Kenneth Keller joined Benchmark for a few weeks this winter to intern and learn from the sales and marketing teams. Both teams enjoyed his presence and contributions. I asked him to share some of his thoughts on his experience. I figured it’d be a nice glimpse into life here at Benchmark.
Andy Shore: What were you hoping to gain from this internship?
Kenneth Keller: My hopes when starting this internship were to get a full understanding of how Benchmark functions and learn about all the pieces involved in making this company a strong competitor in the email marketing environment. Since I’m a business major, I also wanted to absorb as much I could and really try to get a good understanding of how a global business works. Since I’m also a collegiate athlete, it has been very hard to do an internship because of time constraints so I was very grateful when I got this opportunity.
AS: Do you feel you accomplished that?
KK: Through this internship, I got what I was hoping for and more. All the meetings I was able to attend and people I got to talk to allowed me to gain a powerful insight into what Benchmark’s culture is and how all the departments, from sales to design, work together.
AS: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
KK: The biggest thing for me was how many aspects go into running a business. Before doing this internship, I thought Benchmark was a small and simplistic email marketing company. Even though Benchmark does seem small and using the product is simple, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I learned how important cross-functional communication is between different departments and how important listening is.
AS: What was the most surprising aspect?
KK: What surprised me the most was how everyone in the company seemed to have a nice workflow with each other. I’ve been an athlete for a long time, on many different teams, so I understand how hard it can be for people to work together and accomplish similar goals. Being on a team can be difficult and arguments between teammates tend to arise which can cause a lot of problems. However, at Benchmark, the employees have a healthy conversation with each other and different departments help one another with certain problems. I was able to be in a few meetings when arguments occurred, but they always ended on a positive note.
AS: What’s one new thing you learned about Benchmark?
KK: I learned a lot at Benchmark, but one department that I feel I learned the most was sales. I was able to do a handful of initial sales calls to some Benchmark clients which allowed me to gain some insight on what people thought of the company. From talking to people on the phone, I quickly learned two things. The first is that people really enjoy using Benchmark because of its simplicity and the free plan. The second was how much they appreciated getting a call. When I called, my main purpose was to see how Benchmark was working for them and if they needed any help and the responses I got from people were always kind and very thankful for the call.
AS: What’s one new thing you learned about email marketing?
KK: When I started this internship, I didn’t have a strong understanding of what email marketing was. However, I can now explain to someone the idea of email marketing and some basic steps to start an account with Benchmark. The key learning for me from email marketing is how important deliverability is. Deliverability is what most clients focus on when trying to find the right email marketing service because it determines whether their clients will get the emails they send.
AS: Why would you suggest interning to someone?
KK: Interning has been an awesome experience for me. This internship has allowed me to understand how a business works and what it takes internally and externally to have a thriving and innovative company. The aspects of the business that I learned through this opportunity have never been taught to me in a classroom. I know some internships can involve just running around doing errands and pointless work, but that was not the case at Benchmark. If you’re someone who wants absorb how a small, worldwide company functions and do some hands-on work at the same time, I highly suggest Benchmark.
AS: What advice would you give to someone looking for an internship?
KK: Research and networking. These two concepts are keys to getting a great internship instead of a good one. If you’re looking for an internship, it is important to do a lot of research and have a basic understanding of what kind of company you want to intern for. The second and more important concept is networking. It’s all about who you know and what you can do to help their business. Someone may have a better resume than you, but what’s more important than a resume is knowing someone in the company you want to intern for. If you don’t know a lot of people in business, then start introducing yourself now and try to develop strong relationships with people in the field of business you want to join.
AS: Any additional thoughts?
KK: I had a lot of fun while learning a lot from this internship and would do it again in heartbeat!
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