Class is in session: How Groupon sets new sales hires up for success

Class is in session: How Groupon sets new sales hires up for success

Class is in session: How Groupon sets new sales hires up for success

After nearly 10 years in sales, Kolby Banks thought he had seen it all when it came to sales onboarding programs. Then he joined Groupon, where all new hires are enrolled in Groupon Sales University for training.

“The training program was a breath of fresh air for me,” Banks said.

The new, three-month course is designed to not only onboard new hires but to hone their soft and hard sales skills. We spoke to three salespeople to learn more about the training program and what makes for a successful salesperson at Groupon.

Alicia Babich, Manager of Sales Training and Development

Alicia Babich manages the sales training teams in Chicago and Phoenix. Her teams train new hires in business development, merchant development, merchant support and more. They’re also responsible for the Groupon Sales University.

BEYOND WORK: Alicia is a certified rape crisis counselor and medical advocate.

What trainings are in place to help a new salesperson succeed at Groupon?

Every new hire goes through a rigorous sales training program that starts on day one. The training starts with two weeks of classroom training, role play and on-the-phone practice followed by an additional 10 weeks of onboarding with a salesperson’s own book of business.

After graduation, salespeople are drafted into one of Groupon’s verticals and do month-over-month call coaching in small and large groups, as well as one-on-ones with their managers and sales trainers. This, in a nutshell, is Groupon Sales University.

What role did you play in shaping Groupon’s new sales training program?

In January 2017, Groupon Sales University didn’t exist. We initially had a three-month training program where new salespeople met once a week to ramp up. We decided to expand it to a 12-month curriculum designed to teach soft and hard sales skills to new hires, no matter their experience level.

One year later, we’ve launched our first full course at Groupon Sales University with our business development class. I was one of the first people to get to shape the program and name it. Now, my team gets to grow it, evolve it and expand it.

What is one objection salespeople receive consistently?

We often hear, “Not interested.” Our guts tell us to ask, “Why not?,” but that’s the last thing a person wants to hear after they reject you, and the last question they want to answer. Instead, we hear them out, ask a few quick questions to flip the conversation from a negative, emotional place to a positive, logical one. Then we pivot back to the pitch. We seek to understand first, then seek to be understood.

Ready to launch your Sales career?

Carina Coss, Business Marketing Executive

Carina Coss works to bring in new businesses for Groupon’s “Things to Do” vertical.

BEYOND WORK: Carina enjoys running and traveling.

Tell us about your background. What attracted you to Groupon?

My background is in public relations and global communications. Coming back from traveling, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career with a brand that had a local and global presence. Groupon fit that perfectly.

What does an average day look like for you on the sales team?

There are a lot of layers to my day, but each task is designed to make sure we are benefiting and profiting the most at work. I typically start my mornings off with housekeeping work, like making presentations for prospects, catching up on emails and checking my deals that have gone live.

After that, my team and I have a short meeting to go over our expectations and progress for the week. Then I move into prospecting mode and start dialing away until lunch. After lunch, we usually have training meetings get better at the sales process. I usually end the day with appointments.

How did Groupon’s sales training program help you?

I participated in Groupon’s sales training program earlier this year. It not only helped me improve my own professional abilities but also allowed me to grow in a different environment.

The training helped me become more aware of the skills I already had and taught me the true essence of sales. It was not easy, but it helped me realize I possessed the ability to connect with businesses and help them accomplish their goals. I graduated from the program as valedictorian, which reinforced the fact that I was moving in the right direction and with the right support system at Groupon.

What qualities makes someone successful on your team?

There are many ways a person can become successful on this team. Success isn’t attributed to one trait or one action, it’s a combination of work ethic, organization, perseverance and individuality. It’s also crucial to ask for help and guidance. Without the help and mentorship of others, it’s hard to be successful.

Kolby Banks, Business Development Rep

Kolby Banks is responsible for researching new accounts that will make for great partners and showing them the value of partnering with Groupon.

BEYOND WORK : Kolby enjoys playing paintball.

What is one objection salespeople receive consistently? How do you overcome it?

Time is a big one. People often say they are too busy to talk. During one call, I had a merchant rush to say she didn’t have the time and that we were too expensive after my spiel. I jumped in asking for a minute to explain how Groupon can be different and a benefit for her business. Thirty minutes later, that contract was closed.

How does teamwork play out on the sales team?

Nobody wins if just one person has all the secrets. We have teams all around us that are looking to top us in sales. Our team knows that everyone wants to be better and improve. We respect our managers and put the work in every day to accomplish that goal. I don’t think any of us like to be last. I definitely do not.

What was your experience in the Groupon sales training program?

The training program was a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve been in sales for almost 10 years. Typically, you get the same training presented in different ways based on the company. At Groupon, I was able to see it from a different point of view. It made me challenge myself and want to be better.

Chelsey York – Sales Trainer in Scottsdale

Chelsey York – Sales Trainer in Scottsdale

CHELSEY YORK

Sales Trainer
Scottsdale, AZ
Joined: 2017

How many people can claim they’ve played My Little Pony with Luke Skywalker?

We see you’re a member of Pride@Groupon. Why did you join? 

