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Damilola Erinle, SVP at Salesforce

Abadesi Osunsade

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Damilola Erinle is Area Vice President, Commercial Sales at Salesforce. Having worked as a leader in sales and business development for more than a decade, Damilola has led teams in world-class technology organisations to drive million dollar growth in international markets. Damilola is also passionate about supporting STEM education programmes for young women and volunteers with the Stemettes and Apps for Good. Most recently, she travelled to Kenya to volunteer for the Karibu Centre as part of a programme focused on empowering young children through education and access to technology. 

What does your day/week/month look like?

The great thing about working in technology and especially for a technology company is that you’re encouraged to really think big about how it can work not only for your clients but yourself. At Salesforce we have a motto which is “run your business from your phone” so I can be anywhere in the world and be just as productive as one would traditionally be behind the confines of your desk. That means that my day, week and month can look like anything. As a Vice President of Sales I’m responsible for the management of a number of teams as well as the success of our customer base, that means that I typically spread my time between my managers and their teams, our supporting teams and our current and prospective customers.

A typical Monday morning will be a quick call with my PA to discuss the priorities of the week, any overhanging actions from the previous week and any key asks she or I may have. After that I focus on the numbers, how “big” is this week in terms of required delivery vs quota. I use Salesforce analytics to understand the patterns behind the numbers and this helps me focus on the “message of the week” which I’ll share with management and the wider teams. From that point on, I could be in Dublin spending time with some of my teams based there, speaking at customer or industry events or meeting with internal teams and customers to agree their technology strategy.

Who do you dream of collaborating with?

I absolutely have a passion about collaborating with charities. They fill such an important gap within our community, their reach is amazing and when you can help one charity focus their strategy whether that’s operationally to be able to reach more people or marketing-wise in order to be able to get more volunteers or sponsors, you really start to see the good that they’re doing scale. I had the fortune to travel to Kenya last year to work with the Karibu centre. The work they are doing there is phenomenal. They take kids from the slum and through the education they provide, not only do 100% of their kids make it into public school at seven years old, they are two years ahead of their peers in terms of their academic level! At first I thought I would spend most of my time helping out with the kids, but when I understood their potential I spent the entire week in the office with their Managing Director helping them flesh out their business plan. It changed my entire outlook on what it can mean to make a difference.

What’s something you’ve done that you were told couldn't be done?

I come from a family and a home where my parents truly believe anything is possible. They believe in us so much that growing up I only ever heard the words “you can do it”. As I grew older I heard society in general telling me the opposite, that I was often too young to be doing what I was doing. For example I somehow managed to get into the Emerging England Rugby team at 18 years old when I was too young for even the England Students team. I got my first management role when I was 23. I was the youngest person in the company managing 12 sales reps and the CEO nearly had a heart attack… I was too young, he thought, and this continued throughout my career yet my results always did the talking. I’ve learnt that what people think can or can’t be done is completely irrelevant. You must know that no one knows exactly how amazing you are, you need to show people what you’re capable of, and believe me, more often than not, you’ll surprise yourself ☺

Which new author/ authors do you read? Which blog? Which podcast?

I tend to read a lot of inspirational books, I love Rick Warren especially his book “A Purpose Driven Life”. This may not connect with everyone but for me it helps focus me on my purpose reminding me that God wants me to achieve and to make a difference. I also respect Dr Sheila Robinson, she’s launched various magazines and I love the tagline of her Diversity Women magazine “leadership empowerment for women who mean business”. Anyone that stands up to encourage others to be the best version of themselves is just so inspiring, it’s something I’m challenging myself to try and do more.