A Day In The Life of Michael Lange: Why He Says 'Si' To Okta's Customers and Culture
Every company likes to say they have the best sales organization – but at Okta, we really believe that. One reason is the unique sense of community core to the Okta DNA. It's the encouraging culture of camaraderie (and competition) that permeates all offices and all teams. Sales is a very fast-paced business as our team works to identify and wrangle prospective customers and play an influential role in bringing them to Okta. It's not for the faint of heart.
We recently sat down with one of our sales development representatives (SDR) Michael Lange who shared his insight into that community and what makes Okta stand out for the latest installment of our Day in the Life series. Michael also talked about the value he and his teammates place on working together in making a deal happen, some recent Okta memories – and where he's off to when wanderlust next strikes him.
What do you do as an Okta SDR?
My major responsibility is to build the best partnerships possible with outside reps, because together we're a team and we depend on each other to get the job done. For me, this means I’m focusing on identifying strategic enterprise accounts in the Bay Area and doing whatever it takes to get our foot in the door. I provide air coverage by identifying key decision makers to approach and developing relationships with them in order to get my team 30-90 minutes on the calendar to find a use case for Okta.
Walk us through your typical day at the Okta office.
It starts at 7am. (That's after a morning workout. Unlike our CEO who prefers CrossFit, I'm more of a classic gym guy.) I slam four hard-boiled eggs and an espresso, and hit the phones. After pacing around at my stand-up desk for an hour or so, I'll grab my go-to breakfast cookie with Philz Coffee and check fantasy sports for a little recess. After sending some emails, it's time for a classic Okta lunch, which consists of war stories from the morning, lots of Sriracha and catch-up with employees from other divisions. The rest of the afternoon is a mixture of phone calls, emails and conversations with my reps.
What's it like to work at Okta? Is there something specific you enjoy?
I chose Okta for the opportunity and the people. I knew I wanted to climb the sales ranks at a top-tier tech company. Not only is Okta exploding, but also the sales leadership is unparalleled. When I interviewed, I immediately connected with everyone I met and knew it would be a good fit. (My whole social network in San Francisco is related in some way to Okta. That says a lot.) Along with the amazing opportunity, I am legitimately working with my friends, which makes work fun*. (*when I'm hitting quota)
The most rewarding part is being the catalyst for massive, quarter-changing deals for the company. No matter where you sit in the sales organization, you feel you have a direct impact on the company's revenue, which is unlike positions I've held at other companies. It's that and being able to absorb every drop of sales knowledge from those above me – in particular, our sales directors and CRO Adam Aarons – is huge. As much as the sales team is competitive, we all want each other to succeed. Our leadership is more than eager to meet and bestow their wisdom upon us.
You've spent time at a few different software companies before joining Okta. How are they different?
[Start clichés] It's honestly night and day. Okta's leadership team is smart as a whip, it's culture is one of a kind, and the opportunity for career growth blows those other companies out of the water. I didn't realize what a five-star, game-changing company was until I came to Okta. [End clichés]
Seriously though, I'm not exaggerating.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Okta?
I sat right behind home plate at a San Francisco Giants game last season. It was a work outing with one of my sales directors, my rep and few prospects from one of my top accounts. A few Bud Lights, great company and a Giants win isn't a terrible way to spend the evening.
I hear you speak Italian. Has that ever come in handy on the job, either at Okta or a previous gig?
Not yet, but it's fun impressing my coworkers when ordering espressos in North Beach. Cafe Trieste makes a good one. [Grins]
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Traveling is one of my favorite things to do outside of work. I've been lucky enough to travel all around the world (Vietnam and Serbia have been highlights) and am working to plan my next adventure. (Argentina, Cuba and Colombia are in the running.) As far as day-to-day, I love going to local concerts in San Francisco and Oakland, trying out the latest trendy cocktail lounge and staying fit.
If you could define Okta in one word, what would it be?
For more information on careers at Okta – within our sales organization or otherwise – please visit: https://www.okta.com/company/careers/.