There are so many companies, especially in Arizona, that don’t show much support for the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of the community myself, it is important for me to be an activist! Groupon has been a great place to work in regards to being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. There is support, acceptance, and celebration. Especially in Phoenix, being accepted in the community is a huge win. It has been one of the most comfortable places I have ever worked; a place where I feel like I can talk about my family and share that with others without hesitation.

Why is it important for Groupon to champion and support Pride@Groupon?

There is nothing an organization shouldn’t support when it comes to identity or communities struggling to be understood. Awareness creates education and education creates understanding. With any person or group of people that struggle with being accepted, or understood, the biggest way to combat that is by teaching others the normalcy of what they fear!

Who are some notable figures you’d like to recognize for Pride Month?

Harvey Milk…just a thank you. I would also like to recognize the members of a lesbian group who donated their blood years ago (aside from nuns’ blood, it was said to be the ‘purest’ demographic of blood) to an AIDS organization fighting for our community’s brothers struggling with the disease.

How did you celebrate Pride Month?

My girlfriend and I stayed home with the kids and celebrated by spending time with family and friends. We would have gone out and partied, but the parenting life has caught up with us much and we are more tired than years prior.

Any stories you’d like to share about your experience at Groupon as it relates to being a member of the LGBTQ+ community or ally?

Groupon has been a great place to work in regards to being a part of the LGBTQ community. There is support, acceptance, and celebration. Especially in PHX, being accepted in the community is a HUGE win. It has been one of the most comfortable places I have ever worked, where I feel like I can talk about my family and share that with others without hesitation.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite Groupon memory is a culmination of things! I absolutely revel in seeing our reps grow and gain confidence, especially when they’ve been struggling for a while or are going through a “slump.” Supporting them and being able to see them turn things around into a more positive adventure is what keeps me coming into work every day!

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

Is there really a typical day for a sales trainer?! One of my favorite parts of my job as a trainer is encountering new things and challenges every day! I learn as much as I teach. Being a trainer consists of training material, best practices, quick check-ins, motivating trainees, and pushing everyone to succeed, but it’s so much more than that! Helping people learn how to lead themselves to success is the best part of my job.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

The most challenging thing I have worked on here at Groupon is making sure my process is as refined as possible to make sure I can be 100% when coaching others to be successful. Groupon has so much information! I am still constantly working to get better in order to support this office to the best of my ability.

Who inspires you?

MY KIDS! They are incredible human beings; how could I NOT be inspired by them! Also, Christopher Hitchens for his amazing ability to think reflectively and critically, Stephen Hawking for his brain and capacity to learn and analyze, and the universe…what an incredible place to live and what amazing species to work alongside.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

My first impression of Groupon Scottsdale was it was an incredible balance of hard work and fun. They have found a great balance in creating an environment that values hard work but also knows how to have a great time!

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I am consistently reaching out to local businesses I visit on a daily basis, training sales reps to be effective in finding the goals of small businesses all over the country, and finding ways to help reps impact their businesses in a more positive way. Small businesses can always benefit from extra support, and to participate in giving them a lifeline is worth it!

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

I can’t brag! I can give as much coaching as I possibly can, but it’s 100% up to the Business Development Representatives to implement what we teach them. If I can brag about anything, it’s about my amazing reps!

What do your children think you do?

“Mommy teaches grownups because they didn’t learn enough in school,” my 7-year-old daughter, Kaydence.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

Before joining Groupon, I was a sales trainer for a law firm helping people repair their credit…I loved it! I came to Groupon looking for growth and a new experience and it has more than delivered!

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? What are your hobbies?

I play some massive Skyrim, Call of Duty, as well as classic Nintendo games. I’m a professional UNO player and I read a ton of books about outer space. I am also currently getting my psychology degree. Other than that, my kids and I have some kick butt times together as my best friends. My girlfriend and our kids spend the majority of our time playing, laughing, and adventuring. Why else live?!

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I would be an astrophysicist. I would love to research and learn more about my most passionate hobby. (I am horrible with mathematics, so I’m sure a day is a likely timeframe as I would probably be fired…)

What’s your favorite local business?

Are we serious right now!? THE TACO STAND IN LA JOLLA CALIFORNIA. Want to dispute it? I will not be taking counterarguments until you have eaten their fish tacos….

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

Groupon allows autonomy and personal goals and timeframes. Given the fact that I love to add personality to my job, I need a place that nurtures that and allows my professional self, as well as my silly self to marry well.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

The world needs a change —

Let’s start a revolution —

Local biz unite

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I used to play My Little Ponies with Mark Hamill…aka Luke Skywalker. My mom was one of his best friends. Also, I was Bigfoot for my daughter’s best friends birthday (picture added) and all the kids think he is real now.

Sarah Thomson – Business Development Representative in Scottsdale

Sarah Thomson – Business Development Representative in Scottsdale

SARAH THOMSON

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Hitting sales goals and gongs with Sarah in Phoenix.

What’s your proudest accomplishment at Groupon?

I recently worked with a merchant that Groupon had been trying to close for years. I went into the first call knowing it was going to be challenging, yet a good learning experience. I listened to his hesitations and within a few months he overcame all of his objections and I closed the opportunity.

