

Here is the video here: How to Look good on Zoom

5. Remove all Distractions

I can get easily distracted, whether it is a notification on my phone, my cat entering the office or the door bell ringing.

Ensure when you are in your interview that you keep all distractions outside of the room. If you have a smart home speaker, I would suggest muting this device or unplugging it all together. Nothing is worse than answering a question in an interview and losing your train of thought due to a distraction.

6. Have your CV near by or as your virtual background

Typically in an in-person, you would bring at least a few copies of your CV/resume. Ensure you have your CV open on your desktop, and for those super creative, you can even add it as your virtual background.

You can take this approach, you can also share your screen but most likely the hiring manager will have it open on their side as well.

7. Prepare and rehearse key questions

Pick an honest friend and schedule some time to rehearse your interview. Since we live in a remote world, it is effortless to schedule a quick 20 minutes with a friend and go over your questions.
Ask that friend for their honest opinion and get feedback from them on how it sounds.

8. Research the Company

I can’t stress this enough!!! Since we are remote, we can absolutely have notes on the side of our screen regarding the company you are applying for.

Having the hiring managers Linkedin open to understand who they are, and having some notes such as the companies objectives, results, what their mission and vision are, is so important. If you find you don’t align with the vision and mission, it also might not be a place for you to work.

9. Have a digital presence

Now, this requires you to do some pre-work. Having a digital online presence in Canada is so important. What this means is to clean up your social media profiles. In Canada, LinkedIn in business is heavily used. Ensure your latest achievements and education are updated on this tool. However you decide to use Linkedin, make it consistent. If you only post once a month, then do that. If you never post and suddenly you are looking for a job, it may take time to build a credible brand presence.

10. Break the Ice

I have some people execute this really really well. You could start with a joke, talk about coffee/tea, weather, what your day is looking like. What new hobbies you have started, etc. The point here is to pep up your energy, add different tones to your conversation because the interviewer at this point is trying to figure out who you are!

Have you participated in any job interviews remotely? How did they go?

“How to tell your employer you’re pregnant,” doing some research, I realized this topic is not super popular on the web, unless you go to specific “mommy” websites or pregnancy forums.

Being a woman in technology, I have heard all the phrases from “Better not get pregnant yet” to “when are you starting a family, don’t take too long.” These are all really great opinions but to be honest, these phrases women hear in the workplace are just not needed. It makes it even harder to communicate you are pregnant when so many people have an opinion on when you should have children.

The most alarming statement I have read thus far from Catalyst (article here) and the reason it gives me anxiety is below.

Women aged 25-34 experienced a 48% drop in wages in the first year of having a child in 2016.36

I still haven’t found how to prevent this, but I’m not too fond of 50/50 odds. Now let’s jump into it; if it still makes you uneasy about announcing your pregnancy, here are some steps you can take!

How to tell your Manager you are pregnant?

Now, I wish I had a quick recommendation on the exact words to say to your manager, but I don’t. I know from experience that you can have loads of emotions about when is the right time, overthink how your boss will react, and have the right words. Some people will recommend you to wait until at least 3-4 months, where other people are just too excited to announce the news. By law, when you start your maternity leave in Canada, you need to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. I highly recommend in Canada that you don’t give your employer only two weeks.

Below I have broken it down in four tips on how to tell your employer:

  1. Set aside the time: Don’t tell your boss in a morning scrum session, where they will be caught off guard. Schedule an appointment to meet so there is no additional business talk or distractions. If you are working remotely and the time is not scheduled for this specific topic, it is very easy not to have a moment to talk about this.
  2. Accentuate the positive: If you are super excited about this news, please don’t start with an apology when you tell your boss. For a lot of you, this is the best news in your life, be happy about your pregnancy and confident in your ability to work and raise a family. Everyone is doing it!
  3. Be Flexible: Now, you might already have a plan in your mind, what you want maternity leave to look like, when you come back, etc. Most likely, your manager will be more than happy to brainstorm with you what options are available. There is not much compromise on this topic in Canada, from an employer’s standpoint, as there are laws set in place for parents to utilize. My recommendation would be to communicate as much as possible how you are feeling about when you want to come back to work.
  4. Get it in Writing: Once you have told your manager that you are pregnant, I would highly recommend sending a summary email just as a reminder/time step that this was discussed for your records and theirs. This will prevent any if any future confusion.
Helpful links when living in Canada for Maternity Leave Details:

