TRAINEES FOR SALES (TrailS)
Jomo Zander (trainee since June 2018):
“Everyone immediately associates sales with selling, selling, selling. But sales is about much more than that.
Sales is extremely multifaceted. To be successful, you need a high level of negotiating skill, strong communication skills and extensive specialist knowledge. Whether in discussions with existing customers or when winning new customers - these skills are essential for addressing and handling every customer in the right way.
And it’s precisely these skills that we have the opportunity to develop during our extensive trainee program with trainings provided by our internal HR-Academy, workshops and coachings. We also do a lot of “learning on the job”, with support from our mentors and a wealth of tips and tricks.
The chance to gain useful insights was one of a key reasons I applied to take part in TrailS at CHG-MERIDIAN.”
Maximilian Leppert (trainee since June 2018):
“I see sales representatives as the top athletes in the economy.
As mentioned before, the main task is, of course, sales. But - just like in sport - you have to have a wide range of skills and combine them to be successful. You have to be able to read the person you are dealing with, for example, be able to analyze situations and quickly develop an understanding for the problem. Determination and hunger to succeed are also essential, just like in sport. And this is precisely the challenge we face.”
Selina Gschwind (trainee since June 2018):
“In short: Yes.
After a compact induction at the headquarters in Weingarten, we spent the first three months in Internal Sales at our relevant sites. During this time, we learned about the business model of CHG-MERIDIAN and the processes behind it.
After the period in Internal Sales, each trainee was assigned an experienced mentor. We worked with our mentors on our first projects. These included all activities relevant for sales, from customer analysis and acquisition, finding solutions, creating quotations and completing contracts.
Our individual development is also supported by various trainings in the internal HR-Academy on topics such as presentation training, holding successful sales discussions and the mathematics of finance. The fact that all trainees come together regularly in trainings and the regular exchanges in telephone conferences also enables us to stay in close contact even across different sites and to share our experiences in sales.
We are currently organizing our three-month assignment abroad in one of our international subsidiaries, which we are looking forward to immensely. I’m off to Vimercate, close to Milan.”
Finding the right launchpad for your career
During my bachelor’s and master’s degree courses, I used every opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of business fields. But toward the end of my master’s it was clear to me that my future lay in sales. All I needed to do was to find the right way in. As it was particularly important to me to be both challenged and nurtured at the start of my career, a management trainee program seemed like the right choice. As a former degree apprentice from Ravensburg, I soon came across CHG-MERIDIAN and its sales trainee program, TrailS. After an online test and a successful telephone interview, I was invited to a two-day assessment center at the headquarters in Weingarten. During those two days, it was pointed out again and again that the objective was to determine whether applicant and company are a good match. And having been through the process myself, I can confirm that that is exactly what happens. Before the actual assessment center started, we were given a first glimpse into the world of CHG-MERIDIAN, where everything revolves around the individual planning, realization, and financing of technology infrastructure. The excellent organization and the variety of tasks to be fulfilled were not the only reasons why the CHG-MERIDIAN assessment center left a lasting impression on me. Rather, it was the genuine interest in me as a person and the opportunity, over dinner, to get to know the people behind the assessors, and therefore my potential future colleagues and superiors. The good feeling I had on leaving the assessment center was then confirmed soon after by a job offer.
The first days in my new job
To begin with, the management trainees spent the first few days at the headquarters in Weingarten. Here, we were given a brief introduction to the procedures relevant to us, the first to-dos for our successful start at the company, and a laptop and smartphone. Equipped with everything that I needed, I moved on to Munich, my future place of work. The first stage of TrailS is to get to know CHG-MERIDIAN’s business model and the processes behind it from the ground up. You spend the first three months in Internal Sales learning the ropes. Working alongside experienced colleagues, you are quickly involved in the day-to-day business and get to experience at first hand the challenges of operational processes. The knowledge and experience acquired here provides a solid basis that makes the subsequent work at the customers more effective and efficient.
What does CHG-MERIDIAN do?
CHG-MERIDIAN started out in 1979 as an owner-managed specialist in IT project finance, and over the next 40 years it evolved into a provider of technology management. Pure IT infrastructure financing is no longer in demand due to changing customer requirements. Instead, it is all about end-to-end solutions that reduce customers’ workloads, optimize their processes, and fit tight budgets. As an expert in both financing and IT, CHG-MERIDIAN is able to unite the two areas. Our customers not only enjoy full transparency and full control over their IT, they also have round-the-clock access to information on service level, cost center, and the location and particulars of each asset.
As CHG-MERIDIAN is independent of individual banks and manufacturers, and is only bound to its customers, it can provide a one-stop solution that is unique on the market.
