Our European Headquarters is officially up and running in Paris, and with our new Series B funding, we’re ready to grow our sales, customer support, and engineering teams there. So, we spoke with Front’s Head of Sales EMEA, Martin Duhamel, about the art and science of sales, the challenges of selling to teams of all sizes and industries, and his vision for the Front sales team in Paris.
We’re hiring in sales, support, and engineering in our Paris office. Check out the openings on our jobs page.
First things first: Tell us about yourself. When and why did you become a Fronteer (a Front employee)?
Martin: I joined Front in May 2017. The company was exciting to me for a few reasons. For starters, it seemed like an amazing team with diverse skillsets and personalities, working on a great product. On a more personal level, I felt there was a huge opportunity for me to grow and make an impact, which are important to me for feeling fulfilled on a daily basis.
What do you enjoy about your role now at Front?
M: I never stop learning here. As Front grows, new challenges come up every quarter — such as launching a new team in Paris, for example. I also like that every person on the team can make a big impact on the company and our customer’s experiences. From onboarding and customer success, to product development and marketing, we work closely together to make the best product and experience for our customers. And we have a great time doing it, too!
How did you get into sales?
M: My father works in sales and always talks about his job in inspiring ways, so he motivated me to give it a try. Before joining Front, I worked as a management consultant and then an account executive at a French SaaS startup focused on digital learning. Both experiences allowed me to see what it’s like to enable a transformation in an organization, which contributed to me joining Front to help teams improve the way they work.
I also started my career at L’Oréal selling facial cremes, so I can tell you anything you need to know about maintaining perfect skin complexion.
What’s your sales philosophy?
M: I’ve had the opportunity to work in business development in both France and the US, so I try to unite pieces from the two cultures in my work. I view sales as both a science and an art.
It’s a “science” because it requires you to follow a certain methodology and to tap into your strategic and analytical skills on the fly, all the time. As for the “art” side, you have to bring your best self to work every day, but still be your natural self. You have to be passionate and eager to learn about your customers and be willing to dig deep to get to the bottom of their needs. I don’t think you need to be a natural born salesperson — you just need to want it and be willing to learn.
Tell us about the positions you’re looking to hire in Paris.
M: We’re hiring for sales, support, and engineering roles. On my team, I’m looking to hire great account executives, who have an entrepreneurial spirit. People who can work with customers across a wide range of industries and grow as the team scales.
In a broader sense, we’re looking for people who are always asking, “What can I do each day to bring the most positive impact to my customers and my team?”
Can you give us a little insight into your vision for the team in Paris?
M: We’re building a tight-knit, international team that depends on each other in Paris. As we grow, I’m focused on bringing the transparency and open communication that our team values in SF to Paris, as well. We also have a live video station in the SF office where our two teams can see and talk to each other, as if we’re in the same office.
Are there any challenges in particular you’re looking forward to taking on with the team?
M: A challenge we’ve got ahead is building our brand and strengthening our relationships in Europe. We already have a lot of customers in France and the UK, so it’s great to now have a local presence and only be a train ride away to meet in person. We also have a great marketer working with us in Paris to help us grow our presence in Europe.
Tell us a little about the customers you work with.
M: We work with companies of all sizes and industries, all over the world — last time we counted it was 88 countries! As a sales person, one day you might be speaking with the Business Improvement Manager at a global logistics company in Manchester, and the next, you’re talking to the CEO of the hottest startup at Station F. This diversity of our customers forces us to be creative and invest more time with each customer to figure out how Front can help their team.
Can you tell us a little about the office?
M: The space is awesome! We’re located in a private office within the WeWork at Coeur Marais. If you’re looking for incredible city life, this is one of the most cultural and beautiful Parisian “arrondissements” to be in.
Other than a whole lot of raclette, what are you looking forward to for 2018 in Paris?
M: Professionally, I can’t wait to welcome our first Paris hires to the company. Traveling to the US for onboarding, meeting the rest of the team, starting to use Front like we do every day — there’s a lot for them to look forward to.
Personally, I can’t wait to sit out on the “terrasse” and enjoy a good cup of coffee before work. Although to be fair, Starbucks and Philz do a pretty good job making espresso in SF.