How to Achieve Success in a Sales Career as Told by a Training Manager at Yelp

Meet Yelp at our free professional development and recruitment event, Rising Closers: A Sales Career Summit on Saturday, November 3rd in NYC! Learn more and get your application:

Check out the latest openings at Yelp on the FindSpark job board here.


Kaivona Parker is an Associate Sales Training Manager at Yelp NYC. After graduating from college, she started in a sales role. Six years later, Kaivona has built a long and fruitful career in sales. Today, she trains and manages the newest members of Yelp’s Sales Development Program. We sat down with Kaivona to find out more on creating a successful sales career at Yelp.

What was one of your biggest personal challenges when you started in sales at Yelp, and how did you overcome it?

At Yelp, the sales cycle is super short. My last sales role was different in that the sales cycle was much longer. At first, I thought that the role at Yelp would be a walk in the park, because of my years of sales experience and I did really well in training.

Once I hit my fourth month on the job, I started to experience some major challenges. I was having a hard time closing, getting business owners to speak to me, and even just reaching the marks that I needed to hit overall. I experienced this struggle for months. Instead of giving up, I had a “real talk” conversation with myself. I decided to change my mindset and come in every day with a purpose.

Every day after I wake up, I tell myself “I’m going to close a deal today!” or “I’m going to have three great conversations today.” Changing my attitude and focusing on making smaller wins each day has helped me get to the big wins.


What makes the culture and training at Yelp different from other sales environments?

The culture at Yelp is unmatched. It doesn’t feel like I’m working a job. The people who oversee sales training at Yelp are very supportive. Everyone here is truly invested in your career success.

The training team takes a nurturing approach. They understand that every person that starts at Yelp learns differently and progresses at a different rate. There’s a genuine interest in each person’s well-being on both a mental level and professional level.


Kaivona Parker at Yelp

Kaivona Parker at Yelp NYC


As a trainer, what message do you work to make sure all folks starting in sales know and understand?

For people starting their careers in sales, it’s important to know and figure out how you want to represent your brand. Your brand defines who you are to your clients and co-workers. Your brand is your reputation – always think of what you want people to say when they think of you.

For example, do you want to be known as someone who is consistently positive? Hold yourself accountable every day to become that person. Internalize being positive and let your actions show that’s who you are. The more confident you are with yourself, the more confident you will be on your sales calls.


What are your tips for people to learn how to receive feedback better?

It’s important to know that the person giving you feedback has your best interest at heart. Also, put into practice asking for feedback more often, so that you get used to receiving and analyzing the feedback. When feedback is something that you don’t understand, ask for clarification. Ultimately, that feedback was meant to help you improve in your job.


Team members at Yelp NYC

Kaivona Parker with sales team members at Yelp NYC


Do you have a specific story of someone just starting out at Yelp who wasn’t doing well at first, but then with coaching and feedback was able to then excel?

In our training program, we have our sales trainees record their open calls and their sales pitches. We have them listen to their calls with their training managers. During this activity, sales trainers ask trainees what they notice on the call and what they think they can do to improve. Sales trainers give trainees feedback and an action plan to implement their feedback.

There was a sales representative who was having a tough time closing deals over the phone. He was working really hard to get better each day, but for some reason, he struggled with finding success. Once he listened to his first call recording, he realized what he was doing wrong. He noticed that his tone was not great and that he was bringing frustrations happening in his personal life to his calls. Business owners didn’t want to speak to him, because he didn’t sound like he wanted to speak to them! Taking the time to hear himself was a huge game changer for him.


Why has sales been a career you have decided to pursue?

To be honest, I didn’t think I would still be in a sales career. My sales position here at Yelp, however, has kept me going in a sales career. It’s different from other positions I’ve had in the past. I loved the transparency as a sales representative and knowing that every deal I closed brought me closer to my next promotion.

I love that I can control my success. As a sales trainer, I love that I get to teach someone how to grow into this role. I love the impact I make on each person on my team.


Meet Yelp at our free professional development and recruitment event, Rising Closers: A Sales Career Summit on Saturday, November 3rd in NYC! Learn more and get your application:

Check out the latest openings at Yelp on the FindSpark job board here.

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