Name: Courtney Agar
Title: Senior Account Manager
How long she’s been at Sprinklr: 1 year
Tell us about your career journey: How did you end up working in sales?
I’ve been doing sales, in some capacity, for a very long time. I began in small, mall-type retailers in commission-based sales just to pay my way through school. It always felt natural and wasn’t too challenging to excel, though I had no interest in sales as a long-term track. I was actually a biology major with a pre-medicine focus in college and had planned to go to medical school. After interning with surgeons during undergrad, I decided to opt for a different path.
Given my natural inclination toward sales, it seemed like a seamless fit. While oscillating between tech and pharma, I developed a love for tech from having transformational business discussions that forced me to think differently. I focused my energy on learning the industry so I could participate in, and help drive, these discussions and opportunities. I was so fortunate to find incredible leadership and mentors along the way to push and challenge me, and I wouldn’t be here without them.
What attracted you to work at Sprinklr, and how did you know it would be a good fit?
I was aware of some of what Sprinklr was doing from an artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-channel perspective, and intrigued by what they’d built upon in the last decade. That’s what led me to start a dialogue with them. I was extremely impressed by the technology, but I knew that a move would have to be for a company that was a cultural fit as well. Through my many interviews with Sprinklr, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few board members and executive leadership, and even attend an event with many of them in the room. Not only do they come from incredibly impressive backgrounds, but they also share a passion for what they’re building. They outlined their vision of being the world’s most-loved software company, and the mission to enable every organization on the planet to make their customers happier. And it didn’t feel like a marketing slogan. Fortunately, I can say that I was right.
What are you responsible for as a senior account manager at Sprinklr?
My job is to ensure my prospects and clients get value from our products as well as strategic insights from our partnership that drive demonstrable impact for their business. This inevitably drives client success, retention, and growth. In order to achieve this, it is my responsibility to ensure our greater team is aligned on the overall direction for each account.
In every engagement, we have to consider the personal impact to our stakeholders’ lives and career progression, as well as the greater impact to their team and the client’s overall corporate objectives. It’s critical that we are able to map our capabilities to their most pivotal business challenges and strategic objectives while bringing new, innovative ideas to their business.
What does a normal day in your job look like?
One of the most mission-critical skills in my role is the ability to effectively prioritize an ongoing to-do list, which could include tasks like tracking down a technical capabilities response with the solutions consulting and product teams or preparing a deck to present in an upcoming client meeting. There is always more that I could be doing, whether it’s something that contributes to improving client relationships or growing the business. As a result, every day I consider and reassess what’s important and urgent, as well as what makes the most impact for my clients and prospects. To be effective in this role means being able to constantly pivot and reprioritize.
It is also critical that I stay consistent in account research and continued development of account plans that map to our clients’ corporate objectives, challenges, and current market conditions. Sometimes, it’s a slight change in tide that determines the right time to reach out to a client or prospect for a mutually beneficial discussion. Though these research activities sometimes feel like they lack urgency, they are very important and must be a part of my day.
Prospecting and collaborating with the business development and field marketing teams, as well as professional personal development, is also consistent in my day-to-day.
Saving the best for last, client engagements are the most critical and prioritized part of my calendar every day. Due to COVID-19, our approaches are different, obviously, but it hasn’t changed my directives, objectives, and desires to connect daily with as many of my clients and prospects as possible. Whether it’s through standing weekly calls to discuss goals and provide support and direction or one-offs that lead to huge breakthroughs in partnerships, what I love most about my job is the people that I get to connect with and support.
What is the sales department structure at Sprinklr?
We work to create an environment where the client is most closely connected with the team that can best support them, whether they are mid-size, enterprise, or enterprise strategic clients. Sales works collaboratively with both the business development and customer experience management teams to generate leads and new business. All of us use the Sprinklr platform to show prospects and clients how we engage in new, exciting ways across modern channels. Together, we leverage the account plans and relevant industry research to ensure we can align in a valuable way with new prospects.
What skills are essential to succeeding as a salesperson at Sprinklr?
Knowing how to research, active listening, patience, communication, commitment, leadership, and balance. I expand on a few of these below.
Research: I personally believe that the more industry expertise that you have, the more readily you will excel. Few of my clients are technologists, but rather they are marketing or customer service or business intelligence executives. It’s not all up to our clients to help us understand their needs—they have enough vendors with that expectation. I see a lot of value in being able to co-develop strategies with my clients and provide my industry knowledge as support.
