Why Authenticity and “Being You” Matters for Our Sales Team

Over the past almost ten years in Sales, one of the biggest challenges/lessons I’ve had to tackle is “Being Authentic at Work.” Ideally, in this short piece, you can get some context on why it matters to me and learn how we apply Authenticity in our sales function.

I remember when I was at Yelp way back in 2012. I was struggling my first few months on the job as I adjusted to a career in sales straight out of college. A co-worker was moving back home to California, and I headed over to the going away party with some colleagues, one being my manager. While on the way, a friend gave me a call and asked for some work and life advice. We chatted for 10+ minutes in which I tried my best to be genuine, direct, and empathetic with their situation to give them straightforward, tangible takeaways.

Once I finished the conversation, my boss immediately asked me, “Who was that?” and “Why don’t you do that on the phone for sales calls?”

My immediate response was, “On sales calls, I am just doing what I was trained to do.” His advice from there was to do what I was doing in sales calls and what I was doing when giving advice to friends at the same time–to “be me” within the structure of the training I received. Once I was able to sell in a way that suits my personality and style, I was able to be immensely successful.

Throughout my sales career, being “authentic,” and “real,” and “genuine” has been my calling card, as well as how I have helped build and cultivate relationships both internally and externally. Authenticity, to me, comes from a place of care, being true to oneself and one’s personality and comfortability, and applying that value to every situation you encounter.

An authentic salesperson, ideally, becomes a trusted advisor, given the honest conversation, questions asked, and research done throughout the sales process.

As I focused on building out the sales team here at Ethena, I wanted to make sure authenticity was a significant part of how we interviewed, onboarded, and grew out the team. For example, one of our Core Competencies in the Interview process is Authenticity, with questions ranging from an individual’s core professional and personal values to what they think authenticity looks like in the sales cycle.

Internally, within our current Sales team, authenticity becomes evident with how the team interacts and collaborates. Is there space to be one’s true self? Can everyone be as comfortable being their individual self and a part of the team? Individually, do people on the team believe you as their colleague are genuine?

For our Sales team’s external conversations, Authenticity is seen when salespeople show genuine interest and understanding of a prospect or client, quickly building rapport and credibility. An authentic salesperson, ideally, becomes a trusted advisor, given the honest conversation, questions asked, and research done throughout the sales process.

As we continue to grow, having a foundation built around authenticity will help us be more successful, in countless small ways. It already shows in our transparency, both in discussions about changes within the Sales process by leadership and in the interview process. Authenticity has ultimately helped us create a culture where direct reports can be straightforward with me, explicitly because of how upfront I’ve been with them.

Even as we add new employees, the focus will never be “let’s learn Ethena speak and regurgitate it repeatedly.” The emphasis, in reality, will be a conversation, training new employees on everything about Ethena before collaborating with them to find how we as a team can make it work for their personality and style.

Hopefully, instilling and iterating on some of the lessons around Authenticity I have learned over the years will further ensure growing a great, culture forward Sales team where everyone can be their authentic selves and “keep it 100,” both internally and externally.

Interested in bringing your authentic self to Ethena’s Sales team? We’re currently hiring MM Account Execs and SDRs!