From Interns To Area Managers: How We Fast-Tracked Our Careers At GE Appliances was originally published on WayUp Guide.
These days you can find Emily and Sam—two sales professionals at GE Appliances–giving their clients business cards with titles like “Area Sales Manager” and “Senior Manager.”
But they didn’t start at GE Appliances with roles like these. In fact, both Emily and Sam started in the company’s sales internship program. Where they went from there—and where anyone in GE Appliances’ hands-on, high-growth internship and entry-level programs can go—is the result of the company’s unique approach to learning and development.
Here’s a look at their journey with the company—and how you could do the same.
Entering The World Of Sales—With Serious Support
Sales is a demanding profession. It requires knowledge: of the product, the industry, and the competitive landscape. But just as important as the knowledge are the technique and instinct that spell the difference between a salesperson and a sales star.
In the GE Appliances sales internship. program, they believe in teaching you both. Through classroom-style training and mentorship, you’ll absorb the knowledge required to succeed. But thanks to the hands-on work, you’ll also quickly build the skills required to actually connect with customers. At least, that’s what Sam found during his internship.
“I was thrown into meetings, learning systems, operations, product, selling techniques, and so much more,” Sam says. “I was treated like a full-time employee, even though I hadn’t graduated school yet.”
That trust and responsibility helped him learn by doing, but it also inspired him to work harder. If he was going to be trusted with adult responsibilities, then he was going to match that level of professionalism and dedication.
Emily, too, was impressed with the skills she was able to pick up in such a short time.
“You have the opportunity to work with multiple different functions and learn how they operate with sales to grow the business,” she says. “You learn that you’re not only selling appliances, you’re selling the company as a whole.”
These experiences didn’t just teach Emily and Sam to sell; their internships inspired them to apply to full-time roles after graduation.
Taking The Next Step: The Commercial Development Program
This was just the beginning for Emily and Sam. After the completion of their internships, they were offered full-time roles in GE Appliances’ Commercial Development Program—a sales program that would allow them to rotate between Area Sales Manager roles to learn the business, build connections, and employ the skills they gained during their internships.
In short, they were on Level Two—and they were ready for it.
“The core responsibilities have stayed the same,” Emily explains. “Work with the customer, understand what they need, use that to sell to them, and ensure they’re happy.”
What’s really exciting about the Commercial Development Program is the “development” part of it. The point of any program like this—especially at GE Appliances—is to allow its participants to grow at a quicker rate than they would in a traditional entry-level role. And it wasn’t just sales that Emily found herself learning about.
“Having sales experience allows you to learn about different functions and how they coincide with the goal of the business,” she says. “I’ve worked with supply chain, finance, IT, engineering, marketing, the list goes on and on. I’ve made connections within the different departments and I’m able to understand how each entity operates to help develop my career into the department I want.”
“Now,” Emily says, “my career can go anywhere within the business.”
Want to see where your career can go with sales experience? Check out open opportunities at GE Appliances on WayUp!