Originally aired on June 8, 2021 @ 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM EDT
NAMER Careers Day
Hi everyone. My name is Ana Hagerup and we will be talking today on our segment about sales and how to start and jumpstart your career in sales at Cloudflare. I currently have been with Cloudflare for three years and manage our inbound self-serve and expansion BDR team. I'm located in our San Francisco office but in the last couple of months have been a little bit here and there. So it's been a really exciting opportunity to see our BDR team grow and expand globally in the three years that I've been here and we've really been working closely with our AE counterparts who Tracye will kind of talk a little bit more in depth about but I'll have Tracye introduce herself and kind of what she does with our sales team at Cloudflare. Sure, thanks Ana. My name is Tracye and I have been with Cloudflare almost eight months. I am the Austin sales leader which means I lead all of the mid-market teams here and I'm responsible for the alignment of teams in Austin that produce revenue. So that is BDR, mid-market and the customer success teams and making sure that we're working cohesively and working in alignment and it's pretty exciting for me to be here. I love it so far and I hope that this today gives y'all an idea of what we do at Cloudflare, what it might take to join our team and what it's like from day to day and with that I'll pass it to Julia. Thanks Tracye. Hi, my name is Julia Baer. I work with our enterprise BDR team, primarily help manage the team in Field East and then Canada which is our new one of our newest offices. I've been with Cloudflare since November or October of 2019 and I'm located in our Austin, Texas office. So today we're going to cover a couple questions and that being so I will kind of kick it off on what brought each of us to Cloudflare and I'll pass it over to Ana to tell us her experience and why she picked Cloudflare. So I started my interview process while I was still in college and so all this was very new to me in terms of you know how to navigate finding companies that fit what you are passionate about, what you're excited to be involved in and kind of where you want to take your career. So I was introduced to Cloudflare from one of the leaders on our sales team, public sector and right from the start I think our interview process at Cloudflare is really what got me excited about potentially joining the company. I was exposed to many different leaders in different roles who all had really unique experiences and were able to touch upon a lot of the qualities that I was looking for in my first real opportunity in the working world and so what I was hoping to get out of my interview process was a company that really valued growth and really valued their employees and kind of working with them in terms of seeing where they wanted to take their career and I think what excited me about this opportunity was that it was a little out of my comfort zone and so I wanted to be pushed in my first role and really be challenged and learn something new and I can tell you that every day I'm learning something new in my role whether that was as a BDR or on the leadership team and so I think what really has kept me excited about my role and the day-to-day is that I'm surrounded by like -minded people who are constantly challenging themselves and myself to kind of pursue excellence and so I've really valued my last three years here and continue to see myself grow within the team which is really exciting and what I kind of set out to do from the initial time that I spoke to Cloudflare. Very cool. So I came to Cloudflare. I'd known about Cloudflare for about two or three years and then I saw several of my colleagues come to Cloudflare. Nicole, Serisha, Katrina, All in Data Analytics, Todd, NHR that are in recruiting. There were people that I'd worked with from MessageOne who were here and honestly I wanted to work with those folks again and I thought it was really, you know, just a cute, I was just really fascinated with the companies. I'd followed it for two or three years and so when they reached out to me I was really excited. I just thought it was really, really too good to pass up. It blends technology with my own kind of curiosity but it's also a challenging field to work in so I just really wanted to be a part of that and to what Ana said, the interview process is more like a conversation that you have with the team. You're finding out about you but you're also finding out about them and throughout the process they're always checking in to see, you know, what are your thoughts, how are you feeling about it, so it's just a really positive experience and that's what brought me here and I'm pretty pleased so far. Excellent. Thanks, Tracy. Part of what brought me to Cloudflare was, you know, I was working, I've always been very passionate about helping people and I thought that there was a couple things about Cloudflare that stood out was, you know, one, their mission statement to help create a better and safer Internet for all but then also Project Athenian and Project Galileo and when I looked at, you know, I thought it was really important to find a company that kind of mirrored not only, you know, making the Internet a better place but then also helping to protect organizations and smaller local governments that, you know, maybe can afford to pay for some enterprise sales plans and so my boss actually reached out to me on LinkedIn and the more conversations that we had during the interview process and things, I was like, wow, Cloudflare is a really cool place and, you know, to Tracy's point, not only are they, you know, helping with technology but then my natural curiosity of all the things they've released with new products and the interview process of getting to know some of the executives really kind of helped me make the decision to come to Cloudflare a pretty easy one myself. Tracy, one thing, you know, that you're tasked with is growing the Austin office and we've seen that grow. What do you look for in candidates and as they kind of make their way through the pipeline, what are some of the most successful kind of tips that you could give to potential people that are hoping to get started within this industry? That's a great question. I think there are several things I'm looking for and that also make you successful in a sales role here. One, you have to really like technology. We get pretty involved in the environments that our customers have. We get to know a lot of