Cloudflare TV

How I Got Here: Life as a Business Development Representative

Presented by Komal Chauhan, Ella Monck, Nurschan Bisenov, Shogoefa Wafa, Aida Fneich, Jack Stewart, Putri Paramarta, Daniela Rodrigues
Originally aired on 

Whether you’re a fresh graduate just starting out or a seasoned professional considering making a pivot, choosing a career path can be daunting.

Cloudflare is excited to host an informative and educational event for those who are interested in pursuing a career in Business Development. Please join us and our panel of speakers giving an insight into their careers- How I Got Here: Life as a Business Development Representative.

You'll hear from the panel who will share their experiences on how they started in the industry, the skills and lessons learnt as well as the different development opportunities that Business Development Representatives have available to them.

Join us on Tuesday 21st February 2023 at 5:30 PM (GMT) and take the first step towards a successful career in Business Development, we can't wait to see you there!

Event Topics:

Topic- Education & The Market

Shogoefa Wafa - Team Lead, Business Development (Nordics & Benelux)

Topic- The importance of leadership

Aida Fneich - Business Development Team Manager

Topic- Progression into a Sales Career

Jack Stewart - Account Executive

Topic- The Technical Path

Ella Monck - Solutions Specialist

Topic- Working remotely

Nurschan Bisenov - Business Development Representative, DACH

Topic- Skills required to be successful in a Business Development Representative role

Putri Paramarta - Strategy & Operations Analyst

Special Combined Segment: Aida Fneich Ella Monck Putri Paramarta

Q&A Session hosted by Daniela Rodrigues


Transcript (Beta)

Hi everyone. Welcome to our segment on Cloudflare TV. Today, I'm really excited to host six speakers we've got with us who are going to be sharing an insight into their careers and how they started off on the business development representative team at Cloudflare.

So they're going to be sharing their experiences, how they started in the industry and various things that they learned on their career journeys.

So welcome everyone. It would be great if you could all introduce yourselves.

Shogoefa? Yeah, sure. My name is Shogoefa. I'm a team lead for the Nordics and Benelux at Cloudflare.


Hi everyone. My name is Aida and I am the business development manager for the software function within EMEA.

Jack? Hi, good afternoon. I'm Jack Stewart. I'm one of our account executives here at Cloudflare for the UK region.

Ella? Hi everyone.

I'm Ella. I'm a professional here at EMEA. Nurjan? Hi everyone. My name is Nurjan.

I'm strategic MDR for the Munich office. And Dani? Hi everyone. I'm Dani from the recruiting team.

Great to meet you all. And just to introduce myself, my name is Komal.

I'm also part of the EMEA recruitment team. So thanks everyone for joining.

We're going to kick off with Shogoefa. So she's going to be discussing her background and the market that she works in.

So welcome Shogoefa. It would be great if you can share more around your background and how you began your career in the business development representative team.

Yeah, sure. So I actually started out not studying IT or economics or computer science or anything that's related to, I think, this product or this role.

But that's fine. I started out in the arts industry in different client-facing roles.

I did this for art galleries.

I did this for major art institution, auction houses and museums while I was studying for my bachelor's and master's.

After my master's, I started to look around and I thought, OK, what would I like to do next?

And I really saw myself committing to a career in IT because that was really the future.

And I initially joined a leading research and advisory firm, which proved a very useful foundation for my development in subsequent years.

And when I was speaking to various customers in the Benelux in that role, I was hearing a lot that cybersecurity was top of mind for various enterprises, small or large.

And eventually I learned about Cloudflare.

And that's how I started applying for this role.

And I thought this is a great position to, again, get the 101 in and really familiarize myself with the product, what it is we do, and position that as a solution to clients in the region.

Thank you. So obviously you shared that you've got a mixed background.

I know that you've grown up and been educated in different countries.

You've been working in different languages. So what specifically drew you to that career within IT?

Yeah, so I'm originally from Afghanistan, but I was raised in the Netherlands as well as in London.

I think sort of the reason I was attracted to this role was, again, through my previous sort of role working in the Benelux market specifically.

And I think what really was enjoyable across those different kinds of hats to wear and responsibilities was that they were always client-facing, and that's what I really enjoyed.

And that's the only thing I knew that I wanted to stay committed to and keep growing within.

Little did I know that as much enjoyment I was getting from sort of helping clients with their challenges and positioning a product or a tool or a resource, that I was enjoying that same sort of thing with managing or leading a team.

So yeah, I think that's the short of it.

Yeah, amazing. I mean, the client-facing, customer aspect is a really vital part of the business development representative role.

And obviously when people look at your background, they look at your LinkedIn profile, they think, you know, how did you become a team lead within six months at Cloudflare, which is a huge achievement.

So what did you do to ensure that you were successful?

Yeah, that's a really good question. I think I was maybe in a slightly better position when I joined in the sense that I already had built a lot of experience working with clients.

And I already was doing sort of the post-sale experience within IT.

But the challenge I was seeking was a little bit on a different end of the sales cycle.

What I had already gathered from doing that previous role was a couple of things, which is to learn the product really well inside and out.

I think with Cloudflare's growing portfolio of products that never really stops.

Every week there is something new to pick up and practice and make sure that that is very meaningfully, but also correctly conveyed to a colleague or to a client.

Then I would say building really strong relationships as much as you're sort of client-facing in this role.

Most of the time, you're also really managing your stakeholders internally.

So this would be your account executives, your own manager, et cetera, et cetera.

And then taking a look at best practices. You never really come into a role or any company where you're inventing the wheel.

A couple of people have been there before you, and especially those that are really successful.

I would strongly recommend taking some time with them and asking, what is it that they do and why are they doing it so well?

And adopting those best practices into your own workflow.

Every BDR in this company is given some time to ramp into the role, understandably, because they come from sort of different backgrounds or experiences.

But I think what perhaps set me apart was that I started my activities early on.

I was booking meetings with clients for my account executives really early on.

And I think that perhaps left a strong impression in addition to the other items that I mentioned before.

Amazing. So you've mentioned a couple of times the relationship between the BDR and the account executive.

Are you able to describe what that looks like to everyone? Yeah.

So the account executive, or perhaps you're working with two or three, are, let's say, the closest counterpart that you kind of get in this role.

Why? Because together, you're tackling accounts, developing strategies for a specific segment or territory.

And the better that relationship is with them, the clearer of a channel of communication you have, the more successful you'll be.

Why? Because while you're booking the meetings and account research and managing sort of the volume, together, you're really thinking about why are we doing this?

How are we going to do it?

And setting, let's say, milestones in the short, mid, and long term.

And that will set you up for success. OK. I mean, communication is definitely one of the sort of key skills needed for this role.

So what would you say that you enjoy most about this role?

And what are the challenges with the market that you work with, so specifically Benelux?

Yeah. I mean, in this current role, I really enjoy helping my team in problem solving.

They will have challenges that are very unique, that are sometimes maybe less unique or have taken place before, and coming to a solution with them together.

I think a team leader or a manager is only as good as, let's say, the overall sum of their team.

And yeah, I think that's what makes it very enjoyable.

What is perhaps a challenge in the Benelux and Nordics is that we are still growing there.

We have a very sizable team on both BDR and account executive level now.

But I think with the sort of, let's say, big logos that we're winning now month to month, we're getting more word of mouth around, but also the recognition.

So I see this less as a challenge, but more as an opportunity for us to continue sort of being that security layer for both markets.

So yeah, it can only be onwards and upwards from here. Okay, great. So you mentioned, obviously, the team aspect is so important.

And that's something that we're going to touch on slightly later on.

And then there's the aspect of the relationship with the account executive.

So that's one part of what your day looks like.

What does the rest of your day look like? Yeah, so in my current role as team lead, I have actually a lot less face time with account executive strictly in the, let's say, traditional role or my previous role.

Most of my time is spent actually with the team, and then fellow team leads and then managers.

We come together very regularly in sort of sharing any challenges that we face, problem solving those, and working together to essentially have not just one individual or two individual teams be successful, but see that across EMEA.

In addition to that, I spend a lot of time with the team themselves having sort of a lot of face time with them and making sure that they're not just successful in let's say the metrics or things that can be quantified in their activity, but also their development.

If they are keen in seeing themselves progress to another role within Cloudflare, which we strongly encourage, then it's my responsibility to make sure that they're getting the right resources from us and that they are able to transition into that role or apply for it and be successful.

Other things? Yeah, ad hoc.

I mean, like I said, we have new updates released almost every week, so the onus is on me to get familiar with that and make sure that I can be an asset to the team when and if they have questions.

Okay, perfect. Well, it sounds like you're really stuck into your role and really enjoying it.

So if you were to give three top tips to someone who is looking to start their career within business development, what would those tips be?

There are a couple of key traits that we share when candidates are looking to apply, and I think really they're not just terms or words that we have there written to, let's say, explain the role.

It really is critical to a BDR's, let's say, week-to -week or month-to-month success.

I think being persistent should be, if not something natural to you, but something perhaps you could learn to adopt because you will hear a lot of no's when you're trying to book meetings and having a thick skin and making sure that that's not something you take personal.

Being persistent and also your own development and learning.

I think not having come from a where I learned already during my education how the Internet was built or exactly what our solutions are, it definitely can be taught and you can definitely teach it to yourself.

