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What’s a business without its sales and marketing teams? Utah Business is proud to present the 2023 Sales & Marketers of the Year honorees.

2023 Sales and Marketers of the Year

What’s a business without its sales and marketing teams? Utah Business is proud to present the 2023 Sales & Marketers of the Year honorees.
2023 Sales & Marketers of the Year Awards photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What’s a business without its sales and marketing teams? Utah Business is proud to present the 2023 Sales & Marketers of the Year honorees—individuals who’ve had a measurable impact on their company’s bottom line and are going above and beyond to share their visions with the world.

Best Digital Marketing Campaign

Jordan Green

Senior Account Manager | Max Connect Digital

LinkedIn

Jordan Green photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Jordan Green photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What does sales/marketing look like to you in a post-Covid world?

Being able to adapt and pivot quickly with your marketing strategy during changing times. Covid has changed the landscape of consumer purchasing, and finding new creative ways to market to those same consumers is always changing.

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

I love having the opportunity to work with different companies and find creative and unique ways to successfully help grow their business.

Best PR Launch

Chelsea Rider

Director of Content & Communications | Impartner

LinkedIn

Chelsea Rider photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Chelsea Rider photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What sales or marketing project/accomplishment is your company most proud of?

Our annual customer user conference, ImpartnerCON, has always been a momentous achievement and an iconic industry event. It’s one of the world’s largest vendor-led channel industry events for influential industry leaders and speakers to meet and collaborate. ImpartnerCON 2022 was bigger and better than ever, hosting more than 400 attendees. The event delivered an unparalleled and unforgettable experience with hologram technology showcasing conference speakers.

What does sales/marketing look like to you in a post-Covid world?

Connection should be at the center of all strategies—a brand that connects, messaging that connects, and events and in-person engagement that facilitates connection and collaboration. We’ve been hibernating for the past two years, and people crave that connection. Despite the unknowns approaching in 2023, we remain focused on tapping into the power of connection across all touchpoints, digital and physical.

Best Social Media Campaign

Bree Batt

Content Creator | Swig

Bree Batt photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Bree Batt photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What is your company’s favorite way to engage with your customers?

We love to make our customers a part of our menus! For example, we often give customers the opportunity to add a recipe to the menus and encourage them to make recommendations for new items that should be featured.

What sales or marketing project/accomplishment is your company most proud of?

During our Save The Cups campaign, we were able to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars to give back to our customers who are battling breast cancer.

Maria Caballero

Social Media Specialist | Extra Space Storage

LinkedIn

Maria Caballero photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Maria Caballero photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What sales/marketing advice do you have for other companies and organizations?

Fully understand your audience. You must be able to recognize your customer’s problems, needs, pains, and priorities. Think about the reason behind their purchasing decisions. Know what your customer’s journey looks like. These insights will help create the right campaigns that will resonate better with your audience. 

How does your company approach sales and marketing that sets you apart?

One of the core values at Extra Space Storage is innovation. Not only has innovation helped us keep our competitive edge, but it has also allowed our teams to stay motivated and explore new projects. Extra Space Storage is the pioneer of marketing initiatives in the self-storage industry. We are constantly testing new campaigns and shifting our strategy to better cater to our customer’s needs. 

Allison Foust

Suicide Prevention Program Administrator | Utah Department of Health and Human Services & Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition

LinkedIn

Allison Foust photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Describe your team’s performance/achievements during the past year or so.

The Live On campaign was launched by the Utah Department of Human Services in 2020 as a new effort to unify suicide prevention efforts across the state for the next three to five years. To address this mental health crisis, Live On opens up a conversation across communities and within families that solutions are out there and there are ways for everyone to get involved and

help save a life. With the national lifeline and crisis outreach teams focused on people in crisis situations, the Live On message aims further upstream to help family and friends make a difference in the lives of their struggling loved ones earlier in the prevention funnel. 

What sales or marketing project/accomplishment is your company most proud of?

The Live On Playbook. Live On Utah launched the world’s first suicide prevention training delivered for free entirely over Instagram. This is an innovative approach to educating the public about the warning signs for suicide, how to have difficult conversations, and where to seek help. At the time of this writing, 1.1 million users have seen the playbook on social, 406,000 have visited the account, 111,000 have viewed lesson one, 22,059 have completed the playbook, and the account has grown by nearly 200 new followers per day for the last month. To take this free course, visit @liveonutah on Instagram.

