As a member of Team Sprout for almost half of our lifetime, Bess Blumer has seen the company and product through countless changes. From our first official office in West Loop, through two offices downtown; from 70 employees to more than 300 today, Sprout and Bess have been growing in tandem.
In her time as an Account Executive on our sales team, Bess has moved from the SMB to corporate teams, held a leadership position and really solidified her career in sales. We sat down to get her perspective on growth, culture and which Netflix shows she’s been binge-watching this year.
Name: Bess Blumer
Started at Sprout: September 2013
Tell me about your career path so far. How did you get into sales?
I never expected to find myself in sales, but it’s been a great journey. I graduated with a Studio Art and Communication Studies degree from the University of Iowa and wanted to move to Chicago, where a lot of my friends were. I took the first job in sales that I could find, and I’ve pursued this career path ever since.
The thing that I enjoy most is the number of people that you get to speak with. No day is the same as the one before, so it keeps things fresh and exciting every day.
What’s your role at Sprout and what does that entail?
I’m an account executive on the corporate team, and I work with people who are interested in Sprout. When I started here, I worked with small and medium businesses, and it’s been really interesting to work with larger companies. We talk about their goals on social, and I help them discover how Sprout can help them listen, engage and manage their social efforts.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my role is finding a solution for a variety of customers and seeing the many ways they can use our platform for different use cases. Helping customers successfully use Sprout to implement their strategy is really exciting.
The most challenging is probably the same thing! There are so many different scenarios that customers bring to us that they really need to find a solution for. Every day, I work with customers with a wide range of goals, and that’s probably the most challenging thing.
What makes a successful salesperson here at Sprout? How would you describe the culture of the sales team?
Having an open mind when you approach a conversation with all the people that we speak with is definitely key. I would say it’s also important to be excited about social and the impact it can have on a business—from their day-to-day workflow to their relationships with their audience.
You’re definitely encouraged to be yourself and to find some goals that you can strive to achieve here. It’s a great culture where you know your teammates will help you get there, too.
One thing I’ve noticed is that your customers often send you presents! What do you think it takes to make a connection with someone you’re working with during the sales cycle?
I’ve gotten a lot of food from customers; I think it might just be that my own love of food comes through when I’m speaking to them. That would probably be the number one way to make a connection: finding some common interests and goals that you both have, whether it be on social or something you discover while getting to know each other.
What would you say is your favorite memory or accomplishment in your time at Sprout?
My favorite Sprout memory would be the Great Sproutdoors canoe trip. We all take the day off and head down the river every year. It’s definitely a great team-building activity and it’s really nice to get outside in the beautiful Chicago summer.
How has Sprout changed in the time you’ve been here?
It’s been really fun to see the company go from the 70 person group that it was when I started all the way to where we are today. I think there were seven salespeople when I started. It’s been really exciting—Sprout’s growth has created incredible career opportunities for everyone in sales. It’s really a testament to how much the product has evolved in that time as well.
You mentioned that when starting your career, you moved to Chicago to be near friends. Now that you’ve been here for awhile, what do you like the most about the city?
I love that Chicago has so many new restaurants to try every week. Chicago in the summer is amazing too, especially all of the outdoor festivals and activities. In the winter, there are a ton of concerts that come to town—there’s always something to do.
What else do you like to do outside of work?
Let’s see, we talked about my obsession with food and I mentioned concerts. In the winter, I watch lots of Netflix. “Stranger Things” was definitely good; “Bloodline” is kind of creepy but I enjoy it. I have a cat named Bosco who I got from a farm in Nebraska; he’s a white fluffy furball with blue eyes, and he’s adorable. I have a sister who lives in Denver so I enjoy going to visit her, hiking, skiing in the winter and generally spending time together.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this summer?
I’d probably take a repeat of one of my weekends from last summer. I went to a coffee shop in Logan Square and saw that there was a bike parade happening in the streets, so I followed it. It turned out to be headed to Tour de Fat, which is New Belgium’s summer street festival. They had a bunch of circus acts and live music, and it was a great time. I’d love to do that again.