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Inside Hotjar's sales team: an interview with Kristina Maleeva
Why do you work where you do? What made you want to work there? And now that you’re there, why do you decide to stay?
We sat down with Kristina Maleeva, our Sales team Lead for the Americas, to find out why Hotjar is where she calls home. We learned a lot about what makes Hotjar’s Sales culture unique, some company perks that you don’t hear every day, and an approach to remote work that actually works.
Last updated18 Aug 2022
Reading time8 min
Meet Kristina, and why Hotjar sales is different
We’ll dive deeper into your role and all the perks and benefits soon. But first, I’d love to know what you personally enjoy the most about your job?
One of my favorite things is working with a company and product that people are actually excited to try out. Right now we mainly work with inbound leads. So the people we talk to come to us already interested in Hotjar. Working for a market leader that people know makes the job really fun and interesting.
I also have a lot of autonomy to experiment with how I sell. It’s a little like running my own business. I listen to what people need, and then come up with ways to help. And it’s gratifying when someone comes back talking about how insightful the product is and how it’s helping their business. It gives your work meaning beyond just selling the product.
Could you explain a bit more about your role and what you do?
Right now our Sales team is split between two timezones—Europe and the Americas—and I lead the Sales team for the Americas.
Hotjar is already a great self-service product, so it’s easy for many people to get started on their own. But for people or organizations with more unique needs, we step in to understand their challenges and explain how we can help. Then we get people on the right Hotjar plan, so they can better understand their users’ behavior.
"It’s not about “selling.” It’s more of a consulting approach: you’re helping someone get to their goals. We want to make sure our leads get what they need and want—nothing more and nothing less."
– Kristina Maleeva, Sales team lead
Inside the Hotjar Sales team—emphasis on team
I notice you use “we” a lot, so let’s jump over to your team. What’s the environment of the Sales team like?
It’s very different from sales in a lot of other companies, to be honest. And this is one of the things I love most about Hotjar.
Other sales environments can be very aggressive: people work against each other, the bottom 10% get sacked every year. In those environments, it’s not just about hitting your targets, you’ve also got to be above the others. It’s very stressful.
But at Hotjar, we focus on the team goal. We all have targets, but we work together to get there. We celebrate each other’s success, because ultimately the individual’s success contributes to the overall success. It’s completely a team-driven sales approach. It doesn’t mean we don’t push ourselves as individuals, but we help each other to get there.
So then, what kind of people thrive in sales at Hotjar?
We’re looking for people who are driven and like to challenge themselves. But not in an aggressive, pushy sales kind of way.
It’s not about “selling.” It’s more of a consulting approach: you’re helping someone get to their goals. We want to make sure our leads get what they need and want—nothing more and nothing less.
Would you say this is an exciting time to join?
If you like to solve problems, feel like you’re making a difference at the company, and be involved in shaping the future of the team, then the time is now. As a team, we’re thinking about how we can get where we need to be. There’s a lot of experimentation, no guaranteed tactics, and nothing is set in stone. So we encourage everyone to contribute ideas, experiment, and innovate to get to our targets.
What’s the future look like for someone in sales?
When I joined Hotjar, sales was brand new. Most Hotjar customers were serving themselves. But as we’ve grown, the contribution of the Sales team has been felt across the entire company. Our goal next year is to contribute to 50% of the revenue that Hotjar creates. That’s our aim. So it’s very exciting to be in a place where you’re helping both the customers and the company in a big way.
Is there a typical Hotjar customer, or is it a mix of roles and industries?
People use Hotjar for all kinds of things across a range of industries. But our primary customer works on Product teams who are trying to understand their users’ behavior and interests. We also work quite a bit with digital marketers. But Product managers and teams are the most common.
"You have an annual holiday budget! No one’s ever paid me to go on holiday before."
– Kristina Maleeva, Sales team lead
Working at Hotjar: benefits, budgets, and balance
What is your work-life balance like with Hotjar?
Oh my gosh, it’s what I love the most! I have a family, so this is really important to me.
I work from home, something that was built into the Hotjar culture even before the pandemic. I don’t have a commute. I finish work at 4pm. I used to finish work at 6pm and get home at 7 or 8 at night. Having that time back is huge.
There are a lot of stay-at-home moms in the community where I live. But I have as much time as they do to take my daughter to the park and go on picnics. So I never feel guilty for not spending enough time with my family. In fact it’s the opposite.
But at the same time, I have a fulfilling career. I actually enjoy sitting down at my computer, speaking to my colleagues, and interacting with leads. I enjoy my work and it’s a healthy work environment.
I tend to see people who have one or the other: good home life or good work life. I have both!
So the flexibility and work-life balance is a big plus for you. What are some of the other perks?
You have an annual holiday budget! No one’s ever paid me to go on holiday before.
Hotjar also pays me to keep my body, mind, and spirit in shape. So we have a well-being budget for exercising, massages, therapy—whatever you need. And then there’s self development. For example, if you want to learn how to ride a horse, Hotjar can help. They care for you as a person and as a professional.
You’ve lived in a few different countries while working at Hotjar. Would you mind talking about that?
So, I’m currently in Ecuador, and I have a home in Miami. I’ve also been able to visit my parents in the Dominican Republic and other family in Bulgaria. I used to feel so guilty about not seeing my family as often as I’d like. But I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in all of these countries.
Other people do it too. There are plenty of people in my team who decide to work from Mexico or Hawaii for a week, or a month! Just pick up a backpack or a suitcase and go.
It all goes back to the flexibility and remote work environment offered by Hotjar. I’ll always be grateful for being able to work in different countries while at my job. I wish I had this job 10 years ago!
Could you imagine going back to a more traditional work environment?
I don’t see myself going back to an office. Other employers offer flexible work, but not on Hotjar’s level. We were working remotely even before the pandemic, so Hotjar has a little more experience with this. We do have some timezone restrictions, so if you’re part of America’s Sales team, you probably need to be in that part of the world. But that’s still a big timezone!
"When people think of sales, there’s an image that comes to mind: competing to get to a target, or fighting each other for the top spot. It’s not like that at Hotjar."
– Kristina Maleeva, Sales team lead
Personal growth: learning & development
How would you say you’ve grown during your time at Hotjar?
It’s a constant opportunity to learn. I’ve learned a lot from my peers, and hopefully I’ve helped them to grow too. Throughout my years here, we’ve never stuck to one process. We’re always figuring out different ways to do things. No one has the golden key. Team and company leaders also provide helpful feedback and encourage us to try out new things.
You’ve recently been promoted too. What’s a career path like at Hotjar?
We do have clear career paths, but at the same time you build your own path. There are so many directions you can pick. You can be an individual contributor. You can go into leadership. Or down the road, you can even move to a different department if it’s something you’d like to explore. You decide where you go, and Hotjar will help you get there.
Is there any advice or insight you’d tell someone joining the Hotjar Sales team?
You’re going to be joining a team that cares about each other, both personally and professionally. It’s a team that challenges each other to grow through feedback. We want to get better, and we also care about each other. You won’t be on your own, there’ll be lots of support and help.
When people think of sales, there’s an image that comes to mind: competing to get to a target, or fighting each other for the top spot. It’s not like that at Hotjar. Yes, it is sales. Yes, you have targets. But it’s not a cutthroat environment. If you’re successful or struggling, you are coached and supported. And yes, you have a salary and a commission.
Last question: if you could tell yourself one thing when you joined, what would that be?
Don’t be afraid to fail. You might try something that doesn’t work, or you might find a novel solution. But nobody learns without failing. Absorb your mistakes, then try again. It’s how you get better.
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