The best part was that at the very end he thanked me for hearing him out and putting something together that he felt would work for him and his business. He told me I was a pleasure to work with and that I really changed his view of Groupon and how excited he was for his feature to go live. It was really nice to hear and it is something that I will take with me whenever I get those merchants who may be hesitant at first.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever got was from my dad and I believe it applies to everything, not just work: have a positive attitude! You can’t control a lot of what happens to you but you can control how you react to it. Just staying positive and working hard on the things I can control is really what makes me successful.

What was your impression of Groupon when you first started?

So much fun! I loved the energy and the environment of the Phoenix office, the people are really the best.

How does working at Groupon fit into your life?

I moved to Phoenix only knowing two people and my dog. Groupon quickly became a giant part of my life. I became good friends with a lot of my coworkers and love how many activities are always happening in and outside the office. (Shout out to the Culture Club!)

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I love talking to merchants every day and learning how I can help their business grow and be successful. I am from Omaha, Nebraska, so I spend a lot of time working with businesses I grew up with. I love to help grow an expanding market by creating deals for the area and others.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I can lick my elbow!

Who are the most inspiring women at Groupon?

I think it is a tie between Grace Litteken and Kelly Light. They both work so hard every day and are so respected for their work. They are easy to talk to and really get things done. On top of that, they both are so caring and understanding.

What do you enjoy about Women@Groupon?

I worked for a long time at a company where I was the only girl. It was so nice to learn that Groupon celebrated and recognized women through Women@Groupon. When I was looking at job opportunities these programs were actually what stood out to me and ultimately made me end up here!

Who is a woman you look up to?

My grandma. She worked hard for many years for everything she had, working with addicts to help them get back on the right track. She never doubted their or anyone else’s success for a minute. She had a heart of gold and really knew how to tell it how it was. She was never afraid to be herself or speak her mind, which are qualities I try to emulate.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When I hit 100% to goal and got to hit the gong!

What’s your favorite local business?

Big Red of the Desert. It’s the best little Husker store owned by the sweetest lady.

Jessy Gheen – Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

Jessy Gheen – Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

JESSY GHEEN

Business Development Manager, Things To Do
Scottsdale, AZ
Joined: 2015

Meet Jessy: she helped launch Groupon Scottsdale’s volunteer program and finds empowerment through making connections with other women in a historically male-dominated industry.

There are a lot of amazing Groupon stories. What’s your biggest accomplishment?

What I’m most proud of is my involvement with Groupon Volunteers. Being able to launch in the Scottsdale office has been such an amazing experience. I not only get to give back to the community that I love so much, but I have helped others in the office get more involved as well. We volunteered with Habitat for Humanity a few years ago, and working side by side with the family we were building the house for just instilled in me how important it is to work for a company that values volunteering and giving back to the community..

Why did you join Women@Groupon? What do you get out of it?

I am all for women empowering women, and being part of W@G shows what amazing ladies we have in the office. I get a sense of pride for doing this job in such a generally male-dominated profession, and having my fellow female peers support each other in this has been great.

Name a woman who you look up to and why!

I honestly look up to my entire female group of friends. I have been lucky enough to befriend a group of incredibly strong women who all support each other and work hard in their own professions. I honestly don’t know what I would do with them and watching everything they do helps push me to be a better person.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I grew up incredibly shy; I would not talk to strangers, babysitters, or anyone new. It’s taken a lot of confidence building and years of practice to get comfortable enough to be who I am. I still get nervous in groups on new people and have to pep myself up to start a conversation and get over my social anxiety.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

In the original Phoenix office, we all had to use iPhones because the building was older and there weren’t enough lines in the building to have desk phones. This made it a very interesting workplace with high energy, lots of loud talking…it’s something we all laugh about when we think back on it.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

When you go home after any day of work, you should be able to say you know you gave that day your best.

What’s your favorite local business?

OHSO: it’s a brewery with a patio built especially for people to bring their dogs. It’s a great atmosphere and I love going on a nice afternoon with my pup and friends. Great beer, too!

How does working at Groupon fit into your life?

Groupon can be incredibly fast-paced and I am a high energy person. I’m always out doing stuff after work and on the weekends and am involved in a variety of things. Groupon fits in perfectly with that.

Emily Sykes, Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

Emily Sykes, Business Development Manager in Scottsdale

EMILY SYKES

Business Development Manager, Things To Do
Phoenix, Arizona
Joined: 2016

Emily—a Music Therapy major in college—talks about embracing failure and the inspiring women she works with in Phoenix.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Embrace failure! All failures in the workplace and in life are teachable moments and they’ll eventually lead you down the right path. And don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away. Good things take time 🙂

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

Every day felt like a party! Everyone was so friendly and excited to get to know me; it was a complete 180 from my last job.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since working here?

My biggest accomplishment sales-wise was probably closing a huge luxury movie theater in Vegas. Also, building the Phoenix GOB mentor program from the ground up! When I first joined Groupon, the program was unorganized and there was no accountability for people to meet with their GOB mentee. By tweaking the process and understanding the GOB training schedule, I think we were able to create a simpler process that has stuck.

