At Salesforce, Nichola Palmer works with customers to bring their stories of innovation and transformation to life. In this blog series featuring Trailblazers, Nichola introduces Daisy Hoang, Senior Vice President of Sales and Success at Katalon in Vietnam. Daisy brings a growth mindset to the fast-moving tech industry, and has supported ambitious growth in a revenue-generating role.
Daisy Hoang is a start-up star. From beginning her career in Chicago to scaling the heights of Ho Chi Minh City in her current role as Senior Vice President of Sales and Success at Katalon, Daisy knows what it takes to achieve ambitious growth in the fast-moving tech industry.
Much of her success comes down to her strong growth mindset and customer-focused sales philosophy. Daisy says she’s in the solutions business, and being willing to learn from prospects is more important than a slick sales pitch.
“The sales call shouldn’t be about forcing prospects to listen to our pitch. Rather, selling is about guiding prospects through the whole buying experience,” she says. “As salespeople, we shouldn’t be trying to outsmart the prospect, but trying to make their experience of discovery and negotiation as smooth and seamless as possible.”
“That’s why I think client-facing roles are so interesting. You learn as much from the prospects and clients as they are learning from your product.”
Finding her feet
Daisy grew up in Vietnam, and left to study in the US when she was 18. She graduated from top-tier Augustana College with a Bachelor of Arts (International Business, Marketing, and Communication), then won a full-ride scholarship to study for a Master of Science (Marketing and Communication) at Illinois State University.
Her first taste of the professional world came via an internship with UnityPoint Health. It was during this time that Daisy began to lay out a blueprint for her career.
“During one of my internships, my mentor told me that whatever I do in the future to make sure I’m in a revenue-generating function,” she says. “When times are good you don’t have to worry, and when times are bad often the revenue-generating function continues to be in high demand.”
“I also knew that I wanted to be in a very high-growth environment that would push me to continue to learn and develop. Those two guiding principles have always been my north star.”
Daisy’s path led to a position as Sales Strategy Lead for Chicago-based online reputation management platform, SIM Partners — that later got acquired by Reputation.com. Working out of the company’s Chicago office, Daisy had a front seat for the platform’s rapid growth.
“It was my first time being exposed to scaling across geographic locations and verticals, and they had a very mature go-to-market strategy,” she says. “It was good for me to start out at a small startup and then see how that business could potentially become so large and diversified.”
All roads led to Katalon
That start-up energy was part of what attracted Daisy back to Vietnam, where investment was booming, and to a role with SaaS solutions provider, Katalon.
“I knew before I joined Katalon that I was looking for three things: an experienced senior leadership team, a very strong product that truly adds value to the organisations that use it, and a product that could scale across geographic locations, verticals and customer size.”
Daisy found that in Katalon, where she continues to thrive in a fast-paced environment with a global growth vision.
“We are serving clients from more than 160 countries, so at any time of the day and night there are members of our team out discovering prospects, pitching and closing. It’s a very dynamic part of the organisation,” she says.
“As a very high-growth SaaS startup, we’re also aiming for ambitious growth, and because of that, the challenges are never the same from one day to the other.”
A single source of truth
One of those challenges was replacing the company’s legacy CRM to create a single source of truth with Salesforce. Daisy says Salesforce has provided the visibility the organisation needed to build accountability into the sales culture, and more accurately forecast revenue.
“I don’t think my job is possible without Salesforce,” she says. “I spend a lot of my day living in Salesforce. We started out just using Salesforce for the sales team, but gradually we expanded it to the customer success team, and now to the customer support team. It’s really good to have that visibility across all teams directly within Salesforce.”
Daisy says that after a successful growth phase, Katalon is now at a turning point. And she’s excited to take the next step in her career with the company.
“I’ve been fortunate at Katalon to build a very high-growth revenue engine, but we’re at a benchmark where playbooks have to change because growing from point A to point B is very different from growing from point B to point C,” she explains. “The next step in my career is building the playbook for the next phase of up-scaling.”
Daisy is also optimistic for the future of Vietnam, and is keen to inspire the next generation of home-grown talent.
“When I first came back to Vietnam, the tech start-ups were very much focused around solving a local problem. But I’m starting to see more start-ups coming out of Vietnam with a global mindset. It is a young environment that’s heavily dominated by Gen-Z and Millennials, and it’s really good to see bigger dreams.” As a mentor to others now starting on their career path, Daisy finds being a part of those dreams energising, “It’s exciting to share visions of the future with others who are equally passionate about the opportunities ahead.”
Check out these other posts from our Inspired Trailblazers series: