Working as the Sales Coordinator: Being a part of something great

My name is Mark MacMoffat, and I have been working as the Sales Coordinator of KY since August of 2019. Since you have opened this post, you must be even somewhat interested in what the SC does even if you’re not thinking of applying.

 I will be your guide on this journey to uncover the true meaning and valiant purpose behind such an ambiguous title. We will start off with the basics of the position, and finish with my experiences and lessons learned, as well as discussing the requirements for an ideal candidate. Prepare to learn something new!

Also, if you want to discuss / ask about the position, feel free to call me! 

Tel: 044 522 4221

In the picture above, you can see my predecessor and mentor Rasmus Mäkinen. Almost exactly one year ago Rasse called me and played with the idea of me being the next SC. I’m sure that the thoughts and questions I had then are very similar to those you’re having right now, as the position of SC isn’t too visible in a student’s everyday life and is shrouded in a veil of mystery. What does the SC do? Is the job difficult? Do I have a lot of responsibility? What skills will I develop? What skills must I have? How is everyday life?

 A lot of questions indeed. But don’t worry! In this post I will answer all these questions, and possibly even questions you’ve not yet thought of. Hence, let’s get started.

P.S. You can read Rasse’s similar blog written one year ago here!

PP.S. As you well know or might imagine, KY is probably the most fun working place in the world. The people, the parties, the atmosphere, the mission – simply like no other. Therefore, I will mainly talk about the position itself. I’m sure other people from other positions have dived deeper into the community part of the position, and I highly recommend you to read those blogs if you want to know more about KY’s atmosphere!

Why does the Sales Coordinator exist?

As you well know, the members of KY (yes, even you) are a valuable asset in the working field, and we are regularly wined and dined to have us apply for the companies battling for our expertise and potential. Companies are so eager that they are even willing to pay KY to reach its members, and to support university students. This partnership is facilitated by KY’s board member responsible for Corporate Relations (currently the charming Akseli Manninen), the Sales Coordinator, and of course the Corporate Relations Committee CORE. Together they form the Yrppä-sector (Voittis).

Our sector is annually responsible for 1/5 of KY ry’s budget, and we see a great growth potential for the future of KY’s Corporate Relations. The revenues we generate help fund everything that KY offers its members, which is a lot and simply amazing! As a side effect we also connect our members with our partners to build relationships and support the career goals of Kylteris’. Very important indeed.

Sales Coordinator? More like Corporate Relations Coordinator.

Now, I will tell you what the job consists of, as I’m sure that’s the most important thing affecting your decision to apply. This also is a good-to-know part for those of you just reading for fun. Mostly the job consists of keeping up with the 16 partner-firms and their partnership agreements, and meetings with people inside and outside of KY as well as organizing and planning events.

As I mentioned, the title of SC can be a bit misleading. Selling is the smallest (yet important) part of the job. In essence, the SC is the link between KY and its corporate partners through every stage of the partnership. Currently, KY has 16 active partnerships with local and global corporations. This is the most important part of the SC’s job, and together with the sector responsible for all aspects of the partnerships from negotiations to execution. So instead of selling, most of the SC’s focus is based on maintaining these relationships and executing yearly partnership agreements made. Mostly, these partnerships are in the form of social media presence and participation in events such as Annual Ball, Career events and excursions.

Selling is something that the SC does and develops in, but is a marginal part of the position.  Sales are mostly made when negotiating partnership agreements for the next year. In addition, the SC is usually the one responsible for selling main partnerships to KY’s special events and projects, such as KY’s Annual Ball and Wappu. Also, CORE arranges events that have companies play a central part, and it’s the SC’s job to organize CORE’s sales efforts. Also, you’re the first one other organizations from KY contact if they have questions about partnerships etc. The main thing uniting these things is that they are all seasonal projects, which means that on a normal day, the SC doesn’t sell anything.

 Best decision in a long time

 I’m eternally grateful for having applied for this position – the year has been like no other! The experiences and lessons learned can be separated between two parts: the job and the community.

The job itself has been very versatile, fun and challenging in a good way. The responsibility given to you can be daunting at first, but in my opinion responsibility is what makes people happy and life meaningful. You’re also given quite free reins in working! Akseli and I have really made the sector our own by changing our partnership options, contacting new firms, together with CORE designing new and interesting events! We have really taken a bottom-up approach to improve KY’s corporate relations. It’s awesome that we can do such a thing, and that we’re encouraged to do it!

 

The community is next to no other. As this was only my second year of studies, through this position I have really understood why some people never graduate – who in their right minds would want to leave KY behind?!  I love these people and am very thankful for getting to call them my friends. I have so many good memories of this year that I’m not even going to try to single some out. Rasmus told me, as I started this job in 2019, that this is going to be the best year of my life – oh boy, was he right. Come and find out!

