Elizabeth Loschen is a former collegiate volleyball player with nimble abilities both on and off the court. “I love to work out and be active,” she says. “In fact, I'm going to start teaching some workout classes in my free time after work.” And when she’s in the office she’s always on the ball, successfully bringing in new leads for her team.
Elizabeth is quickly growing her sales career as a Business Development Representative II at GoTo, a flexible-work software company. We sat down with her to learn about how she’s built her career in sales since graduating in 2020. Keep reading to learn her story and advice for early professionals wanting to kick-start their sales career.
Finding the First Opportunity
Volleyball has always been important to Elizabeth. “I played in highschool, and then following graduation, I went up to play at University of South Dakota,” she elaborates. “I played volleyball there for all four years.” She opted for a degree in business, with a focus on finance. “I was interested in understanding finances and pursuing a field that would lead to long-term success,” she says.
Soon after she graduated, she was offered a Graduate Assistant Coach position at Jacksonville University, where she got her MBA. Her program solidified many of the skills she had acquired in her undergrad, like organization, time management, and presenting. “I know presenting is nobody's favorite thing, but it's definitely prepared me as I'm talking to VPs of companies on the phone,” she explains. “I have to be confident and speak to my knowledge, which is important in sales.”
Once her MBA program came to a close, Elizabeth decided to move back to her hometown of Omaha, where she accepted a position as Assistant Manager for Orange Theory, a boutique fitness studio. Although she didn’t know it at the time, this was her first step into the world of sales. “You are getting paid on how many people join, so you're trying to always bring in [new] memberships,” says Elizabeth. “So that got my foot in the door to sales.”
This opportunity also helped her transition from her college classes to real-world business situations. “I feel like in school, they say ‘these are the steps,’ but at Orange Theory, there were things you had to know, but there weren’t obvious steps to follow,” she elaborates. “You had to really understand what the customers wanted and what their goals were before pushing the sale.”
Transitioning to the Remote Work World
After seven months in the fitness industry, Elizabeth decided she wanted to look for another sales-based opportunity that would give her the opportunity to work from wherever she wanted. “I wanted to stay in sales because I like the ability to determine my own outcomes,” she says. “Whether it's determining the relationships you build or determining how much money you make, I love that idea.”
After a few months of job searching, a staffing company reached out to Elizabeth where she got connected with GoTo. “I got the interview with GoTo and I literally got an offer a couple of days later.” After researching the company, understanding their values, and considering future career growth, she took the offer. “I knew I could see myself succeeding with GoTo.”
GoTo is a flexible-work software that offers small to medium sized companies tools to enhance the way they work. They’re committed to ensuring that employees have excellent growth opportunities and work-life balance. Apart from monthly check-ins and quarterly opportunities to scale up, GoTo offers employees monthly self-care days, flexibility in organizing their own work hours, and ensuring that the time at work is well spent so that time outside of work is better spent.
Since joining the GoTo team, Elizabeth has been able to enjoy that flexibility to the max, as she’s traveled with her boyfriend who is a professional basketball player. “I lived in Atlanta for a little bit then Memphis and now I'm back in Omaha,” she explains. “It's really nice that I can work and be completely focused wherever I'm at.”
She’s also been able to take advantage of the upskilling opportunities that GoTo has to offer. “I've learned so much more about sales since I’ve joined. The way I view sales has changed and evolved in a really good way,” Elizabeth says. “I now understand sales as a way to figure out needs and solve problems, while building and maintaining many relationships.” She’s also gotten the chance to take on leadership opportunities like mentoring new hires on her team.
A Typical Day in Sales
One of Elizabeth’s favorite perks of working at GoTo is the flexibility that comes with her typical day at work. She makes sure she has a full morning routine before logging on and organizes her day according to her goals on her daily and weekly planner. Some of her daily tasks include: attending team meetings, prospecting and follow-ups with clients, mentoring team members, or sitting in on demos to learn about the company’s latest offerings.
She makes sure to take breaks throughout her day too. “As long as you’re hitting all your metrics, it’s pretty flexible,” she says. When she logs off from work, she feels like she can fully disconnect and have quality, personal time.
Advice on How to Kick-Start Your Career in Sales
Elizabeth recalls the first time she started making phone calls to potential clients. “The first fifty phone calls I made I froze on the phone and didn’t know what to say and I messed up,” she says. “But then you screw up a phone call, you learn from it, and you get better.” This type of perseverance is critical in any role in sales, in addition to other key soft skills such as self-awareness, time management, collaboration, competitiveness, and goal-setting. Elizabeth shares with us a few practical pieces of advice for anyone interested in stepping into sales.
- Network and build relationships. Building connections is key for a successful sales career. Although it may sound cliché, “networking and building relationships is huge.” Not only is this helpful to make contacts, but more importantly, to create valuable and enjoyable places of work.
- Don't be afraid to fail. Elizabeth has found that a lot of her growth has been due to failure. “When I started, I failed so many times,” she says, referencing freezing up during cold calls. “But you don't grow unless you fail. So don't be afraid to mess up!”
