5 Sales Lessons from Gong’s Gabrielle Blackwell

5 Sales Lessons from Gong’s Gabrielle Blackwell

On LinkedIn, Gabrielle “GB” Blackwell calls herself the Sales Development SaaStress. And if you scroll down to the experience section of her profile, you’ll see that it’s for good reason.

GB rocketed her way up the tech sales ladder from to Sales Development Manager in less than two years after doubling her on-target earnings as an SDR and then hitting 193% of her quota as an account executive. Today, she works at Gong as a Sales Development Manager for small to mid-sized businesses and commercial businesses.

We recently sat down with GB for a fireside chat with our latest batch of students to discuss some sales lessons that they could apply to their careers in tech sales. Here’s what she had to share.

1. How to Calm Your Nerves During an Interview

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.

Okay, interviewing for a job in tech sales might not compare to spitting the most epic freestyle in hip hop history, but it can still be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. So how can you calm yourself down before a big interview? According to Blackwell, detaching yourself from whether you get the job or not will allow you to truly be yourself.

“When I was interviewing for my first SDR role, I just focused on preparing to do my best because by doing so, I was able to trust myself and be okay with whatever outcome came my way. Not every job or company was for me, so I was going to learn from each interview regardless of what happened,” says Blackwell. “There has to be a detachment from any outcomes when you interview because if you’re too caught up in acing the interview, moving on to the next round, and getting a job offer, you’re not going to be fully present in the moment and you might even be an anxious mess.”

2. What You Should Look for in a Company and Manager

Interviews are a two-way street. Obviously, the hiring manager will be vetting you for most of the conversation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t screen them either. According to Blackwell, there are four different questions that you can ask yourself to see if a company and a hiring manager are ultimately a good fit for you or not.

How Did I Feel During the Interview?

“I highly recommend reflecting on how you felt during the interview process. How did you feel after you got off a call with one of the interviewers? Did you feel like, ‘Oh man, I’m super hyped and I freaking love this company’? Great, wonderful. That’s a positive sign,” says Blackwell. “Because I’ve been in an interview where I felt like I’d been smacked around. I felt deflated after the interview and remember legitimately laying out on my bedroom floor and questioning my life.”

Will this Job Make Me Feel Alive?

“Take the time to think through what you really value and what’s going to fuel you at work. When you think about going to work the next day, what are the things that make you excited to go to bed so you can get to work the next morning?” says Blackwell. “Those are going to be the questions that you ask during the interview experience.”

Will Any Aspect of this Job Make Me Feel Dead Inside?

“I also think about the jobs and experiences that I had where I felt demoralized, where I felt deflated, where I felt like I was dumb. It didn’t matter how much I showed up every day, I still felt like nothing,” says Blackwell. “Where are the places where I felt like I had to overcompensate where I wasn’t accepted, where I couldn’t be my fricking self? Right? Like, so what was about those environments that made you feel that way? What was it about your colleagues that contributed to that feeling?

Will this Job Fulfill My Needs?

“If you’re going to be interviewing at a place where you are reporting to a VP of sales, ask yourself if this VP of sales can actually give you the coaching, training, and attention that you need to thrive. If the answer is no, then it’s nothing against the company, but it’s just that they’re not going to be able to satisfy your needs” says Blackwell. “It’s a beautiful thing to have needs and to respect them. There are way too many instances where folks jump on a job without properly vetting it because they’re not aware of their needs. They don’t know their boundaries. And they walk into situations that are triggers for them. It’s really important to know yourself.”

3. How to Make a Good First Impression as an SDR

Making a good impression as an SDR is not only crucial for your success in your current role but also for your success in your tech sales career. That said, when you first start, Blackwell recommends remembering that you just started so there’s no need to be so hard on yourself.

“No one’s expecting you to know anything except your first name and what company you work for. I hardly knew how to pronounce the name of the company that I joined because I had been speaking French all day, every day for the past two years and had forgotten some English,” says Blackwell. “So just show up on time and be prepared to learn. That’s the beauty of starting something new. You get to start fresh. There’s really no expectations other than you’re going to learn and you’re going to work hard.”

