Employer: Salesforce

Job Title: Regional Vice President, Enterprise Sales

Degree Path: Bachelor of Arts, Communication

Hometown: Galesburg, IL

Current City: Indianapolis, IN

What led you to your getting into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

My first job was with ExactTarget 9 years ago, a company that was later purchased by Salesforce. I came in as a Partner Account Manager on the Channel and Alliances team. Prior to that, I was doing IT staffing and consulting and though I thought that made me technical, I really wasn’t “in tech” until ExactTarget. What led me to that job was my interest in the organization. ExactTarget was the darling of Indianapolis and seemed like such an incredible place to work. I wanted to work for a progressive, fast-changing organization and leveraged my previous selling and “technical” background to get in the door.

What has been your career path so far?

My first job was selling newspaper inserts and direct mail to car dealers. I only stayed there a year but that was my first job in sales. From there I worked in recruiting in staffing which was the most cut-throat, “boiler room” type of selling I have done. I was making 80-100 calls a day, cold-calling into organizations and then working with candidates. I worked in 3 different organizations in that field for over 5 years. Then I started at ExactTarget in the channel and alliances team. I moved my way up over 6 years, doing more strategic partner management and eventually becoming the Regional Vice President over the Amer Marketing Cloud reseller team. Three years ago, I moved to the direct selling organization as the RVP and now manage a team of 7 who sell nationally to enterprise life sciences companies. We focus on the Marketing Cloud business.

When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

My job is to manage my team who sells into life sciences organizations. They each manage between 4-8 accounts and have an annual quota they need to hit. Their job is to sell our Marketing Cloud solutions into these accounts, some of which already have a Salesforce footprint, some of which do not.  As their leader, I am responsible for forecasting, inspecting pipeline, escalating issues, conflict resolution between internal teams, at times being the “super AE” (account executive), team selling, career development, training, and executive alignment. We are tasked with growing the life sciences division within the Marketing Cloud and all of these tasks are part of our strategy to make our customers successful, transform digital marketing, and hit our number.

Help us picture your work environment.

I have an office in the Indianapolis office that when I am not traveling, I work out of three to four times a week. I have the flexibility to work from home, but I like to work in the office as I find I am more productive. My team is all field-based throughout the company so they work from home, as does my boss. I travel two to three times a month. This is definitely a desk job as if I am not in front of customers in person, then I am on the phone most of the day.

What do you love about the work you do?

I absolutely love managing and leading a team. I aim to inspire and coach them. I am absolutely their champion and if they are doing the right things, I will be their warrior fighting for them internally and with their customers and prospects. My goal is that whenever they leave this job or this team, they are stronger and better than when they started with me. I also love talking about marketing with customers and the life sciences industry is traditionally behind in their digital sophistication. Being able to transform their strategies and make them more successful is very rewarding.

Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy this occupation?

Tenacity, articulate, confidence, a beginner’s mind (meaning always willing to learn), grit, hustle.

Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person in your job to be proficient in?

It’s important to know technology and software and how different technologies weave together. Every large organization has a labyrinth of technical solutions that run their business and understanding what categories they are and how they work together is really helpful. You don’t have to be “technical” to be successful in technology. But you have to be willing to learn and have an interest in it.

Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person in this occupation to be proficient in?

I think empathy is crucial in sales. Understanding and feeling what the customer and prospect are dealing with help gain trust and credibility. Negotiating, communication, time management, organization, conflict management, and resolution, along with the ability to speak with C-level executives.

From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning jobs in this occupation, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back? Please describe.

Our company doesn’t have a lot of entry level, new grad opportunities as they/we are looking for people who typically have sold tech in the past. However, we do hire people as Sales Development Reps and Business Development Reps. The key to this job is tenacity. SDRs and BDRs spend a lot of time calling into organizations to try to set up meetings and you have to have a thick skin as you’ll hear no more than you hear yes. Salesforce may not be the easiest organization to get your foot in the door, but there are so many other tech companies in Indianapolis. Getting experience in startups is a great career path as you tend to work more jobs and wear many hats. That experience really plays well for a future career at Salesforce.

Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

The Challenger Sale is a great book as it relates to selling strategies. I also love Never Eat Alone.

What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering this occupation or wanting to stand out amongst others?

Be persistent! Apply and apply again for jobs. And most importantly, make connections and build relationships. Take people to coffee to understand their job. Those relationships will help you in all job pursuits!

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