How does working at Groupon fit into your life?

It fits very well with me! I have always been the type of person who tries to be “the best.” At my last job, that didn’t matter too much. But here, I can see my hard work in my paychecks and in the deals I close.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I try to put as many unique deals on the site so I can to increase interest from consumers!

How many times have you been promoted?

Once, from Business Development Representative to Business Development Manager in January 2017.

Who is a woman you look up to?

My mom! She is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and I can only hope to be as successful as she is in my adult years.

Who is the most inspiring woman at Groupon?

There are too many. If I had to pick, all the women in leadership in the Phoenix office are great role models and have a lot of great insight. Kelly Light is always resilient, Grace Litteken is never seen without a smile on her face, and Sam is professional and easy to talk to.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Going curling with my team for our most recent team outing! It was much harder than it looks on TV!

What’s your favorite local business?

There’s a cute boutique local to Arizona called Grand Central Clothing that I’ve been going to for years. They have great clothes and they reward their regular customers!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I have never done sales before Groupon! I was actually in the ASU Herberger School of Music and graduated with a music therapy degree. Before Groupon, I worked in a psychiatric facility. 🙂

Sean Murphy – Senior Desktop Support Analyst in Scottsdale

Sean Murphy – Senior Desktop Support Analyst in Scottsdale

SEAN MURPHY

Senior Desktop Support Analyst
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2015

The best way to dodge a Polar Vortex in Chicago? Move to Phoenix! Sean talks Phoenix office culture, magicians, table tennis, and Minecraft.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

As a Desktop Support Analyst, I cover the Scottsdale office locally and work with our team on the frontline for global coverage. Days are very unpredictable, which is why I love my job. You need to stay on your toes to be ready for whatever comes in. I love the challenge it presents and the learning opportunity Groupon provides.

And you’re originally from Chicago—how did you end up in Phoenix?

I actually moved from the northern burbs of Chicago to Phoenix prior to working at Groupon to escape the “Polar Vortex.”  I’ve been back to Groupon’s Chicago office since orientation. The Phoenix office culture is unique: we’re sales-dominant and pretty much everyone knows each other due to the office size which makes outings, competitions, and general friendliness in the forefront. Table tennis is a pretty big deal here; typically there’s an office-wide tournament open for anyone to join. It’s hands- down the most fun I’ve had at an office job!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

My favorite Groupon memory was my first day. I was completely blown away walking through Chicago’s reception to my new hire orientation—it seemed surreal, this was the place I’d been looking for! Everyone shared the same excitement to be part of something so big.

What’s the most random thing you’ve seen at the office?

Probably when we had a magician visit the office who was part of a deal one of our reps had put together. He put on a small show for us and expressed his gratitude towards Groupon for helping him drive a bigger audience to his show. Everyone got a kick out of it, moments like this make you really appreciate what we do for small businesses.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce? 

It’s my department’s responsibility to provide timely support to ensure business continuity and that everyone is provided with the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here?

At the beginning of the year, I was awarded the “December EngOps employee of the month” for my work consolidating, auditing, and managing our software profile. I’ve never received such recognition for doing what I love. This encourages me to work even harder.

Give us a glimpse of the Phoenix office!

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Throughout 2017, I managed Groupon’s global software portfolio. This forced me to learn all the tools we utilize to be a successful business along with forming strong relations with different departments and business partners. I treated this as I would my own personal investments to save financially where we can and get the most out of the products we own. I’ve never worked on anything of this scale before, coming out of it I have a new level of confidence!

Where can we find you outside of work?

My wife and I love checking out local businesses with purchased Groupons as we learn the lay of the land in Phoenix (since we’re Chicago transplants). My son and I love playing Minecraft together (mostly him showing me the crazy stuff he builds!). Personally, I spend much of my free time running or mountain biking the desert. At any given point I’m usually training for the next big race.

Who or what inspires you?

The more I put in, the more I get out. I’ve never worked for an organization where this was so true. Everyone’s accomplishments are celebrated, this drives me to be on my A-game. The moment I got my first taste of success here I was hooked.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

Walking through the doors the first time I had no idea what to expect, I was nervous for whatever reason I might not fit in or that it’d be overly competitive. I’d learn very quickly that was the complete opposite! The diversity in our workplace is mind-blowing, there are groups for everyone to be part of. All my peers are interested in sharing knowledge and bringing each other up, it’s such a unique work experience. Everyone I speak with is as excited as me to be here and a part of this. I have so much pride saying who I work for, I know we are each individually responsible for the business’s success.

Kalli – Business Development Manager- Things To Do

Kalli – Business Development Manager- Things To Do

KALLI

Business Development Manager – Things To Do
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2016

Forming authentic connections with local business owners is what keeps Kalli feeling warm and fuzzy inside. But you’ve been warned: one of the biggest hit songs from 1999 will be in your head all day after reading her story.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

I have way too many favorite memories but our team is kind of random and I love it! Whenever someone closes a contract we may do star jumps one day or break a dance move the next.

Tell us about your job! What do you love about it?

