Look up! What's that? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Mike Hedges at the top of the sales leaderboard!
Mike has been the Planet IT Salesperson of the Year for 2019, 2018, 2017... I could go on. However, this is his greatest achievement, being named this week's Planet Hero!
So Mike, let's start with an easy one... tell us a little about yourself..?
Haha always a tricky one to sum up without rambling... but in a nutshell, Born and raised in Oxford, from a young age sport was always a big part of my life and still is. Most my childhood was spent with my family travelling around the UK chasing that dream most lads have of becoming a professional footballer… Oxford Utd released me at 16, I became a window cleaner at 18.. keep chasing that dream kids! 😉
Although the footballing ability diminished over the years my competitive nature did not and I guess that’s why I enjoy sales so much. Outside of work I am a very social lad, always up for anything that will make me laugh and always interested in a physical challenge, a Boxing match being the next on my list.
What brought you to Planet?
Honestly? When I knew I was working in a warm office and I found out I didn’t have to pay for the milk, I was sold!! At 19 years old I had no idea what I wanted to be in life, I just sure as hell knew I did not want to climb another ladder in -3degrees cleaning windows.
Luckily for me Planet had an apprenticeship scheme, so I knew I wasn’t under pressure to know anything about IT, I just had to work harder/smarter than the other recruits on the course, which I backed myself to do.
7 years on I look back and pinch myself how lucky I am making the decision I did. I’m glad free milk was so appealing to me back then 😉
Have a look at the top of the sales board... yep, all the way up... is that always your name up there?
Ultimately as a salesperson you are only as good as your customers, don’t get me wrong, you need to work hard, accept rejection on a daily basis and try to keep a positive mindset when at times it just feels like you are sinking. It takes a certain person to choose to do that as a career, so I respect all sales people in any sector!
But good long-term customers and strong working relationships are what make you successful in sales. If people look at what I have achieved and think that’s success, then all I can do is thank my clients for staying with me and trusting me to provide them a service for so long.
What emerging technologies most excite you?
I would say VR, I think this will play a huge part in our lives moving forward.. the thought of estate agents not having to show you round multiple houses, but instead put a VR headset on and walk round a few properties in 10minutes. Crazy times ahead! 🤪
You get a great understanding of Planet's larger clients. During this time of Covid - what business habits have you seen emerge? What has impressed you? What has shocked you about other businesses out there?
From a business perspective if there is one major positive to take from Covid-19 it is how much we have all had to embrace technology to continue to operate. Whether that’s teachers still able to take lessons, Doctors still able to consult patients when quarantined at home, or companies like ours having to work from home to ensure we can still deliver a service to our clients, IT has played a major part in keeping our economy going and business moving. The trends I’m seeing is obviously clients now fully using Microsoft Teams as their leading platform for communication.
What shocks me? When I come across Clients still not backing up data offsite, but thankfully we have a fantastic team here that can build a strategy for them and help implement a safer approach.
What advice would you have for businesses right now?
I’m no MD so can’t exactly tell customers how to run their business’s but from an IT perspective, my advice will be to do a complete IT review and build a 3year Road Map. Technologies you were using in February might not be the best solution for you now, there might also be simple ways to save money long term by adjusting your IT approach. That would be my 2pence..
I look back and pinch myself how lucky I am making the decision to join Planet
Planet IT - what's it like to work there?
The best!! Cheesy as it is, I look forward to going in to work every day, I’m extremely fortunate to work with the most amazing group of people, the planet Family. Everyone here is so different in their own unique ways but fit in to this company and work together so well.
The Ethos at Planet IT is if you work hard for them, they will reward that effort and recognise you! No one is just a number here and in every job role there is an opportunity to progress and build an amazing exciting career.
Favourite Planet Memory?
There are honestly too many... My first amazing moment was after only being at the business 4months Kaspersky took me to Italy to drive Ferrari’s in the Italian mountains which gave me a taste of how amazing a sales career at Planet could be.
But to single out 2x top memories they both happened last year and were both once in a life time moments for their own reasons.. 1st would be the Sky Dive in Dubai over the Palm, wow what a scary but brilliant experience that was one I’d never forget. 2nd was a less positive experience but certainly as life changing, when in Budapest the day activity was to ride on Segways through the city, but when stood on my Segway posing for a photo at an extremely busy tourist spot, I fell off.. well actually I jumped off, the Segway then seemed to develop it’s own brain and thought “I’m going to run over Hedges” after landing on my head in front of hundreds of tourists the Segway continued to cannon in to other passer byes. My colleagues or you might as well call them Hyena’s at this point watched this all unfold and thanked me for making there trip.. silver linings hey.
Biggest challenge at Planet?
Biggest challenge is to be consistent in sales, once you set yourself standards and performance levels its always hard to maintain them. Stress of achieving targets and being able to handle that and not let it affect your home life is also a challenge.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Not sure I can reveal it on Linked In Barry 😉 but lets say Karaoke.. I do actually enjoy singing on Karaoke which I know is shocking to admit haha
So, I came across this photo...
It’s impossible to know everything and sometimes you need to take advice from an expert that has been there and done it.. this photo is us meeting David Brent and taking tips on how to manage people.. what an idol
This is all about Planet Hero's - if you were a real life superhero, what would your superpower be? And keep it clean please!
Invisibility would be my super power – Would like to be able to sneak in to any major sporting event without buying a ticket, would also like to understand what you do in your spare time Barry 😉
If you were to give advice to a 14 year old you - what would it be?
Enjoy only charging your Nokia 3210 once a week, in the future they bring out iPhones and battery life is a joke!
If you were to give advice to a young person thinking of entering the world of IT sales, what would it be?
Be comfortable about being uncomfortable! If you want a steady, stress free job then a job in IT sales in today’s competitive market isn’t for you. However if you are full of self believe and willing to roll the dice on a career that can give you sooo much back then go for it! Work hard, learn the technology, and become an EXPERT in what you are selling. Customers buy from salespeople who know what they are talking about, not just waffle. And Good luck, all sales people need that!
Mike Hedges is our Sales Manager at Planet IT and leads our team of large account managers. He manages some of our top clients and is their go to person when it comes to anything they need from their IT. He is as much part of their team that he even gets invited to their Christmas Parties and Summer BBQ's.
If you'd like to benefit from a trusted technology partner like Mike, then get in touch directly on 01235 433 913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org