Keepin’ it 100 with Gabrielle Blackwell, Gong

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

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The hosts:
Trinity Nguyen
Christian Kletzl

On this episode, Trinity is joined by Gabrielle Blackwell, Sales Development Manager at Gong, a revenue intelligence platform.

“Ask yourself the question, what are my redeeming qualities? What are my biggest strengths? And then ask yourself, what is required in order for me to exercise those strengths?”

Gabrielle shares her insights on how to break into sales and how to self-reflect on your strengths, ultimately helping you find the right company fit for you.

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Outside of work, Gabrielle hosts a weekly "Women in Sales" Clubhouse room every Saturday and "SDR Hotline" on LinkedIn Live every Friday. She also offers coaching with SDR Nation.

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Trinity: hi everyone. I'm Trinity Nguyen with Usergems. And today I'm Keepin’ it 100 with Gabrielle Blackwell, Sales Development Manager at Gong. For this episode, we did a lightning round of tips, how to break into sales, specifically technology sales, and how to find the right company, where you can bring your whole self to work. Let's dive in. 

Gabrielle: One of the biggest challenges that I'm seeing right now for folks who are trying to break into sales, like an SDR role for the first time, especially if they've had no prior tech sales experience. What I see them struggle with is thinking that they have to have tech sales experience in order to get into tech sales.

I was like, if that was the case, none of us. Would be here right now. So what I share with folks in terms of the things that they can do, regardless of their experience is what are your redeeming qualities. Let's just start off with that. What are the things that, regardless of the activity that you're being asked to do, that you would do really well?

So for me, I recognized like, wow, I don't have this experience, but I'm a very fast learner or, Hey, I don't necessarily know what this means, but I can figure it out. I'm incredibly resourceful or, Hey, I don't necessarily know about the tech space overall, but I'm well networked and I can ask people questions and I can figure things out really like think through what are your redeeming qualities that even though this is something that's completely new, These are the qualities that will help you to bridge whatever gap might be perceived.

And the second piece is to be very intentional and be proactive in the interview experience and sharing that with the hiring managers, call it out before they have a chance to use set the narrative. And so I think the big key here is. You have to be the person to set the narrative from the very, very get-go.

Cause that's really all you're working with. Right. If you don't have the experience, that's what managers are looking for. I'm like, all right. I only have so much capital that I can invest into my people and want to make sure that when I invest. This much capital and I'm getting a return on my engagement.

So if somebody is engaging with them and I'm not, so I'm like, am I going to work harder than you? Like, do I care more than you do? That's a problem. Yeah. Makes sense. 

Trinity: So if we flip it around, so for candidates who have multiple offers, you wrote about. Finding the companies that align with your values of who you are.

So what are some ways that as candidates or employees in general, where you can do that, kind of self-reflection to know your core values, and then find companies that 

Gabrielle: match that. Ooh. Okay. So, I mean, you could go to therapy. Hi,

the therapy. You could get a coach, right? Someone who can work through things with you. I recognize that not everyone might be able to have access to those resources. So one of the things that I learned from a therapist in the past, it was all about trying to figure out what are my deal-breakers, what are my non-negotiables right?

And then what are the things that are really fueling for me? So one of the things you can do is think through, again, like you can ask a question, what are my redeeming qualities? What are my biggest strengths? And then ask yourself the question of what's required. In order for me to exercise those strengths, I need to be enough space in a place where I can learn.

I love to learn. I love to grow. So for me, a value of mine is going to be growth. And learning. I need to be at a company that also acknowledges and appreciates that learner's mindset. I need to have leadership who supportive of my growth as well. So that's what I'm really thinking about is what are the things that really light me up that keep me fueled that inspire me.

I have those written down then I think about, okay, well, what is the environment that's needed? Or what are the conditions that are needed in order to support that, cultivate that even more, encourage that even more. And then what is the kind of leadership that's required in order to maintain and grow that kind of environment?

So if I figure those things out, I can start asking questions. During the interview experience to either identify yes, they have these qualities that can support my values or no, this is a hard, no, right. I think this is the hardest part is recognized. I have limits that if somebody crosses this boundary, it'll be detrimental for me as a person.

There are certain experiences where like, I didn't know, The exact questions I needed to ask, but I was very present during the interview experience. I remember having one interview where I gave a presentation and at the end of the presentation, one of the people on the panel was like, that was cute, but not good.

Just basically not word for word, but essentially yes, it was like, I could tell you worked really hard. And the design was really nice. But there was nothing significant that you shared with us that was legitimately it. And basically for 15 minutes they just tore my presentation apart. And I remember after this interview, I laid on the floor and I was like, that felt terrible.

And so this is a boundary. I was like, Hey, listen, if I'm experiencing this in the interview, this is what I'm going to get. When I go to the job and it's going to be worse, they're on their best behavior right now. What happens when they're on their normal behavior? What happens when they're having a bad day?

So for me, I thought about even in this values, exercise, I value feeling supported. And there, I felt so dismissed. I felt torn apart and I was like, this is not a space where I can feel supported. 

Trinity: If you want to hear more from Gabrielle, you can join her and Alexi and Moodle wall on women in sales, clubhouse room every Saturday at 2:00 PM central.

If you're not in Clubhouse, you can still join her on the SDR hotline. On LinkedIn live every Friday at 11:00 AM central. And if you're looking for your next opportunity and want to put Gabrielle's tips of practice, Gong is also hiring across the board and especially looking for folks from diverse backgrounds.

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