In this special edition of The Story After Show, we are live from the Salesforce Trailblazing Women Event in San Francisco! Chad Grills (CEO of The Mission) and Ian Faison (CCO of The Mission) are joined by Lynne Zaledonis, SVP of Product Marketing at Salesforce. In this episode, they discuss:
- Lynne’s 18-year career in Sales and Marketing
- The importance of mentors and mentorship
- The career of famous cosmetic founder and entrepreneur, Bobbi Brown
- 3 recurring themes from The Story Podcast heroes: Learning to Sell, Alienation, and Preparation
- Tactical tips of how to apply those themes in your own life
- How to be a trailblazer and what blazing trails means
(The following has been edited and condensed.)
Ian Faison: We are here live, at the Trailblazing Women Event. I am joined by two amazing people to talk about trailblazing women. This is The Story After Show podcast. I’m with Chad Grills, the CEO of The Mission.
Chad Grills: Hello everybody.
Ian: We have a special guest, Lynne Zaledonis, who is the SVP of Marketing at Salesforce. Lynne, so great to have you here.
Lynne Zaledonis: Thank you so much.
Ian: Thanks for taking the time.
Lynne: I love being here, and thanks for having me on the show.
Chad: We’re glad to have you.
Ian: What we’re going to do today is talk about some big ideas from previous episodes of The Story podcast.
We’re going to talk about what we’re doing here at Salesforce, we’re going to talk about trailblazing women, and we’re going to talk about what’s going to go on later in the show with Bobbi Brown.
Lynne: Sounds great.
Ian: Lynne, let’s talk a little bit about your background. You have an extensive background in sales, obviously. You’ve been at Salesforce for a long time. Let’s talk about how you got into sales in the first place?
Lynne: You got it. My title is Marketing, but I’ve actually spent the majority of my career at Salesforce — ten of the 13 years — in the sales organization, both as a solutions engineer and as a sales rep.
This Trailblazing Women Event is very near and dear to me because those are very male-dominated fields. It was very often that I’d be the only female on the team.
It’s interesting that when you’re in a sales organization, there aren’t a lot of sales female leaders, so all the managers I had during my sales career were men. They were very supportive of my career, and it’s actually a man that pulled me into sales, into that career.
I had been a solutions engineer, and an opportunity opened up on the team where somebody had transferred internally to another country. They said, “Hey, look, nobody knows accounts better than you. You’ve been working alongside the team for so long. You should take this role and jump in sales.”
And I did. It was a little bit impulsive, but I got my start in sales that way, and it was a tremendous opportunity. I’m very grateful for that opportunity. It’s been a great career move for me.
Ian: Today, we have Bobbi Brown, and she’s going to be onstage in a few hours. How did she get involved? How is she part of the Salesforce community; the “Ohana,” as you call it here at Salesforce? How is it exciting to share her story as a trailblazer?
Lynne: She’s been a huge draw. I’m so excited to meet her, and I know a lot of the other men and women here are also super excited to meet her. When we put together this event, we really wanted to focus on one of the core values we have at Salesforce and that’s equality.
We wanted to bring that into the events and the things we are offering into our community.
Equality is about inclusion, and in sales, there are not a lot of female leaders, so we thought it was important to have that conversation and to lead it. So, we set up a day that’s super fun.
There’s going to be really rich content, and there are lots opportunities to network with people. It’s going to be a really fun event, but the main draw was Bobbi Brown.
People want to understand how this woman invented herself, invented a whole line of makeup.
She is an entrepreneur. She invented a natural line of cosmetics.
In the late ’70s and ’80s, she was going to these makeup shows as a makeup artist. Your choices were blue or purple eyeshadow and some red lipstick. She really wanted to capture people’s natural beauty and couldn’t find any products that did that. So, she created them on her own.
Without a college degree or a business background, that’s quite a big risk to take, and it was really brave of her. I can’t wait to hear her tell that story herself. She’s reinvented herself so many times.
She started with Bergdorf and sold it to Estee Lauder for a large price just shortly after she got started. Now she owns a hotel and is a wellness guru. What an amazing series of events in her life, and I can’t wait to hear her share more.
Chad: That’s such a great reminder that you can move from industry to industry. Usually, it’s going to be okay if you jump in, learn, and follow the right mentors. Yeah, it’s really exciting.
