Hitting the Ground Running with Olivia Huff

About This Episode

From working at a hotel to being a high school teacher to being named Conga’s Global BDR of the Year in her first true sales role, Olivia Huff’s career has been one of big changes and fast success. Taking a leap of faith into the world of sales is no small feat, but Olivia’s determination to learn, grow, and lean into her greatest strengths has helped her find her calling.

Olivia is now the Customer Success Lead at Canopy, a revenue leadership hub that connects, analyzes, and actively monitors every data point across your revenue team. She joined us on Decision Point to talk about what she learned during her early career transitions and how those experiences helped shape her view of where she wants to be. She also shared her experience of taking on a sales role at a fast-paced start-up in 2020 and how Canopy is positioned to thrive. Take a listen!

Listen Now

Decision Point: Hitting the Ground Running with Olivia Huff

Share This Podcast

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Get Podcasts In Your Inbox

GET MORE GREAT PODCASTS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Olivia: [00:00:00] If you are determined to succeed, you will succeed in the BDR/ SDR role. If you don’t put much effort into it, or if you’re not willing to make those dials or send those emails, you’re probably not going to succeed. 

[00:00:13] Brad: [00:00:13] Welcome to Decision Point, a podcast about overcoming adversity in sales and the growth that we experience in the process. I’m Brad Seaman.

[00:00:23] I’m excited to have Olivia Huff, who is theCustomer Success Lead at Canopy. Canopy is a revenue leadership hub based here in Indianapolis. They connect, analyze, and actively monitor every data point across your revenue team. So they basically had this really cool plugin that sits inside Salesforce and pulls out all this really cool information about what’s going on.

[00:00:46] In your sales cycle. And I wanted to have Olivia on the podcast today because her and I had had a conversation, um, As I was a prospect and she was talking about her experience of becoming an [00:01:00] SDR and being at a local company here called octave that would go on to sell the Conga. And she said she was a teacher and she worked at a hotel and I said, well, that’s really exciting.

[00:01:09] And so we started talking about her experience and the thing, and the reason I wanted to have her on the podcast is because I think it’s really fascinating. And it takes a significant amount of courage to be doing one thing, doing one type of career, and then totally doing a 180 and doing a totally different career specifically, if that career is, um, considered by outside parties as being very honorable, maybe it’s teacher, maybe it’s a nurse.

[00:01:40] Um, nonetheless, I find it super fascinating for people to be going one direction. Stop, go another direction. You’re going to love her story, excited to have her on let’s get started.

[00:01:54] Olivia: [00:01:54] So it first semester went down. Um, but something just was not clicking whatsoever [00:02:00] and had lots of conversations with my family, my fiance at the time. And, um, Just let them know, you know, like I’m 24, 25. I want to be able to have conversations with people my own age. I want to, I want to talk about life. I want to talk about, you know, careers.

[00:02:17] Um, I want to network, I, you know, I have such high ambitions for myself. I just felt like I was completely stuck. Um, so that’s, whenever I started looking into the tech world, my fiance was actually, um, In the Indy tech scene for a while, he’s a software engineer. So he kind of got my interest in that department.

[00:02:37] So I started applying to all of these different positions. Um, there was a startup a couple of years ago called Octiv. He actually worked there, but, um, they had been acquired by Conga. So they had a couple positions, open a business development representative, and I had absolutely no idea what that included.

[00:02:56] I had no idea what a BDR meant, what it stood for, what you did, but [00:03:00] you know what? I went ahead and applied and, um, I was just going to take that leap of faith. So after, I guess I would say. You know, 30 to 40 job, um, interviews and, uh, resumes, resume stuff, and all of that fun stuff. I, um, ended up accepting a position at conga.

[00:03:21] And, you know, really took that as my first real big, you know, real big stepping stone, my first big girl job. And I was just, you know, planning to smash that out of the park, which, um, I guess this is why I’m talking today because, you know, if I, I don’t, I don’t think if I would have taken that next step in the tech world, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

[00:03:43] And I wouldn’t be where I hope to be, you know, in the next, you know, five to 10 years. 

[00:03:48] Brad: [00:03:48] Let me ask you a couple of just quick questions in hindsight. Is there anything that you would have done differently? Um, in any of those decisions that you made over that short period of time? 

[00:04:00] [00:04:00] Olivia: [00:04:00] Um, to be honest, no, not at all.

[00:04:03] I think every position, every path that I have done and every experience that I’ve done has led me to where I am today. There have been some extremely hard times and over the past, you know, three to four years of the career transitioning and happiness and you know, where do I want to be in life? And, you know, I don’t, I don’t think I would’ve changed anything.