Canada Maternity and Parental Benefits

Alberta Residents

British Columbia Residents

Manitoba Residents

New Brunswick Residents

Newfoundland and Labrador Residents

Northwest Territories Residents

Nova Scotia Residents

Nunavut Residents

Ontario Residents

Prince Edward Island Residents

Quebec Residents

Saskatchewan Residents

Yukon Residents

Now it’s 2021, and I want to point out there is an advantage of being on video calls with customers or your employees. The last few weeks, I have been on numerous team calls and customer calls, and it seems that people are either tired of being on video or never got used to it.

I am not all about changing who you are to look better on zoom. There are, however, a few tricks to enhance/make yourself more visible on camera for the viewer. Whether you are prepping for a large webinar, an interview or just day to day meetings, I believe these four tips can help you!

Four things to Keep in Mind on Zoom:

Lighting:

If you know anything about photography, lighting, I believe, is the one thing all photographers say is needed. I know if you plan any family photoshoots or headshot sessions, you are either surrounded by studio lighting, or the photographer needs natural sunlight to get a good shot. This goes the same for web conferencing. The most flattering light will be from in front of you and not from behind or an above spotlight.

Also, if you have three different light sources, this can make your appearance look unflattering. Stick to one source. If you have a bright enough window, turn off the light in your room until needed. I explain more in the video!

Angle

Angle!! This one is huge, especially when you are presenting or speaking at a meeting. If your webcam is currently stationed on your laptop, you should either center your laptop in the middle of your desk or sit in the center of the webcam when participating in online meetings.

The most flattering angle will always be front and centre and the camera higher than your head; as I was not blessed with an amazing pointed chin, I don’t feel comfortable with the double chin angle.

Dress Code

In early 2020, most people landed on wearing Pajamas or sweats to work. There is no problem with this, and who knows what type of bottoms I am wearing when filming this video. The point is, one day, when we do start to travel for work again, you still want to have some consistency with your brand. If you are more of a casual person, I would continue with that dress code. Just match what you would typically feel comfortable wearing to an office.

Background

I was doing an interview recently, and one of the most awkward things for me was to see the candidate’s bed in the background. I know we are facing a pandemic, and most people don’t have the luxury of having a home office. In this case, I would utilize a virtual background to block out any intimate things that could be lurking in the background.

If you think this is not important, every single week, I have at least one person commenting on my background on how clean it is or asking what something is. Covid-19 has brought some intimacy in meetings for better or worse, so if you don’t want someone to see into that part of your life, clean it up.

*BONUS*

Watch the end of this video for a bonus item on how to touch up your appearance on zoom.

I have been working remotely now for over 2.5 years, with one day commuting to the office. I feel like I had a great set up before the pandemic, but I feel like now I have stepped my work from home game up! In a virtual world, these have certainly made my work life a lot better.

Keep in mind I am not sponsored or no company has paid me to recommend these products. Know that I work at Dell Technologies and some of the things I have were purchased directly from the online store.


Standing Desk:

Prior to the pandemic I purchased the Ergotron standing desk which presented a rather nice experience, I absolutely loved the keyboard spot and the quality of the product.

I used this for just over two years and the great thing about it, you can put it on any type of surface. Knowing this you can’t really move it around from the kitchen table or office. Once it’s there, it should only move if you are changing furniture…because it is insanely heavy! Another thing to add is they have significantly dropped in price since I purchased it!

