The DoorDash Outside Sales Team Builds Partnerships — and Empathy — with Business Owners Across the Country
(Cross posted from the Job Portraits blog.)
When you’re part of the DoorDash Outside Sales team, you don’t just close deals — you create long-term partnerships. We talked to Chase Gardner (Mid-Market Account Executive), Danny Polanco (Senior Regional Account Executive), Jack Momeyer (Senior Outside Sales Manager), and Cassidy Sanders (Regional Account Executive) about how they adapt to the constant evolution of a fast-growing company, how they keep in touch with colleagues across the U.S. and Canada, and why their roles at DoorDash are different from any job they’ve had before. Interested in joining the team? Get in touch with recruiting manager Ashley Davis to learn more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, tell us about DoorDash and how the Outside Sales team contributes to the business.
Cassidy: Imagine you’re home in your pajamas, committed to staying in — but you also want your favorite food for dinner. DoorDash brings it to you. That’s the customer side. We’re also connecting merchants with those people that are staying in for the night, to help bring them new business. And for the drivers, who we call Dashers, it’s a chance to make some extra money and work on their own schedule.
Chase: One of my favorite things about the Outside Sales team is that we don’t actually sell anything. Instead, we’re creating partnerships. Our merchants gain exposure on our platform, and we help them build their brand and business. Then we take a commission on each order we generate for our restaurants. We also give our partners operational support; they get a customized merchant portal, and in some cases we provide tablets, integrate with their email system, or even help them implement fax-based ordering. The goal is to get an organized, seamless system in place, which helps both DoorDash and our merchants scale up.
Can you talk about your responsibilities, and what your day to day looks like?
Jack: Broadly, I’m responsible for getting obstacles out of my team’s way, so they can do their jobs as well as possible. But each day is different. Today, for instance, Cassidy and I gave a presentation to a local operations team on negotiation strategy. Then I had a quick sync with a manager about how to help a new team member be successful. I just wrapped up an interview with a candidate, and later I’ll put a call in to a former partner we’re hoping to bring back on the platform.
Cassidy: That daily variety is common for us all, I think. My primary goal every day is to speak directly with decision-makers and build partnerships from there. For partnerships we’ve already closed, we’re promoting and marketing our new partners. And then, of course, we’re researching leads and making new contacts. We’re free to set our own priorities; DoorDash gives us total flexibility in terms of how we schedule our day.
My favorite part of the job is listening to our partners’ stories. One restaurant owner told me revenue from DoorDash was helping pay his medical bills. Another merchant previously sold cars but always wanted to run a restaurant; now, with our help, he’s be able to open a second location. Being part of those successes — a small part of someone’s dream — is amazing.
“With our help, one of our merchants has been able to open a second location.” — Cassidy
Danny: Chase’s and my responsibilities largely align with Cassidy’s, in that we’re connecting with those decision-makers and spending a lot of time with our leads. She has a much larger lead list, though; many of the merchants on my list have multiple locations so it’s more of a strategic sale.
As far as finding that main point of contact, there are lots of ways to approach that; we can jump in our cars if we want, to visit the merchants in person. Or we can cold-call or create an email campaign. Once we get a meeting with the right person, that’s where we need to shine in terms of our knowledge and passion. We want to educate them about DoorDash, and to help them see us as part of the larger trend toward third-party delivery. That conversation is the start of our relationship; it’s our chance to demonstrate that we want to help them grow.
How is this job different from roles you’ve had before?
Chase: I have far more autonomy here than I’ve had anywhere else, which I think shows the trust our leaders have in us. People here are also more self-motivated and driven than anywhere else I’ve been. No one is telling us to call 100 leads per day, but we are passionate about the business and because we take pride in our work.
I’d also say that DoorDash values us as people, not just earners. They give us a gym stipend; they provide lunch and dinner. They recognize that having happy, healthy, well-fed team members is important to everyone’s success.
“DoorDash values us as people, not just earners.” –Chase
Danny: I come from a different background than most; this is my first sales job. I was kind of intimidated entering this world, but this is such a supportive environment. Everyone is more than willing to offer advice, or to pick you up when you need it. And the whole company — from Engineeringto management to Sales leads and product managers — works hard to make the service you’re selling the best it can be. That’s extra motivation to make deals, because you know you’re not just doing it for yourself. We’re all working toward the same goal.
What’s the number one pushback you hear from potential partners?
Danny: No matter what you’re selling, the decision-maker is always going to ask for a lower price. But the best salespeople are prepared to face that; we’re equipped with the product knowledge we need to tailor our conversations and offerings in a way that highlights the value, not just the cost. It does take persistence; you have to build trust.
Cassidy: Absolutely — trust is always the most important factor in closing a deal. It helps that what we’re offering is mutually beneficial. We try to communicate that if they sign with us, we’re committed. It might take several conversations to gain a given prospect’s trust; other times, they’re ready to go after one meeting. The variety keeps us on our toes.
“The whole company works hard to make the service you’re selling the best it can be.” –Danny
Chase: I try to frame it to help merchants understand that we’re offering them an otherwise-inaccessible revenue stream. We get other questions, too, like about food quality. Decision-makers want to know what their product will look like by the time it gets to their customers. So we come armed with examples of past success as well as data on the speed of our deliveries.