A step closer to your objectives
To prepare you for the day-to-day work in sales, in terms of both processes and business skills, CHG-MERIDIAN’s management trainee program offers a healthy mix of on-the-job and off-the-job training. After spending time in Internal Sales, every trainee is assigned an experienced co-worker as a mentor with whom the first projects are tackled. This includes sales-related activities such as customer analysis and acquisition, identifying solutions, generating quotes, and closing sales – and all in coordination with the customer and the partners. You need to be well versed in certain processes and have certain skills to complete these tasks successfully. To acquire and consolidate these skills, management trainees at CHG-MERIDIAN complete a variety of training modules. For example, you’ll learn how to present and conduct a successful sales pitch, you’ll gain insights into mathematical finance, and you’ll learn about business etiquette. The combination of theory and practical application provides the best possible preparation for the challenges of working as an account manager. The three-month secondment within the CHG-MERIDIAN Group is a great opportunity to see things from other perspectives – you get to meet international colleagues, you can learn from them, and can even pass on knowledge to them. You have an opportunity to make a real difference as a colleague from Germany who is closer to headquarters and to current talking points and solutions than the staff in the international subsidiaries. And with more than 20 international offices to choose from, there is an exciting destination for everyone.
On the home straight
Back from my time abroad, I now need to set my future career on the right path and manage my first customer projects. Over the next 24 months, you are given all the tools you need to achieve this. So if you are looking for an opportunity to take on responsibility and get actively involved, start the application process now.
Before I decided to work for CHG-MERIDIAN, my experience amounted to a degree apprenticeship at a small management consultancy followed by a secondment in London.
My first experiences in employment helped me to decide on the direction I wanted my career to take.
As a recent graduate, it was only natural that I had some fixed ideas about my future career and my employer.
An international outlook, client contact, and handing over responsibility early on, were all criteria that my future employer absolutely had to fulfil.
On top of that, I wanted to work for a modern, innovative, and vibrant company.
Nonetheless, it was clear to me that being dropped in at the deep end wasn’t necessarily the right route to take. My degree apprenticeship had already given me a solid theoretical and practical foundation, but I was aware that I needed to gain more experience.
So I decided to concentrate my search on a management trainee program that covers all the requirements I had in mind.
One of the companies that caught my eye was CHG-MERIDIAN. The scope of the entire application process hardly differed from that of other firms. Starting with an online test, then on to a telephone interview, and finally an assessment center, all the usual suspects were there.
But what stood out from all the other companies was the greater focus on the actual applicant. Once I received the invitation to the headquarters in Weingarten, all I had to do was concentrate on the assessment center. CHG-MERIDIAN took care of the rest. The mantra throughout the assessment center was that the personal level was highly important and that it had to be the right fit for both sides. Having successfully completed the assessment center, the final hurdle before being offered the position was an informal meeting with my future line manager in Hamburg. As I already mentioned, it is very important to the company that the personal chemistry is right.
All management trainees spend the first three months in Internal Sales at their site. Here it is important to learn more about the processes and procedures, the business model, and how best to work together with your colleagues in Internal Sales.
After that, you move to Sales proper. To ensure an easy transition and to provide an overview, every management trainee has an on-site coach and a mentor whom he or she accompanies to customer meetings. Over time, the trainee is involved more and more in the active sales process. At the same time, the trainee can independently gain further experience working on cold calls.
There are numerous interesting training modules that support the trainee’s everyday work and ensure that the program is completed successfully. Business etiquette, mathematical finance, and presentation skills are just some of the many subjects on offer. All management trainees that started in the same year take the classes as a group.
This helps to foster a sense of togetherness across sites where knowledge, opinions, and achievements are shared.
About halfway through the traineeship, you are sent abroad, and you have a considerable amount of say in where you are going and on which projects you will be working. I went to Scandinavia and helped to present our TESMA® technology and service management tool both internally and externally in Sweden and Norway. It is quite interesting to see how colleagues outside of Germany deal with particular challenges, which provides an entirely new perspective of certain processes.
The period after your time abroad can be described as the final sprint toward starting your career. You still receive some training, but now it is important to put into practice the knowledge acquired so far, whether it is talking to customers or discussing strategy with suppliers and partners.
I firmly believe that the management trainee program helps graduates to develop their personal and business skills and provides the foundation for a successful start to your career. For me, CHG-MERIDIAN is a ‘hidden champion’ as far as the structure of its training program is concerned, and I can highly recommend it to anyone looking for a traineeship in sales.
