In this episode: Dipak Vadera, Sales Manager at Leadfeeder joins us to share what you can learn from backpacking around the world, while also briefly touching on his sales career. How do you level up your sales skills when transitioning from marketing to sales? How can you effectively balance change? Do you live to work, or work to live? All that and more!
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In this episode: Dipak Vadera, Sales Manager at Leadfeeder shares what you can learn from backpacking around the world, while also briefly touching on his sales career and more.
Welcome to the seller’s journey, the podcast where we speak to great sales reps and leaders. And share their real stories from start to sales success.
Joseph Fung: Hi everyone, I’m Joseph Fung, and today we’re chatting with Dipak Vadera. He’s the Head of Sales at Leadfeeder. Thank you so much for joining us.
Dipak Vadera: Thank You, Joseph, for having me on.
Joseph Fung: Now, this is a fun conversation because I’m calling in from Waterloo, Canada. But where are you calling in from today?
Dipak Vadera: I’m actually calling in from the Canary Islands in Spain. Usually, you’d find me in London. But this quarantine and lockdown situation is just currently got me here in the Canary Islands.
Joseph Fung: This is the fun international conversation. And I know International is gonna be a theme for this conversation. I’m so looking forward to it. Kick things off, get things started. Not everybody’s going to know Leadfeeder. Maybe you could help us with the elevator pitch. What’s the company do? What’s the value?
Dipak Vadera: So, in a nutshell, Leadfeeder shows you what companies have been on your website and what they get up to while so on there. This then helps salespeople because they know what companies to reach out to and which ones to target. And then it also helps marketing people indicating them you know the average prospects’ journey throughout the website, what type of companies are you getting on your website so you can then improve your targeting and content to try and generate better traffic to the website. And, in turn, better leads.
Joseph Fung: Fantastic! So you have some fantastic experiences to share with us about sales and marketing, I imagine.
Dipak Vadera: I sure do!
Joseph Fung: Oh, and you here in that Canary Islands right now. But where’d you grow up? Where’d you go to school?
Dipak Vadera: I’m actually originally from the Canary Islands in Spain. I went to school here in high school as well, secondary school. I studied at a British school, which meant I was then able to go and study at a British University. So I ended up moving to England when I was 18 to pursue a degree at a University there, in the Southeast of England, the University of Surrey, which is not that far away from London.
Joseph Fung: Nice, now after graduation, you want to, think, you mentioned to me is that you studied a Business Degree. But it didn’t really focus in sales in the program itself. Did it?
Dipak Vadera: Not at all! Actually, most of the modules I had as part of that degree were purely marketing focused. So I thought that that was the path I was sketched out for me. I thought that was the path I was then meant to take, you know, pursue a role in marketing once I graduated. So, as I was graduating, I went ahead and applied for roles within marketing at various companies.
Joseph Fung: And where did you end up landing?
Dipak Vadera: My first role was at a company called The Amwere, the American multi-national. So I ended up doing a placement year there, which is kind of like an internship for a year. And once I graduated, I went in went to work at another tech company in marketing as well. My first role was in marketing operations; my second wall was in Field Marketing.
Joseph Fung: Wow, so I mean what I’m hearing is you had a great opportunity to go to a great school, you studied business with a focus in marketing, and you’ve got a marketing role. It sounds like the journey is working out for you. But what got you thinking that sales was something to look at?
Dipak Vadera: I didn’t really enjoy my time in marketing. So it served as something. It was served to tell me that you know marketing wasn’t for me. I wasn’t cut out for that. At least that aspect of marketing. The marketing that I went through was engaged in was very much back in. so I never got that face-to-face interaction with our prospects or our customers, which is what I yearned for.
Or at least what I wanted. So I felt that was lacking there at the same time I was there generating leads from trade shows, events, helping you know helping qualify those leads for the sales team. And what I noticed generally across the marketing team there’s always that sense of distrust, and you know there were generally bad-mouthing salespeople. There’s no salesperson again with their three-piece suit and their flashy car keys. So that got me thinking. I wonder what it’s like on the other side of the spectrum. And again, I had no real sales experience. But I thought you know why not, maybe I should give it a shot.
Joseph Fung: At the risk of, you know, kinda spoiling the conclusion, we know that you’re a well recognized international speaker, you run a consultancy doing social selling, and you’re the Head of Sales at Leadfeeder. So you know clearly the direction worked out for you. But at that moment, you know as you were thinking about that shift. You know, what were some of the things going through your head? You know, what you dead set on it? Was there uncertainty? You know, how’d you balance that change.
Dipak Vadera: There was a certain bit of uncertainty. After all, it was something that I didn’t know about. I just assumed that marketing was the path that I was meant to take just because all my seminars all my courses at university revolved around marketing. So I felt like that was the path that I was destined to take. And again, this was I was kind of treading in uncertain waters here. I wasn’t sure whether if I take this, it might not work out for me. If I go down this route, you know I’m gonna fail, perhaps. But I thought you know why not, I have nothing else to lose.
