Featured Sales Account Executive

Erica Mines

We sat down with Erica Mines, to ask her about her life as a black saleswoman, lessons she learned in her career, and why a community like Sistas In Sales is necessary. 

 I'm Erica Mines, Account Executive for OUTFRONTMedia, Spelman Alumnae, lover of traveling, and self-proclaimed media junkie. Originally from Chicago, IL – spent seven years working in media/entertainment in New York City and came back to Atlanta, GA two years ago to advance my career in the field.

I'm Erica Mines, Account Executive for OUTFRONTMedia, Spelman Alumnae, lover of traveling, and self-proclaimed media junkie. Originally from Chicago, IL – spent seven years working in media/entertainment in New York City and came back to Atlanta, GA two years ago to advance my career in the field.

1. Tell me a fun fact about yourself!

I attended an all-women's institution for undergraduate studies, Spelman College to be exact. I’m so proud of that school because it helped shaped me into the woman I am today. Spelman gave me confidence and sisterhood, and a desire to give back. That experience taught me that it's not all about me in this world, rather what I can do to help others.

2. What made you get into sales?

Originally, I did not want to be in sales, I wanted to be on TV. I was an Economics major but had been told all my life that I should be on TV because of my personality. I thought, if I could get an in at a major network, it would allow me to be in a broadcast journalist. But after spending time on this side of the business, I fell in love with networking and meeting people. I was fortunate enough to meet people who helped cultivate my skill set and challenged me. I recognized that sales would be a good fit for me and I like my career trajectory.


3. Tell me about your biggest deal, and how did it close?

My biggest deal was with a restaurant group in the southeastern U.S. for $75,000 for a one-year term. I put a team together to execute what the client needed. I was able to bring in other AEs from other markets to ask for their insights on the restaurant’s marketing direction, as well as pull in information from the research department and marketing team. We (or I) pulled together photos of our actual inventory to pitch to the client, so they could see actual locations and where the boards are located in proximity to the restaurant. I was excited to lead a team to help close the deal, but every sale is about preparation and executing the plan. Helping the client win is the secret to success. 

4. What do you like most about being in sales?

Overall, getting in front of the client. I really enjoy getting to understand their marketing objectives, being consultative and coming up with a cool strategy to execute their desired goal. As the job requires, I can be transactional or consultative, but I prefer being consultative; digging in deep to find the client’s needs and being their partner. I want to understand why they prefer to partner with an OOH company versus making the spend in digital. Coming up with the solution for the client gives me a great sense of accomplishment. 

 

5. What's it like being a woman of color in sales?

It's challenging—sales is so often considered to be a boys’ club. It's about who you know, and bringing relationships to the organization that has already been established. But when it comes down to it, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You can’t walk into a meeting apologizing for who you are.

You have to push yourself to get to the next level because you are trying to navigate in a male-dominated industry. When the whole H&M thing went down, a lot of people didn't understand why that sweatshirt was offensive. As a voice for people of color, I felt I had to explain to people and teach why you can’t say whatever comes to your mind, how it might offend people. A lot of time you have to be a sounding board or voice of reason, so that your client partners can understand why some content should go in a different direction. My collegiate experience (and having lived in NYC!) has given me the confidence to speak out and explain my perspective. This is why diversity in the workplace is so important: It’s a way for companies gain insights into African American demographics. I look for ways to show everyone at the table why it would be advantageous for them to look at things from my point of view. Then they have a choice about whether or not they want to make more money.

We, as women of color, need our own network to help each other grow and move up in corporate America.

— Erica Mines

6. What would you say to a woman of color thinking about entering a sales career?

You have to have tough skin and you cannot always take things personally. You have to think objectively and think from the client’s perspective. The client is always “right,” and you have to bend over backward to help the client. Be confident in who you are, and be a self-starter. You have to drum up business for yourself and go out and get it because no one is going to do it for you. You have to like people, if you don't like to be social or network, this is not the career for you. Don't go into sales if you don't want to be personable,.

7. Finally, why do you think Sistas In Sales is important for women of color like yourself?

We, as women of color, need our own network to help each other grow and move up in corporate America. I want to be a part of an organization that galvanizes women to come together to speak their minds and talk about what they feel may be injustices/challenges in the workplace and how they should be advocating for themselves in an organic way. For years, I felt like I didn’t have anyone to lean on or talk to in confidence about my experiences, so now I am excited to be a part of a network that supports that mission.

We should be able to air our frustrations and have other women encourage us to look at the glass as half-full. Going to a women’s college really taught me the value of working for women’s empowerment. Seeing an organization like Sistas in Sales come together makes me so happy! We all need each other to get further along. Without others, I wouldn't be where I am today. I appreciate those networks that help us navigate our careers because not everyone understands our perspective. 

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