Purchased Here: Ergotron Standing Desk

Now, just in the last two months, I have upgraded my office and now working with a different type of standing desk which, I just purchased the rising legs from Prime Cables Ergo. The great thing about this product is that you can put it on any type of table top. You just need to replace the legs. I absolutely love it. I have set up 3 different settings and the cable management is out of this world!

Purchased Here: Prime Cables Ergo Standing Desk

Speaker Phone:

I absolutely love my Plantronics headset; the sound quality is out of this world. I have used this for ages, and the battery life is incredible, but I don’t know about you. Now that I am taking all my meetings from home, I really love not having to wear my headset for 8 hours a day.

Last Black Friday, I was trying to decide if I would buy the Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone or something else. The deciding factor was that I don’t have a monitor, or I didn’t have a docking station at the time with a type-c port.

I decided on the ANKER Powerconf S3 Bluetooth speaker, and my biggest regret was not purchasing it sooner.

Purchased Here : Anker PowerConf

Laptop Riser:

I am not sure which year or generation I have. When our offices shut down, we were able to take some things from our desk home and I love the ergonomics of this one. It is at the right height. I would most likely take one that you can either rise or adjust but I lucked out and got a really good one for me. Thanks Dell!

Treadmill:

Alright this is not an essential but now that I have it, I feel like it is, if it is within your budget.

I am soooo tired after work and in the winter months, I really don’t feel like being active or going outside when its dark. I purchased this early 2020 to walk and work at the same time! Especially if you are on long conference calls, forecasting or QBRs this is a great way to keep moving well sitting on those long calls. I probably walk about 2 hours a day and sometimes more if I am really feeling energized.

At the end of my workday I feel so productive that I got in my steps and helped all the customers we needed to at the same time! Highly recommend it!

Purchased Here: TR1200-DT3

Wacom Tablet

I purchased this tablet within the first few weeks of the pandemic. I am the person when I visit an office or I do a training, I absolutely love writing on a whiteboard, to get my point across. Especially in IT, customers love when we can draw out their data center and how the software integrates with it.

The awesome thing about this little tablet is the size and how it connects right away to work with zoom. I made a video HERE, to show you how I use it.

Purchased Here: Wacom Intuos USB Bluetooth

External Webcam

I purchased this about two years ago while working from home. I was tired of my customers viewing just the side of my head all the time. Buying an external camera not only helps your viewers see you on the right angle but typically if you have an older laptop or PC , the webcam quality is a lot better.

When it comes to brand there are loads of different webcam providers but hands down I am a massive fan of Logitech. Would actually be a dream to be sponsored by the company! Huge fan of all their products.

Purchased Here: Logitech Pro Webcam

Dell Docking station

Where are my cable management people at? I love a nicely organized desk and the Dell Docking station makes it super easy. I actually attach it to the bottom of my desk but I think it looks really nice sitting on the desk! It has multiple ports that are good for all types of monitors.

I especially love that the new one has a type C port that compliments some audio speakerphones and mobile devices.


Now, this goes for Marketing or Business administration for college as well. It doesn’t matter what type of education level you want to go into; I just wanted to discuss this topic generally if you are in high school or a mature student looking to go back to school, here is my take on what I would do to land a great job in sales.

Choosing a degree for your future is not easy, and sometimes you overthink your choice because it is 3-5 years of your life, and you don’t want to feel like it was wasted years.

When you enroll in any business degree or diploma in Canada, the first 1-2 years will generally be very similar regardless of your major. You will have a mix of marketing, business law, operations, finance, etc. At this point, you can get an idea of what courses you enjoy and decide on what you want to major in.

In my YouTube video, I will discuss the differences from a sales perspective as well as salaries.

Noted in my Video:

Now, let’s discuss income. The average income per year in Canada for a Marketing Role is $49,981 found at www.payscale.com. When I researched the average for a sales executive, it showed $78,000. Of course, you don’t want to decide on a job based solely on income, but it does help!