From Shelter-In-Place to Movement: Charting Our Path Forward in the Workplace

From Shelter-In-Place to Movement: Charting Our Path Forward in the Workplace

If 2020 was the year of shelter-in-place, then 2021 is destined to be the year of movement. The global pandemic froze us in our homes glued to webcams and Netflix, while rapidly thawing the shaky glaciers of how we live, work, and connect with each other.

As we look past COVID-19, how might we move from a world of escalating isolation and polarization to a better, more generous world, where everyone has access to the skills, networks, and job opportunities needed to achieve the promise of upward mobility? How might businesses rebuild in a world fueled by technological change, expanding their idea of value to include economic and social justice?

There are many paths forward, but the pandemic’s gall has laid bare one historically reliable salve: the value of a college degree. Not only do students leave with $30,000 of debt, but nearly half also graduate underemployed. If they do land a job, they soon discover the value of that degree rapidly diminishes, as businesses continuously demand new skills to confront a remote-enabled, tech-fueled world.

If we are to move into a more equitable world from today’s crisis, then it will require rewiring the labor market to benefit both employers and jobseekers. This means a conscious shift from exclusively rewarding static degrees that weakly predict on-the-job success, to encouraging dynamic credentials and continuous upskilling within our companies, empowering all of us to build back better.

Flockjay Raises Series A Funding

Flockjay’s mission is to accelerate this system-level change. Today, we are proudly announcing our $11m Series A, led by e.ventures, and with participation from Lightspeed, Salesforce Ventures, Impact America, Cleo Capital, Gabrielle Union, and other lighthouses for economic and social justice. We are also announcing our shared goal with Opportunity@Work to enable 1+ million STARs (workers “skilled through alternative routes” who lack a 4-year degree) to translate learning into $20B in higher earnings by 2030.

Thanks to our employees, Flockjay is a Glassdoor Best Place to Work in 2021!

How We’re Doing This

We are actively building an ecosystem where companies move from degree-based talent assessment to skill-based talent assessment. Many companies like Apple and Facebook have already announced relaxing degree requirements for open roles, and we believe more will follow suit. In fact, of the hundreds of Flockjay graduates since we started in 2019, over 40% did not have a college degree – yet those very graduates are attaining their sales quota twice as fast as their non-Flockjay peers at companies like Salesforce, Zoom, Slack, and Gong.

Moreover, many of our hiring partner companies have now hired multiple Flockjay graduates, creating amazing opportunities for real people who hail from historically excluded backgrounds, all while gaining DEI momentum to build a stronger foundation that better supports an increasingly diverse customer base.

“We have such high confidence in Flockjay grads we hire at Airtable. There is consistently a strong work ethic, natural team leadership and collaboration skills, as well as an eagerness to learn.” shared Liat Bycel, VP of Customer Engagement who oversees the Sales org. “We have seen a significant difference in ramp time and consistently strong performance.” 

This level of performance was one of the driving reasons behind the broad coalition of investors in the round. “We heard from almost every hiring company we spoke to that SDRs hired through Flockjay are high performing,” said Jackson Cummings from Salesforce Ventures.

What’s Next

Changing how we identify and support potential hires, with or without a college degree, is the first step in building toward companies’ future success in a post-pandemic world. To create more opportunities for candidates like Lawrence, a Flockjay alumni and top performer at Airtable, to shine, employers must rewire their values to be more inclusive and build systems of support and mentorship from within.

Community is at the heart of everything we do at Flockjay, right down to our name itself: we fly farther and faster, together. With the new funding, we will be further strengthening our ability to provide Flockjay graduates with not only world-class sales training led by top-performing sales leaders, but continuous upskilling and support from a diverse community network, with hands-on coaching from alumni and real industry professionals to support lifelong learning and upward mobility.

As an example, we recently teamed up with our partners at Gong to build out a mentorship program matching Gong sales professionals with Flockjay graduates. In addition, all Flockjay students now have access to Gong’s revenue intelligence software and are trained on how to use it as they advance through our program. Sandi Kochhar, Chief People Officer at Gong, shared that:

“It’s a meaningful partnership between two companies whose commitment to diversity is more than platitudes and aspirations. It’s shaping people’s lives. Two of our Gong hires in the US last quarter came through Flockjay and that number will continue to rapidly grow.” 