Lynne: I think so, too. I think that will be inspiring for a lot of people here.
Ian: Definitely. Obviously, at Salesforce, one of the core values is equality. It’s an everyone sales platform in the world. We, of course, at The Mission, are Salesforce customers.
Lynne: Thank you very much. Appreciating your business.
Ian: Salesforce has been a part of our journey, obviously with The Story podcast as a presenting sponsor. But I want to talk a little bit about that equality. What does it look like with marketing in the workplace? And how do you do this with teams?
Lynne: It’s amazing to work for a company that puts equality as one of their core values. Usually, it’s about growth and maybe some customer success, but rarely do you see that word in the key values for companies.
It really shapes our culture; our “Ohana” culture, as we call it. It’s the Hawaiian word for “families.” We use it to describe customers like you and us.
We think it’s a really tough path ahead to really have an inclusive world that we live in, where everybody has a seat at the table. We’re talking about women in sales and marketing, but it could be a variety of diverse backgrounds that we’re trying to include.
If we don’t have that conversation with men, women, customers, partners, the ecosystem — if we don’t have that conversation — we won’t be able to move forward together. That’s the importance of events like this.
We would hope to give some real tactical tips. I know that my boss and mentor, Adam Litser, who runs the sales organization at Salesforce, is going to try and also bring some real practical tips about what you, as a leader, can do in your organization, from inclusive hiring practices to inclusive meeting practices.
It’s key for bringing everybody into the team and making sure that your work environment reflects what your customers look and act and feel like.
Ian: Chad, we talk a lot about mentorship at The Mission. A lot of our content is based around how to find mentors.
Chad: I think what’s really interesting is when we publish a lot of content that’s about accelerated learning, or career growth, or personal development, you see people gravitate towards it. So many of these people don’t want a quick fix; they’re willing to do the work.
That’s really inspiring and exciting because it’s a lot like the conversation Lynne mentioned where a mentor said, “Hey, have you thought about doing sales? Maybe you want to jump in and do this.”
The content we’re publishing is sparking those conversations, in the comments and in real-world connections. That’s how we got involved with Salesforce; it was a real-world connection with Steve and enjoying the content.
I’m really excited by the prospect of events and pushing things like this, but also publishing. Each of us is now able to be a media company, be a publisher. Lynne, I see mentorship evolving in that we can direct or steer the conversation with media.
How do you see, you or Salesforce, scaling this culture? Is it events like these, is it media, or is it all of it?
Lynne: I think you hit it. I haven’t had somebody talk about mentorship that way, and I think that’s a great way to think about it. People always say, “Who’s my mentor going to be?”
It is really important to find that person you can give a call to or who can shape you. You can be mentored at scale. I’ve been listening to The Story; it’s my commute buddy to work.
Ian: Thank you.
Lynne: That inspires and mentors me as somebody who says, “How do I grow in my career? How do I grow as a person to hear these amazing stories of these amazing individuals?”
We’re going to have some webinars, and then some smaller events and bigger events. But with these different touch points will be ways that we can reach out and touch people and engage.
Hopefully, like you said, through social media, we can touch people in mass to inspire them.
Chad: Definitely. I’m kind of an idealistic type of guy, but I really get inspired thinking about this stuff. I think those micro-moments and those one-on-one conversations are ultimately what is going to steer us towards a much better place.
Lynne: Yes. It could shape your conversations you have with your mentors. You can be inspired by hearing somebody like Diane Greene and how she took a risk in starting up a company. Then, you can turn to your mentor and say, “I have this idea. I’d love to talk to you about this.”
Then, in turn, understand your role and responsibility with helping these people who are blazing these paths ahead of time.
These trailblazers, as we call them at Salesforce, leave a path for others and turn and pay that forward.
Ian: What would you say if someone is looking for a mentor and there’s nobody in the room who looks like them? I know that’s something you dealt with earlier in your career.
If people don’t see someone that’s exactly like them, how can they navigate those waters?
Lynne: I actually think you need a lot of mentors, and I think you do need people who don’t look like you. Otherwise, you won’t take risks or try new things.
I didn’t look like that gentleman who asked me to take this job. He’s aggressive, super confident; he is large and in charge. I might not have chosen the same path as him, but he saw something in me that he felt was a good fit and pulled me along.
