Alumnus shares insider tips from his successful sales career journey

Brian Schenkemeyer ’00, Aetna’s Southeast national accounts market leader, shared tips for students looking to enter the corporate world, specifically in sales.

As part of the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center’s Sales Speaker Series, Elon alumnus Brian Schenkemeyer ‘00 virtually presented on Nov. 5 the four phases of a sales career, emphasizing how a career is a journey and a constant learning process.

Portrait of Elon Alumnus Brian Schenkemeyer
Elon alumnus Brian Schenkemeyer ’00

Schenkemeyer shared 10 insider tips through introducing the audience to the four phases of a career – learner, contributor, multiplier and rainmaker. He inspired students to think of their career in phases to encourage them to focus on what they can do to be successful where they are now.

The learner phase, he explained, is when individuals absorb the company and atmosphere of the business world; they are students of the business. During this phase it is crucial to build a personal brand to create a good reputation inside the company. “Having a strong personal reputation will attract more opportunities in your direction since others can trust you to do the work,” Schenkmeyer said.

In the contributor phase, individuals begin leading efforts in projects and deliver more value to the company than they have before. They tend to be rewarded with more work and sought out for advice. Schenkemeyer emphasized that receiving more work is an honor.

Additionally, it is important to engage in creating a sales experience for buyers, which could be accomplished by forming emotional connections with whomever speaking to. Schenckemeyer claimed “an emotional connection with buyers speaks louder than words, it is beyond just the sales and numbers.”

The multiplier phase is when individuals are aware of what they do best for the company, and scale it to have a bigger overall impact. This may look like helping to coach others so they can contribute and succeed in their roles.

In the last phase, the rainmaker phase, individuals are thriving in their highest position and commit to continuous improvement. Schenkemeyer introduced students to the 10% objective, which he learned about from the book “Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others and Leading an Organization.” Ultimately, individuals should strive to be 10% better than they performed the year before, motivating them to continue making small improvements.

In his advice to students, Schenkemeyer encouraged them to focus on two things today: finding a mentor, and investing in relationships with individuals who will promote their growth in the long run.

As head of Aetna’s southeast market, Schenkemeyer is responsible for overall business development and account stewardship in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This includes accountability of business growth and retention strategies, regional profit and loss management, development of health care delivery strategies, and leadership of the account management teams responsible for customer and consultant relationships.

Prior to joining Aetna, he was a consultant for Hewitt Associates where he focused on strategy, benchmarking and large plan management projects.