- Have goals (and celebrate when you hit them!). In sales, setting goals is key to success. “It's hard to be good at your job if you don't have measurable goals, whether they're weekly, daily, monthly, yearly, they’re so important,” says Elizabeth. One thing she loves about the sales team at GoTo is that every time a goal is met, the team celebrates. “We put everything in our Slack, whether it's a small win, like, ‘hey, I got a follow up call’ or ‘hey, just got an opportunity,’” she says. “We're all celebrating with each other.”
💎Check out the sales job openings at Okta! Watch the video to the end to learn all about working on the Sales team at Okta.
📼 Don’t miss the job openings at Okta if you want to kickstart your career in Sales. Meet Rachele Zamani, Business Development Associates Manager at Okta, who will explain why Okta is a place where you can thrive and what they are looking for in candidates.
📼Check out the job openings at Okta to kickstart your career in Sales! The Business Development Associate role is an entry-level role that does not require any sales experience. Customer service experience is a plus. Everyone is welcome to apply to any of Okta’s BDA (Business Development Associate), BDR (Business Development Representative), or SDR (Sales Development Representative) roles, even if you have a non-traditional background or if you do not hold a degree. While all of their positions are remote, Okta is finding out that each team is benefiting from spending some time in the office, so they want to make sure their talent can commute to an office with ease. And this is why they're looking for talent in the Bay Area, the Seattle region, the Chicago region, as well as their D.C. region.
📼 To apply for any of the job openings at Okta, it’s essential to understand the company’s mission to show how you align with it. As Rachele explains: Okta’s mission is to improve the connections between people and tools to make companies more productive and secure. Their vision is to be a platform that enables any company or any person to use technology. As sales representatives, you will be on the front line; being the liaison between product value and customers. So it's incredibly important that the sales teams bring a solution-based approach, a very friendly attitude, and an opportunity to create lasting relationships that Okta knows to make a huge impact with their customers.
Job Openings At Okta - Showing a Strong Desire Is The Key
Okta is always looking for folks who have a strong desire to be in tech sales, but perhaps they are unsure of where to begin. Rachele loves speaking with candidates who have diverse backgrounds and experiences, that perhaps have been in customer service roles, and are unsure of how to leverage their skillset; their customer service skillset, their relationship skillset, or perhaps their desire to connect with people. All of those skills transfer really well to sales, and you would be surprised at how well those folks do on their sales teams.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Okta? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Rachele
An experienced Program Leader, Coach, and "Talent Spotter" with over a decade of experience in leadership roles, Rachele has managed and developed effective teams of diverse leaders across multiple departments. As a coach, her goal is to empower individuals to reach their full potential and break barriers to elevate their careers. If you are interested in a career at Okta, you can connect with Rachele Zamani on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Okta
Okta powers identity for the internet. They are a trusted partner to businesses worldwide and give their customers the confidence to reach their full potential. Since 2009, they've secured some of the world's most innovative companies.
Loi Nguyen sees the value in keeping a learning and open mind .
It was a key part of what drove her to explore acrylic painting and hiking during the pandemic….
And it was also something that she took away from her MBA, which she moved to the United States from Vietnam to pursue.
“There are some key mindset changes I made during my program,” says Loi, “and it’s that learning mindset that helped when I applied to Autodesk.”
Now working as a Sales Strategist at the design software company, Loi has plenty of opportunities to continue to grow her abilities and learn to solve problems in different ways.
“It’s an internal consulting job, so you have chances to work on high-profile projects with cross-functional teams,” she says. “It’s part analytics — we analyze a problem to create the strategy. It’s part project management, which I really like doing.”
We sat down with Loi to hear more about her path to Autodesk and how she prioritizes opportunities to make an impact.
From Vietnam to MBA to Autodesk
Loi has always been passionate about sustainability and innovation.
Growing up in a small agricultural village in the North of Vietnam, Loi has a genuine love for nature and cares deeply about environmental sustainability. So her first professional job was in sales at a water treatment company (which just so happened to be Loi’s first exposure to AutoCAD software).
Looking for a more innovative environment, she joined a startup incubator (also a startup itself) as a project manager. That experience made Loi realize she could have a much bigger impact on the startups if she had a stronger understanding of the market, so she took a job at Nielsen, a market research firm, leveraging her strength in math and analytics.
After strengthening her analytical skills and broadening her market knowledge at Nielsen, Loi decided to pursue an MBA to explore different career paths that would align with her skills. (The U.S. ended up becoming her destination of choice because her partner — and now husband — got into a PhD program in California.)
In the first year at UC Irvine, Loi explored Marketing, Finance, and more through networking, courses, competitions, and a summer internship. It was her second year that Loi found special interest in consulting. In one of her courses, she served as the lead on a real consulting project with a very large healthcare company.
“It was a great experience. I learned how to work with high-level stakeholders and was taught how to professionally lead a consulting project,” she says.
But that wasn’t the only hands-on consulting experience she got: “I also volunteered at a non-profit sustainability consultancy, which was an opportunity to leverage my analytical skills and project management skills towards something I’m passionate about.”