I work with learning and helping local businesses with their goals. What I love about is

a) I believe in the product and

b) I have developed a passion for working with certain industries because I have gained knowledge by working closely with them and learning about them through Groupon.

…but if you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

Work for the Chicago Blackhawks for one home game, literally even sitting on the bench. I would create one-time-only water girl for hockey so I could meet each player and Coach Q! GO HAWKS!

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Stress. I stress a lot and it has been challenging to cope with it but it is so rewarding when you accomplish your goals…and not only the big ones, but the small victories, too. Sometimes it can be stressful getting a hold of someone but I will always find a new way to get creative!

Who or what inspires you?

Both of my parents. They are both such hard workers and I am grateful to grow up witnessing the work that they have done and continue to do for our family. I think it pushes me each day to continuously work as hard as I can to hopefully be more like them. Of course, there is also money that drives me 🙂

You’re a member of Groupon Volunteers. What do you enjoy about participating?

I joined Groupon Volunteers because I wanted a way to give back. The great thing is our head of volunteering has many different volunteering resources that we can choose from. My favorites to date were Habitat for Humanity because I never thought I was “handy” but when we worked as a team we did a fantastic job! We helped out a young family, which was super rewarding.

So where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?

I was a purchasing manager for an engineering company in Michigan. My husband and I decided to escape the snow and move to Phoenix. I found Groupon on LinkedIn. I applied online in 2010 and am SO glad I did!

What were your thoughts when you first walked into Groupon?

Is this real life?! I had never seen a culture like this before. From day one the training, management, colleagues, and Scrums were so informative and encouraging! Sales can be intimidating at any company, but the culture and the tools that Groupon provided made it the best company I have worked for.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce? 

I work for the Things To Do sales vertical. I love it because even before I started working here I always checked Groupon for new things to do when I was traveling. It gives me ideas on what is trending or popular and what I should go after from a business perspective. I love doing research and learning about these opportunities in order to give customers great experiences.

What’s your biggest accomplishment?

Since I have been at Groupon my goal has been to continue raising my GP each Quarter. So far, I have succeeded in accomplishing this goal! *Knock on wood*

What do your parents think you do?

Me: Dad, what do you think I do at work?

Dad: You work hard. Make calls. Why? Are you ok?

Me: Yes, thank you

Dad: I was sleeping

What’s your favorite local business?

Phoenix has a local business called Flip N Fit. It is kind of like Class Pass but just for the local Phoenix area. I love it because I do not have to stick with just one workout and I can do spin, yoga, barre, HIIT, or boxing. It’s amazing!

Why Groupon? What keeps you excited to come to work?

I strongly believe in our product, which makes it so much easier to talk with merchants. Also, I love the fact that the merchant takes zero out-of-pocket risks. I feel like I can build a stronger working relationship with my merchants, which makes me feel grateful. The leaders and colleagues in Phoenix also make me love coming into work each day: we’re truly is like a giant family!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Playfulness Groupon–

Making Fun Smiling Dials–

Creating Campaigns

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us.

I am super obsessed with Lou Bega’s Mambo # 5 and I will stomp across the dance floor to it.

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

Christina Tolman – Business Development Representative

CHRISTINA TOLMAN

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Switching careers can be daunting, especially when you’re trying Sales for the first time. But Christina, a Phoenix Business Development Rep in Phoenix, handled her career 180 with ease thanks to an energetic outlook and Groupon’s robust Sales training program.

How does the Phoenix office have fun during the work day?

Catch Phrase! On Wednesdays we have Breakfast Club (where two people bring breakfast to share) and then we play Catch Phrase. It’s friendly but also very competitive and a great way to prepare people for the phones!

What do you love about your job?

What I love most is getting to build lasting partnerships between Groupon and businesses. Checking in on businesses that I’ve worked with and hearing about their success brings me a lot of joy. I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

The most challenging thing to me is refining on my own approach at work. In my last career, almost every interaction that I had was in person. It was tricky at first to build relationships over the phone and to be able to connect with someone when I couldn’t see their face but now I actually enjoy this more because I can communicate with so many more people each day!

What inspires you?

What inspires me is the ability to learn and grow each day. It’s pretty amazing that I can be a better person each day, learn something new, and try to bring more joy and good to the world. Simply said by Don Draper, “Make it simple, but significant.”

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I walked in the door for my interview and knew I wanted to work at Groupon. The environment was positive, fun, and welcoming. In fact, during my interview I said, “If you offered my the job right now, I would say yes!” I was offered the position two days later.

“I love that each day is different and that it is challenging. There is a new puzzle to be solved for every business and it keeps me on my toes!”

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

One of the things that I do is ask my friends about new businesses or businesses that they would want to see on Groupon throughout the country. I focus primarily on new breweries or smaller breweries because one of the things that I hear from many that I work with is how they want to bring the community together. It is pretty amazing for me to partner with a brewery before they even open their doors and hear about how they started, to watch all the equipment be installed, and ultimately to see them open their doors for the first time.

What’s your proudest accomplishment in your time here so far?

