What does a career journey into the inside sales team look like at Elastic? We talked to two of our own — Tom Wilde and Jan Kumorowicz — about moving from user success manager roles into cloud sales, and what it’s like to be at the start of a customer’s journey.
Tom Wilde, inside cloud account executive
After about two years as a user success manager, I began to master the art of outbound sales — cold calling potential enterprise customers, working to find new leads via LinkedIn, and having proof-of-concept conversations. But I was eager for the chance to learn how to make sales from inbound leads. My manager encouraged me to apply for an opening on the inside cloud account team and a more senior role. Cloud offers so many products and services for our customers, including Enterprise Search, observability, and security. I was excited to learn more, and deliver greater impact for our customers, in what I believe is the future of our business. From a career standpoint there’s no better place to be.
My day-to-day tasks in the role include helping create opportunities for customers spinning up their first Elastic Cloud trial. We’re here to try and break down some of the barriers that might prevent them from being a paid customer, and get them to that place within two months of their first contact with us. To do that, I have a chat with them, get to know what they’re hoping to accomplish with our products, and get them the resources they need to succeed and continue working with us. I’m also there if these new customers run into technical problems and need assistance.
We have an opportunity to convert a wide range of customers. As an enterprise user success manager, I was working with big clients. Now, I get to create solutions for all sorts of use cases — even small businesses that want to use Elastic Cloud for their website search. We get these customers started on a long-term journey with Elastic, which has a huge impact as they continue on and renew. I think that’s the most exciting part of this job — the opportunity to have these early conversations. Since the formation of our team we’ve had quite a few competitive wins, and I think it’s because of our work as a first touchpoint in the customer journey.
When I became an inside cloud account executive, I got a lot of training and support to tackle new responsibilities. One thing that’s new to this role is a need for technical savvy, which includes becoming certified in cloud technology. For me, that meant completing an AWS fundamentals course right away. Learning these skills allows us to help our customers leverage all the benefits of the cloud platform they’re deploying from. To be successful in this role you’ve got to be interested in learning new things. You have to understand how people are interacting with data, and knowing how our products can solve their problems with the support of other teams. Every day is a school day.
Jan Kumorowicz, inside cloud account executive
I started as a user success manager right out of college. Actually, I skipped my graduation so that I could start a week early — that’s how excited I was to join Elastic. I moved into the inside cloud account executive role about a year ago. At Elastic, you’re given the freedom to build your career as you envision it. What’s great is that as you’re building that vision, everyone at Elastic is generous with their time. They’ll always give you an opportunity to talk and help you see the vision for a team, which makes it easier to find your way.
I chose this role because I was really interested in the onboarding process. The inside sales role offers a lot of options for people wanting to go into sales, without being pigeonholed. If you want to pursue a career that’s focused on the inside sales motion or high velocity sales, if you like building relationships with cloud vendors, or if you’re interested in moving into management early in your career, the onboarding route gives you a firm grounding in all those things.
I think the most exciting part of this role is speaking to potential customers. We’re here to make sure they’re successful with their 14-day trials. I personally love working with small companies, because often they’re betting their whole company’s future on using our products. That’s a really humbling experience, and I think the best part of my day-to-day tasks — understanding how we can provide the most relevant materials to our customers to make sure they’re successful.
I think this role really embodies a startup within a startup mentality. We’re thinking about how to improve the process for potential customers, remove roadblocks, and make the process as smooth as possible. That might mean setting up an AMA, or an onboarding session at a meetup. It takes creativity. You’re at the center of a pivotal moment in the customer’s journey — it’s exciting to collaborate with other departments and see where that can go.