Breaking into sales? Women in sales share their best career advice

A photo from inside our Adobe headquarters.

By Adobe Life Team

Posted on 01-27-2021

There is one reason why most employees join Adobe, and an even stronger reason why they stay: we have incredible people. Our people embody so many essential qualities—mutual respect, admiration and caring, among others—that have set the standard for how we treat one another since we were founded.

But it isn’t enough for us to trust that our positive culture will naturally lead to us performing at our best. We must continue to invest time, energy and resources to make our employee base more diverse and our environment more welcoming to everyone. We spoke with a few of our talented women in sales across our Asia Pacific team, who have seen great success throughout their career. In the first of our two-part series, we ask them what they love about working in sales and what advice they have for other women looking to start a career in software sales.

What do you love about sales?

Mel Lim, Enterprise Sales Manager, Singapore

“Sales is a performance-based career, and every day presents a new opportunity for you to make a difference. You always have a choice whether you want to do better, and where opportunities are limitless. I also love that what we learn in sales include some transferrable skills to life outside of work, such as active listening, positive attitude and mental strength.”

Mel Lim, Enterprise Sales Manager, Singapore

“With a background in sales and marketing, I love being able to engage with people from both areas of a business and problem solve to drive greater business results. I’m a big believer in better collaboration. Another bonus is being able to chat with people across a range of industry types. Gaining insights into different industries and business units helps to imagine what the future of business will look like and what it will need.”

Sophie Stefanetti, Commercial Account Executive, Melbourne

Jane Chen, Senior Solutions Consultant, Sydney

“I love to understand customer problems and have the ability to provide solutions that meet their requirements and expectations. When you see a happy customer, you feel happy too.”

Jane Chen, Senior Solutions Consultant, Sydney

“I love the fact that no matter what part of the sales cycle you are in–whether it’s working with our partner eco-system to build pipeline and scale our business, on the front line leading our customers through their digital transformation journey or as a customer success manager focused on retention by helping customers realise ongoing value, Adobe has a clear and consistent mission–to change the world through digital experiences. It’s pretty thrilling to feel you have a part to play in that.

I also used to think that carrying a quota would be terrifying—too stressful with too much risk, however, it had the reverse effect. I found myself to be highly motivated by specific, measurable goals with deadlines, as it drives you forward every day. There’s no ambiguity.”

Joanna Nicholls, ANZ Partner Manager, Sydney

Hayley Wan, Commerce Solutions Consultant, Singapore

“I love being able to help businesses uncover the best way to leverage technologies to transform themselves. It’s especially fulfilling when customers see the value it brings to their business.

Given that we are living in a digital era, systems are not just systems of records. If we are creative and think outside of the box, businesses grow to greater heights, and this has always been my belief–we sell solutions that bring value to the customer.”

Hayley Wan, Commerce Solutions Consultant, Singapore

Do you have any advice for women looking to get into software sales?

Sophie Stefanetti, Commercial Account Executive, Melbourne

“Now is the time! All the top tech companies are making an active effort to get more women into software sales. Many even run dedicated recruitment campaigns for women. These will help you to understand if software sales is right for you. Also connect with the saleswomen on LinkedIn who are in the tech companies you are interested in joining. Send them a personalised invite explaining your interest in sales and ask them a few questions that are related to your needs and goals. Keep in mind they are busy people, so send invites to a few–one is sure to answer!”

Sophie Stefanetti, Commercial Account Executive, Melbourne

“Worry less about being liked and more about being respected. I was fortunate to meet an inspiring female sales leader in my previous software sales role, and having a mentor in the business can be huge, especially when gaining experience not shared in sales books.”

– Mel Lim, Enterprise Sales Manager, Singapore

Joanna Nicholls, ANZ Partner Manager, Sydney

“Don’t be put off by the ‘old school’ stereotypical sales characteristics like aggressiveness, assertiveness and competitiveness. Relationship building, leading with empathy, responding thoughtfully, attention to detail, building trust–these are all qualities found in high performing salespeople and are also qualities commonly associated with, and inclusive of women.

Tech is such an exciting and fun industry to be in. You’re surrounded by some of the smartest individuals in the world and the solutions are evolving every day. There is never a dull moment!”

Joanna Nicholls, ANZ Partner Manager, Sydney

“If you’re passionate about technology and selling, why not? Try it to know it! Never try, never know!”

Hayley Wan, Commerce Solutions Consultant, Singapore

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Topics: Career Advice, Brand, Adobe Life, Adobe Culture, Adobe Life – Asia, APAC

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