Commitment: Most times, things don’t come up when you expect or prepare for them. You will be working a lot when it’s really, really inconvenient: Not too long ago, I presented to a client at 3 AM from a corner chair in the lobby of my hotel in Italy while on vacation. I can say this is often the norm as clients’ needs aren’t on your timeline.
Leadership: I make it my personal obligation to understand and respect every team member’s intrinsic motivators, assets, and challenges, and try to “lead” and unify the team with that in mind. This is a constant effort, and something I will always need to continue bettering.
Balance: This seems silly to acknowledge, but I think it’s an actual skill we have to work to maintain in this role, which comes with stress and pressure. Never do we utter, “I have nothing to do or work on right now,” or “today’s a light day.” That doesn’t mean I don’t know when I need to walk away and be okay with enjoying other aspects of my life. This role asks a lot of us, and balance is required to keep from burning out.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
I can’t share too much here, given non-disclosure agreements and the nature of what we do influencing so many go-to-market strategies. I can say COVID-19 has obviously impacted all of our clients in how they communicate with their customers and what is required to remain competitive, and Sprinklr technology can significantly influence that. We are making giant strides in making consumer interests and sentiment data visible to our clients so they can respond accordingly and give their customers what they actually want from those brand relationships.
We’re also working with different clients to shift marketing rhythms and how and where they are able to respond to customers in a meaningful way to complete the transformation of their products and offerings to respond to new, evolving customer segments. I can genuinely say there isn’t a single customer engagement that doesn’t excite me—this is why I do this!
What achievement in your current role are you most proud of?
I worked with a client for many years whose standard practice was to not standardize on vendors. Over the course of our partnership, they ended up purchasing and adding on each product we offered individually because we were able to deliver against their core strategic objectives as promised. This took a lot of focused and researched strategic direction, but also dedication to this client’s success. I have been both very proud and grateful for what we were able to build and accomplish together when both parties leaned in so much to the success of the partnership. In an ideal world, I would be able to create this type of partnership with every client, and I always seek these similar engagements.
What customer relationship management (CRM) tool do you use, and are there any other tools or services that you or your team uses on a regular basis?
We use Salesforce from a CRM perspective as well as many other connectivity, data, and prospecting tools. Most importantly, though, our team uses Sprinklr. For example, we use Sprinklr Research to provide meaningful insights and strategies back to our clients to help them better develop marketing content and direction, advertise to, engage directly with, and respond to customers for care.
How is your compensation structured?
As is very common in this industry, most compensation is structured near a 50-50 split between salary and commission. Commissions are based on goals set for a specific client set, and they’re structured based on quite a few metrics that drive mutually beneficial engagements with our clients. Bonus structures are also based on customer success metrics and Sprinklr’s overall success.
How is your success measured and recognized?
There are many metrics and KPIs that our leadership consistently reviews. Of course, they look at the amount sold, but our roles are not that simple, nor are they boiled down to that. Every month, we as an organization track our Customer Happiness Index, or CHI score, and we ask every client. With this, we measure how the account team is best managing the relationship, and identify ways we could improve. We also have a specific engagement model that we follow for every opportunity, and those metrics are tracked as well because they help us align our customers to value. Sprinklr absolutely recognizes that there is a lot more to success for an account executive than just amount sold.
With this, Sprinklr recognizes all types of wins across our many KPIs, and they are constantly shared and celebrated across all forums in the organization; emails, group Slack channels, and our internal share site are littered with the successes of our team.
What do you value most about Sprinklr’s company culture? What sets it apart from other places you’ve worked?
Sprinklr is extremely collaborative and people share and acknowledge one another readily. Everyone really does lean in to help and support each other, and even in a 100% remote environment created by COVID-19, we still feel connected. We all work and act as if we all have the same goals in mind, which we do. It’s a really positive place to be.
What advice do you have for people applying for sales jobs at Sprinklr?
At Sprinklr, we’re hyper-focused on value-driven sales and account management. Yes, we’re the best technology in the many categories in which we compete, but that’s not why we renew at astounding rates for our industry. We push our clients to think and act far beyond their traditional scope (and this is not sales talk), which requires us to think way outside of the box. I’m always surprised when new case studies go public because of how often our clients gain value from extremely unique, individualized business use cases—and this is driven by the types of engagements we have with them every single day.
Therefore, I think if you have a history of understanding core strategic organizational initiatives of your prospects and clients—and you’ve sold because you understood how your technology could make an impact on those initiatives—you can do very well at Sprinklr. These are the stories our leadership will want to hear if you apply to join Sprinklr.