Stories of CCX
How Working Hands-On Transformed a Configuration Engineer’s Experience
Finding a job in a new field can be daunting. Transitions are hard to manage and making the right choice for your first position can be intimidating, especially if you’re at the beginning of your journey. But Ashwani Kumar Pandey knew exactly what he was looking for when he chose CommerceCX.
“I know the culture of a startup,” he says, about his first experience interviewing with CCX’s India leads. “They listen to you. They encourage you in everything, with what you’re doing. You use your potential to your fullest.”
And Ashwani wanted to use his potential. He had years of experience in sales and using Salesforce as a salesperson and wanted to learn more about the CRM platform. CommerceCX appealed to him for a number of reasons, like its learning opportunities and history of providing services to many sectors, including healthcare giants like Philips Healthcare and IQVIA. Having worked with aspects of Salesforce CRM, CPQ, QTC, and CLM, CommerceCX seemed like a good opportunity to employ that knowledge.
It also gave him the opportunity to learn hands-on.
“I’m not from a technical background, I haven’t learned Java or coding skills,” he says. “I started as a core salesperson, telecalling, and you know, selling something. But I always wanted to move to Salesforce.”
CommerceCX hired Ashwani as an Associate Configuration Engineer, with the understanding that he would require training. That training started with working as a junior on a client project and getting a real idea of what salesforce CPQ is doing.
“They knew everything about my past experience and gave me ample time to learn and grow myself in different aspects,” Ashwani says.
Part of this was through hands-on learning on client projects. CommerceCX subscribes to the 70-20-10 model of learning, which says that 70 percent of learning happens through hands-on experience, 20 percent comes through mentorship and professional relationships, and 10 percent happens in coursework and training.
Ashwani already had experience with coursework and training before joining CommerceCX—he began studying for and passed the Salesforce CPQ Specialist exam in just 15-20 days—but says that the most significant learning experiences have come through working on real projects with real clients.
“Learning those skills in a real-time project with that kind of pressure teaches you so many things.”
As a configuration engineer, he has worked on projects for accounting companies, oil and natural gas companies, HVAC services companies, and financial services companies, and says that this variation in client types is one of the best things about working for CommerceCX.
“These are all different industries, but the application is same,” he says. “And how to do it might be the same, but you have to learn to configure it to specifics. But if you’re comfortable with the platform, you can do it, which I have learned in Salesforce.”
Hands-on training continues even after people have become comfortable. Ashwani recounts a recent instance when he learned something new for his current client.
“In my last project, they started asking me about SOQL queries. They’re very easy, but I hadn’t come across that particular term. So CommerceCX guided me in what is SOQL and how to apply it to Salesforce.”
Working on projects, every day is a day to learn something new. But Ashwani also enjoys the chance to bring what he already knows to solving client problems.
For a lot of people with technical backgrounds, the learning curve comes with learning how sales and business processes work. Ashwani, though, already had plenty of hands-on experience using Salesforce for Sales.
“I’ve used Salesforce as a salesperson,” he says, about his experience at previous companies. “After some time, I realized that maybe sales is not my cup of tea, but I know all the challenges people are facing and how automation something really helps salespeople a lot.”
Most often, Ashwani combines his experience with sales with what he’s learned about Salesforce Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ). CPQ applications are designed to streamline and automate the sales quoting process, especially for businesses with complicated pricing, who might have different prices for different customers, different product models, different countries, etc. Ashwani says this complexity can be a real hassle for salespeople.
“You a sales representative don’t want to think on a call, you want to be able to put the options forward and make a recommendation,” he says. “As configuration engineers, we develop an ecosystem where salespeople don’t have to give a second thought about a recommendation. If there are products X, Y, and Z and the system can show that only X fits the customer’s needs, that’s really time saving, really efficient.”
Ashwani has even found cases where he’s helped sales teams overcome exactly the same problems that he faced as a salesperson. When working with a client company with multiple divisions, he found that each division had a different logo that needed to be changed on each quote, depending on the product. Manually changing the logos for each quote every time was a nightmare—but one that Ashwani had already encountered and understood.
“I was in a company where I faced the same problem and it really helped me understand the problem the client was facing,” he says.
Experience not only informed his understanding, it informed his solution—and the client was happier for it.
For Ashwani, the experience he needed to grow and the opportunity to apply his past learned experience has made him a skilled configuration engineer and let him grow into a position where he frequently works directly with clients.
And if the client is happy, that happiness is shared. Ashwani describes times when CEO Vinay Toomu or Head of India Operations Vasanth Mosoor have spotlighted employee efforts and accomplishments. He remembers a specific instance when a client praised Ashwani’s work and the two leads shared that feedback with his colleagues.
“If someone is doing good, the company is there to back them up,” he says. “It’s a very good gesture of the company.”
This article is part of our series Stories of CommerceCX, which seeks to collect and record employee experiences into a series of articles exploring their history and growth and how CommerceCX’s investment in goodwill and employees’ quality-of-life leads to positive business results. Read more Stories of CCX here.