It just requires a lot of persistence again and being committed to really proving yourself in that sense.

Other tips I could share are being confident but carrying humility. I think it's a very tricky balance to keep between the two.

I think we very much appreciate confident candidates or fellow colleagues, but I think considering that this is a very big and diverse company now, sometimes you have to bear in mind that you could be perhaps not always in the right and be open to feedback, etc.

I think that's it.

Amazing. Well, thank you so much for sharing, Shageefa, and I appreciate you delving more into your background.

I'm going to welcome Aida to the panel.

Thank you so much, Kamal. Hi, Aida. Thanks for joining us. Aida's going to be discussing the importance of leadership.

Aida, you've been at Cloudflare and you're based in Paris, so you've been at Cloudflare for just over two years.

I know within that time you started off in a business development representative role.

You then progressed into a team lead role, and now you're in a managerial position as a team manager.

So what does that transition from each role look like from your perspective?

With all honesty, it was a lot of hard work, and the transition from BDR to team lead was probably the most interesting, for the lack of a better word.

The reason for that is I was doing inbound back in the day. I did it for, I think, three quarters, and then I moved to the self-serve function within gaming and gambling.

I think a quarter after, I was offered the team lead role, and I definitely accepted it.

It was a bit challenging because you had people on the team who were seasoned BDRs, who have been there for a longer period of time.

You also have people that you've started out with at the same time, and then you're suddenly a team leader, and it takes a lot of trust, basically, to establish trust with the team, to let them know that you're on their side and that nothing much is changing.

You're just there to support them get across the line. This transition was the most challenging and interesting for me in the best way.

It took a lot of emotional intelligence, and you learn on the go within the role.

I feel like the transition from team lead to manager was very different, and anyone who wants to go on a management track should definitely start out as a leader because when we talk about leadership and management, they tell you, yeah, one is big picture and one is looking into the daily things, and I don't think that's the right definition of it because as a team leader, you're working with different team members, of course, to help them.

Some of them have different challenges, and it's not a one-size-fits-all kind of strategy that you would need to put in place and work with the BDRs on, so it was more of enabling them for those who were a bit insecure to give them the push that they needed and encourage them, so it was very interesting being a team leader, and then transitioning into the management role, you're really looking at big picture things.

You're looking at numbers. You grow out of the leadership and the hand -holding of the BDRs, and you learn to look at things on a bigger scale, see who you can delegate to, who you can trust to support you and get things across the line, so yeah.

Thank you. Thanks, Haida. I mean, it sounds like you had to take on so much additional responsibility, some of it unexpected, each step that you've taken, so obviously the leadership aspect has played a really important role in ensuring that you've been successful, so what steps did you take to ensure that you were the one that was promoted?

Yeah, I think, as I mentioned, it was a lot of hard work that has been put in.

It's not only about the numbers and achieving targets or even overachieving.

It was mainly how I work with different BDRs on the team, and I think this is something very important to stress out, because generally within a sales function, it's assumed that people are sharks, but it's not the case here, and we're very team-centric, so like if you hit your numbers and you're not a team player, you're not there to support, definitely you're not going to be considered for such a position, right?

So I remember back in the day in Inbound, we had like the support chat that was absolutely on fire.

It was mainly, I remember the most with Ella, Ella and myself and everyone else on the team asking questions.

It was almost like an ask an SE chat about all the technical stuff and billing and stuff of that sort, so I remember in terms of product matters, Ella was the one to jump, and in terms of everything else, I was the one to jump and give a helping hand, of course, and back in the day, I remember when we were achieving targets early on, I was happy to help out other team members to see what they're missing on, how can I support, if they need any coaching or the like, or even to shadow them and give feedback, not in a, I won't say team lead BDR, but more on a same level feedback basically, so it was very interesting, and this is what led to my transition into the team leader role basically, so yeah, I think it's very important to stress like it's not numbers, it's not targets only, it's a bit of everything.

Yeah, I think the fact that you mentioned the support element is a really key point there, making sure that your team members are feeling supported.

So in terms of the advice that you give to your team members, ensuring that they are consistent with their performance and their success, oh, are you able to hear me?

You're okay? Yeah, yeah, I think we got disconnected.

I was just mentioning, you know, and obviously the support aspect is really important, you know, you've mentioned it a couple of times, making sure that the team feels supported in a sort of human level, so what advice do you give to your team in ensuring that their performance remains consistent, in ensuring that they are successful, because obviously the role can be challenging at times, so how do they overcome that with your support?

Absolutely, honestly it's one of the most challenging roles, and it's challenging in the best way, and I always tell the team, like, it's not supposed to be uphill all the time, right?

We have weeks or we have days where we're at our lowest low, so to say, and other days where we're at our highest highs, and it's just that, especially when you're target driven, your number is driven, you're short on time, so sometimes it just becomes overwhelming, so I always ask the team to, you know, like, first of all, take a step back, take a breather, it's not the end of the world if you're not having the best day, and in order to persevere and to be consistent, it doesn't mean that you need to give 100% every single day, if you're able to give 40% and that's it for the day, then you're already giving your 100, you're giving your maximum, if this is the maximum that you can do, and second of all, I always ask the team to come to me and not wait until it's too late, because, I mean, yes, I am, I was their team leader, yes, I am their manager, but at the end of the day, their success is mine, and, you know, like, I want to make sure that we tackle things from the very beginning rather than, you know, like, later on or when it's too late, and I always like to put myself in their shoes, because I was once in their shoes, and I get sometimes how overwhelming things could be, and you just need someone to maybe rant to, right, or someone to speak to, or someone to guide you or walk you through things, and being by their side is the only way for things to work, and, yeah, that's mainly how I operate with the team.

Okay, thank you, and lastly, and what we're going to end on is a slightly bit more lighthearted, so what do you enjoy most about being a manager for the team?

The banter, the banter and the gifs on our chat, no, actually, it's something that I really enjoy, personally, I'm not one who likes to distance herself from the team or make them feel like, you know, they can't come to me or they can't trust me, so I like to keep things lighthearted, as they say, but, like, what I enjoy the most is their success, because I feel like everyone on my team are like my babies, and their success is mine, so whenever, you know, like, they overachieve their targets or they do something that is absolutely wow, I'm there, like, it makes me feel so proud, so, yeah, that's what I enjoy the most.

Amazing, well, thank you so much for sharing, Aida, more about your experiences, your transition, and also what you love about being a team manager.

I know your team are definitely lucky to have you.

Thank you so much. That's okay, so I know we're going to be coming back to you slightly later, but I'd like to welcome Jack to the panel.

Hi, Jack. Hey, good afternoon, Kamal.

Hi, good afternoon, so we're going to be discussing how to progress into a sales career, because you've been at Cloudflare for almost three years, and in that time you progressed from a business development representative role into an account executive physician, so what did your journey look like?

Sure, so, yeah, as you said, I've been with Cloudflare coming up to three years, and around 18 months of that was in the business development team, and then the last 18 months working as an account executive in the UK team.

To get started as a business development rep, Cloudflare recruits from a pretty diverse background, and when you get into the team, you can be confident of getting some comprehensive training, and so you've got the best opportunity to succeed when you come into the role.

For me, it was a case of, like, understanding how we could best help customers, how I could best help them work with account executives, and how I could best get in contact with prospective customers and sort of support them in that capacity.

When you get the opportunity to kind of move into an account executive's role, then you have the opportunity to work with customers and influence their business and sort of work alongside them, so when you're in that business development function, a lot of the time it's spending as much time listening to customers, listening to account executives, and listening to the supporting teams that you work with to understand a little bit more around the types of problems that we can help customers solve and how we can kind of deliver them as well, so a lot of the time it was using my time in the role as a business development representative to see different aspects of the business, to understand the way that Cloudflare operates as an organization, and to best prepare me to kind of work with customers moving forwards in an account executive's role.

Okay, great, so you mentioned training as part of sort of the ramp into the role, so apart from the training, what else within the business development representative role prepared you to go into the hands-on sales position that you're in?

Sure, so there's a lot of exposure that you kind of get in the business development team to different aspects that really prepares you very well when you're looking to pursue a further hands-on career in sales like an account executive.

In the first instance, it's working with people who are doing that role day-to-day.

When you're in the business development team, you're kind of like a partnership typically with different account executives, and you get exposure to different people and different ways of working with prospective customers.

So that exposure, that familiarity, and that understanding is really critical to helping you become well prepared for a hands-on career in sales.

It doesn't just finish with account executives though, there's a whole host of other teams that you work with to make customer projects a success.

So that can be working with our supporting teams on the technical side, pre-sales and post -sales, working with teams that are involved in the back of projects, so like our legal team and our pricing and financial teams, really getting the understanding of how these teams work and how you can fit into those processes.

I think it's really important to build up those relationships within the team and across teams, so that you are in a position where you can deploy and employ all of that experience and that knowledge when you get the opportunity to kind of start working hands-on with customers, leading engagements, and working out how you're going to start kind of delivering projects on behalf of customers.

Yeah great, so I mean it seems to be a recurring theme, I know Shagifa mentioned as well that communication and partnerships, building those relationships are really essential for success in the role.

So what key skills would you say that someone needs to have to be a successful business development representative, and to really stand out above everyone else?