Best Use of Video

Jeff Paris

VP, Executive Creative Director | MasterControl

LinkedIn

Jeff Paris photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What sales/marketing advice do you have for other companies and organizations?

Don’t forget that creativity matters. You can’t engage your customers without strategic, thoughtful, creative executions. Most companies don’t worry about delivering communications in creative ways. It will absolutely differentiate your company.

How does your company approach sales and marketing that sets you apart?

We know our customers, both as an audience and personally. We understand their concerns and issues, their day-to-day experiences, and their aspirations. That means we are constantly working to deliver the communications that they need.

Sales Professional of the Year

Tony Borash

Chief Revenue Officer | V School

LinkedIn

Tony Borash photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What are the challenges/rewards of working in sales or marketing that might surprise people outside of the profession?

“Sales” is far too often a dirty word. There are negative connotations that go along with salesmen and sales that go way back and are typically tied to someone’s negative experience. I’m proud to have built a sales funnel that is focused on a prospect’s experience and with attention to a customer’s needs/value-driven process. The sales funnel represents not only the prospects’ objective but also the overwhelming sense of community that surrounds everything V-School does. Our sales team doesn’t have scripts; they don’t focus on controlling a conversation. Instead, we look for good humans who have a genuine desire to understand an individual’s needs and help them obtain those needs. 

What does success look like to you?

Success is often defined as the opposite of failure. When you first start in sales, you’re afraid to hear “no.” The longer you’re in, the smarter you get, and the more attempts you have, you start to realize that a “no” is not a failure. You will even start to phrase questions to get someone to say no (as in the book “World Class Selling” by Roy Chitwood). Success is also gauged by helping someone decide if the product that you are selling is a good fit for them and if they are a good customer. No arm twisting, no shenanigans. Integrity and trust are far more important than “closing a sale.”

Tyler Greene

Senior Director, Solution Engineering | Lucid Software

LinkedIn

Tyler Greene photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

I think the most important skill for a fulfilling career in sales is a passion for building real relationships and helping others overcome their challenges. There are no magic words or eloquent speeches that will instantly convince a prospect to sign a deal with you. Charisma is beneficial, but ultimately, trust with a customer is earned through empathy, mutual understanding, and genuine solutions. If you are someone who likes to learn new things constantly and is excited about untangling complex problems, then software sales could be for you.

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

I didn’t find sales; it found me. Early in my career, as I was getting pulled into calls with enterprise customers, I was surprised to find how creative, collaborative, and challenging these conversations were and how strategic the salesperson had to be for these calls to go well. There was no persuasion or trickery involved, but rather a partnership with the sole intent of finding real value and helping our prospects solve meaningful problems for their teams. Clearly, I had many misconceptions about what a career in sales actually entailed! It also became clear that it would be a great path for me.

Ben Hanson

Director of Corporate Sales | Thread Wallets

LinkedIn

Ben Hanson photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve just loved speaking to people. It didn’t matter if it was my best friend or a random person on the street—I wanted to talk to them. I love hearing people’s stories. I was never great at math, science, or things of that nature, but I’ve always loved chatting with people and learning more about them. I assumed that sales would just be a continuation of that. The most rewarding part of my job is working in tandem with someone to accomplish a goal. When I get to make someone’s day better with my job, it’s hard to beat.

What’s the most exciting campaign that you’ve worked on?

At the time of this writing, we just finished the initial stage of a collaboration with the Utah Jazz. It was super fun to watch that come to fruition. The deal started off as a small project—just us making a few wallets and lanyards for the Jazz—but it grew and grew until a large group of Thread employees was involved. It was inspiring to watch our team each contribute in their own individual way to add to the success of the project. We ended up launching the collab product at a Jazz game with a whole mini shop build-out and our own marketing campaign. At the game, it was super exciting to see people buy and love the product we created.

Chris Harrington

Chief Revenue Officer | Entrata

LinkedIn

Chris Harrington photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

If I am being honest, the skills piece is the easy piece; you can always develop skills. I also think there is a view that to be successful in sales, you have to be an amazing dynamic speaker. While these assets can certainly add a great deal of value to you in the sales profession, the real value comes from your ability to get information out of the customer you are selling to. You will make a successful sales executive not by what you say but by what you learn. Be curious! While technical knowledge and skill sets are nice foundations, they can always be taught on the job. If you don’t have personal accountability, I would recommend choosing another career path.

What does sales/marketing look like to you in a post-Covid world?

