Ever wondered what it’s like to work at Salesforce? We’re highlighting some of our fantastic #SalesforceOhana members here on the blog - check back to see more and visit our careers site to find out about our unique #SalesforceOhana culture!

Today we caught up with Ashkan Farnian, to get an insight into his journey from Stockholm to Dublin and why he chose Salesforce. Over to you Ashkan...


Ashkan, can you tell us about your career path to date and how you discovered Salesforce?

I have a technical and a business background, with a B.Sc. degree in computer science from the Royal Institute of Tech. and a M.Sc. degree in Business Admin, from Stockholm Uni. During my time at university I knew exactly what I wanted, either it would be working for a bank or within consultancy. I was fortunate to receive an offer letter from one of Sweden’s biggest bank's before i had completed my course. It's what i had always wanted for the next stage of my career so I quickly accepted the offer.

Two years later, I started to work with a new manager who introduced me to Salesforce. From that first meeting we had with the Salesforce team in Sweden and I was hooked. We did a proof of concept project together with them, and I was impressed about everything; how they worked, the speed and the events they hosted. 

Last year - two year's after my first meeting with Salesforce -  I attended the Salesforce Essentials event, in Stockholm and was inspired by seeing and listening to all the people on stage. I decided that this is what I want to do. Even though working within sales and the software industry was not anything that was in my original career plan. Not long after the Essentials event my recruitment process with Salesforce began thanks to the great team in Sweden. 

This was how I, after five years within banking made the decision to join one of the world's largest and most innovative software company. 

Why? It's simple. Salesforce has what I was looking for, both on a personal level plus, they enable me to have the career path that I decide to have. 


What do you love about working at Salesforce?

There are many positive things about Salesforce, first and foremost the people are amazing. It is hard to pin point the secret sauce, but there is always a “feel good feeling” when coming into work. Due to the great people that Salesforce recruits you are surrounded with highly motivated individuals that inspires you to always over-achieve. At Salesforce, it is never too early to start discussing the next steps in your career either with colleagues or managers, this is something that is promoted within the entire organisation.

At Salesforce we are a big Ohana (Hawaian for family), and as in any family you always take care of each other. This is a big reason why Salesforce is a large international team where you always go the extra mile; not for yourself but for the team.

Joining Salesforce was one of the greatest things I have done for my career. As a Business Developer (BD), you learn the essentials within consulting, complex problem solving, sales etc. The BD role is a valuable step in the career path here at Salesforce, a lot of energy and focus is put on the BD role to develop the skillset needed for not only the next step in your career but also the rest of your career at Salesforce. There is a very clear learning curriculum and career path from how to move from BD role to desired roles in the future. These are many of the reasons why I love working at Salesforce. 


What have you learned since joining Salesforce?

The Business Development role at Salesforce is a highly-valued position and the organisation is investing a lot in developing the skill set needed to be able to be the best problem solvers on the market. 

Sales within Salesforce is not just calling, reading a script and hoping the other person on the line says “yes”. From the first day, you are developing your understanding of how every part of the Salesforce platform is suitable for every unique and different business challenge. Majority of the conversations with future clients is to diagnose their pain points and recommend relevant solutions which helps them to be successful. 

Salesforce also provides €5,000 for each employee per year for education. Depending on your field of interest you can choose to spend on what you are interested in. I have for example gone through an "Advanced Negotiation" course at Ireland Institution of Management and I will also take my Sandler Sales Certification later in August. 


You have been at Salesforce for just over nine months now, can you tell us about your career plans and how you have prepared for your next role?

My nine months at Salesforce has really gone fast and I am already preparing myself for my next role. When I was considering joining Salesforce my plans were not to move abroad from Sweden, so I will choose to go back to Sweden as an Account Executive (AE) within the Enterprise Corporate Sales team. This is a natural step for most of the Business Developers or if you want to stay in Dublin you can choose to be an AE within the Enterprise Small Business Team that is based in Dublin. 

In the long run, I want to move into a managerial role still in the Nordics due to the great growth that is taking place in that region. At Salesforce, the career path is very clear but at the same time there is many colleagues that are changing functions/countries within the company as well, so there is a lot of possibilities to move into new areas and develop new skills. 


What's life like in Dublin?

Even if my plan is to move back to Sweden, I will miss Dublin and the people that work here. Moving to Dublin was a big step for me since I have been living in Stockholm my entire life and I didn’t have any plans to work abroad. But Dublin was a positive surprise and I am still exploring this lovely country with all the attractions, mountains, pubs and nightlife that Dublin can offer. Dublin is very multi-national, a day in the city will expose you to French, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, English, Italian, Spanish and many more languages, it's a real home away from home. Due to all the nationalities and tech companies in Dublin, it is the Silicon Valley of Europe; which makes it such an exciting place to be. 


What advice would you have for any young professionals who are looking for an international experience?

Moving abroad for work, is in most cases, an easy thing to do. You just need to make the decision, pack your stuff and book a flight to the destination. But, to get international experience is a far more difficult task. You need to be surrounded with people from different nationalities and work/collaborate with people from all around the world. So, my advice is, if you really want to get international experience and move abroad look for a company that is international and that the people you will surround yourself with is a diverse group of people. This will help you to get familiar with different nationalities, cultures and open your mind for new things and help you to gain the international experience you are looking for.

Know someone who this sounds like or you think would be perfect to join the #SalesforceOhana? Then visit https://sfdc.co/EUcareers!