Cloudflare TV

Cloudflare Careers Day: Partnership & Success in Sales

Presented by Shona Alfert, Sergio Maseo, Maryam Garifulina, Anna Wolf
Originally aired on 

Our EMEA Sales team will discuss how they partner to ensure a smooth and successful sales process for our customers as well as highlighting one of their favourite success stories.

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Transcript (Beta)

And we are back live. Welcome everyone who's watching us and I'm so excited to host the sales or how we call it partnership and success and sales session with a few folks from our sales org.

We have Maryam on the team who's an account executive or sales executive on the sales team.

We have Shona from the business development team and we have Sergio who is part of our solutions engineering team and I'm extremely excited to host this session because this time we thought we're going to bring in a little twist.

We're not going to talk about only your roles but actually we've been looking for sort of a team that has worked together on a deal and we're able to close that deal and I'm so excited that you will be walking us through a journey how the three of you successfully collaborated and sort of showcase how this process works and where you two or three of you have touch points throughout the process.

So I'm super excited to kick this off. Maybe a few sentences from the three of you and then we'll dive into the story or the success story the three of you had and obviously if anyone is watching if you have any questions do send through an email to us or obviously feel free to drop a message in our LinkedIn event or even connect with us on LinkedIn and ask us any questions afterwards as well.

We're always happy to answer but Shona let's kick off with you maybe a few words from from you and your journey.

Cool so I'm Shona and as Anna said I work as part of the business development team so part of the sales team.

Anna would you like me to tell more about like my role or how I arrived at Cloudflare?

How do you want to do it? Yeah maybe very briefly about your role like what are the the key focus areas of your role and then we'll deep dive into more later on.

Cool so I like to think of my role as sort of the starting point in the sales cycle right so my job is to reach out to customers and understand what it is that they want from Cloudflare and how we can help them and generally I think to just you know create a really great impression of Cloudflare and then to you know pass them along to the next stage.

My role in sales cycle isn't super long but I'd say it's I'm the first touch base that they're with so you know we got to give a good impression we got to you know create some sort of love story so yeah.

Yeah that's a good one creating some love story that's that's a good way to describe it.

Thanks Shona and Mariam what's the focus of your role what are you focusing on in your day-to-day?

Yeah actually like when we're working together with Shona first of all Shona talked to the customer understand the needs and then she just introduced me to the customer and I'm talking to the customer a little bit more deeper because I have more expertise with working with the same industry I can give some advices I can understand what is the pain point of similar customers and can make some suggestion of how it can be handled so we are going through the products deeper and Shona is also participating and sometimes she's also giving some advices as well and then on the tap at some point we adding also our solution engineer Sergio when we see that we need already more I would say technical background there just to help customer to to fill the needs.

Sergio maybe you will yeah maybe Sergio just a few words from your role and then let's deep dive into into the success story you actually had with a customer because I'd be very curious to you know deep dive into the different steps you walk through and Mariam has already kicked off of explaining a few points which is great but Sergio to you what is your role at Cloudflare very briefly in a nutshell?

Yeah so my role is to like begin like the technical conversation with the with the customer try to understand their their needs and try to design the perfect solution for them just to try to fix their issues.

And I think also important to mention that together we are trying to make a proof of concept with the customers quite often just to check that it really helps the customers not just words but really the action and I think this is the most exciting part because yeah Sergio you maybe can continue but sometimes there are different situations how people react how they like it.

Definitely why don't we why don't we take a step back and start off actually because the three of you when we had a brief chat before that session you walked me through how you actually work with that partner in order to to close a deal and you deep dive into those different areas like the proof of concept that Sergio was was working on as well but from what I understood it all started with you Shana like you you said you you know started to to create that love story or approached the customer what were the steps you took in order to go about and actually reach out and obviously what what followed after in order to kick off the actual process?

Cool so essentially during this point I was working in the sales team of Cloudflare where you know customers they see like some sort of marketing message on our website and then they're like oh that looks interesting and then they write in to us.

What I particularly liked about my interaction with this customer was that it was very clear from the start that they were serious and they were interested right sometimes with customers you so I need to keep prompting like come on let's have a meeting yeah let's talk about how we can help you etc.

