Building Powerful Personal Brands: Tips From Three Successful Women In Sales
July 12, 2023
In the fast-paced world of sales — where building relationships, closing deals, and helping customers achieve extraordinary results are the keys to success — receiving guidance from seasoned professionals is invaluable. Recently, Fairygodboss, a platform dedicated to helping women achieve their career goals, hosted an inspiring panel discussion featuring top Sales Executives at Salesforce, who shared their stories, insights, and strategies on how to succeed. Here’s what these powerful women had to say:
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Passion, Balance, and Growth
With 15+ years of diverse sales experience, Tina Lai is an advocate for technology and empowering businesses to embrace the future. Tina established her career helping early-stage startups to realize their full revenue potential. After working as an independent consultant and constantly recommending Salesforce to all her clients, Tina realized that she belonged at Salesforce. Since then, she has been an integral part of the Salesforce team, dedicating her professional career to helping others advance in both tech and sales. Tina spoke to the keys to her career success:
Q: Where do you start when building your personal brand?
Building a brand starts with finding something that you're really passionate about and elevating that part of you to make it into a unique representation of who you are. It means being authentic and sharing a part of you that is a real part of you, not a made up part of you.
When you're building a brand you're passionate about, the authenticity will come. The most important part about staying authentic is to remember who you are, where you came from, your mission, and your values.
Know that you are not your brand. It does not define you. It's just something that is supposed to drive you and be a reflection of the best parts of you.
Q: What skills do you believe have helped you the most throughout your sales career?
Resilience: Be able to bounce back and not let things get to you and be okay with rejection.
Humility: Stay grounded and humble, understand that there's always more to learn, and be true to your values.
Ability to challenge the status quo: Always try to find a better way to do something and not just take the status quo as a general source of truth. But don't reinvent the wheel if something is already working.
Authenticity: Don't try to fit into a rigid style of sales. Make it your own and be comfortable and proud enough to do you.
Q: How do you balance personal and professional priorities in a demanding sales role, and maintain a healthy work-life balance?
If you're home, be a hundred percent present with your family, dogs, husband, wife, whatever it is. Don't check your text messages, Slack messages, or emails.
I learned this tip from Brendan Burchard, a life coach. He does this trick where — even though he works at home — he will stand in the doorway to his office and say out loud, “On this side of the door, I am the best darn salesperson ever. And on the other side of this door I am the best husband and father ever.” When he walks through the door, he resets, and then he becomes that person. So I started doing that and it works!
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
A lot of times when you get comfortable, you get a bit complacent. There were times in my career where I was very comfortable, and that's kind of when the biggest change happens. So, always be pushing the envelope, always be pushing yourself. And when you start to get comfortable, that's when the complacency kicks in, so be able to check yourself.
Overcome, Celebrate and Persist
Salma Ferdowsi, a dynamic and results-driven leader, began her sales career at Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce, five and a half years ago, supporting grassroots nonprofit organizations. She quickly advanced to a sales leadership role and currently leads the Western N.A. Small Business Nonprofit Sales team. Passionate about social impact, Salma fosters an inclusive, collaborative, and growth-oriented team environment. She finds motivation in serving nonprofit customers and witnessing her team's success and impact. Salma offered her wisdom:
Q: How have you overcome any challenges or obstacles you’ve faced as a woman in the sales industry?
Most often I find my internal barriers are the ones that I created for myself. What I find day-to-day being a challenge is the comparison trap of comparing myself to others. And it's so important to take a deep breath in those moments. Realize where you were two, three years ago. Celebrate the accomplishments and have your eyes on the short-term goals.
Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to build their personal brand and sales?
Lean into your larger community and take time to reflect, but also seek feedback from your peers and managers. Be prepared and think about ways you can be proactive.
Network effectively and with a purpose. Lead with your core values, gratitude, and always do the right thing.
Q: How has building a powerful brand helped you in your career?
Your brand is everything. It is your reputation. It also represents your overall impact and plays a huge role in helping you grow your career. At a company like Salesforce, your brand is how you show up every single day for your customers, for your peers, for your managers.
It takes time to build a brand. It's not something that happens overnight, but I would say it's truly an ever-evolving, living resume of yours. Be patient, and your hard work will pay off. You do not have to have the next ten years figured out. Opportunities will open up, people will reach out, continue doing the hard work day in and day out, and those doors will open.
Build, Nurture, and Learn
Jasmine Garrett is an Account Executive at Salesforce, specializing in the Communications, Media, and Technology industries. With a focus on maintaining and expanding customer relationships, she analyzes strategic business needs to align Salesforce as a solution partner. Jasmine also holds leadership roles in the National Sales Network's South Florida Chapter and is an events co-lead for Salesforce's employee resource group, BOLDforce. Jasmine delved into the tools that have propelled her career:
Q: How can you build and nurture relationships with clients or customers based on your experience?
Relationship building. Building that strong foundation to have trust in me helps me be able to maximize my potential with a customer, and make sure that I'm setting them up for success.
Trust. Having them trust you naturally starts to build that type of relationship. Research also helps to foster that relationship, and LinkedIn is a cheat code. See where they went to school, see what they like to do, things like that help break the ice and those conversations make those things relatable. Tap into what their core values are and nurture them.
Q: How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the sales field?
In our roles, it is important to stay on top of the trends in sales, but also the trends of our customers. A lot of my customers are growing or coming from the startup phase and moving into that enterprise area of their portfolio, so researching, tagging onto different things, and being able to understand what they're going through is huge on staying up to date with trends.
Sales Navigator on LinkedIn is a godsend. Utilizing that, putting in what customers you want to see or sales trends — that is a great way to stay on top of what's going on with the market, as well as what's going on with your individual clients.
If you missed the live session, don’t worry! Watch the full recording of the Fairygodboss webinar “Building a Powerful Personal Sales Brand: Tips from Successful Women” here!