Account executive (AE) Jack Badavas has been with Salesforce for eight years in a variety of sales roles and locations. He approaches every challenge and opportunity with a sense of adventure and grit (more on this grit later).
An East Coast native, Jack went into sales right out of college, nabbing a sales job with an Experian subsidiary. Nine months later, the company moved him to San Francisco. It didn't take long before Jack couldn't help but notice the largest and one of the most highly rated employers in San Francisco — Salesforce.
Shortly after arriving in San Francisco in the mid-2000s, he landed at Salesforce as a business development representative (BDR) for field accounts.
“I think I was right around the 3,000th employee. It was a phenomenal experience, learning the sales dev business from the ground up.”
What do you need to build a career that matters?
A big idea at Salesforce — is the idea of “grit.” In psychology, grit is defined as a positive trait based on an individual's perseverance and passion to achieve a goal. As Forbes contributor Margaret Perlis points out, a lot has been written about the value of grit in any endeavor and the characteristics it encompasses.
In sales, grit means thriving under pressure, taking the initiative to solve problems, and creating a sense of urgency around every task. Its ingredients are discipline, thorough preparation, and showing up ready to work every day.
“My transitions over the years have been relatively seamless, and my direct management team has always been very supportive.”
Grit has allowed Jack to thrive while meeting the challenge of changing roles, locations, and responsibilities. He’s had the opportunity to work on projects that are involved, rewarding, and transformational for his customers.
For anyone pursuing a sales career — or wondering if sales is the right path — Jack would advise taking the long view. How important is work-life integration to you? What kind of workplace culture will allow you to be yourself? Will your career give you a chance to grow outside of work and give back to the community?
Embracing the challenges of growth
Jack spent a little over a year in San Francisco before he went bi-coastal, returning to his North East roots and filling a small-medium business (SMB) role with the company’s financial services group in New York. Jack called New York home for three years, during which time the company underwent significant and rapid growth. That growth trajectory meant Jack needed to wear multiple hats, a challenge he embraced.
“We were in temporary quarters when I started and, by the time I left, we had the Salesforce Tower. My territories included Toronto and Vancouver the first year in SMB; the following year as a mid-market rep, I was based in our Atlanta office.”
For the past two and a half years, Jack’s called Denver, Colorado home. He never expected his career to take him to so many locations, but he’s learned and grown at every stop.
“That’s the beauty of the Salesforce system; you can migrate from one hub to the next. You can switch from sales to product marketing to recruiting or anything in between. My transitions over the years have been relatively seamless, and my direct management team has always been very supportive.”
Global growth offers many local opportunities
As Jack has discovered in his Salesforce career, many locales offer opportunities for growth and helping customers achieve success. The Salesforce platform can be the foundation of digital transformation, driving employee engagement across departments, and improving the experience for our customers’ customers.
Right now, in cities like London, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Sydney, Salesforce is increasing its presence. In fact, the experience of working in different Salesforce regions and for different customer segments is part of gaining what many employees call the “Salesforce MBA.” As Jack recalls his early experience with Salesforce in San Francisco, he says “It was a phenomenal experience, learning sales development from the ground up.”
The Salesforce MBA is not an academic degree, but a set of skills learned in the day-to-day practice of helping our customers solve their business problems. Because these skills — like time management — can be taught, what we look for in our candidates for sales roles are the “intangibles.” Traits like curiosity, integrity, resilience, and drive (grit) that are innate.