These guys right from the get-go I sent them an email saying hey let's talk and they were like yeah does this date work for you and I was like these guys are serious this is gonna be good so yeah that you know I think it's moments like these you know before the actual call when you have the chance to have a little bit of interaction with the client do some research on your own it helps you get an understanding of how you think the call is going to progress right so I think that's an important part and then of course you know during the call you can be faced with people from like loads of different backgrounds right so it can be marketing SEO people from more technical backgrounds in the case of this particular customer they were all technical there was like four of them and I was like yeah it's gonna be a good call because you know when they bring the whole team together that's when you know that they're serious and that's when you also they got backing behind them right there's a company objective to find a solution so you know I think a lot of it is also about as I said before creating this great impression of Cloudflare giving value so that when I pass to when I then give this this customer to Mariam do you know for the next step she's it makes her job easier right and then it makes Sergio's job easier yeah so I say Sean sorry just to to chip in here like at what stage are you deciding to okay it makes sense to continue and pass on or connect Mariam to the sort of chain as well is that when the customer agrees to to work with us or do you say okay this is like another way of trying to to close the customer at what stage do you decide to to pass it on to hundred percent that's a really good question Anna um so especially for those who haven't worked themselves before um we try to look at a number of indicators of if we think a customer is going to buy right so we need to identify if there's a need you know what problem can we solve for them um we need to identify are these people gonna be the ones who make decision are they the ones with the money are they the ones who can say yeah we'll give you money we'll give you budget approval um and we need to find out of course if they have the money and then you know what's the timeline they're looking at once I've identified all these sorts of uh aspects of the project that they want to start with Cloudflare that's when the bell starts ticking my mind and I can be like yeah this is going to be a good one to get Mariam involved in this because it's about creating potential right um and so it's at that point when I can say yeah this is going to be a good deal maybe I will add some words like it's when the project is existing right so yes and by project all of these aspects are combining inside of this project yes and Mariam um it's actually a good good sort of uh point you're you're chipping in here because from what I understood at at some stage it's sort of you Shauna and Mariam you work hand in hand in order to create a transition from what I understood uh what are the steps you you take over Mariam and how do you drive the conversation further with with the customer yeah in general it is uh very smoothly uh Shauna is uh preparing the call for us and uh before the call we have internal call just to discuss about uh what is detailed that I will be prepared I would know the industry what can I give as a uh examples for the customers uh for this particular customer right and then we have a call with a customer uh like Shauna me and the customer side as well and then we just go uh deeper about the conversation about what they really need we also uh try to understand I think it's more my role but sometimes you know as we're working in collaboration where all this it's hard to divide 100% who is doing what there are still like some areas where we are helping each other just to make it better for the customer because we want that the customer will have the the best experience with us so and um it's also important for us to understand what kind of risks the customer have just that we'll be able to handle this and also the prioritization because Cloudflare has a lot of products but customer can need for now some particular product but maybe later on he would need something else and I just want to tell him that he will have this chance later on and everything will be just very easy to use let's name it like this through one console from one platform and it's also important to create this kind of feeling that we are not just closing the deals now right we are having a long-term relationship for years and we are building something for them we're asking something it's also like again between me and Sergio we are we are asking the client his suggestion as well maybe he wants something different additional and we also take into account and pass it to the product team as well so it's always like uh there are some work what I'm in general done but also there are some what is like in between that's a good point uh to mention and uh Sergio where do you come in and what's what would you say is like the most important part of of you coming into the process yeah so I came in when uh when uh Marianne uh does like uh well um ask for a solutions uh engineering just to to try to uh get more uh complete points about which um uh technological challenge are we going to face during the the uh onboarding of of the of the domain on a Cloudflare and I think that the most important part and is also that uh Shona and Marianne uh talk about is a to try to give like a good impression of uh Cloudflare try to understand the the customers need and uh in my case from a more like technical point of view and and try to to to offer to them like the best uh way to to work with us uh even in in some cases they just some uh technological uh discussion about their business or how they like uh architecture things I think that it is like really important that the customers have like that the impression that we are not just like trying to sell things we are trying to help them be uh successful and and try to to work with them into uh doing their life like a easier um so in some ways uh sometimes we act as consultants uh we uh because sometimes there are like multiple ways of doing a uh a specific action on Cloudflare so we try to uh offer to them full visibility about the um the good things about some uh methods that the bad things about some