I would encourage people not to be deterred because somebody doesn’t look like you.
Having said that, I think it’s good to have a lot of mentors. It is nice to find somebody that you feel comfortable with, that you feel like you could share more personal aspirations with, that seems a little bit more like you.
But you’re never going to try something new if you keep hanging out with the same people who look just like you.
Ian: So true. We are obviously live at the Trailblazing Women Event.
Lynne: Everyone’s having a good time.
Ian: I know. You can hear it, right? There are going to be future events coming up, right?
Lynne: Yes, sure.
Ian: Let’s switch gears a little bit to some of the content and some of the themes that we’ve pulled out of every single person that we featured in The Story.
There are three themes that we want to talk about that have been re-occurring in the first two seasons.
That is, all of these folks learned to sell, they were alienated at some point, and they had some level of preparation.
We thought that focusing on these three themes would be a way for our listeners to pinpoint those parts in their life where they can learn to sell, they can either embrace the alienation or find a way out of it, or they can prepare in their own life.
Chad, let’s start with the first theme: learning to sell. What are some of the things that we’ve seen in the early stories with learning to sell?
Chad: Let’s jump right into a hard truth and an actual insight. Sales involves being likable, and it’s not easy. You don’t want to consider the fact that the reason why you might be failing is that you might not be as likable as could be, you might not be as funny, you might not be smiling enough.
I think that Sara Blakely’s story is a great reminder of this. She took the time to invest in herself by doing standup comedy.
It’s easy to think, Oh, that’s not going to do anything for me, or, Learning to tell a joke? That’s corny. I’m going to look ridiculous.
Yes, of course you’re going to be ridiculous. What’s more ridiculous? Waiting five years and not learning to be funny or engaging or putting yourself out there and taking the risk with that?
Lynne, any ideas to learn to sell or maybe some anecdotes from early on, when you were a sales engineer?
Lynne: For sure. I loved the story on Sara Blakely. I’m a huge fan. Her story is an incredible one for anybody, whether you’re male or female, on being an entrepreneur and creating an empire. But I had never heard some of the personal details that you pulled out in your story, having listened to many interviews with her.
I didn’t know she had done stand up or the self-help tapes. That was really interesting to me. It made me think about a joke we have in the office, where sometimes, it’s better to go in front of the mirror and say, “You got this,” than it is to actually spend the extra 15 minutes prepping because it’s about having that confidence.
I told the story about how I was a little impulsive when I took the job, and it’s not like I had trained for it.
One of the things that I realized early on is I was such a good match for this role, but there were a couple of things I didn’t know how to do and did not know how to prospect.
That sounds easy, but you guys can probably attest, starting your own business, that picking up that phone is not easy, and it’s a lot of rejections.
I also wasn’t good at it; there’s an art to it. I really had to put myself out there. I thought, Oh. I’ll figure all this out. I took a little class, but I finally had to take a more drastic measure.
I paid everybody lunch to take turns sitting with me in a conference room and listening to me cold call. I’ll tell you, there is nothing more embarrassing.
I’m with my co-workers, and I’m shaking, and my voice is shaking. But I’ll tell you what, by the end of the week, with their feedback and that forced action to have to get in the pool and start to swim, I was a lot more confident.
Sometimes, at work, I’ll ask about something and the people that I work with will say, “They didn’t get back to me yet.” And I say, “Pick up the phone.”
Nobody does that anymore. Just pick up the phone and call and ask them or go work this problem out that you’re having. This is crazy.
That’s a skill set that I learned in sales. Even if you think you’re not somebody who should be in sales, those are some great raw business skills that you will learn.
Lynne: It will carry you through any job. You have the similar experience, I’m sure.
Chad: Yes. Cold calling was one of the first things I did when I was fresh out of college. It’s something that feels horrible. It doesn’t feel any better for a long time. You’re going to have to get feedback from people, and you’re going to have to hear the boss say, “You’re failing,” “It’s not working,” “You’re not going to hit your numbers.”
But if you push through, I think you access a new level of confidence when you can pick up the phone cold, develop a relationship that’s authentic with a stranger, and then eventually go to a sale where they’re happy that they bought.