Transparency around Internal Diversity & Leadership

We believe in living the values we want to see in the world. In our rapidly growing Flockjay team, here’s how we stand:

  • Race/Ethnicity (75% BIPOC, 25% White)
  • Gender (51% Female, 46% Male, 2% Non-binary) 
  • 48% of Flockjay staff are First Gen or Immigrant
  • 12% of Flockjay staff are Alumni who went through our program
  • 20% Identify as LGBTQ+

Welcome Pablo Pollard, Flockjay Chief Strategy Officer

We have also expanded our leadership team by welcoming Pablo Pollard as our Chief Strategy Officer. Pablo brings on two decades of sales, leadership and sales training experience from his past roles across both early-stage startups, like 6sense, and industry-leaders, like Facebook, Salesforce, and Oracle.

Pablo started his tech career as an SDR, the very role our Tech Fellows are seeking to launch their careers. With this, he brings a personal perspective from his own lived experiences as a cis-gendered gay, white man in tech. Pablo will focus on our strategic vision and go to market approach, strengthening our foundational ability to set our Tech Fellows and Hiring Partners up for long-term success in a new remote era. 

Join Flockjay in Empowering Upward Mobility through Education and Access

Where we truly go from here depends on the willingness of the industry to adapt for the greater good. 

Consider Raven Winchester, a former custodian who lost her job then more than doubled her salary by transitioning into sales at LaunchDarkly (the very place she used to work as a janitor). SF Chronicle highlighted Raven’s success story, where she shared that, “Coming from where I come from and being able to position myself into this kind of career, it really meant a lot to me.”

We are incredibly grateful for our students, team, partners, and investors for continuously supporting and trusting us on our journey to empower upward mobility through education and access. We’d like to sincerely thank each of you for the critical role you play in helping us build the vocational school of the future while prioritizing DEI and deep, impactful industry change.

If you are interested in learning more about our program, how to support our mission, or how to connect with our diverse pool of elite SDRs, please reach out to us at hello@flockjay.com.

Read more on Flockjay’s Series A funding at Tech Crunch 

Read more on Flockjay’s previous funding at Fast Company

See career opportunities at https://jobs.lever.co/flockjay 

Apply to join our next class at https://flockjay.com

Get details on hiring from us at https://flockjay.com/companies

Read more incredible student stories on our company blog

See our post about reskilling & rehiring on Crunchbase’s blog 

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

Check out our reviews on Glassdoor & CourseReport 

flockjay is a glassdoor best place to work 2021

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Flockjay is a Glassdoor Best Place to Work in 2021

Flockjay is a Glassdoor Best Place to Work in 2021

Flockjay is pleased to announce we are among the winners of the annual Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, a list of the Best Places to Work in 2021.

Unlike other awards, there is no self-nomination or application process. Instead, it’s entirely based on the feedback our employees have voluntarily and anonymously shared on Glassdoor. To determine the winners of the awards, Glassdoor evaluates all company reviews shared by employees over the past year.

This year, we are proud to be recognized as a Best Place to Work among U.S. companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. Flockjay ranks #21 out of 50 on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work US Small and Medium companies list!

Flockjay’s Future is Bright, Thanks to Our Community

A huge thank you goes out to all our employees who took the time to share their perspective on what it’s like to work here and be a member of our growing Flockjay community. We appreciate all the valuable feedback as it only helps us improve. We are proud to be on this journey with you and endlessly grateful for your collective support of our mission and commitment to diversity and inclusionCheers to continuing to build the future of tech together!

A word from Flockjay Founder and CEO, Shaan Hatharamani:

“It’s very important to us that our team members and our community members feel valued and supported, and it’s encouraging to see signs that we’re on the right track. We’re here to build a generational company, and it starts with investing in our people.”

Below are just a few words one employee shared on Glassdoor that contributed to the award and made us feel incredibly honored:

Excellent training, awesome team, friendly atmosphere, and there’s opportunity to grow.