 

“Every expectation that I’ve had for SDRs during their first week is just like, ‘Hey you’re going to have certain KPIs or activities, but they’re only going to be about 25% – 30% of a fully ramped rep because you’re going to be figuring out the process,” says Blackwell. “You’re just figuring out what happens when you press a certain button or link. That’s literally it..”

However, if you end up falling a little behind when you first start, it’s mission-critical to over-communicate with your manager and to learn from your mistakes.

“One of the biggest things you can do for yourself is being incredibly communicative with your manager, especially in a remote environment. Because I can’t see you and you can’t see me. We’re not physically next to each other. That means you could be floundering for a full week for all I know. You could say, ‘Hey, I had this KPI goal of 20 calls today, but I only made 15 of them.’ All right. Let’s take a crash course on this then. What was going on? How can we maneuver? How can we set up a daily structure that can help us get back on track?” says Blackwell.

 

“Because whatever you’re doing in that first week is going to impact your third or fourth week. So if you’re not figuring stuff out in your first week, that means you’re not going to see results until your fourth or fifth week. And if that continues, that could be the difference between hitting your quota or missing it during your first month on the job. I would highly recommend daily reflections at the end of the day. Like what went really well? What were some hiccups? How can you set yourself up for more success tomorrow?”

Most importantly, though, don’t forget to have fun.

“I remember there was one of my SDRs who was begrudgingly going through one day to the next. He was hardly ever finishing the daily activities that he needed to hit. The first time I saw him smile at work was when I was just like, ‘What do you like to do? What brings you joy?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, I love this donut shop that sells croissant donuts. So I was like, ‘Cool, I want you to talk about donuts in every single email and every single call that you have. I don’t care. Cause if you’re having fun, then your prospects are going to have fun,” says Blackwell.

 

“I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve messed up and crashed and burned on a phone call. I couldn’t talk. And I’ll just be like, ‘Honestly, I’m so sorry, Megan. Today’s not my day. I’m having a terrible time on the phone. Thank you for bearing with me.’ And the person’s like, ‘Oh, don’t worry. We’ve all been there before.’ You’re dealing with humans. And most of them don’t suck. So they’re going to be cool. And just to add onto that,  people appreciate when you are human. When you’re not perfect, when you do mess up and you acknowledge it. No one’s perfect. And I’m convinced that I got as many meetings over email by being human because you could tell it was a human writing.”

4. How to Crush it in Sales

According to Blackwell, there are two main things that you can do to succeed in sales. The first is curiosity and the second is taking charge of your career development.

“Curiosity is the first part that I think contributes to an SDR or salesperson doing really well. Just being really curious about the customer or the prospect and sales as a practice or as a process or a methodology. And then of course, curious about how this solution that I’m selling, how does it serve our customers? So that’s the number one thing — be curious,” says Blackwell.

 

“As an individual, it behooves us all to put our careers into our own hands. And by doing that, we take our own enablement into our own hands. So for me, I was meeting up with AEs. I was meeting up with my boss. I was meeting up with literally whoever would talk to me that had been successful in sales. Like I would just hit up my network and I would ask them like, ‘Hey, what helps you the most? What do I need to know to be successful? How can I educate myself right now?’”

5. How to Handle Objections

In tech sales, objections will get thrown your way more than you can count. To handle them with grace, Blackwell recommends embracing them, not combating them.

“I just try to be curious and compassionate. When I approach an objection, I embrace what the person is saying. So if someone’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not interested.’ What an embrace can look like is, ‘Hey, listen, I know you’re not interested. May I ask why?’ So I’m diffusing the escalation of things that they can ask. Like could you help me understand? I hope this isn’t too presumptuous. I don’t mean to be pushy. Right. That’s what I like to do, but that’s just my style. That’s the style that I felt most comfortable with,” says Blackwell.