different kind of tech, a lot, there's the context is different for every customer and what their technology does for them, what their problems are, how we might solve it. So you have to like technology, you have to be a very agile learner and so we want you to be curious and we want you to like technology but you also have to be an agile learner meaning, you know, as things change and at Cloudflare we are producing products every day, we are releasing new features every day, we're learning about different threats and different risks every day and so you have to be able to learn quickly and absorb information and act on it very quickly. You also, so aside from curiosity and learning agility, you also have to have, grit is kind of an overused word, but there's a bit of grittiness and resilience to the role because you have to be able to make the calls and send emails and really stick to it until you're even when you're starting to see results because you have to continually feed your pipeline of opportunities. So that ability to stay on task and be self-driven and really manage your time and your effort is incredibly important. You know, sometimes this job is a blast, sometimes it can be a bit of a grind because you are reaching out to people who may say no or who may not respond but your job is to open doors and to paint a picture for what Cloudflare can do. So being able to persevere, stay on task, be self-driven is really important and then when you get someone on the phone really being able to tell a compelling narrative about all the things that they can do with Cloudflare services or products. Those are the things that I think really core to the role. And Julia, I know that we in our role a lot of our time is spent in the interview process and making sure we're bringing on people to our team that you know fit a lot of the criteria that Tracy mentioned. Do you have any tips for people that are going through the interview process and kind of what the process is from the BDR standpoint? Yeah, absolutely. I think you know one tip I always have is make sure you take the time to learn and invest the time into learning about our different products. You know Cloudflare has an assortment of different products you know outside of just CDN and DDoS protection but really taking the time to figure out how you would tell the story of those products to customers in different industries and even think about when you're going through your interview process you know what are some of the different industries you think Cloudflare would be a good fit for? Would it be e -commerce or financial services? Because that's going to help you start to tell the tell your own story during the interview process and help us more curious like be more curious with your questions and get to know if I have a customer asking me about WAF, how would I prospect into that? So I think a lot of time you know we see people coming through the interview process that want to join Cloudflare for different you know culture fits and things but really taking the time to invest and learn the products I think is also a great way to help be successful in the role but also to have a great interview with your teammates here. Yeah, I think that's a good point. One thing that I always you know try and take away from the people that I talk to in the interview process is you know a lot of our information is available that you could you know read from our website about you know certain case studies or products that we we have but for the ability to maybe fumble when you're talking about a product or a case study that's what we kind of want to see and be in a coachable moment rather than having someone read verbatim from the website about a certain product or story. I think being able to start to tell that story and have those fumblings and kind of catch yourself is something that's more attractive than someone that might know or be able to you know read all the answers. So I think that's to both of your points something that I also look for as well. Okay, so you know we all like I was saying we go through the interview process. Tracy you know you wouldn't mind giving me just a little bit more details you know not only on how people grow their careers here at Cloudflare but you know what are some of the traits you look for along the way of helping people grow their careers once they're in the role as well. Another good question. So I think once you're here at Cloudflare what I want you to do first is learn and absorb. Your first three to six months here you're really adapting to the role. You're learning how to actually exhibit all those qualities that we just talked about for the interview process like what that actually means in the day -to-day. So when you're first here I really want you to learn and to engage in as much kind of test and learning as you possibly can and what I mean by that is get on the phone and not you don't you can't learn any better than by doing it yourself. You know try out different email approaches. Try out different ways to position products on the phone. Practice, practice, practice. You know shadow as much as you can and then when I think when you hit your stride what I'm looking for is where do you want to make the impact. You can be a high value individual contributor, high impact individual contributor where maybe you carry a really large quota target. Maybe you are a field executive. Maybe you go to the channel or to the government group, government sled. There are lots of different ways that you can have a really large impact as an individual contributor. Then you can also kind of go the team contribution route where you could become a team lead or manager or some type of supervising leading type role and for those and I look for slightly different things depending on where you want to go. If you are wanting to be a high impact individual contributor I'm looking to see are you consistently hitting your targets? Are you giving us feedback on what works and what doesn't work when you're trying to sell? So do you have relationships internally where you're providing product feedback or product marketing feedback or you're giving feedback to our management team about what's really working, what's not working, what's a hurdle, what isn't a hurdle. You're contributing to competitive information but you're really you're selling but you're also setting an example of how to sell like what those best practices are and you're giving feedback that helps other people do what you do as well. On the kind of management track what