At Meltwater, no senior leader will turn down a call about sales training — that’s not always true across the SaaS industry. At some companies, it’s just a line item in the budget no one thinks much about. Here, we’re willing to invest in it because we want to see people develop, and that ties into the core of who we are as a company.
Yes, we are a business serving a customer whom we want to help be successful. But we also subscribe to the belief that if you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your customers. Investment in sales training and personal development ensures a person can get as much as they can out of this opportunity, which in turn helps the company grow. I know because I’ve seen and experienced it first-hand.
Growing with Meltwater
I’m an old-schooler at Meltwater, having joined during the great financial crisis when it was much smaller than it is now. I looked at consulting firms and other organizations, but Meltwater was the place where I truly felt like I had the quickest path to leadership and where my voice would be heard.
One convincing piece to it was that the then-Executive Director of the Americas actually took the time to do my interview; it wasn’t only with HR. He wanted to make sure that those who came on board truly had the investment and backing they needed to succeed. That really reinforced the company’s promise of focusing on making people our most important asset.
I started as an individual contributor and quickly moved into sales management roles. I found a lot of success thanks to the strong leadership team around me. And as the company continued to grow, I was always able to tap into an entrepreneurial side by raising my hand for the biggest challenges that the company had. After leading a traditional sales team across North America, my next role in sales management was to start our self-serve division, which scaled to a global division.
It is very rewarding when you see things that you work on be adopted across the business. But it’s the people who I got to do it with — who put their heart and soul into it — that made it successful. That’s why a lot of them are running these functions now as the leaders. And to be fair, they’re probably doing a better job than I was! Today, I lead revenue operations and sales enablement globally for the organization. My teams cover many functions, one of which is sales training.
One great thing about Meltwater is that if you find problems and are willing to raise your hand to solve them, you get an opportunity to be entrepreneurial. People here are not so stuck in their ways; we’re more focused on how we as a group can do better. The advantage of that is if somebody comes up with an idea for improvement, people are very quick and willing to listen.
That’s very true with our current sales training program. There are people in the business who have said, ‘Hey, this is something that we need’ and made very compelling cases as to why we should invest in it. What makes the Meltwater program stand out is that as you advance in your career and competence, we offer sales training that scales along with you. It’s also ever-evolving: As the company moves upmarket and the sale becomes more complex, we adapt our sales training program in order to make sure that we can meet the needs of the customer.
One focus is around helping new hires ramp up by getting product knowledge, fundamental sales knowledge, and truly understanding how to best meet the customer’s needs. A lot of really amazing people — including Global Head of Education Kelly Bebenek, Education Senior Program Manager Marion Wallace, and Senior Manager of Education Cate Stratton and Sales Enablement Manager Robin Blampied — worked to develop a bespoke sales training for wherever people are in their career. As people complete each of the paths of the program, we graduate them on to the next level. It’s not just sales training for the new hire or a blanket sales training approach to the whole business. The program sets people up to be successful here, or in the future whenever they choose to pursue something new, as well.
Training and Meltwater Culture
The sales training program really reflects the Meltwater value of enere — the Norwegian word for “number one” that is company shorthand for celebrating our wins while always striving to be a better version of ourselves. There are many teams working on training and personal development at Meltwater — including those led by VP of Leadership Development Keely Merritt and Global VP of Culture Zubair Timol. We’re always working collaboratively to figure out what each other is doing and how we can accelerate our sales and personal development training together. That also is indicative of the Meltwater culture of figuring out the best way to go together as a team and leaning on each others’ strengths.
It’s really special to see your colleagues and people on your teams do things that change the organization when they have conviction in their ideas and work to bring them to fruition. They pour their heart and soul into whatever the project is and get a return on it. That’s something that I think everybody wants: To know that their work matters and that someone is advocating for them behind closed doors. I feel lucky that a lot of people have advocated for my success. That’s something that I hope to always do as a leader for people from all kinds of backgrounds, because at Meltwater that’s exactly what many others gave to me.