From Teaching Seventh Grade to a Successful Sales Career
One Educator's CommonLit Journey
When former seventh grade teacher Eryn Reighard decided to leave the classroom, a position in sales was not her first inclination. During her job search, though, she ran across a sales position at CommonLit and knew immediately it was something special. She was already familiar with the high-quality literacy resources that CommonLit provides teachers, and upon learning more about the company’s mission of helping students learn to read and write proficiently, she knew it would be a great fit. Reighard recalls, “If I was leaving the classroom, continuing to have an impact in education was something that was important for me.”
Now, Reighard makes an impact on education in her role as a CommonLit Sales Manager. She spends each day connecting with schools and districts across the country to sell CommonLit’s paid services and works closely with instructional leaders to help them develop plans to use CommonLit’s digital library and 360 curriculum to effectively drive student learning.
The mission of CommonLit and the team’s approach to sales has played a big part in Reighard feeling at home with the organization. “I think why I'm so comfortable here is because we spend time building relationships with partners. This practice really does align with my previous career and what’s important to me.” These partner relationships are based on a common experience, Reighards’s time in the classroom, and it’s this teaching background that helps her relate to potential customers and allows them to feel more at ease.
Creating a Path to Success with Training and Support
Initially, the idea of a career in sales was a stretch for Reighard, and the self-proclaimed “perfectionist” was worried that her teaching skill set wouldn’t successfully transfer to sales. Those fears were quickly put to rest, however, after joining CommonLit. The company’s comprehensive and supportive training program combined with their holistic approach to sales let Reighard know immediately that a sales position at CommonLit was different. She explains, “During my training, there were so many opportunities to practice and really build my own sales style. Being able to shadow my boss and other teammates and see how they talked about things was so helpful. By the time I was taking my own sales calls, I felt very confident.“
Getting comfortable with her new role in sales also happened with lots of support from the leadership team at CommonLit. “I think the leadership at CommonLit does a really good job at making sure that you feel fully supported and that you're not just left on your own. They’re constantly trying to build people up, and they want me to be successful in my own self as much as they want me to be successful for CommonLit.”
Reighard applies her sales skills during daily calls with schools and districts. Instructional leaders across the country come to CommonLit’s sales team to learn about ELA curriculum, supplemental lessons, benchmark assessments, professional development, and more. Reighard meets with these administrators to deeply understand their needs and how CommonLit’s full program can help them meet their goals. Over the course of several months, Reighard consults with these leaders to help them flesh out a plan for using CommonLit and get them set up with a CommonLit partnership.
In recent months, Reighard has been able to deepen her relationship with some of CommonLit’s partners. “I've had the opportunity now to do a couple of in-person presentations and see people in person, and that's really cool. I’m feeling very thankful that I get to go and do those things.” For example, Reighard recently worked with a district in Wisconsin that was interested in adopting the CommonLit 360 curriculum. Reighard consulted with their secondary curriculum director to develop a plan for teachers to test out the curriculum. Then, she led professional development to get teachers set up with the units they chose to try. Reighard checked in with the curriculum adoption committee throughout the process to make instructional recommendations and answer questions. The district had such a positive experience working with Reighard to try out the curriculum that they moved forward with a seven-year adoption!
Setting Goals for the Future
After nearly two years with CommonLit, Reighard is quick to praise the company’s positive atmosphere and the collaborative nature of the Sales Department. She says, “We have a lot of positive reinforcement at CommonLit, which really helps me feel confident in my role and continues to build my confidence.”
This positive reinforcement has led to some impressive results for Reighard as she continues to meet and exceed her own goals as well as the company’s. “I'm really proud of the fact that this year I got $200,000 over my goal! I feel like this past summer and fall I just really came into my own.”
While a career in sales wasn’t Reighard’s first impulse when she decided to leave the classroom, she is very glad she opted to use her teaching background as a transition to sales at CommonLit. For other educators who may be considering making the same move, she says this, “Relationship building and being able to talk and make connections with loads of different folks is something that's really important in this position, and most former teachers are able to do that really effectively.”