These Skills Close Deals at 10 Boston Tech Companies

Boston sales leaders reveal the specific skills salespeople needed to sell their products and why they matter so much.

Written by Michael Hines
Published on Apr. 07, 2022
These Skills Close Deals at 10 Boston Tech Companies
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Sales leaders aren’t just concerned with selling their company’s products to prospects. They also have to sell their company and team to sales talent. And currently, competition for that talent is fierce, with more than 1,400 open sales roles posted to Built In Boston at the time of this writing. Sales leaders can get candidates’ attention by telling them upfront what skills they need to sell their company’s product, which makes it easier for job seekers to zero in on opportunities that match their skill sets.

At Pluralsight, reps speak fluently with prospects about their digital transformation challenges, with some even holding industry-specific certifications for cloud practices. Over atSophia Genetics, the highest-performing reps are those with the most passion, specifically for genomics. Successful reps at InterSystems must be comfortable having both high-level technical conversations and distilling complex tech concepts for those with less understanding.

Instead of asking if a sales role is right for you, continue reading to find out the specific skills Boston tech companies — all of which are currently hiring — look for in salespeople.

 

Workhuman team members in the office
Workhuman

 

Jenn Brauer
Corporate Sales Executive • Workhuman

 

Workhuman creates technology that helps teammates stay connected, whether they’re working in the office, remotely or in a hybrid setup. Employees get a single portal to chat, thank and celebrate each other. The platform also allows HR teams to launch pulse surveys and manage performance development programs. 

According to Jenn Brauer, corporate sales executive, when this combination of capabilities is presented to HR teams during sales calls, “the light bulbs go off instantly.”

In order to effectively sell our solution, it is important to lead with authenticity.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling Workhuman’s product or service?

In order to effectively sell our solution, it is important to lead with authenticity. I am genuinely curious about the person and company I am speaking with and want that to shine through. Having a trust-based relationship with our prospects and clients is also important because our customers are long-time partners, so I try to add value in every discussion. Lastly, identifying how the solution you are selling can solve their business challenges is key.

 

 

Stephanie Sukennik
Account Executive, Large • Rapid7

 

Rapid7’s cloud-based cybersecurity platform is used by companies to stay ahead of hackers, automate routine security tasks and to keep the skills of offensive cybersecurity teams sharp. Stephanie Sukennik, an account executive, said that when it comes to pitching Rapid7 to prospects, the company’s research work and established customer feedback line helps it stand out.

The foundation of a good opportunity starts with strong discovery.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling Rapid7’s product or service?

In my opinion, the foundation of a good opportunity starts with strong discovery to understand the challenges an organization is facing holistically. Mastering skills around effective communication and solution-based selling allow us to effectively position Rapid7 as a strategic partner that can address an organization’s short-term and long-term goals instead of just selling a point solution.

 

 

Ably Realtime office
Ably Realtime

 

Austin True
Head of Sales, N. America • Ably Realtime

 

Ably Realtime develops technology to enable companies to offer “real-time experiences,” like tracking a delivery driver in an app, watching shared edits being made in a doc or seeing the most up-to-date price of crypto on an exchange. Austin True, head of sales for North America, noted that real-time capabilities have become “table stakes” in the tech industry, which is part of what makes Ably’s platform so great to sell.

We’re looking for people who are competitive in preparation.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling Ably Realtime’s product or service?

A lot of salespeople are competitive on calls with customers or when closing a big deal, but we’re looking for people who are competitive in preparation. We don’t expect our account execs to master the nuts and bolts of the technology: They’ll partner with solution engineers for that. But they should strive to be a student of our space and more importantly their customers. There are plenty of skills that empower that, whether it’s individual research, collaborating with tech partners, doing deep discovery or developing point of view narratives.

 

 

Madeline Riddick
Growth Account Executive • Pluralsight

 

Digital transformations take time, in part because companies undergoing them need to either hire people with specific technology skills or outsource the work. Pluralsight takes a third approach, with its platform offering thousands of skill-building courses, training exercises and live classes in everything from Python to AWS operations and enterprise cybersecurity strategies.

Madeline Riddick, growth account executive, said that in addition to helping companies execute new initiatives, Pluralsight’s product also functions as a retention and recruiting tool.

