Even though we’ve come far in diversifying workplaces globally, we still need more women in sales. Let’s face it: technology is still dominated by men. Even in the sales team of a tech company, there are only a handful of women. My own career as a tax consultant took a surprising turn when I decided to move to Barcelona and work as a sales representative for a Business Intelligence company.
Back in Belgium, I joined Salesforce as an Account Executive and immediately noticed its culture of inclusion towards all employees, regardless of gender or background. Everybody gets opportunities and can choose their own path. But even then it is important to focus on biases about women, which is one of my daily activities in my role as a female ambassador for equality.
The main goal is to not only attract more women but also to create an environment that will retain them as well. Implementing policies and initiatives that support work-life balance is essential — and not just for women employees This will help retain men and gender non-conforming employees too.
To that end, we need to level the playing field by providing the same benefits to everyone in the company. For example, at Salesforce, all employees — regardless of gender —get time off when a child is born on top of the legally provided time.
A diverse team means working with different skill sets which provide a certain balance that everybody (customer and company) can benefit from.
Lack of a technical background is not an obstacle to work at Salesforce, and certainly not for men and women in sales. As an account executive, my main goal is helping customers. And when a more technical deep dive is required, we can count on the brilliant minds of our solution engineers.
While I continue to focus on and advocate for more women in sales, my days are also filled with sales-specific tasks and projects.
What does my day as an account executive look like? That depends on the day of the week. It usually follows a typical sales cycle. On Monday, I take a look at my next steps and prepare for Wednesday’s forecast in which we focus on new business opportunities. During the second half of the week, we follow up on those opportunities by setting up meetings, thinking about deals and proposals, etcetera.
Of course, I also spend a lot of time with customers. On the one hand, we organise customer success meetings where we listen to the challenges of existing customers and think about how we can help.
On the other hand, a big part of my job is also about finding new business contacts, going to events, and presenting Salesforce to prospects. I am always very busy, but also try to stick to my breaks. After lunch, for example, I usually go for a walk and have some fresh air.
Despite being a large company, Salesforce can respond quickly to change. As an employee, you get a lot of freedom to act and make decisions. And working in sales is particularly pleasant since we can rely on the same great tools we sell to our customers.
For instance, I use our Sales Cloud for opportunity management. And thanks to Tableau, we can work with dashboards that give us useful insights into the history of an account, the number of opportunities and their value, why certain opportunities were not closed, and so on.
Using Salesforce for my own work is a great advantage when presenting the platform to customers. Because I experience the added value myself daily, it is easier to focus on business benefits for the companies we support.
When customers have a specific question and need a more in-depth explanation, I can often find the answer on Trailhead. This platform is a great way to learn and develop new skills for the Salesforce universe.
After my first year, I had already achieved the status of Salesforce Ranger (which is a pretty high rank). Also, if customers indicate that they have adoption problems, there is always a track on Trailhead available to assist their employees.
Despite my busy schedule, I like to make time to learn new skills. And get involved in community work, too. At Salesforce, we get seven paid days of volunteering time off (VTO). For me, it is a great way to connect with society and help less fortunate people. For example, I recently was a DJ in a Salesforce radio show where we collected money by playing our colleagues’ favourite music. And I also remember a day when we refurbished a childcare centre by painting its walls in cheerful colours.
In a nutshell, Salesforce is a great place to work. Regardless of your gender, I can only recommend becoming part of our team.
Interested in developing your own skills with Trailhead? Discover how you as a sales person, like Sophie, can use Salesforce to improve your opportunity management. Or try one of our more than 280 other trails.