Returning to a role with sales targets post-mat leave

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Consultancy
Type of leave:
Maternity
Number of years professional experience:
11-15 years
Length of leave:
6-12 months
Type of experience:
Negative
Work pattern on return:
Part-time
Message I returned from mat leave the first time into a role with significant sales and utilisation targets. While I had been high performing before I went on leave, on return I found myself floundering. Senior leaders 'had lunch' with me to try and identify what was happening to my performance and I felt negative about my contribution to the financial performance of my team. It occured to me that I was the first maternity returner in my business line with a sales target and this was where the problems stemmed from - our model relies on consultants to identify, scope and sell work - by going on maternity leave I had closed my sales channels by finishing projects, not being around to follow up on progress, or handing over key relationships to colleagues. I felt uncomfortable asking for 'my' clients back as I'd been out for 8 months, and realistically colleagues assumed I would want more than one child and would be going out on leave again before too long (which did happen). I found my return after my second maternity leave much more successful, in part because I was expecting the worst, and in part because I knew I'd completed my family. I took a combination of internal operational roles and client delivery, and gradually rebuilt my knowledge of the market and sales channels while gaining goodwill from colleagues and gradually regaining my own client portfolio. It still isn't easy to hit those targets while you're part-time, but my advice is to flag your concerns about reopening sales channels early and ask for support from leaders to drive commercial success and enhance their P&L!
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