That’s a priceless feeling. In a sense, it’s very empowering to know that you can always pick up the phone if things get really bad and generate new business.
Lynne: It’s incredible. As I mentioned, I have read a lot on and listened to a lot of interviews with Sara Blakely. I’d like to call it Teflon; she’s got some thick skin. She did not ever take no for an answer, and it paid off.
Ian: And really, it’s a theme from a lot of the women that we profiled; almost all of them.
Yoshiko was another one. She was selling for five years, trying to convince people and going against generational amounts of vitriol, whole families that were against this idea. She said, “No, this is a good idea,” in a 250-square-foot apartment.
That level of sales and commitment can only be achieved by someone who’s truly driven. You have to say, “I have a solution that works, and I know that this is going to be good for you. I’m going to keep telling you that it’s going to be good for you over and over and over again, until you come to that realization yourself.”
Lynne: It’s a really strong belief in what they do. I remember hearing once, from Sara, someone asked, “At that point, did you think you would fail?” Without missing a beat, she says, “Never. Never in my mind. I didn’t know how long it would take or how big it would be, but I never thought it would fail.”
Same thing with Yoshiko. Never doubted that. She had a vision that was so strong that she pursued even against the authorities.
Ian: Some of the tactical tips that the readers can use. Let’s break into that. I listened to The Advanced Selling Podcast — great podcast and shout out to them.
One of the tips that I learned early in my career is to go into situations with the mindset, “I wish I could charge you double. If I could get the approval from my boss, I would charge double for this because it’s going to be such a slam dunk for the business.”
I think that mindset is so important. Go into every single meeting saying, “I know that I can help you, and if it’s not a fit for you, that’s totally fine. We don’t have to do it.” Keeping that mindset was one thing I learned early on.
Lynne: I’ve been taught the same thing but the reverse. It’s to go into the meeting like you’re independently wealthy, and you don’t need that deal. It changes your perspective.
You’re truly there to help the customer, and you’re going to solve their problem. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You didn’t care — you didn’t need the deal anyway. It turns the table on being a salesperson to being a trusted advisor. That’s truly where everybody wants to go.
I listen to The Quotable Podcast, so shout out for that. You’ll see a lot of best practices on the website as well as on the podcast on tactical things like: how do you hire, how do you leave a good voicemail, how can you get somebody’s attention through video? But the end of the day, all those skills elevate you to that trusted advisor, and that’s when you’ve really made it in sales, in my opinion.
Chad: I love those tips and ideas because anything that’s going to help you be more present or more engaged in the meeting is probably going to be a good thing, especially in modern days where people are so distracted or obsessed with their cellphones.
If you’re able to be a little bit more present than other folks who are trying to sell to them — or other folks who are trying to talk to them — it’s a major advantage.
One more actionable insight from all this: Lynne, you mentioned that you bought lunch for everyone when you wanted to get some feedback.
I think that investing in some outside the box ideas is really overlooked. It’s such a great place to start.
Ian: Let’s switch gears here and talk about alienation.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, or a sales person, or a small business owner, or the CEO of a multi-billion dollar startup. Everyone has times when they feel alienated in life, and it’s something that we’ve seen from every single successful person we profiled. Chad, could you talk about how alienation shapes their stories?
Chad: I think alienation is really interesting because we live in a culture that says, “If you are out on your own, you’re anti-social, and it’s a bad thing.” It’s not always a bad thing.
In certain ways, it’s going to be the only time when you get a chance to think on your own and decide which thoughts are yours and which thoughts are your parents’, your teachers’, and the culture’s.
Alienation is something that’s very rare and something that’s very valuable if you take the time to just be by yourself.
Lynne: Channel that focus.
Ian: I think one of the heroes that we focused on was Billie Jean King. Obviously, she felt various levels of alienation throughout her career, including when she was in her 50s.
I know she’s one of your heroes, Lynne. Can you talk a little bit about how her career has affected yours?
Lynne: Absolutely. This is what’s so amazing about a woman like her. Her career is obviously as a tennis phenomenon.
I used to sell software, now I’m marketing. It’s so funny to think that she could help me, but she has. She’s so inspiring.
She has risen above, whether it be in forging the way for tennis, being paid nothing, having to make her own tennis uniforms, having to talk to her parents about her sexuality, or being alienated by society and sponsorships because of that. Those are incredible things she’s overcome.
