Colin Campbell on how an unexpected opportunity led to a successful career in sales
When Colin Campbell joined Adobe six years ago, he admits that it took him some convincing. He was joining as a product specialist for Adobe Campaign, and the idea of going into sales and carrying a quota made him unsure of the opportunity. Flash forward to today, and Colin is now the Growth Sales Director based in Sydney, Australia. Find out why Colin decided to join Adobe, what sets the opportunity apart, and the sort of candidates he’s looking for to join his growing team.
Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Adobe and career to date?
I joined Adobe six years ago as a product specialist for Adobe Campaign and I have to admit, it took some convincing to join Adobe in a sales role because the idea of carrying a direct quota made me a little uncomfortable. As part of the hiring process, I asked to meet with some peers ahead of accepting the role and I met someone who had been on a similar trajectory. It also took them a while to be convinced to move into sales, but after 18 months they were smashing their goals and saw sales in a very different light. This highlighted that having marketing domain expertise and an understanding of marketing technology was a key to success in sales. That first year was a whirlwind for me, but I was surrounded by an amazing team and was fortunate to partner with several customers, which allowed me to hit my annual sales quota 8 months in! I have been fortunate and given the ability to grow my career and personal capabilities here at Adobe through leading a team of product sales specialists to the addition of solution consulting teams to form a much larger team.
What sets Adobe growth sales apart from the market?
Adobe is the only software company in the world that is focused completely on digital marketing. We can deliver across content creation to content delivery and from audience insight and activation all the way through to delivering personalisation and digital documents. Our company mission has been unchanged for 35 years — changing the world through digital experiences. Powering that mission is the unification of content and data to deliver a personalised customer experience that really makes Adobe unique. When you combine Adobe’s market leading solutions with our people who live our Adobe values (genuine, exceptional, innovative and involved), that’s what really makes this a special place to work.
What are the skills and attributes that are needed to become successful in growth sales?
To be successful in the growth sales team you need to be driven to help customers transform, and hungry to learn about their challenges. True partnership is based on a value exchange, so you need to be willing to learn about their business and have a clear point of view on how Adobe’s technology can deliver a return on investment for them. Then work collaboratively with your team and the customer to demonstrate how partnering with Adobe can deliver that long term value. Lead the customer on the journey, show them how you will work together in partnership for success.
What do you look for while hiring for your team?
Given the complexity of technology and transforming projects, I tend to look for people who understand the marketing space, have an understanding of technology, and an aptitude for selling. I also look for that entrepreneurial spirit—those that are creative problem solvers who have a growth mindset to be continuously improving and evolving to market demands. In today’s market with tech savvy buyers, if you understand what you are talking about and are backed by the best technology in the market, then it is more about collaborating and partnering with customers to help them solve business problems, demonstrating value and working to help them deliver on their customer experience goals.
My ideal candidates also have a diversity of experience, but for me having a deep understanding of a subject area, be that content management, commerce, audience personalisation or marketing automation, with a drive to succeed and a willingness to learn are equally important attributes. We have many great examples of hugely successful salespeople who would never ordinarily have thought of pursuing a sales career—and I include myself in that! But if you look at those traits as barometers of success, they are a universal fit.
Any parting advice for candidates who are thinking about applying to Adobe?
The amount of personal and career growth I have experienced at Adobe is phenomenal — it is a testament to the support and guidance that is provided here. If you apply yourself, adopt the right attitude and lead from wherever you are, you will have career development opportunities open up. I often say to candidates, working at Adobe is like dog years, in that the experience and personal development from a year working at Adobe is like seven years of experience compared to other jobs. The market for our technology is exploding and as a sales team we need to ensure we are set up to meet this demand. It makes our day-to-day fast paced and full of variety. As an account executive you are empowered and responsible for leading the team to solve those customer business issues, with a clear point of view on how Adobe can deliver business value.