Working with a shooting range this year. It was a newer range that really wanted to be on Groupon for the exposure. It took a lot of work on the back end to get them on the site but ultimately we got them on just in the nick of time before Thanksgiving. I was in Austin when I received a text that said, “Congratulations – you have one of the top deals of the week!” That was my first time being recognized as one of the top deals. After that, I received Rep of the Week. It was great to see that after all of work of the merchant and my team, that they were able to get on the site and gain the exposure they were looking for!

Have you won any awards?

Culture Club: Unity Award

What do your parents think you do?

“Lets see; I think you work with companies large and small to help them sell themselves better by providing deals that encourage others to use their product and because of that use they want to continue using the product even without the discount coupon. How does that sound?” Written by mom and approved by dad.

Where were you before joining Groupon and how did you get here?

I worked with early childhood programs throughout the country. I was a trainer and coach for childcare centers and helped them improve their quality of care. I’ve always wanted to try sales but was scared. In February 2017, I started thinking that I was going to make the transition and by March I decided to put my two weeks at my job without another job lined up! Amazingly enough, I ended up having an interview at Groupon the next week and was offered a position. I guess it was meant to be!

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’ve recently taken up hiking: Arizona has some amazing views! Mud runs and races are also something I like to do. The Hot Chocolate 15K and Terrain Mud Run are my favorites.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would want to own a brewery or a coffee shop. It would be great to get to know the people in the community I work in by providing a great environment! (Maybe one day I’ll start a business and I’ll have to call Groupon to help me build the brand!)

What’s your favorite local business?

La Santisima. They have the best horchata I’ve ever had: horchata with strawberry creme, pecans, cantaloupe, strawberries, and cinnamon! They also have a salsa bar where you can choose about 15-20 different types of salsa. Chips and salsa is my favorite food so it is a huge win for me!

Sales roles exist at other companies…so why Groupon? What gets you excited to come here every day?

My brother in law is in sales and has been for 20+ years. He said to find a company that has a training program that will invest in you. Coming from a non-sales background, I saw Groupon as a company that would invest in me to make me the better every day. If a company invests in me, it makes me want to in turn invest in them even more! The people I work with also make my life great each day! (Grace Litteken, my manager makes a tough job easier and I couldn’t do it without her!)

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Ping Pong Tournaments –

We take them seriously –

Better start training!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I’m in sales, but money does not motivate me! Also…I have 7 older sisters. I’m the youngest of 8 girls!

Vrnda – Business Development Representative

Vrnda – Business Development Representative

VRNDA

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

We pride ourselves on helping local business owners achieve their goals, and Vrnda is proof of that…on both sides of the coin. After having partnered with Groupon to boost her small business, she’s now behind the scenes helping other business owners do the same!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

My favorite memory was during my initial training when I started at Groupon. I was shadowing a Business Development Manager and I got to observe her relationship with a merchant. It highlighted for me that I could share and not sell and that genuine interest and concern for the business owner had a place on the sales floor at Groupon.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? What do you love about it?

I talk to my former self! I owned a small business and ran a Groupon. I talk to the people responsible for maintaining main street businesses. The people that keep communities strong and innovation alive. On really great days, I get to contribute to an individual’s dream of living out their passion and supporting that little shingle they were brave enough to hang!

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Anything with math….so everything. It is always a challenge to translate the heart and soul of a business into numbers!

Who or what inspires you?

The right of every person to live the “American Dream” or have the fullest expression of their passion….too corny? Ok, the opportunity to get to be exactly who I am and know that every day I have the opportunity to share with one person that their skill, dream, service matters!

There are a lot of amazing Groupon stories. What’s your biggest accomplishment?

The fact that I owned a small business and ran a Groupon. I was a pretty new business owner and had literally worked every day that first year and was exhausted. The Groupon call came at a time when things could have gone either way. As a single mom (at the time) of two teenagers, the boost in income literally put clothes on their backs and food on our table. To have the opportunity to pay that forward is the accomplishment I am most grateful and proud of.

What do your parents think you do?

“You make those dooda thingies that are on my computer sight thingy right? Isn’t that just a lovely thing.”

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us!

Vrnda, my name, is a Hindu goddess. I used to hate my name because I could never just walk into a store and get a name keychain…and the list goes on. Now, I have a huge piece of artwork on my back that is a representation of the Hindu goddess Vrnda and I like my name!

You’re a member of quite a few of our employee resource groups. Why do you participate?

I’m a member of Veterans at Groupon to give back and support the 30 years my husband served in the Army before retiring. I’m also a member of Blacks in Groupon to support initiatives that are inclusive and support diversity. Lastly, I joined Pride at Groupon to encourage equality and safe free expression within the workplace.

So what were you up to before joining Groupon?

I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Certified Dog Trainer. I was also a Mentor for Animal Behavior College and CATCH Trainer’s Academy. I owned a Kennel and Behavior Center that specialized in canine behavior issues that included aggression, separation anxiety, and destructive behavior within the home. I am also a 200 CYT with 100 additional hours toward my 500 RYT.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

CATS! CATS! CATS! My husband and I have modern Siamese and Sphynx cats (we were married on April Fool’s Day). I also enjoy yoga and puzzles.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

Professional cotton candy taster…because cotton candy.