Worst comes to worst, I’ll just look for another role in marketing and then continue where I left off and maybe look for a different aspect of marketing that I want to focus in or look at, but I thought you know my I might as well just give it a try. So I set out to look for sales roles. Funny enough, I was going on. I was on Reddit, and I came across this subreddit, and someone had pitched the whole idea or a concept behind Uber, and this was beef. You know when they were just starting off, their European operations in London.
And my first role at Uber was kind of a sales and marketing hybrid role. I still got a bit of marketing, but it was my first experience in sales. I really enjoyed it. And again, during my short time at Uber, I went through a period of unprecedented growth both at a personal level and professional level as well.
Joseph Fung: I have to admit, I love that idea of you know struggling with the uncertainty that doubts you know marking on this life-changing thing, and the first thing you do is, you pick up a sketchy job off Reddit with a start-up. Yes! I just love it!
Dipak Vadera: I will leave the story on Uber for another day! But I have to say, and it was a very sketchy, very sketchy things at the time there for sure.
Joseph Fung: So you get the chance to cut your teeth with one of the most amazing growth stories out there. But you moved on, and you spoke actually about working with a Canadian company next. Can you tell me about how that came to beating!
Dipak Vadera: Yeah, so whilst working at Uber, I got scouted by someone at HootSuite, from someone from the talent and recruitment team. And now I had heard of HootSuite before. I had utilized their tool, and I was deeply looking into their solution at one of my marketing roles. So I felt like I’ve heard of these guys. I think they’re on a great path they’re doing some great things. So let me consider the role, and it was a business development role.
So you know the very early on in their sales cycles. It’s just kick-starting things. And I had no idea what to really expect, and this turned out to be my first full-on sales role. I decided to take that leap of faith go full-on into sales. And I really enjoyed my time there. And again, this was when they were fairly new in the media. So they were just started, kick-started their operations there. And it was an amazing experience. A great story to tell.
Joseph Fung: But you’ve had incredible success there. And for anybody that hasn’t had a chance, I should be sure to check out your LinkedIn profile. Because some of your successes speak for themselves. But what was that like? I mean, you’re working, you know, with a company that’s overseas, you’re in your first-time sales roles. All full-time! What were you thinking? What were you going through in that first roles?
Dipak Vadera: Again, it was something that I have no idea what to expect. So I was like, you know I’ll just go with I’ll just go with the flow. I’ll do whatever they tell me to do, so I walked in on my first day, and they’re kind of walking me through the whole company. Where it’s do it for the whole sales process what that looked like in more detail. I had none of that exposure from my time in marketing. So, it’s good to get an understanding of how sales worked, and I just I was liking it from day one.
I felt like, you know, maybe this is the path that I should have taken from the start. But I mean, it was good for me to have that experience in marketing to know that that was no longer what I wanted to pursue. And again, during my time at HootSuite, I started off as a BDR. We run to become an Account Executive, went on to managing the sales team there, and eventually kick-starting the partnership operations and looking out for the emerging markets as well. So I got a fair bit of experience in sales during my time at HootSuite.
Joseph Fung: Yeah! I love this again. So to recap kind of traveled internationally for school, studied marketing, get the marketing role, kind of shift direction, and jump into sales. Now you got your first you know sales role, your next one, you’re growing with this Canadian company that’s growing; now clearly the next thing would be to take on a management or leadership role somewhere. But you didn’t. Yeah, you took off and went somewhere else. So, tell me about this backpacking journey. I see it on your LinkedIn profile, but I’m so intrigued.
Dipak Vadera: I was managing a small team at HootSuite. But again, as you said, the path that was kind of for that was destined for me was to eventually manage a team; at least, I was heading towards that direction. But one busy day on my commuting London, I was living in the outskirts of London, so I had to get a train into London. I was just listening on to podcasts or something on my phone, and just looking at the other people in that train carriages made me realize it feels like I’m living to work, and it shouldn’t be that way.
It should be the other way around. I should be working to live. So whilst I enjoyed my time on HootSuite, and it was a fantastic experience with a fantastic company and a great bunch of people that I met there that really shaped who I am today. I really felt that there was more to life. So I decided to quit my job, move out of the place I was renting. Move out in a totally move out. So I left the place I was renting. I got all my stuff, put it into storage, and just set off to backpack across the world. Mainly around Eastern Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia.
Joseph Fung: Wow, now there’s so much to do out there. I’ve had the good fortune to visit a few countries there. But everyone’s experience is different, and when I looked at the journey that you had, there’s clearly some stuff there that you jump out. What were some of the highlights? Do you know what sticks with you most?
Dipak Vadera: I volunteered at a panda sanctuary in China. I volunteered at an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. I spent a week in the mountains of Wakayama and Japan, living with some Buddhist monks, learning about Buddhism and meditation. Some highlights there, I hiked to the Summit of Mount Fuji. So those are probably some of my biggest highlights and most favourable moments that I look at and cherish, of course.
Joseph Fung: So if somebody else is sitting on their commute to work, listening to this podcast. What would you advise they do?
Dipak Vadera: Do it! Just take that jump. If it’s something that you’re passionate about, and again, in my case, travel is a big part of my life. From a very young age, I was very fortunate that my parents, you know, took me traveling across the world. So it was something that was kind of built into me from a very young age. So I really felt like continuing that as I grew older, and it was something that I’d always dreamed of doing. So you know, if that’s something that you enjoy doing, I do implore you to take that move and just go for it.
