Dream Big, Sell Bigger: Sales Career Advice from Alation Leadership

By Ryann Slone

Published on April 30, 2024

Confetti flying on a stage with several people

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in a sales job at Alation.

We don’t blame you! Our sales team is filled with curious and passionate people eager to share more about our leading data intelligence platform.

I recently connected with two of these sales superstars, Michael Lupo, SVP, global sales at Alation and Tassia Reinhold, our regional sales director, about their career journeys, what makes Alation special, and advice for future applicants.

Their Alation journeys

Lupo and Reinhold both came to Alation after collaborating together at IBM. As their careers progressed and they shifted into management, they developed new key skills that significantly contributed to Alation’s growth. “I joined Alation in late 2015,” Lupo recounts. “Prior to that, I was at IBM leading a team of analytics salespeople throughout the Midwest.”

I was the first salesperson hired here,” he continues. “As we grew, I became the leader of the entire North America team and two years later was selected to replace our CRO.”

In his time at Alation, Lupo has had the opportunity to grow as a professional in myriad ways. “As I moved into management, the learning is at a completely different level,” he reveals. “I’m thinking about, ‘How do we scale for the next two years of growth? How do we build avenues for individuals to develop their skills, make money, and find new ways to bring value to Alation?’ It’s incredibly rewarding, and I get to surround myself with the smartest and hardest-working people in the market today.”

Reinhold is among that group of people. Before Alation, I worked at IBM in the data and analytics space,” she says. “IBM was a great learning ground, but I was really excited about helping build an organization. I reached out to Michael and became the first AE that he hired for his central team at Alation. I moved into sales leadership about three years ago and I've managed a couple of different teams here, most recently our Midwest sales team.”

The chance to move from boots-on-the-ground salesperson to leader of salespeople gives Reinhold a valuable perspective. “I love that I'm able to be a leader that did the job of the people that I lead, because it allows me to empathize more and collaborate more effectively with my team.”

The Alation market opportunity

Today, organizations of all sizes struggle to maximize their data and analytics investments. Data leaders from all over the world are turning to data catalogs like Alation to help them drive ROI with data and analytics. In this way, Alation’s market-leading data intelligence platform has provided the perfect opportunity for these two sales leaders to grow in their careers — and help their teams do the same.

Shares Reinhold, “The problem that we solve is very omnipresent across a variety of industries and companies of all sizes.” As AI continues to take the world by storm, Reinhold goes on to explain why enterprises need Alation, stating, “People are much more educated about the fact that you have to have good data to have good AI, and I think the trends will continue to increase the opportunity for a product like Alation in the market.”

For Lupo, what sets Alation apart is our deep understanding of our customers’ needs. “We understand the customer journey better than anyone else in the market,” he asserts. “Alation is very intuitive to how different people come into using data within their organization, and we don't treat it as a one-size-fits-all solution.”

Part of Alation’s unique approach is how we help our customers solve their complex business problems with data. “People don't just need another catalog. They need to be able to use a tool and leverage data so that they can drive insights, solve problems, and mitigate risk,” says Lupo.

“Our most successful customers are solving complex business problems that move the needle and that their executives care about,” Lupo elaborates. “Those are the types of problems we solve better than anyone else.”

Celebrating accomplishments

From parties to promotions, Alation sure knows how to celebrate success.

And we have much to celebrate!

Alation has received 31 analyst and industry recognitions in the past year1, including being named a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Data Governance Solutions, Q3 2023 and taking home the gold as Databricks’ 2023 Data Governance Partner of the Year.

Lupo reminisces on his favorite moments, including Alation being named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management Solutions for the fourth year running. And don’t forget our 2022 Snowflake Summit party! “When we also were named Snowflake Data Governance Partner of the Year in 2022 and had a party in Las Vegas, we had almost a thousand people attend. That was also a crowning moment for me,” shares Lupo.

“What we've achieved is so hard to do, and people are envious of how far we've come,” Lupo proudly states. “Obviously, there's still more work to do, but it's nice to stop and smell the roses.”

The stage at an Alation afterparty at Tao in Las Vegas

Time to light up the night at our 2022 Snowflake Summit afterparty at Tao in Las Vegas

Our customers, partners, and Alationauts enjoying our 2022 Snowflake Summit afterparty at Tao in Las Vegas

Our customers, partners, and Alationauts enjoying our 2022 Snowflake Summit afterparty at Tao in Las Vegas

Even more important than our company's achievements are the accomplishments of our Alationauts. At our 2024 company kickoff, Alation introduced our new Account Manager role, providing the perfect opportunity for internal promotions amongst our sales superstars. Lupo played a key role in sharing the news, showering the new AMs with confetti as he brought them onstage.

“It was rewarding because these folks are at the earliest stage of their careers,” says Lupo. “They believe that Alation is a place to build their careers, similar to the way it was for me. That was a fun moment as a leader.”

Michael Lupo celebrates our new account managers with confetti

Michael Lupo celebrates our new account managers with confetti

Another way we reward our Alationauts is through our Alation Achievers Club trip, where our top sales achievers and value award winners toast to their accomplishments at destinations like Cabo and Puerto Rico. “It’s not just about celebrating our incredible salespeople,” explains Lupo. “You build these personal relationships and when you come back to work, you have a stronger foundation for how to partner with them.”

Our Alation Achievers Club winners celebrating their accomplishments in Puerto Rico

Our Alation Achievers Club winners celebrating their accomplishments in Puerto Rico

Whether it’s Club trips, promotions, or parties at Snowflake Summit, our Alationauts make these events so special. “I’ve found that the people are the most important part of our company,” Lupo reveals. “If we all like and know each other, we can then build a better business.”

Advice for Alation sales applicants

If you’re interested in joining our team, Lupo and Reinhold have some words of wisdom for the interview. “Be yourself,” Reinhold advises. “We have a lot of people with significant tenure here, and people don't stay somewhere for years where they're not successful and where they’re not enjoying the culture. We want to ensure that the people joining Alation are their full selves and that it's a great mutual fit.”

Lupo echoes that sentiment, also sharing what the perfect candidate looks like. “We want people who are intellectually curious about solving our customers’ needs. Bring your most creative, curious, and hardworking self, and think, ‘How can I help our customers solve their problems with Alation so we can get the outcomes they’re trying to achieve?’”

Our current Alationauts are a great reference point. “People at Alation are very good at what they do, but there's a humility there,” Reinhold explains. “Our Alationauts are kind, creative, and collaborative. So bring your full self to the interview process. This helps us mutually assess if it will be a great fit from a cultural perspective both ways.”

If you’re looking to turn the page in your career, Alation is the place to make that step. “I often say you don't join a startup because the book is already written. You join because you want to help write the story,” shares Reinhold. “The chapter of the story may be different depending on when you join, but we're still writing the story here at Alation.”

Reinhold has been able to build the Alation foundation brick by brick as she’s grown from working under Lupo to leading alongside him. “There's a lot of pride in feeling like, as the company continues to grow and succeed, that I helped build it,” Reinhold concludes. “There's so much opportunity for people to come in and continue to build this company, and that's really exciting.”

Join Alation

Want to work at Alation?

You’re in luck: this 4X Inc. Best Workplace winner is hiring! See our open roles, including Enterprise Account Executive positions in Chicago, Minnesota, and San Francisco.

Stay tuned for more details about our upcoming event in May to learn more about our sales culture and gain tips for nailing your application.

1 https://www.alation.com/news-and-press/

  • Their Alation journeys
  • The Alation market opportunity
  • Celebrating accomplishments
  • Advice for Alation sales applicants
  • Join Alation
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