More than an Internship

Ab­strakt Mar­ket­ing Group is a St. Louis-based, b2b lead gen­er­a­tion com­pany that of­fers in­bound and out­bound lead gen­er­a­tion, as well as cre­ative ser­vices. Around three years ago, an on-cam­pus in­tern­ship branch of Ab­strakt was in­tro­duced at Maryville Uni­ver­sity.  Since then, it has pro­vided in­terns with the skills nec­es­sary to thrive in the pro­fes­sional world. 

In­terns at Ab­strakt gain valu­able sales ex­pe­ri­ence while work­ing with Sales­force, the largest and most widely-used cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment sys­tem in the United States. 

Maryville Alum, Bryant Web­ster, was one of the first in­terns hired on at the Maryville branch. Since then, Web­ster has been able to move up within the com­pany and now serves as the Part­ner Per­for­mance Man­ager of Cam­pus Sales.  

“I was hired on in the first hir­ing class. It was more so get­ting things im­ple­mented and learn­ing how to run an in­tern­ship with Ab­strakt and how to main­tain a good re­la­tion­ship be­tween the down­town of­fice and this of­fice. There was­n’t a ton of suc­cess hon­estly, but we re­ally turned things around,” Web­ster said.  

With a lit­tle bit of a rocky start, things turned around tremen­dously for the in­tern­ship, as they are now dou­bling the pro­duc­tion that they once had in the be­gin­ning. 

”When we first started, we had about 12 peo­ple and our two orig­i­nal bosses thrown into the mix. We started out get­ting two ap­point­ments a day but our goal was four. Its changed a ton be­cause now we are get­ting 13 or more a day, with our month goal of 300,” Web­ster said. 

Maryville Internships

Bryant Webster, Maryville Alum and Partner Performance Manager of Campus Sales Programs at Abstrakt Marketing Group. Photo Courtesy of Kara Fialka.

The in­tern­ship with Ab­strakt has al­lowed Web­ster to grow within the com­pany, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally. 

“Per­son­ally I’ve learned about the abil­ity I have in sales, but also a lot about cold call­ing and hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions over the phone with every type of per­son. I’ve learned the path I want to take as far as busi­ness, sales and mar­ket­ing goes. It got me to where I am fi­nan­cially as well as pro­fes­sion­ally. The in­tern­ship has put a lot on my re­sume; I get to show how I have helped a com­pany grow in rev­enue.” Web­ster said. 

The per­sonal re­la­tion­ships de­vel­oped with clients and growth from within has al­lowed for the com­pany to ex­pand at a rapid rate. 

 “As a com­pany, it is very peo­ple-cen­tric and cul­ture based. They like to pro­mote from within and get peo­ple where they need to go. It is a very fast-paced com­pany and its grow­ing rapidly as well. When I first started, there were less than 100 em­ploy­ees and there’s over 270 now,” Web­ster said. 

Di­rec­tor of Maryville Part­ner Sales, Amie Mil­ner, has been with Ab­strakt for a lit­tle over three years and has held many dif­fer­ent po­si­tions within the com­pany be­fore ob­tain­ing her cur­rent ti­tle. 

“I have been with Ab­strakt for al­most four years. At first, I was hired on as a Part­ner Sales Rep­re­sen­ta­tive (PSR) and I was on the phone for 9 months set­ting ap­point­ments for clients. As time went on, I ended up in­ter­view­ing for a trainer po­si­tion in the com­pany and also in­ter­viewed for Part­ner Sales Man­ager (PSM). I had no man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever, but I was for­tu­nate to have man­agers who had poured into me and be­lieved that I could do it. Eric Watkins re­ally be­lieved in me and I was one of the first PSM’s he hired when he moved up to Di­rec­tor of Part­ner Sales,” Mil­ner said. “I was a PSM for a year and a half un­til I moved up to Se­nior Part­ner Sales Man­ager. I loved that po­si­tion be­cause it re­ally taught me re­silience and how to face tough sit­u­a­tions. That po­si­tion re­ally trans­formed my per­son­al­ity and in­stilled con­fi­dence in me as I worked along­side my part­ners to help them sell and grow their busi­ness!”   

Through­out her time at Ab­strakt, Mil­ner grew quickly within the com­pany. When she was asked to di­rect the Maryville in­tern­ship, she was un­sure of what to ex­pect.  

“I started at Maryville in Au­gust of 2017 af­ter I re­turned from my ma­ter­nity leave. I went from a Pipeline and Ac­count Man­age­ment po­si­tion to the Sales de­part­ment so it was a to­tal switch in gears,” Mil­ner said.   

Us­ing her back­ground in higher ed­u­ca­tion, Mil­ner came to Maryville fo­cused on pro­duc­tion, ac­tiv­ity and team ex­pec­ta­tions. Mil­ner found a good bal­ance be­tween build­ing re­la­tion­ships with her staff and earn­ing their trust, but also be­ing able to man­age and hold them to her ex­pec­ta­tions.  

“My biggest ac­com­plish­ment here at Maryville is get­ting the pro­duc­tion and the ac­tiv­ity to what it is right now. My biggest weak­ness as a PSM was man­ag­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of ac­tiv­ity and when I joined the Sales de­part­ment, I knew that’s what I per­son­ally needed to im­prove on to help my new team see suc­cess. My manager, John Schwep­ker the Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales re­ally pushed me to meet these ex­pec­ta­tions and helped me be­come com­pletely in­de­pen­dent in this po­si­tion. I came in very strong at the be­gin­ning and for­mer in­terns Bryant Web­ster, DJ West­cott, Adam Zo­brist and Brian Di­et­rich can prob­a­bly at­test to this; they did not like me at first. But, I quickly con­nected with them on a per­sonal level and once they were bought into the mis­sion of mak­ing Maryville ex­plode, we were on our way.” Mil­ner said. 

Mil­ner says the in­tern­ship with Ab­strakt al­lows stu­dents to gain con­fi­dence in their work while also al­low­ing them to gain skills ben­e­fi­cial to any work en­vi­ron­ment. 

“The in­tern­ship gives them real-world ex­pe­ri­ence in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It teaches you re­silience in tough sit­u­a­tions and how to over­come ob­jec­tions, while also be­ing able to per­suade some­one to come to their side of the table and con­vince them that what you’re do­ing is of value to them and will pro­duce re­sults,” Mil­ner said. 

The in­tern­ship on Maryville’s cam­pus is unique be­cause it mod­els the same process that Ab­strakt sells and per­forms for their part­ners. The in­terns cold call to busi­ness own­ers in a va­ri­ety of com­mer­cial niches and set up ap­point­ments for their re­gional man­agers at the down­town of­fice to pitch them on Ab­strakt and be­come new clients of Ab­strakt. The in­tern­ship just re­cently hit over 3 mil­lion dol­lars in yearly re­cur­ring rev­enue that all came to fruition be­cause of ap­point­ments set within the in­tern­ship.  

If you’re look­ing for real-world ex­pe­ri­ence in the busi­ness, mar­ket­ing and sales world then reach out to Amie Mil­ner at 314-338-2195 to in­ter­view for the in­tern­ship!