What’s your favorite local business?

Growing up on Virginia Blue Crabs, my favorite place is Lee Lee’s International Market because I can pick up 30 or so just for me any day of the week!

Sales roles exist at other companies, so what makes selling at Groupon unique?

I believe in the product! I’m not a salesperson but I’m a heck of a share person AND I get to play my music and dance around all day long while making the world a better place!

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Merchants are talking–

Small businesses are growing–

Hometowns are thriving

Emily McLaughlin – Business Development Representative

Emily McLaughlin – Business Development Representative

EMILY MCLAUGHLIN

Business Development Representative
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2017

Ever enjoyed an Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl Groupon? You have Emily, Business Development Rep in Phoenix and pug aficionado, to thank.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite Groupon memory was watching Dave the manager throw 12 hard boiled eggs in the air and basically gulp them whole (he did some chewing).

Tell us about your job! What do you love about what you do?

I have the cool job of talking to merchants and chatting with them about how great Groupon is. I love being able to create rapport with business owners and help make their businesses even more successful than they already are.

Who or what inspires you?

My dad is my inspiration, seems cliche, but he is the most determined and hardworking man I have ever met. He did sales for over 25 years and has been a great asset in teaching me how to succeed even more at Groupon.

Sales roles exist at other companies, so why Groupon? What keeps you excited to come to work every day?

One of the cool things about Groupon is that it is an ever-changing company who makes work fun but also puts emphasis on working hard and doing the best that you possibly can. Groupon is a one of a kind product and it’s really funny when I tell people that I work here and they freak out and immediately ask me if I get an even better deal off the already great sell price.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

I want a black pug and I want to name him Steve.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I think being able to work with local businesses and be able to highlight them in the way that they want to be perceived by subscribers is an awesome way to build local commerce and become a daily habit for all.

What’s your biggest accomplishment?

I was able to work with Ugly Sweater Bar Crawls and close locations all over the country. It was cool because it was an account that had been touched a couple times but nothing ever went through with the Decision Maker. I was able to chat with him and get there name and bar crawl more exposure. I also absolutely love Christmas and wearing ugly sweaters. One of the other cool things about this deal was that there was a location taking place by the Phoenix office, so some of my co-workers and I went and had a great time!

What do your parents think you do?

“You sell Groupons, which I love.” – Mom.

What’s your favorite view from the office?

You’re involved with both the Employee Volunteer Program and Groupon for Veterans. Why do you participate? 

I have always loved volunteering. I think its so important to give back to the community that you grew up in or the one you are surrounded by. Its a great perspective about helping others that I think we forget about sometimes and need to be reminded of.

What’d you do before Groupon and how did you get here?

I just graduated from college! Woohoo! I grew up in the Scottsdale area, decided to leave for school in Iowa, and then realized that it’s way too cold up there and that I should move back. I was a referral from an employee at Groupon and decided to make this my work home!

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I love to spend time with friends and family, explore, travel, eat, and take naps. Naps are my favorite.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I think if I could have any job I would want to be the Queen of England just to see what it’s like to be royalty.

]

Veteran’s Day 2017

Veteran’s Day 2017

GROUPON FOR VETERANS

10 November 2017

Honoring the Grouponers who have served our country

This Veterans Day, we’d like to recognize a few of our veteran employees by sharing their journey from the military to Groupon. Continue reading to learn more about four Grouponers from our veterans employee resource group, Groupon for Veterans.

The mission of Groupon for Veterans is to educate the community on Groupon’s core values and desire to give back to those who have served and continue to serve. Our goal is to draw on the professional skills associated with military service through active marketing and community engagement. Groupon for Veterans has an open membership that includes veterans, those currently on active duty, their families, and anyone who supports those who serve our country.

 

Jake Coffman — Physical Security Specialist, Intel Analyst [Chicago]

I joined the Marines out of high school in 2001 following the attacks on 9/11, where I was forward deployed to Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as a Combat Engineer.  When I separated in 2006 from the Marines, I completed my ungrad in Political Science and International Studies from Northern Illinois in 2010.  Upon graduation, I began working in Aon’s Risk Solutions department on their traveler security management/crisis response team before moving to iJET Integrated Risk Management out of Annapolis.  This past January, the ultimatum of a move led me to look elsewhere — which lead me to an opening with Groupon that fit well with my professional experience and kept me in Chicago.  

 

Landon Starr — Network Systems Engineer [Chicago]

Growing up, I always wanted to be around airplanes — so naturally I joined the Air Force and was made a Network Engineer. I’ve spent the last 6 years serving between the active duty Air Force and the Air National Guard, with some of that time spent in Afghanistan, Qatar, and South Korea. Since leaving active duty in 2015, I spent time at two different schools, Illinois State University and Parkland College, where I studied Network Management and Aviation. The transition from the military to life as a full-time student wasn’t the easiest thing, and after a lengthy job search, I was fortunate enough to find my calling here at Groupon. I’m a Network Systems Engineer, and I work with a great group of people. My team, and Groupon as a whole, has been super helpful and welcoming and I look forward to working towards our 2020 goals!

