Tackling inside sales and online marketing
At 26 years old, the material handling industry has been the only business I’ve known since leaving high school and taking a warehouse job with A&K Equipment Company (Maple Grove, MN). Ever since making the leap into this business, it’s been my personal goal to truly become an industry expert and continue learning as much as I possibly can. Ironically, the pursuit of knowledge temporarily led me away from the industry. After a year in A&K’s warehouse, I left to pursue a two-year business management degree.
Upon graduation, I stopped by A&K to say hello to everyone. As fate would have it, an employee had just left for a medical absence, and they were in need of another warehouse worker. I got rehired and went back to work in the warehouse. A few months later, the employee returned and I took an opportunity to move inside, accepting a position in inside sales. I started working half-days in the warehouse, moving inside in the afternoon. Learning the phones and computer system was a process, but, fortunately, my experience in the warehouse put me ahead of the curve when it came to mastering A&K’s product line.
As an inside sales representative, my responsibilities are mostly what you would expect. I handle basic customer service duties, order entry, placing POs, answering phones, staying up to date with current customers and assisting the outside sales staff with anything they need. Really, though, my job is about building relationships. Day in and day out, this continues to be the most challenging and the most rewarding part of my job. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from being able to sell a complete job with installation to someone 800 miles away without ever meeting them in person. It’s not always an easy task, but I try to be as honest and upfront as I can with the customer, knowing that it is alright if I don’t get the job as long as I do things the right way. As long as I’m upfront and straightforward, the jobs I do get will pay off more than the jobs that I lose.
Entering The Web
Recently, I’ve added another title to my name-Web developer. It started when A&K President Al Boston offered me the opportunity to work on our online catalog Pallet Rack Now. I did little things like updating the catalog and some basic search engine optimization (SEO). This led to me handling all three of the company’s Web sites. I work on online marketing campaigns, content management, online sales and more in-depth SEO. SEO is a complicated field, and it takes quite a bit of effort to stay on its cutting edge. Fortunately, I have some very good contacts in the Web business that I can approach with different questions, though I still spend a great deal of time researching on my own.
It all goes back to my basic philosophy that I derived from a Bible passage: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” This reminds me to stay humble and focused as I do my best to continue to learn and grow. So far it’s working out great.