These experiences left her feeling like she was making a real impact, and she knew she wanted to continue that after graduation, so she started looking for opportunities in consulting and business analytics.
It was a fellow Vietnamese MBA student, who had interned at Autodesk the previous summer, encouraged Loi to look at Autodesk’s Sales Strategy position. Even though sales strategy hadn’t been on Loi’s radar, it ended up being a perfect fit for her past experiences and future goals.
“I was already familiar with the company, and when I read the job description I was immediately interested. I saw how I’d be able to make a social impact here with my sales, analytics, and project management experience.”
3 Ways to Think About Impact at Work
Loi wasn’t just excited to join Autodesk because it was an opportunity to put her analytical skills to work — it was also a chance to work on products that line up with the impact she wants to make on the world.
“Autodesk can make the world a more sustainable place with the design tools we provide to architects, and other people across industries,” she says. “I care about sustainability. Our products can help achieve sustainability goals around carbon footprints for buildings and infrastructure.”
From a micro scale to a macro scale, Loi has a few tips on how to think about expanding your own impact at work:
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. “The organizational behavior class in my MBA required me to directly ask my old colleagues and teammates about these. I was surprised about how people thought about me. At Autodesk, I frequently ask my manager for feedback so that I can improve,” she says.
- Ask about the larger goals of your day-to-day work. It can be easy to get lost in a list of tasks, but make sure you understand the why behind them, says Loi. “It motivates you to bring out the best in you and to go above and beyond. The most important part of strategy is to convince people on why you’re doing something, so they’re motivated to do it.”
- Consider ways to pay it forward. “While creating an impact as a pro-bono consultant at Seed, I learned a lot from and with other volunteers and clients.” Autodesk also has their own pro-bono consulting program where employees can give a few hours a week to help out nonprofits, and Loi is excited to be able to participate.
The Kind of Culture That Makes Growth Possible
Loi recognizes that she’s only able to do meaningful work because she feels supported at work.
“When you’re leading a team, you need to create the environment and the psychological safety where people can show their vulnerabilities and trust each other,” she says. “By doing that, I don’t have to try to be someone else.”
That’s the culture she’s found at Autodesk, Loi explains.
It’s not just that Loi only can have open conversations with her manager about things like work style or working hours. (For instance, Loi loves seeing the sunset, and will often log off right before the sun goes down in order to see it live, and then will come back online later to finish her work.)
She’s also able to continue to pursue growth and feel supported along the way.
“I’m able to be myself at work. I’m really comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know,’ or ‘I want to learn about this.’ I can easily find a mentor, or schedule a call with an expert, even if they’re a director. They’re open for you to learn from them.”
💎 In order to be an impactful salesperson, the first thing to remember is that Sales is a people to people business. Watch the video to the end to learn some tips that’ll take your sales skills to a new level!
📼 What makes you an effective and impactful salesperson? Play this video to get three top tips to learn a different side of your clients, master the art of handling objections, and demonstrate value. You'll hear from Clara Sierra, Senior Director, Business Development, Global Sales at Moody's.
📼Top tips to become an impactful salesperson #1: Become an expert on your client. A lot of clients use LinkedIn and Twitter to promote their brands. Not only use their website or google them but make sure to go into their Twitter account, follow their teammates, and their executives, looking at what they post and what they comment on Twitter and LinkedIn. This will help you to know a different side of your clients you can use to get them excited about your product.
📼 Top tips to become an impactful salesperson #2: Master the art of handling objections. Clara uses the “Feel / Felt / Found” method: when a client presents her with objections, such as “your solution is too expensive”, or “I don't need it. I don't want it. It doesn't work for me”, she will typically say, “I see how can feel that way. I have other clients who have felt that way also, but here's what we've found in order to make this solution meaningful to their business.” When you approach them from this angle,, the client who's delivering the objection feels seen. Using the “Feel / Felt / Found” method really opens up the conversation and gets you to the next stage of selling!
Become An Impactful Salesperson - Tip #3: Add Value And Tell Stories
Adding value and telling stories is so important in the sales experience, not just for your client, but for you also. You don't want to be seen as only a transactional salesperson. You want to think about the client experience. What is your product or solution going to do for your client? You want to be able to wrap a story around, what some of your other clients have found and how your product has helped them in their business. The key is to continue to expand the conversation, adding value to your client's experience and telling stories.
📨 Are you interested in joining Moody’s? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Clara
Throughout a distinctive career earning her executive management positions at some of the world's largest financial services institutions, Clara Sierra has always stood apart: for her extraordinary professional relationships, her remarkable passion for sales/marketing, her unique personal background, and, most of all, for her unrelenting drive to achieve the best possible results for her employees, employers, and her clients. If you are interested in a career at Moody’s, you can connect with Clara Sierra on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Moody’s
Moody’s is a globally integrated risk assessment firm that empowers organizations to make better decisions. Their data, analytical solutions, and insights help decision-makers identify opportunities and manage the risks of doing business with others. They believe that greater transparency, more informed decisions, and fair access to information open the door to shared progress. With over 11,000 employees in more than 40 countries, Moody’s combines international presence with local expertise and over a century of experience in financial markets.