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This is an excerpt from our “Legends” series, where we profile the top sales and marketing leaders around the world, digging deep into their formative experiences and lived lessons.Most 20-year-olds visiting Disneyland for the first time might gush over the rides and costumed characters. Not Hilarie Koplow-McAdams. After visiting in the mid-1980s, she sent a postcard home to her sister and used its tiny space to expound on how the kingdom functions.“I just loved knowing how things worked,” Koplow-McAdams says of her younger self. “I wrote, ‘They have thousands of people running through. There is no litter. Here’s how they do it…’”That sort of analytic mind, and a desire to peer beyond the surface to understand a business’s inner workings, has been an animating force in Koplow-McAdams’ career. Over the past two decades, she has used that skill, along with an empathic ability to understand customer needs, to lead global sales teams at some of the tech industry’s top companies.Among them: Oracle, where she worked her way up from product manager to senior VP running a $1 billion sales division; Intuit, where she served as VP of sales for small business and served on the executive committee; Salesforce, where, as president of sales, she helped grow the $500 million company to a $5.5 billion tech giant in less than five years; and New Relic, where she held the titles of chief revenue officer and then president, and helped take the company public.Today, Koplow-McAdams is a venture partner of global VC firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). She sits on the boards of several high-profile startups, including DataRobot, HackerOne, Zendesk, and Tableau Software until it was acquired by Salesforce.Her passion project is persuading more women to join the tech industry, where they remain significantly underrepresented at every level of corporate hierarchy. Her grandmother was the first female banking commissioner in the U.S., which left her with a profound sense of purpose.“I hope to inspire a lot of young women to come into tech,” says Koplow-McAdams.That drive comes from her belief that “life is about lifetime learning.” If you are a learner, she says, “You can step into what is conventionally seen as a very male-dominated world and make your mark.”
All sellers are now inside salespeople. They’re as good as their knowledge. They’re as good as the tools that they have to focus on the right issues.”
Here are some of her keys to success: