Here at Pepperdata, we put a premium on individuals whose skills and experience can help us reach our goals. We believe our team is composed of the best people in their respective fields. Our “Pepperdata Profiles” series gives a spotlight on our gifted individuals and allows us to highlight our employees’ experiences.
This week, we chatted with Cody Epling, who – despite his non-technology background – became one of the top sales development managers for some of the foremost technology companies in the US – and is now bringing his talents to Pepperdata.
Hello, Cody! We’re very excited to have you here at Pepperdata. We’re really interested in what your life was like before you arrived here.
I went to college in New York for theater and writing actually. Afterwards, I spent about five or six years touring around performing Shakespeare plays and a few shows in New York. And then I had serious organ failure when I was twenty five, just out of the blue. So, I moved to Portland, which was an hour from my parents, and took about six years to work through it. Eventually I got a transplant and have been in perfect health since.
We’re very glad you’re healthy now. We understand that at this point in your life, you entered sales, right?
Yes. My sister pushed me into sales while I was receiving treatment in Portland because I needed a good job with solid insurance, and I wanted to continue to work while on dialysis, to give my life a kind of purpose. She introduced me to the company Webtrends. I was able to get an entry level job there in Sales Development, but it was inbound only. I was qualifying in and out people who didn’t fit the market Webtrends was after. I worked there for a year and enjoyed it.
But I wanted something more than just waiting for leads to come to us. I applied to an outbound SDR role at GoodData, in the same building, just a few floors above. In my interview, I told my soon to be boss, “I’m not going to set you up with the most meetings, but I’ll bring you in the most money.” That was the goal I set for them and myself.
At GoodData, you discovered you have a gift for sales.
Most of their deals were less than $100K. But I started going after all these enterprise-level accounts, I generated their first $1.3 million deal and a couple others that were over $500K. That’s when they realized, “Oh, we have a great market here.”
They promoted me, and I retrained our team of twelve. I taught them how to go after enterprise-level accounts and get the attention of C-level execs through very personalized emails. We developed a highly effective strategy there, but after three years, I thought, I’ve done my work and it’s time for me to move on.
What happened after GoodData?
I wanted to try building a team from scratch. So, I switched to Axiom software, which was owned by Kaufman Hall at the time. They were making about $80 million in annual recurring revenue. I worked there for three years with an SDR team of four people. I put in automation tools to get our messages out faster. We were able to do more work with the team size we had. And over those three years, we ended up taking it from $80 million to $100 million. And then they were acquired by another company.
How did you end up with Pepperdata?
I planned to travel for a year after leaving Axiom. I’ve never traveled outside the country before. But Covid hit, so I wasn’t able to travel. I threw my plans out the window. I wasn’t even looking for another job, but a recruiter reached out to me about building a team at Pepperdata.
I was hired on April 15, 2021. Last year was a lot of preparation, like our messaging, working closely with marketing and understanding how they qualify leads, and the sales cycle. We needed to reach out to inbound and build our own list of outbound leads.
You’re an expert in sales but not so much when it comes to big data. How did you make that transition?
I wasn’t familiar with big data and the platforms that it runs on, all the infrastructure and how people use cloud instances.
Last year was really a learning experience where SDRs trained with our solution engineers. They really taught us the lingo and how big data works. We prospect to people that are deep in big data – IT Operations, Data Scientists, Architects and Infrastructure or Cloud managers. That learning curve took a while, but it all started to make sense.
Now that you’ve worked with Pepperdata for nearly a year, have you formed your own sales approach that makes it easy for clients to understand what Pepperdata does?
Pepperdata explained what they do as a UPS delivery truck, and it became crystal clear. So, let’s say this delivery truck is your big data infrastructure, and you’ve got packages in there. All these big data workload clusters are the packages in the delivery truck. Sometimes when you get a package, you have this giant box with one tiny little item in there with a lot of wasted space, but you can fit more items in that box. As the packages stack up in the truck and more items are ordered, you will have to buy a new truck to deliver the packages.
Pepperdata is able to optimize the space in the packages to put more items in, or more workloads inside your cluster. This way more workloads get delivered before you buy more infrastructure or in this analogy more delivery trucks.
Ultimately you save money on your infrastructure costs while increasing throughput.
What can you tell us about the Pepperdata culture? It really looks like you’re enjoying your time here with us.
One of the great things about working at a small company is you can really feel your impact, you know. There are certain deals we wouldn’t have in the pipeline if it weren’t for the SDR sourcing.
You really give yourself a pat on the back at the end of the day, and everybody gives props when they’re due. My boss, Patty, is just wonderful. She understands that we don’t come from an IT background. She’s very good at helping with and teaching sales teams technical concepts. Now we’re ready to just fly on our own and spread our wings.
Last question. If someone wants advice on how to succeed as a new hire at Pepperdata, what advice would you give him or her?
Just have that drive to want to succeed. No matter what’s going on in your life, you can control your will to succeed. You can’t teach drive, but you can teach everything else. That’s my philosophy. And it seems to work so far.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pepperdata. Any solutions offered by the author are environment-specific and not part of the commercial solutions or support offered by Pepperdata.