Meet the Inside Sales team. This close-knit group serves customers from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, India and most of southeast Asia. Walk into their oﬃce and you just might mistake it for a mini United Nations, judging by the hanging ﬂags that represent the countries they work with.
The Inside Sales teams do their jobs by making phone or video calls, chatting via social networking applications, or using AI analytics to help with decision making. In the previous blog, APJ Inside Sales – Part I, we’ve introduced part of the team, and from this blog, you will read more about the career journey and managerial perspectives of the other team leaders.
Erica’s journey in Intel began six years ago with the Inside Sales team. She was entrusted with the role of inﬂuencing the private and higher education market in Australia, selling ideas on digital transformation to schools. Today, she leads a team carrying the company’s full portfolio of data-centric products in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
As someone who strongly believes in perpetual learning and staying curious, Erica credits the company for providing the ideal environment. “Intel is a place where there is mutual respect, where every opinion matter. You’re able to bring your ideas to life, thus allowing you to fulﬁl your potential. It provides a platform for you to learn, and you’re always among the ﬁrst to know about advancements in the industry.”
From joining as an individual contributor to a promotion as manager in her third year, Erica acknowledges that it’s an ever-learning curve, especially when it comes to ﬁnding the sweet spot of knowing when and when not to get more involved with her team. But herein lies what she loves most about the job: enabling others and growing with her team.
Cheah Siu Chone
When he embarked on his career in IT as a system analyst over two decades ago, Kuala Lumpur was the place to be. But the pace of living and the city traﬃc eventually got to him, prompting a return to the island. Fast forward to today – with 23 years of service for Intel under his belt, it has no doubt been quite the adventure for Siu Chone.
Transitioning from purely writing software to production was eye opening for him, but it wasn’t until his time in Intel’s planning team that his journey in sales and marketing began. Having been with Inside Sales since its inception as a pilot in 2010, Siu Chone believes that it has evolved into an integral part of the company.
“Think of it as a scaling engine that helps the company look for new, growing customers. The work that we do is crucial to scale beyond borders, and it saves time and cost given its eﬃciency.”
Currently with a team under his leadership, Siu Chone spends most of his time guiding and brainstorming solutions – a process that he ﬁnds meaning in undertaking. Adding to this is the wide diversity of his team. For him, the key lies in acknowledging that everyone has their own perspectives – which is why he prefers to ask questions instead of giving answers.
“Look back to my programming days, there was the occasional unsolvable puzzle when the available tools were simply not capable of deconstructing real-world problems. Today, I know that that sometimes all it takes is one unasked question to bring about a breakthrough in understanding. And that’s why communication is so important, regardless of technology.”
From an 80-dollar shift job as an IT engineer in Karachi to a manager in charge of sales in two countries and a team here in Penang, Faisal has come a long way from home and in his career at Intel. A proud geek at heart, his ﬁrst encounter with the company was in the form of a product review for the Pakistan market on a tech forum where he was a founding member of.
When the opening for a contract Tech Support Engineer ﬁnally came about, Faisal couldn’t say no and the rest as they say, is history. Compensation was not the most important criteria for him to join the company, but his personal interest in computers, gaming, and new tech in general. He held a contract position for two years before becoming a channel platform manager and eventually made the move to Malaysia after being hired into Inside Sales.
Faisal happily admits, “With Intel, I’m very biased. I love the company because the culture is unlike any other company I’ve seen. The ethics, code of conduct and people culture is immense. We don’t really do direct sales; it’s more about managing relationships.”
Faisal emphasizes transparency and mutual respect in his approach to management. “The doer needs to know what to do. The communicators and thinkers on the other hand, will have more discussions and stronger opinions. So, it’s about understanding, giving respect and being open with everyone.”
Learn more about the other team members and their careers in Transcending Borders: APJ Inside Sales – Part I.