Sure, I think that's quite an interesting one, I think maybe when I joined Cloudflare what I perceived to be those important skills, some of which weren't as important as others, and others which are very important, were what I was unaware of at the time.

So I think there can be a misconception about a career in sales and a career getting started in business development, or being about being a certain type of character, but I think success at Cloudflare in the sales team and in the business development team relies on a lot of different attributes that you might not necessarily from the outside expect particularly.

I know when I talk to my friends about careers in sales, what they expect, the characteristics and the traits that you hold that you need to be successful, and those that I see here at Cloudflare as being consistent amongst those people that are most successful in the business development team and in the account executives team, are often quite different.

So I think at Cloudflare there's a few things that are really important.

Individuals need to be inquisitive, that can be realised as taking a real interest in the problems that customers are experiencing, and how the challenges, and how the products that we provide can help them overcome those challenges.

The better you can understand the customer, the better that you can help them essentially at the end of the day.

So being naturally inquisitive is something that's really, really key to success at Cloudflare generally, but in particular in the business development team.

I think that creativity is a hugely underrated trait and characteristic that is consistent across people in the business development team that are successful, and people in the sales team that are successful.

Being able to understand and be creative about the way the products that we provide, and help customers solve those problems.

Coming up with new ways and new ideas and applications for the technologies that we provide.

Something that possibly sets Cloudflare aside as a vendor is our pace of innovation.

So if you can create and think of new ways of helping customers solve problems, and solve new problems with our technologies, that's going to help for a real great deal of success in the team.

I think it's always very important to have very good attention to detail in any role, but in particular in sales roles, in business development, and account executives.

At the end of the day, a lot of customers entrust Cloudflare with a great deal of responsibility, and so it's very important that we recognise that responsibility, and having good attention to detail, understanding customers' problems that they're looking to solve, and helping them achieve that is a really strong way to do that.

So attention to detail is something that's pretty critical as well.

And finally, that kind of emotional IQ that Ida had spoken about a little bit earlier.

So using it to be able to understand when the right time to engage with customers happens to be, when the right time to work with your colleagues happens to be, using that kind of intelligence to kind of gauge and understand a lot better the way that customers are working, the way that your colleagues are working, so that you can support them as most effectively as possible.

So yeah, a combination of that. Individuals that are inquisitive, creative, have good attention to detail, and have a good kind of emotional IQ, some combination of that is usually consistent across a lot of the high performers that we see in the team.

Okay, great. And I know your background is slightly different to some of the other speakers that we've got on the panel today.

So are you able to share some more around that?

Yeah, certainly, certainly. So I think a lot of people might have the misconception or the preconceived notion that to start a background in tech, you need to have a lot of qualifications, master's degrees, bachelor's degrees, very relevant in computer science or IT or something in that sort of nature.

And that's really not the case, and certainly not the case here at Cloudplay.

So personally, I don't have a master's degree or a bachelor's degree, I don't have any university education.

I got my professional start as an apprentice doing an apprenticeship in a STEM subject.

So yeah, that's how I got my start in my professional career.

I then sort of pivoted away from the science side of things and towards IT and technology.

And then yeah, for a few years before joining Cloudplay, I was working in technologies, was working in cloud technologies specifically.

I think one of Cloudplay's biggest strengths that you're probably going to hear consistently is the diversity that Cloudplay recruits for, recruiting from a diverse range of individuals.

And that extends to those individuals with a diverse range of qualification and education.

As I say, in my case, I had no greater qualification than an apprenticeship and high school qualifications.

But because Cloudplay recruits from such a diverse range of backgrounds and recruits based on characteristics and recruits based on hunger and kind of desire to improve, that really brings a pretty diverse approach to problem solving.

So when I speak with kind of new people in the team, when I speak with individuals that are getting started, that might have some concerns or apprehensions about not having worked in tech previously, or not having worked in tech sales previously, throughout the Cloudplay recruitment process, we're not recruiting necessarily for an individual with a certain background or certain qualifications, more characteristics that are going to indicate long-term success with Cloudplay.

So for me, that was a huge opportunity. I think not every company necessarily has the ability to recruit from such a diverse background.

But it means that at Cloudplay, we have a really, really strong and diverse way of problem solving, because you've got so many individuals coming from so many different backgrounds, looking at different ways to help customers solve problems.

So yeah, you don't necessarily need that master's or bachelor's degree in anything in computer science in order to kind of make a successful starting tech.

Thank you. Thanks for sharing that.

I think it's really important to sort of reiterate that, you know, because our interview process and the diversity that we sort of acquire from, it's so varied, that everyone really does stand a fair chance when they are applying for a role within the business development representative team.

So you took the step from the BDR team into the account executive team. You went through an internal process, which is actually slightly different to what an external process looks like.

But for those who are thinking sort of longer term, where they want their career headed, what did those steps look like?

Are you able to share some more details around the internal process?

Sure. So anyone that's had any involvement with a Cloudplay interview process will probably really know it's quite extensive.

And that's the case regardless of whether you are applying externally as a candidate.

You see kind of everyone here that's joining us today will have that experience.

But similarly, when you're applying internally for a role, Cloudplay has a thorough and extensive interview process.

And in that interview process, it helps you to understand a few things, I would say.

So it helps you to really properly understand what's going to be involved in the role, helps you get prepared accordingly for it.

But it also helps you to understand a little bit around whether you would enjoy that role.

And by having such an extensive opportunity to speak with different people and speak with different people that work in that role but also support that role, you really get a more holistic view of day to day what the role is like for individuals that kind of undertake that role.

So in my case, it was a process that involved speaking with individuals across the organization.

So I got the opportunity in the interview process to speak with a few different accounting executives across different regions.

In that process, there was two things that were going on there.

In the first instance, it was an opportunity, as I say, for me to develop my understanding of what the role was actually like day to day.

And hearing that firsthand from people that had been in the role and had maybe joined from a similar background to me from the Business Development Org or kind of joined externally having worked in different organizations.

So getting those different perspectives and getting the opportunity to kind of understand what the day to day responsibilities look like was really important.

The other side of it was it was about helping those individuals understand my motivations for wanting to become an account executive.

It was something that I probably hadn't thought about in as much detail really before going through that process.

Because a lot of the times you want to make that progression, you want to progress in your career just because of human nature.

But to stop for a minute and understand why the motivation for that happens to be, when you're going through a tougher patch as an account executive or when you're going through like a tougher period, what is it that motivates you to kind of keep going and to kind of keep helping customers?

So in that interview process, not only was it a chance for my colleagues and peers to assess me, but also for me to reflect upon myself and understand what I wanted to achieve and why I was motivated to join the account executives team.

So that was a really great opportunity as part of the interview process.

You also get the opportunity within that process to work with and to speak with colleagues from other supporting roles.

So, for example, our technical pre-sales team, speaking with them, understanding how they interact with account executives, the nature of that relationship, what was important to the success of that relationship, and understanding that a little bit more firsthand from the people who you become dependent on when you join as an account executive.

You're also getting the opportunity to meet with sales leaders, so people that you would be reporting into where you kind of get the role, understand what characteristics they looked for in successful candidates and those characteristics that they saw as being consistent across people that were successful in the role, regardless of their kind of prior experience.

Finally, I would say that the process was a really good opportunity for me to actually put in plan or put in place a plan to help me when I kind of got into the role of being an account executive.

I think if you are in the business development team and you have the ambition of getting promoted to be an AE, that can feel like the end goal, and that can feel like the thing that you're working towards.

But in reality, that's just the start, getting promoted into that kind of team.

Because at one point, you kind of sat at your desk, and you sat there as an account executive, and it hits you that, okay, now I need to start working as an account executive and helping customers.

So, putting that plan in place beforehand of what I would do if I were to become an account executive gave me something to fall back on when I kind of moved into the role.

So, that was something that was really important for me, understanding what I would do if I were to become an account executive and get the feedback on how effective that might be.

So, yeah, it was a pretty comprehensive process, but it certainly reinforced my desire to want to pursue a further career as an individual contributor and with a hands-on sales role with Cloudlink.

Yeah, great. I mean, it definitely sounds like it is like a two -way partnership and really understanding that it is going to be the right fit.

So, when you identified that you wanted to pursue a career down the sales route, what steps were put in place by yourself, the support from your manager, what support did you get to ensure that that progression looked successful?

Sure, sure. So, in terms of what is done to make sure that that progression is successful and is an effective path, I think a lot of people in the BDR team can probably agree that one of the most important things that you want to do when you are in the BDR team is you want to get exposure to as many different functions as possible.

So, you can understand the things that you enjoy about the role, the things maybe that you do not enjoy so much, and understand what functions within Cloudflare focus on those areas that you are good at and focus on those areas that you enjoy.

So, in the first instance, some of the great support that I got from my manager gave me the opportunity to get greater exposure to different functions of the business.

As I say, and as is kind of demonstrated by this call, when you are in the business development team at Cloudflare, you have got a huge opportunity to progress into different functions and different roles within Cloudflare.

So, being in the business development team and having the chance to sort of shadow and observe and understand more about different functions of Cloudflare to see how you might move into that function in the future was a way in which my manager and the supporting team around me gave me the opportunity to get more exposure to the things I enjoyed about the role.

