Sharp Difference Maker Melani Patterson Earns Her Spot at the Table

Melani Patterson, Sharp

Suffice to say, Sharp Business Systems is quite fond of the effort Melani Patterson puts forth on a daily basis, as evidenced by the six promotions she has received since 2010. But this associate vice president of sales strategy and an industry veteran of nearly 25 years can vividly recall her formative years in sales when the path to success looped through a challenging obstacle course.

Looking back, winning didn’t come so easily to Patterson, and the experience took its toll on many fronts. “The perseverance, the tears, the strength it took to hit the quota, get the number, stay the course,” said Patterson, a 2022 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “In this competitive environment, the ability to be with a client from the start to additional sales or renewals was pivotal. I find it pretty rewarding not just to win a client, but to keep and re-earn a client.”

Patterson loves the hunt, unearthing the needs of clients and creating resolution through technology. She works closely with SBS’ internal teams and helps drive their ability to be efficient and successful, creating win-win scenarios for both Sharp and its end-user base. Winning, she believes, takes many forms that go beyond the sale.

Employing an approach that is both authentic and transparent, Patterson is always seeking to earn her spot at the table. “I want to stay relevant from a technology and sales perspective so I engage with our teams to continue to ensure I bring value to those I serve,” she said. “A leader without value isn’t leading.”

Sales Makeup

It’s not surprising that Patterson has followed down this path, as sales and managing has been a part of her life since the age of 15. She’d planned to go into nursing during her formative years, but the wait list for nursing school was longer than she was willing to endure. And the allure of sales opened an opportunity when she was working retail, selling Lancôme makeup. A co-worker took a position with Pitney Bowes, and later introduced Patterson to her manager there.

After the two-year stint with Pitney Bowes, Patterson landed at QBSI (Xerox), which was part of the Global Imaging Systems (GIS) network of companies, where she held several sales manager positions. She began her journey with SBS in 2010 and continues to grow her role within the organization.

She has had the benefit of working under the wings of numerous mentors, starting with Teri Dunn, her first president at GIS. It was Dunn who shined a light on empowerment, breaking down barriers for the unattainable, and demonstrated what entailed quality leadership. Sharp leaders, including Mike Marusic, Anthony Sci, Gary Eyen, Steve Orander and Joe O’Malley, continue to challenge Patterson to find her better self as a leader. Even today, she continues to focus on serving clients and enable them to expand their technology platforms to align with organizational goals.

She also credits industry visionary Mike Stramaglio with elevating her confidence to another level and growing her knowledge on the industry community. “He has been a newer mentor to me and has helped me to learn how to expand my knowledge of the future or our business and become more involved in different areas of leadership,” Patterson added.

Thriving Enterprise

Even in the face of the pandemic, Patterson is proud of the exponential growth in Sharp’s enterprise new business, accompanied by increased market share. In the process, Sharp has transitioned to new and exciting ways of delivering value to clients, and she credits an “amazing” team in helping to make it a reality.

“I have been learning more about sales analytics and sales enablement tools that are bringing great successes in doing things differently in our hybrid world,” Patterson said. “I am a change leader who is excited by our future in technology and the modern selling techniques that allow us to be more proactive to our clients.”

The latest promotion has been but one of many bright spots that have dotted 2022 thus far. Her team is taking a proactive approach to empowering the sales managers and reps to be more successful for clients. Patterson and her team continue to bring new direction to the document category, backed by training and education, vertical value, lead generation and intent marketing.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2022 and beyond, Patterson endeavors to continue down the path of self-development and knowledge enhancement. “The goal for me is to always to stay ahead and I lead creatively, so I have no problem trying out something we don’t know or haven’t tried,” she added.

Away from the office, Patterson has two daughters—Kendall, 17, who will enter her senior years of high school this fall and Maddie, 20, who is heading into her junior year at Seattle Pacific University. Patterson is in a “fabulous relationship” that splits her time between her Washington state home and Chicago, both of which offer great culture and activities. They love to travel and explore, and have a passion for live music.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.