Sales reps serve as front line of Walsworth service
Written by Shiloh Scott
This post is the last one in a four-part series highlighting the employees and departments that provide Walsworth’s outstanding customer support. You can read about the artists in Walsworth’s Creative Services area here. Our post about Computer Support can be found here and you can read about the company’s customer service representatives here.
Every department at Walsworth Yearbooks is focused on helping our customers, but the sales reps are typically the first Walsworth employee a customer meets. Sales reps spend time at the school, working with the yearbook staff and advisers.
As Jill Chittum, Sales Rep Field Trainer, explained, “We’re like the front line when people have questions.”
What they do
Sales reps are there to support customers with all aspects of yearbook: everything from curriculum to training yearbook staff to staying within budget to marketing the book. The sales rep may even go in and teach a class.
Sales reps work closely with the yearbook staffs and advisers, and often the school administration, to supply the information and resources needed for a successful year.
“As a former yearbook adviser myself, I know there are about a million things that yearbook advisers are tasked with doing,” Chittum said. “I think our job is to be that lifeline when advisers call us and say, ‘I don’t know what to do!’ We can either tell them the answer right away or find the answer very quickly.”
When the sales rep doesn’t know the answer to a question, they can get in contact or connect the school with the appropriate department – often Creative Services, Computer Support, or the school’s Customer Service Representative (CSR). Chittum described the sales rep’s role as “a conduit from the customer to production.”
Sales reps make themselves easy to reach — schools may choose to communicate through text, email, phone call or schedule a time for the sales rep to visit the school. And when the rep isn’t available, they can reach out to their CSR.
“I really see the rep and the CSR at the same level of service importance — it’s just that the rep happens to be the one in the field.”
Training, training, training
Chittum works with the training department to coordinate and plan the extensive training that sales reps currently undergo. Walsworth’s sales reps complete about 120 hours of training before they start working with customers.
They receive more training after they’ve been on the job for about six months.
“You have to kind of get out there and see what the job entails, then come back with really good questions,” said Chittum.
Training is ongoing throughout their career, with follow-up and veteran training available.
Even Walsworth’s annual meetings – attended by every rep – include training sessions.
What sets us apart
Walsworth is family-owned and tight-knit, which makes it easier to adapt to customer needs.
“Our reps have more opportunity. When they see something out in the field that needs to be fixed, it’s easier for us to make that happen at a company like Walsworth versus a giant corporate company.”
The personal touch makes a difference, and lets the sales rep play the role of encourager to the adviser and students.
“When I was a rep, I always felt like that was my biggest job, to keep yearbook fun for the people involved,” Chittum said. “Because I wanted my advisers to love it and keep coming back, and I wanted the students to have a good time so that they would want to put out a good product.”
Chittum encouraged people with a love of yearbook to consider a career as a sales rep. The job allows for a focus on yearbook, and sales reps get to dabble in a wide variety of skills: technology, graphic design, creativity, business, etc.
Chittum had worked on the yearbook staff in high school, but didn’t consider a career in yearbooks until later. She wanted others to know it’s an option.
“You’re getting paid to think about yearbook all day long.”