Find out what happens when an entrepreneurial, creative sales professional takes her own reins.
Lucy Brindley, fresh out of uni, looked out her window in the UK. She watched as her neighbour waved goodbye to guests, turned back into the house and emerged again with a massive bundle of rubbish left from his daughter’s birthday party.
“I watched my neighbour just screw all that plastic up and chuck it in the bin,” Lucy recalls.
A creative self-starter, Lucy started looking for plastic-free party supplies and soon set up a business selling them, with the majority sourced through social enterprises. Eight years later, after selling her business, she brought her entrepreneurial spirit to Australia.
Another eight years on, she’s part of the Salesforce team. Lucy has risen through the ranks largely because of her determination, persistence and that entrepreneur experience – a real ability to build the business as though it was her own.
I came here and found a place that I absolutely loved – I didn't want to leave. I started working for a media and communications agency, before I moved to a role selling mobile messaging and mobile marketing.
I started prospecting ExactTarget trying to win their business, and I was pretty persistent – hard work, dedication and persistence are everything in sales! Those prospecting conversations turned into conversations about joining the ExactTarget team, and I moved into the role of Product Manager, Mobile for JAPAC.
At ExactTarget I was the subject matter expert in mobile, and responsible for building out the mobile business – the role hadn’t existed previously and the goal was to supercharge growth in the region. I created the go-to-market strategy, ran enablement for the sales team, everything that was needed to achieve that goal.
This is where my experience starting and building my own business came in – that entrepreneurial piece was vital to shaping the role and succeeding in it.
When ExactTarget was acquired by Salesforce, I came over with the same role and title, and it felt amazing to be part of something even bigger.
The thought of being an entrepreneur within a big organisation could seem ridiculous, but the way that I’d run my business in the UK had taught me so much that helped me in building out the new function.
In my first six months at Salesforce we achieved amazing growth in mobile that made the global business look at what Australia and APAC were doing.
When I first came over to Salesforce I worked in Marketing Cloud, a part of the business that I absolutely love – I loved understanding that business and the whole customer experience piece, and watching how the products evolved, growing and aligning with what our customers were asking for.
But I’ve always been focused on growth and success – I was working really hard to achieve it and dedicated to performing really highly.
Hard work was one part of that, and the other part was being empowered and enabled to deliver good work, and supported to perform. I've always made a point of paying that support forward – I've been mentored in the business and I've given back by mentoring other sales team members. Of course, none of what I have achieved here would be possible without support from a great team – both my peers and colleagues, as well as from leadership.
By making sure that I paid forward the support I received, I became someone who would be approached about different roles that were available internally.
Yes – I was promoted to Enterprise Account Executive when I was still in Marketing Cloud around two years ago, working with just a handful of our strategic customers as part of a wider account team.
Recently I’ve been promoted again – I’m working across all of our products, rather than only Marketing Cloud, and I specialise in the Media industry. So the conversations with customers have broadened across the entire Salesforce stack including our recent acquisitions Tableau and Mulesoft, and I bring my previous media and communications experience to the table as well.
I’m really excited about this role because this new decade will be more exciting and challenging for the media industry than any previous!
Consumers expect and accept nothing less than a frictionless, fast and personalised content experience, and can be fickle, because there is a lot of choice.
Ultimately, this means there are three key battles ahead for media companies:
Attention: capturing as much of a consumer's time as possible, while mastering the various content options, fragmented channels and declining loyalty.
Premium content: efficiently sourcing, producing or buying, and distributing content that is likely to succeed with targeted consumers.
Ad sales: defending market share against the digital platforms by putting audience insights and business intelligence at the heart of ad operations.
We're humbled that many of the leading traditional and digital media companies trust Salesforce as their strategic partner, particularly in subscriber management, audience engagement, production management, and ad and content sales. It’s so exciting to work in partnership with them on their future strategic direction.
I’d say you’d have to have;
Curiosity: it’s essential to ask lots of questions, to really get to the bottom of a prospect or customer’s objectives and challenges.
Ability to listen to both customers and colleagues: get to know customers’ strategies and objectives and listen to colleagues to ensure you can bring the right solutions to help customers be successful.
Dedication and persistence
Teamwork: seling is absolutely a team sport and collaboration is key
Competitive nature: you need to be motivated by winning!
I was so persistent in that attempt to prospect ExactTarget, worked hard to land that role and kept working hard after the Salesforce acquisition. I’m really dedicated to understanding my customers’ needs – asking questions, listening, being positive and helpful. That’s been really important.
And know what you want – I said ‘no’ to a few opportunities along the way too!
You know, there’s that entrepreneurial piece that I love – this is a massive company, but I feel in charge of my destiny here. It's up to me to create my account strategy in line with customer objectives, to manage and work with my virtual team, and to work in partnership with my customers to drive their success.
Then there’s the bigger picture. There’s a great quote from our co-founder, Marc Benioff: “business is the greatest platform for change”. The values he’s built into the core of the business mean I'm able to give back through our volunteer time off program.
I chose to work with Homeless Connect in my volunteering, because it really hit me hard when I first came to Sydney to see that there were so many people living on the streets – I wanted to do something to help with that. I’m working for a business with values that align with my own and which has helped me achieve a personal goal.
If it doesn't feel like you're going to work each morning, as you're enjoying it so much, then you're going to put your best foot forward everyday! I’ve been highly driven and highly motivated to do a good job because I genuinely love working at Salesforce.
Want to blaze your own trail in a career at Salesforce? Find out how here.
Lucy Brindley is Account Director – Media Industry at Salesforce. Read more from Lucy.