An interview with Jacqueline Poulson, Senior Account Executive at Learning Pool, an E-Learning Platform

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I’m writing to you from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I live with my husband, 3 year old son, and two dogs. I have a sales background in both healthcare and ed tech. I’m a consumer of useless facts and a lifelong learner at heart. I enjoy long walks to nowhere, wasting time laughing at Reddit comments, and, of course, some good red wine. 

How did you get your start in sales? When did you know that it would be your career?

I left the lucrative world of teaching and started as a pharmaceutical sales rep for AstraZeneca in 2014. Teaching is one of the few industries that doesn’t recognize hard work with promotion, so I was intoxicated by sales, knowing that the more effort one puts in, the greater the rewards. I loved the autonomy and flexibility and all the interesting people one gets to meet along the way. 

Your company also sells to the public sector. What is that sales process like? How much different is it from selling to private companies? 

Selling to the public sector is not much different than selling to private companies in the Learning and Development space; both are long and arduous, especially in this market. Not unlike other sectors, the typical sales cycle in L&D is about 9-12 months, with many stakeholders taking part. 

You also work as a Crossfit coach. Are there any lessons you’ve carried over that help you in your day-to-day? 

Crossfit focuses on creating mental toughness and getting just a little better every day. Resilience and mental toughness are required for success in any sales job. There are workouts where I have wanted to quit, and days where I have wanted to quit sales, but if you just keep moving, eventually success will follow. 

What does a typical work day look like for you? Walk us through it. 

I enter my cloffice and start prospecting. Admittedly, this is my least favorite part of the job, but as the saying goes, eat the frog, right?! Internal meetings, conversations with colleagues and furthering the pipeline are peppered throughout the day. The beauty of sales is that no two days ever look the same. 

What's the one thing you’ve found that helps you be successful in sales? 

Sales is such a grind. We always see jokes about how quickly sales ages folks, and the stress this line of work creates is real. For me to be successful, I need to take care of myself. That often takes the form of an intense workout first thing in the morning. I’ve also started to incorporate meditating which has really helped too. 

What are your long term career goals? Early retirement or future CRO? 

Long term?! Sales has me living day by day. 😆 I’ve always enjoyed helping teammates and researching the science behind why certain techniques work better than others, so management or even sales training or enablement has piqued my interest. In a perfect world, early retirement is the ideal. If Amazon packages stopped appearing at my house every day, this might happen sooner…

What is your favorite sales movie? 

I’ve always laughed at the take Love and Other Drugs had on the pharmaceutical industry, but overall, I’m actually not that much of a movie watcher. I know, I know… books are more my thing. I’m currently reading Secrets of Question Based Selling and find Thomas Freese’s timeless advice about curiosity unlocking the rest of the sales process especially fitting. He gives great actionable insights to help with speed of implementation. 

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