In my case, it was helping customers and it was having more involvement with customers and helping them solve those problems.

And I was able to do that by having greater involvement with projects that we would work with customers.

So, having, being able to support the account executive team, having involvement on later stages of the projects, having that kind of visibility and understanding of what goes into projects that we are working with the customer.

It's about understanding how you can work with your colleagues, those that you become dependent on when you get into the role, support teams, success teams, technical teams, understanding the dynamics of those relationships and understanding a little bit more around how you can work collaboratively with these organizations so that when you kind of step into the role, you know how you can succeed and how you can help your colleagues to succeed and your customers to succeed.

And as a BDR, you have the opportunity to kind of gain real great exposure to that.

And that was championed, in my case, by my kind of BDR team managers and the organization.

Okay, amazing. Well, I think it's, and I think you've really sort of reinforced the importance of the team culture and the aspect of sort of interacting and integrating with not just members from your own team, but also people from other departments who may not necessarily be in the same location that you're in as well.

Because I think sort of any understanding is going to be beneficial to you and sort of puts the jigsaw puzzle together.

So great.

Thank you so much, Jack, for sharing. I'm now going to invite Ella to the panel.

Hey, how's it going? Hi, Ella. Welcome. So I know we're going to be talking slightly on a slightly different topic.

So it's more around the technical path.

So Cloudflare was your first full -time role after you graduated from university.

So why did you decide to choose a career within the tech industry? Yeah, absolutely.

So it was pretty scary joining when I was fresh out of university.

I feel like I didn't really know anything. So in terms of why tech, part of sort of a little bit in my degree was looking at sort of the technical policy side of things.

So looking at cyber policy and things like that. And that was always something that I really, really loved in terms of, you know, understanding the policy behind tech, how different countries treat that.

I really enjoyed. Funnily enough, I was going through my dissertation the other day, and I actually cited Cloudflare in that, which is quite funny.

Yeah, well, I had interned with them in my last year of university.

So also, if you Google DDoS definition, Cloudflare is one of the first things that popped up.

So it really helped in that capacity.

So I interned with Cloudflare prior to joining full-time. And so I was very sure that once I did graduate, it was definitely a place that I wanted to go back to in terms of looking at places to start a full-time career.

Graduating in 2020 did make things a little bit more difficult in terms of it being the middle of a pandemic.

But I think as an industry, I was really drawn to, you know, how new it is, how innovative it is, as well as, you know, Cloudflare's exemplary in terms of the rate of things that we're shipping.

So there's a lot to learn, which I find quite exciting.

And I always liked the sort of protecting the Internet kind of mentality that we have here.

Okay, great. And when you started, obviously, in the business development representative role, you were doing that for a while, and then you decided to take a non-standard path, as some might say, following this.

So you've gone down the technical route.

So did you know from quite early on that you wanted to pursue a more technical career?

I think I definitely did. Definitely did. I always, from the beginning, loved the more technical side of things.

As Ida was mentioning earlier on, the whole inbound support chat, I'd always answer technical questions.

A lot of inbound, since you're working on the sales phone line, is people who think it is a support line, which it really isn't.

So it's a lot of answering those kind of support questions, despite not being a support agent and having to either refer them to someone else or to pick something up on the fly in terms of using the many resources we have for training.

I read a lot of the developer docs that we have published online and had a strong understanding of that, just out of interest.

Gradually, as time went on, I picked up a couple mantles in the BDR team, in terms of providing updates on new products during our bi-weekly meeting.

So I would look at the shipboard and see what's coming out that would be of interest to the BDR team, and letting them know about what's coming up, things like that.

As well as what initially started as a small group of people and ended up being the whole BDR team on the invite list, was a little product session.

It's still happening.

There's one tomorrow, actually. But I do a little product session with the whole BDR team, generally answering any questions they have about specific products, as well as coming to them with products that typically are a little bit more difficult to understand and trying to explain it in a way that is easier for them.

I also found that really helped in terms of learning myself, because I often find there's nothing more helpful to understanding something than having to teach it to someone else.

So a lot of helping the other BDRs really solidified my understanding of the tech that Cloudflow does.

And so my old team lead when I joined, Josh Watts, who is now on my team as well, I very much was interested in following the path that he took.

He's now one of our senior SASE specialists.

So as soon as I had the chance, very early on, I asked him questions.

The team are very accessible. You can talk to more or less anyone on the team, anyone in the company, really.

If you have any questions, if you're interested in what they do, people are very open to speaking with you and to understanding why you want to do something, what you want to do.

I spoke with my now manager multiple times before joining the team, just because I was like, I'm really interested in joining your team.

I think it's really cool. And a lot of that kind of conversation was had prior to me joining the team.

But having that, being able to explain concepts to other people really helped when it came to my role now, because that's pretty much a lot of what I do.

Yeah, it's really, it's really sort of reassuring to know how much open and transparent communication there is, not only within the team, but also within different departments at the company as well.

And obviously you are an example of that. So not everyone's going to know what a solutions specialist is.

And obviously that is your role now. So are you able to share more around what that looks like and what your average day looks like?

Yeah, absolutely. So the solution specialist, product specialist, we go by a couple of different names.

We're an overlay role. So our whole purpose is to support the sales team in both understanding the products themselves and how they pitch the products to clients.

So I mostly work with one of our new acquisitions, which is area one, which is email security.

And so I started this role six months ago.

And at that point, it wasn't really understood by the team. It was very, very new.

It had mostly been running in the US prior to the acquisition.

So it was a lot of establishing things in Europe with very little reference of European customers.

So it was a really big challenge, a lot of helping a user on calls as well as helping identify, what is a potentially good prospect for this and what information can we get prior to outreach, helping the BDR team with sequences, and helping the account executive team with pitching, with running proof of concept, with demoing the services, as well as just generally being available for people to ask questions whenever they need it and being responsive, I would say is probably a big part of my role as well.

So making sure that if someone does have a question about the product, about where to find something, about pricing even, I'm available to talk to them about that, as well as another big one, understanding the market and being able to help them with any competition that they come up against.

Okay, great. So coming back to your background.

So you did your degree in in -war studies, which is obviously not IT related.

It's not tech related. So being in the BDR position, what was it that allowed you to pursue the more technical role?

And what was it that, that you thought, okay, this is what I want to pursue?

Yeah, absolutely. I think the enablement and resources that we were provided with very early on, you know, the onboarding process, even we go through a lot of training on what's what in terms of everything Cloudflare does.

So a lot of that I found really captivating initially. And there's, there's a lot in terms of when you reach out to, to, you know, the enablement team, massive shout out to Sarah Meyer for being the best of all time.

She's fantastic. And whenever I had any questions about things, she was definitely someone I could go to during that onboarding period.

And as well as things like the team are very supportive when it comes to anything you're interested in pursuing.

So being able to take over, you know, something in a full team presentation with the product update side of things, having their support in taking on that, as well as my team lead at the time, let me take the morning meetings.

And so I would do little quizzes for the team around the different products and present to them on it, which really boosted confidence that I was having, as well as becoming someone that the team relies on for product information and for conversations about products.

So there were a lot of times when people would book little 15 minute one-to-ones with me to talk about a specific product before they had to talk to a client about it.

And those sorts of conversations and being sort of having, you know, a team lead or manager right in the group chat being like, if you have any technical questions, ask Ella now.

Okay. That kind of thing, you know, it's a little bit in the deep end, but it really helped me learn because I was expected to teach people.

So I had to either understand the answer or know where to look for it or even who to ask.

Okay. Okay, great. I mean, you're definitely kind of touching on the fun aspect of sort of how the team interacts with each other.

So obviously, you can see from who we've had speaking today already. Some people have started their career within the business development representative team.

And like Jack, for example, is an account executive. Ida's gone down the sort of stayed within the BDR team and gone down the management path.

And you've obviously gone down the technical path. So there's obviously going to be so many people who start their career within this team and not knowing where they want their career headed.

So what advice would you give to people in those in that position?

Well, it was the position that I was in when I joined, I really had no idea what I wanted to do.

I knew quite early on that I wasn't really built for being an account executive.

I just knew personally that it wouldn't be the thing for me, I wouldn't enjoy it.

And I don't think I'd be very good at it. So I knew it was that sort of line was never for me.

So there's a lot of different people to speak to about that.

Obviously, the BDR management are excellent to talk to about, you know, where you want to go, where you see yourself going.

And something else I did at the time.

So I was with along with Putri, who's speaking later, was part of the social committee.

And so one of the things that I organized there, rather selfishly, but in the end, the whole team were, it was interesting for everyone, was conversations with a lot of people in different roles currently who were BDRs as well.

So similar to this, we call it next steps of just talking with, you know, anyone who had been at BDR, no matter the geo.

So speaking with people in the US, who were on things like the infrastructure team, people who are on the go to market team, people who did, who did like the strategy side of things, even speaking with Alonzo Bustamante, who's head of special projects.

Having all those kind of different conversations really helped me to work out what I was interested in.

Hopefully, the rest of the team benefited from it as well. I made it sort of a public session of talks.

And having that kind of ability to contact people and just have a conversation with them about what they're doing, and why it's interesting, as well as generally, as a BDR, you're working with a lot of different teams.

Obviously, you're working most closely with the account executive team.

