Keepin’ it 100 with Derek Wang, UserGems

Keepin’ It 100 offers bite-sized tips and encouragement for revenue practitioners.

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The hosts:
Trinity Nguyen
Trinity Nguyen
Co-host
A profile photo of Christian Kletzl
Christian Kletzl
Co-host

On this Keepin’ it 100, Trinity is joined by an avid traveler and Senior Account Executive at UserGems, Derek Wang.

“Traveling sparks a natural curiosity. Curiosity is a leading factor for success for myself and my colleagues. Salespeople who are naturally wanting to ask questions to learn more about your prospects, what your customers are doing, and what they are looking for, provide more value.”

Derek Wang’s entry point into tech sales was in Medellin, Colombia, which transpired after he quit his first marketing job in China. The avid traveler shares how the lessons learned from traveling to seventy-one countries led him to become a successful revenue leader who helps SAS startups scale their sales teams and sales strategies.


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Derek was born and raised in Austin, TX but is now living in San Francisco where he spends most of my time playing tennis, fostering dogs, and searching for yummy food. He's been to 71 countries but only 8 national parks!

Read Transcript

Trinity: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the First 100 Days podcast. For this week and next, we decided to take a break from work related topics and have some fun. We interviewed sales and marketers who left the comfort of home to travel and live abroad. Not only did they experience help them grow personally. We'll hear how they apply learnings into their professional lives.

Our first guest is Derek Wang, Senior Account Executive at UserGems. Born and raised in Austin, Texas is now living in San Francisco. Derek traveled to 71 countries and has lived in three. One of them is Columbia, which he fell in love with during a backpacking trip to South America. Check it out. You applied for jobs in Columbia and Marion, what was it like starting a new life, new job, new industry completely.

Derek: It was exciting. First and foremost, it was scary. I had no idea what to expect. My first role was, was an outbound BDR role. So, just straight up cold calling, something I had never done before. And like being thrown in the deep end and being told to call a hundred numbers a day was definitely not something, anything in college or education prepared me for, but it was exciting.

It was great to be part of a fast-growing company, have a team of young people who are just hungry and ready to learn around me. So it was really fun. 

Trinity: So, what would be your three tips for someone who is thinking of doing the same thing, either traveling or even moving to a new country, starting a new job there? 

Derek: For those of you who are considering getting out and traveling.

If I had to just narrow it down to three tips. Tip number one would be a pack toilet paper anywhere and everywhere you go, especially if you're a U.S. Citizen or someone who's used to just having toilet paper rather way available. Just have that on hand. If the money's there, go triple ply. Secondly, I would say

put away the phone put away the technology, especially when you're out, seeing new things. Phone can just distract so much from the experiences you're having in the present. Just snap, a quick picture, tuck it away, then share those photos later to Instagram or whatever to show them off to your family. And a third point I would say is

this one might be a little cheesy, but if traveling intrigues, you just go out there and do it. There's never a perfect time to travel and you definitely don't want to look back on your life with any regrets about the things that you wished you did. And so that's something I'm really young still, but I've learned that at a young age, when my father passed away, that life is really short and fragile and you never know when these opportunities are going to come again. So get out there and do it earlier rather than there. 

Trinity: So if we go back to the revenue side of things, what would you say are some of the learnings from living abroad, traveling applaud experience that's transferable into your role now in sales?

Derek: I would say anyone who's working in sales knows you're basically always outside of your comfort zone. And so traveling alone already helps pull you out of your own bubble, especially solo traveling. You're forced to make your own decisions, decide what you want to do with your time. Where do you want to go?

What you want to see, and in order to stay saying, you need to make your own social interactions happen. So that means getting out there, creating a new network around you, wherever you are, meeting people who you don't know and building relationships out of thin air. And that's a huge part of what sales is.

And another point, I would say for people who haven't traveled, is when you get out and start to see new things, it's going to spark a natural curiosity. The more you see, kind of, the more you want to know, and the more questions that come up. And so curiosity has been like, just such a big leading factor out of any of the success that I see for myself or for my colleagues within sales. People who are just naturally wanting to ask questions, learn more about what your prospects, what your customers are doing, and what they're looking for, what their challenges are

you're just going to naturally be able to help them along their journey. And, ultimately, the more you help them, the more you provide value, the more likely they are to want to work with you.

Trinity: Do you have notes of encouragement or insights to share? Email me and we'll get you on the show at podcast@usergems.com. Thanks for listening.