At ProspectSoft, we have three different sales placement opportunities. These are placed across our New Business, Account Management and Customer Service teams. These roles all include direct communication with potential/existing clients and the management of the complete sales cycle, including onsite visits when required. You will be given a high level of responsibility for two of the most important functions in our business; making sales and customer service. You must be prepared to be thrown in at the deep end, be able to forge relationships with customers and team members, as well as being able to manage your own time effectively.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at ProspectSoft. I have improved upon so many skills and have learnt so much about technology and software which I have never previously felt confident using. I have met some great people and honestly think that working in an SME gives you such a great insight into a professional working environment. There have been several challenges throughout my year but everyone at ProspectSoft have encouraged us and helped us stay motivated.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
You aren’t made to feel like a placement at ProspectSoft, as you are given independence to carry out your work and speak with a huge range of customers, supporting 3 different systems. My department have meetings every Friday to catch up on the events of the week and it gives us all a good opportunity to discuss and share our opinions about working processes which makes you feel integrated into the wider team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My managers have been excellent all year. I shadowed Isobel when I first went into department and she has constantly been on hand to help whenever I’ve had questions throughout the year. My managers also encouraged me to take part in extra report writer training when I showed an interest which was challenging but has actually been extremely useful during my year as I now have an understanding of basic SQL. No managers are too busy to help out and directors in other departments have been friendly and easy to talk to as well.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In our department, being customers first point of contact, I was always busy throughout the year. When you are fresh out of training, it can be quite daunting as there is still a lot of learning on the job but having a consistent workload has been excellent experience. You always have a range of queries to work on which means the job is never boring and you are challenged to use all aspects of the training we were given.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility to carry out tasks that would include speaking to MD’s of companies on a regular basis. There was a lot of trust that we were confident about the product that we were supporting. My role included answering a range of different customer queries, selling and giving product demonstrations. I have been to several customers alongside my line manager to show and discuss several different aspects of the software which was a great opportunity and shows the trust that they have in the placements. Myself and another placement also went to visit a customer to train all their users on Prospect 365 which was a fantastic opportunity.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I can utilise so many of my skills from work in my third year of university. My time management has massively improved which will help with managing my university work load. I am also far more confident when presenting due to carrying out several demos to customers; as a business student, I don’t doubt I will have to present more at university. Due to my course, I don’t believe my technical skills will be used very regularly but they could definitely be useful in a future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
We moved offices in November of my placement year which meant all departments were in one big office. This has been a great opportunity to get to know other employees in different departments better. Within the Customer Services department, we have managed to find a good balance between working and socialising; we're a very chatty team.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The training that we received was well structured and ensured that we felt confident with the systems we would be using on a daily basis. There is a lot of learning on the job but the structure of the placement means we had a good handover period with the previous placements. The company has a very well-respected placement program so strive to give excellent training to give the placements a good start to their year.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
If there is anything that you would like to gain more knowledge on, your managers at ProspectSoft really encourage this. I took part in additional training and also got involved with projects alongside my day to day tasks. This gave me the opportunity to contribute to work that would be ongoing in the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Many of the fulltime employees are returning placements which gives good appeal for future employment. As I was in a quite technical role which I was not prepared for, I would hope to come back in a role that was less technical based as I found that this is not where my strengths lie.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I lived with 4 other placements and we have had nights out together and with other placements at ProspectSoft. We have also gone on department nights out, including bowling and curry nights which have been a lot of fun. There are also whole company activities, such as the Christmas Party, the summer BBQ and Henley Royal Regatta and the Placement Leaving night out.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in Oxford which is quite expensive but as it is a city which has 2 universities, there are also several student places to eat and drink at. Students can live in High Wycombe which I believe is slightly cheaper. Oxford does have some great pubs and you can cycle round the city on free bikes which has been really fun during summer.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Stokenchurch is quite a small village but Oxford and High Wycombe do both have a lot more to do. At the Christmas Party this year we went to Junkyard Golf in Oxford which was great fun!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are lots of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work such as sports clubs every week and games nights. There are always new activities being planned within the Social Committee and departments as well.