But there were times as a BDR, when I would be speaking with people who were on the trust and safety team, or on the solutions engineering team, the CSM team, the customer success management team.

And then in the office, you see a lot of people around.

Even pre COVID, there were a lot of like random chats, where they'd set up random coffee meetings.

And you'd have a chat with some people in the company.

And through that, I met a couple of product managers. You meet all kinds of different people that way as well.

And generally, there's a very open environment.

And curiosity is really encouraged, as Jack would say, was saying earlier.

So everyone has that kind of a mindset. There's a lot of communication when it comes to, you know, what do you guys do?

What's cool about what you do? Would you enjoy it?

Having those kind of conversations to work out where do I want to go in the end.

And for me, it was actually quite a tough choice. I was really interested in the customer solutions engineer role, doing sort of the post sales and setup side of things.

And that's a really wonderful team. In the end, the product specialist role just went out on me.

So there's a ton of different options that you can take.

And you're really quite spoiled for choice, to be honest.

And you have a lot of options. So you don't really need to come into the BDR role knowing where you want to go.

And you can really choose your own path, really. Amazing.

I think it's really sort of reassuring to know that there's so many people who are so accessible and welcoming and also so much knowledge around the company as well.

And people are so willing to share that knowledge and share their experiences.

So it makes, I guess, each person's journey that much easier. Yeah, it's a really lovely environment.

Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Ella, for your time and sharing more about your background.

And I know we're going to be coming back to you later on.

So, Norshan, can I invite you to the panel, please? Yeah.

Hi, everyone. Great to be here. Hi, thanks for joining us. So, Norshan, we're going to be discussing sort of what it's like working remotely at Cloudflare, which I think is an interesting topic.

I think Ella just talked about how sort of it was post-COVID, mid-COVID when she joined.

And I think an option that we do provide in some of our locations is that you do have the option to be a remote worker.

So there is that flexibility.

And you're also the only one on this panel today that is currently part of the business development representative team as a business development representative.

So tell us a little bit about your background and what you enjoy about being a BDR.

So I think like most of the team, like most of the BDRs, I don't have a background in IT or in cybersecurity or something in this area.

I actually have a background in engineering. And during my studies, I just realized I have a passion for sales.

And that's why I joined Cloudflare as a BDR. I think it's a good entry job to learn about the industry, to learn about the company, what Cloudflare is doing, and also to develop, whether it's in sales, whether to develop sales skills or whether to develop basically different interests you have.

Because as a BDR, we are collaborating with a lot of different departments, like others already said.

We are collaborating with marketing, with sales, with solution specialists like Ella, with the channel.

And basically, we have the opportunity to meet and to network with a lot of different people, a lot of interesting people, whether it's internal or also external with customers and prospects.

And yes, just a great opportunity and a lot of fun.

Great. So you're based in Germany and you're based remotely.

And so one thing I'd like to know is how do you ensure that you stay motivated in the role on a daily basis when you're not meeting the team directly?

I think in regards to motivation, the social aspect isn't really a big deal for me.

I think the social aspect is more important when we talk about innovations or when we talk about new ideas or new strategies.

Motivation as a BDR, I think, has to come from yourself.

You need to have a certain amount of self-discipline, of self -motivation to do the job.

You need to have the passion for sales, basically.

And I think that helps you to keep the motivation.

Also, what helps me personally is being able to enjoy the small successes you have.

We have big targets for the quarter and we have clear targets. And I think it helps to see the results of my work, to see the impact and the progress of my work, step by step, small step by small step, until you reach the big target.

So I think this is what really helps me. And obviously, like I said, the opportunity to talk with really interesting people, really interesting companies about their use cases.

You get great insights and that's basically what motivates me.

Okay, great. Thank you. So obviously, you mentioned that for yourself, the social aspect isn't as important.

But there are obviously other people who are thinking, oh, do I want to apply for this role if I'm working remotely?

So there's a lot of individuals who do go into our Munich office in Germany and they're able to combine that sort of work aspect along with the social aspect.

So obviously, being a remote worker, what does that look like for you? Do you ever get to meet the team?

And are there any struggles around this? So at the beginning, I was also wondering how it would be.

When I started, I was the first remote worker in the Munich office in the BDR organization.

And the social aspect is important, but I think not for motivation, but more for the other things like innovation and ideas.

And therefore, we have meetings. Basically, I see the team on a daily basis, just virtually.

We have internal meetings. We have one-to-ones to talk about all these things, about new ideas, about the job, about the personal life.

So working remote, I wouldn't say you lose a lot of the social aspect, but it is different if you meet someone in person, obviously.

And therefore, we also have in-person workshops and in-person social events to meet the team.

And it's a lot of fun, especially if a lot of the people are working remotely.

It's even more exciting to meet them in person.

Yeah, definitely. And it's good that, obviously, you were the first remote worker within the BDR team, and that's now sort of increased over the last few months as well.

We have many more remote workers in Germany.

And it's great that Cloudflare offer that flexibility to be able to work from home so you can manage your home life and not feel like you need to travel into the office.

So how do you feel it's beneficial for the work that you're doing? How do you set your schedule for yourself?

You mentioned, obviously, motivation is one aspect of it, but what else is important?

I think what is also important or how I benefit from working remote is sometimes our job can be really technical.

It can be really complex.

We're working in a highly complex environment when we try to understand the challenges, the current setup of customers, the roadmap of customers.

And being able in an environment where you feel comfortable at your home is really helpful to to do this.

Instead of working in the office where it sometimes can get loud and noisy, I think it's really helpful to work in an environment where you feel safe and where you have all the things you need to focus on these highly complex things you're working on.


It's good to know that that balance is still there within the sort of work from environment.

So what would your one piece of advice be to someone who's looking to start a career within the business development representative team?

One piece of advice, I would say, be curious, try to help different people before you started, try to understand the job.

Sometimes I see people, they don't really understand the job.

They think maybe it's something else or the day to day work is another work.

So be curious and try to learn if you have the passion, because I think the passion is really important to have the motivation and to be able to do the job.

Yeah, just try to to inform yourself as much as you can before you start the job.

Yeah, no, definitely. And I think that's that's a really good point, because, you know, with with many of the speakers that we've got today, the passion is definitely a key part in what has helped them to be successful in the role, because there are other aspects of the position that you learn when you're in the position itself.

So people definitely need to be curious. So I know that recently you have been doing a lot of interviews with candidates.

You're a key person in the team to help with interviews and you speak to candidates pretty much almost every day.

So what advice would you give to candidates who are going through the interview process to ensure that they are successful?

Because we obviously do prepare everyone quite thoroughly as much as we can.

But what sort of key things do you notice when you're interviewing?

Well, the only thing I can recommend is be prepared.

I think this is the most important thing. Obviously, we give a lot of information before an interview and the candidate has all the things you need to to be prepared.

So be prepared. I think you don't need to be a Cloudflare expert, but we want to see that you invested some time learning about Cloudflare, what we are doing, who we are competing with.

And I think preparation is a key because of two reasons.

First of all, if you're prepared, it shows me the motivation. And showing the motivation is always better than talking about the motivation, you know.

And the other reason is it also gives an indication on how you would work as a BDR.

Because if you're not prepared during the interview process, most likely you will also not be prepared during the customer meetings.

And that's basically why we highly recommend you to be prepared.

And yeah, that's the advice. Okay, perfect.

Well, thank you for sharing that. And thank you for joining us today. I'm now going to invite Putri to the panel.

Hey, hey Kamal. Thanks for having me here.

That's okay. Welcome. Welcome. So we're going to be discussing today the skills that are required to be successful in a business development representative role.

I know some of the panel have already shared the sort of key skills that they feel are important, but we're going to go in a bit deeper.

So you started your career within the BDR team, within the inbound function, but you've also worked on the expansion side.

And then we do have the self serve team as well. So are you able to share the differences in terms of the work that you'd be doing?

Sure, sure. So yeah, I joined as an inbound BDR in January 2021.

So it's during the same day as Ida and Ella.

So when I started as an inbound BDR, and I was an inbound BDR for a quarter, so it was around two months, we focus on incoming leads.

So those are incoming leads coming from web form, support chats, and also phones.

And I think one of the key work that we do is to filter and qualify leads coming in.

So that once we bring it to our account executive, we already know that they have the needs, they have the budget, they have like the timeline, and they are a good fit for our products.

So I think in terms of skills needed, as an inbound BDR is the first of all active listening, because you need to, and this is especially when you answer a phone call, that phone call, you don't know when that phone will ring, you know, like, it can ring when you're reviewing, I don't know, some documents, perhaps you're also like reaching out to leads by email, and then there's the phone ring.

And so you need to be ready at all time, you need to be able to listen actively, and then understanding the cues that prospects say during the call, and also the meeting phrases that indicate if they're a good fit for products or not.

So yeah, it's all about responsiveness, reactiveness, you need to action your leads, reach out to them, when the leads are still warm, you don't want those leads to go cold, because otherwise, the chance that they're going to reply to you would be lower.

And then moving from that function to the expansion team, where we work with existing customers, so the idea behind working as an expansion BDR is to generate new business opportunities, and pipelines from existing customers.

So we don't have the luxury of getting leads directly, we need to be proactive.

