Technical Account Management (TAM) Customer Success

A Woman’s World: VMware Spotlight on Martha Bellens-Martin

“In school I would never have thought, ‘I will sell software for a living. That just wasn’t even something that anybody discussed as a career opportunity.”

After studying industrial engineering at Texas A&M, Martha Bellens-Martin started her career as a facilities engineer. When an opportunity to move into software sales arose, she took a chance and discovered her passion for connecting customers with the right solutions. She now leads VMware’s South Central Technical Account Management Services team as the Director of Customer Success.

New opportunities on the horizon

Martha’s first postgraduate role was in facilities engineering and it required her to manually optimize the organization’s manufacturing space to best support engineering processes. Things changed when the business began working with technology from Intergraph that could automate facilities management instead. “I was completely amazed,” she recalled.

She quickly mastered the system and figured out how to automate her colleagues’ most repetitive tasks. She impressed Intergraph with her work, prompting the firm to offer her a sales position to bring automation to other companies. “It was such an interesting idea to be able to travel for work and then go talk to people that I’ve never met and try to convince them that this was a great investment.”

The position was her introduction to tech, and she still considers her first solo sales presentation for Intergraph her favorite sales memory. “The first successful demo and the first sale was unbelievable. It was such a validation that I made the right choice. It was such a validation that this is going to be something that’s really going to take off.”

She also credits Intergraph with teaching her critical interpersonal skills to build a career in sales. “One of the things that was foundationally important for me, and that Intergraph did so well, and VMware does too is not just teaching technical skills but teaching how to effectively facilitate and run a meeting and how to effectively present so that it’s interesting for your audience. You’re not just running through a series of features and functions. That’s important, but that’s not why people buy.”

Passing it on

After Intergraph, Martha’s career included stops at an HVAC startup and at Peregrine Systems, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. She then took a pre-sales management role at HP for 17 years.

Toward the end of her time at HP, a former director contacted her about a TAM Manager opening at VMware. Martha was intrigued but wondered whether a post-sales position involving virtualization and technical account management — neither of which she had a comprehensive background in — was the right move. She was encouraged to apply anyway.

“It is the best move I’ve ever made in my career, not only because the company is such an incredible company from the epic value perspective, how it lines up with what I believe about how people should be managed and how people should be encouraged, but also because it’s a super fulfilling role and TAMs are the best people on Earth.”

Martha made it a point to get involved beyond her job description, which led her to launch two programs that help members of her team build essential consulting skills — similar to the skill-building she was offered by Intergraph and VMware. She finds these skills help team members connect with customers, enhancing the value VMware can offer.

Outside of work, she’s a leader in developing the next generation of tech and engineering professionals. She’s a member of the Texas A&M Engineering Foundation, which supports the university’s engineering programs, and she established a scholarship for industrial engineering students. She hopes to set up more scholarships in the future.

You’ll also find her spending time with family and friends, working toward her goal of traveling to 100 countries, or reading as many as two to three books per week. “It’s always interesting to get that additional perspective because you can only experience so much in life but if you do it through a book, you can triple that.”

Eliminating bias and seeking support

Martha wants to use her position as a tech leader to help other women find their way into the field as well.

She’s used to being one of the only women in the room but noted that many women still deal with getting talked over by male colleagues. “We still have generations of men, and we still see a lot of industries where they think they’re helping because they put their voice -over yours,” she emphasized. While she believes these efforts aren’t malicious, she stated her opinion on the matter frankly: “Women do not need their ideas and contributions restated.”

Martha also thinks unconscious bias plays a factor, so she encourages leaders to engage in training to better understand how bias affects their behavior at work.

Her advice to women in tech: find an ally, not just a mentor, who can be a helping hand along the journey.  An ally advocating for you at every opportunity, especially if you are not present.

“Find somebody that’s going to be your ally… Find people who are willing to be your advocate, who are so enchanted with what you’re doing that they think ‘Wow, I either want that person on my team or I’m going to mention that person because of the connections that I have across the company.’”


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