To see the tremendous rise in people (and dogs) roaming around our headquarters in the past few years has been exciting. Our talented people have been colossal in helping our customers succeed.
In our new series, “House of Guest”, we corner a few of our team members to find out more about the passion behind their role, team and projects here at Traction Guest. This week, we feature Karlie Westie, a rock star Account Executive. A self described “sports addict”, find out what fuels her passion for helping her customers win by implementing the Traction Guest visitor management system (VMS) into their operations.
Describe the role an Account Executive at Traction Guest has on the relationship with customers.
As an Account Executive, the best thing you can do is be an advisor for your customers. Enterprise visitor management is a rapidly evolving space, so it makes a big difference if you can help guide clients through procurement and offer the resources to help them. Sales people can get a bad rep sometimes. I think it’s important to prove that we really do care about their success too.
When people think of sales people, they assume you have to have an outgoing confident personality. Would you agree?
I would say, generally, yes, we’re outgoing and chatty. It’s our job to connect with people and build relationships. But you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert to be successful at sales. A lot of the job is solving problems and working towards a goal with your customer. It’s the ability to work with people that counts, not the personality.
What is the best way to get a start in a career in sales?
My advice, figure out two things. One, what kind of product or service do you think you would enjoy selling? And second, what types of people would you like to sell to? In other words, the market.
Hit the Google, do some research, and I guarantee you will find sales positions near you that might be a good fit for you based off of the product and the market.
Another great way is just reaching out to employees at the prospective companies on LinkedIn. People love talking about what they do and you can get some really valuable insight.
What is the best advice related to your position you have ever received?
Trust the process and the product. Stay positive. You get shut down a lot as a sales person, just don’t let it get to your head or discourage you. Keep working hard and you’ll get there, little padawan.
What is the most underrated quality of a great Account Executive?
Humor. Nobody wants to have to spend an hour on the phone or video chat through a dry presentation. Customers appreciate effort, research and personality. Don’t be afraid to have fun and make a genuine connection. And send a GIF or two, everybody loves GIFs.
What is the coolest thing about working in the visitor management industry?
I love how excited our customers are about VMS. We’re solving big problems for big companies that no other systems can.
What is your favorite sales book?
When I first started as an AE, my team gifted me the Sales Success – Emotional Intelligence by Colleen Stanley. That’s been one of my favorites.
You started off at Traction Guest as a marketing intern. How did you find your way into being an Account Executive?
I tried marketing for 3 months during my internship, and although I received a lot of great experience and knowledge, I discovered how much I enjoyed interacting directly with customers. My manager and I had a conversation about this, and she had some really great advice for me. She recommended I try sales, and that I should speak to CEO about making the switch, and here I am! Our leadership team is amazing, and they truly care about our growth as individuals and finding our true passions.
What is your favourite way to start your work morning?
Green tea, headphones in, volume up, and dive in to my unread email inbox.
A career in sales can perceived as an individual role to some. How important is collaboration with team members for your role here at Traction Guest?
I don’t think anyone would survive in sales if they had that mindset that it is an individual role. We lean on each other, we learn from each other, and we win together. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experience and knowledge that my team members provide.
What is the secret to maintaining good relationships with your customers?
Talk to them like they’re a real person and not just someone on the other end of a phone (crazy, right?). Ask about their weekend, ask about their kids’ soccer games, ask what their favourite flavour of ice-cream is. Caring will go a long way.
What is the greatest compliment a customer every gave you?
One of my favorite compliments was an email I received saying, “Boom pow! You need the customer service award of the year! #karlie4promotion.”
What feature of the Traction Guest VMS are you most excited about presenting in a demo to potential customers?
I love showing off Self ID Scanning on the iPad. This has been highly requested, so it’s exciting to display a feature that helps our customers quickly and accurately acquire the data they need from their visitors. It is both an advantage from a security and operational standpoint.
What is your favorite way to reset and disconnect from work?
For me it’s sports. It’s a great way to get out and not think about anything for a few hours. I played everything under the sun growing up, and still play softball and volleyball frequently.
Traction Guest has recently won an award partly for our workplace environment. What is your favorite part of the culture here?
My absolute favourite part is the desk pranks. Nothing says culture like saran wrapping the germaphobic CEO’s desk quarantine-style while he’s away. We’ve created a fun-loving team of people who are prone to shenanigans, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Where do you see this company going in the next few years?
I imagine we will continue our trajectory. Hire more great new people, keep building our product bigger and better, and continue making a difference in our community.