We get access to the platforms our customers use, making it really easy to skill up in tech and cloud.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling Pluralsight’s product or service?

Building great relationships is key and is what sets us apart from the competition. Taking a consultative approach allows you to really understand a customer or prospect’s business, which makes it much easier for them to realize the value of our product and the problems it solves. This then helps unlock broader conversations across the business. 

Having my AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certification is also very helpful as I’m able to really understand the concepts and struggles my customers are facing with their cloud transformations. It’s important to be up to speed with the latest in cloud and digital technologies so you can have thoughtful conversations. We get access to the platforms our customers use, making it really easy to skill up in tech and cloud.

 

 

Kevin Christensen
Enterprise Account Manager • Immersive Labs

 

The number of security breaches a company has prevented gives a good idea of its cybersecurity capabilities — but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Immersive Labs’ platform is designed to fill in the gaps by providing real-time measures of an organization’s cybersecurity capabilities across technical and non-technical teams, with upskilling exercises and simulations to help teams raise their scores or keep them sharp.

Kevin Christensen, an enterprise account manager at Immersive Labs, said that what makes its products unique is its focus on the humans who ensure a company’s cybersecurity.

Understanding the broader security landscape is key to connecting the dots and aligning them back to frameworks like MITRE and NIST.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling Immersive Labs’ product or service?

With our focus on the human aspects of cybersecurity, understanding the multitude of roles within an organization and how they interact with various technologies and work with each other is critically important. Additionally, understanding the broader security landscape is key to connecting the dots and aligning them back to frameworks like MITRE and NIST. 

When we meet with CISOs, they love how we directly align to their various teams — red, blue, purple, GRC, cloud, application security — to build an upskilling program that provides impactful metrics and hands-on learning. It does not matter if it is one of our simple packet capture labs, a crisis simulation or an in-depth Log4J lab series. Seeing the look on their face change as they realize the power of our immersive simulation engine is one of my favorite parts about working here.

 

 

Colt Miller
SVP, Skilled Nursing • connectRN

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the challenges nurses can face in striking a normal work-life balance along with how difficult it can be for hospitals to address staffing shortages. Founded in 2014, connectRn has developed a staffing platform that gives nurses the ability to book shifts on-demand, which by extension provides hospitals a new way to fill holes in their staffing schedules.

To Colt Miller, SVP of skilled nursing, selling connectRN provides the chance to sell software that actually makes a real impact on people’s lives.

A product is only as valuable as the people behind the solution.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling connectRN Inc.’s product or service?

Sales folks are typically painted as great conversationalists and amazing storytellers. And sure, those qualities are important, but our sales philosophy is actually quite simple: to empower our team to show up as their authentic selves and unleash their full potential. As with any organization, a product is only as valuable as the people behind the solution. When I look at our future growth and the team we are building, I am constantly inspired and energized by the direction we’re heading in. 

With a group of good people driven by a powerful mission and guided by a visionary leadership team, anything is possible. Whenever I speak with candidates, I tell them that if they are willing to bring their passion, leave their ego at home, listen to others with empathy and learn from mistakes, they will be joining a sales dream team that is making a real difference.

 

 

Inside of InterSystems office
InterSystems

 

Jessica Jowdy
Manager, Healthcare Sales Engineering • InterSystems

 

Healthtech may seem like a “new” industry to many, but InterSystems would say otherwise. The company has a history stretching back over four decades, and today its data platform is designed to help payers, providers, clinical labs and many more in the healthcare industry better manage and do more with data.

Jessica Jowdy, manager of healthcare sales engineering, said her team gets a lot of freedom in how they sell InterSytstems’ solutions provided that they keep one thing in mind: the customer’s success.

It’s rewarding work that pays off in the knowledge that you’re moving the world forward.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling InterSystems’ product or service?

Each sales professional needs to be passionate about technology and making a difference. We look for salespeople who have good relationship-building skills. They must engage with clients, hold conversations, feel comfortable giving presentations and enjoy pressure. Our sales professionals thrive on being in competitive situations and building a vision of success with our customers and prospects.

