Ryan Boudreau, Sales Executive at Loyal, shares his experience graduating school and looking for work during the 2008 financial crisis and then starting a career in sales at IBM and growing from there.
Ryan Boudreau, Sales Executive at Loyal, on starting a career in sales at IBM and growing from there.
Joseph Fung: Hi, I’m Joseph Fung, and today I have the great pleasure speaking with Ryan Boudreau. He’s a sales executive at Loyal. Ryan, how are you doing today?
Ryan Boudreau: I’m doing great, Joseph. How are you?
Joseph Fung: Doing really well, and you’re calling in from the Atlanta area, right?
Ryan Boudreau: That’s correct, and beautiful Atlanta, Georgia.
Joseph Fung: Awesome! I’m so looking forward to sharing your story. I know we’ve had a chance to talk already and your journey getting into sales. I think it is gonna be such a great inspiration because I know we both believe anyone can get into sales. So, thank you so much for spending the time with us today!
Ryan Boudreau: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Joseph Fung: So I know that I started off by saying, “don’t worry, you won’t have to do any pitching,” but, to help everybody, it would be really great if you could help share what Loyal does. Maybe you could just share the Loyal elevator pitch.
Ryan Boudreau: Sure! Absolutely! I’d be happy to. So, Loyal is a Technology Company, and we’re focused on building software solutions that bring a health care consumer experience or a consumer experience to health care. So, our goal is really focused on removing barriers of entry centralizing data, and helping health systems create a really rich digital consumer experience that we were all used to in other industries.
Joseph Fung: I’d love it. I imagine right now, the health tech space is an interesting tumultuous space. I imagine you’re quite busy.
Ryan Boudreau: We certainly are, especially with all of what’s going on in the world these days. So, it’s riveting to be in the healthcare space.
Joseph Fung: So, I definitely appreciate you spending the time with us. We’ll make sure that we keep this tight and let you help. Can I get back to the good work? Hopping in, we talk about journeys kind of start, you know, direction, where people end up thinking about that start, maybe you could share a bit more, you know, where did you go to school? And I know you’ve got some interesting timing and story around what you did right after school! So I’d love to hear a little bit about that. Maybe you could share where you went to school and what you did next?
Ryan Boudreau: Sure, that’d be great! So, like we stay in, I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, so I went to the University of Georgia, and I actually graduated from UGA right in the Great Recession of 2008. So, during school, I worked for a small technology startup that was focused on selling custom apparel to consumers online. Then, after I graduated from school, I just decided it was time to move on to something new and then in 2008, was a really interesting time to be searching for a job or new to the job market.
Joseph Fung: You can imagine that was a tough time to be job searching!
Ryan Boudreau: Exactly! So, I was looking around, going. I think there are only two industries that are hiring beer and healthcare. So, I better pick, which one do I pick! And ultimately, the alcohol industry or the spirits industry never returned any of my calls, and ended up getting into the healthcare industry.
Joseph Fung: Well, it’s a good one to be in. So, you know, I think it’s embeds loss. So, let’s say, let’s call that way!
Ryan Boudreau: Thank you. Thank you!
Joseph Fung: So, you graduated in 2008. To help share some context, what did you study? What were you hoping to do to afford that the recession hit?
Ryan Boudreau: Yeah, great question! So, in school, I actually studied sociology, and my intention was to be a journalist coming out of school. But now everything in 2008 happened, so that made me change plans pretty quickly because I felt like I really need to get a paycheck journalist. You know, they have a reputation for not earning a bunch early in their career.
Joseph Fung: So, you’ve got a great journey, you’ve got your schooling, it’s check out journalism, maybe beer but in healthcare. But, even then, you landed in healthcare; you weren’t in a sales role at that time. Were you?
Ryan Boudreau: I wasn’t, No! I started my career as an account manager. So, I was really just focused on managing pharmaceutical accounts – so let me back up a sec here, Joseph. So, I was just an account manager focused on managing those relationships for a business that had already been brought in. Does that make sense?