I find her inspiring because she, to my younger self, was just a hero for being this amazing tennis player. You can’t see me on the podcast, but I’m old enough to remember the famous tennis match with Bobby Riggs.
Those were really inspirational for me as a child, and I didn’t know her background or anything about her, but I had the opportunity to meet her as an adult.
I was instantly #fangirl.
She has such an amazing presence. She’s got a sense of humor, she’s articulate, and she is gracious and humble. I said, mocking myself, “I’m selling software,” and she said, “Tell me more about yourself?”
I said, “Why do you want to know anything about me?” But that’s just the way she is. She’s amazing.
Ian: Part of what’s so inspiring about her is she’s so humble. She is a trailblazer in a lot of respects, and she’s still kind of ho hum about it. I think that’s also a theme of a lot of these folks: this kind of humble beginning. How can people out there take that humility and bring it into their own lives?
Lynne: I think it’s important to remember — especially going back to what we talked about earlier about being mentors — it makes you so approachable when you can share your challenges and be humble.
I talked before about how I had the opportunity to meet Billie Jean King, and it was at a Salesforce event. We were doing Equal Pay Day.
I was there to do a seven-minute demo on a product, and she was there to talk about her challenges in life. We had Lilly Ledbetter there, who the fair pay act is named after. So, here are some incredible women.
We all happened to be back in the green room, getting miked up at the same time, and had some time to kill. I’m sitting between these legends.
She’s so inspiring and has these most amazing stories. I’m crying so hard, they have to keep redoing my makeup. I’m crying because I couldn’t be happier or more inspired by her stories.
But, like I said before, all along, she kept deferring to Lilly Ledbetter and saying, “No, but you’re the champion. I’m just a tennis star who beat somebody playing tennis. You sacrificed for your family. You gave things up to fight to create this bill that has changed the game for everybody.”
I think she’s also a trailblazer. She didn’t talk too much about it, but if you think about it, she got paid nothing for tournaments — probably got paid a couple hundred dollars or less for winning some of the championships.
You’ve got people like Serena Williams today making tens of millions of dollars because of the path King forged.
That is being humble. I’ve never seen her put her hand out or ask for anything. She’s grateful to pay that forward. If we can all do that, the world’s going to be a better place.
Chad: That’s so inspiring when you see somebody that has not only blazed the trail but then opened up a new frontier where people can do better in some ways. In this case, financially.
That’s really exciting to have that humility to step back and say, “Everyone else, enjoy. I know that I blazed this trail, but it’s fun to see others succeed.” That’s something that’s rare.
Ian: Chad, let’s get to tactical tips here. How can our listeners either fight or embrace alienation?
Chad: Alienation. Plan a vacation or one day a month for just yourself and get away and turn off the phone. Literally force yourself to get to a place where you’re not contactable, you don’t have email, and maybe even consider leaving your phone at home.
Lynne: Now you’re crazy talking.
Chad: It’s pretty wild.
Lynne: But it’s true. How are you supposed to come up with that big idea when you’re checking your text messages all day?
Chad: I’m not sure.
Ian: This is called a “teaser” in the biz, but we have a story coming up in The Story podcast that has someone who moved to a cabin, sold all of their things, and then built a billion-dollar empire. Next on The Story.
Lynne: I can’t believe you didn’t suggest that, Chad.
Chad: I’m sorry.
Lynne: You want to quit your job and go to the woods.
Chad: We’ll start off small with one day. Then, you could do the four years in the woods.
Ian: Tactical tips to avoid alienation. What do you think?
Lynne: To avoid alienation?
Ian: Or to embrace it.
Lynne: I think the embracing — for a lot of people in business — is harder to do. I think that we don’t do enough of that. You come to work, and you’re checking your emails all day.
I love that idea of forcing time in your calendar, in your schedule, or even forcing your team to do that, too.
If we’re going to talk about avoiding alienation, I think that’s a big responsibility for the bigger community, and it’s something we’ll be talking about today. It’s about inclusion.
In that meeting is that big idea, sitting in the back of the room, for somebody that doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up, for whatever reason. Maybe they don’t see themselves as being empowered enough to do that.
So, how do you create an inclusive work environment so that you can find those big ideas from your colleagues or from the people in your team?