Follow Flockjay’s Upward Journey: Now Hiring

Flockjay is growing fast! We are so excited to continue working in support of our mission to empower upward mobility through education and access and would love to hear from anyone who wants to join us.

See Flockjay’s current job listings and apply today.

For more information about Flockjay, read our Glassdoor reviews, CourseReport reviews, Flockjay FAQ, and find us @flockjay on LinkedInTwitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

To learn more about our students, read How Clovette Pivoted into Tech Sales with Flockjay or learn about Raven Winchester, who more than doubled her salary after reskilling with Flockjay. Read our company blog for more success stories that make our jobs so rewarding.

Email partners@flockjay.com if your team is growing and you’d like to connect with elite SDRs.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

8 Tips on Building Diversity in Tech Through Sales Roles

8 Tips on Building Diversity in Tech Through Sales Roles

“We believe diversity and equity matter everywhere, not just for ourselves but in the companies we work for, lead, and invest in.” —Shaan Hatharamani, Flockjay Founder & CEO

Sales roles have the power to catapult coachable folks into a life-changing, lasting career in tech. We know this at Flockjay because our diverse graduates have proven it to us. Traits like grit, curiosity, and a growth mindset can be some of the greatest indicators of success for sales candidates. None of those things have to do with a fancy piece of paper or pile of college debt.

Sales is an onramp with limitless potential for anyone who wants to build a career in our industry, regardless of a lack of “traditional” experience. So, why does this onramp seem so hidden? Why are there so many secret rules baked into breaking in the tech industry?

To explore questions like this and discuss effective solutions, we gathered the following tech leaders and hosted a panel discussion on Building Diversity Through Sales Roles

Each of our panelists brought incredible heart and perspectives to this energizing discussion. It’s time to rethink our approach to recruiting and referrals, reassess diversity data, and focus on attributes like coachability to get the right candidates in the door. It won’t be easy, but it’s vital to increase the accessibility of sales roles and strengthen the future of our global industry. 

As Ebony put it, “Have the courage to make suggestions, push back, have tough discussions, and really become comfortable being uncomfortable.” 

The panel made one thing clear: Driving the needle forward on building diversity is going to take all of us, and it starts today with these actionable tips.

Miss this discussion in real-time? Watch here.

1. Hiring Managers Need to Take on More Responsibility 

In the words of Kelly, Head of Sales Training at Flockjay, who excels at keeping it real:

“Hiring managers need to take on more responsibility. We are quickly coming to a time when, if you’re a hiring manager and you don’t have a pretty diverse team, that is not going to be a great look for you.” 

If your team isn’t diverse, pointing the finger at your recruiting team isn’t going to fix the problem. Dishing out blame isn’t effective. All stakeholders have to work together to build diversity that lasts and allows your business to operate more effectively. If you’re a hiring manager growing your sales team and focusing on DEI, lean into discomfort. Make it your responsibility to become and act as a partner with the recruiting team.

Frederik, Co-founder at BLCK VC, said:

“In the hiring process, you should feel uncomfortable. Because if you don’t feel uncomfortable, that means you’re falling back onto what you’ve done already, the things you’ve been anchoring to. And this has to feel different. You should have a pit in your stomach. Lean into that discomfort, that is okay. That is how we drive change.”

2. Understand That Your Customers are Increasingly Diverse 

This might feel like a no-brainer, but it’s an important takeaway. Because your customers are diverse. You’re competing in a global market. Diverse sales teams can better support a diverse customer base.

After all, sales teams are the front lines with your customers and represent the face of your company. What face do you want to show the world? What will your increasingly diverse customers see? Hire wisely when growing your sales team. In Kelly’s words: 

“The reality of it is most of us are building products for a diverse set of consumers, and so how do you expect to build and sell and do all the things necessary to be successful without inviting in all these different perspectives to the conversation?”

Our founder Shaan echoed this:

“It’s not just about providing pathways into sales organizations. It is rooting future leaders at companies, so that, when you’re making decisions with your technology that impacts millions of users, you have a different perspective in the room that actually can move the needle and create a better economic outcome.”

He added, “Sales teams are the front lines with your customers, that’s where you’re getting the feedback loop on your product and what you’re building. If you aren’t reflecting that diversity of customer base that’s growing with your sales team, then you have lost the most fundamental opportunity to improve what you’re doing as a product.”