Learning real-world skills

An alumni of our sector once said to me, that people who have worked in KY’s office sweep the floor with their peers once they start their actual careers. I can relate to this just thinking about everything I’ve learned during this year.

As mentioned, you have a lot on your plate and countless opportunities. I can honestly say that there has never been a situation where I thought that ATM there’s nothing to be done. There’s always work, planning, preparing etc. to fill your days. There’s also challenges: there are a lot of stakeholders when talking about corporate relations, and you really have to understand the needs and concerns of companies and students to be effective and innovative.

For these reasons I have seen tremendous improvement in the following things. Some are unrelated, but still worth mentioning. Also as a pointer, you can develop these skills in a very supportive, safe and encouraging environment with the help of Akseli and I!

Time Management: Haven’t always been the best at this, now a black belt sensei. There’s a lot to be done and limited time. Therefore, I started to plan my days carefully and really think about how I spend my time. This has also had a large positive effect on my studies!

Working systematically: There’s always a hundred and one things going on at the same time and it’s hard to not fall off the wagon. You can try and implement your own ways of keeping a record of what you’re doing and how things are progressing. I found that after using a few hours to build a system that shows what’s happening and what I should do next, my stress-levels depleted completely. Organizing your work is a great skill!

Confidence: Of course, I was nervous when I first picked up the phone to make a sales pitch, but as I did it more and more, I became more confident and the sales just started to almost make themselves. Also having meetings in companies’ premises can be intimidating at first: sitting at a table with people you look up to, while also wanting to sell something. After the first few meetings the nervousness went away and now Akseli and I don’t really even prepare for negotiations, just show up relaxed and go with the flow!

Business communication: It goes without saying that you keep in touch with the companies a lot. Suddenly talking, emailing and texting in a business-style feels natural and fun.

Some other fun skills: Typing fast, organizing your email, modifying websites, making sales materials, leadership through CORE, project management, writing contracts, teaching sales, organizing events, tracking a budget, and the list goes on!

As you can see there’s a lot to be learned.  

Are you a fitting candidate?

In my opinion and experience, the position isn’t suited only for the business or sales minded. Most of the leg work is related to communications and planning in an hectic environment – sales are peripheral. I had absolutely zero sales experience before starting this job, but the interest and motivation exhibited were valued by my interviewers.

What also is important, is that you’re interested in developing KY’s corporate relations and yourself constantly. That’s the most important part. Everything can be learned as the skills aren’t exactly hard, but one has to be willing, able and motivated to learn new things constantly. I’m sure that this isn’t a big problem as most of our members already excel in this regard.

As I have thought about the key characteristics my successor should have, I was surprised how short the list came to be. That said, these truly are the only requirements I can think of.

An ideal candidate should be…

  • Interested in corporate relations
  • Open or interested in developing herself/himself
  • Trustworthy and initiative person (oma-aloitteinen)

 

The job will not occupy your life, and you can study at the same time

I worked for 25 hours per week. Now, the candidate can choose to work between 20-30 hours per week, as CORE is now more involved in the daily operations of KY’s Corporate Relations. Still there’s a lot to be done and countless opportunities for growth, so you can choose to work 30 hours per week and really enhance and develop the sector!

I’m not going to lie, those 25 hours were filled with work, but I rarely took work away from Espilä. Compared to a normal working week those hours are still quite low in number, which allowed me to study at a normal phase (60 Credits per year). I’m a second year Finance student and the studies went just as I wanted them to go – so no problem there. I was also able to party, read books, go to the gym and keep my gf happy no problem 🙂

Akseli’s thoughts

In this short period of time, Mark and I have become an inseparable duo. Everything we do, we do together – Negotiations with companies, leading Corporate Relations Committee CORE and executing our ambitious goals for the year.

We have created plenty of fun memories together – Log party at CORE cottage, KY 109 and all the after works after negotiations.

Besides having fun, we work hard. We at Voittis, as we call our sector, are the people that bring money to KY. It is both a challenging and rewarding responsibility. Thankfully, I have Mark and all the amazing members of CORE working around me.

Above all, it has been a pleasure to work with Mark as he is a rational, self-confident and organized person. I strongly believe that the role of Sales Coordinator builds all these characteristics. Become like Mark, become a part of the KY Office, become the Sales Coordinator! 

To wrap things up: what a year!

Firstly, thank you for getting this far! This turned out to be quite a post, but I felt that I wanted to give an accurate and thorough cross-section of the position. 

I’ve learned a lot, had so much fun and really felt that I was a part of something important. Consider yourself lucky that I didn’t decide to stay for another year so that you can have a chance to be the Sales Coordinator for 2020-2021.

I wish you all the best in the recruitment process! 

BR,

-MMM