One of my friends passed along a job posting for the “First Five” Sales Hacker positions for Shopify Plus. A Sales Hacker is a commerce specialist on the Shopify Plus team that assists in designing a solution for high volume and/or fast-growth merchants digital merchants.
Shopify wasn’t on my list of ideal companies. I saw it as a mature company; I was looking to join a startup. After reading through the job description, I realized this role was a new initiative within the company. As I went through the application process I realized Shopify Plus was essentially a startup within the larger company. I would get the experience I was looking for, with the added benefit of support from a strong brand and company.
When I first started, I drove down from London to Waterloo two to three times a week while finishing my last year of university. It was only short-term pain for an opportunity that I knew I wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Shopify is the quintessential startup environment. We have mantras like, “Do Things, Tell People,” “Act Like an Owner,” and “Hustle.” We are a young driven workforce with quarterly company-wide hackathons, all while supporting a high-growth environment. Shopify empowers its’ employees to contribute and execute on ideas, encourage continuous experiment, and preaches learning from failure. It’s chaotic, but a continuous adrenaline rush for the right person.
A sale role is likely more routine than other roles that are project-based. Sales Hackers at Shopify own the entire sales process from lead qualification to close. Leads are people that inquire about the platform; qualifying leads is the process of seeing if they are a good fit or not. This is different than most technology sales organizations where there’s a Sales Development Rep (SDR). An SDR would be responsible for qualifying and then an Account Executive would come in to nurture and close any deals.
I’m on the inbound sales team so I have leads distributed to me. If leads are qualified, we’ll have a discovery call so I can understand their business operations and challenges. From there, I often conduct a product demo and then teach the potential client team the nuances of building a new storefront on our platform and migrating data. Once a deal closes, we pass off the merchant to our Launch Management team, who’s actively assists with the migration.
I worked with the agency that designed the Shopify Plus storefront for Oreos. The campaign rolled out before Christmas and let customers customize their Oreo packaging. In the U.S., it was a large initiative. Kourtney Kardashian even posted about it on Instagram! It also showed how powerful Shopify Plus could be as a platform compared to other enterprise commerce platforms. The agency was able to launch within two months when a project of this caliber would typically take close to two years. We wrote a case study on the campaign here.
For me, being involved with Nspire provided me a couple of unique opportunities: 1. It put me into a role that interacted with the real world. Some University-based positions are limited to only your immediate clan or bubble. Being a part of a role in Nspire allows you to communicate with professionals in the industry and get a taste for what your Nspire role could look like as a career path. 2. I found a peer group of similar minded individuals. Many of my friends from business school went into accounting, banking or consulting. Nspire events and projects brought together people who shared similar interests and created a great network for me.
Aim to do new things often, embrace change, and adapt.