When you’ve spent a year and a half travelling the world and going to school in Tokyo, it’s unlikely you're going to take a traditional university-led career path.
That was certainly the case for Alex Masters, who before becoming a Strategic Account Director for the Federal Government at Salesforce, was going door-to-door 18 hours a day in her sales role, making her living off only her commission.
“That’s probably where I first learnt how difficult it is to sell, and some of the fundamental skills that you need to be able to sell,” she says.
Long days making sales in rural and regional parts of the country, facing rejection, and having doors slammed in her face was a crash course in the tenacity required to be a success in sales. And while many early-career sellers would struggle with door-to-door sales, Alex quickly discovered she was quite a skilled — and competitive — salesperson.
“I developed a real passion for succeeding and being on top of the leaderboard. But those kinds of positions and roles burn you quite quickly,” Alex says — and, looking for something new, she found the fitness industry.
This next job was still a sales role, but she saw another opportunity.
“I kind of felt like something was missing around that customer service lens,” she says. “I was quite passionate about helping people and engaging not just at the sale end but continuing on that path of engagement with those customers.”
Alex began to see how important customer relationship management was in understanding customers — what a customer might be trying to achieve and why technology is so important in making that happen.
“Because it's not just about earning money or the bottom line,” she explains.
Looking back, there was just one problem. Although she enjoyed both customer service and sales, it wasn’t until starting her career at Salesforce that she found a place where she could bring those two passions together.
“That’s how I stepped into Salesforce.”
We asked Alex how she found herself at Salesforce, what it is that makes her work so fulfilling, and how she uses her career to contribute to the greater good of the community.
Working for a major technology company was never something that was at the forefront of my mind until I took up a role at a health insurance provider. I was responsible for redesigning a new front door system — which meant that I made it completely digital: a cashless, paperless environment to better service our members. It was here I made the connection between technology and community and customer experience.
Seeing my passion for technology and helping people, a good family friend recommended I apply for an upcoming role at Salesforce. I applied — I knew it was for the public sector, and that really interested me — and then I started as a business development representative for the New South Wales government.
One project that really hit home was around victim services in New South Wales.
It was a yearlong bid to help automate and give access to money for victims — for any type of crime or offence that victims are eligible for compensation from the government. It had previously been a very fragmented system that meant that some people wouldn't get paid or it would take weeks to months to get paid. Even, in some instances, that the wrong people would get paid.
It was the first time I felt really passionate about what I was doing, and could see how we were having an impact on the community. We worked with the Department of Justice on this over 18 months and finally went live with a system that was able to streamline that process and really help support the victims as well.
Something that my team and I did as part of our VTO when I was living around the Northern Beaches in Sydney was support a place in Dee Why called Fisher Road School, which is a special school. They've got kids going there with unique challenges and we'd go out there as a team at least once a quarter and do ground maintenance, setting up cubby-houses and things like that — doing the handyman stuff that they couldn't afford to do or have the manpower.
Since moving to Canberra, it’s been a little bit more challenging given the recent bushfires. But prior to Christmas — which now seems like a lifetime ago — we were working with the Red Cross to help distribute Christmas presents to families who had been impacted by the fires. I think it’s important to help people in our own neighbourhoods and backyards.
It really is about the people who have your back! Your team and leadership team. I’ve been fortunate enough to have an incredible manager who would never put me in a situation that he didn’t think I was capable of succeeding at. It’s then up to me to do what I can to match his vision of me.
One of the things my team fosters is that sales deals or helping the customer is a team effort. There’s no ‘I’ did this — it’s a ‘we’. In previous roles, I sometimes felt like it was a race to the top of the leaderboard, but at Salesforce, sales is a collaborative effort. And those who do try to go at it alone, especially at the scale and pace we set at Salesforce, are the ones who won’t succeed.
Salesforce is definitely a unique selling environment — it’s one of the reasons that I’ve stayed and kept working with the people that I enjoy learning from. I’m genuinely looking forward to the next five years of my career here. I’m sure it will be completely different again!
Interested in a career at Salesforce? Find out how here.