On completing my degree in commercial law, specializing in financial and bank management, banking and capital market law, and marketing, I gained my first practical experience in a medium-sized business. My objective at the start of my career was to establish a strong foundation for a successful future.
My future employer had to fulfil the following criteria:
While looking for such an employer, I came across CHG-MERIDIAN. As a student, I had completed internships and worked as a temporary student employee so that I could gain my first practical experience in sales-related fields. But I had my doubts as to whether a traineeship in sales would be able to cover all the items on my list, right up to the point where I started preparing for the first selection phase.
The online test was followed by a telephone interview, where it soon became clear that a sales job at CHG-MERIDIAN involved more than just selling products. The final stage of the selection process was a two-day assessment center. At first glance, the periods between the three assessment stages may appear rather long, but I think this offers both sides time to get a clearer picture of one another. For me, this attention to detail is what sets CHG-MERIDIAN, and particularly their traineeships, apart.
At the end of my first day at work, I had dinner with the Chairman of the Board of Management and the Board of Management member with responsibility for sales, and I was able to experience at first hand how much new colleagues are valued. Secondments in Düsseldorf, Weingarten, and Los Angeles further underlined that the company’s roots as an owner-managed, Swabian family business still provide the cornerstone for its corporate identity. This identity is not exclusive to the headquarters; it has also been successfully transported to the eight sales offices in Germany and the global subsidiaries. This traditional foundation is mixed with more modern elements such as flexible working hours, modern premises, an open-door policy, and flat hierarchies, offering an attractive overall package.
As an account manager at CHG-MERIDIAN, you are the main contact for medium-sized companies and large corporates across all sectors. This means you have to deal with a wide range of customer expectations. The structure of the management trainee program, which includes spending time in a variety of departments, provides the background knowledge required to fulfil the role of an account manager and to handle the new challenges that every day brings. Internal and external events and training organized by CHG-MERIDIAN’s HR academy provide the opportunity to develop personal and business skills. Throughout my traineeship, I am supported by my coach and a mentor in management. By working alongside an experienced account manager and switching between contacts, I am provided with a steep learning curve and an insight into a wide range of individual working methods. Teamwork is not the exception, it is the key to success for every customer project. Whether it is working with other account managers or with colleagues from Internal Sales, Legal, Tax, Treasury, Service Design, or Service Delivery – everything begins with the team at CHG-MERIDIAN.
Since 1979, the business model has been continually refined for our customers’ benefit, independently of the interests of banks, manufacturers, or service providers. It is thanks to this and the pioneering spirit and vision of our senior management that revenue and the number of employees at the company have been on a steady upward trajectory. All businesses are experiencing a growing need for investment to keep up with digitalization. It is this general trend in the sector and the internal efforts in response to it that make the management trainee program at CHG-MERIDIAN so interesting.
I realized early on that I wanted my career to start in sales. While gaining my first practical sales experience in Berlin’s start-up scene, the idea took hold in my head that my work in sales should involve more than just selling a product – I wanted to get into the far more challenging field of selling solutions. I also wanted to hone and expand the skills I acquired while studying international management and finance.
I was aware that starting my career in the complex world of solution sales without any previous experience would be very difficult, so I concentrated on looking for traineeships online.
It was during this search that I came across CHG-MERIDIAN’s job advertisement. I decided to apply, as the following points caught my eye immediately:
Shortly after completing my electronic application, I received an invitation to an online assessment. The assessment took around an hour and focused heavily on operational and commercial processes.
About a week after the assessment, I completed a telephone interview. A big plus was that the interview was conducted by an account manager at CHG-MERIDIAN, i.e. by someone who was in the role that I was aiming for after my traineeship. Following this call, I received an invitation to a two-day assessment center at the company headquarters in Weingarten. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the assessors there. A total of four assessors, including the manager of the office I was hoping to be seconded to, were flown in for the assessment center. This demonstrated to me how highly CHG-MERIDIAN regards each individual applicant. At this point it was clear in my mind that I would accept a job offer from CHG-MERIDIAN.
Starting work at CHG-MERIDIAN was very exciting. Those initial days at the headquarters, the three months in Internal Sales, and the months spent on secondment abroad seemed to pass in a flash. I came to appreciate the benefits of CHG-MERIDIAN’s non-captive business model many times over those months. I particularly liked the fact that CHG-MERIDIAN is a highly agile company compared to others of a similar size. Suggestions are always welcome, and customer requests are accommodated with great flexibility. The departments, such as Tax, Legal, and Treasury, can all be contacted directly, and the way they work is very solution-oriented. With such a strong team to support you, I can only recommend the sales traineeship at CHG-MERIDIAN.