DocuSign’s Violeta Martin talks about her role as vice-president of EMEA commercial sales and how diversity in tech can be improved.
Violeta Martin is the vice-president of commercial sales for the EMEA region at e-signature company DocuSign. With over 15 years of experience growing and leading teams in a variety of start-ups and enterprises, she now leads DocuSign’s EMEA mid-market sales team in Dublin.
In her current role, she oversees a team of over 200 commercial sales managers and account executives who serve customers across more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“I helped build DocuSign’s sales development department team from the ground up. We started out as just five people when I joined seven years ago and I’m immensely proud of this multicultural, multilingual and hybrid department.”
‘To continue growing the number of women in technology, it’s important for team leaders to take responsibility by opening doors and creating opportunities’
What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?
One of the main things that customers highlight is the challenge of uncertainty. Because of the volatile macroeconomic environment, business owners are finding it difficult to forecast demand for their offering or employment trends — often hindering their ability to attract talent when needed most.
Confidence in the future has been pulled from under the feet of business leaders, adding greater risk to their decisions. Our research found that three in four UK businesses don’t feel fully ready for the future. Not knowing where you’ll be next year, or even in a few months, also subverts successful operations.
In uncertain times, businesses need to be flexible. Falling victim to systematic inertia is one of the biggest mistakes to make in the current climate. It’s important that business can pivot in accordance to change – and contracts are the kernel of that. An agile business is one that minimises the time taken to seal a deal with e-signatures.
We help businesses not only sign contracts but also manage them. Treating the signature as the start of that contract’s life cycle. This enables businesses to react to environmental forces and deliver real-time agreement updates that reflect the shifting sands of running a business through uncertainty.
What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?
Security, legality and compliance.
As sensitive, high-value agreements move online and are completed digitally, knowing who your signers are is more important than ever. Trusted identity is paramount, you need to ensure the credibility of the person at the end of the other screen.
DocuSign ID verification ensures that only valid identity documents are accepted so it can be used in even the most highly regulated industries.
What set you on the road to where you are now?
It’s no secret that I’m a football fanatic, and my love for team sports has translated successfully into my professional career. From a young age, I’ve understood the importance of teamship. You can have the best group of individuals but without operating as a collective unit, it’s harder to achieve optimum results.
A group of talented individuals all pulling in the same direction makes a difference. It creates harmony that money can’t buy. Great teamship also means you get to celebrate your wins together but also work through challenges efficiently.
Effective team dynamics cultivate trust and belief in yourself and each other. I think this philosophy has been critical to both my own success and the growth of DocuSign.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
While I didn’t realise it at the time, joining DocuSign is the biggest risk I’ve taken professionally. I left a stable job in a large corporation in Spain for a start-up nobody knew. I was just DocuSign’s employee number 27 in EMEA and eight years later it’s certainly paid off.
But I saw DocuSign as an opportunity to make an impact and feel that what I’m doing matters. It’s difficult to do this at a senior level in the machine that is a large corporation.
How do you get the best out of your team?
Listening to the constantly evolving needs of your team is essential. Our research found that offering employees the flexibility of where and when they work is seen by an overwhelming majority (82pc) as critical in attracting and retaining the right talent, and satisfying the needs of the workforce – today and in the future.
Furthermore, I ensure every member feels valued, supported and treated as a key player in the strategy. With teams being varied in terms of roles, seniority and expertise, creating a shared sense of belonging is vital to achieving the common goal. Everyone is an asset to my team and they need to feel it.
Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector?
Absolutely. I noticed this problem from a young age, when I was one of only five women out of 100 students in my university engineering class. In the time since, I do believe that encouraging progress has been made but there is still more work to do.
Research shows that 16pc of females have had a career in technology suggested to them, versus 33pc of males. This shows the stigma around women in technology still exists, which is extremely detrimental to young women starting their careers.
To continue growing the number of women in technology, it’s important for team leaders to take responsibility by opening doors and creating opportunities. For too long, the onus has been on women to carve their careers in tech, but when it’s tough to visualise something, it becomes tough to achieve it.
A way to fix this is through sponsorships for women entering the technology workforce. Women need increased support and the help of an individual to have your back can be of great value.
What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
I was once told that as a leader, it’s not about you having the right answer, it’s about getting to the right answer. You need to enable your team to find the best way to move forward.
I’ve taken this advice into the building of my team at DocuSign — I’ve strived to create an environment where all voices can be heard, so we can find the right answers as a group. I heard this early in my career and it’s still extremely relevant today.
What books have you read that you would recommend?
For novels, I’d recommend Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett — I’ve read all of his books!
For non-fiction, I’d recommend the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. This was the first book I read in lockdown and it was an important one.
What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?
Working in sales, I use DocuSign on a daily basis for all kinds of contracts that we use with customers. Everything is in DocuSign, from negotiation or signatures and to hire and promote people. We really drink our own champagne!
Other applications I use on a day-to-day basis include Zoom, Slack, Google Suite and Salesforce. I find Zoom to be the most important to how I work as its integration with DocuSign means contracts can be signed within Zoom calls, with me as the salesperson.
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