At Sprout, we want to ensure that both our customers and employees are confident in using our products as well as understanding their business and industry impact. Jordan Balkin, a Product Education Specialist, takes care of that.
While she didn’t start out in this role, Jordan’s interest in education and training grew during her time at Sprout Social. In this edition of Meet Team Sprout, I talked to Jordan about what her role means for Sprout, her career path and the advice she gives to every new employee.
Name: Jordan Balkin
Started at Sprout: November 2012
You’ve been at Sprout for a few years now. What has changed and what has stayed the same since you started?
When I got to Sprout, we were one-fifth the size we are now. It’s been incredible to see the entire team grow. In spite of that quick growth, we’ve kept that startup atmosphere where people care about what you have to say, no matter where you are in the company—I feel like I can actually have an impact.
What is your role at Sprout today?
Product education is an important resource for our team and for our customers. As a Product Education Specialist, I work with Keenan (Product Education Lead) to deliver a few different programs. We lead webinars for customers as well as new feature trainings and new hire training for our team. I also lead onboarding and training for new members of the Sales and Success Teams.
How did you go from a sales role to working in product education and training?
I started at Sprout as a Product Specialist, working with potential customers to identify their needs and find the best plan and solutions for their brand. What I liked the most about my role was talking to people and telling Sprout’s story—what our platform does and how it can impact users’ workflow, customer relationships and business as a whole.
From there, I realized I wanted to focus on building out that story. I met with my manager and we discussed the type of role that would be a mutual fit. We saw an opportunity to provide the sales team with more robust training, and we identified how I could help with that vision. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to transition roles while staying at Sprout and have managers that care about my career path, interests and development.
What interested you about training and education, and what does your role entail?
I developed a passion for training along the way. I always enjoyed talking to people about our philosophy and why we do things the way we do.
You can go in and teach anybody how to use the platform, but we focus on sharing the ‘why’ behind the ‘how.’
Product Education Specialist @ Sprout Social
We talk to both customers and new employees about why we created the platform the way we did, our pillars (Publishing, Engagement, Analytics and Team Collaboration) and what problems we’re solving.
For new Sprout employees, what does product training look like?
We believe that the more you know about Sprout, the better you’ll be at your job. All new hires participate in two weeks of product training, which is designed to help everyone understand Sprout’s mission and why we do things the way we do.
We want people to learn more in training than how to use the platform. You get to learn about the company: where we’ve been, where we’re going. It gives you insight into our culture, and you’re able to build relationships with your hiring cohort and cohort leader.
People work at Sprout because they believe in what they’re doing and they know they can grow. It’s important to us that when people leave product training, they’re excited to be here and they’re ready to dive in.
Do you have a personal favorite social media platform?
I like Instagram a lot. I like to cook, so I follow a lot of food bloggers and design companies.
What else do you like to do outside of work?
I used to run and I’d like to get back into it. I love being outside in the summer and walking on The 606. If it’s a nice day and I go home and sit on my couch, I get mad at myself.
I love to cook and eat out, so the Sprout #restaurant-recs group in Slack, our team communication platform, has been amazing for finding new places and recommendations for what to try.
Do you have a morning routine?
I don’t watch reality TV, but I have a bad addiction to celebrity gossip and real-time news. I read The Skimm every morning on the train to get my fix.
And outside of everyday routines, what’s on your bucket list?
A lot of it is travel: I want to go on a safari one day, and I want to go to South Africa. I was involved in Spanish sales when we first started offering Sprout in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, and I’d like to get back into speaking Spanish more often.
One thing I’ve accomplished from my bucket list is learning how to roast an entire chicken—maybe next I should learn how to carve one.
Have you read any good books recently?
I just read “Brain on Fire,” which is a memoir about a woman who wakes up in the hospital with a mysterious medical condition and has to reteach herself everything. I also read “After You,” the sequel to “Me Before You.” That was a really good one.
Is there one piece of advice you always give to new hires when they start at Sprout?
Meet as many people as you can and get to know them personally as well as professionally. People at Sprout genuinely like each other. Having such a great support system here has been invaluable for me.
Jim Conti: Jim Conti leads Sprout Social's ambitious talent team. Affectionately known as the "Cruise Director" while in the office, Jim can be found exploring the streets of Chicago and planning his next international adventure when not growing and caring for Team Sprout. Give him a follow @SproutJim.