 

Nicholas Rohr — Business Development Representative: Health, Beauty, Wellness [Chicago]

Most of my family was in the military at one point or another. My grandpa was in the Marines and went to Korea, my mom was in the Air National Guard, other aunts and uncles were in the Marines and Air force both active duty as well as in civilian roles. Needless to say, I also grew to like the idea of joining the military. After high school my grandpa gave me some words of wisdom which swayed my decision of joining the Army or Marines to instead joining the Coast Guard back in 2006. I was stationed in Kodiak, AK and Honolulu, HI with some training in Petaluma, CA. I ended up becoming a cook and that carried over into my civilian life after I got out. I moved to Portland and worked at Castagna Restaurant, before moving to Chicago where I worked at Little Goat and Lula Cafe. When my son was born, I wanted more stable hours and started selling meat to restaurant for a few years. Then I applied to Groupon for a sales role and have been having a blast learning a new industry in Health, Beauty and Wellness.

 

Sonny Sran — Business Development Manager: Health, Beauty, Wellness [Phoenix]

Ever since I was a little boy, I knew I wanted to be a United States Marine. My younger brother and I would buy fake camouflage and toy guns from the store and pretend to be Marines shooting at cars for hours until the Ice Cream truck would come. It was no surprise to my parents when I showed up to our home with two Marine Corps recruiters begging them to sign off on paperwork allowing me to enlist at the age of seventeen and go to basic training upon graduation. I did just that and after about a year of training all over the United States, I became an Aviation Ordnance Systems Technician for helicopters. Essentially, my job was building and handling missiles, bombs, and explosives — in addition to working on all weapons systems associated with attack helicopters. I was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in  2009-2010 with HMM-364, and I deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010 and again in 2011-2012 with HMLA-369. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA when I was not forward deployed. I completed my four years, and three weeks later, I became a full time student at Arizona State University where I majored in Political Science. Halfway through my senior year, I began working at Groupon because I thought my military benefits were going to run out and even after graduating I stuck around because I enjoyed the culture and excelled in the role I was in.

Natalie Vas – Business Development Representative

Natalie Vas – Business Development Representative

NATALIE “CaptaiNat” VAS

Business Development Representative – Things To Do
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2015

As aspiring guitarist CaptaiNat approaches her 3-year anniversary, she takes us on her Groupon voyage from the early days of our Phoenix office to now.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My favorite memory is probably our grand opening party for the new Phoenix office. We had a photo booth where everyone had a blast dressing up for pictures, and a surprising amount of people in our office have killer karaoke skills. (Just not me!)

Who inspires you?

My DSM Grace inspires me! Anytime I’m frustrated or upset, she reminds me to stay positive, keep my head up, and believe in myself no matter what.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here?

The thing I’m most proud of about my time here at Groupon is how much I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown since first joining. I came from a customer service job (which I didn’t particularly enjoy), and when I first started at Groupon I didn’t necessarily have concrete sales experience. I was around before Groupon’s Sales training program was built out, so we only spent one week training before I made my first call. The training at that time was “trial by fire,” but it worked out for the best because that’s how I learned to be more confident on the phone! I was the prime example of “fail forward.” Our manager always encouraged us to “just do it” anytime we were afraid to call a merchant.

It can be really hard when people tell you “no” all day, but all of those “no’s” have helped me learn how to be more confident both on the phone and in real life, too! Fast forward to today: I’m coming up on my third-year anniversary, and I’m so proud I’ve been around to see this office grow from using iPhones to where we’re at today.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

I love being on the TTD (Things To Do)  team because we are getting people to check Groupon first for really awesome and unique things like brewery tastings and festivals…..or even pole-dancing classes!

 

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I was in the third hiring class in Phoenix, so when I first started, we were all in this tiny room making calls on iPhones. My first impression was, “oh man, what did I get myself into!” But, I was blown away by how great everyone was, and how committed we were to building out the Phoenix office into what it is today!

What differentiates Groupon from other companies with Sales teams?

A bunch of my friends work at other companies doing very similar jobs, but at the end of the day, they don’t have the office culture we do! What makes Groupon so special is a little bit of everything. It’s not just the people, but all the crazy contests and spirit days we’re always doing! Cold calling businesses and sales, in general, is not always the easiest job, but playing Catchphrase, having our weekly Wednesday Breakfast Club, team outings, and all of my coworkers keep me sane during the harder days. Plus, our Halloween costume contest was pretty amazing.

What do your parents think you do?

A direct quote from mom: “you sell stuff to people, like on that show ‘The Office’ right?” – close mom, close.

Are you involved in any of Groupon’s ERGs?

Yes! I’m a member of PRIDE@Groupon.

Why do you participate in PRIDE@Groupon?

I joined PRIDE@Groupon because it’s a cause that’s close to my heart. I want to be a part of anything we can do to create more awareness and support!

Tell us something about you that might surprise us. 

My personal goal for Q4 is to learn how to play one song on the guitar. I’m already halfway there!

Give us a glimpse of your workspace:

Natalie’s desk aka “organized chaos”

 

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would be a unicorn trainer, because who wouldn’t want to hang out with unicorns all day?

Pride@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters