Tell us a bit about yourself and your career so far?
I actually started my career in sales recruitment, which I loved and it gave me so much insight into tech sales.
From there I was approached by a tech company I recruited for and started a junior account management role, but was quickly given some of their largest accounts to manage.
I decided to travel to South America on my own in my mid-twenties and met two other backpackers in Bolivia. They mentioned they were going to Australia so I booked a ticket and here I am today!
There was quite a lot of change in my career from then. I managed a team in Australia briefly for the same company I worked for before I left, and then took a role with AT&T selling cyber security. I absolutely loved that job, especially when I moved back to the UK and managed most of the UK’s MSSPs. I met some incredible people and had an incredible manager who had a really big impact on my career. Cyber security was fascinating but I had always been interested in martech because psychology and data had always been really interesting to me. Particularly, the reason why people buy things, and data around their user journey. That is how I landed my role at LUX back in January 2022.
You’ve worked across London and Sydney throughout your career. What are some of the differences in selling in Europe vs. APAC?
Oh my gosh, the difference is huge.
Selling in the UK was very bullish, you have so much more competition but also decision-makers don’t mind being asked tough questions and being challenged. In Australia, I find much more success in a softer approach, and sales are based more on relationships and referrals. To be honest I thrive on building solid relationships with people so I much prefer the Australian way.
Your nominator and CEO, Joel, mentioned you played a big role in reshaping the GTM process at Longtail UX, can you share a bit about your approach?
To be honest, when I started in the role I felt so out of my depth because I tried to overcomplicate things and felt as though I couldn’t get anything wrong. I have learnt so much more from what hasn’t worked, than what has, and is willing to make suggestions that are left of centre or could be totally wrong. We didn’t have a targeted approach to sales previously, and we needed to figure out where we fit in the market. I feel like we know who our tech works really well for now, and have an outreach strategy that is much higher in conversion than previously. We made a lot of assumptions about what large retailers wanted, but have now taken a step back to actually ask them.
How do you motivate your team to scale in an uncertain market such as the current one we’re experiencing?
I think when it feels like things may be going badly it is really important to focus on the positives and to be enthusiastic. Negativity spreads quickly through a team, and as a leader if you aren’t demonstrating enthusiasm and positivity, then it is highly unlikely your team will be feeling that way, and that then spills into customer interactions. I won’t lie, being constantly enthusiastic is hard, but it’s so important to maintain a positive attitude to keep everyone going.
I would also say that being adaptable is important. If the strategy needs to be amended slightly based on the market, then so be it, and it is imperative that you empower your team to provide feedback on how they would do things differently.
Many people find themselves in a player/coach role like you are – What’s your advice for juggling sales account management and sales leadership?
This was something else I struggled with when I started leading a team. Finding a balance between doing your own work and helping those in your team is really tricky, and I ended up in back-to-back meetings every day which lost me time working on new business. Ultimately, asking your team what they need help with rather than assuming, and prioritising, is the simplest way of making sure you can achieve juggling both successfully.
What advice would you give women looking to start their career in tech sales?
My biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to get into tech sales is that it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, and if it is, your targets will likely increase. Only partially joking about that. Sales is hard, and sometimes you will get no’s that you didn’t quite expect, but it’s about managing the sales process as efficiently and effectively as possible to minimise those surprises. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses!
What are you reading/listening to that you’re excited about?
I am actually reading a really interesting book called ‘influence is your superpower’ at the moment, which I highly recommend. It is as the title says, but it is really well written which keeps my ever-wandering attention, and also provides several anecdotes to better explain psychological theories which I found really helpful.
Authors Note: Thank you so much to Sophie for joining us this month. She was an absolute please to interview just glowing through the screen, I can definitely see what compelled her CEO to nominate her.
To follow Sophie’s career journey find her LinkedIn profile here.
If you like content like this, please check out interviews with our previous Woman to Watch Honourees by clicking here.