Welcome back to the Seldon Team Spotlight, where you’ll get an inside look at the talented individuals that make up the Seldon team. Join us as we dive into the stories, experiences, and motivations behind our team. Today, we’re excited to interview Account Executive Dave Swarr.
Check out the interview below!
Introduction & Background
Can you briefly describe your role and responsibilities?
I am an enterprise account executive at Seldon. Ultimately my role is to meet and exceed sales revenue targets by closing deals with new customers / logos, and by growing and expanding Seldon’s footprint within current customers.
So on a day-to-day basis, that means working existing opportunities through the various next steps and appropriate sales stages, following up on incoming leads, engaging in outreach efforts (email campaigns, LinkedIn connections, phone calls, etc.), and meeting with customers and prospects virtually and in person.
How did you get into Sales?
I got a Marketing degree from Penn State University and moved to Atlanta. My first job was selling and leasing mainframe computer hardware systems with an IBM business partner.
After 6 years it was becoming evident that hardware was becoming more of a commodity and software was becoming a bigger and bigger piece of the IT budget, so I went to work for an IBM reseller that sold both hardware and software solutions.
After 3 years, I went to my first start-up, which was a software platform for creating Executive Information Systems (dashboards) on top of OLAP databases. I’ve been selling enterprise software as an account executive ever since, including solutions for Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, Data Integration, and now with Seldon selling our MLOps platform.
What was it that interested you about working at Seldon?
I’ve covered the full spectrum in terms of company size, working for software companies that were small, 50-person startups, to companies like Oracle. There are pro’s and con’s to each but I definitely prefer the more nimble, less structured environment of a startup.
There is more positive energy, more creativity, more willingness to help others even if the task might not be part of someone’s official job description. There is just more camaraderie in a startup and Seldon personifies that.
The Day to Day of being an Account Executive at Seldon
What does a typical day look like for you at work?
It’s difficult to define “typical” because when there are tasks to be done that are associated with progressing deals, especially deals that are potentially closing in the current quarter, everything else takes a back seat.
But often, days include out-reach (emails, phone calls, building cadences in Salesloft and adding customers and prospects to them, etc.), meeting with prospects and customers (introductory calls, pre-demo calls, demos, etc.), gathering information to respond to follow-ups stemming from meetings, attending internal forecast calls, team updates, and updating Salesforce.
What does the team structure look like?
I report to James Tovey in the UK and I work primarily with a US-based business development rep (Salman) and pre-sales Sr. Solution Architect (Josh), both of whom are based in NYC. The other UK-based teams that support us in the US are Finance, Legal, and our Product group.
What are the key technologies or tools you work with in your role?
Salesforce, Salesloft, Jimminy, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Navigator, Lusha, Demandbase, Commonroom, Travelperk, and of course, Expensify. 🙂
How does the Sales department collaborate with other teams or departments
to address challenges?
If it’s technical, Josh usually takes the lead on interacting with our Tech team and Product team to effectively explain and sort out customer issues. The tech team helps with hands-on technical expertise, while our product team helps out with knowledge of the roadmap along with current and future capabilities. The legal team is also critical in the sales process and helping with NDA’s and contracts.
Making An Impact As an Account Executive
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in your field and how does this translate into your role?
MLOps is still a relatively new space for me so I’m still constantly learning. I like to stay up to date on MLOps by reading articles on LinkedIn, participating in calls, learning and internalising our own materials, and asking Josh questions. The more my own knowledge and understanding grows, the better prepared I am to speak to clients and prospects about their specific challenges and how Seldon can address those challenges.
Can you tell us what you’re most proud of from your work at Seldon?
I’m proud of the growth in personal knowledge of the space and that I’ve contributed to growing the pipeline substantially. I’m proud of my approach to selling, which is to sell to people the way I like to be sold to. That basically means doing my best to understand customer’s needs and challenges, and then providing facts about how Seldon addresses those challenges and the impact that would have on the customer’s day-to-day activities.
In other words, not being too “sales-y” and telling the customer how great Seldon is, but instead proving them with the data so that they arrive at that conclusion on their own. I’m also proud about how I interact with others at Seldon and vice versa. I like to be known as a reliable, helpful account executive who is positive and doesn’t promote negativity.
Culture & Values At Seldon
What do you enjoy most about working at Seldon?
There’s more opportunity to create an impact in a smaller environment. You’re not a cog in the wheel like you are in bigger organizations.
Do you have the opportunity to go to any AI industry conferences/events to represent Seldon?
I went to the GenAI Summit in Atlanta last week, and it was great. I’m looking forward to more in person events based in the US, as this year most of the events our team has gone to are based in the UK. Events are another way to learn more about the space by networking with leaders in the industry.
What is your advice for someone interested in joining the Seldon team?
Be realistic about your abilities and expectations. If you need more structure, not just Seldon but startups in general may not be for you. But for me I like having a say with how to structure your role. It’s much more hands-on.
Get to know
What keeps you motivated at work?
Selling software and closing deals keeps me motivated at work. The long term opportunities of the company and the industry are also important to me. Being part of a startup and ultimately being an “investor”. You’re not just a number. You want your peers to succeed, you want your company to succeed.
What do you think are the most important attributes to being a successful AE in a remote environment?
I think it’s really important to be a self-starter, to be self-motivated, and to have your own “system” of repeatable, effective sales processes. You can’t be someone who waits for things to happen. Because if you wait for things to happen in a startup, usually most things won’t happen.
Want to join Dave Swarr and the sales team? Check out some of our open opportunities here.
Ben Thomas is the Talent Partner at Seldon, contributing his expertise in the People & Talent function. With an 8-year career in recruitment, he transitioned from agency work to in-house roles, working with tech start-ups for the past 5 years. He is a DE&I advocate and an employer branding enthusiast helping to scale the Seldon team. Outside of work, Ben has a passion for all things food and is a keen traveller.