3. Expand Beyond the Traditional Employee Referral Cycle

Take a moment to stop and think about your current sourcing process. If you operate like most companies, your sourcing process is largely made up of employee referrals. And, when it comes to who our employees refer, it’s largely people from their network – which tends to be largely homogenous. Put simply, employee referrals disproportionately benefit white men.

Jacob, Founding Member at LatinxVC and Partner at Shasta Ventures, mentioned that while familiar tech recruiting processes can be effective, they’re “absolutely a double-edged sword.” Why? Because, well, you’ll get more of the same.

Jacob said, “As companies grow past the founding group, we need to be opening up networks drastically, and part of that is structure.”

Unsure where to begin? You’re not alone. We all have to start somewhere. At Flockjay, we don’t want our referral program to be the enemy of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Because of this, we openly share this important data to consider with all referring employees prior to submitting:

  • Referral programs disproportionately benefited white men ⮕ white women were 12% less likely to receive a referral, men of color were 26% less likely and women of color were 35% less likely
  • Referrals from a close friend/family member were most common, but had lowest level of engagement outcomes
  • Targeted referrals (such as cold messaging someone at target company) were least common, but had highest level of engagement outcomes

At Flockjay, as we look to grow our team, we know that our networks are an important source of referrals. But we also know we need to look beyond our networks. And, the data shows that when we do, we see high levels of engagement with these candidates.

Jacob added a proactive example of expanding beyond your traditional network: discouraging warm intros. In his own experience he has found that “When everyone fills out the same standardized information and it’s sent and filtered through recruiters who are external to the first round, they can bring together the best candidates for that role from a larger pool.” 

For recruiters and hiring managers looking to balance out the employee referral cycle, restructure incentives to minimize systemic bias. Consider throwing out traditional network-based hiring processes and replacing them with employee referral programs that lead to a diverse slate of candidates. Encourage your employees to engage with your job postings and share them with underserved groups and networks.

Want to diversify your sales talent pool with elite SDRs? Hire with Flockjay

Fun Fact: When an employee referral joins our team at Flockjay and hits their 90-day anniversary, the first reward the referring employee receives is a $250 donation Flockjay will make in their name to a non-profit organization of their choice. To me, that carries more impact, because it reinforces company alignment to our mission and speaks to our greater purpose.

4. Drop Secret Barriers to Entry with Increased Transparency 

As the old adage goes, “Secrets, secrets, are no fun, secrets, secrets, hurt someone!” And in this case, the “secret rules” that have long been implied in tech hiring are actually hurting your company, in addition to the candidates you’re leaving out.

Kelly, our Head of Sales Training, brought up a couple common “secret rules,” like only considering candidates with 1-page resumes and active LinkedIn profiles. Many companies employ these secret rules without really questioning why, but Kelly urges you to start assessing your own barriers for hires today.

As we move forward, the onus to break these barriers down does not fall on one team, it requires collective acknowledgment. It is the companies’ responsibility to demystify the process and make sales more accessible, and it starts with removing barriers to entry for candidates.

5. Align Attributes with Sales Success (a College Degree Doesn’t = Grit)

Piggybacking off the last tip, one of the most critical barriers that need to be reassessed is requiring a college degree for an entry-level sales role. In reality, a fancy degree doesn’t actually tell you much about a person’s ability to find success in a sales role, but it does tell you they had access to opportunities.

So really think about it, hiring managers: What skills are you looking for that you’re using a 4-year degree as a proxy for? Reevaluate requirements to focus on attributes. 

Sales is teachable, and traditionally diverse candidates do well in sales because they possess several of the inherent skills and attributes that align with that success. Hire based on traits we know are predictors for being a top sales rep: grit, hustle, strong communication, tenacity, emotional intelligence (EQ), perseverance, curiosity, optimism, gratitude, and self-control.

