This episode of Helpshift Introduces features Keri Combs, an Account Executive. Keri illustrates why she joined Helpshift from Salesforce, her philosophy for selling SaaS products, and what she would say to someone starting their sales career.
What made you move from an enterprise like Salesforce to Helpshift’s startup environment?
I was at Salesforce for a little over a year. It’s a wonderful company, and I learned a lot! But coming from a really large corporate space to a small office is definitely a more engaging, familial experience. Everyone at Helpshift is passionate about what they do and an essential piece of the puzzle. Plus I have a much greater influence over my own success and process. That provides a really enthusiastic, creative environment. At other places your potential is decided before you even get there. That sort of structure is okay, but not for me.
The product is also amazing. When I interviewed for Helpshift, I was able to hear the CEO’s vision of where mobile is headed. What entry-level salesperson gets to speak with the CEO? I felt his passion through the way he described Helpshift’s future–that new energy stood out to me out of the other companies I met with. It was a mission I wanted to help fight for.
What is it like as a Helpshift Account Executive?
I gained a lot of industry exposure that I didn’t expect as an Account Executive. I don’t hang out with only salespeople on a giant floor. I sit right next to Customer Success. I talk with our VP on a daily basis. I learn something new just as often. The cross-disciplinary exposure is great! In the 10 months I’ve been here, I’ve worked with tons of different companies from all industries.
Working at Helpshift is challenging, of course. There’s no single path to follow and you make your own success. Yet what makes me confident is the fact that Helpshift is a product people actually need. It’s not like a handbag where it’s just a nice thing to have. As a salesperson here, my job is to show companies how they could really be doing things better. I’m helping them improve their businesses. Closing a deal is a win for everyone involved.
One of my biggest lessons was gaining empathy for the truly unique needs that each company has. Helpshift might not work the same for each customer, but anyone has a challenge that Helpshift can eliminate. That philosophy has given me the opportunity to close some of our biggest customers.
How do you spend your free time?
I love getting together with friends and family. We go listen to live music, try new restaurants, anything! It’s about enjoying each others’ company. I also love hiking in North Bay and Marin.
I live in North Beach/Little Italy and it has great restaurants. If you’re visiting the area I say Don Pistos is the best mexican food you’ll ever have. Phenomenal. Tony’s is also great for Italian.
And of course I use apps! My favorites are ESPN Zone, Myfitnesspal, Eventbrite, Hay Day, and Circa.
What would you say to someone starting a sales career?
If you’re fresh out of college, and looking to gain a lot of great experience ASAP, a startup company like Helpshift is a wonderful learning environment. You will become more well-rounded from working with more experienced colleagues from all backgrounds. It’s also far easier to get your ideas heard. At a startup, you are getting a more hands-on experience to mature and develop your skill set at a quicker pace. Learning how to sell from intuition is one of the most valuable skills you’ll get.