[00:04:22] Maybe if I would’ve changed one thing, it would to be go back to go back to college, you know, find what I’m passionate about and then, you know, continue from that. But obviously can’t go back. So this is where we are. 

[00:04:33] Brad: [00:04:33] Can’t go back. You can’t go back and I’m having a conversation with my, my daughter. Who’s getting ready to go to go to college.

[00:04:40] It’s you have such a small, I think one of the challenges when it comes to you, most people are in sales. Never aspire to be a salesperson, right? There’s a lot of accidental stories, kind of like kind of like yours that gets you into sales. But when you’re, uh, when you’re a student or you’re a kid, your world is just really small and sales, isn’t [00:05:00] typically a part of that world.

[00:05:00] Right. You know, doctors, lawyers, attorneys kind of high profile positions, but you just don’t have a lot of experiences outside of the involvement that you have with your direct, uh, contacts, right? Your parents, your teachers. Uh, maybe aunts and uncles, uh, friend’s parents, but you just, you don’t have a bed, you don’t have the access.

[00:05:20] And I think that’s one of the things that have, you know, one of the things that happens is your role gets bigger. And then you start kind of understanding how you’re built and who you are, and then it allows you to make better decisions. And a lot of cases that leads people with selling because selling can make people very happy.

[00:05:34] Olivia: [00:05:34] Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I, another fun fact, I grew up on a small farm, um, in Southern Indiana. So I was. Super big in agriculture. My entire family is, have always had a huge passion for agriculture, but, you know, that’s just what I grew up with. I had no idea that there was another world of selling and, uh, you know, tech or anything along the lines of that.

[00:05:56] I would’ve never guessed, you know, at 10 years old, I would say, [00:06:00] Hey, I’m, you know, I’m going to be a, an account executive or I’m going to be a business development rep, you know, just never in a million years. Would I ever thought that. 

[00:06:08] Brad: [00:06:08] Um, that that’s, uh, well, it’s just awesome how these, how the world opens up and you get, you get older and you get more experiences and you’re able to make, uh, you know, figure out what you figure out, what you like.

[00:06:19] Um, you know, speaking of figuring out what you like and then kind of changing scenery. Tell me a little bit about the role kind of, so you moved from the BDR role, um, there at Canopy and you’re moving into a client service role. Why don’t you share a little bit about that? Cause that sounds exciting. And then we can hop into kind of how COVID has changed sales and client interaction and just the world that we’re in today. 

[00:06:42]Olivia: [00:06:42] Yeah, for sure. Um, so I, I think I stopped at, um, whenever I was a business development rep, I was at Conga. I did that for about two years. Um, tried, I think I was my first month, like 900% to quota. So that was fun. I, like I said, I tried to just be the [00:07:00] biggest sponge ever there.

[00:07:01] Um, so I did that for roughly yeah. Two 

[00:07:04] Brad: [00:07:04] Do you miss that role? 

[00:07:07] Olivia: [00:07:07] Um, I definitely don’t miss it. I don’t miss the a hundred, 150 dials a day and all the emails and all that fun yeah. Stuff. But, um, I do miss the connections and the conversations that I had and just the opportunity to just learn from the bottom up.

[00:07:22] I think everybody should be a BDR if they ever want to, you know, start at start small and an organism organization. Um, so I would definitely, that’s my biggest advice. Is start small, be a learning sponge and just grow with the company. Um, so that’s kinda what I did. And unfortunately they weren’t many opportunities for me to move within Conga.

[00:07:42] So that’s whenever I joined the Canopy, uh, family here. And that’s, that was my first step of being an account executive, did that for a few months. And, you know, I really found a liking in it. I just, they had a customer. Success position, uh, pop open, [00:08:00] or they wanted to fill this type of position. And I said, Hey, I love talking to people.

[00:08:04] I love clients. I love our customers. Um, I just, you know, I just wanted to change and I, you know, going to be a rock star, this I I’m already telling myself. I told you, I think before that I have a high ambitions for myself and I think this is going to be a good next step for me. 

[00:08:19] Brad: [00:08:19] That’s awesome. Well, how has COVID changed?

[00:08:23] You know, even, even though you’re in a client support role, you’re still, you’re still selling. Right. You’re still presenting it. You’re still trying to bring the client’s future into the present. Whether you’re doing that as a sales person with a, with a bag and a tiler, or whether you’re doing it as a client success rep, it’s essentially the same thing as that you’re continuing to, to help clients make the future.