Jacob nodded to the importance of grit and brought up an excellent point about some of the best CROs he knows being immigrants. He said:

“They [immigrants] have found tremendous success in leveraging the multi-faceted skillset that it takes to be an outsider in the United States in order to build social connections, networks, and be able to exert influence to an outcome. And it’s a tremendously difficult, high EQ skill that I think a lot of people don’t even notice for people that aren’t from the U.S., or look different than what we think a person from the U.S. looks like.”

The most impactful thing you can do is hire diverse coachable individuals with a growth mindset. There are so many diverse candidates who have the potential to excel in sales roles but don’t even realize it yet due to misconceptions about the profession. None of this can happen without aligning stakeholders on hiring from the top down. It’s our job to push management teams to lean in more aggressively and understand it will take all of us to effect changes.

Ebony said:

“I encourage everyone to take an honest inventory of all of our blind spots and be flexible enough to be willing to try new solutions. Have that courage to make suggestions, to push back, have tough discussions, and really become comfortable being uncomfortable.”

6. Build Support Systems from Within to Retain Diverse Sales Hires 

Building lasting diversity in tech doesn’t stop with the hiring process. If you’re looking around the room at a sales team with a diversity of talents, backgrounds, and ethnicities, that’s one piece of the puzzle. But if you want those people to stay with your company and reduce common turnover, building support systems from within to nurture lasting inclusion is essential. Sales is a highly consultative role focused on supporting and guiding customers. And without support, sales can be a lonely place. Ebony said:

“Sales is like a game of tag, even though you’re on a team of people who are supposed to be friendly, it’s still a competition. And this can make people feel even more lonely sometimes in their roles.”

So how can we start improving the support we provide today? Kelly said:

“People think it’s so much more complex than it is, but check on your team. A ‘hey how are you doing? or’ I know you’re part of this community that was really affected by police brutality, are you ok?’ or ‘Can I support you right now?’ goes a long way. Asking questions, being human, getting more resources behind them, and connecting folks with mentors on your team are all places where you can start.”

She added, “A big part of the reason we started Flockjay is we know that diverse candidates need support to be successful in tech in the long term. If you try to go at it alone, you will not be successful. I know from my own experience.” 

Ebony, CEO at Salesforce Foundation and Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce, said:

“We have to start programs and support organizations within our own companies that will give people the access to social capital, give them the skills, give them the networks and experiences. If you’re not able to do that within your company, companies like Flockjay that have programs where people can go and get those networks are so vitally important.”

At Flockjay, we have built support systems from within in a few different ways. Our students begin fostering a sense of community from day one. Our Alumni Network focuses on providing additional support to Tech Fellows going through the stressful and exciting hiring process.

We have established various Flockjay Identity Groups (FIGs) with internal leaders and students that serve as a place for different groups to connect. And, we check in our team (their whole selves).

6. Evaluate Diversity Data as You Would a NPS Score 

Transparency around where you are now and where you’re going matters. Ebony said, “I wish there was a way to have a metric on bulk inclusion – like a Net Promoter Score, for example – that your team could rate you on anonymously so that we as executives in our companies could really assess who is doing well with this, not just for the team that looks the most diverse, but is also feeling included.”

A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a tool that, “measures customer experience and predicts business growth. This proven metric transformed the business world and now provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs.”

It is a simple way to get a pulse on how your business is doing, which is why NPS is so widely accepted as a metric in our industry. We’re at a point where it’s time to start evaluating your diversity data in a similar, routined way. Normalize collecting, analyzing, and sharing your diversity data in a fully transparent way. Analyze your attrition/promotion rates. 

Kelly said:

“Did all of the ‘diverse’ people on your team leave after 6 months? Were you able to actually hire, retain, support, and promote diverse candidates? That would be something that’s interesting to know.”

Look for opportunities to improve DEI within your findings. Then, improve. Don’t shy away from the findings that reveal you have more work to do. Ebony said, “Companies always talk about where they’re succeeding, rarely do you hear companies be really transparent about where they failed. I think it’s important and it’s something we’ve started implementing in our reviews.”

When Ebony sends notes around to her executive leadership team, she says she includes a win in addition to some opportunities for improvement. She wants her team to share the lessons they’ve learned and evaluate the aha moments they’ve had. She said, “If we start opening ourselves up publicly around this, it’ll be okay for companies to struggle, but they can get ideas for how to move forward.” 

