Fast tracking from college to B2B Sales Excellence in less than a year

It was the spring of 2021 when Key Client Manager Valtteri Nokkanen began looking for his first job in B2B Sales. He was about to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Economics and had set his mind on a career in business-to-business sales.

Valtteri first discovered the joy of sales when, before he began studying, he had a job selling newspapers and electricity contracts from a stand.

“Seeing how my well-thought sales arguments influenced shoppers walking by fuelled my motivation to pursue a career in sales”, he says.

After graduation, Valtteri was eager to try his wings in B2B sales.

He was looking for a company that could teach and mentor him, helping him to master his sales techniques. Management Events was one of the places Valtteri sent his application; he had heard through the grapevine about our outstanding B2B sales knowledge and chose us as his place of work.

Fast forward less than a year, and Valtteri is working as a Key Client Manager at Management Events.

He now manages his own portfolio of clients and uses Management Event’s Aurora Live Platform to help executives representing some of the biggest companies to network, gain insights, and discuss with highly-ranked potential solution providers.

How did Valtteri’s career in B2B Sales and Business Excellence advance in such a short time, and how did we at Management Events support his rocketing sales career?

A critical business transformation affected Valtteri’s role from the very beginning

Valtteri started at Management Events just before summer 2021, when the world was still struggling with the pandemic. 

Now, imagine the business events industry (or any events industry) in a pandemic. Suddenly, all face-to-face events had to be cancelled – and we, as a company, were forced to think and act fast to avoid our business plummeting. 

We had decided to transform our business model, moving from primarily face-to-face events to concentrating on virtual business events, and we were busy preparing for the launch of this new business concept. 

Just a few months after Valtteri joined Management Events, we were ready to launch the new business model. 

This business transformation affected everyone’s role in our organisation. Including Valtteri’s. 

For him, it meant returning from his summer vacation to a completely new role.

But even though he was the newcomer, Valtteri was invited to join in the development of the new business concept and all the processes.

“It was a shaky situation for all of us”, Valtteri remembers. 

But even though he was the newcomer, Valtteri was invited to join in the development of the new business concept and all the processes. 

“Which made that time actually exciting”, he sums.

What was our business transformation and how did this affect Valtteri?

Put simply, Management Events’ business concept changed from transactional business events taking place once a year to continuous and strategic virtual events. 

In other words, our business transformed from a physical events business to virtual events, which affected pretty much every detail of how we plan, build, sell and market our concept. Not to mention how it transformed the experience of attending our business events! 

With virtual events we don’t aim for a one-off event, but a continuous availability of business networking opportunities when it is most convenient for the business decision makers to attend. 

“What this means is that we regularly contact executives and offer them the opportunity to schedule networking events into their calendars as they wish”, Valtteri explains. 

For Valtteri this change meant that everything he learned at the beginning of his ME career had to be unlearned and replaced with new information, skills, and techniques. 

“My entire sales pitch changed. It was almost like starting from the beginning”, Valtteri says. 

But it was this change that fast-tracked Valtteri from a newbie to being well on his way to B2B Sales and Business Excellence. 

“Everything in my role is now more strategic. Because the networking events are spread throughout the year, project management is very different”, he explains.

Top-notch training and support steered Valtteri towards B2B Sales and Business Excellence

Even though Valtteri was given a lot of responsibility from the beginning of his career at Management Events, he was never left alone. 

He feels the support and training have been excellent, and still continue to be. 

“Management Events is an excellent sales organisation in which to kick-start and build your career in B2B Sales.”  – Valtteri Nokkanen, Key Client Manager 

 “I got to show what I already knew and then got training based on my skills and knowledge.” 

Knowledge sharing is emphasised at Management Events. According to Valtteri, you can approach anyone in a senior role, and they will help you to develop your skills. 

“Everyone is so eager to help here”, he says. 

Valtteri has a weekly sparring session with his team, covering different sales themes and techniques. 

“Together we discuss and learn how to highlight different things. We give and receive a lot of feedback, and that really helps with our development”, Valtteri says. 

Valtteri feels that Management Events really invests heavily in both training and in building the team spirit among the ambitious Management Events professionals. 

“Here you get the opportunity to show what you’ve got and put your skills to test”, he sums. 

According to Valtteri, you can develop at your own pace at Management Events. And if you’d like to do it fast, like he did, it really is possible. 

“There isn’t a predefined road from trainee to top-tier sales professional. In my case, I got to show my skills and put them into practice right from day one”, he says.

What Valtteri lists as key things he has learned about B2B Sales

Valtteri has already learned a few key lessons about becoming a B2B Sales & Business Excellence professional.

1. Resilience

First, he emphasises the importance of resilience. It is the number one characteristic he had to pick up in the beginning of his career in B2B sales.

“It was important to learn to accept the fact that I will often hear “no” as an answer. Our clients are top-level executives who have limited time, are strict about their time management, and are hard to reach. I must simply try again and not give up”, he says.

2. Persistence

In addition to resilience, Valtteri recognises the importance of persistence if you want to succeed in B2B sales.

“Nothing comes for free. You need to be persistent. But at Management Events I know that everyone has my back, and I will get the support I need”, Valtteri concludes.

Career plans for the brighter future

As a company operating in almost ten countries, Management Events is able to offer members of its team international opportunities. Valtteri plans to take advantage of these opportunities.

“We have an international community here and it is rather easy to steer your career in that direction.” – Valtteri Nokkanen

Like most of his colleagues at Management Events, Valtteri also has the mindset of a process developer. He is always looking for opportunities to enhance his performance.

“I continue developing my skills and growing my professional network to establish long-lasting business relationships with our clients”, Valtteri says.

Valtteri’s tips for aspiring sales talents

To conclude, Valtteri kick-started his career at ME, going from school bench to successful B2B sales professional in less than a year. 

“This might sound cliché, but I I can’t imagine a better place than ME to launch the career in sales that I have dreamed of”, he says. 

What advice would Valtteri give to aspiring talents, who might be wondering what their first career move after graduating might be?

“Don’t give up, everything will work out in the end jobwise. Do what feels right at the time and trust the process”, Valtteri encourages. 

Connect with Valtteri on LinkedIn and ask about working at Management Events.

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