So instead of being reactive, we need to be proactive, we're given a certain territory, and sometimes multiple territories for BDR, with a list of existing customers for that territory.

And we need to look, okay, which customers are we going to target, looking at their current usage, looking and trying to build their use case, so that we know once we reach out to them, we reach out in an effective manner.

And, and also, we need to work with our account executives, getting their buy in, in terms of like, what is a good account.

So you need to be able to communicate that properly with your AEs, as well as with your customers.

So it's a different approach.

Okay, great. Well, thank you for sharing it. It's interesting to know that there are differences, even though it falls within the same team.

And you recently started working as a strategy and operations analyst having progressed from the BDR team.

Are you able to share what your role involves now?

Sure. So currently, I am a go to market strategy and operations analyst.

And I am aligned to the global BDR organization. So I still work in some capacities with my former colleagues, team leads, managers.

And currently, my role is to be a trusted advisor to the BDR organization.

So and also to ensure that all BDR activities, BDR processes, and all the operations concerning the BDR organization is as effective as they could be as efficient as they could be.

And yeah, so in terms of activities itself, or like subjects or topics, we touch competition, and we also deal with the quota, with the alignment, so be it territory alignment, or BDR account executive parents.

So we deal with all those subjects.

We also deal with resources that are available to the BDR team.

So it can be in terms of tools, in terms of reporting, so for example, I do regular listening tour with team leads and managers from the BDR organization.

So checking in regarding what their current team looks like, is there anything that they would like to improve in terms of processes, in terms of activities, in terms of tools, and basically getting like a comparison between the current state of the BDR organization, and the ideal state of the BDR organization.

So that falls under my current role.

Okay, great. Thank you. I mean, you're obviously very in touch with the BDR team still.

So it must be nice to know that you're still working with some people that you used to work with.

How did being in that position prepare you for the role that you've taken now?

I think the way I see it, I am currently also the voice of the BDR team, right, because I need to communicate BDR needs to management, and vice versa.

And I think being a BDR myself, I understand the hardships and the challenges that BDR face on a day to day basis.

And also, I think being a BDR, especially expansion BDR, I was exposed to all things, reporting and analytics.

So building out reporting, either for myself, or even for my AEs. And I think that definitely helped in my current role, because we look at different sets of data, and we try to analyze the, or make sense of all the data's available and design, or perhaps implements changes based on the current data as well.

So yeah, I think being a BDR really helps me to be in tune with the human side of the analyst role, as well as preparing me for the analytic parts of that role.

Okay, great.

And there's so many different skills that have been mentioned in today's sessions around sort of how to be a successful BDR.

What did you personally do to motivate yourself?

Oh, that is a very good question. And I know that's all my colleagues, they have mentioned earlier about, you know, having the discipline, having the curiosity, I think I would like to focus on grit.

So I think being a BDR is definitely not the easiest job within the sales organization.

Some might even say that it's the toughest job within the BDR organization, because we are like the first person that will introduce our company to potential buyers, to existing customers, etc.

So I think having the grit, or perhaps the, and grit is actually a mix of all, of many things, right?

So apparently, the definition of the grit itself, it's a mixture between having the optimism, and also resilience, as well as confidence, and also having faith, which means that we can have like the toughest day.

But as long as we still have that grit, that motivation, and that belief that everything will turn all right, in the end, I think that really helps as a BDR, because, you know, it means you can also thrive under pressure.

We're dealing with quarterly pressure, we need to hit our quarterly quota, and sometimes it can be translated into like weekly quota as well.

So you have to bring in x amount of meetings per week, break generating x amount of opportunities per week, and it can be tough.

But understanding that, okay, there is this pressure, like, we have like this amount of pressure, but what can we do in order not to drown in that pressure?

And I think, you know, or maybe like, you know, telling yourself the story of how you got there, why did you apply to this role in the first place?

What do you want to make out of this role? Having a great support system as well.

I think, yeah, that is part of what can keep you going.

And Jan, for me, having the grit, knowing that things can be difficult, and also addressing that things can be difficult, but pushing yourself above your limits, I think that is one of the key skills to be a successful BDR.

Yeah, there's so many important sort of aspects to the grit that you mentioned.

And, you know, it is, I'm so glad you're being real about it and saying that the role can be challenging at times, like with like with any position.

So what did you feel was the most challenging part of the role?

And how did you overcome it? Yeah, I think the most challenging part of the role is the way that there is an aspect of unpredictability that relates to your job in a way that you don't, you don't know the outcome, or like the results of your efforts beforehand, right?

Although, okay, BDR is a sales function and sales is a numbers game, you can send out, I don't know, let's say 200 emails, you can do 50 calls, you don't know the outcome of those calls, those emails, you cannot predict beforehand, oh, okay, by doing this amount of, by sending out this amount of emails, I'm going to get this amount of return replies.

No, it doesn't work like that. There are bad days, there are bad weeks that even bad quarter, I have had a fair share of a bad quarter myself.

And I think the most challenging part is telling yourself that this is not the end.

And because like we work in a quarterly basis, right? So it's three months, you can have like a really bad first month, that is not going to define the outcome of your quarter, because you still have those two quarters, where you need to be all out, and like do give your all, etc.

And for me, it is very important to not feel like you lose before the game has ended, because it is not over until it is over and take it from someone who has hit her targets.

And the same, like, literally the the last day of the quarter, I have been in that position.

But I think that was like, my most challenging quarter was the quarter where I learned the most.

And it helped me in becoming a better BDR, because the quarters after that quarter, where we're break quarters.

And I think, during my dark days, or you know, the days where I feel like, oh, my God, this is it.

This is over. I can't do this anymore. I look back.

I look back to the moments where I started this role. And I actually have a quote printed in my, in my apartment.

And it's written in all of my agenda notes.

It's actually a quote from a very dear professor of mine when I was in the university.

And she is actually a VP in HR and organizational development. And the quote says something along this line.

So basically, in order to succeed, or in order to be successful, we must have a strong faith in the path we have chosen.

And I think, just by remembering that quote, that motivates me to stand up and restart the day, restart the quarter and tell myself, this is not the end.

I will get there, I will succeed.

And shout out as well to all my support system, a cloud player, my team leader, the managers, friends.

Because without having a proper support system, you know, you can't, I can't be where I am today.

Yeah, of course, I think it's definitely key that you need to keep believing in yourself and just kind of going over those hurdles and knowing that, you know, if today is not a great day, that tomorrow will be better.

And having that sort of positive, really positive mindset.

And it definitely helps towards success, you know, obviously, you are an example of that.

So just to end on a sort of slightly light, light hearted question, what was your favourite part of being a member of the BDR team?

Oh, I think there's a lot of, oh, well, there's so many things I like about being a member of the BDR team, especially in Cloudflare.

I think the best part of it is the ability to work, and also be friends with curious people, ambitious people, people with visions.

And it might, it might sound very cliche. But for example, I remember last year, I was already a BDR for over a year.

And then someone came in, came into and joined the team, and I could still learn from that person, you know, so it's always like, it triggers you to be, to always learn, it's an always learning culture.

And I think, also, like the friendship that you can build from, like, from just being colleagues.

And then you can have that strong friendship. So I think, I have now a few, you know, a few close friends that started just as colleagues, and now we're close, and we're, we schedule regular brunches.

I think, you know, it's great.

And bear in mind, when I started, it was during the pandemic. And even so, we managed to, to go out, to plan, to plan weekends together.

I think that that is, that is amazing.

Great. Well, thank you so much for joining us and sharing more about your experiences, Putri.

I'm now going to hand over to Daniela. All right, great.

Thank you so much, Kamal. This was really interesting. So thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories.

I would encourage all of you to now turn on your cameras, as this will be a shared segment to end the evening in a wonderful way.

And I also would encourage any viewer that wants to ask our team any questions to please do that now.

You can send us an email. There's the email on the Cloudflare TV page.

So feel free to send us any questions that you would like for us to answer, and we will do so.

So without further ado, I wanted to end this segment on a very special note, because you all started on the same day, but you've all ended up in different careers and different paths.

And, you know, you've expanded what you've learned, and you're now learning new things and, you know, doing interviews, you know, being in other teams, and that's really exciting and interesting.

So I wanted to kind of ask three questions and also leave them open. So any one of you could just jump in at any time.

So this, the first one I would like to ask is for Aida in particular, and then anyone else can just join.

But, you know, I would like to expand on the fact that you all started together and now you're doing your own thing.

How do you feel that being in Cloudflare allowed you to pursue, you know, your own goals and your own projects?

Yeah, absolutely. So it's interesting because, like we started out in the same position, we had the same goals, so to say, definitely to succeed in the role that we are in.

But, you know, like as Putri was mentioning earlier on, we started out during the pandemic.

So we had a lot of video calls together.

We were very much, you know, like interested in taking the time to get to know one another better.

And when you're working within the same team, even if you have your individual targets, every single person operates in a different way.

So we look at things quite differently. And because we were close, and I think we all know there's this awkward stage in the very beginning where, okay, we're the newbies, let's stick together, you know, and take it across the line.

And this is how it started out. So it was more like a private chat between one another.

We don't want to sound stupid in front of like being calibrated with the hours, like how to do this, how to do that.

And yeah, we picked each other's brains.

