I sat down with Martina Saracevic, Director of Inside Sales, who will be celebrating her seven-year anniversary with SingleHop in May. Continuing our Women in Tech series, Martina answered my list of defining (and admittedly loaded) questions with the frankness, insight and passion we’ve all come to expect.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you know you would be in Tech or Sales?
I have always been organized and detailed, almost obsessive compulsive. I liked to have a good understanding of what the process looks like and what I can expect down the road. As I started my career and built sales relationships, I was comfortable explaining in detail the process and product, which is especially important in tech. Clients need to understand what the day-to-day of being a SingleHop customer is like, and how that is different from their current experience. So, Tech Sales seemed like a natural fit.
Who are the people that have mentored you or been role models?
My first inspiration was my father. My mother and father came here as immigrants in the 1990’s when the war broke out in Yugoslavia. They went from being highly educated individuals that were working in architecture and geology to bringing themselves up from the bottom. They teach me to value every dollar and that everything in life requires hard work. They are definitely my rockstars.
If I looked all the way back, there was a fifth grade teacher that mentored me to be visionary about the future. Long after I graduated primary school, he would advise me on which classes I should take in high school, where to go to college (Go Ramblers!).
As I was starting my career, I worked at a startup. The VP of Sales there, Mike Zobitz, who later came to SingleHop and hired me on, became on of my role models. He taught me that sales doesn’t have to be strict. It can be fun, for both the sales rep and the customer. You can enjoy coming into work and it can be relaxing as long as you know what your goals are.
TJ Waldorf has been a role model for me due to the amount of dedication he has for his role. And I can see that he has a process in place about where he wants to be at the end of each day, and that gives me passion. These days you don’t see a lot of people who devote that much dedication to their careers anymore. At least I don’t. Younger generations seem not to want to make a commitment; they want to rise to the top without making the contribution. And TJ is the opposite of that. Even as he moves on to a full-time marketing role, I will be using him as a mentor. I appreciate the thought and effort that he puts into every decision he makes.
Does gender make a difference in the Tech workplace?
I think gender does make a difference. It makes a difference for our customers. Men and women have varying points of view. And I think that’s a positive! We may think through a very specific scenario in different ways, which opens up alternative solutions for the client.
I have been in this industry for over seven years, and I am definitely happy about seeing more and more women in the workforce. In the early days, it felt like you were living in a man’s world.
What do you love about your role in tech?
In the early days, I was under the impression that “we were just selling servers,” but when you really look at it we are supporting businesses. It is a good feeling to know that you are helping small or enterprise companies to be more efficient. We are the backbone of that business and of their success. And your individual impact can encourage that success as you provide opinions and thoughts about how they can be even more efficient and successful in terms of what their technology and revenue goals are in the next 6 or 12 months.
What are some of the lessons you learned along the way?
Use all your team members. Rely on all your resources. You can never be the smartest person in the room. Allow everyone to bring their strengths and knowledge to the table.
What are your thoughts on work-life balance and being a mom plus a rockstar at work?
There is no work-life balance for working mothers. If you are a working mother, whether in the tech industry or other, it is what you make it. Every day is going to be chaotic and I think that is just normal. If you have a significant other that understands your goals or you have mutual long-term goals then you both will make it work. There is no way to have it all, and you just need to come to terms with that. If you are ok with not having it all, then you move forward; and if you are not, then you need to change something in your life.
When things get too hectic, or I need to be rebalanced, cuddling up on the couch with my four-year-old, watching a movie, and having “us time” – that is what brings me back. It is what refuels me to make sure I am ready to go on Monday.