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From Sales to Startup Consultant: How This Futureforce New Grad Blazed Her Own Trail with Salesforce

Salesforce Careers

September 01, 2019

Landing your first job is a big deal. But landing your first job at Salesforce? That’s even bigger, as it means you’re joining our Futureforce! Futureforce is our intern and new grad program which provides recruits across the globe with professional development and exposure to our top leaders and groups as they launch their careers with us.


We caught up with former Futureforce New Grad, Emi Sagayama, from our Japan office, to hear more about how her career journey at Salesforce has taken shape in its first year.

Salesforce Tower Tokyo, located at the Nippon Life Marunouchi Garden Tower in the heart of the vibrant Marunouchi neighborhood.

1. What made you decide to work at Salesforce?

I was initially curious about how passionate Salesforce employees are about the company. Salesforce employees always speak so highly of the company and their experience of the company culture. They also genuinely love and believe in their products so much.


I’d never seen people so invested and involved in a company’s culture, products, and values when I was in University so I was very drawn to it and wanted to know more about the company.


Before I joined, I also heard about Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model➚. I had never volunteered before this, but I was interested and excited to try it.


2. What is the best part of your role, and what is the most challenging part of your role?

The best part of my role is being able to talk with entrepreneurs directly and facilitate a transformation in their business.


On the flip side, I would have to say the most challenging part is getting a deep understanding of their business so that I can find the right Salesforce products for them to help enhance their business processes. Finding solutions to a customer’s needs is like finding them the perfect, customized “fit” if you will, so it’s not just black and white. It’s one of the best parts, but also one of the most challenging.


3. How did you progress within the company to get to your current position?

I learned the foundations for a career in sales in my first role as a Sales Development Representative (SDR), where I acquired skills such as how to identify pain points for leads and customers to better address their needs.


After that, I progressed to my current role as a Commercial Sales Account Executive where I map out new customer journeys and strategies for startups. In this role, I faced more challenges and growth opportunities to develop my sales skills further when I first started out. I learned how to find agile solutions for companies that are growing quickly and may be cash strapped. It required a hands-on approach and I spent a lot of time making sure my customer’s needs were constantly being met and that we were adjusting their product plans as the company evolved to make sure the solutions I gave them were always up to date with their current issues.

Emi and her team.

4. What was your career development as far as your job titles? And what did it take to move up at Salesforce?

The typical career progression for someone in my position would be to go from being a Sales Development Representative (SDR), to a Business Development Representative (BDR), to an Account Executive (AE). When I started out in my role at Salesforce, I loved honing my sales skill set and it was my goal to eventually become promoted to an AE. However, someone on my team introduced me to projects that involved working with entrepreneurs, startups, and new businesses. I took to it right away and decided I wanted to incorporate my passion for startups and small businesses into my career track.


Today, I’m an Account Executive in Commercial Sales for small businesses. I love learning about how entrepreneurs think and helping them find solutions to their pain points with the power of our Salesforce CRM. Throughout my journey, I learned that it’s important to stay open to new projects and not keep yourself pigeonholed to the career track you think you’ll stay on. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have discovered my interest in the startup world!


5. What advice do you have for new grads just starting out their careers at Salesforce?

Try everything at least once - even if you're not initially intrigued by a project, you may be surprised to find it interests you or helps you grow. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible. And last but not least, nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing; it’s an important part of being able to show up as your best self for work and in life. 


 Want to learn more about Futureforce? Check out our program, teams, and explore open roles here. Curious about how we transformed our legendary internship program to a completely virtual experience for our 700 interns across the globe? You’re not alone! Read this blog to see how we created the coveted Salesforce experience for a new digital world.

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