Read on to learn how Jordan Harris applies the mindset he acquired as a professional football player to his sales career journey at VMware.
VMware Careers: Did you always know that you wanted to have a career in sales?
Jordan Harris: I did not actually. I knew I had the work ethic (playing collegiate and professional sports), I knew I loved interacting with people, but I didn’t truly see sales as a way to do that. I realized about six months into being an SDR (Sales Development Representative) back in 2016 that I was pretty good at building relationships and communicating with others. From that day, I’ve come to learn that selling is exactly that. People buy from people, especially in these trying times. Trust is key.
VMware Careers: Tell us more about your first role at VMware. How did it lead you to where you are today?
Jordan Harris: I started as a Sales Development Representative in Boston in 2016 back in Boston. I was in that role for about a year, and I used it to truly understand what my sales style was and the kind of sales professional I wanted to be. I looked at it the same way I did my professional football career. In key areas of the role, I asked myself: What do I need to get better in? What is the timeframe needed for me to accomplish this? How do I get there in the most effective manner possible? I used this thinking to identify the below three areas to help me progress in my sales career:
- Selling (ironic right?!)
- First, and foremost you have to excel from a numerical perspective (the job that you were hired to do). Hitting your KPI’s (key performance indicators) generating meetings, pipeline, and at the time, making sure those meetings are and were being delivered by the rep you supported. You will hear a lot of individuals say activity, which is true. But it’s the right kind of activity that produces the correct result aka closing business. That changes quarter to quarter, half by half, bringing it back to my football analogy. You have to be able to adapt, in season, in deal/ in a game, and the ones who can adapt in sales and realize there will always be adversity through a sales cycle just like in a game will succeed.
- Networking/ Building Relationships:
- To me, this is the most important part once you have established yourself as a top performer within an organization. You don’t just represent yourself when you become a quota-carrying rep. You represent the team that you are on, and your number is tied to your manager’s number, which is tied to the director’s number, and so on. Back to the football analogy, you don’t just represent you when you are a part of a team, you represent the team that is on your Jersey, the coaches that are coaching you, and the organization that you play for. So, ultimately everyone’s success is tied together. If someone doesn’t know you, trust you, and believe in you, it’s hard for them to rely on you versus someone they already know.
- Self-Awareness / Building your Brand:
- It’s one thing to believe something about yourself. It’s another thing when someone else believes these same things about you. What am I trying to say here is that, self-awareness within sales, and how you view yourself vs. how others view you and the brand that you build at a company, are extremely important. Having the ability to understand, reflect, and put things into practice that allows you to better yourself, not solely as a salesperson but incorporating the person you want to be as a whole, is really a key foundation and how I live my life. From this role, I was promoted to be a SMB (Small and Medium size business) representative, and at that time, VMware had purchased an office in Boulder, Colorado. I felt like this would be a great adventure/next step in my career. Due to my Christian faith, I prayed about it and realized this was another door of opportunity opening for me into a team lead role under my manager at the time, Daniel Lawson. I ended up covering Dallas, Texas, the same territory I cover today from an enterprise standpoint. And coincidently, if you believe in coincidence, this is where I’m from. I stayed in the Inside Sales role for about a year and a half before having the opportunity to interview for a Field Sales role which is the role I am in today.
VMware Careers: How has the global pandemic affect your role?
Jordan Harris: Quite a bit, but I think it’s universal. Every sales role is tough right now because of where the economy is and the fact that businesses also don’t really know what to expect. There also doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, so it definitely has its challenges. But, I think a lot of good has come from this pandemic. It’s allowed individuals to prioritize what’s important and put things back into perspective about what really matters.
VMware Careers: Describe what a typical day looks like for you at the moment?
Jordan Harris: Usually, it starts with reviewing my current opportunities making sure all my next steps are up-to-date and reviewing any list of items I need to do. Following that, I identify a hand full of accounts I want to prospect, (i.e find more correct contacts to reach out to). Then, I send emails, cold call, and have strategic conversations with partners. I normally have two to four sales calls per day, whether it’s internal or external. Most of my days recently are spent prospecting into accounts, trying to get creative on how to generate net new business and pipeline, and expanding my network.
VMware Careers: How do you see this role evolving as we navigating a new way of interfacing with our customers?
Jordan Harris: It’s really becoming an Inside Sales role, which isn’t “new for me” since that is where I came from. That is actually why I believe I have an advantage in my current role. A lot of enterprise reps are not used to creating activity solely from a desk, which is what the pandemic has really forced us into doing. For me, having the ability to revert to what I learned from the Inside sales organization at VMware has been tremendous and a huge advantage in my eyes.
VMware Careers: What advice would you offer someone who is thinking of applying to a sales role supporting VMware Carbon Black?
Jordan Harris: Not only advice for VMware, but any company – I would say do your research on these key items.
- The Product:
- Make sure the product that you are selling has credibility in the market, brand awareness, and that it works!
- You want to be at a place where the values really match with your own. I can truly say that about VMware’s EPIC2 values.
- Pray about it:
- Now, this stems from my relationship with Jesus Christ. I never make a decision without including him, he is the orchestrator of all things, and even when you don’t know the outcome of the situation, knowing someone who does, helps! 🙂
Could you see yourself working as a VMware Carbon Sales Representative just like Jordan?
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