The Importance of Sharing Stories in Sales

August 18, 2011

This belongs to our blog series on our colleagues’ stories. We hear from Lindsay Lewin, who started at LinkedIn recently, as she recounts lessons learned from her first sales training event. - Ed.
I’ve always hoped to work for a company that I believe in -- and that in turn believes in me and my future. LinkedIn is that company: a place that has significantly impacted my career’s upward trajectory, and one that truly encourages a team learning environment.
Imagine you are a relatively new employee of a company like LinkedIn. You are trying to both improve your skills as a professional while building your personal brand.Now imagine you are surrounded by a global pool of tremendous talent -- hundreds of employees who are constantly influencing each other to become better at what they do: in my case, our sales team, a difficult crowd to stand out in. As someone who started at the Central Regional office of LinkedIn in November 2010, this is the situation I found myself in as I was heading to our Annual Sales Training in California last week.

The Annual Sales Training is one of two opportunities each year that allow our globally dispersed team to catch up with one another, share best practices and build connective tissue between offices. Bringing together the entire global Hiring Solutions team, we were given a jam-packed schedule to learn about new solutions and focus on becoming better storytellers. After hearing daily tales of success from my clients in the past year, I’m convinced of the difference that LinkedIn’s products make in professionals’ lives and I was excited to learn new ways to share those stories with our members and customers.

On the first day, we were presented with the storytelling framework and began identifying our customers’ stories that we could share with other clients and prospects. We were also told that on the second day there would be a competition among the 450 sales professionals to award the person who brought forward the most compelling story. Being surrounded by such incredible talent on all sides, I never thought I stood a chance.

Cut to the next night, having completed three rather intimidating rounds of competition, including the last round which was performed in front of the entire crowd of 500.  I’m standing on stage with my fellow finalists (all women finalists!), and I hear my name announced as the winner.  As I’m accepting the award from Dan Shapero, I see a fellow Chicagoan rush the stage to hug me, quickly followed by the majority of the Chicago office.  More than the cash prize and the fact that they’re going to name a conference room after me at our Mountain View office (convenient that my last name ends in “in”!), that feeling of support I got from my colleagues will inspire me for years to come.  It embodies the LinkedIn spirit of not only helping each other, but also truly celebrating each others’ successes.

I am proud to work for LinkedIn: a company that allows me the chance to work alongside some of the smartest and most driven professionals in the industry, and one that gives me the tools to stand out in that crowd.