 

“Otherwise it’s like, ‘Hey GB, I’m not really interested right now. We have another solution-’ ‘Shut up. Let me tell you why you should be interested.’ You know? I don’t have to say shut up to make them feel like I told them to shut up, but you catch my drift? To really hear them out, I embrace their objection. I don’t want to push them into anything. I’m really just more curious than anything else. Like would you be open to telling you more as to what’s going on here?”.

Start Your Tech Sales Career Today

If you’re looking to make a career switch into tech sales but don’t know where to start, consider applying for our tech sales program! You’ll learn everything from sales techniques to sales software and could have the opportunity to interview for a sales role at some of the top tech companies in the world like Salesforce, Zoom, and Gong!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?
What to Expect from Flockjay’s Career Services Managers

What to Expect from Flockjay’s Career Services Managers

“Tech Fellows are uniquely tenacious and determined. The most rewarding part of my job as a Career Service Manager is hearing directly from our hiring partners that Flockjay’s Tech Fellows are consistently the most impressive candidates they work with.”

Laura Dominguez, Career Services Manager at Flockjay

At Flockjay, our mission isn’t just to equip you with the skills necessary to succeed in tech sales. It’s also to help you land a job in tech sales and launch a life-changing career.

After graduating from our program, we want you to be able to re-focus all your energy into your interviews with our hiring partners. To help you do so, we have an entire career services team dedicated to matching you with best-fit employers and honing your interview skills.

Read on to learn what you can expect from them if you join our program.

What to Expect from Flockjay’s Career Services Managers

After passing our qualification process, which starts two weeks before graduation, you’ll be eligible for our career services and gain access to your very own career service manager. Here’s what they’ll work with you on.

1) Find Out What Your Job Preferences Are

The first step you’ll take on your journey with your career service manager is finding out what you’re specifically looking for in your next role and what you ultimately want to do with your career.

To start things off, your career service manager will conduct an introductory discovery call with you to understand your job preferences. Then they’ll take that information to determine which of our hiring partners will be a good fit for you.

After that, they’ll send your applicant profile and resume to them.

2) Facilitate the Interview Process

Each time one of our hiring partners matches with you, your career services manager will facilitate the interview process and introductions with them.

During this step of the process, your career services manager will provide you with 1:1 interview prep and coaching sessions for each of your interviews. After you complete each interview, your career service manager will then collect feedback from our hiring partners and give it to you so you can work on improving your interview skills.

At Flockjay, our goal is to help you start a tech sales career as quickly as possible. We’ll line up as my interviews as reasonable but will also make sure that we’re not overloading your schedule or overwhelming you.

3) Provide Additional Education

Even if you’re in between interviews, you’ll still have the opportunity to hone your interview skills with Flockjay’s career services. Your career service manager will give you access to mock interview coaches for roleplay sessions and access to all of your material from class, which you can use anytime, anywhere.

Your journey with Flockjay is a life-long membership, not a one-time 10-week experience. After graduation, you’ll get unlimited access to Flockjay+ to help you excel in your career and hone your interview skills. This exclusive continuous learning hub for alumni is full of video resources and other content to meet you right where you are on your career path.

Start Your Tech Sales Career Today

Now that you know what to expect from our career services managers, consider applying for our tech sales program today. In just ten weeks, you’ll learn about everything from sales techniques to sales software. And if you qualify for our career services, we’ll help you land a life-changing job in tech sales!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

The ROI of Joining Flockjay

The ROI of Joining Flockjay

At Flockjay, we not only offer an intensive tech sales training program but we also offer career placement services at some of the top tech companies in the world, like Salesforce, Zoom, and Gong.

However, we understand that Flockjay is a serious investment of your time and money. Joining our program is a big decision that can have a huge impact on your life, so we want to help you make the most practical choice by proving the value of Flockjay through hard numbers.

Below, we’ve calculated a conservative return on investment that you could earn during the first seven years of your tech sales career after graduating from Flockjay. Read on to learn how much money you could make once you complete our program — and if its bang is worth your buck.

The ROI of Joining Flockjay

Here’s a breakdown of the potential return on investment you could earn while paying for our deferred payment plan (we also offer an upfront payment plan — check out our updated tuition options to learn more).

