Meet The Candybox Team: Dylan Rodgers

At Candybox, one of the things we are most proud of is the team we’ve built. Great work requires great people, and we think ours are some of the best in the industry.

We’re a smart, friendly and diverse group who are passionate about what we do and the people we work with. Our expertise and team spirit helps us create solutions that go far beyond the basics.

In this post, we’re highlighting one of our OGs – Dylan Rodgers!

How’d you get into Salesforce in the first place?

I’ve technically been in Salesforce since day 1 of my career.

My first exposure to Salesforce was during my studies. At college, I studied Information Systems, and we did a mini project implementing a rudimentary Salesforce instance. After graduating, I landed an interview for a Sales Systems role which involved a take-home Salesforce exercise. In hindsight, it was very easy, but I passed, so no complaints! My very first day in that role ended up being the first day of Dreamforce, so that was a fun start. I was given admin access on day 1 and learnt most of my skills on the job, which is generally how you did it back then since it was 2014 and Trailhead wasn’t even a thing yet. 

Thinking about it, I’ve spent ⅔ of my adult life in the Salesforce ecosystem!

What interested you about Salesforce initially?

People who got into Salesforce around the same time as me didn’t necessarily strive to get a Salesforce role the way many people do now. Many of us fell into it by chance because they were interested in business systems and an opportunity happened to open up. But, once you’re in you, start to realize how much of the tech world Salesforce is driving. It’s truly the quintessential SaaS company. 

After I found myself in Salesforce, I realized it was a great way to advance my career in many aspects. It naturally draws you into the heart of a business. In the first year of my career, I worked on multiple projects that really impacted the bottom line of the business, which is not something I think I would have been able to experience on many other career paths. I really liked how I got to work with Sales, Customer Success, Partnerships – basically every team within a business. 

What attracted you to Candybox?

I worked with Kathryn, the founder of Candybox, at a previous company before moving on to an opportunity at Uber. Sometime in 2018, I was in Amsterdam, where she lived at the time, on a business trip and we grabbed dinner. I remember casually chatting about eventually moving into consulting and throwing around some possibilities, so I think that thought had always been in the back of both of our minds, though it wasn’t a high priority for me at the time.

My main goals at the time were to leave San Francisco and work abroad, as well as go more into sales strategy, with the long term goal of moving back into a systems role and then into independent consulting. Shortly after, a lot of those things ended up happening, as I was moved to a role in Mexico City for a year to work on building out LatAm operations. 

Eventually that project wrapped up and I moved back to New York, at which point Covid hit. That pushed me out of my comfort zone and I felt it was finally time to explore something new and different. Kathryn had let me know the door was open for me any time, so I gave notice, took a little time off, but realized after just a couple of weeks that I was already bored and ready to start exploring the opportunity with Candybox.

What are some interesting/exciting trends you’re seeing in RevOps/consulting?

The first thing that comes to mind is that RevOps itself has become a trend. When I first started working in Salesforce, there was zero concept of RevOps. You’d have Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, maybe Success Ops if you were lucky, and they all operated separately, leading to all the issues you’d expect from working out of silos.

These days, you see so many more conversations around Revenue Operations. On a daily basis, you see so many people talking about it on LinkedIn, or at conferences. This has made it much easier than it used to be to get buy-in from companies that are considering leveling up their business operations and Salesforce infrastructure. 

Another thing I’m seeing is that many more conversations are being initiated by a company’s Finance department, which would have been unheard of before. It’s a game changer when you have investment from Finance from the beginning with the understanding that investing in Revenue Operations will allow them to scale and save money down the road. I’m seeing something similar at venture capital firms with much more awareness being devoted to operations, tech stacks, and centralization of the teams managing your business systems and processes.

Salesforce itself has also grown a lot, too. Their investments in education – for example, Trailhead, and the learning community – has led to leaps in developing talent, which means that there are more and more great people to work with from a variety of backgrounds.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking about working with a Salesforce consulting partner?

The number one recommendation I have is to work with a partner that has experience in your industry and/or vertical. Even if you consider your operating model to be fairly typical, there are risks you run working with a generalist consultancy. It’s not a question of whether the consultants you work with have consulting experience or not, but rather whether they understand your business and your industry, and can benchmark what good processes and tooling look like for your use case.

It’s very valuable to have someone who can challenge your assumptions – a thought partner who can come up with ideas and bring in best practices. You only really get that when you work with a consultant that has deep industry knowledge for your particular business.

The other piece of advice that I have is that, if you’re earlier stage and you only have partner sales or founder-led sales, keep things fairly light in Salesforce. Avoid buying a bunch of different tools right off the bat and stick to out of the box functionality as far as possible. Unless you have a very high-volume model, don’t worry too much about efficiency, but rather flexibility. 

Although many sales orgs run in a similar way, you won’t know exactly how you need things to look and operate until you have hired that team, and you don’t want to end up with unnecessary tech debt because you attempted to automate everything before the ideal process was clear.

What advice do you have for people who are just getting into Salesforce?

Salesforce has made so many investments in the learning paths available. Junior people with a self-starter attitude can learn incredibly quickly. Study some modules, get admin certified, and hang in there till you land your first role and you can grow super fast if you find the right opportunity.

That said, I do think more people should work on their skills in cleaning up and manipulating data in Excel. The need isn’t going to go away and it’s super useful and applicable to the work you’ll be doing in Salesforce. 

What are your thoughts on remote work?

I’ll answer this question from a people management perspective, having managed both people sitting next to me and people on other continents. 

For me, it’s critical as the manager of a remote team to keep in mind how much time you need to consciously and deliberately devote to developing your team interpersonally. Although there are a lot of benefits to working remotely, it does make a difference to your relationships when you’ve not met in person. 

In a remote environment, it’s more important than ever to reserve time and energy for your team and to communicate candidly. Your team is the core of what you do, so make sure you focus on supporting people. It’s how you’ll keep them in the long run. 

Enough Salesforce! What do you like doing outside of work?

Funnily enough, being at Candybox is the first time I’ve ever worked remotely. Being in the office was a big social outlet for me, and without that, I’ve put a lot more emphasis on activities outside of work. 

I’m part of a softball team – play 3 times a week and I look forward to that a lot. It helps me draw a line between home and work and keep a good work-life balance. I also do a lot of strength training and might compete for the first time at the end of the year. 

I also like cooking – I took cooking classes back in the day and people buy me cookbooks for my birthday, so I like to experiment. My rescue dog, Namyi, enjoys keeping me company 🙂