In the third and final part of the blog article series on our Sales Team, we introduce you to our Sales Development Manager Madeleine Scholz. She took the leap and joined InstaFreight as a career changer in June 2021. In our interview, you can learn more about her motivation, her career change and the challenges she faces in her new job.
1. Hello Madeleine, what have you done for a living so far? Tell us a bit more about yourself.
After graduating from high school, I studied cultural studies and worked part-time as a temp in retail. I was so enthusiastic about communicating with customers that I dropped out of my studies and went straight into the food retail business. I then worked for many years in various positions at a big organic supermarket chain and completed a dual business studies program there, specializing in retail. This degree gave me the opportunity to make a career in the Management Team of one of their stores. It was a nice challenge for me to also take on tasks outside of Sales: I conducted job interviews, instructed employees and trained apprentices. At some point, however, that was no longer enough for me. And then InstaFreight came along 😉
2. Why did you decide to change careers and join InstaFreight as a Sales Development Representative?
In my early 30s, I wanted to do something new again and develop myself further. I no longer saw any career prospects for myself in retail. So I started looking around for alternatives. When I first heard about InstaFreight on a recruiting platform, I was excited about the founders’ vision to digitize the logistics industry. I had already encountered logistics through my work in retail ordering. The many manual and analog processes made it nearly impossible for us to gain visibility into our supply chain. We often didn’t know exactly when or if we would receive the goods we ordered.
So InstaFreight’s approach to automating and digitizing logistics immediately appealed to me. The modern startup culture at InstaFreight and the opportunity to shape my own work environment and tasks also convinced me. And last but not least, the role as Sales Development Representative offered me the opportunity to further pursue my enjoyment of customer communication. So I took the leap and applied!
3. You started with us in June. How have your first few weeks at InstaFreight been?
It was exciting that due to the current Corona situation, both the hiring process and onboarding were done completely remotely. However, InstaFreight handled this challenge very well: We “newbies” had many online meetings in our first weeks, where we met our colleagues, familiarized ourselves with programs like Salesforce and Personio and learned about our tasks as Sales Development Representatives. Thereby, I gradually obtained a comprehensive insight into the company and my tasks.
What struck me as particularly positive was the fact that no one pressured us to “function” as quickly as possible. Everyone was able to learn the job at their own pace. That gives you a lot of room for showing initiative. Especially in the first few weeks, I actively approached experienced colleagues myself, asked questions and gathered the information I needed. The team spirit in our Sales Team is great: everyone offered me their help and supported me! That relieved me of many uncertainties and encouraged me to believe that I can make it as a career changer!
4. How can we imagine your day-to-day work at home? How does teamwork look like in a remote setting?
Working remotely was completely new to me when I started at InstaFreight, because as a retail employee I was always on-site at the store. So working from home meant a big change for me: more responsibility, as I have to set goals myself and also motivate myself. But also more freedom and flexibility, since I can structure my working day on my own. I’ve gotten to know myself and my way of working better by that.
What makes working remotely easier for me is having a fixed daily routine. This includes regular meetings with my colleagues from the Sales Team, where we exchange ideas and talk about our challenges. Interestingly, although I rarely meet my colleagues in person, I’ve never felt so comfortable in a team. What I experience here is a very open corporate culture where you can ask any question. That’s very important, especially for me as a logistics newcomer. Everyone tries to support each other – that gives me strength and a boost.
5. What have been your biggest highlights at InstaFreight so far? And is there also a lowlight?
My two biggest highlights so far were our Sales Offsite Days and our Summerparty! For the first time, I met most of my colleagues in person and also got to know our Berlin office. The get-together strengthened our team spirit even more and gave me another motivational push. The Sales Offsite Days also provided me with a lot of new impulses for my work in customer communications.
One lowlight for me was the point when I realized that the transition to my new role as Sales Development Manager was ” tougher” than I had thought. I generally have high expectations of myself and wanted to do my job perfectly right from the start. As a result, a lot of pressure built up inside me. I then talked about this openly with various colleagues and also with my Team Lead. This helped me a lot to better manage my expectations of myself and to relieve the pressure. Thereby, I also learned that other colleagues sometimes have difficulties too and that it is worthwhile to tackle them together.
Now I’m proud that I’ve made the transition and have arrived 100% in my new job – in this regard, my lowlight is actually also a highlight at the same time!
6. In your opinion, what are the requirements to successfully start as a career changer in the Sales Team at InstaFreight?
If you enjoy communicating with customers and are enthusiastic about InstaFreight, you have already fulfilled two of the most important requirements. Only those who are committed to a product can sell it well. A healthy degree of empathy is also advantageous in order to be able to tune in to a customer and create a positive level of communication. I always say: “Find a wave on which you can surf together.”
But what is actually even more important: You should believe in yourself and have the courage to tackle a new area of responsibility! What my “lowlight” taught me is that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself in the beginning. As a career changer, it is quite natural that you have to familiarize yourself more intensively than other colleagues who may have worked in a similar position before. The main thing is to be motivated and proactive, and to be willing to learn from your colleagues. I’m really looking forward to helping other career changers get started!
Thank you Madeleine for sharing your experiences as a career changer at InstaFreight with us. We wish you continued joy and success in your position as Sales Development Representative! Are you also passionate about Sales? Then join us! Click here for our vacancies.