Year Role On-Target Earnings
1 Inbound SDR $70,000
2 Outbound SDR $80,000
3 AE (SMB) $120,000
4 AE (SMB) $170,000
5 AE (MM) $230,000
6 AE (MM) $300,000
7 AE (ENT) $380,000
  Total  $1,350,000

KEY

Inbound SDR: Inbound Sales Development Representative — an entry-level sales role where you’re in charge of booking meetings with leads who reach out to your company and express interest in your product or service first.

Outbound SDR: Outbound Sales Development Representative — an entry-level sales role where you’re in charge of booking meetings with companies that you have to reach out to and see they’re interested in your product or service first.

AE (SMB): Account Executive for Small and Medium-sized Businesses — a quota-carrying sales position where you’re in charge of closing customers that are small and medium-sized businesses.

AE (MM): Account Executive for Mid-market Companies — a quota-carrying sales position where you’re in charge of closing customers that are scaling businesses.

AE (ENT): Account Executive for Enterprise Companies — a quota-carrying sales position where you’re in charge of closing customers that are enterprise companies.

ROI Calculation

If you choose our deferred payment plan, you could potentially earn a total of $770,000 just five years after graduation. And with the cost of our deferred payment plan set at $7,650, your earnings would give you a 17,547% return on investment.

ROI Calculation: ($1,350,000 – $7,650)/($7,650) = 17,547%

Additionally, since Flockjay graduates get up to speed eight weeks faster than traditionally hired sales reps, outperform their peers 2:1, get promoted faster, and stay at their jobs longer, joining Flockjay vastly increases the odds that your career in sales will look like the one above.

The Part of Flockjay that You Can’t Put a Price On

Using our ROI calculation above, you can clearly see Flockjay’s value. But we also offer something that — in our opinion — you can’t put a price on. And that’s a lifelong membership to the Flockjay alumni and networking community, which provides opportunities that can pay massive dividends to your career long after you graduate.

For instance, when you’re going through our program, we host weekly fireside chats with experts from the tech sales industry that you can connect with. After you graduate, you’ll gain access to Flockjay’s alumni network and a network of tech sales professionals that you can tap into for the rest of your career.

Start on the Path to Your Million-Dollar Career Today

If someone told you that your career earnings would exceed $1,350,000 within the next seven years, would you believe them? Well, if you graduate from Flockjay, you totally could. Apply for our 10-week tech sales program today to start your million-dollar career today!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

Coding Bootcamp vs Tech Sales Bootcamp

Coding Bootcamp vs Tech Sales Bootcamp

When you think of the tech industry, what comes to mind? Coding? Software? Obnoxiously wealthy CEOs?

While all three of these things are prevalent in the tech industry, the first item on that list — coding — isn’t as widespread as you might think. In fact, one of the most common misconceptions about working in tech is that you have to know how to code. 

At every tech company, the software engineering team is only one piece of the puzzle. The majority of teams that comprise a tech company are actually non-technical, such as sales, recruiting, customer success, support, marketing, and HR, and don’t require any of their members to know a lick of code.

With this in mind, you can probably see how tech sales bootcamps and coding bootcamps get confused with each other. Let’s go over what each of them is and how they differ so you can grasp which bootcamp can augment your specific skill set and help you break into the tech industry.

What Is a Tech Sales Bootcamp?

A tech sales bootcamp is an online, part-time program that teaches you how to sell software solutions, equipping you with the hard and soft skills required to work as a tech sales professional. You do not need any prior sales or tech experience or a college degree to enroll in the bootcamp. 

While attending a live class for multiple days per week for 2-4 months, you’ll learn everything from what exactly a tech sales professional does to proven sales techniques to mastering modern sales software. You will not learn how to code because you don’t have to know how to code in order to sell tech. 