InterSystems sales engineers must be technically competent, but at the same time we need to present technical concepts in an approachable way. It is very important to meet your audience at their level, and that requires distilling complex ideas into digestible information for the audience we’re engaged with. The key is to be creative. Find ways of thinking outside of the box, see new opportunities and identify different ways to position our technologies. It’s rewarding work that pays off in the knowledge that you’re moving the world forward.

 

 

Alicia Gilbert
Enterprise Account Executive • EDB

 

EDB is a PostgresSQL software, services and support provider whose customers include MasterCard, AAA and Siemens. For Alicia Gilbert, an account executive, one of the best parts of selling EDB is learning about a company’s database requirements, the challenges it’s facing and how Postgres can solve them. 

According to Gilbert, one of the keys of finding success at EDB is to really dive into the history of Postgres and to learn the human problems the technology can help solve.

Active listening and making real connections with people interested in Postgres and EDB is paramount.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling EDB’s product or service?

Being genuinely curious, asking questions, active listening and making real connections with people interested in Postgres and EDB is paramount. Learning about the use cases that made Postgres one of the most loved databases in the world is infinitely important as I can build on that knowledge and share it with others around me.

From a young age, I became interested in technology, but it wasn’t until later that I became interested in open source and how it has — and still is — making the world a better place. Postgres is an incredible database that helps companies reduce costs and increase efficiency, but it’s so much more. I knew that Postgres’ versatility allows companies to minimize costs, but I later learned how that one change also reduces turnover. I imagine happier, smiling people and how EDB was able to be a part of that positive change in their day-to-day lives.

 

 

A collage of BlueConic team members headshots
BlueConic

 

Patrick Crane
Sales Director • BlueConic

 

A company’s marketing stack can sometimes rival its tech stack, which can create challenges when it comes to getting a complete look at customer data due to the many technologies in use. BlueConic’s platform solves this problem by providing a single repository where marketers can access and analyze all their customer data. 

Patrick Crane, sales director, said the most compelling part of selling BlueConic is that the platform solves so many problems for marketers, whether it’s dealing with changes in consumer behavior or how to gather data without third-party cookies.

It’s critical to love working collaboratively.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling BlueConic’s product or service?

Curiosity and collaboration. We need people who are professionally curious, comfortable asking one more question and go deeper to understand the needs of our customers, the nuances of their marketing tech stack and how their business works. This enables us to surface things that show the value of our platform and make the buying process easy.

It’s also critical to love working collaboratively. Our sales reps need to effectively communicate the needs of prospects to our customer success team so they can provide a seamless onboarding experience. We need to provide useful market feedback to the product team, too, and get their support to stay ahead of our customers’ needs. At BlueConic, selling is a team sport and we win when all the players on the field are working together.

 

 

Sophia Genetics logo on the wall in the office
Sophia Genetics

 

Arjun Ishwar
Senior Manager - Subject Matter Expert • SOPHiA GENETICS

 

SOPHiA GENETICS has developed a data-sharing network and artificial intelligence technology that together are designed to unsilo the world’s health data and mine insights from it. The goal is to give researchers and doctors access to more data to speed up the development of new treatments and drugs and improve diagnoses.

Arjun Ishwar is a senior manager, subject matter expert at SOPHiA GENETICS who said customers are particularly drawn to the platform for its sophisticated data analysis capabilities and analytical performance.

Each employee is an entrepreneur, constantly finding innovative ways to help our customers achieve their goals.”

 

What are the most important skills required for selling SOPHiA GENETICS’ product or service?

You must possess a passion for genomics and a dedication to SOPHiA GENETICS’ mission and values of democratizing data-driven medicine. You must possess the skills to obtain a thorough understanding of our customers’ needs, excellent knowledge of our products and great communication skills to transfer knowledge from the field to the internal team. 

You must also be adept at the consultative selling framework, which goes hand in hand with strategic account development. You must ask good open-ended questions, understand before recommending solutions and never be afraid to ask for commitment at the end of a customer meeting. An ideal team member should understand the need for — and maintain a sense of — urgency in fulfilling requests, emails and phone calls to ensure customers always feel supported. Each employee is an entrepreneur, constantly finding innovative ways to help our customers achieve their goals. 

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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