[00:08:47] What they could be in the future a reality today. So how has that been impacted with COVID? Like, it’s, COVID changed that relationship with your, with your clients? 

[00:08:58] Olivia: [00:08:58] Yeah, I think, [00:09:00] um, honestly, you know, coming from my perspective, I feel like. What we are doing now is the new normal zoom meetings, zoom calls, um, you know, sending over calendar invites.

[00:09:12] I was doing all of those things beforehand and now I think it is just our new normal, um, It’s it’s great to, you know, put a face to the name, especially if you’re on the zoom calls and maybe you don’t want to, you didn’t put your, you didn’t make your hair that day or put your makeup on or whatever, but it is so great to just pop on that zoom call, have your video showing, you know, say hi, friendly face, you know, have a warm welcome and, um, just, you know, try to be as friendly and happy as possible whenever you’re on those different calls. 

[00:09:43] Brad: [00:09:43] Based on the conversations that I’ve had with people on the same subject.

[00:09:48] There’s kind of a level of transparency and authenticity that’s been added because of zoom. Like all of a sudden, you’re not at the office, you’re not dressed up. Some people may not be doing their, their, their [00:10:00] makeup. What do you think that’s done to the sales cycle? Is that created or to the client cycle?

[00:10:06] Does that create better relationships? Cause your client in your opinion, because your clients feel like you are. Uh, more open and transparent, or do you think that it creates kind of the opposite? Like you brought, you know, you don’t have a baby, but Hey, crying baby gets on this on a screen. Does that hurt?

[00:10:22] Does that hurt the relationship or help them closer? 

[00:10:25] Olivia: [00:10:25] Yeah, I think it honestly may be different for everyone. However, I think it is, it has brought the human, the human life to sales. Um, everyone has not everyone, but you know, people have kids, people have dogs, people may not feel great that day. They don’t want to get ready as much as they what they would in the office.

[00:10:44] So I really just feel like it is. Creating that, that connection and that relationship of, okay, let’s be open with each other. Let’s, you know, let’s just share how our day is going or where are you at today if you’re, if you have snow or if you’re [00:11:00] in the Palm trees, you know, I think it’s just creating that relationship of, um, Being a human, I guess if that makes sense.  

[00:11:07]Brad: [00:11:07] Yeah. I think there’s a Daniel Pink book that says to sell is human, which is essentially about training. I believe it’s about transparency and interaction and interaction. Um, so, so has that changed your obviously personally there’s been different, uh, your COVID is impacted how we sell, right. So we’ve got zoom meetings.

[00:11:27] Uh, there’s a higher level of, uh, Technicality that’s occurred, but you’re having to, having to sell the tools. Some of that, have you been a BDR that’s easy, right? Cause you had your sales law through your outreach and you had your dialing applications and then you had all these tools, but there’s this kind of extra level of tools that your client now has that they may not have had.

[00:11:46] And so now we’re bringing some transparency and some openness to the, what is new, the new office, which is everybody being at home. Has that changed your sales strategy at all? Like how you guys sell as a [00:12:00] company has, has COVID changed that? 

[00:12:03] Olivia: [00:12:03] Um, to be honest. So whenever I first joined Canopy, we didn’t, you know, I, along with one other individual were the first sales reps, um, at the company.

[00:12:14] So we didn’t have really any softwares or solutions to help us out with that sale selling process. Um, but over the course of the following couple of months, you know, we really. Sat down and discuss what we needed as a, as a team to succeed. What did the both of us use in the past that really helped one another.

[00:12:33] And I think if we have that transparent conversation with your team and with your coworkers, your colleagues, anybody along those lines, I think you’re going to set your team up for success. Um, although things may be different and things have changed so much between being at home versus being in the office.

[00:12:49] I think, you know, I think we can, this is the new normal, like I said, we can make it successful if, as long as we try. 

[00:12:56] Brad: [00:12:56] Okay. How long had you got, I guess one of the things that I may have taken for granted [00:13:00] in this conversation is your company’s, um, relatively new. Right. You guys have not been doing okay. So it’s not like you had established sales processes that have been that COVID wreaked havoc on, right?

[00:13:12] You guys are sort of putting this together. COVID hits. You guys have to make some slight adjustments. Um, you didn’t have 200 salespeople that you guys had to move off, off and on different products or shift or sales process around. 

[00:13:25] Olivia: [00:13:25] Nope. Nope. Um, so yeah, we are fairly new. Um, so it was just me and then this, um, one other individual, like I said, and we just came in, um, with, you know, I guess an open mind and, um, just trying to do our best to get through these next couple months and help the company grow as much as we can.

