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From Philanthropy to Tech Sales: Growing a Thriving Career at Salesforce

Favour Nwachukwu

January 04, 2021

Julie Krols, Business Development Representative (BDR) at Salesforce, has an insatiable appetite for growth and learning. Since joining Salesforce, she’s felt right at home with a world of opportunities at her fingertips.

In just 2 years, Julie has blazed her trail through three sales roles and an international relocation to Dublin, Ireland — and she shows no signs of stopping there.

A Jill of many trades

Jill smiles.Julie Krols, Business Development Representative (BDR) at Salesforce.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Antwerp in Belgium, Julie decided to get her master’s degree in the same subject.

“After I earned my master’s degree in economics, I wanted to know a bit more about the global challenges of today, such as the different levels of development between nations and how they’re tackled. So, I started an internship at the United Nations in New York City.”

During her internship, she worked on projects analyzing developing countries' access to basic needs. “This sparked my interest even more in these kinds of topics. So I did another master’s degree in development studies in Madrid, followed by a traineeship at the European Commission in their auditing department.”

Julie’s innate curiosity led her straight to Salesforce. “I have a lot of interests, and I don’t want to be kept in a little box yet. Knowing that, at Salesforce, I can still go in all directions is part of what attracted me to the company.”

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From economic development to tech sales

Though international development took center stage for much of Julie’s work history, sales had always been a supporting character in her story. As a student, Julie worked in a high-end clothing boutique as a sales associate. She quickly fell in love with deep listening and partnering with the customer to ultimately “send women out of the store happy.”

“Sales [is] consulting and supporting people and companies with their growth ambitions.
If you think about it that way — that’s fun, right?”

- Julie Krols

Eventually, her aptitude for sales grew beyond a student job. After her internship and traineeship in development, Julie wanted to explore the private sector. “I wanted to experience a more fast-paced environment where you can grow and learn fast. That’s something the private sector is known for,” she explains.

With an upbringing steeped in practices of gratitude and giving back, Julie knew Salesforce for its philanthropic efforts. “It was important I worked for a company where philanthropy and giving back were central to the culture. We all know this has always been part of the Salesforce DNA, and it’s also at the heart of whatever I’ve done or will do in my life.”

The Salesforce 1-1-1 model, coupled with glowing culture reviews and endless growth opportunities, sealed the deal for Julie and she soon embarked on her new sales journey as a business development associate. Six months later, she was promoted to sales development representative, and then to her current role as a BDR.

A day-in-the-life of a BDR

Julie with her Salesforce colleagues.

Unsurprisingly, Julie has taken to the spontaneity and diversity of the role. “Every day is different. Sometimes you’re not prepared for the day to go as it does, which, for me, makes it interesting.”

Working on the enterprise market, Julie stays aligned with her account directors, account managers, and regional vice president (RVP) at all times. “Our day-to-day conversations are filled with strategies on how we can support the companies in our portfolio to help reach their growth ambitions.”
Julie with her Salesforce colleagues.

At any time, her daily priorities can change based on the needs of the customer. Julie shares that many prospects still think of Salesforce as a sales solution. So when they hear about Net Zero Cloud for sustainability tracking or other products in the Customer 360 platform, they get excited.

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“Suddenly we’re jumping on a call with the RVP and account executives to determine how to position ourselves as the leading solution for the customer. It changes your whole day because customer success is our top priority.”

Consistent with her student job days, Julie’s favorite part of her BDR role is connecting with customers and active listening. “I love our conversations with customers and prospects, where we think about their challenges and how we can potentially solve them. Like I said with the clothing boutique; hopefully, these people walk out of the shop happy.”

Relocating to Dublin with Salesforce

Julie’s interests have taken her to some incredible places. New York City, Madrid, and now Dublin
Julie and Salesforce colleague, Roos, hiking on the West Coast of Ireland.

Julie and a friend hiking.
Julie and Salesforce colleague, Roos, hiking on the West Coast of Ireland.

“The relocation — amazing.” She describes how smooth the process was. “Salesforce works with external partners to facilitate the relocation. They reached out to me themselves and were very available for calls and emailing.”

Now, she’s taking in Dublin’s scenery and enjoying the community. “I’m really happy in Dublin. The vibes and the atmosphere of all these young people working in tech companies is great. I’m a nature person, so the nature in Ireland is beyond amazing. This weekend we’re going on a surf trip — just taking the car and exploring the nature and sea sights.”

Julie started with Salesforce remotely but chose to relocate to Ireland to be near the larger business development team. “I’m glad I made this decision. The experience in the office is so much better. Even though I still 100% feel like part of Salesforce while working remotely, I get to connect with more people in the office. There are people in the elevator or at the coffee machine that I suddenly meet and learn from.”

The office is not the only place she’s building strong connections; her team has also bonded over volunteering. Julie has enjoyed getting back to in-person events and sustainability projects. From trash picking to organizing a zero-waste cooking class, she’s excited to continue taking advantage of the seven paid days of volunteer time off given to all employees.

Julie and others with trash bags and pickers.
Julie at her first in-person, team volunteering event in Dublin.

Staying rooted while branching out

Like through much of her life, continuous learning has been the driving force behind Julie’s growth within Salesforce. “There’s an open learning culture at Salesforce where everyone is willing to help. That’s what has made me grow throughout my sales career, for sure. I’m sure if we were able to Slack Marc Benioff and say ‘Can you help me here?’ he would want to help us out. That’s the culture at Salesforce.”

“There’s an open learning culture at Salesforce where everyone is willing to help.

That’s what has made me grow throughout my sales career, for sure.”

- Julie Krols

With the encouragement of leadership and colleagues, Julie expresses interest in eventually merging her passions for the public and private sectors by becoming a Salesforce consultant for NGO customers through, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce. “I would love to make this move within Salesforce if I still want to merge the two in the future.”

But for now, Julie says she’s very happy in sales and has much more to learn before making any major leaps. She imparts a final piece of advice to encourage those hesitant on considering a new career in tech sales.

“Sales can have a negative connotation from movies and media. We should walk away from this generalization and perceive sales more as consulting and supporting people and companies with their growth ambitions. If you think about it that way — that’s fun, right? It’s fun to be part of a field that helps companies grow and rethink how they connect with their customers.”

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