Ben Hefford, Account Executive – London
Driven. Adventurous. Ginger.
What did you do before BigPanda?
I worked at Salesforce as a strategic account director managing one of the larger CPG accounts. My colleague and I did the third largest deal in the U.K. actually—which was around a $20 million contract. That was pretty exciting. Prior to that, I was at SAP for seven years working in a mixture of roles between commercial, account director and solution engineering.
What led you to be interested in BigPanda?
I actually was quite happy with my job and wasn’t looking for a new opportunity when my old colleague, Ben, reached out to me about BigPanda. Obviously, I wasn’t going to just blindly follow Ben—as much as I do love him. However, as I did more research about BigPanda, I realized it was a pretty unique company in a unique part of the market that hasn’t been addressed yet. It feels like we’re on the wave of BigPanda being the tool that everyone needs. I think it’s a really fortunate time to join and be a part of BigPanda’s journey. I was talking to our CRO, Rick, the other day about how if you were to look at BigPanda six months ago, it was a very different company than it is today. And now, with our new Fast and Easy sales motion, these next six months are going to really accelerate us in the market. This is an exciting chapter to be a part of BigPanda.
What was your experience like your first few months of joining BigPanda?
Incredibly surprising. Coming from big corporations to a smaller start up, I was expecting things to be a bit more manual and cranking—more of “oh, well, we kind of do this, but we kind of do that,” etc. My first week at BigPanda, I flew out to America for training, which was amazing. Everything was super slick. The delivery of the content was great, and everything was incredibly seamless. I would say it was on par, if not better than, a larger corporation’s onboarding. Everyone was super welcoming, and I think going to America to meet folks so early on really helped me feel as if I was a part of something.
How have you been able to find a balance between your work and your home life?
It actually hasn’t been difficult. The first four weeks I was here, I was actually training for an Ironman Triathlon. I had even told BigPanda that I wanted to push out my start date a little bit further back because I was in intensive training and was worried I wouldn’t be able to train and focus on a new job. I wanted to get the Ironman out of the way before starting a new job because 20 hours of my week was consumed by training. However, the training in America was happening before my Ironman, and Ben really wanted me to go spend time with others and kick that off—which I am very glad I did. So yes, I was worried that I would struggle to balance the two for the first month, but it actually was really good. Everything was so well structured, and it was just delivered to me. It was easy for me to focus on onboarding and learning, and then get to what I need to do in the evenings. Now, even in my second month, I’m on the ground in opportunities and stuff, and it hasn’t changed. BigPanda is super flexible. It’s not like a rigid 9 to 5, I can choose when I work and where—which is important and really the key to allowing people to balance between the two.
What is your favorite part about working at BigPanda so far?
It’s the people. I’ve yet to meet somebody that I haven’t thought is awesome, which is pretty rare when you’re in a company. Normally for every good person, you get a couple of bad. Here, every single person has blown me away with either their industry knowledge or professionalism or ability to get things done, and even their willingness to help. I think everyone knows that they’re part of something.
What is a fun fact about you others may not know?
I used to like to say that I’ve done an Ironman, but I recently shared that on LinkedIn so everybody knows and it’s not that fun anymore. I also drove the length of India in a Tuk Tuk! I just like stupid challenges. I’m already looking at what I want to do next. There’s a race called The Marathon Des Sables which is supposed to be the toughest footrace on Earth. It’s six days and 156 miles of running across the Sahara Desert. That’s next on my bucket list.