As with other shifts, Covid made us uncomfortable, and we collectively (buyer and seller) had to work with a new set of conditions. While sales and marketing have traditionally been in-person positions, we were able to evolve and embrace new tools that are proving effective even as we have seen the pendulum shift towards being able to be in-person in the ways we would like. There are just more arrows in our quiver now, and we are more adaptable. I am seeing a great deal more face-to-face interactions with customers. My team and I are on the road at roughly 65 percent of pre-Covid levels at this stage, which I love.

Reed Hart

Salt Lake City Division Manager | ARCO Design/Build

LinkedIn

Reed Hart photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

People. My background is in construction management and engineering. For many, these can be very analytical roles that tend to neglect interpersonal communication and relationships. For me, taking the time to relate to our customers on a more personal level is the key to understanding their business and solving their problems. ARCO customers trust us with tens of millions of dollars to design/build their warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Our business with them cannot just be transactional. Meaningful relationships are essential for our business model and my personal approach toward business. I would have it no other way.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2023?

Many of the deals we contracted over the last 18 months will be complete in 2023. It will be very satisfying to hand over the keys to hundreds of thousands of square feet of modern and efficient warehouse space to distributors and manufacturers that really need it.

Maralee Jensen

Producing Branch Manager | Axia Home Loans

LinkedIn

Maralee Jensen photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What does success look like to you?

For me, it is when life and work share a balanced harmony. While this doesn’t happen in the world of sales very often, I try and savor those moments when they do happen. The ultimate compliment that life has given me is watching each one of my four amazing children surpass my level of success in both work and family—with grace, kindness, and tenacity. The ultimate compliment that work has given me is when my clients allow me to be their “lender for life.” I have several three-generation families that I have worked with, from grandparents to parents and grandchildren. That is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

Know your product inside, and don’t sell anything that you would not buy yourself! Be transparent and honest in your dealings. The person is more important than the product.

 

Marketing Professional of the Year

David Ball

VP, Marketing | Swipejobs

LinkedIn

David Ball photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

Marketing sort of came to me. I was a freshman at Utah State and participated in a Red Bull Chariot Race, where I broke my wrist in a pretty stylish crash. Fitting enough, the good people at Red Bull thought I would be a good candidate to join their Student Brand Manager program after the event. From there, I started down the road of learning how to be a marketer. I’ve stayed in marketing because I love how much it intersects with all facets of a business. I’ve never had a dream job, but I want to be in career positions where I get to move as many pieces on the board as possible, not just be really good at moving one or two of them. Marketing gives me the chance to move all across the board and collaborate with other stakeholders. 

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

Go and do! The only way to learn marketing is to go and do it. The first time I built out a Facebook ad was when I was teaching the CMO of a company I was consulting on how to build Facebook ads. Also, ask “why” all of the time. Why did you buy the last non-essential item you got? Why did someone send you the emails you delete every morning in your inbox? As for the ones you opened, why did that work? You can learn just from how you yourself are being marketed to each day.

Ashley Bloxham

EVP, Marketing & Sales | Thomasarts (TA)

LinkedIn

Ashley Bloxham photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

You have more valuable perspectives and skills than you realize. As a consumer, you have been exposed to sales and marketing your whole life. And, as a human being, you have emotions, desires, motivations, fears, etc., just like anyone else. Being in tune with those aspects of the human experience, and channeling genuine empathy into your marketing and sales approach, will take you further than you know. It comes down to espousing a genuine curiosity about your target audience and building your approaches with a mindset of serving your audience. This mindset, along with education, experience, and practice, will take you further than you might expect.

What does success look like to you?

Year-over-year growth as an agency is obviously important, but not at the compromise of our employees and their well-being. As a sales and marketing leader, I deem myself a success when I am achieving the right balance of agency growth and success with teams that are growing, progressing, and deriving satisfaction from their job. I am the most satisfied when client relationships are strong and mutually positive for the agency, our clients, and the individuals we entrust to drive our client’s business forward.

Ben Craner

Chief Marketing Officer | Greenix

LinkedIn

Ben Craner photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What are the challenges/rewards of working in sales or marketing that might surprise people outside of the profession?