other uh ones just for them to to be able to choose to choose the best one uh regarding their business yeah that's great and uh maria mentioned earlier uh a key keyword which is um proof of concept yeah maybe you can very briefly for an audience that might not be from a solutions engineering background but maybe you can briefly explain what that is and how that helps us for instance yeah yeah and in fact I love proof of uh concept because uh sometimes when I when I say to a we do this thing I really feel like but uh and I really but I really want them to to check that we are actually be able to to deliver what we're like offering to them so what we do in order for them to check our solution is to do uh obviously there's one good thing about Cloudflare is that it is really easy to onboard a customer uh on our platform so it's like not very difficult for us to to do a poc uh uh with the customer and to show them that we are actually be able to to deliver uh the solution that they that they are uh asking for and maria was like uh um was talking about poc because with this specific uh customer we have like uh it is not with this specific uh customer we have like other uh customers that are amazed for something that we do that they thought about it for instance uh it maybe it may sound silly but we have like a dashboard with analytics about the origins of the traffic for our clients and things like that and sometimes our customers like realize that they are receiving a traffic for some specific country that they are or some specific like entity and they don't know uh they didn't know that uh before and this is uh something that uh sometimes uh happens no we do the poc just to check one specific feature and they realize that we have like other feature that is like really useful uh for them and give us uh and give them in this case more uh visibility about their traffic uh origins and that is some that is also another thing that i like about pocs um that yeah that customer is able to to find uh unexpected uh good things on our platform yeah and and see how how everything will work out that's very very interesting um indeed and mariam are you then the one to sort of to close that pre-sales journey or um what what happens after i think i don't want to say that i'm only the one because i'm still uh talking a lot with sergio on every stage because even though when i prepare the uh pricing sometimes i need to check again with the sergio because it could be uh different setups they could uh the customer could test one thing but later on decided to go with something else from the beginning and then add something or unexpectable at at the beginning something so it's just like um we are checking it with the sergio and after that we finalize it with the customer the way the pricing and everything and once everyone agreed with this with the financial perspective uh we are also working sometimes more deeply from the legal perspective as well and i would say maybe i'm a so i'm trying to make work done for the customer and all internal processes are more on my side than i'm just the person who is um interact with the customer and bringing it to the customer so yeah sometimes it's also legal questions uh and after that we are signing the contract with the customer and we are involving the new people as well in our team they are not here because it was not a part of pre -sales but still this is like a customer success managers uh who are really taking care of the customer that they will be on board at some time and everything so it's still like i think the best is to have this kind of collaboration together when sometimes we need to each other actually with this particular customer shona came to me and said like mariam you know what do you know that they also ask about what management so it's a part of our another feature but they did not mention it on the call when they talked to me about this and then i knew like i talked to them and i asked them about if they really need it right now and they said we will do it later for now we need to concentrate on the main features because it's like top priority for today and then later on we will look for something else on top but if shauna would not tell that i would not know that for the future it's important for the customer so that is why this is how shauna said that she's the first contact and she is like how how it will be translated to me and she also could help me later on even though her work was done already right but still she could come and give me advice and i'm happy about this and i'm very happy to get this advice so it's a lot of like back and forth of information and then i think what i'm curious to know as well especially for you shauna as a business development representative you pass over the the lead or the the potential customer to mariam and to sergio in this case it's obviously a journey the customer goes through at the end we close the deal eventually or like in this case it was successful is there anything you then take back and learn from the journey with the customer to say okay this is maybe something i will implement in my day today or with similar customers and might try to drive that approach is there some like sort of knowledge sharing between the three of you once you complete the process a hundred percent um something because i've had the pleasure of working with mariam um quite a lot um and since my time in Cloudflare and she knows that whenever we've had a call um with a customer afterwards i'm always like right let's speak and we always get in a video call after um because not only do you just discuss you know how is it going to be with the customer next steps etc but also you know for me um to understand what has gone well here um what could have been better what do you think um was vital um in my in this particular with this particular customer i remember in the first call doing a demo of our dashboard right um and it's funny um what i mentioned about the bot management because i remember um i didn't actually know if they were gonna have a problem with this right but i was just going through um part of our one of our security features right which is the web application firewall part of that um settings is our tool to manage bots and i just glimpsed over it very quickly and i was like oh i don't know if you'll find this interesting um but it's there if you want and they were like yeah