It is unquestionably a challenge to develop a software that disrupts the world, but what about selling that amazing software? Luckily, we have Julian to take on the challenge and bring us home.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Gosh, where do I start? I graduated from California State University, Chico with a major in Instructional Technology, which taught me the science behind analyzing performance problems and designing training solutions – the exact description of my first job as an ERP Analyst. In my first job, I helped companies to go from paper to digital. I listened to their current business processes, re-engineered the processes into digital, and trained them to adapt to the transformation.
In my second job, I switched my career to a product manager. It may sound like a huge change, but the essence was the same. I would speak with customers to learn more about their pains, discover what can be done differently, and instead of designing a training program, I designed and managed the development of products that resolved the issues. In fact, one of the big successes in the role was having Salesforce license and deploy/market one of my products as their first mobile solution back in the early 2000s.
It was in my third job that I actually started doing sales. My father and I started our own family business focused on manufacturing consulting and process automation technology, and I had to run everything. I had to learn on my feet and do sales and discovered I really enjoyed it. I was good at it too, but I wanted to become better, so I switched my career to sales and joined a top sales company, Salesforce.
I started small as a mid-market salesperson at Salesforce, moved up to handle enterprise accounts, and even held the global No. 1 sales rep position at one point at the company. I like to refer to my time at Salesforce as “the most stressful yet rewarding job” I’ve ever had. Even though I was very successful, I wanted more. I don’t know if you are familiar with the term “salespeople fire themselves,” but I needed new challenges. From there, I joined two different companies where I built a global sales team and turned around the worst sales team to the top performing team before joining Ople.
That sounds like quite a ride. What made you jump the ship again to Ople?
I’ve been selling AI for over a decade now. They were AI for X products, but I had an understanding of AI and knew the broad impact AI could make on businesses in different levels. The real challenge that I came to accept as common to AI was how complicated and expensive it was to deliver products that really worked well and scaled efficiently. When I learned about Ople, I got very excited about the vision because it was about solving that pain. In addition, the opportunity to build a sales team from scratch in a market that is still very much coming of age, was a challenge I couldn’t resist. Using AI to build AI that can be used across the whole spectrum of businesses – how can you not get excited about that?
Also, I knew the people and their personalities. What made us really click was our view on company culture. We all believe in an open culture, and we believe that we should do our best to maintain the culture because it’s the people that make a great company, not just a good product.
How do you like the job as the Head of Sales and Business Development at Ople?
It’s definitely something that I have been looking for. I have been at a few different startups throughout my career and loved the entrepreneurial spirit. Having another opportunity to start from the beginning to build a sales model and team that delivers success is very exciting, but not without any challenges.
What are some challenges that you face every day?
Ople is a new company, and it doesn’t have any household brand recognition. So the challenge I face every day is finding the right person to engage with – someone with power who can understand what we offer and become excited about the future together. Once I find that person, my next challenge is to learn about them on a professional and personal level, gain a deep understanding of their business challenges, and develop their faith in me as a trusted advisor that enables them to engage in a highly effective evaluation process and ultimately make their own buying decision with absolute confidence.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love being in the mountains and outdoors. I used to do very aggressive mountain biking and backcountry big mountain snowboarding. But, nowadays, after close to a dozen surgeries from pushing the limits of my body, I’m focused on spending time with my kids teaching them the activities I love. Another hobby of mine is hunting. It’s not easy to track down a deer through the high desert for three days with a 100-pound backpack, but I enjoy the challenge and probing journey.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I like this quote from General James Mattis; “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” I think this quote tells you that you need to be ready for any situation, which makes a lot of sense in sales. If I were to alter this to be more fitting for a business environment, I would say “Be polite, be professional, and always be thinking on your feet because you never know who you’re talking with and where the conversation would lead to.”