What I have learnt from being the Office Manager working in a Sales Office

Our Office Manager, Marie-Louise, reflects on her last two years at Enterprise Sales Personnel Ltd

As I approach my two year anniversary at Enterprise Sales Personnel Ltd, I came across an old file from my first few weeks at the company. As I mused over my scribbled notes and reminisced about the ‘challenges’ I faced I couldn’t help but reflect on all that has happened over the last two years.

New and fresh faced to the world of Office Management, and having never worked in a Sales Office previously, these last two years have seen many huge changes – both professionally and personally.  This got me thinking…What have I learnt from being the Office Manager in a Sales Office?

Multi-tasking is the norm

It is claimed that women are naturals when it comes to the ability to multi-task. Whether you agree or disagree with this statement (I’m keeping my opinion to myself) one thing remains – if you are an Office Manager then you need to be an expert at multi-tasking.

If, like me, you are part of a smaller organisation then the need for multi-tasking becomes the norm. In my experience, the key to this is to be highly organised and able to prioritise. Learn the difference between urgent and important and you are half way to managing multiple tasks/ projects against deadlines.

Keep Your Head whilst all around you are losing theirs

Regardless of what your company is selling, a sales office is a highly charged and sometimes volatile environment. When it’s good it’s fantastic but when it’s bad then it’s tempting to seek refuge under the desk!

Learning to ride this rollercoaster has been one of the toughest, yet most important, lessons within my time at ESP. In a pressurised environment it can be difficult not to get swept up in the emotion of the office (whether that be positive or negative) but as an Office Manager my job is to keep the office running effectively, no matter what we face.

After two years, and a few of my own stress related outbursts, I value the importance of open communication more than ever. By keeping the channels of communication open across all levels of the company, I am able to assist the team more effectively.

Expect the unexpected

A sales office is the king of the unexpected! No two days are ever the same and this is what keeps the job interesting.

Anything from impromptu team activities, ‘colourful’ candidates and a client challenging our MD to a table tennis match in the office!

Before working at ESP I believed I had seen and heard it all – it appears I was wrong and after two years I am still surprised by the job itself and the people I work with and alongside.

If you want to succeed then be visibly successful

As the Office Manager my position is not one of a sales person. However, it soon became clear that in order to succeed in my role then I needed to be successful. In the main, sales people understand success that they are able to quantify – targets, figures etc.… So how to you measure your success when you don’t do the same role as the rest of the office?

I worked alongside the Directors to create targets and KPIs that were quantifiable, this has resulted in the team being able to develop a better understanding of exactly what my role entails and witness the successes I have achieved. This has helped me to feel closer to the team and has assisted in strengthening working relationships with those around me.

Notable and visible results within the last two years include;

  • Developing the ESP brand – establishing a social media presence and building a new company website
  • Obtaining feedback from ESP customers and clients in order to improve the ESP service and company as a whole
  • Increased productivity with the implementation of new and improved systems
  • Successful placement of 3 candidates – in addition to my Office Manager duties
  • Working alongside HR professionals to develop my skills and knowledge

You will never stop learning

I will be honest, I was fairly new to office management when I started at ESP and I think it is safe to say that I have been on a fairly steep learning curve over the last two years. Whilst I am now confident with the systems and processes needed for my role, there is always something new to learn.

The role of an Office Manager is so varied that it is impossible to be an expert in all areas. In my experience I have found that using systems/ processes that support your natural way of working is the key to achieving results.

Since joining ESP I have developed a wide range of skills that I have applied to the various aspects of my role. For example; when recovering payment for invoices (something I am targeted against) I used my previous experience of customer services and interaction to establish relationships with the relevant people/departments in the organisations resulting in quicker recovery of invoice payments.

As the role has developed, so has my skillset. In the last two years I have learnt about social media in business, employment law, HR, building and maintaining a company website, company budgeting and finance, managing others, operations management and even advertising – all of which I know little or nothing about before I started this role. I am lucky enough to be able to attend training sessions, conferences as well as access forums and webinar sessions and my on-the-job learning never stops.

And finally….

Be Resilient

The Office Manager’s life is often a lonely one – in an office where you are the only one that does your job then you are on your own, a lot!

A lack of understanding regarding the pressures and responsibilities of your role by those around you can make you feel isolated and even unappreciated. But don’t despair! Accept that your role is unlikely to be fully understood and keep resilient when you face challenges or resistance. Remember that if the sales people are the cogs in the machine then the Office Manager is the metal work that holds it all together. One cannot work without the other. Keep this in mind it will make the harder days easier.

About Marie-Louise

Marie-Louise joined Enterprise Sales Personnel Ltd as Office Manager and PA to the Directors two years ago. Since joining, she has win Employee of the Quarter and joined the ESP team on the Las Vegas reward trip.

If you are looking to join an award winning team and wish to speak to Marie-Louise about vacancies within the ESP team, please contact her via her direct dial 0161 447 6052 or email marielouise@enterprisesp.co.uk