Elizabeth Loschen is a former collegiate volleyball player with nimble abilities both on and off the court. “I love to work out and be active,” she says. “In fact, I'm going to start teaching some workout classes in my free time after work.” And when she’s in the office she’s always on the ball, successfully bringing in new leads for her team.
Elizabeth is quickly growing her sales career as a Business Development Representative II at GoTo, a flexible-work software company. We sat down with her to learn about how she’s built her career in sales since graduating in 2020. Keep reading to learn her story and advice for early professionals wanting to kick-start their sales career.
Finding the First Opportunity
Volleyball has always been important to Elizabeth. “I played in highschool, and then following graduation, I went up to play at University of South Dakota,” she elaborates. “I played volleyball there for all four years.” She opted for a degree in business, with a focus on finance. “I was interested in understanding finances and pursuing a field that would lead to long-term success,” she says.
Soon after she graduated, she was offered a Graduate Assistant Coach position at Jacksonville University, where she got her MBA. Her program solidified many of the skills she had acquired in her undergrad, like organization, time management, and presenting. “I know presenting is nobody's favorite thing, but it's definitely prepared me as I'm talking to VPs of companies on the phone,” she explains. “I have to be confident and speak to my knowledge, which is important in sales.”
Once her MBA program came to a close, Elizabeth decided to move back to her hometown of Omaha, where she accepted a position as Assistant Manager for Orange Theory, a boutique fitness studio. Although she didn’t know it at the time, this was her first step into the world of sales. “You are getting paid on how many people join, so you're trying to always bring in [new] memberships,” says Elizabeth. “So that got my foot in the door to sales.”
This opportunity also helped her transition from her college classes to real-world business situations. “I feel like in school, they say ‘these are the steps,’ but at Orange Theory, there were things you had to know, but there weren’t obvious steps to follow,” she elaborates. “You had to really understand what the customers wanted and what their goals were before pushing the sale.”
Transitioning to the Remote Work World
After seven months in the fitness industry, Elizabeth decided she wanted to look for another sales-based opportunity that would give her the opportunity to work from wherever she wanted. “I wanted to stay in sales because I like the ability to determine my own outcomes,” she says. “Whether it's determining the relationships you build or determining how much money you make, I love that idea.”
After a few months of job searching, a staffing company reached out to Elizabeth where she got connected with GoTo. “I got the interview with GoTo and I literally got an offer a couple of days later.” After researching the company, understanding their values, and considering future career growth, she took the offer. “I knew I could see myself succeeding with GoTo.”
GoTo is a flexible-work software that offers small to medium sized companies tools to enhance the way they work. They’re committed to ensuring that employees have excellent growth opportunities and work-life balance. Apart from monthly check-ins and quarterly opportunities to scale up, GoTo offers employees monthly self-care days, flexibility in organizing their own work hours, and ensuring that the time at work is well spent so that time outside of work is better spent.
Since joining the GoTo team, Elizabeth has been able to enjoy that flexibility to the max, as she’s traveled with her boyfriend who is a professional basketball player. “I lived in Atlanta for a little bit then Memphis and now I'm back in Omaha,” she explains. “It's really nice that I can work and be completely focused wherever I'm at.”
She’s also been able to take advantage of the upskilling opportunities that GoTo has to offer. “I've learned so much more about sales since I’ve joined. The way I view sales has changed and evolved in a really good way,” Elizabeth says. “I now understand sales as a way to figure out needs and solve problems, while building and maintaining many relationships.” She’s also gotten the chance to take on leadership opportunities like mentoring new hires on her team.
A Typical Day in Sales
One of Elizabeth’s favorite perks of working at GoTo is the flexibility that comes with her typical day at work. She makes sure she has a full morning routine before logging on and organizes her day according to her goals on her daily and weekly planner. Some of her daily tasks include: attending team meetings, prospecting and follow-ups with clients, mentoring team members, or sitting in on demos to learn about the company’s latest offerings.
She makes sure to take breaks throughout her day too. “As long as you’re hitting all your metrics, it’s pretty flexible,” she says. When she logs off from work, she feels like she can fully disconnect and have quality, personal time.
Advice on How to Kick-Start Your Career in Sales
Elizabeth recalls the first time she started making phone calls to potential clients. “The first fifty phone calls I made I froze on the phone and didn’t know what to say and I messed up,” she says. “But then you screw up a phone call, you learn from it, and you get better.” This type of perseverance is critical in any role in sales, in addition to other key soft skills such as self-awareness, time management, collaboration, competitiveness, and goal-setting. Elizabeth shares with us a few practical pieces of advice for anyone interested in stepping into sales.
- Network and build relationships. Building connections is key for a successful sales career. Although it may sound cliché, “networking and building relationships is huge.” Not only is this helpful to make contacts, but more importantly, to create valuable and enjoyable places of work.
- Don't be afraid to fail. Elizabeth has found that a lot of her growth has been due to failure. “When I started, I failed so many times,” she says, referencing freezing up during cold calls. “But you don't grow unless you fail. So don't be afraid to mess up!”
- Have goals (and celebrate when you hit them!). In sales, setting goals is key to success. “It's hard to be good at your job if you don't have measurable goals, whether they're weekly, daily, monthly, yearly, they’re so important,” says Elizabeth. One thing she loves about the sales team at GoTo is that every time a goal is met, the team celebrates. “We put everything in our Slack, whether it's a small win, like, ‘hey, I got a follow up call’ or ‘hey, just got an opportunity,’” she says. “We're all celebrating with each other.”