Ebony said:

“Companies need to know that, not only are your current and future employees going to demand it [diversity], but it also is going to show up in your customer base. Customers are going to be looking at you, at your leadership board, your executive leadership team, at your data and numbers around diversity, and they’re going to make a business decision whether they want to be working with you or not.”

8. Consider Top Level Sponsorship vs Mentorship

Mentorship is an incredible tool, but Frederik says that layering on mentors to help new sales hires tactically understand how to be successful in the role can only go so far. Enter: sponsors.

Frederik said:

“Sales is this front door into an organization and it’s not just a pathway up a sales ladder. I think if we can really move toward getting more senior managers to be sponsors to those folks that are coming into the organization, that’ll help.”

Sponsorship extends beyond mentorship by acknowledging that entry-level sales hires are at the beginning of a journey, and being transparent with those people right away about all of the pathways they could go within the organization.

Sponsors are true advocates who want to make opportunities clear beyond being promoted from an SDR to an AE. They can do so much to provide a mirror for new hires that lets them see what opportunities around the corner look like.

Shaan said that “From my experience in running Flockjay, the most successful sales orgs are the ones where there is a high level of sponsorship for investing in support and the continuous reskilling and upskilling of your sales team.”

Partner with Flockjay to Start Building Diversity through Sales Roles

If you missed the panel in real-time, you can watch the recording on-demand here for more tips. This work matters. At Flockjay, we’re passionate about helping people from historically excluded backgrounds break into tech sales, where they can seize opportunities to grow professionally and personally. We’re also passionate about shaking up the tech industry, for the better.

frederik groce on diversity flockjay webinar quote

As Frederik put it, “Diversity isn’t just about doing the right thing because it feels good, it’s about building organizations that can perform and operate more effectively.”

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, and email partners@flockjay.com if your sales team is growing and you would like to connect with elite SDRs.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Techlash Is a New Podcast Sponsored by Flockjay

Techlash Is a New Podcast Sponsored by Flockjay

Subscribe to Techlash on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Learn more at Hit Start Media.

In 2019, Flockjay Founder & CEO Shaan Hathiramani heard that an early employee from Carta was doing a series of interviews about the future of work for Forbes. Shaan read a handful of the articles and then emailed the author, Theo Miller. Without knowing that, Theo also cold emailed Flockjay the exact same week. That’s how aligned they were on the direction of the industry and the role Flockjay would play in the culture of tech.

Theo was the fifth employee at Carta, a late-stage fintech company in San Francisco that pioneered digital cap table management. Theo left Carta after four years to found a podcast company called Hit Start Media. Over the ensuing months, Shaan and Theo developed a show concept that ultimately went on hold due to the pandemic. But when Theo circled back with a new podcast series he had been developing, Shaan jumped at the opportunity to be the launch sponsor. Now, you can hear him share knowledge in the first episode! 

 

What is the Techlash Podcast About?

Techlash is a podcast about elevating consciousness in tech. The word gained prominence due to the rage many of us felt in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal at Facebook, interference with the 2016 election, and other violations of the public trust that were perpetrated by large tech companies that we had come to idealize since the advent of the iPhone.

The series is co-hosted by Theo and his former co-worker at Carta, Zibbie Nwokah, who started shortly after him and was instrumental in building the business through law firm partnerships. Zibbie has also been a fireside chat guest speaker here at Flockjay. Together, they analyze interviews with early-stage founders and influencers that are doing good in tech, not those who just hold aspirations of changing the world; we’re talking about progressive founders that are having an impact right now.

There are a handful of recurring themes you’ll hear about on Techlash from week-to-week. Socioeconomic diversity in the tech industry, building for underserved groups, providing access to the industry, user privacy, income share agreements, and creating a better safety net are just some of the topics that will be explored in the coming months.

Supporting Techlash and Flockjay

If Techlash sounds like something that you would enjoy or find informative, we strongly recommend you download the first episode featuring our CEO, Shaan. You can stream Techlash on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or learn more about the series on the Hit Start website.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?
Meet SDR for Hire Kirsten Koppe

Meet SDR for Hire Kirsten Koppe

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as an SDR. It is with the utmost pride that we share their stories with incoming Tech Fellows, in addition to our mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams with elite candidates.