we that sounds really good to us um and so it's little things like this um during the calls with the clients and afterwards when i'm syncing with mariam or with circuit when i'm like ah this is this was this part was useful and this is what i need to replicate further when i'm talking with other customers so there's always this knowledge sharing always that's great that's crazy yeah you know i remember when we first uh were talking through through that particular case and obviously it's also very interesting for me um because i um when we hire individuals i particularly work with solutions engineering or i particularly work with business development rather than talking to all of those teams together but one thing that stood out to me was this um it felt like the three of you are like a team within different teams so obviously surgery belonged to the solutions engineering team and like a great bond there uh shauna you have your kpis and goals within business development and mariam you're within the sales executive team but then the three of you are like a smaller team within um so what do you think um makes such a deal successful is it the teamwork or is there anything else you would say uh that you know made us close that customer or partner i think maybe it's not just the teamwork but also appreciation of work of another person because um when you feel how the how good the work is done it's it's always like like you feel thankful for this right and even though everyone like we cannot be ideal right sometimes we could make mistake and everything but the beauty of having the team is when you know like if something happened people will handle you and because we're the team at the end of the day we're representing uh in front of the customer so if for some reason someone just maybe delay with an answer something like this we're always spinning inside each other just to help to bring the best to the customer and when you feel like you are doing something good and it and you see the result from the customer when they're really happy then you you know that you're doing something great and it's great based on the people inside even though that sometimes it needs to to be a little bit not so divided on this is my work this is shona works this is sergio works and uh it's it's not always like this right so we are we we we need to work in the collaboration that's great to know and uh maybe one one other question but obviously um if there's anyone that has questions to ask from the audience please don't hesitate to drop us a message um over the Cloudflare cd email or online we still have a few minutes left um on this call um but from what i also understood is that um it's not that particularly the three of you are always working together for sometimes the the sort of team uh verice you sometimes trying to work with another sales executive i assume sergio you have different uh counterparts within the organization as well um sergio from your perspective like are you in a flow already with those proof of concepts and technical conversations or is it every new customer it's a new challenge you have to prepare yourself for so i i guess that that is one of one of the other things that i like about my job on clover and is that uh i have like similar customers but each customer is like pretty new uh uh to me it's always like a challenge and i i guess that that makes everything uh funnier uh in my uh opinion um and also um just um regarding what you just mentioned about how we work together i think that one of the best things uh of our way of working is that sona doesn't just uh put like a i mean click a button to move the customer from from her to uh maria we have like actual chats and conversation about uh uh the customers and then and that makes everything like pretty easy and pretty uh fluid uh let's say um which is which is good i mean we all of us like know each other and we we were actually together we are not just uh a step on uh large uh process and that makes uh things i think like are really good that's that's crazy here well if i would wrap up this conversation just to we're not wrapping up yet we still have like two minutes to go but what i'm hearing it's like all about the team and the successful collaboration between the three but also a very big point i heard from from the three of you is the preparation i like to say preparation is key it's actually a good transition whether it's preparation for an interview i mean the the three of you went through very thorough processes here at Cloudflare and obviously we're successful at the end so we're very happy to have you on the team but also preparation is important and key when it comes to working with with customers and potential partners in the future so that's that's what i'm hearing are there any like other advices or other important things to keep in mind when collaborating as a team within a say cycle mariam maybe a few words from you um i think it's also important to be positive always positive because there were a lot of different situations and also the customers are different and when you always believe that it will be good then everyone can feel it and when you you you need to believe that the project is good but you also need to believe inside of the team that it's gonna work and it's gonna work right so just focus on what we need to do and try to do it all together and positive thinking and i think that's a good attitude sergio one one keyword from you what what makes the team successful uh i would say collaboration i think a good solution engineer right exactly that that's the key inshallah one one final keyword from you and then we wrap up you know i think actually i think what's really great about our collaboration is that we all embody um sort of Cloudflare values and i think we do it really well you know this idea of um you know all the things that mayim has said and being curious um these are really great values and when we lean with them when we drive with them it makes like everything better like between us between the customers it's it's great and it's it's at the end of the day like it's a nice team for us to work in right so yeah jonah uh we wrap up here it was a very good ending thanks for bringing this up that's very important team thank you so much for your time today i'm really looking forward for another session with the three of you and have a wonderful weekend everyone