After graduation, most tech sales bootcamps help you craft a resume, hone your interview skills, and then match you with their best-fit hiring partners so you can interview for their full-time sales jobs if they’re interested in you as a candidate. Investing in yourself through the training tech sales bootcamps offer can help you break into the tech industry and land a job as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

Read: What Does an SDR Do? Learn the Skills You Need for the Role 

To pay for most tech sales bootcamps, you can choose their deferred payment plan, where you don’t pay for the program until you earn a certain amount of income after your graduate. Most tech sales bootcamps also offer an ISA, or an income sharing agreement, where you pay the bootcamp a percentage of your income after you land a job as a tech sales representative. 

What Is a Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is a program that teaches you how to code in essential programming languages like HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, Python, or JavaScript, equipping you with the fundamental skills required to work as a software engineer. 

You do not need a college degree or any prior programming or tech experience to enroll in coding bootcamps for beginners. However, you do need prior programming experience to enroll in bootcamps for experienced coders because they place their graduates into higher-level software engineering positions. 

You can either attend class online or in-person and part-time or full-time. After graduation, most coding bootcamps help you craft a resume, hone your interview skills, and then match you with their best-fit hiring partners so you can interview for their full-time software engineering jobs if they’re interested in you as a candidate.  

To pay for most coding bootcamps, you can choose their deferred payment plan, where you only pay for the program when you’re earning a certain amount of income after graduation. Most coding bootcamps also offer an ISA, or an income sharing agreement, where you pay the program a percentage of your income after you land a job as a software engineer. 

What’s the Difference Between a Coding Bootcamp and Tech Sales Bootcamp?

While coding bootcamps and tech sales bootcamps share a lot of common ground in their applicant requirements, job placement services, and payment plans, they differ entirely in their curriculum. Coding bootcamps teach you how to build software. Tech sales bootcamps teach you how to sell it. 

“Just like coding bootcamps have enabled thousands to get jobs as programmers in the tech business, Flockjay can get into the industry talented people who had never considered a job in tech.” –Read TechCrunch Article

Interested in a Tech Sales Bootcamp? Apply to Flockjay Today

 

If your interest in tech sales bootcamps has been piqued, consider applying to our next 10-week tech sales bootcamp! We offer all the benefits that we described above, as well as office hours with our certified trainers who currently work in tech sales, live events with leaders in the tech sales industry, and an extensive, engaged alumni network. Flockjay is a lifetime membership.

Read: Everything You Need to Know About Flockjay’s Virtual Tech Sales Bootcamp 

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

Everything You Need to Know About Flockjay’s Virtual Sales Boot Camp

Everything You Need to Know About Flockjay’s Virtual Sales Boot Camp

If you’re interested in breaking into tech sales through Flockjay’s virtual sales boot camp, but want to learn more about our program before you apply, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know about Flockjay.

What Is Flockjay, and Why Is it Worth Your While?

Flockjay is an online academy that equips students with the skills required to work in tech sales. Armed with training from our instructors (who are top performing tech sales reps themselves), you’ll acquire a modern, advanced level of knowledge on tech sales, enabling you to break into the tech industry as a Sales Development Representative (SDR) and launch a life-altering career. Learn what an SDR does here.

If you apply for our program and get accepted, you’ll be required to attend live, online classes and participate in group activities. Once you’ve met all of our requirements and graduate from our program, we’ll connect you with our hiring partners that are currently hiring sales representatives.

You’ll also join a diverse, vibrant, and growing community of Flockjay alumni, mentors, and industry leaders. We consider Flockjay a lifetime membership, and strive to support our alumni with continuous resources to nurture their career path long after the 10-week program.

The Type of Students We’re Looking for

As a company that aims to help people from underrepresented backgrounds break into tech, our top priority is diversity, which we view as race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic/educational background, geographic location, and age.

In fact, over 70% of our students are BIPOC and 50% are women.

Just as important to know, we’re not partial to applicants who went to college because a college education doesn’t necessarily predict success in sales. What we value more are your personality traits. More specifically, whether you have high emotional intelligence, grit, resiliency, optimism, diligence, verbal communication skills, curiosity, coachability, and confidence.