Ian: Chad and I were recently meeting with Airbnb on a day, and they were telling us that Wednesdays are meeting-free days for the company, to limit that back and forth and those kind of things.
We just thought that was a pretty interesting company culture, and they have a lot of employees.
Chad: Building that pause into the schedule is a great idea.
Lynne: Like offering people an opportunity to speak up in a meeting, making sure you’re asking opinions of everybody in the room, those are great tactical tips. Creating a diverse work environment, in the first place, helps eliminate some of the alienation some people might feel.
Imagine if there had been other sports figures that had come out before Billie Jean King. If that had happened, she might have felt more welcome to share her personal life, without fear of retribution. Creating a more diverse work environment, I think, will help avoid alienation for people.
Chad: Great idea.
Ian: Final theme: preparation. We love the idea of preparation; we bake it into every one of the stories.
So many of these people have been prepping their whole lives for something.
Chad, could you talk about preparation in the stories that we’ve told?
Chad: I think the theme that runs consistently from almost all the stories is that each person or team spent years preparing, many times in obscurity, where they had the luxury of not too many distractions so they could have time to prepare.
Preparation is something that compounds over time. Compounding is something that, as humans, we have a hard time wrapping our head around.
When we prepare day in day out, months go by, quarters go by, years go by, and sometimes, we take for granted just how much we’ve prepared, just how much we’ve improved.
I think that having faith that your preparation is going somewhere is really important to keep going, when things get hard.
Lynne: Or you might not realize what you’re preparing for in some of the activities and risks that you take.
Ian: Gert Boyle’s story is one of our favorites. They’re all our favorites, but hers is definitely one of our favorites.
It has to do with the idea of tenacity and getting to a point where you get thrown a curveball, and you turn your head away, and the curveball hits you in the face. You’re dazed, and you have to say, “How am I going to respond to this thing?
Gert’s story is unbelievably powerful. She lost her father and her husband, and then she took their company to unforeseen heights.
How do you view tenacity and that ability to respond?
Lynne: That story was so moving to me. I was listening to it on the way home. I stopped at intersections thinking, No, not her father. Then, I got another block and thought, No. How do you pick yourself back up from ruin to one of the largest recognizable brands of outdoor clothing in the world?
I thought her tenacity was incredible. She was super focused on what she needed to do to save her family and her business.
You talk about Teflon skin — she just kept going. But there’s also an element of mentorship in there.
She found somebody and said, “I don’t know how to do this. How can I do this better?” She reached out, and the world responded, and that helps you in business.
Chad: That’s such a great example. She was able to find the twelfth employee at Nike to help her rebuild her brand.
Ian: One of the things that’s super interesting to me is not only is she dealing with all of that, but creditors are calling her on three days after the funeral.
Employees are asking her what the company is going to be, and she has no idea. Her son is 21 years old or something like that, in college.
They have a really good product that people love. And she has to say, “How do we figure out a way through this?”
Then, she gets an offer to sell from some deadbeat guy for basically nothing, and she still said, “We’ll figure it out.”
Lynne: It’s amazing. And to relate it back to sales, there’s a lot of that in sales. You pick yourself back up, there’s a ton of rejection, but if you truly are invested in solving your customers’ problems, you will find that customer, and that success will come.
But I do not mean at all to compare her horrendous hardships to somebody who’s trying to close a software cycle. But there is this feeling of rejection and needing to rely on the skills that you’ve learned and have faith in yourself and continue to stay focused.
Ian: Do you think that you were prepared for the start of your career in sales?
Lynne: I think I was more prepared than I thought. There had been a lot of things I had done up to that point with knowing the product, working in sales cycles, and solving customers’ problems as a solutions engineer.
The hardest parts were prospecting and then the negotiation and close — those bookends that I hadn’t been exposed to.
In my mind, that meant I wasn’t qualified for it. But that means I had 80% prepared, and I was holding myself back from an opportunity because of 20% that I learned pretty quickly.
If I could look back and give myself some advice, I would say, “Have a little bit more faith in the work you have done to this point.”
Chad: It’s a great reminder.
Ian: Chad, what about yourself? Do you feel like there were times when you didn’t feel prepared, but you rose to the occasion?
