Harminder Heer: From raw ambition to respected consultant
Why did you choose to join ApplianSys?
I wanted a role in which I could take ownership of my own success and genuinely make an impact, and not just in terms of winning sales. ApplianSys' faith in its people has given me the freedom to accomplish this. I can personally impact real decisions from Product Development to Marketing which is very rewarding.
What training have you received at ApplianSys?
I learned the basics through intense 1:1 training with experienced colleagues during my first weeks at ApplianSys. This individual coaching is continuous and we also have a weekly team training session every Wednesday evening. During these, I've learned everything from the psychology of the sales process, dealing with large, complex organisations and how to successfully influence buying decisions.
We also use our weekly sessions to review each-others' sales pipelines and suggest different tactics when an opportunity has stalled or hit an obstacle. So whilst the learning curve is extremely steep, we're effectively pulling each other up it.
Is sales as ruthlessly competitive as it appears?
Unlike my previous sales role, I don't compete with my sales colleagues. There's a recognition of the team effort required for the company to succeed. That said, I'm very driven to succeed, and the same can be said for the other recent grads so it's competitive, but in a healthy way.
Has ApplianSys lived up to your hopes?
It's absolutely the kind of rewarding challenge that I was looking for. Whilst it's hard work living up to the high expectations ApplianSys has, it's made a lot easier by the management culture: there's a genuine desire to help ambitious people achieve their goals. And because we recruit to a high standard everyone is pushing themselves at the same tempo, so it feels like I'm part of something bigger.
An added bonus is the social culture. We've been skiing, enjoyed some great restaurants and we regularly go to the pub after work. This is great for a young team like ours. The fact that such a large proportion of ApplianSys' workforce is young is one of the things I was attracted to. I wanted to join a company with lots of people that I can easily relate to.
Have you developed new skills at ApplianSys?
I'd worked in sales before joining ApplianSys and in my previous job, a £40k deal seemed huge! I'm now faced with opportunities that could run into the millions. Other sales organisations would hold these back for senior salespeople. At ApplianSys, I get the opportunity, backed up with support from experienced colleagues. In fact, my role is now focused specifically on major opportunities and I find these fascinating. They're really complex in terms of the customer requirement and a large part of my role is co-ordinating activity across ApplianSys, working particularly closely with technical colleagues.
There can be such a big time-lag between learning the theory at university and applying that knowledge in practice. Quickly applying theory, as I do at ApplianSys, is really refreshing and makes learning on-the-job rapid.
Where can you go from here?
I'd like to take ownership of a geographic region, manage a team and take responsibility for our partner programme. Long-term I want to be a respected industry expert, a go-to-guy for IT business development. I think this is ambitious, but achievable and my rapid progress at ApplianSys gives me reason to be confident. I recently had a new reseller in Norway approach me as they knew of me by name which felt great. There are people with 20 years experience that trust my advice and spend money based on my guidance.