Women Talk Tech and Innovation: Featuring Roni Langford

Discover navigating the evolving tech sales world with Roni Langford's expert advice. Join us in learning about how her transformative journey highlights diversity, innovation, and empathy in tech sales.

Navigating the thrilling and challenging terrains of the tech industry, particularly in sales, one uncovers a universe ripe with innovation, resilience, and the art of relationship-building.

Recently, we had the opportunity to gain insight from a luminary in tech sales, Roni Langford, the Director of Sales and Marketing at ACF. A seasoned professional in tech sales, Roni highlights the crucial blend of relationship-building, emotional intelligence, and adaptability to thrive in the rapidly evolving landscape of technology sales.

This encounter wasn't just a lesson in perseverance but a masterclass in the intrinsic human elements that fuel the engine of sales success and how business development transcends mere transactions. It's about cultivating genuine connections and nurturing them with trust, empathy, and understanding. Her insight illuminated the dual responsibility that professionals bear to their clients by understanding their needs and aspirations, and to their team by fostering internal collaboration and alignment. This duality forms the backbone of successful endeavors in the tech sales realm. 

But what steers the ship in this dynamic landscape? Emotional intelligence, she emphasized, stands out as the unsung hero. The ability to perceive subtleties, empathize, and adapt to a motley of personalities is what differentiates a good salesperson from a great one. Another crucial skill set is the ability to 'read the room' - understanding the context of every interaction, gauging moods, and adjusting one's approach accordingly. This nuanced mastery of social dynamics is what makes one proficient in navigating the complex human elements of sales.

Shifting the focus towards fostering gender diversity in tech sales leadership over the next decade, the conversation showcases the importance of inclusion, continuous learning, resilience, and collaboration across various teams. Roni advocates for women to leverage their unique perspectives, champion diversity within their organizations, and approach sales with empathy and confidence:

"As women in the tech industry—or any field—we must cultivate unwavering self-belief. Our journey begins by recognizing the boundless potential within ourselves."

Further, Roni believes in encouraging diversity not just for the sake of representation but for the infusion of varied perspectives and ideas that drive innovation and challenge stagnant norms. 

In conclusion, navigating the tech sales landscape requires a harmonious blend of innovation, resilience, emotional intelligence, and a commitment to continuous learning and diversity. Roni's insights not only shed light on the current trends shaping the industry but also underscore the timeless virtues of empathy, relationship-building, and adaptability. As we forge ahead, it's clear that the path to success in tech sales is paved with the efforts of individuals who are keen to bridge gaps, challenge norms, and foster an inclusive environment. For women in tech, this represents a unique opportunity to leverage their distinct perspectives, drive meaningful change, and pave the way for future generations.

"The tech sales world is not just about transactions; it's about transforming lives and shaping the future through every sale, every innovation, and every connection made."

Roni's narrative is a testament to the power of perseverance, the importance of genuine connections, and the profound impact of leading with empathy and confidence. As we reflect on these lessons, let us all, regardless of gender, strive to embody these principles in our professional journeys, encouraging a more inclusive, innovative, and impactful tech industry for years to come.

Check out the Q&A below to gain more perspective from this sales tech guru and don't forget to connect with her on  LinkedIn!

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Q&A with Roni Langford

1. What motivated you to embrace a leadership role within tech sales, and what has your path looked like to get to where you are today?

My professional journey has been deeply rooted in science. For years, I served as a Medical Technologist specializing in Microbiology within the health industry. During this time, I cultivated valuable relationships within the healthcare space.

As my career evolved, I found myself drawn to the business development side of healthcare. It was during this transition that a startup IT company reached out to me. Their proposition intrigued me, aligning perfectly with my passion for staying connected to the ever-evolving landscape of science and technology.

Ultimately, I made the decision to join ACF Technologies. The company’s commitment to cutting-edge technology, coupled with its unwavering focus on enhancing customer experience, resonated deeply with me. I am excited to contribute my expertise and be part of this dynamic team.

2. What efforts do you think are essential for companies to undertake to support and amplify the roles of women in tech sales?

In today’s dynamic business landscape, companies must adapt to industry shifts. To thrive, they should prioritize hiring the most qualified individuals for each role. Equally important is fostering professional growth through mentorship, comprehensive training, and opportunities for advancement.

True leadership begins from within. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to receive guidance from both men and women who served as my mentors. Now, I find myself in a similar role, mentoring others. It’s not just a responsibility; it’s a mindset—an unwavering commitment to fostering excellence.

My passion lies in tackling challenges head-on. I thrive in competitive environments, leveraging that drive to push boundaries and achieve remarkable outcomes.
Let us collectively champion a culture of continuous learning, mentorship, and resilience. By doing so, we contribute to the success of our organizations and empower the next generation of leaders.

3. Can you share a key piece of advice for young women looking to ascend to sales leadership positions in the technology sector?

As women in the tech industry—or any field—we must cultivate unwavering self-belief. Our journey begins by recognizing the boundless potential within ourselves. Here are some essential steps to thrive:

  • