In just over a year, Toni Redman, director of sales development, EMEA, has increased the sales development representative (SDR) + business development representative (BDR) team to twenty, introduced the first year-long sales internship program in EMEA, and even had three of her team members finalists at the Women in Sales awards Europe. Read on to get a peek into our growing EMEA sales team.
Why did you choose Okta?
I chose Okta because it was a very interesting, fast-moving SaaS organization. Throughout the interview process, I was able to meet with 12 individuals. Every person I met with was extremely friendly and really made me feel that I could be part of the organization. I also felt that with my skill set, I could make a real difference in EMEA and grow the team.
Tell me about your role.
My role is to manage the sales development representatives (SDRs) and business development representatives (BDRs). The SDRs are our outbound sales team, so they work with the account executives (AEs) planning meetings for them. Our BDRs are inbound, so they receive qualified leads (QLs) from marketing which they follow up on, ultimately booking meetings as well. Last year, for the first time, we also just introduced interns to our team. In the UK, students participate in a year-long internship, so we’re lucky enough to have had three interns as BDRs this year and ready to have four new starters on July 1st, 2019.
What does an average day look like?
I come in and the first thing I do is check our numbers to make sure we’re on track to meet our goals. I spend time meeting with my team and making sure that anyone who might be behind, has the support that they need. My day is full of meetings with sales, marketing, and partners. In any remaining time, I’m planning for the upcoming quarter to make sure we’re delivering pipe to sales.
What is your favorite part about your role?
My team. I have the best team in the world. We all get along well. We play hard. We work hard. When the chips are down, my team works hard to help one another. They have individual quotas, but they work as a team and share best practices. I love managing this team. Plus, they’ve been smashing their numbers all year long, which is really great.
How do you keep your team engaged and motivated?
My team would say “I’m firm, but fair.” We have built good relationships and I have set expectations. So if they do a good job and work well with the team, they know that I am flexible. Plus, I always have their back. We also go out and have fun together!
I’m also very focused on career development with my team. We put a plan together to make sure they will get promoted to where they want to go and be successful in that job too. BDR and SDR is a platform for people to learn the technology and industry and then to move into a career of their choice. And that doesn’t always have to be sales. Okta is unique in that way.
What is Okta’s culture like?
The best! We have to deliver. We are very committed to our numbers. But equally we are committed to each other. People here help one another. That’s not always been the case at previous companies.
Any advice for others building a career in sales?
Build your brand. Never say, “It’s not my job.” Take on stretch projects. If you want a particular job, work hard for it, and you’ll get it and make an impact. For women, this is a male-dominated field. Be strong and determined.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m Italian, so naturally I love to spend time with my family. I go to the gym with my husband, catch up with my daughter, and walk my dogs Charlie and Molly. I also love to travel. I just got back from Cuba. Next on my list is a cruise on the Nile!
Okta in one word?
Interested in starting your career in sales as a business development representative or sales development representative? Toni’s hiring!