With these traits in mind, people who have worked as bartenders, servers, car sales professionals, coaches, social workers, etc. all have the skills and experience to sell tech. In other words, you don’t need any prior experience working in sales or tech to get accepted into our program!

Eligibility for our Program

Right now, our program is only open to people who have work authorization in the US and who plan to take a full-time tech sales position upon graduation from Flockjay.

Our Application Process

Our application process is three steps long. Here’s an overview of what to expect:

Step 1: Complete Online Application

We ask you to share some basic information with us so we know if you’re a fit for our program. This also helps guide your 1 on 1 interview with an admissions advisor.

Sales professionals need effective communication skills so we also ask for writing and video responses. We’ll train you to communicate like a sales pro, so we’re not looking for perfection – just that you bring some basic communication skills to the table.

Step 2: Interview with Admissions Advisor

This will be conducted virtually over Zoom. Our goal is to get to know you better, make sure you’re ready for our program, and answer any questions you may have.

Step 3: Complete Enrollment

If you’re accepted into the program, we’ll send you a link to our enrollment portal where you can formally enroll in Flockjay!

How Much Does Flockjay Cost?

There are two tuition plans that you can choose from if you live in the US (read full tuition details here). If you live outside of the US, you can still join our program if you plan to move to the US and have US work authorization.

Flockjay tuition costs $7,650. With our Deferred Tuition option you can start for $0 upfront. After you graduate and are making $40k+, you pay $425/month for 18 months. With our Upfront Tuition option, you pay $6,000 (20% discount). 

Please note that for residents of California, we are unable to offer a discount for upfront tuition. This is due to state regulations which we must abide by. Regardless if you choose deferred tuition or upfront tuition, the cost is $7,650.

Time Commitment

Our program meets Monday through Thursday from 5 PM to 8 PM PST for 10 weeks. We made it part-time so that you don’t have to put your life on hold to join.

However, we do have mandatory attendance, homework, and job readiness requirements that you must meet to stay enrolled in class, graduate, and qualify for introductions to our hiring partners.

Location

Class is held online, so you can attend anywhere with an internet connection!

Who Are Our Instructors?

All of our trainers are industry professionals who currently work in tech sales at companies like IBM, Stripe, and Box. Our senior trainers have at least 3 years in a closing sales role.

Each of our trainers identifies with Flockjay’s mission because they understand that their break into tech was either by a stroke of luck or through solid mentorship and support.

A lot of our trainers mention that they wish they could’ve joined a program like Flockjay and the community it creates when they started out in sales.

What Does Flockjay’s Curriculum Include?

From sales techniques to sales software tools like Salesforce, Salesloft, and Gong, here’s a week by week breakdown of what you’ll learn as a student in our program:

  • Week 1:The Art and Science of Sales
  • Week 2:What It Means to be an SDR
  • Week 3:Inbound Sales
  • Week 4:Getting Your Customers to Sell to Themselves
  • Week 5:Outbound Sales
  • Week 6:Mastering the Art of Research and Discovering the Right Buyers
  • Week 7:Tech Week
  • Week 8:Becoming a Pro at Modern Technical Sales Software
  • Week 9:Job Readiness & Interviews
  • Week 10:Key Lessons for Breaking Into Tech

You’ll basically learn everything you need to start a successful career in tech sales.

Job Placement

Our program is focused on helping you land a tech sales job. To do so, we’ll craft your resume with you, hone your interview skills with you, send your application to our best fit hiring partners, and make warm introductions to the ones who want to interview you.

While Flockjay doesn’t guarantee you a job in tech sales, we’ve placed over 80% of our students into sales roles at tech companies. And with our sales training and interview prep under your belt, there’s a great chance you’ll land a job too!

Check out some of our alumni who have joined some of our most notable hiring partners like Zoom, Salesforce, Airtable, GitLab, and Gong!

Break Into Tech Sales Today

Now that you know everything about Flockjay’s virtual sales boot camp, consider applying to our 10-week tech sales training program! If we haven’t answered all of your questions in this post, check out our FAQs. You can also email us at admissions@flockjay.com if you have any pressing questions.

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?