We recently caught up with Bandalier Alum Lydia Stewart to discuss her time at Bandalier and how it has led to her current role with SweetSense!
What was your educational and work background prior to joining Bandalier?
I studied Natural Resource Management in college in Upstate NY, the bus dev track is a bit out of that realm. I first learned about my own capacity for “sales” in my work as a server and fundraising for a not-for-profit. I was community organizing and fundraising for a clean water legislation in NY which is similar to a sales job- you’re gauging initial interest on a topic and then asking someone to act on that interest via support for the organization. Coming from a serving background, you learn to kind of anticipate people’s needs and mirror people. That comes in handy in this field.
What made you choose Bandalier specifically?
I was looking for a job after I moved home from college. I had some sales/fundraising experience and heard that my serving experience may make me a good candidate for inside sales from a friend working at Bandalier. They told me about the workplace culture and it sounded interesting to me. I hadn’t considered working for a start-up but liked the idea of working at a place with less of a corporate structure. It seemed like a better fit for me.
How did you grow while at Bandalier?
Wow, this one is huge. I had the opportunity to work in almost every part of the business as I moved up and around. Business operations, data analysis, recruiting, mentorship, top-of-funnel sales, bottom-of-funnel sales, client communication. The list goes on. The biggest thing for me was having an opportunity to try something new in an environment where I would get a lot of feedback to help me grow professionally. Mentoring others helped me a lot, too. Teaching others held me accountable for my personal performance.
You held a leadership position for well over a year at Bandalier, what were the main things you learned from that experience?
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to say when you need to readjust your priorities.
2. Time management is super important as you’re taking on new responsibilities.
3. Take every challenge as an opportunity to grow vs taking it as a burden.
As a program manager, you oversaw sales campaigns for a wide array of clients across various different industries. How did that process of managing such vastly different accounts impact your development as a sales professional?
As a manager you’re working with and training anywhere from 2-9 products. The impact is a wide knowledge base of the different industries you’re selling to and how they use different tech. Even deeper, you learn about how different personas purchase things. The details are really interesting. It’s a crash course in sales and business.
Your main account in your time at Bandalier was Wexus Technologies, in a few sentences, what is Wexus?
Wexus partners with the food & ag industry to be more competitive, profitable, & valuable via an IoT software platform. Growers in the US often lack visibility in how they’re using energy and how much it costs. Wexus takes away the mystery by providing them with data to make better business decisions.
What type of work were you responsible for while you were on Wexus?
I was initially responsible for bringing in new business and following up on leads that went cold. Over time I’ve begun working all parts of the sales funnel including running demos and closing business.
Your current company, SweetSense, is in a similar industry as Wexus, tell us how the process of moving into your current role with SweetSense unfolded!
The timing was kind of funny- I was looking to work directly with Wexus. Their close partner, SweetSense, was preparing to scale up their Bus Dev team and wanted to replicate the relationship I had with Wexus. Wexus’ CEO connected me with theirs and the rest is history. The products are different, but their potential customers have crossover.
How did your experience at Bandalier prepare you for the work you’ve done at SweetSense?
Working at Bandalier gave me the experience of working at a company that’s still in a start-up stage. It’s fast-moving and constantly changing. You have to take a lot of ownership for yourself and learn quickly. I’d say that’s the same at SweetSense. I have an opportunity to really make an impact which is exciting for me.
What have been the highlights of your time at SweetSense?
We hosted a retreat in Sonoma, CA where we were able to meet for the first time (for me at least). It was great to have that in-person connection after starting as a remote employee. 2nd has been attending conferences. Meeting other people in the industry and being immersed in the culture is a great learning experience.
What is your favorite part about working in B2B sales?
Well, the wins are nice… haha. I like the uncertainty, I try to embrace it. And I enjoy the chances you get to learn something new about someone or about their business. Each relationship is different.