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Stark ’19 “The Challenger Sale or the Challenger”

Steven Stark ’19 Archon Tech Strategies – Before I begin describing the past seven weeks of my internship, I would like to thank Wabash College and the Lilly Endowment for providing students like me this unique opportunity to work with companies like Archon Tech Strategies. This summer I joined another Wabash intern and fraternity brother, Billy Bernhardt, to work for Tony Unfried ’03 and be part of the Archon Tech Team. Archon Tech Strategies is an Incubator, a Platform, and an Accelerator. It was created to bring ideas to life, build businesses and empower entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. After understanding the many roles Tony takes on, I still cannot grasp how he does it all. Owning and running his businesses while helping others build theirs is truly inspiring to see.

With a week remaining in my internship, I reflect on what I have learned and what I can take with me moving forward in my professional career. During the first two weeks, I focused my efforts to really understand Tony’s companies and the niche markets his software appeals to. I read 2 books, SPIN Selling and The Challenger Sale, to help me understand what kind of seller I must be to succeed in this complex market. At the same time, Billy and I began the growth hacking process by researching and prospecting companies, connecting with key decision makers on LinkedIn, and recording potential leads on other websites. Then we created a custom and creative email campaign to market our new products to prospects and connect with already existing clients. This helped expand the top layer of the sales funnel which is extremely important in a small business. Next, Billy and I created a electronic form which included our custom sales pitch and scoping questions to start qualifying our leads. Finally, we started, in my opinion, the most rigorous but rewarding part of our internship, cold calling.

Cold Calling taught me more than I expected, which was not much to be honest. Because of the amazing resources Tony and Wabash provides, I learned how to effectively cold call by reaching out to key decision makers, then convincing them to take the time to listen to my pitch. This was more challenging than I originally thought, but quickly learned that it’s one of the most important skills I developed. I learned to adjust my sales pitch (slightly or a lot) based on the individual and how they responded to me. An example that happened numerous times was when the secretary or “gatekeeper” answered the phone. In those situations, I needed to adjust my sales pitch to get past them and talk with the person making the decision, otherwise, there was no point, wasting my time and theirs. This internship has taught me how to tackle difficult tasks, challenge myself and others as a professional, and overall has given me great insight regarding emotional intelligence and how it is used in the business world. Thank you, Archon Tech Strategies, thank you Tony, and thank you Wabash College for providing me the opportunity to experience all aspects of the sale process in real time. I have learned to appreciate these things and I encourage students to not waste an opportunity.