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Chorus CEO, Jim Benton, discusses exclusive sales research with GTM executives 

The Weekly Briefing

Chorus CEO, Jim Benton, discusses exclusive sales research with GTM executives 

Curiosity, Openness and Authenticity Help GitLab’s Hannah Schuler Fill Her Cup Daily — and Build a Successful Sales Career

March 6, 2020

Joining a fast-growing startup is an opportunity for any motivated sales pro to make contributions that can help shape a positive future for the company. And that’s just what Hannah Schuler has done at GitLab: As part of the team that rethought the company’s job description for sales development reps (SDRs), Hannah has played a leading role in helping GitLab increase the diversity of its sales team, as well as continue to bridge the gap between Sales/Marketing by creating a global alignment framework.

And as good karma goes, Hannah, who is GitLab’s Enterprise Sales Development Manager, has seen a positive return for her efforts to promote diversity in hiring at the company. She’s one of three women recently awarded a management training program scholarship from #GirlsClub, an organization “committed to changing the face of sales by empowering more women to earn roles in leadership.” Chorus.ai is a sponsor of #GirlsClub.

Hannah lives near Denver, Colorado, and is part of GitLab’s 100% remote workforce, which spans 60 countries. GitLab, which offers a complete DevOps platform delivered as a single application, has more than doubled its headcount in the last year and is eyeing an initial public offering in late 2020.

Hannah joined GitLab in November 2017 and was quick to rise up the ranks on the enterprise sales team. She started out as a sales development rep (SDR), climbed to a team lead role after eight months, and then, just six months later, assumed her current role. Given the scale of growth within the company, Hannah says her colleagues view her as a “trusted veteran”, even though she’s only been at GitLab for two-plus years. But in a fast-paced, high-growth startup, two years truly can feel like a lifetime.

From bar manager to craft brew sales expert to software sales pro

While Hannah has always been drawn to sales, working in the software industry was not initially on her road map. She worked in business development at Rally Software which was acquired by CA Technologies for a few years before joining GitLab — but before that, she built the sales department at a craft brewery in Denver. “I was managing a bar in a downtown Boulder restaurant when the general manager left to start up a craft brewery,” says Hannah. “He asked me to be his first employee which gave me the opportunity to shape the role I truly wanted!”

Hannah believes that her curiosity, openness and authenticity, and her willingness to work hard, are the things that help “fill her cup daily.” These qualities, Hannah says, have allowed her to forge strong relationships with people who have positively influenced her career path. She says every job she’s earned initially stemmed from a referral from a manager, coworker or friend.

It was a friend who recommended GitLab to Hannah, prompting her to do some research on the company and eventually, apply for a SDR role. “I had no real experience with Git,” she says. “But the interviewers were great and I felt connected to the company values and culture. Shortly after, they asked me to join the team!”

Two years later, Hannah knows that she does, in fact, have the right stuff to succeed in enterprise sales development. Here’s a look at how this super-busy mother of two spends a typical workday:

Morning: “I’m 100% a morning person,” says Hannah, who is usually up before 6 a.m. Her first move is to hydrate with a cool glass of water before grabbing some coffee to get her caffeine kick in gear.

Then, she heads to her eight-month-old son’s room to “have a chat” with her growing boy and get him ready for the day. Hannah says, “My son has such a sweet face, with the cutest dimples. It’s such a great start to my day to hear him gurgling away.”

Next, she takes on the task of waking her daughter, who is three and a half. “She’s a sleeper,” says Hannah. “I literally have to make her get out of bed to have breakfast!”

Breakfast is typically light — and the Schuler family always eats together. Hannah and her husband, who is a life coach, take turns throughout the week dropping off their daughter at preschool and their son to a nearby nanny.

Hannah also makes room for an hour of yoga practice at least every other weekday morning. “Yoga has always been a part of my health/wellness practice since I was little. That will never change!” she says.

By 8:30 a.m., Hannah is at her computer and ready to connect with her team. “At GitLab, I manage a team of eight SDRs covering the West Coast. So, when I’m sitting down at the computer in Denver, they’re getting their first cups of coffee in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and California,” she says. “It’s a good time for us to meet and discuss our plans/goals for the day.”

Afternoon: Hannah’s days include a series of meetings and one-on-one coaching sessions with team members. “I have about five, set meetings each day — so, 20 for the week,” she says.

For the coaching sessions, the Chorus.ai conversation intelligence platform serves as a vital tool for driving team performance, says Hannah: “We’ve been using Chorus.ai at GitLab for about a year, and it’s been incredible being able to coach and leverage the technology with my team. We like to use it for role-plays, and my team will often record themselves just for practice or review previously recorded meetings by means of learning/training.”

Hannah maintains “a virtual open-door policy” with her remote team, so she tries to leave room in her schedule for any ad hoc meetings that might arise. She also focuses on building team rapport by scheduling “canteen huddles.” These short, virtual get-togethers, held a few times per week, offer GitLab’s sales team a chance to engage in the kind of water-cooler banter they might have in a real office, as well as share wins or challenges and brainstorm.

“My favorite meeting is our Wednesday Walkabout,” says Hannah. “I need to get away from the computer as much as anybody. So, on Wednesdays, we all step into nature and use Zoom on our mobile phones and chat while we walk. It’s a great way to offset the cabin fever and connect.”

The rest of Hannah’s afternoon consists of calls with other sales leaders and departments at GitLab, to make sure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.

Evening: Hannah likes to wind down her workday around 5 p.m. Her sales leadership role at GitLab is demanding, but Hannah says she works even harder to make sure her family comes first. And that, she recently realized, also requires focusing more on herself.

“There are so many moving parts to my day, and so many people who demand my attention,” she says. “So, my resolution this year is to prioritize me, so I can show up more effectively for the people in my life.”

Hannah says her husband is her biggest cheerleader, and he’s used his life coach skills to help her pivot to a better work-life balance. “Before, I wasn’t taking breaks during the day or hydrating and, as a consequence, I was getting sick more frequently,” she says.

And now? Hannah says she feels healthier and more centered, though she still gets frustrated when her daughter won’t eat her vegetables. “I’ve been pushing for us to eat healthier food and we’ve actually moved to a plant-based diet,” she says. “But my daughter will often hold out for mac-and-cheese rather than eat tofu. Sometimes, I relent. Baby steps, right?”

We hope you enjoyed this “day in the life” spotlight on one of our amazing customers — and #GirlsClub scholarship winner! Be sure to check out the posts on our blog about the other two scholarship winners, as well as those featuring other Chorus.ai customers. These posts 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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