What else is challenging about Outside Sales?
Chase: We sometimes have to split our focus between driving leads toward a sale and making sure our existing partners are happy and getting what they need. That can be a challenge, but those long-term relationships with merchants also lead to some really positive experiences and good feedback. And it’s laying a solid foundation for our Account Management team.
Jack: Learning how to build trust with people from very different cultures is also a fun challenge. I actually went to the United Nations International School for high school, so I had friends from Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and Germany. I feel like that experience has helped me in this role.
Cassidy: Yeah, I like figuring out how to tailor a message that can resonate with anyone. That can mean choosing words carefully to build trust, or meeting in person where you can lean more on body language.
Can you talk more about the autonomy in your roles? What are the pros and cons?
Jack: The plus side is setting your own schedule, deciding for yourself where you need to be and when. On the other hand, a lot of us in Sales are social creatures, and we hear “no” a lot. That’s where supporting each other comes in; your teammates help you take a step back, remember what’s great about what we are offering to merchants, and go back out there with confidence.
“Your teammates help you take a step back, remember what’s great about what we are offering, and go back out there with confidence.” –Jack
For people like Cassidy and Chase, who are based in offices with other Sales colleagues, that sense of teamwork is more immediate. We’re now in more than 500 cities in the U.S. alone, so some people are taking on a territory by themselves. For those sales people, we try to go the extra mile to maintain their connection to the sales team. We have different Slack channels where we celebrate wins; everybody chimes in with kudos there. Our mentorship program is a big help too. We match new hires with more experienced team members, to make sure they don’t feel like they’re alone even if they’re the only one selling in their territory.
How does compensation work within Sales?
Jack: Our sales reps receive a percentage commission based on the revenue a merchant generates. Since all our cities vary in size, we standardize the revenue across markets to make sure pay is balanced. And since we’re a fast-growing company, the specifics of our commission structure for the Sales team do change as we evolve. But our priority is always giving control of the sale to our salespeople, so they can determine their own destinies.
What are the opportunities for growth like on in Outside Sales?
Jack: There are lots of paths. You can build up to larger accounts, like Chase; he’s gone from selling local to selling mid-market, and now he’s focused on accounts with a regional and even cross-regional reach. Or you might go the management route. We’re all getting experience as mentors, and you can move from that to a team lead role, and eventually be a full-time sales manager.
“We want someone’s role to reflect what they care about most.” –Jack
Those are two traditional options, but we also have folks moving between departments, or into a role that didn’t exist before. The first sales rep DoorDash hired, Brian Sommers, is actually an example of that. He started selling locally, and as he helped build partnerships as well as the Sales team, he discovered that his passion was in training and mentorship. Now he’s a full-time sales trainer. We encourage that kind of movement; we want someone’s role to reflect what they care about most.
How do you measure success?
Jack: Beyond the numbers, we look for people willing to take on more responsibility. Chase, Cassidy, and Danny are all great examples — they’re helping out with recruiting, which is one of our biggest needs right now. Cassidy is also working with Brian in sales training. Essentially, we’re looking for people to raise their hand. That shows they’re confident in their role, they know they’re doing it well, and are ready for more. That indicates success to me.
What have you learned in your role?
Danny: We’re a data-driven company, and that’s been a valuable adjustment for me. If you’re dedicated to understanding it, data is an invaluable asset to boost your pitch beyond the typical sales psychology. Before DoorDash, I might have had the natural confidence required for a conversation with a merchant, but here, I’ve learned to be much more analytical. It’s transformed my approach.
“If you’re dedicated to understanding it, data is an invaluable asset to boost your pitch.” –Danny
Cassidy: I’ve improved as a salesperson in several ways since joining DoorDash. I feel like I’ve developed more empathy from interacting with restaurant owners and employees. After seeing them grind so hard every day to run a good business, I will never be rude to a waiter! Another skill I’ve learned is adaptability. First because my job is different from one day to the next, and second, because DoorDash itself is constantly growing and changing.
Jack: Being inspired by and internalizing DoorDash’s core values has taught me a lot. One of our values is to assume good intentions. We won’t always agree, but we debate from a collaborative, cooperative place. I’ve learned that you can’t move forward without listening to the other side, and finding a solution that makes sense to everyone.
Do you feel you’ve been able to have an impact on DoorDash as a company?
Danny: For sure. I take a lot of pride in my role helping make the office a place people want to come to work everyday. I’ve been around since the Orange County office opened in March 2015, and I feel a sense of responsibility in maintaining its positive energy and upbeat work ethic.
Cassidy: Because I’m out in the field, I appreciate the way I can help be an extra set of eyes and ears for the company. I might see a new restaurant pop up, or a line out the door at a merchant we’re debating whether to pitch. I can also bring information back to our Product and Engineering teams, which helps them plan new features.
Chase: Yeah, and the cool thing is that we’re able to see our contributions and impact firsthand. If I exceed my goals, that has a tangible result — our market grows because of that work. It’s an incredible feeling to know that a merchant I brought on is now generating revenue for the company, not to mention themselves.
Interested in joining DoorDash’s Outside Sales team?
Get in touch with recruiting manager Ashley Davis to learn more: email@example.com.