I'm looking for are people who naturally start to think about how can I make this better for someone else? How do I help someone else be successful in this role and when they have success they share it. They are the folks who have the tips in gchat. They are the the people who are saying hey we should do a session on xyz or hey I tried this approach and it really worked for me and they're really thinking about the team or the business or even the company. They're not just thinking about their own performance and their actions show it. They take on extra projects, they offer to coach someone, they sit on calls, they give they share their you know their their presentations, their decks, that kind of thing but they're very involved in making our unit better as opposed to maximizing their solo performance. I think for our team in particular from the inbound standpoint so this team is working on any inquiries that are coming into Cloudflare. They're their first point of contact whether that's through a web form submission from our sales phone or from live chat. So people interacting on our website and these folks have to think on their feet and be able to answer many different types of questions whether those are support related technically speaking or you know trying to qualify leads to pass to Tracy's team. So I think when we see people that are successful in this role they've been able to master being able to to have all the answers or put on a you know customer first mindset and be empathetic and listening to people that are calling in whether they might be a qualified lead or not. So one thing that I think is really exciting and you know one of the things that I really focus on when we are bringing on newer people to our team is we have a buddy system that has been in place ever since that I started. I still remember my buddy when I joined Cloudflare and to come full circle I think for BDRs and be a buddy for someone else really you know allows that person to do what Tracy said, share the best practices, share their presentation decks, their tips on certain questions to ask and I think that's when BDRs feel like they have you know finished their ramped period and come full circle and they're able to help someone else do that as well and one thing that I think just giving kudos to our teams all of our teams is we've been able to interview people remotely, hire people remotely, onboard people remotely, transition them to other teams, promote them all remotely and I think it's been something that is a testament not just to our team you know the sales team but the recruiting teams and all the people that are involved throughout this process because we're continuing to bring in great talent that we did and I think it's obviously posed some challenges but we've been able to continue you know that high bar of making sure we're bringing in the right people and not kind of settling during this challenging time. Yeah and I think to your point it's been even more interesting to watch how the team has bonded and how they have kind of really you know used that buddy system via Zoom you know so instead of where I know when you and I started we would sit next to each other I know at a desk and watch them make phone calls or go into a room and you know figure out how to prospect through LinkedIn Zoom info and now we're sitting there doing that on a Google Hangout so I think you know during this time we've seen even people kind of extend out their best practices even more find some different efficient ways to help you know kind of really come full circle. I think one thing I look for with the enterprise you know BDRs in terms of you know growing their career is how efficient are they using the tools at Cloudflare and what creative ways are they finding to break into some of these enterprise companies when you know there may be 100,000 plus employees and you know the IT department has 20,000 plus employees like how are you going to find who's head of their security or infosec and it's been really interesting to watch them the cool ways I know people have tried you know video chat and different LinkedIn messages so that's one thing I always like to encourage is you know think outside the box in sales here and that's I think a pretty neat thing about Cloudflare is we're not just going to give you one call script we encourage like curiosity and we really look for that and not only our new hires but then also continuing to develop that with people in the role today. You know it's I think some of the I think there's a lot of overlap in the qualities of a successful BDR and a successful AE and I think there's also a string of this kind of core qualities that people like Cloudflare exhibit and you know I think we all we all touched on that a bit the curiosity the learning agility the ability you know to or the quality of being self -driven and delivering results all of those are things I think that we all have in common. What do you what do you expect of your teams when they're ready for their next step? How do you deal we've talked a little bit about career paths but what do you do to help them take that next step? Yeah I can go first one thing I've really tried to do with my team is really encourage relationships outside of just you know the sales team or solutions engineers. I think you know especially if they're looking to make that step from the BDR to an AE what are some of the things that they're not thinking of but you know like the contracts part of the account executive role you know who do you know that works in deal desk or if you have an existing customer is there someone that you can talk to in our customer success team and really trying to encourage some cross-functional relationships to also help out with collaboration is one of the things I really encourage my team and then also to kind of step outside their comfort zone and you know maybe they're really comfortable with the BDR team in general and you know the teammates they have today but have they talked to any of the sales managers? Have they you know sat on any of the calls with you know someone that they've seen their name on our internal ping board or our internal Facebook as we like to call it but have you ever just even called them up and had a conversation with them and that's something I definitely like to encourage. I think the cross-functional relationships are going to help get them a little bit further in the interview process and to decide if that role that they want to take is even the best fit for them. Yeah I think this is you know