From Auburn, WA — 12/10/2008
My time with Zones was interesting, and I don't really have anything bad to say about the company. I would just say that this is a very hard job. That needs to be stated at the beginning. If you're looking only for a job to clock in and clock out, don't be an account executive, unless you like to inflict suffering and stress on yourself.
Its good having previous sale experience, but you will really have to clean your slate because this is a completely different animal. If you have sale experience in a belly to belly or person to person situation like myself, you'll have to get used to selling over the phone, which is different. Also, if you're used to short sales cycles, you'll have to adjust to a longer sales cycle. There is definitely a learning curve, that can be pretty lengthy, because you have to learn about the IT industry and their specific needs. Understanding your customer needs ties directly into your understanding of what solutions to provide them or at least knowing how to dig for pain points.
PAY: First year pay isn't really that great. Make sure you negotiate a good base salary, because you won't be nearly selling as much as you'd like the first year. Build your book of business like mad or the following years won't be what you're expecting. There are a lot of top earners in this company, but you'll need to bring in consistently new accounts
RESPECT: Respect is good overall. Like everyone else, you'll run into some people with issues, but if you carry yourself in a correct way, you wont' have problems with respect. Most management will work hard to help you because their paychecks depend on you
Job security: There are quoatas involved in this job, but a lot of people after a while don't make their quotas after a while and are consistently underperforming, and are still there. They're not laying people off either. But there are quotas and matrixes that are constantly pushed, so there will be pressure to hit you numbers.
Work/Life Balance: This depends on how much you really want to succeed. You can come in and work your standard 9 hours, and make the minimal amount of money to make. To really make money here, you'll have to come in early and often times stay later, so you can prepare for for your next day. Not to mention all the after work trainings. They're not required, but you really need to devour these to get ahead. Be prepared to spend 2-4 hours after work at these trainings. A lot of people skip their breaks also just to spend more time on the phones. If you're not driven, you'll work the minimum. If you are driven, you'll be there a lot. With the trainings and getting there early, 11-12 sometimes 13 hour days are common.
Career Potential: If you can survive you can make decent money. You can move to different roles in the company also. They fill positions as tech support, vendor representatives, cust support etc from people already on the floor. If you stay on the floor long enough, you can definetely transfer to another position. A lot of people also are still on the floor and are still working their original divisions, not moving out to other ones. Underperforming or mediocrity basically locks you in as an account executive. A lot of people take this job fresh from college, some take this as a refugee from another industry, others its an inbetween point while they're preparing to go back to school. If you're mediocre here, I wouldn't so much call it a career, keep in mind its a really tough job.
Location: There aren't a lot of locations. Either you're next to a call center or you're not. There should be restaurants and stuff near by though
Co-work competence: Some of the brightest people I've met are here, like really sharp individuals. I've met some pretty not so sharp people here also. I think if you shake up the group, the cream rises to the top. Stay away from the incompetent people because they'll drag you down
Work environment: You'll get a cubicle and its a clean environment. I think its better than most call centers. Just keep in mind, if you're easily susceptible to stress, don't take this job, this job is hard. Because you are in a cubicle, you're sitting for long periods at a time, and working under the stress of performing. As with a lot of call centers, lots of people really let themselves go. They gain lots of weight, and when they do decide to move around, its to go outside and smoke cigarettes. There is a work out facility, but I don't know how many people are using it.
If you plan on doing this job for only a year, you could try, but thats not enough time to really build your book of business to capitalize on it. The 1st year is always the toughest. Did I mention that this job is hard? Being mediocre is even tougher. Either work hard and do well or find sometihng else to do, unless you really really need a job and can't find anything else. Turn over rate here is pretty high. About 50% disappear after about 6 months. Did I mention its a hard job?