[00:13:43] Brad: [00:13:43] W, what would you say is like one of those, the teaching lessons that you are, what will you teach somebody to be a successful SDR? I know that’s kind of in your back pocket, you’re transitioning out. Um, but you know, coming out of that role, what’s, what’s one takeaway. If you’re a, if you’re a [00:14:00] sales development rep out there today, you’re listening to the podcast.

[00:14:02] What’s the one thing that you would, uh, one of the STO on a new sale SDR. 

[00:14:10] Olivia: [00:14:10] Yes. That is a great question. I’ve thought about that a lot, actually. Um, I don’t necessarily think it’s, you know, make so many dials a day. It’s definitely determination and ambition. If you’re determined to succeed, you will succeed in the BDR SDR role.

[00:14:29] If you know, you don’t put. Much effort into it, or if you’re not willing to make those dials or send those emails, you’re probably not going to succeed. So, you know, I think it’s super important to just jump in. Like I said, be a learning sponge, listen to your, your other colleagues, hop on zoom meetings, whatever you need to do to help yourself succeed.

[00:14:49] And, you know, just having that determination is super important. 

[00:14:53] Brad: [00:14:53] No, that’s great. That’s great advice. Um, and that’s determination ambition. That’s something that’s really found itself [00:15:00] almost in every one of these. Uh, every podcast that we we’ve done. Um, let me, let me ask you this kind of, as we transitioned to the end of our time here, what is the one thing that you are like ultimately passionate about right now as it pertains to your job? 

[00:15:14] Olivia: [00:15:14] Yes. Uh, the one thing that I am most passionate about right now, um, probably would be two things. I know you said one, but, um, number one is. Creating and maintaining that client relationship. I, as you can tell, I love talking. I, you know, I love of love creating those relationships and just want those to last.

[00:15:33] Um, and you know, we just continue that this, that success of, you know, that client and that relationship. And then number two, I am super passionate about creating things. So creating content right now, we don’t have, um, you know, Too big of a process on the customer success side of things. So I’m finding it so much fun and.

[00:15:56] You know, so I’m just so passionate about creating things and, you [00:16:00] know, taking the client relationship and then building the content for them. So super excited to dig in more into that and, um, just watch, continue to watch that grow as well. 

[00:16:12] Brad: [00:16:12] Man, doesn’t Olivia have such a unique journey into sales. One of the reasons why we had her on, because it was really timely because we had just talked to Fiona where she talked about moving from sale or from nursing to sales.

[00:16:25] And, um, there’s no one path to success and there’s no one path to sales. Um, I think ultimately making those decisions about doing one thing and changing and do another specifically as it isn’t, as it goes into being a salesperson is really exciting. I’m so glad that Olivia shared that. Um, with us out, particularly excited that she shared her thoughts around how they were able to pivot in the midst of all the craziness in 2020.

[00:16:51] So, so glad that you guys got a chance to listen to these stories. I hope that they inspire you, uh, sign up for our newsletter at [00:17:00] monsterconnect.com/podcast. And remember, don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can .

[00:00:00] Olivia: [00:00:00] If you are determined to succeed, you will succeed in the BDR/ SDR role. If you don’t put much effort into it, or if you’re not willing to make those dials or send those emails, you’re probably not going to succeed. 

[00:00:13] Brad: [00:00:13] Welcome to Decision Point, a podcast about overcoming adversity in sales and the growth that we experience in the process. I’m Brad Seaman.

[00:00:23] I’m excited to have Olivia Huff, who is theCustomer Success Lead at Canopy. Canopy is a revenue leadership hub based here in Indianapolis. They connect, analyze, and actively monitor every data point across your revenue team. So they basically had this really cool plugin that sits inside Salesforce and pulls out all this really cool information about what’s going on.

[00:00:46] In your sales cycle. And I wanted to have Olivia on the podcast today because her and I had had a conversation, um, As I was a prospect and she was talking about her experience of becoming an [00:01:00] SDR and being at a local company here called octave that would go on to sell the Conga. And she said she was a teacher and she worked at a hotel and I said, well, that’s really exciting.

More To Explore

Download The..

MENTAL TOUGHNESS PLAYBOOK

Overcome your next big challenge in sales or in life with the eight characteristics that exemplify mental toughness, told by those who have risen to the challenge.

Download the

Mental Toughness Playbook

Please enter your work email below and we'll send you a copy of the Mental Toughness Playbook.