For being such a young company, Groupon has grown tremendously since its inception in 2008. Flash forward ~7 years later: we’re global, building out a marketplace, and Sarah Greubel has gone from Account Executive to Director of Sales for GrouponLive. Not bad!
You were previously in Sales at Wells Fargo (among other places) before coming to Groupon. What spurred your decision to leave what you knew and join a burgeoning startup? While the banking industry is undeniably sexy, it wasn’t where I saw myself long term. When a good friend of mine mentioned the Groupon opportunity to me, I was intrigued by the unknown and excited for a change. During my interview process, everyone I spoke with was genuinely thrilled to be a part of something so potentially groundbreaking, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. Little did I know I was interviewing for the fastest growing e-commerce company of all time. Not. Too. Shabby.
So what was Groupon really like in 2009? Exhilarating and super weird (the good kind of weird). The amount of loyalty and ownership amongst the employees was unlike anything I had ever been a part of. Early mornings and late nights, not because anyone asked us to, but because we were all that excited to prove ourselves. We were launching new markets daily; deals were only live for 24 hours, tipping points and side deals were a thing, our site was primarily green, and the buy button was on the left side. Company “All Hands” meetings were held in a small conference room, our “finance guy” was also our “customer service guy” and “IT guy,” and Snarf’s was called “Kitsch’n.”
While we’ve had to change quite a bit in order to scale over the years, the ‘work hard play hard’ mentality and genuine sense of ownership and pride still exists. It’s tough to do with a company our size, but I think we’ve done a great job.
You started as an Account Executive and are now Director of Sales for Groupon Live; what do you attribute to your success here? Being a hardworking and thoughtful employee. At the core, I really do believe it’s as simple as that. I try to kick ass in whatever position I’m in while having an attitude and work ethic that people want to be around. Given the pace of this place, you never know what opportunities are around the corner, and so long as you’re doing awesome, meaningful work, you’ll find yourself as a candidate for these opportunities. I’ve also invested myself in learning about the organization outside of the Sales department; it’s given me a sense of appreciation for all of the moving parts and has made me a more well-rounded and effective employee.
So what is GrouponLive? GrouponLive is a dedicated team formed around our Joint Venture with LiveNation and Ticketmaster. All Groupon features in the music, arts and theatre, comedy, family and sports realm are managed through our team (Nikki Minaj, Chicago White Sox, Radio City Rockettes, Oddball Comedy Tour, Riot Fest, Disney On Ice etc..). We’ve got an incredible team that encompases sales, account management, operations, merchandising, and product and engineering…our very own company within the broader Groupon org, and we love it. Having the ability to focus on one vertical within the company has made this team extraordinarily specialized, confident, and effective in the space. We’ve grown over 50% in gross billings every year since our team’s existence, and have become one of the major players in ticketing space. The most exciting part is that we’re just getting started
What qualities have you seen in the most successful reps you’ve managed? Beyond the obvious smart, tenacious, quick thinker, problem solver, etc. these are some additional qualities I often find in successful reps:
- Focused: Change is part of our DNA. If we can’t adapt to the needs of the business, we’re in trouble. Change impacts the sales world heavily, and it takes a special kind of sales rep to be able to successfully focus on what’s in their control and push hard even when times get tough.
- Eager: You can’t make someone want it. It’s the difference between coming to work and wanting to crush it vs. coming to work because it’s Tuesday and that’s what you have to do to collect your base pay. (And let’s be real: those days happen, but they have to be the exception, not the rule).
- Sense of Ownership: Sales is responsible for creating a feature that meets both the merchant’s and Groupon’s goals while ensuring it’s something that inspires our subscribers to buy. That’s a big responsibility. Reps that can own that mindset and take matters into their own hands to ensure we’re doing what’s best for everyone is one that will stop at nothing to get it right. Just because something doesn’t fall under their technical ‘roles and responsibilities’ doesn’t stop them from getting it done.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen at Groupon? Maybe the time a male ballerina walked the floors of Groupon for two straight weeks. Not a real male ballerina, that would be normal(ish), but a relatively hairy man in a leotard and tutu…with no explanation. Or the time we took a company field trip to the Lyric Opera to film our video holiday card, decked out in choir robes and singing opera, in German. Video proof: enjoy!
Anything else? I’m originally from Akron Ohio, and like everyone else from Ohio, I’m proud of it. I have the palette of a 10-year-old, love a good weekend getaway and have a major appreciation for clothes (and shoes and accessories- scarves, specifically). I’m a sucker for any good sports story and love spending time with friends and family. I’m married to a pretty awesome fella named Charlie, and we are expecting our first baby girl in March 2016. I really hope she likes grilled cheese.
Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Check out our GLive opportunities if you’re interested in being part of the dream team.