Secrets to building a personal sales brand

Insight from women leaders at Salesforce

Photos of Salesforce's Tina Lai, territory account executive, Salma Ferdowsi, senior manager of sales, and Jasmine Garrett, named account executive, with title saying: Secrets to building a personal brand

Do you have a personal brand? Regardless of whether you’re aware of it, the reality is that we all have a personal brand at work. And especially in the world of sales, developing a personal brand can be the key to unlocking career success.

Just ask Territory Account Executive Tina Lai, Senior Sales Manager Salma Ferdowsi, and Account Executive Jasmine Garrett at Salesforce. These three women have seen firsthand how conveying your story — whether that means showcasing your soft skills or honing your passion — can launch your career forward.

During our Chat & Learn conversation, Building a Powerful Personal Sales Brand: Tips from Successful Women, we asked Jasmine, Tina, and Salma to share how they’ve built their brands and overcome adversities along the way. Here’s what they had to say.

What is a personal brand, and why do you need one?

“A personal brand is what you stand for,” Salma explains. “For me, it goes back to my core values and how those align with a company’s core values.”

Tina adds that a personal brand is a unique presentation of who you are and allows you to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

“It’s about finding that thing that really drives you or motivates you,” she says. “When it comes from your heart, that's the best way to showcase who you are.”

Throughout Jasmine’s career, nurturing her personal brand has led to greater trust, both externally and internally.

“With your customers, you want them to know that you’re an expert in your field and someone they can rely on,” she says. “And with your colleagues, you want to be known as someone that's a team player, someone that can work well with others, and someone that is dedicated to the craft.”

In doing so, Jasmine has been offered opportunities without having to ask for them.

“I’ve been put in rooms that I didn’t even know existed and roles I didn’t know I could be considered for,” she says with a smile. “It really has propelled me in ways I didn’t think were possible.”

Developing your brand: consistency & authenticity

Tina stresses the importance of knowing who you are when developing your brand.

“You need to be able to define your unique value proposition and what makes you stand out from the crowd. That way, your personality can really shine through,” she explains, sharing the example of how an industry expert in AI could share articles across their social media channels that explore trending topics in AI.

And in tandem with leaning into your niche, Tina encourages you to stay consistent. “If you’re constantly talking about AI, that’s a way for people to always think of you in that space,” she says.

Throughout her time with Salesforce, Salma’s north star for her personal brand has been consistency in her work and prioritization.

“I like to think, ‘What am I responsible for?’ and then take a deep sense of responsibility for my deliverables and showcasing impact,” she explains. “When I’m not in the room, people are reflecting on my brand and the way I showed up, performed, and helped our customers. So when I feel lost, it’s good to just go back to my job description.”

For Jasmine, another key element of building one’s brand is authenticity.

“My brand is really just who I am,” she says. “It’s important to really highlight what matters to you. Where do you want to be exemplified? Where do you want to be at the forefront? What do you want people to know about you?”

5 common challenges to building a brand (and how to overcome them)

While building their brands, Tina, Salma, and Jasmine have each faced unique adversities — and walked away with valuable lessons.

1. Finding the confidence to put yourself out there. “I absolutely struggle with this,” says Jasmine. “It took me a minute to own my accomplishments and what I’ve done. As women, we don’t advocate for ourselves enough.” As guidance, she recommends taking stock of your achievements and accolades so you feel prepared to share them. Keep a “brag book,” and reference it in times when you need to reinforce your confidence.

Salma adds that she, too, struggles with imposter syndrome. “I still remember the moment of sitting in the lobby, questioning why this Fortune 500 company, Salesforce, would want to hire me,” she says. “Ultimately, it really opened my eyes to the importance of focusing on what's in my control… For example, sessions like this conversation. It’s not easy to get in front of people, but at the same time, I recognize the tremendous amount of gratitude I have for these platforms that help others find success in their careers. That really gets me over the hump of the nervousness.”

2. Allocating time to personal branding. “As a mother, I have literally no time ever,” Tina laughs. “But you can do something as small as reallocating the time you spend scrolling on social media to finding a great article on a topic that interests you and posting it on LinkedIn.”

3. Utilizing your personal brand in your job search. “It’s important to align examples and experiences rather than just listing out your skill set,” says Jasmine. Rather than stating “I’m a problem solver,” for instance, you can illustrate a time when you helped a customer.

4. Differentiating yourself from others. Salma says, “Being Asian-American — a dual citizen of Taiwan and the U.S. — I know what it’s like to be mistaken for another Asian person in the office… To combat this, it comes back to finding the one or two things that you’re passionate about and using those to set yourself apart.”

5. Positioning yourself on social media. “Putting your personal brand on social media is huge, especially in this day and age,” says Jasmine. “If your brand is education, you can use LinkedIn to post articles that educate people on industry trends… If your passion is helping people find jobs, you can post about jobs in the market or networking opportunities.”

Final thoughts on personal branding

We asked Salma, Tina, and Jasmine to share one piece of personal branding advice they wish they’d received earlier in their sales career.

For Salma, it would be patience. “Building your brand doesn’t happen overnight. It builds over time when you do the right thing, show up for others, and deliver results. Be patient with yourself.”

Tina says to accept change. “When I was younger, every time something changed I would get really uncomfortable. Now, I realize that I was at an inflection point in my life and that something really great was going to happen.”

And for Jasmine, it would be to stay focused on her long-term goals. “When I started my career, I was used to my parent’s trajectory of staying at the same company for 35 years, right? You start from the bottom and work your way up,” she recalls. “But I realized that it’s more important to think about my impact long-term and what I hope to achieve than to focus on my five-year plan.”

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And to learn more about building your personal sales brand, listen to the full conversation with Tina Lai, Salma Ferdowsi, and Jasmine Garrett here.
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