And, you know, as new BDRs further join, and you become one of the seasoned BDRs, so to say, so you become their buddy.

And you see, like, because we operate differently, we see things differently.

We were able to deviate into like different paths.

And as I mentioned earlier on, I think I spent with Ella most of the time within like the same team, especially in inbound.

So yeah, it's a very interactive team.

There's a lot of questions, because it's mainly a lot of new joiners.

So Ella found her way within the technical side and the product specialist side of things.

For me, it was more of, you know, like supporting on different aspects, a bit of coaching as well.

And like later on, I also worked with Putri, but it was more on a team lead BDR and the self-serve function.

And that was very interesting, because something that probably Putri didn't mention, she comes with an analytical background, she has like a master's degree in business analytics and all that.

And she was doing self-serve as well before. So it was a lot of teamwork and collaboration.

She's always been our go-to person in terms of reporting, still to date.

You know, I always ping her like, hey Putri, how about you help me with this?

How about you help me with that? I think it was interesting, because it's not only us that started together.

There are other people who were BDRs and moved into different roles.

It's quite helpful when you start out, you know, like together or you're part of one team, because one, you have your leverage into other functions.

Also, it helps you get more insight about different functions and how things work.

So yeah. Thank you so much for sharing. Does anyone else want to add something?

Yeah, I think in terms of pursuing my own path within Cloudflare, I did lean on Aida and Putri a lot for support.

You know, it's because we all started at the same time and we became really close friends.

I say in the past tense, we are really close friends.

Because we're now really close friends, it's always nice to have someone to message when, you know, you're having a difficult day or when you need someone to be like, I have no idea what I should do.

You know, I definitely, Aida was my team lead for a long time.

And I, you know, I joined first out of university, whereas these guys had a little bit more experience than I did.

So I did lean on them for advice in that capacity as well. And I think it's very nice, you know, it's very nice having this call where we're all in different places now.

But I've definitely learned on them a lot in terms of progression.

And you know, I had a catch up chat with Aida today. And this reminds me I need to schedule one with Putri ASAP.

So all that kind of stuff. It's really nice to have, you know, a good bunch of people beside you.

And Cloudflare is pretty good at finding a good bunch of people.

Yes, indeed. I love what you're what you're all saying about this.

And this was mentioned before as well, you know, getting support from Cloudflare and the different people that are here, not just within the BDR team, but I think a lot of teams that we engage with on a daily basis really provide us with the support that we need to be successful in our roles.

And so Ella, you were diving into this a little bit more. And it was actually my next question about, you know, how do you feel Cloudflare supports you considering in fact that it is a global company and that on a daily basis, you may be working with people that are not even in the same city, let alone the same the same country?

Yeah, absolutely. So there's a lot of Google chat in the background of any meeting of any day, a lot of speaking on Google Hangout as well, where there's a lot of conversation happening despite the geo.

And especially at the beginning, since we all joined in 2021, when it was completely over, you know, video calls, we we did a lot of video calls just to like, get to know each other and to help each other learn as well.

I remember really early on Poochie and I did did an internal challenge that sales enablement had posed and we worked together really closely on that.

And kind of, it didn't feel any different than than working with people who are based out in London in the same as me.

So having that kind of being having it over video call did help.

And it really helps you, you know, you get to know someone quite well over video call as well.

And then there's the additional bonus of when you do actually meet them in real life.

So I was I was lucky enough that we planned a little weekend in Paris, and I got to see Ida and Poochie for the first time.

And it was really lovely. And then I just come to the London office a couple times since still trying to get Poochie out here.

I'm still trying to convince her to come to London.

So being able to meet people in person after a while is, is really fun, but also getting to know them over a team meeting or chat is still, you know, in this day and age, it's still how friends are made.

So you really don't feel like you're lacking in the face to face contact, despite them being different geos, you know, throughout my time at Cloudflare, I've made friends who are in the US, who are who are in a ton of different geos.

And, you know, navigating time zones is probably the most difficult part of it.

But it's very feasible to make friends in different geos and to get to know people all over the company.

Yeah, for sure. It really is a part of being in a global company, you know, you have to deal with time zones.

But then again, you also learn so much from people from different cultures, different countries and, and the regions than you.

So so that's great. Thank you so much for sharing. And speaking of I found it interesting, because you were mentioning that, you know, you you have traveled and to other countries and met with other teams, and team members as well.

And Poochie, you and I just started in Paris together, actually. So I was curious to know how you supported each other when you started your new jobs.

And also, did you look for support somewhere at Cloudflare?

I do know that we do have ERGs for example, women in sales.

So, you know, was this something that you came across in your journey?

Yeah, sure. So I remember, yeah, as Ella mentioned, and Ida mentioned earlier, we started on the same day together.

And I think even like on the first day, we created our own group chat.

And Ida being in Paris, it was easier for me to meet Ida in person.

So when we started, we still had COVID restrictions. But once the restrictions were was lifted, I remember I invited Ida to my house, to my apartment.

And back then she was, we're just colleagues, and we only we worked together for like, I think, two months, three months.

And meeting her in person, and then afterward meeting Ella in person, I feel like, oh my god, I feel like I've known these people for such a long time.

And I think the reason behind that is because we have faced similar challenges.

I remember I think there were times where I freaked out in a call, in a customer call, it was my first customer call.

And I think I had my first customer call a little bit later than the other girls.

So I remember freaking out and like, chatting frantically, like, help girls, what should I do?

Oh my god, I don't know what these people are talking about, etc. So I think it is very, very, very important to nurture your relationship with your colleagues, because you don't know what kind of relationship that is going to transform into.

Because for me, Ida and Ella, I can definitely say that they're my friends today.

And I think it's so funny, Ida mentioned earlier about, you know, being a place where her team members can rant.

And I think she can definitely confirm that she was talking about me during our weekly one to one.

I think the first day was...

Ditto, ditto. Yeah, definitely. I think I ranted quite a lot. And literally, she would start our weekly session and I'd be like, okay, Ida, like, I don't know what to do.

I've done this and this and this, and it's still not working.

Help! And I think, you know, the fact that you can say that, and be honest to your team lead, to your manager, to your team members, asking for support, I think, you know, that is, that really helps your day to day job, and also helps you towards achieving your quota and target.

You mentioned about ERG. Oh, and I think I forgot to mention as well, I was actually part of the social committee team, like Ella.

So once the COVID restrictions were lifted, we organized quarterly social events.

So normally in the Paris office, we were to do an activity, followed by dinner.

And till this day, I still believe that we hold the best social event.

Sorry, Ella. Sorry, Ida. No, absolutely. I was I was lucky enough one time to come to the Paris social event, because I happened to be in town that day.

And I was able to do very awful karaoke with the French team, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Oh, you sound really well. Like, Ella has a really, really great voice.

Oh, yeah. And by the way, about the ERG. Yes, we do have a lot of ERG.

And I'm actually, I joined a couple of ERG myself, one of them being Women Flare and also Asian Flare as well.

And I think what is good is that we have group chats as well, group discussions.

So whether or not, so regardless your region, you can also chat to other members.

And basically, you know that you are not alone within this company.

And I think that is one of the one of the beauty, you know, at Cloudflare.

Yeah, great. Thank you so much for sharing that. So, you know, you have a lot of interesting stories I can tell.

And I think we would be here for a lot more hours to discuss all of them, because it sounds like some great adventures you've had as a team and as friends as well.

But thank you so much for sharing all of you. We do have a few viewer questions.

So I'm going to move on to that. And our first question, maybe we can start with Ida, but you know, feel free to jump in, is from a viewer that asks what kind of tools for prospecting do our BDRs use?

You know, inbound or outbound lead generation, or it differs by accounts and territories?

How do we organize prospecting in the BDR world?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, definitely it differs if we're talking about the inbound team, because they don't do a lot of prospecting.

But on the self -serve and outbound side of things, I think the tools and the approaches are quite similar.

So mainly, we work a lot with Zoom info, with intricately, with outreach.

And this is like from the outbound side of things for self-serve, we definitely use those.

And in addition to those, we also have our internal resources and tools that, you know, like allow us to get more insight and a granular approach towards the accounts that we're prospecting into.

I think I forgot Lasha as well. So it's also like one of the tools that we use to prospect.

Yeah. Great. Thank you so much for sharing. Next one, I think we can just ask Ella or anyone else wants to answer.

But you know, how well do our internal processes address things when they go wrong?

Like, when things go wrong, what exactly does Cloudflare do?

And I assume this is with a customer maybe?

Or inside the team? How do we handle, you know, not so great situations?

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, we're very, as a company, we're very candid when it comes to things that go wrong, technically.

So having that kind of public, candid approach with the blog really helps when you're speaking with customers, if, for example, something has gone wrong with an existing customer.

So that really candid approach applies internally as well.

The team is very open with anything.

And conversation is very much encouraged. So if anything were to go wrong, I don't think I have experienced anything drastically going wrong.

Aside from maybe, you know, if I was on a French call, my French is not fantastic, using the wrong tool or something like that.

I've never experienced anything drastically going wrong.

But I know that if something did, I definitely have people to go to and would have people I could rely on here as well.

You know, Ida being one of them who, as she was my team lead, would be someone that I would go to if something had gone wrong.

And if it needed escalating, she could help me do that and help me through that process.