Joseph Fung: Totally! And were you responsible for any kind of up sell or really just managing the relationship?
Ryan Boudreau: I was really just responsible for managing the relationship, hoping we got renewal, but there weren’t really many cross-sell or up sell opportunities in that role.
Joseph Fung: Okay, thank you for explaining because, in some roles that, account management role is really just another title for sales rep, but it sounds like you were really in a pure kind of accountant coordination and account management role and you said, “we were working primarily with pharmaceutical companies”!
Ryan Boudreau: Yeah, so our company was really focused on helping pharmaceutical companies better market their drug to physicians, so my client was the marketing manager of these pharmaceutical companies. And we were a services organization, so we just sold our services, and a lot of that revolved around setting up advisory boards or steering committees to pull information out of these doctors so that those companies could then better market to physicians. So, I really truly was just managing relationships and services relationships.
Joseph Fung: Okay! So, we can see, and I remember you saying that you spent a long journey in that account management role, builds a lot of experience there, but you moved into sales. What was the first spark? What got you thinking that you wanted to move into a sales role?
Ryan Boudreau: Yeah, that’s a great question. I was looking around at all of my friends and the sales reps at the current company going. The sales reps are having the most fun, they’re doing all the things that I want to do, and they appear to be making the most money so, I’ve messed up. I need to start over how do I get myself to the sale!
Joseph Fung: So, I love that! I mean they’re having the most fun; I can get that, making the most money, absolutely. You said something interesting too, though they’re doing all the things that you wanted to do, could you help unpackaged out a little bit what were some of the responsibilities or tasks or things that they were doing that were so compelling?
Ryan Boudreau: Yeah, I’d say one was travel. I was really interested in getting out of the office, meeting new people. I always say, I got into sales because I like to eat dinner out and I like to talk to strangers and so, it provided me a perfect opportunity to do all of those things. So, they were going to conferences, they were networking. They were interacting with customers; they were doing fun social events, whether it was happy hours or golf outings. I’d say all of the stereotypical things you think of sales reps doing. I really looked at that going. I think I can do that. I want to do that.
Joseph Fung: That’s fantastic! So, you picked up that direction you had a lot of sales reps kind of as colleagues. Did you just switch into a sales role at your company at the time?
Ryan Boudreau: I didn’t…no! I made my interest know because I was really happy at the company I was working with at the time, and I let them know that I was interested in pursuing sales and if there were opportunities available, I’d be interested. But, behind the scenes, I was also talking to all of my friends who were in sales and had sales jobs and helping. I wanted them to teach me how they got into sales and what it was like being in sales!
Joseph Fung: And how did that translate into your first sales role?
Ryan Boudreau: So, I had a great friend who was working at IBM, and we’ve had several conversations just about his journey and his day-to-day. And one day, he reached out to me and said, “Hey! Actually, my old manager is hiring for a sales rep, are you interested!” And I said, “Definitely”. So, he connected me to his old manager, who was the hiring manager of the job, and we had a really great phone conversation.
Joseph Fung: Wow! So, I mean, yeah, this is right at IBM. Right?
Ryan Boudreau: Yes! This is at IBM. So, I would like to say it’s the best sale of my life.
Joseph Fung: That’s an incredible opportunity. We speak to a lot of sales reps, who hope to start their career in, you know, a really good sales role at a well-recognized company, and you’ve done exactly that. What was that interview like? Any tips that you would give to somebody who was in a similar situation as you were?
Ryan Boudreau: Yeah, that’s a great question! So, I, as, a little more background of me, I had been working in technology. I moved away from pharma account management back into technology. So, I did a great breadth of technology background. And in my later roles, I was really responsible for some cross-sell, upsell, and renewals. So, I really played up my relationship-building experience, micro sell, up sell renewal experience, and just made the things I was doing in my previous jobs really relevant to the job he was hiring for.
Joseph Fung: Let’s dig into that a little bit. We speak to a lot of people who want to be in sales, but maybe they’re in a support service, like an account management role. What are some of those things you mentioned relationship building? But, if somebody wanted to give really specific answers or, you know, they’re in the middle of an interview cycle, what are some of the things that you felt were strong parallels between that account management in sales?
