The power of SALES

For this blog post, I interviewed my mother Glynis Pacheco who is a Senior Customer Success Manager at the San Francisco, California based Technology company called New Relic. New Relic specialized in developing cloud-based software to help companies, websites and application owners track the performances of their services. 

My mother in particular plays a key role in maintaining relationships with customers specifically the Canadian top accounts, ensuring that they see success in utilizing New Relic products and continue to see the value New Relic provides. 

In this interview, we dive into the company, her position, the power of being skilled in sales based and customer-facing roles.  

Introductory: 

What are the main duties and responsibilities of your role?

To ensure subscription renewals take place – year after year subscriptions are renewed to make sure the customer adopts the New Relic platform and uses it as much as possible. 

How would you explain what your job is to a ten-year-old?

 To make sure my customers use the software as much as possible and buy more of the product. 

What previous jobs have you held?

In the last 15 years I have worked in IT and in similar roles as customer success, customer advocacy and sales account management. 

How did you get started in this line of work?

I was interested in getting into sales because I realized how much money people could make and my first job at HP was an executive assistant to the sales VP. Then I got into inside sales, sales support and later became a salesperson. This is when I realized there were openings for customer success. 

Industry Trends: 

What factors (i.e. technology, policy changes) could impact the way you do your job in the next 5 years?

Cloud adoption and evolving technology can affect how my job gets done.  This is because technology changes and evolves quickly and staying abreast of these changes can be challenging. 

What is a typical career path in this industry?

A typical career path starts in sales support to work yourself into inside sales and then account management. When you get a full understanding of the portfolio, what the company sells and the adoption model of your customers, you can get into this role. 

If your job was suddenly eliminated, what kinds of work do you feel prepared to do?

Sales, account management – anything to do with sales and customer-facing roles. 

Can you describe the outlook for employment in this field?

This field is a brand new field – it has come about in the last 5 years simply because technology companies and other companies understand that post-sale is very important to maintain and keep your existing customers. This is because it is harder and more expensive to gain a new customer than to maintain a customer you already have. 

Strengths and Interests: 

What initially sparked your interest in this field?

Being customer-facing and able to solve customer problems is what made me interested in this role. 

What qualities do you think a person needs to be successful in your job?

You need to be outgoing, able to be strategic in your partnerships with your customers, get to what their end problem is and find out what is important to them. After doing this, you need to be strong in problem-solving to put together a plan to show the customer how your product addresses their problem. 

What interests you least about the job or creates the most stress?

Administrative tasks create the most stress for this position this is because I much rather interact with the customers than perform the back-end tasks. 

What is most personally satisfying to you about this role?

Addressing a customer need, making sure things happen on time, successfully growing a relationship with a customer. 

Culture and Values: 

How would you describe the atmosphere here and the people that you work with?

This company still acts like a start-up company even though we are over 1000 employees. What I like is that people are willing to help and jump into everything that you ask for. 

What work-related values are strongest in this type of work (job security, high income, variety, independence, a worthy cause)?

High income as well as job variety because you work with different kinds of customers, different end-users with different needs. 

What do you think sets apart this company/organization compared to others in the field?

It comes down to value and management. The product doesn’t distinguish you because there are many different companies who sell the same kind of product. It ultimately comes down to company values and the strengths of the company and how socially engaged and responsible they are. 

What does your organization or manager do to support work-life balance?

Work-life balance is very important because all of us at the workplace realize that it's not only about work, it's about making a good income but also having a great life. We are all at a stage where we believe work is not fun if you don’t have fun in your personal life as well. 

Advice:

If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself?

Yes, I would have gone down this path much earlier. 

What kinds of experience, paid or unpaid, would you encourage for anybody pursuing a career in this field?

Doing more for others around you helps you get a perspective needed for this job (human-centered design) – understanding and getting involved with your community

Would you recommend that an undergraduate student interested in this field pursue grad school or further training?

You don’t need to pursue grad school – customer success has many levels and there are many entry-level positions available out there. You start small and grow into this role. 

What’s the best piece of advice that you have received throughout your career?

Always approach problems with a human-centered design approach – especially when you’re interacting with customers and their problems. One solution for one customer may not be a viable solution for another customer. 

Reflection: 

Even though this interview was with my mother, I learned a lot of valuable information. Generally, the idea of working in sales tends to leave a bad taste in the mouths of many individuals, myself included – but after conducting this interview, it has opened my eyes to the reality that sales and customer success is not that “scary” or “daunting” but rather, can be a very enjoyable career path that is fulfilling and fruitful.

What resonated with me most about this interview was that understanding and approaching problems through a human-centered approach enables you to see things from the perspective of another whether it be a customer, co-worker or even a friend. This is an essential skill that not only permeates in sales or customer-facing positions but rather is important regardless of the path you take or the career you aim to achieve in the future.