Meet Kirsten Koppe, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our seventh class and current SDR for hire. She shared a few details about her journey with us below. Her sales trainers had this to share:

“Kirsten stays calm under pressure and builds trust quickly with her professionalism and industry savvy. She is sharp, a quick learner, and loves a challenge. Kirsten is a sales professional who’s ready to make an impact on Day 1.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

I’m a Southern California native and went to UCLA. After graduating, I decided to follow my passion and pursue a career as a professional dancer.  This unconventional path was full of ups and downs, but it taught me how to push past rejection and how to use little wins as motivation to keep going and to work harder every day.  Finally, my perseverance paid off and I got in front of the right people and made the right connections to launch a successful career in the dance industry.

As a dancer, health and fitness had always been a huge part of my life, so I transitioned into the wellness industry and became an instructor at SoulCycle. For six years, I led the pack in both Los Angeles and Chicago and played an integral role in expanding both markets from the ground up.

I had wanted to get into tech sales for a while and leverage those business development skills I had honed, but I didn’t know how to make the jump without having traditional sales experience. Simultaneously, COVID-19 hit, negatively impacting the fitness industry, and I found Flockjay. It truly felt like the stars had aligned for me and I found my answer!

What accomplishments are you most proud of? 

My road to success as a professional dancer was not an easy one. I faced a lot of “no’s” before I finally got the biggest “yes” I could have ever imagined when I landed a role as a dancer for Katy Perry.  This huge win jump-started my career, and I went on to appear in numerous films, TV shows, and several national commercial campaigns.  

At SoulCycle, I was given an opportunity for advancement to relocate to Chicago to open the very first SoulCycle market in the Midwest. I knew I would have to start from scratch and build a whole new book of business in a city in which I knew no one, but I was up for the challenge.

My Chicago team and I developed creative strategies to prospect new customers and to build a robust client network in our new city. We worked relentlessly to meet our quotas and it paid off.

In just two and a half years, Chicago became the third-highest volume market behind New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area as a direct result of my hard work.

What most excites you about a future SDR role?

To be honest, I’m most excited about having a job where my compensation directly reflects my hard work. My favorite part about being an instructor at SoulCycle was the competition aspect and the performance-based compensation structure, but unfortunately, the ceiling was very low and there was no opportunity for growth. I’m really excited to get into an SDR role where I will have more opportunities financially and professionally.

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

It’s all about that growth mindset!  You’re either winning or you’re learning, so my advice to anyone who wants to break into tech, especially if you don’t have traditional sales experience, is to look at setbacks as gifts and use them as learning opportunities to keep getting better.

Follow Her Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Kirsten on LinkedIn to follow her upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories.

Are you a sales leader who is growing your team? If you’d like to connect with more quality SDRs for hire like Kirsten, please email partners@flockjay.com or get more info right now.

👉🏽  Seeking a career opportunity? Read our FAQ and apply for our next class – it begins 1/11/21!

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

3 Lessons on Managing a Diverse Remote Sales Team

3 Lessons on Managing a Diverse Remote Sales Team

The last six months have been humbling as a sales manager. Overnight, I transitioned from being a 100% IRL manager to being 100% remote. Initially, I was overly confident, thinking how hard can this really be!? Got this in the bag. 🏆  But I quickly realized that managing a team of remote salespeople presented some unique challenges. 

Managing sales teams remotely is different than managing any other team for a few reasons:

  1. Sales reps hold extra stress from carrying quota (especially in a volatile market)
  2. Sales reps no longer have the opportunity for real-time social learning
  3. Sales reps miss the motivation of friendly competition

As a sales professional in this new remote world, I realized that I needed to invest in learning how to manage a diverse, measured, social team if I wanted to maintain a high performing team. 

These are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. If we make it a point to do a better job of understanding and supporting each other within a remote framework, our teams have the freedom to get better, grow stronger, and thrive onward. Not to mention, reduce attrition and decrease ramp time, which helps us hit our numbers. 

At Flockjay, we connect top tech companies with diverse, pre-trained sales reps. (more…)