Chad: I think many times, like when we were starting The Mission, which is our business and the parent company of The Story podcast, I didn’t necessarily feel ready, but I just felt confident in our ability to generate value for our clients.
Once I saw that result a couple of times, it was exciting because I realized that although I didn’t feel prepared, the hard part was actually generating value.
Nothing was perfect along the way, but the right part about delighting the client — we were able to do that again and again.
I found after I got started that I was more prepared than I thought.
Lynne: I love that. I’ll be curious to see if Bobbi Brown shares a story today, but I love her getting started.
She had a ton of confidence in herself, when somebody from the outside might have said she wasn’t prepared.
She had gone to school for makeup and had become a makeup artist but went out on her own and got a phone call early in her career that said, “Hey, do you do hair? Do you do makeup?”
She’s like, “Yes. I do.” She went out and bought all the products, experimented with her friends and showed up for that job the next day.
So this confidence, her education, and her drive, and now she’s an entrepreneur and a wellness guru.
Ian: I love the idea of “Fake it before you make it” because I think that there’s a big misunderstanding, in the popular culture, about what that means.
Fake it before you make it is not lie to a bunch of people about things. It’s having belief in yourself that you can deliver on the thing that you’re promising to do.
How do you think Bobbi straddled? She could tell the story a little better.
Lynne: I’m sure she will tell it much better than I will, but she absolutely did. She showed up, and not only did she fake it till she made it by mimicking what other people did, experimenting with other makeup, probably experimenting on her friends, but she then transformed it.
She took what she had learned and said, “I can do this even better.” She came up with her own cosmetic line and grew an empire out of that.
Ian: We’re going to wrap up here…
Lynne: I’m having so much fun.
Ian: We can keep going a little bit. It’s all right. I have plenty more things, that’s for sure. We could literally steal you all day, but there’s an event coming right after this.
I just want to talk about trailblazers a little bit. Obviously Salesforce has pioneered this whole idea of trailblazers and blazing trails and all of that.
Can you talk about what Salesforce really means when it talks about trailblazers?
Lynne: Trailblazers are such an important part of our community. We live in a time where things are changing so rapidly all the time.
It’s not just the technology, but it’s the way technology impacts the way we work, the way we sell. I went to a presentation the other week, and several young people in the audience kept asking me, “Will I have a job ten years from now when artificial intelligence and a robot sell?”
Things are changing so rapidly. Artificial intelligence is absolutely transforming the way people sell, people buy and, no, it’s not going to replace sales people’s jobs, but it will change things.
We rely on these trailblazers to help us with that transformation. These trailblazers are individuals who are using Salesforce to implement change within their organizations, within their community, and in doing so, transforming their own careers.
They’re bringing this change in innovation into the companies where they work and championing their users.
It’s an incredible thing we’re seeing. These customers are giving us the feedback, leading the way in innovation, and being amazing partners to us.
Today, we want to focus on specifically on women in sales who are trailblazers, who are using Salesforce to achieve in their careers and blaze the way for others and leave a path for others to follow.
Ian: Well, it wouldn’t be The Story After Show without saying: how can we apply those tips to be a trailblazer? Chad, do you want to go first?
Chad: That’s a tough one, but let me take a stab at it.
I think that being a trailblazer involves all the things that we just mentioned, whether it’s preparation or being tenacious as you get going, being comfortable with alienation.
Generally, you might not have a champion, you might not have a mentor, but maybe there’s a single conversation that you can have today to find one.
Maybe you can send an email, maybe you can find an event like Trailblazing Women and figure out how you can get there, how you can attend.
There’s probably something small that you can do to start today, and all those small things add up, so have faith that they’ll compound and do something small today.
Lynne: I think everybody could find a way to take those same ideas of innovation and risk-taking and be a change agent in even the simple deli where you sell.
Are you approaching your customers in the right way? Is there a “go alienate yourself” mindset?
Leave a voicemail, send an email, based on how you’d like to be sold to, and be that agent for change in your own profession.
Ian: I love it. That’s it, that’s all we got. Thanks so much, Lynne. Thank you to Salesforce. It’s a pleasure. It’s great hanging out.
Chad: Thanks so much, Lynne.
Lynne: Thanks guys. It was so fun. I appreciate it Chad. Thanks Ian.