as I'm working with a lot of BDRs that are in different roles and different parts of their BDR tenure this is probably one of the most exciting conversations that I get to have on days with BDRs is exploring what they want to do next and what I learned from one of my mentors when you were kind of dealing with this conversation is figuring out what this person is passionate about like what makes their days really good and what do they want to continue to work on post being a BDR and so kind of my approach to these conversations is honestly asking more questions and putting it back on the person that I'm talking to because it causes them to be really reflective and so some of the things that I've done to help with that is doing learning journals with the people that I work with doing you know projects cross-functionally. I think what's really unique about the BDR org is that you get to be exposed to many different teams and so we've promoted people to the internally to the sales team we've promoted people to customer support to CSM to security to marketing honestly to almost every department and so I think what is unique about this role is we definitely know how to you know carve out certain paths for them but we also want to make sure that we are putting our best foot forward and making sure we're prepared in that process as well so we encourage people to do a lot of projects so before you even want to apply for a role internally making sure that you know what the day today could be like or really being exposed to the team and so I think I one thing that I love about Cloudflare is people always you know get happy feet when they are exposed to all these teams and they want to do every single role possible and I think it's not my first rodeo having those conversations and so I try and tend to put it back on the the person I'm speaking with and you know allow them to be really reflective and figure out actually like if what do they want to do next and how are you going to list out the things that you're really passionate about that you don't want to to miss out on and that causes for more productive conversations and meetings going forward when I'm talking to other hiring managers in different departments and it's definitely not a you know 30-minute conversation that you're gonna have an answer right at the end I think it's definitely one that is a continued conversation but it's never too early to start it which is a good sign. Great so what are you working on right now that you want to share like you know we have lots of projects going on mid-market you know but what are y'all working on right now? Sure yeah I think I'm you know for me personally I'm working on a really cool project with the field enterprise teams and it's a joint effort between marketing where it's going to be a little bit more focused of an account-based marketing approach but also cross -collaboration between a select few of our outbound BDR teams where marketing will be doing certain touches on accounts on calendar days and then the BDRs will be following up on different calendar days and this is really the first time in the enterprise space where we've gone this specific into ABM and it's a lot of coordination to make sure that we're picking the right prospects from the BDR side but then also not inundating them with a ton of emails from the marketing team and picking the right accounts that would be a fit for our magic transit and then coordinating messaging between marketing and the BDRs and even what email service do we use do we use outreach to send it out so there's a lot of moving pieces and moving parts and that's probably one of my most exciting projects I'm working on now because it is fun coordinating all of that and working with the different teams and you know now we have Canada to bring into that so do we work with GDPR and those different you know kind of constraints that the the marketing touches so that's been pretty exciting as far as you know the outbound BDR team in the enterprise space what we're working on yeah we have similar product projects going on you know I tend to bucket things into people process and performance anything every bucket is full right how do you enrich and develop the people on your team how do you make the infrastructure and the environment around them better for them to sell in and how do we improve actually what they're doing each day so we have literally every bucket felt full Anna what about you yeah I hadn't thought about that I was trying to think about how do I choose which project I'm working on but the way you just phrased that was really helpful so I'm definitely going to steal that I think one of the more long-term projects that I'm working on right now is looking at our lead scoring model so I deal closely with our inbound team and so I think what's really unique about Cloudflare is we offer you know our self-serve plans and so what our team focuses on mostly is you know the the enterprise level leads and so figuring out and coordinating as Julia mentioned working cross-functionally with marketing with the operations team and and figuring out what is our defined ICP and how do we want to look at what are the most important qualifying factors for us to pass a lead over to BDR and say you need to follow this touch pattern you need to reach out this many times and you need to kind of follow this potential script and so that has been one that's been obviously a long-term project and one that we're working even on a global level and so I think our goal is to deliver to our BDR team the you know most quality leads but also kind of figuring out what that volume is like that are obviously going to convert and bring in revenue for Cloudflare so I think that's one of the big projects that I'm working on right now is just defining our lead scoring model. Excellent. We just have we just have a few minutes left here so any last words of advice for our candidates or other folks out here listening today? I think my word of advice for people that might be potentially intimidated about the space or just the learning curve I think what's really been fulfilling for me in this role is that I feel like I'm always being challenged to kind of up level whether that's my internal processes or my technical depth and knowledge and so I think what I feel really grateful for is being able to kind of be pushed out of my limits and comfort zone and so I would say to people who are wanting to tap into this industry or this role to not be afraid to do that and kind of try something new and different.