Most Powerful Salespeople 2019: Cisco Systems' Jennifer Chang
Chang was named one of ColoradoBiz's Most Influential Young Professionals in 2010
The Most Powerful Salespeople is an annual list from ColoradoBiz highlighting the outstanding performance of nine salespeople around Colorado. The 2019 sales standouts were selected by our editorial board from nominations submitted over several months on Coloradobiz.com, based on sales performance, persistence demonstrated in achieving or surpassing sales goals, and factors such as challenges surmounted or indications of exceptional effort to get deals done.
Jennifer Chang, 38
Regional Manager, Federal Civilian Scientific Team, Cisco Systems
Chang first caught the attention of ColoradoBiz when she was named one of its Most Influential Young Professionals in 2010. Now she leads the Federal Civilian Scientific team at Cisco Systems, which is responsible for $250 million in business. The team is made up of 10 sales professionals, nine systems engineers and 20 integrated team members across Cisco.
“It’s incredible when you stop and think about the customer set her team serves,” says Timothy Matter, a Cisco partner. “These are some of the smartest scientists in the world solving complex problems – and she and her team are right there with them, helping them expedite their research and collaboration so the larger world can benefit.”
Indeed, Chang says the opportunity to make a positive impact is what she appreciates most about her work.
“For me, it really is about the fact that our team and the technology we sell are making a difference to the greater world,” she says. “Think about our customers: Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, USDA, NASA and the Smithsonian Museums. Every single person I know is affected or touched by these customers’ missions in one way or another. We are working side by side with them on their digital transformation journey, supporting modernization and customer experience at all levels. I get to make an impact each day for the greater good — which provides immense intrinsic and extrinsic value for me.”
Favorite sales book:
“The Challenger Sale,” by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon. “I love the way the authors identify the different types of sellers, and the importance and necessity for sellers to move to the ‘Challengers’ group — a type of seller who is most successful in solutions-based selling because he or she understands their focus must be on customer value. At Cisco, we strive to become trusted advisers to our customers, focusing on innovation and the art of the possible, intimately understanding our customers’ environments and mission programs, and incorporating the power of customer success storytelling.”
Biggest misconception about sales:
“Sales is often linked to the stereotypical used-car salesperson. I think many folks shy away from the sales industry because of this stereotype. What many people don't know is that the sales industry has completely transformed, arguably more so in recent years because of the increased accountability on both sides of the table due to the increased access to information. The sales team I work with at Cisco and in the technology industry are some of the smartest folks I know. We have become business strategists and innovators developing world-class solutions to real-world problems. The relationships we build with our customers are not one-time transaction relationships. In the federal space, our customer relationships and mission-program support span many years.”