Capital Business Systems’ Kris Lynch Cultivates a Diverse Team to Sow Success
Top: Kris Lynch, Regional Sales Manager, Capital Business Systems
Whenever Kris Lynch, regional sales manager at Capital Business Systems in Lincoln, Nebraska, encounters a challenge, she finds a way to overcome it. For more than 40 years, Lynch has transcended boundaries with her personal commitment to excel professionally, continually seeking success not only for herself, but also for her employees and employers.
After Lynch graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, having studied music, math, and physics before settling on a concentration in journalism, she landed what she described as her dream job as a media buyer for an advertising company. While she was able to use her math, creative, and people skills, the pay was minimal, so she soon pivoted to work at a local newspaper as a salesperson.
Within five years, Lynch was ready for her next challenge. She had been the paper’s top sales representative, but when she approached her manager about pursuing opportunities to grow further, he brushed her off. There were men who had families to support, she recalled her manager saying. This was only 40 years ago.
Undeterred and highly motivated, Lynch began researching other industries that would be “more accepting of my skirt.” Prioritizing firms that offered sales training, she zeroed in on the copier and technology industries. Using a week of her vacation time from the newspaper, she attended in Xerox’s selling school solely to learn. At that time, Xerox’s sales training opportunities were open to those both inside and outside the company.
“I knew there were smarter tools out there than what I had been using,” said Lunch. “There were better ways to help customers and get into their heads, reaching across the desk. That was part of my evolution into trying to be better than I was, trying to find better ways to support my family, trying to find better ways to support my clients and my employer.”
Ready to make her next move, Lynch took a day off work at the paper to shop her résumé to IBM, Xerox, and Pitney Bowes. Right away, Pitney Bowes hired her. Lynch credits this Fortune 500 company for teaching her how to be a better salesperson thanks to Pitney Bowes’ rigorous sales training and support.
In 1992, Modern Methods asked if she was interested in applying for a role as a sales manager. She knew the firm well, having sold to them as a Pitney Bowes representative. Lynch took the weekend to draft her sales plan, compiling her knowledge about the industry and her ideas for how Modern Methods could grow its business. She got the job.
In late 2006, Capital Business Systems acquired Modern Methods, and as Lynch said, “I came with the package.”
Cultivating Strength from Diversity
Today, Lynch handles the Eastern sales division of Nebraska, with two sales managers reporting directly to her and a team of sales people working arduously to keep Capital Business Systems in high-growth mode. She motivates her team members to stay focused on growing the company organically and supporting them by ensuring they have the tools they need to keep them on track to reach goals for themselves and for Capital Business Systems.
As the leader within her region, she works closely with her team to keep pace with the constant evolution of technology and services to support Capital Business Systems’ clients.
“Sometimes we’re racing along to catch up, but first and foremost, it’s important to know your customer,” said Lynch. “If you are adept about learning about the clients and where their challenges are, then, you can go, research, hunt, and find an answer for them and deliver it. It sounds reactive, but to me, every door is open and everything is at our disposal. If it make sense, if it’s ethical, if it’s right for the client and good for our company, we’re going to find a way to do it.”
Like many sales managers, Lynch’s primary challenge is finding the right talent to staff the sales group, which includes reps across multiple generations.
“I’m fortunate to have a stable sales team,” said Lynch. “I have people who have been with me six, 10, 18, 20 years, which has been great. I have people who have had a lot of success in the industry and continue to, and still bring the energy every day. It’s always a challenge when you want to grow to find the right people that fit into a high-performance team and bring something new to us. But, we’ve found a lot of the right people who’ve made a big difference in our company and continue to do so.”
To help her sales managers find the right people, she encourages them to look beyond the imaging technology industry, actively seeking the right person, rather than waiting for the right person to come to Capital Business Systems.
Capital Business Systems recently ran an advertisement for an opportunity on its sales team. However, only 15% of the responding applicants were women. This was surprising to Lynch, who stated her sales team currently is 40% women, and who have sold 66% of the hardware dollars this year to date.
“Women can do this job, but they’re not applying,” said Lynch. “We have to go out there and find them. You don’t need to run an ad and see who responds. That doesn’t always get what you want. If you have a picture in your head of what “˜good’ looks like, what we need but don’t have on our team, we can go find those people.”
This is exactly how Lynch found her two sales managers, and the same is true for every rep she’s hired over the last 15 years, and how she has a team of 40% women. It wasn’t through an ad; she went and actively searched for them. This is the strategy she encourages her sales managers to take when building their teams. In addition to combing through résumés online, Lynch looks to other companies that have a reputation of hiring well ““ those outside Capital Business Systems’ immediate competitors and industry partners ““ and she looks to uncover potential hires that embody the qualities she values for her team.
“Sales is a meritocracy,” said Lynch. “You earn the right to be respected, and that’s why it’s a great field for women. The playing field is level; at least, it is here [at Capital Business Systems]. We are a company interested in diversity. It helps us to be stronger.”
Lynch remains passionate about her work, her team, and Capital Business Systems. She foresees a bright future for the industry, particularly for women looking to grow and succeed in their careers.
“Women need to apply for these jobs,” said Lynch. “Or, they need to go to their bosses and ask for a position of leadership and tell them why. Or, when they see an opening in our industry, or a person or a company they’d like to work for, they need to just go for it. Today, tech is what women do. Whether they’re coding or selling managed network services, there are a whole range of careers in this field, and I think it’s the perfect industry to give women opportunities.”
Access Related Content
Visit the www.thecannatareport.com. To become a subscriber, visit www.thecannatareport.com/register or contact email@example.com directly. Bulk subscription rates are also available.