Joseph Fung: Wow! So I think the evidence of how that can impact your journey is so clear and yours. If you’re talking to somebody who was, you know, considering their future career, you know, maybe even cast their mind back earlier than that commute you know back when you’re in school maybe. What advice would you have given yourself in the past? You know, what would you have encouraged yourself to look at that?
Dipak Vadera: I would have said to myself, I mean, this is something I did. But I would say you know, double down on that, on reinforce the fact that the best investment you can make is in yourself. You know, and 20 comes to growth, you know, read as many books as you can, take, you know, learn new skills. Just always be improving yourself and learning new skills that allow you to become better so you know it’s okay to not have it thought out where you’d like to go as long as you have some sort of idea. You know but don’t stress out on it. You know no one really knows where they’re ultimately going what of. Life just happens to you, it’s just how you react to that. So again, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a scientist just because I loved how things worked out, how things came together, and I thought, you know, science is something that I love. So I’ll be a scientist, and then I have stopped taking a Degree in Business Management. So, I kind of drifted away, of course. And then were initially thought I’d be. And then from marketing, I ended up in sales. You know, don’t stress out, it’s still too early to figure out where you’re gonna be heading. So just take things as they come and just learn from every experience that comes to you that’s thrown at you by life.
Joseph Fung: I love that phrases. Too early to know where you’ll be heading. But let’s challenge that one. You know I’d love to think. We’ve heard how you would give advice or feedback to your younger self. You’ve already done so much, but you’re still at the early stages of your journey. If you think about your future goals, if you were speaking to yourself, you know from 10 years 20 years in the future, what do you hope to congratulate future you about?
Dipak Vadera: I’d love to thank myself for, you know, being there for my team at the moment, I’m responsible for a considerable sales team. And I just want some of them to make it and have that similar experience that I had in my early days in sales. So I’d love to see them succeed and then kind of thank myself for hopefully being the manager that I am and allowing them to take that path that eventually leads into success. And from a personal standpoint, I just hope to continue making an impact, so I hope to continue changing that face of sales and things that I believe in. so I personally believe that the sales process when it comes to B2B is right for a change. And I hope that I can really difference towards that.
Joseph Fung: I think your spirit of giving and helping others comes around, comes out loud and clear and especially in spending the time with us today. So thank you for that. Before we let you go and let you join, enjoy the much warmer weather than we have here in Canada. Can I ask a couple of rapid-fire questions?
Dipak Vadera: Absolutely! Go for it!
Joseph Fung: Okay! Cool! So first one, what’s your favorite sales tool?
Dipak Vadera: It’s got to be Leadfeeder! Again during my first days as an SDR, I was contacting people out blank. You know, cold calling them as most companies would do that is still considered the norm for the most part for a lot of companies in B2B. So again, I was contacting people about something that they have never inquired for, maybe never even heard of, or even need. So using a tool like Leadfeeder does, you know has, is really game-changing and had a significant impact for ourselves and in my sales career as well.
Joseph Fung: I love it! That makes sense for why you’re there now. So I love the passion you have when you speak about it. A second question for you. What’s your favorite movie?
Dipak Vadera: This is a tough one! I probably say ‘The Matrix.’
Joseph Fung: Nice! The original or any of the sequence?
Dipak Vadera: The original for sure. I mean, all of them were good, in my opinion. But the original was just something else. It really challenged the whole genre and the game. And it was something that no one had really experienced. And just it’s just so much more than an action movie. There’s so many philosophical meanings and symbols behind the actual, the whole movie itself. There’s a lot to it, and from a young age, when I first saw it, that kind of took onto me, and I still rewatch it so many times, and it’s still as good as the first time I saw it.
Joseph Fung: That’s a great choice! You know, when we added this question to our list, I mean a couple of our team members thought we were gonna get a lot of things like, ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’, ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’, that kind of stuff. But no, it’s been all over, and I love it adding a lot of stuff to my Netflix, Netflix list. The last one for you, and you might have spilled the beans on this one earlier. But when you were a kid, you know, what did you want to grow up to be?
Dipak Vadera: A scientist!
Joseph Fung: Nice!
Dipak Vadera: I was very fascinated with how things worked, how things came together. So yeah, I was determined to follow a path in physics. So again, I just saw myself heading in that direction.
Joseph Fung: I love it! This has been such a great conversation. Thank you very much for joining us for sharing your journey.
Dipak Vadera: It’s been my pleasure, Joseph. Thanks for having me on.
Joseph Fung: My pleasure! I’m looking forward to the next time we chat. And if everything goes according to plan, you know, I’ll be heading to the, you know, the Canary Islands hanging out somewhere warmer. So maybe we could do that in person sometime. I would love to get to the weather of the cold.
Dipak Vadera: Sounds good to me. Drop me a note. We’re in the Canary Islands. I’d love to grab a coffee with you if I’m here.
Joseph Fung: We’ll do! We will chat soon!
Dipak Vadera: See you! Have a good day! Bye!