So there's a lot of people you can rely on for things that go wrong.

Absolutely. I do think that and adding just my two cents, I do think that Cloudflare is a pretty transparent company, especially when things go wrong.

Like you mentioned, we do have the blog and we do post and explain when we make a mistake because we are, you know, flawed as everyone else in the world.

So, of course, we're meant to make mistakes sometimes.

But on a macro, you know, macro perspective, we do admit to things when they go wrong internally, when there's an issue with a client or even among the team.

It's great to know that we will always be supported.

I've never felt myself that anyone would point the finger at me and, you know, blame me for anything.

So I feel very confident and I feel very comfortable with admitting that I did something that I now understand was not correct and taking the steps to resolve that.

So there's really not a culture of blame.

And I actually I did a webinar about it a to blame. And so, like, if you do type in your credentials into, you know, a website, that's not what you think it is, something like that, you know, there's if you're open about it and you speak to the security and response team, like there's there's not a lot of blame that happens for mistakes.

There's an understanding that, you know, you're not a robot.

You're not you're not, you know, necessarily going to see everything. And so having that kind of not completely blameless, taking responsibility for your actions, but also, you know, a culture of honesty and.

Personal responsibility as well is really great.

Yeah, absolutely. So I wanted to ask as well, you know, and it's Katie for Putri.

What are one of your recent wins and how did you orchestrate that?

Do you have any such story that you could share with us? Yeah, sure. So I think and this, again, comes from a place where, you know.

Managing your fear, because I remember and especially this was two years ago in 2021, I was clouded by fear.

I was scared of not doing the right thing, of not working as I should have worked.

And I think coming from that place and addressing myself that, hey. OK, you've had like a bad quarter, but you need to move on and you need to start again from scratch and learn more.

And I think that's what prompted my win later on in 2022.

And I think one of my latest win, although I wouldn't. It was an achievement, but so in terms of when I was recognized as the top expansion BDR in Q2 2022, thanks Ida and thanks all the managers.

And it was and I was also awarded with the million dollar awards in 2021 and 2022.

And I think winning is actually, it's not just a result of what you do right, but it's also a result of hard work and working with others around you because you cannot.

I mean, I couldn't have arrived there without the people supporting me, be it my team leads, my managers, my account executive, because we are the one generating the meeting, right, scheduling the meeting, getting the account executives buy in regarding that meeting, getting them to understand that, OK, this meeting is important, this client is important, this customer would be a great potential.

That is also hard work to do because sometimes people have different perspectives regarding things.

So I think, yeah, my last win, I definitely owe it to everyone around me.

It was a teamwork. And also I did that by acknowledging my fear and not letting my fear get in the best of me.

Thank you so much for sharing Cloutry. You know, sometimes or most of the time we are our biggest enemies.

So it's great that we know we can learn to move forward and do our best and it pays off.

Congratulations on your award. Very well deserved.

But yeah, thank you so much for sharing. We have just one more question. Feel free to jump in and answer.

The question is, what are the main challenges we have in terms of getting engaged with customers?

Yeah, I think I will jump in.

So, yeah, one of the challenges of getting engaged with getting the customer engagement is first of all, we need to ask ourselves questions, right?

So have we targeted the right customers? Have we reached out to them through the right channels?

So and also catching them at the right time. So, for example, especially I'm speaking from a expansion beta perspective, right?

We have a set list of users, of their existing customers, right?

We need to understand also like their journey, their usage.

Are they ready to move forward to use our advanced plans and products?

Do you think that they are in that path? And if they are, then it will be easier for us to get their engagements because they're already ready through, you know, by looking at different data.

And then in terms of like channels as well, have we reached out to them correctly?

Looking at the customer profile, who to reach out to?

I think it is also important because we can't just reach out blindly to an account, reach out to people who are not perhaps relevant for the subject.

So we are a cyber security company, we need to target certain persona within a company, right?

So the same channel, have we used the right channel?

Have we used the right messaging? Messaging is very important. Have we used the right sequence, right template?

And also timing. Timing is also important because people, like if we were to target C-level people, their day is packed, very busy.

They don't have time to look at their email. They will look at their email at a certain time.

So we need to also find that perfect spot to send them an email.

So yeah, those are like the challenges to get engagements. And also I think, and also the importance of using the right campaigns as well.

I think it is very important.

So we work with the marketing team for campaigns and also setting up events as well.

So yeah, those are how we deal with challenges in terms of customer engagements.

Great, thank you so much for sharing.

Ella? I think also from like the inbound perspective, when you're getting people who are coming to you, obviously the interest is there.

The side of the coin that we're dealing with there is, you know, what actually do they need?

And is it something that is actually feasible that we can do?

And so in those kind of cases, we're working really closely with the solutions engineers and asking them technical questions, as well as doing a lot of technical research on our own.

Sorry, as well as doing a lot of technical research on our own and understanding, you know, what is that problem?

How do we solve it? You know, in tech, there's a lot of different words for different things and understanding, you know, what do they mean when they're talking about UDP and TCP and, you know, layer three network and failover and things like that.

Understanding what are those terms actually mean and what is the equivalent Cloudflare product?

And there's a lot of resources to help with that and the initial learning, as well as, you know, the team to help the questions and the solutions engineering team to help with the really, really technical questions that no one on the team can get.

So as our last resort, the SE is a fantastic help in making sure that we understand what is the need and can we actually do this as well?

Yeah, thank you so much for sharing. It's great information.

And I think everything that you've said so far, all of you have really highlighted the importance of teamwork and cross-functional work as well.

And another thing, this is just my personal comments. Maybe you would like to comment on this as well, but I feel like a lot of things must have changed when it comes to outreach and customer engagement after the pandemic.

I can imagine that, you know, needs and wants and requirements have changed maybe a little bit drastically.

Like I would say people would be more picky about when they're being contacted or how to reach them.

Like even from a company perspective, we all have different ways of preferring to be reached.

So with an email or chat or, you know, a phone call or whatever.

So do you feel that either maybe you could answer, you know, do you think there's been a change?

Yeah, I think it's a really good question.

We've seen changes definitely, but what is quite interesting is that it differs from one region to another because some of them just like absolutely love you calling them and just that, and others don't want to be bothered with the call, you know, like send everything through emails.

It's quite interesting actually to see how the outreach looks like within every single region.

And it's so funny how drastic it is.

What actually changed is actually the products and the solutions that companies are interested in rather than how you reach out to them.

It's not the method as much as it's the content or what you're going to talk to them about or what you're going to be pitching.

And yeah, I mean, Zero Trust has become more and more in need and more and more friendly as of the beginning of the pandemic and, you know, like how all of the business models of companies have changed.

Even us at Cloudflare, I mean, it was more like being in the office and now you have a lot of people who are working remotely or those who are in a hybrid format and this reflected also across different industries and different companies.

So yeah, it's not only the way we reach out to them, but also what they're interested in.

Great. Thank you so much for sharing. That was my personal question.

I was very curious to know. All right. So this is it in terms of questions.

I think we've answered all of them. We have three minutes to go. So I wanted to ask all of you, maybe starting with Ella, you know, Cloudflare is growing a lot.

We're hiring a lot still and we plan on continuing to grow the teams, whether it be the RO or any other teams in the sales department.

So, you know, if you could give maybe a few words of encouragement or advice or, you know, something that you would like to share as the final words on this panel with someone who is considering applying for Cloudflare, considering joining the sales team or starting a career in sales, what would you say?

Wow, big one. I think if you're curious and you're interested, then we'd love to speak with you.

Generally, I also have done a lot of interviews in my time and those are the people that I've most enjoyed the conversations with are the people who, off the bat, you know that they're curious and interested.

And, you know, that's something we really strongly value.

I think I haven't met anyone at Cloudflare who is not a very curious person, as well as someone who is very good at both listening and speaking in terms of the sales team side of things.

You know, it's a lot of people who are really strong communicators and people who are really curious about tech and the industry in general, as well as, you know, those kind of customer interactions, people who like just generally speaking with people is something that I find really valuable in the people I work with.

And generally, I really love the people I work with.

I love working here. I think it's really interesting technologically. And, you know, I'm lucky to say that some of my really close friends are also people that I've met through Cloudflare.

And I think that's a real privilege and a testament to the people that Cloudflare hires.

Yeah. Thank you. Putri, what about you?

Definitely. I think, you know, definitely, definitely apply at Cloudflare because even the interview process itself, I mean, I didn't feel like I was being interviewed.

It felt like a mutual discussion, just learning to get to know each other.

So for the interviewers, you get to learn the interviewee and vice versa as well.

Like you ask questions. So, yeah, I mean, be yourself, be genuine, be authentic.

And yeah, interview at Cloudflare. Great. Thank you. Nice pitch. Aida, last but not least.

Yeah. So if you're driven, if you're interested in being challenged in the best ways possible, apply.

Like that's the place to be, to be honest.

Great. Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you, Kamal, for putting this together.

Thank you, everyone who joined for the panel. It was really interesting.

I hope our viewers enjoyed it and you can always replay it back later on Cloudflare TV.

So don't miss it. Reach out to us if you want to apply or are interested in a role and we'll all see you very soon.

Thank you very much. Thank you. Bye.

Thank you. Have a nice evening.