A 14-year career journey back to Salesforce

Photo of Salesforce's Jodi Malandaras, account executive, revenue cloud, with quote saying, "One of the best pieces of advice that I have for people that are applying at Salesforce is, don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to take a chance. It's time to start forging new trails."

Below is an article originally published on Salesforce’s blog. Visit the Salesforce company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Back when Salesforce had just landed its 5,000th customer, when Lord of the Rings was a top-selling movie, when the Winter Olympics was hosted in Salt Lake City — well, that’s when Jodi Malandaras started her career in the Cloud.

It was 2002, and Salesforce — an up-and-coming technology company — had one product, a couple hundred employees, and an idea for cloud-based computing. “It really felt like we were really revolutionizing the industry,” said Jodi. “Salesforce was the first company to take software to the Cloud. We were doing something that no one else was doing.”

With a career that spans Salesforce history — from hundreds of employees to tens of thousands, from one product to an entire customer suite, from $51 million in revenue to $31 billion — Jodi shares how she found her way to Salesforce ... and then back again.

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That sales energy

“I started in sales right out of college,” shared Jodi, who studied Public Relations before landing her first role as a software salesperson. “And I loved the energy of sales. I loved the ability that, you know, the harder you work, the more you could make.”

As an Account Executive at Salesforce in 2002 — a company just three years old at the time — Jodi felt an immediate impact. “There were literally a couple hundred employees,” said Jodi. “So every account that you closed meant something enormous.”

After four years of helping to grow the business, Jodi made the decision to pivot back to her smaller company roots. But, as she continued experiencing other workplaces, teams, and cultures, she knew one thing to be true: that she would make her way back to Salesforce, a place she considered the perfect combination of brand recognition and product innovation. And,14 years later, she did.

A not-so-new company

“I’m a Boomerang,” shared Jodi. “And really, I wasn’t sure when I came back — because it was a much bigger company, and I’d always been attracted to smaller companies. But I missed that energy. I had a peer that I worked with [at Salesforce] who had moved into management, and he'd assured me that each team at Salesforce had their own entrepreneurial spirit — and I found that to be absolutely true.”

That entrepreneurial spirit has never been more apparent than right now at Salesforce, as the company embraces its next technological chapter: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

While AI may feel like the latest buzzword, it’s actually something that Salesforce has been building since the advent of Einstein, back in the mid-2010s. But, to Jodi, the history goes back further than that; in fact, Salesforce has been uniquely positioned to be a leader in AI for more than two decades, she says.

“A lot of it goes back to …the foundation of our company,” said Jodi. “From day one, we have been a company that's really focused on the Customer 360. Now, we're in a very unique position to deliver success to our customers because we've got the Customer 360 and the data. Layered on top of that with AI — I think, you know, the sky's the limit.”

But to get there, there’s a need for more — more innovation, more trust, more cross-functional team support, more fresh perspectives, and more enablement. And, to Jodi, that’s why today is the most exciting time to be in sales at Salesforce.

“No two days are the same. Sure, you have a roadmap, a plan that you follow, but every client that you interact with, every colleague that you interact with, every interaction is a new experience.”

Always-on learning

To lean into these new experiences, the key to Jodi’s success has been her appetite for continuous learning.

“When I left, we had one product that we sold, and when I came back we had a full, robust set of solutions,” said Jodi. Throw in AI and 23+ years of innovations — and, well, she had some serious Salesforce enablement to do.

“Enablement here at Salesforce means giving you the tools and the ability to be successful in your role as quickly as possible,” said Jodi. “Salesforce not only does enablement when you start, but it's a journey.”

That always-on learning and training is a full team effort — something she’s discovered is uniquely, well, Salesforce. Whether it’s closing a deal with her cross-functional team or receiving mentorship from a more senior salesperson, she’s found herself supported every step of the way.

“When I started at Salesforce, I was assigned what they call a Trail Guide, someone who mentored and coached me,” Jodi shared. “And that person didn’t only stay with me for the first 30 days. That's a person that, two and a half years later, I could still pick up the phone and call to say, 'Hey, I'm facing this situation with an account. Have you faced anything similar? What would you do in this situation?'”

The next generation of sales

With experience spanning five software companies — selling everything from data integrations to analytics solutions — Jodi recognizes how differentiated the Salesforce experience and culture is for sellers.

Jodi together with some of her teammates from the Solution Engineering team

Jodi together with some of her teammates from the Solution Engineering team.

“I love the Salesforce culture. Not only are you here to be successful as an Individual Contributor, but to really be successful, you also have to be willing to help people out at this company,” said Jodi. “And in turn, you've got a lot of people here that will help you.”

For those looking to start their career in sales — or those who may be more seasoned, looking to join (or, hey, re-join!) Salesforce — Jodi has simple advice: Go for it.

“One of the best pieces of advice that I have for people that are applying at Salesforce is, don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to take a chance. It's time to start forging new trails.”

Looking to grow your own career in sales and in AI? To learn more and stay in the know on the latest Salesforce career opportunities, news, and events, join their Talent Community today.
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