One employee's take on DM culture and the art of teamwork.
It was 6:20 am on a sunny Friday in October. After a brief phone interview the week before, I was finally set to see the DM offices and meet my would-be manager for the first time. He was reserved and serious; I was very nervous. He asked about my work experience and strengths, and gave me a tour of the building. Nearing the end of the interview, I took a chance and decided to be myself.
“Hey, make sure you look at my performance reviews – they’re really pretty good”, I said with a cheesy smile. After 40 minutes of this Sales Manager’s unrelenting cool, a hint of a smirk showed on Michael Sheck’s face. “Okay, I’ll do that.” he said. Two weeks later, I was the newest member of the DM Sales Team and I've never looked back.
On my first day, I met almost every person at DM. My office was decked out with welcome signs and pastel paper coffee cups – a not-so-subtle nod to my designated nickname, Mocha. (If you would have told me my college pledging name would carry into my professional life, I never would have believed you.) Within the first few hours, members of the Sales Team stopped by my office to see how I was doing, joke around, and offer their help should I need anything. Training at DM was extremely thorough, and progressed at a comfortable pace. I was told countless times that I could ask the same question 24 times, but once I reached 25, I was pushing it. It doesn’t get any better than that.
It wasn’t long before I realized that the kindness, dedication and humor my team members showed on my first day carry over into everything they do. Our goal as a Sales Team is to collaborate and support each other, and to provide the best possible service to our customers. If you’ve ever been stuck on a miserable unending sales call, you’ll be pleased to know that we don’t do that here. Every salesperson is committed to helping each and every business succeed, not increase their paycheck. We don’t work on commission, and we know our stuff. It took me months to learn our systems, and my new colleagues were nothing less than generous, knowledgeable and patient. There is never a shortage of smiles and enthusiasm, and our customers feel it.
My role as an assistant for key accounts is extremely rewarding. The part of my job I love most is helping others succeed, whether it’s our customers or my DM team members. Our customers rely on us for everything, from basic product information and shipping dimensions to high-resolution images, advertisements, and sample sets. We create unique presentations for each customer based on consumer trends, product niches, and customer demographics. Fortunately, DM has an ever-increasing line of truly awesome stuff. (The iFan Mini Breeze? I mean, please. It’s a portable 1 oz. fan that plugs right into your smart phone. Genius.)
You might be wondering how we do so many things for our customers – and you wouldn’t be alone. DM is like an all-inclusive resort for retailers. We set you up, we listen to what you need, we get it to you, and we love hearing about your stay with us. Still, I can’t do all of that alone. Us assistants are just cruise directors.
“When will the new heathered FITKICKS be in stock?” Time to call Product Development.
“When will my credit be applied?” Accounting gets a ring.
“Can I ship this new order with the one from last week?” Let’s talk to Operations.
“I accidentally ordered too many pens.” Cue Customer Service.
Often customers have unique needs, like special images or marketing assets. I was astounded learn that we shoot all 3,000+ products in-house. On top of that, product displays, packaging and copy are curated entirely by our own gifted design team, in addition to our gorgeous catalogs and marketing materials.
If a customer requests samples, I start my 835 mile trek to our Sample Department. The warehouse is huge and airy, and my shoes usually clack on the light gray floor. Soon enough (it’s not really 835 miles), I’m greeted by Carolyn’s contagious energy and rows and rows of colorful product. Radio's Top 40 bumping in the background, I grab a bag, find my samples, and head towards our shipping stations, already filled with carts of product, Order Entry’s carefully keyed purchase orders marking the destination of each one.
In short, the DM Sales Team works hard to provide all-inclusive service to our customers, but we could not do a single part of it without help from the entire DM family.
And that’s our MO – we work together, we innovate, we create, and our customers thrive.
After all, DM is Merchandising.
Edit: Three years later, Hannah is now copywriting for the Creative Team. As she puts it, “One department just wasn’t enough!”.