Ryan Boudreau: Relationship management number one, that’s really key in sales, and especially tech sales, which tend to have really long sales cycles, and they’re really relationship-driven. I would say attention to detail. You have to be typically in account management; you manage different accounts, you manage a bunch of different things that could be going on in three or four different accounts, that same level of attention to detail and organization is applicable in a sales role. And then, I would also say work ethic, I played up my work ethic a lot because, in sales, there’s not a lot you can’t control, but you can control your work ethic and your work or less. So, all of those things can play into being successful in sales, and I really just felt like I needed someone to give me that opportunity, and I was fortunate that, that hiring manager and IBM gave me the opportunity.
Joseph Fung: That’s fantastic. So you’ve had kind of quite the journey you’re cut back in tech, you’re in the sales role that you hope to get. In that journey, you know, what are you most proud of? What’s the success that you’d say you’re most proud of so far?
Ryan Boudreau: I mean, I know we keep coming back to it, Joseph, but I think in my sales career, it’s really getting that first sales job at IBM because they really taught me how to be a professional sales rep, they had really rigorous sales training, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity and the opportunity to be an IBM er.
Joseph Fung: So, it sounds like, if somebody was in a similar situation, you would recommend the IBM, kind of training onboarding, and as the first step for your sales career. Is that a fair interpretation?
Ryan Boudreau: Absolutely. I would definitely have. If there’s an opportunity for sales, an opportunity at one of those fortune 50 s, the big legacy companies that have a rigorous, intensive internal sales training, it’s a great place to cut your teeth in sales.
Joseph Fung: That’s awesome! Now, I know I said that we wouldn’t take you too long and you’ve got a busy schedule. So, I’ve got one more question, and then we’ll be switching to a couple of rapid-fire ones. We’ve talked about what you’re most proud of so far about your journeys nowhere you’re done yet. If you cast your eyes to the future, where you’re heading? What’s something that you hope to congratulate future Ryan for?
Ryan Boudreau: What a great question! I was thinking about this one, and really I’ve been in health care for a majority of my career, and I’d really like to look back and say, “I contributed to the digital transformation in health care,” whether that’s, you know, removing barriers of entry, providing greater access, there’s a real, there’s still a lot of rural American that doesn’t have access to really great care. So, I really believe some of these digital tools and technologies can break down those barriers. So, I hope, at some point, looking back saying, with all the technology or tech companies I’ve been involved in, hopefully, we contributed to breaking down those barriers and providing greater access to healthcare.
Joseph Fung: Wow! I love that Backup, “huge aspiration of impacting a large swath of the kind of population,” that’s a fantastic aspiration. Thank you for sharing, Ryan!
Ryan Boudreau: Thank you!
Joseph Fung: Oh, hey! We’re almost done! Do you have a few more minutes for some rapid-fire questions?
Ryan Boudreau: Absolutely! These are my favorite!
Joseph Fung: Okay, let’s keep this nice and quick, and then we can let you go. First of all, what’s your favorite sales tool?
Ryan Boudreau: Humor.
Joseph Fung: I love that. We get so many answers on technology and systems, and that’s bang, on all wickets. What about movies! What’s your favorite movie?
Ryan Boudreau: Top Gun.
Joseph Fung: I love it! And when you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
Ryan Boudreau: I wanted to be a professional basketball player, but I only made it to six feet.
Joseph Fung: But now you’re impacting the health of people all across the country. So, you know, what I think, that’s a good place to land instead!
Ryan Boudreau: Thank you! Thank You!
Joseph Fung: Ryan, this has been great. Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your journey. I appreciate it so much!
Ryan Boudreau: Well, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it!
Joseph Fung: That’s great! I’ll let you get back to things. But we’ll speak again soon and looking forward to our next conversation.
Ryan Boudreau: Sounds good! Cheers!
Joseph Fung: Cheers!