2021, University of Applied Sciences of Turku, Finland

An interview with Salesforce SVP Sales EMEA, Niall Brady

Q: Salesforce is the World’s leading cloud-based CRM provider. How important is active sales despite the enormous brand awareness?

Active sales is a hugely important part of the strategy of Salesforce globally. Brand awareness is further enhanced when new customers are wildly successful and tell their stories to others. We have a large sales team globally at Salesforce which continues to accelerate our growth by adding new customers and also by helping our existing customers to find new solutions to business problems. Our success at Salesforce comes from helping to make our customers wildly successful.

Q: What is essential for your business success, personal sales or sales support (direct marketing, social media, congresses, trade fairs)?

Our focus on continued innovation drives customer success, and nothing is more important to us than the success of our customers. In terms of go-to-market strategy, Salesforce relies on a number of strategies to engage with our customers from live events to digital and social strategies. In more recent times, our Marketing teams have pivoted to deliver high quality online events for business leaders which we call “Leading Through Change”. These events are both educational and entertaining with top quality guest speakers who tackle the most relevant issues facing businesses at this time. We are currently launching Dreamforce To You which brings all of the fun, innovation, and learning to our dedicated community of Trailblazers with bespoke experiences and industry icons.

Q: You act globally as a company, what are the biggest challenges in sales?

As a fast growing organisation, one of our biggest challenges is to ensure that our sales teams are educated on all of our products and sales methodologies so that they can provide the highest levels of service to our customers. As many of our organisation now work at home, our challenge has been to deliver the same high quality learning experience digitally. There’s no doubt that collaboration in a physical environment like an office space is something that we miss, but we have been blown away by the adaptability and energy that we are seeing from our employees in terms of their desire to learn as they work from home. Our Trailhead learning platform keeps all of our employees up to speed on everything they need to know and it is our goal to certify all employees as Trailhead Rangers, meaning that they will become experts in all things Salesforce.

Q: What characteristics do you look for in new sales employees?

Our sales teams need to be able to engage with our customers who may be business owners or senior business leaders in larger organisations. This means that they need to have high levels of business acumen, good listening skills, passion and a desire to find the right solution for our customers.

Q: Do you offer your sales staff further training opportunities (examples such as negotiation techniques, objection handling, dealing with stressful situations, …)?

Yes, we provide online training to our employees via Trailhead and we supplement this training with live training both in our offices and outside with selected training providers on various topics including negotiation, prospecting etc.

Q: Salesforce is the gold sponsor of the European Sales Competition 2020 (ESC2020) at the University of Applied Sciences, Wiener Neustadt, Austria. What connects a software company like Salesforce with a sales competition?

Salesforce is passionate about sales as our company name would suggest. Our original product in 1999 was a salesforce automation app which revolutionised the way people sell. We are continuously looking to improve the experience for both sales teams and customers.

Q: What goals are you pursuing at an event such as the European Sales Competition (ESC)?

At Salesforce, we have a passion for sales – and attending events such as the European Sales Competition is exciting for us. Being at the forefront of innovation when it comes to Sales and customer engagement is key; and at the ESC, we have the opportunity to meet with some of the brightest student minds in sales, exchange ideas, and hopefully hire some of the sales leaders of the future at Salesforce! The European Sales Competition is one of the highlights of our campus calendar; there is a real energy and innovative spirit that shines through at this event every year – and these are characteristics that we also look for when we hire for our Sales organisation.

Q: Have you already been able to recruit new employees from similar events?

Absolutely, the European Sales Competition has given Salesforce the opportunity to meet with and hire some of the brightest graduates in sales. Our Futureforce University Recruiting program is dedicated to attracting, retaining, and cultivating the next generation of talent. With a dynamic and well-established Sales Graduate Program, our Sales graduates have the opportunity to make a tangible impact on our business as well as grow their careers quickly at Salesforce.

Q: Last question: What tips would you give the participants for the European Sales Competition?

Enjoy it. Sales should be fun and people who are successful in sales tend to really love their job. Making connections with people and helping customers to find the solution to business problems is a rewarding career.

Thank you for the interview. We are already looking forward to the European Sales Competition (ESC2020) at the online platform of the Wiener Neustadt University of Applied Sciences on December 1st – 3rd 2020. 

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