Unknown, Defined: How Chorus.ai’s SMB Sales Manager, Grace Tyson, Found the Answer to Her Career “Problem”

December 20, 2019

Sara Howshar

A true equation is a mathematically accurate equation — such as 1 = 1. But math isn’t always certain; it has unknowns and variables. Just ask former math teacher Grace Tyson, who, in 2014, was struggling to define the unknown in a very important equation:

Grace + [X] = new career

After spending two years in Newark, New Jersey, teaching mathematics to kids in grades 5-7, Grace decided to relocate to Boston and take a completely new direction in her professional life. The problem was that she wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do next — although she knew where she wanted to look for that answer.

“I was really interested in business and the startup community,” Grace says. “So, I Googled ‘entry-level positions in startups’ to see what I could find.”

One day, an ad for a business development representative (BDR) popped up in the search results, and caught Grace’s eye: “It was a sales role that involved cold calling and emailing, sourcing pipeline, generating meetings, and the like. I said, ‘Okay, I think I can do that!’ Plus, I figured it would be a heck of a lot easier than getting middle-schoolers to love math.’”

So, Grace started to investigate this potential career path in sales further. For help with her job search, she reached out to LaunchSource, a program that places individuals in BDR roles in the Boston area. Through the program, Grace learned about a BDR job opportunity at software company, InsightSquared, and decided to apply.

Risks Bring Rewards — Including Living in Amsterdam

Along with the unknowns and variables of mathematics, there is also randomness. And in ancient history, the concepts of randomness and chance were intertwined with the notion of fate. So, call it what you will — chance, randomness or fate — but Grace’s decision to apply for a BDR role at InsightSquared turned out to be a well-taken career risk, and not just because she got the job. There, she would meet the company’s Senior Director of West Coast Sales, Joe Caprio, who would later become Vice President of Sales at Chorus.ai.

Grace spent just over a year at InsightSquared, and in that short time moved up from the BDR role to an Account Executive position. Then, she decided to take another chance — this time, by applying her newly earned sales skills at cloud platform and software provider Midaxo. Once again, Grace’s risk-taking paid off.

“I was hired by Midaxo as an Enterprise Account Executive,” says Grace. “I sold for the company in the United States for a few years before selling in EMEA and eventually, I became an International Sales Manager. I was based in Amsterdam for about a year, building the European sales team and territory and managing AEs and sales development reps.”

A great result: working at a startup and selling to startups

While Grace enjoyed enterprise sales at Midaxo, she once again felt the need to explore a new avenue in the startup world. So, she launched a job search — and that’s when her old mentor, Joe Caprio, reappeared on the scene. “Sales is a small world, really,” Grace says. “When Joe heard I was looking for a new position, he reached out to learn if Chorus.ai would be a good fit for me, and vice versa.”

After speaking with Joe, Grace says was impressed by what she learned about Chorus.ai’s conversation intelligence platform. “I could immediately understand the value of Chorus.ai because I had felt the pain as a sales manager of not having a solution like it,” she says. “I had no idea what was really going on in phone calls. Coaching was very ad hoc. The training I created wasn’t structured around data and therefore, didn’t adequately address what reps were struggling with. So, when I learned about Chorus.ai, the technology seemed amazing to me — revolutionary, really — and I wanted to be a part of that.”

So, in May 2019, Grace packed her bags for San Francisco to become an SMB Sales Manager at Chorus.ai, focusing on startup and scale-up companies, and working alongside her former mentor, Joe.

Here’s a look at how Grace typically structures her day:

Morning: Grace is up and reaching for the coffee around 6 a.m. — and in short order, checking email and Slack messages. “I’d like to get away from doing that first thing in the morning because it puts me in reactive mode,” Grace says. “But I have a team in Boston, and they’re getting started when I’m just waking up. So, it’s important to check in with them.”

Once she’s up to speed with communications, Grace gets ready for work. She has a quick breakfast with her boyfriend and then catches the bus to the Chorus.ai office. “Taking the bus is a pain,” Grace laments. “I admit, I like days when I can work from home because I can use my morning time to focus on strategic work, instead of commuting.”

Once Grace is at work, she spends much of her morning coaching reps through Chorus.ai. “I’m usually filling out Chorus.ai Scorecards, giving quantitative and qualitative feedback to my team,” says Grace. “I have a goal of doing, at a minimum, two scorecards per rep per week. So, that’s 64 per month for a team of eight — and we’re still hiring!”

Afternoon: Because Grace’s team is expanding, she often devotes a portion of her workday to recruiting and interviewing new talent. Otherwise, she’s in meetings, or working on strategic projects, such as refining Chorus.ai’s onboarding program or enabling peer-led film reviews. Developing training for her current team members is also an ongoing priority: “I’m always thinking about what training I can create to help address skills gaps on my team,” she says.

Listening to sales calls in Chorus.ai helps Grace identify how individual reps can benefit from more training. One weak spot that comes up often, according to Grace, is discovery. “Discovery is a critical part of sales. You can do demos, trials, and so on, but unless you can uncover the reason a customer wants to purchase, none of the other things matter. But discovery is where a lot of reps struggle. So, providing relevant training and coaching in this area is a big focus for us, especially since we know from our own research that coaching in the discovery stage can lead to a 30% increase in win rates.”

Evening: After work, Grace likes to take time for a workout. “That’s my time to unwind,” she says. And, once she is back at home, she gladly lets her boyfriend do the heavy-lifting with dinner. “He’s the cook and I’m the dishwasher!” she laughs. After dinner, Grace says she and her boyfriend will often enjoy a glass of red wine, and either watch TV or read. “We also like to go out with our friends, or invite them over to play cards,” says Grace.

Grace also makes time in her off-hours for some serious calendaring: While she may no longer be a teacher, she remains committed to creating plans that she uses to guide her workweek. “I’m religious about my calendar,” Grace says. “I schedule and color code everything. And at the end of the week, I take time to reflect on what I accomplished in that week and set my goals for the following week. Then, I calendar it all out so I can hold myself to it!”

We hope you enjoyed this “day in the life” spotlight featuring one of our amazing team members! Be on the lookout for more of these posts, which are meant to inspire you, help you build your knowledge, and learn about the many ways that people are using the Chorus.ai platform, every day, to gain insights and drive individual and team performance.

Written by Sophie Cheng, Director of Customer Marketing for Chorus.ai.

Sophie is an internationally experienced Marketing Professional. Having worked in a variety of markets and industries including Automotive, Oil and Gas, Financial Services, Healthcare and Tech, the one constant is her passion for creating customer value. When she's not at work her life revolves around good food and wine, traveling the world, and spending time with her family and friends.

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