A Brief Summary of Sales at…Qualtrics

Ben Sims
Ben Sims
Jan 18, 2017 · 4 min read

For the past three and a half years I have worked in the sales team at GoCardless, a fast paced startup in the FinTech space. I have helped shape our sales process into a streamlined machine with a number of inputs and moving parts.

With so many different sales methods and sales software suppliers out there, I became curious about sales at other companies, specifically…

  • What is their sales process?
  • How does the sales team interact within the company?
  • What challenges do they face?

I decided to turn my questions into an article for the sake of other curious sales people.

I caught up with Simon who kindly agreed to give us an insight into Sales at Qualtrics…


When did you start working at Qualtrics and what were you doing before?

I joined Qualtrics in Sep 2015. Prior to that:

  • I took some time off (for the first time in my career) and did some advisory work for VC’s plus all those jobs that never get done at home. I also cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats!
  • For 4 years before that I took a start up called Huddle from 40 to 200 employees and broke into the US market.
  • For 7 years before that I built Salesforce.com from 3 sales people in UK to a team of 60 and created a great business!
  • Before that I held various roles at large and small companies but always focused on building businesses.

Can you give me a quick overview of what Qualtrics does?

Our CEO Ryan Smith says ‘if you need data for your business and that data exists, Google it. If the data doesn’t exist, Qualtrics it’.

The insights we help businesses to uncover include Customer Experience, Digital Experience — i.e. Web, Employee Engagement, and Market Research — think Brand Testing. We are a fast growing SaaS business and the only US “Unicorn” to be consistently profitable. Most organisations have traditionally outsourced this work to agencies and are now realising that these areas are too important to outsource. Companies are now building an in-house core competency in these areas, powered by Qualtrics.

What are the benefits of using Qualtrics compared to alternatives?

We are disrupting the market where this work was traditionally outsourced, so the benefits are in cost savings but, more importantly, in the speed and efficiency that corporates can do this stuff . For example, if you were P&G and you wanted to track if a new brand of Shampoo was working and popular, do you want to wait for your agency to run a survey or do you want to be running your own in real time?

As Managing Director at Qualtrics, what are your day to day responsibilities?

  • Deliver the number, deliver the number and then…deliver the number!
  • Hire the best talent in all regions of EMEA
  • Liaise with our most important customers
  • Coordinate all our different functions to ensure we are working as one team to Deliver the Number!

What does the sales process look like at Qualtrics? Can you talk us through a typical flow from prospect to customer?

There is no one model — some deals can be done in 2 hours, some take 2 years. We operate a Land and Expand business model where we start small with a customer and grow out. Our service is easy to use so customers can start with a trial and build out as they build confidence. We get people to take out trials and get them to become customers as fast as possible. We then provide very high levels of customer service and support so that they experience huge success — this drives more sales and expansion for us.

What softwares does Qualtrics use that are critical to your sales function?

  1. Salesforce.com
  2. Marketo (marketing software)
  3. ToutApp (sales email tracking and analytics)

How does the sales team work within the company? Do they collaborate with other teams within the business?

Yes, big time! The sales guys are constantly collaborating with Customer Success, Customer Support, Tech Sales, Professional Service, Marketing and Finance.

What are the main challenges your sales team faces?

Time management. In such a hot market the constant challenge is figuring out which tasks and deals we should focus on.

Can you talk me through the sales culture at Qualtrics and the part it plays in the sales team?

Our culture is about growth, urgency, capturing market share quickly and winning! We are in a very dynamic market where time is everything and we have to move quickly. Our product is awesome, so as soon as people try it they love it and buy more — the key thing is to get them trying it as fast as possible.

What do you look for when hiring new salespeople?

  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Enthusiasm
  • Hungry
  • Humble
  • Young state of mind

If you could give a younger version of yourself advice on sales, what would it be?

Don’t accept the status quo and the received wisdom of how to do sales. Seek out new methods and techniques. The best examples of this are Digital Marketing and The Challenger Sales approach.


Thank you Simon for sharing your knowledge with us.

If you found these insights useful or think I should include other questions in future Q&A sessions please let me know.

Ben 👍

Ben Sims

Written by

Ben Sims

Senior Account Executive @ Freshworks