Meagan Fitzpatrick on growth in sales and being an early-stage Formling
Meagan Fitzpatrick has been a part of the Formlabs sales squad since 2013. In her first role on our customer care team, a lot of her time was spent answering questions and troubleshooting for Form 1 customers. By the time the Form 2 launched, she was managing and onboarding a team of eight sales representatives.
Today, Meagan spends her time onboarding and training all members of the US customer team at Formlabs’ headquarters, serving as an anchor to every Formling on our sales and service teams throughout process updates, product launches, and in growing their careers.
Read on to learn more about the biggest opportunities Meagan has had at Formlabs, her best day at work, and how a Form 2 customer was able to help 3D print her engagement ring!
Can you tell me about your journey from studying English and music to your career in sales?
Music, writing, and language; it’s all about expression and communication. The words and methods we use to communicate are interpreted differently by each person that experiences them, and how they are experienced is what makes us an individual. Music and literature both tell stories of the human condition and what it means to be a person. Being in a customer-facing role, be it on the phone, behind a bar, or in a classroom, requires a wide-angled lens of understanding of how humans behave, feel, believe, and communicate so that you can help them solve the problem they’re experiencing. In order to help a customer grow you have to discover their problem and come up with a way to fix it, and you can only do that once you understand where they are coming from.
What advice would you give to someone interested in sales?
Sales gets a bad rap as filled with blood thirsty, pushy, “always be closing” types, and while that is definitely true in some organizations, we have a much more humanistic and solution-oriented philosophy at Formlabs. Sales is the vehicle that solves customer problems and helps them do their job better. Yes, of course there’s revenue and a bottom line involved, but it’s really about getting to know your customer’s workflow and needs and then brainstorming about how your product is going to make their lives better day to day.
How has your work directly influenced Formlabs’ global sales team?
Other than blowing up their calendars with trainings on new products and processes, a lot of my influence has come from bushwhacking through the wilderness as a rep/manager/contributor myself, and determining the best way to do and not do things. A lot of the processes we use now are as a result of what we created to fix blockers that we were experiencing. This is perhaps my favorite part of being an early stage contributor: making the machine work faster and more efficiently.
How have your roles here complemented your career goals?
I always thought, throughout my entire life, that I wanted to be a classroom teacher. Through a short stint in a public school, I learned that it unfortunately wasn’t for me. When I first joined Formlabs, I tended to gravitate towards projects that helped people learn and get better at their job. I performed my role, but also helped my colleagues get better at performing theirs. The more projects I initiated that complimented my skills and what I enjoyed working on, the more programs I began to own that pointed me in the direction I wanted to take my career.
What is something that you’ve been involved in here that you didn’t anticipate?
Before I came to Formlabs, I had never had any exposure to engineering or design, so I had never even heard of 3D printing. While there was a steep learning curve, I also was a unicorn in a VERY technical community and was used as a guinea pig on many occasions to see how clear user instructions were when launching a product. Because of this, I was always first in line to test and operate some of the coolest technology on planet Earth, before the public even knew about it!
What has been your best day at work?
Six months after launching the Form 2, many of the team leads came together to plan a giant surprise “Thank You” day for the members of the customer team, literally entitled “Best Day Ever.” We transformed conference rooms into fun spots with candy, filled rooms with balloons, sand sculptures, and bean bag hangouts, and had our engineering team and our C-Suite serving waffles for breakfast. We ended the day with a dunk tank in the parking lot. Later that night we threw an off-site space-themed party with live music and food trucks. Best. Day. Ever.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your time here?
In a fast-paced startup environment, you have to own your own development and be noisy about your strengths and what you want to do. At the same time, the voice of someone who is really great at their job is always louder than someone who is just adequate. If you want to try new things and take on new responsibilities, you have to demonstrate that you have mastered the role you currently occupy.
What’s one of the most exciting opportunities you’ve found in your work at Formlabs?
This is a tough one! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention traveling all around the US for trade shows and to Berlin and Budapest with the EU team, though I would also have to say that bringing my dog to work every day is pretty amazing, let alone all of our other adorable doggie (and kitty) colleagues. I think my true answer would be the trust and autonomy I have to get the work done that I know is most important. I really feel engaged in what I do day to day, and I’m only able to do that because I am able to work on the things and initiatives that mean the most to me.
What is your favorite 3D print?
My favorite 3D print is definitely my engagement ring. My fiance proposed to me with the engagement ring that my father gave my mother, with the intention of putting the stone in a new setting. I reached out to a former customer of mine from Form 2 days and asked him if he would help print and cast a new setting in white gold. Not only did he oblige, he sent us pictures of every step! It was amazing to watch it go from drawing to print to jewelry!
Meagan is one of many Formlings that makes our team great. Formlabs is growing quickly, and we’re always looking for talented individuals to help us build the future. Head over to our Careers page to learn about new opportunities in sales and services.