Though Megan Allen’s enthusiasm for sales may have started at age five, she wasn’t afraid to pursue a new career direction at Zscaler. Enablement and helping others is where she finds her passion. In her spare time, she runs with her dog, goes to UNC Chapel Hill basketball games with her husband, and loves refurbishing old furniture. See why Megan is one reason Zscaler is a Great Place to Work!
Tell us about your background
I grew up in central North Carolina, near Chapel Hill, and went to college at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where I got a degree in business administration with a minor in club and resort management. After college, I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and took a job at a Forbes Five-Star resort called Keswick Hall. I worked originally in food and beverage there, as the club manager, then moved into sales for group events.
In 2016, I took a job at Marriott International as a sales executive and fell in love with sales even more. My first year in the role, I achieved President’s Circle, and months later received a promotion to senior account executive and relocated back to North Carolina. In this new role, I supported 20 enterprise accounts that were headquartered in Greensboro, NC, and helped with their group travel needs—including large conferences and tradeshows—and organized any transient rates they needed set up globally.
What drew you to Zscaler?
I had always wanted to get into the tech industry, but never thought I could because of my hospitality background. Despite my doubts, I decided to look into tech jobs because Raleigh is a booming area for tech companies.
In January 2019, I found a sales development representative position at Zscaler. Though I was taking a few steps back from where I had progressed in the hospitality world, I knew that was what it was going to take to get into a new industry. I took on the sales development rep (SDR) role at Zscaler in the Raleigh office and absolutely loved it!
During that time, I specifically focused on SLED (public sector) East accounts. I loved the team, the fast-paced environment, the grind, and the competitiveness that naturally came with the job. I performed really well in the role and crushed my goals. I like to think that my success came from having a different lens since I had a hospitality background, but I am sure it was a mix of several different things.
How did you transition to your current role as a sales enablement program manager?
When I first started, the SDR team had five or six people in the Raleigh office, and it’s now about 18. We grew quickly, so I had the opportunity to help managers onboard several new SDRs, and I really, really loved it. I loved enabling them, helping them learn, and I found a lot of passion in something I didn’t know I was passionate about.
After nine months at Zscaler, I talked to my manager about potentially focusing solely on onboarding. At the time I didn’t know enablement existed, and I didn’t know that the enablement team was growing. We tossed around different ideas and several weeks later, the sales enablement manager for the commercial sales team was posted. I took the role in December and have been moving a million miles a minute since then, but I’m truly enjoying it.
What do you do in your role at Zscaler?
My role is constantly changing, which keeps it interesting. I’m mainly focused on onboarding all new commercial reps, so that includes SDRs, corporate and territory reps, and renewals reps. I’m dedicated to onboarding them for their first two weeks and then setting up continued enablement for those teams across the globe when they need help in specific areas.
Continued enablement might include objection handling, creative pipeline generation (PG), or anything sales process-related. On top of my focus areas within the commercial sales team, I also help out the sales strategy and enablement team (SSEN) on various other projects. A side fun gig is hosting our bi-weekly Rev Up LIVE webinar for our sales organization. This is a fun, segmented show where we bring new updates to the team, talk about best practices in the field, and highlight a variety of other topics.
What’s your favorite Zscaler memory thus far?
I have a lot of favorite memories at Zscaler! As part of the public sector team, watching it grow, and being part of its success has been a big highlight. Also, being promoted internally to a job where I have found my passion is a huge milestone in my career. I love helping people. Coming up with creative ideas, collaborating, and helping people where they need help is where I find my passion, and being able to identify a role that aligns with that has been amazing.
I think one of my favorite memories at Zscaler thus far was having the opportunity to launch a new enablement tool at our Halftime event in February for our entire sales organization. Originally, I was tasked with leading a breakout session but was then asked to host a main-stage launch, which was terrifying but really exciting all at the same time. Presenting on a stage in front of more than 300 peers gives you a new appreciation for public speaking.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I was a competitive figure skater growing up. It’s a really random sport for someone from North Carolina, but I started when I was five years old and reached Junior level before quitting to go to college. Looking back, figure skating could potentially be what really sparked my career in sales. I remember wanting to go to a skating camp in Canada, but my mom told me I’d have to raise money in order to go.
So I recruited my mom and grandmother to help me make our family recipe for chicken Brunswick stew and made it to sell to friends, family, and members of my church. Every summer, when it was time to go to skating camp, I’d break out my list of previous customers and call down the list. I’d even upsell them and say, “You only ordered two quarts last year, do you want to order three this year? You can freeze them!” Looking back, 8-year-old me was fearless, and this is probably the first glimpse into my future sharky salesperson mentality.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy anything outdoors—I like hiking and running. I go on runs with my husky Afton and sometimes he’s the one pulling me along. My husband and I are huge fans of UNC Chapel Hill and go to most of the home basketball games - GO HEELS!
We also love traveling and are avid (Baltimore) Ravens fans, so we have a goal of seeing an NFL game in every stadium, which gives us the motivation to explore many great cities around the country.
I also really enjoy refurbishing furniture. I buy cheap old furniture that’s scuffed up, and I sand, repaint and install new hardware as needed. I’ve made pieces for friends but sometimes keep them for my own home. My mom owns an antique consignment shop at the beach, so I sometimes redo furniture and put it in her store for sale, though I’m then often limited to painting everything a different shade of blue because it’s by the beach. I get really excited whenever something sells, and love to think that something I’ve made will be enjoyed in someone else's home.
What advice do you have for someone looking to get into sales or enablement?
Don’t be afraid to start back at the bottom. I know that can be a scary thing, especially for someone entering a new industry, but don’t be afraid to take a step back and learn from the ground up.
Take chances, whenever an opportunity is presented to you. I’m not saying become a ‘yes man,’— you need to know your bandwidth—but also know that if a leader has given you that opportunity, it’s because they know that you’re capable of achieving it. Take on that challenge to demonstrate your creativity, leadership skills, and to develop your career. Take on those challenges, don’t be afraid to speak up, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Join Megan and the rest of the team
Visit our careers page to explore opportunities in sales enablement program management as well as the many other roles in which you can help Zscaler drive secure digital transformation for enterprises around the world.
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