Working in the marketing world is often portrayed as glamorous photo shoots, groundbreaking creative development, or collaborative brainstorming sessions with young, hip people wearing turtlenecks while sipping expensive exotic lattes. It’s not. Good marketing typically occurs in vacant offices after 7 p.m. while the janitorial crew vacuums the hallway across from you. Diving deep into Excel workbooks, DOMO dashboards, and Google Analytics, paired with leftovers heated in the microwave, are usually where the differences live. I am the most excited when developing creative ideas, intelligent strategies, and campaigns at times when most people would have given up.

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

I’m attracted to marketing because I like solving problems. Solving the marketing puzzle is difficult; solving it in a sophisticated way that drives engaging results, measurable success, and cult-like brand loyalty is an entirely different game. Ultimately, I’m driven by building marketing strategies that benefit consumers and companies alike. I keep coming back for seconds because strategies change, behaviors evolve, and the marketing puzzle pieces rattle loose from one another.

Nicole Gowans

Creative Services Manager | OptConnect

LinkedIn

Nicole Gowans photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

An exciting aspect of marketing is that it is often driven by trial and error. It is a very hands-on industry. What may work well for one person or company does not work for another. Bringing different skills, ideas, knowledge, etc., to marketing can be a really beneficial thing. Take what you already know, and let those previous experiences guide you to learn and develop new skills. It is easy to get overwhelmed by everything going on in the industry, but find a specific piece that really interests you and start there. 

What does success look like to you?

While data and hard results are obviously important, I always try to find ways to be intrinsically motivated. When I come up with a new idea or design that I am particularly proud of, in some ways, it does not matter to me how well it performs or what external validation I receive. As long as I can take ideas that I love and continue to learn from them and develop my skills, I find success in that.

McCain Kennedy

Founder & COO | Set Fire Creative

LinkedIn

McCain Kennedy photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

I got my first taste of marketing in high school while taking a graphic design class. I still remember the first time I was walking through the hallways at school and saw a poster I had designed for an upcoming event hanging up on the walls. From that moment on, my love for marketing grew as I learned more about its many facets—design, copywriting, TV, radio, etc. It wasn’t until college that I began learning more specifically about digital marketing. What keeps me interested in marketing is how quickly it evolves. It’s an industry you can’t get bored of, and I’m excited to see what marketing will be like ten years from now.

What are the challenges/rewards of working in sales or marketing that might surprise people outside of the profession?

One of the biggest challenges in marketing is creating a well-rounded marketing strategy that is tailored to a specific company or brand. I often speak to business owners that believe what worked for their friend’s business will work for their business—not understanding that every company needs a unique marketing strategy based on their product/service, industry, audience, and budget. The biggest reward, of course, is seeing a tailored marketing strategy succeed. At Set Fire Creative, the greatest joy I receive is from calls and emails from clients letting us know that, due to our efforts, they just had a record sales month, they’re growing their team, or they’re finally able to turn their side hustle into their full-time business.

Harley Ringer

Sr. Director, Digital Marketing | Lucid Software

LinkedIn

Harley Ringer photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t think they have the skills needed to be a sales or marketing person?

From my perceptive, the most important skills a marketer can have are centered around flexibility and critical thinking. Those who excel in marketing tend to have a strong desire to learn, they’re adaptable, and they’re comfortable operating in ambiguity. Some of the best marketers I’ve worked with have come from unconventional backgrounds, but all seem to share these characteristics.

What does sales/marketing look like to you in a post-Covid world?

The rise of remote work has created an increasingly decentralized workforce, and the line between personal and professional lives has blurred. We’re consuming more media on more devices than ever before. Reaching the right audience at the right moment—cutting through the noise—has become increasingly important. Success in a post-Covid world will require an almost hyper-focus on relevance and making every touchpoint count.

Stan Sorensen

CMO | Altabank, Division of Glacier Bank

LinkedIn

Stan Sorenson photographed by MANICPROJECT for Utah Business

Why were you initially attracted to sales or marketing? Why do you remain there?

I fell in love with software, and I was a good communicator. Marketing was the way to bring these together. I stay in marketing because it is ever-changing. I am still learning and still challenged. Plus, I work with great people who I learn from and genuinely like spending time with.

What are the challenges/rewards of working in sales or marketing that might surprise people outside of the profession?

Most people see marketing campaigns once they are in flight. They don’t see the data analysis that goes into planning a campaign or the multiple versions of creative during development. It’s always a bit eye-opening for people when I present a campaign with the data used to make decisions.

Find additional photos from the 2023 Sales & Marketers of the Year Awards event for download here.

Mekenna is the assistant editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music, and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake, and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading, and taking camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.

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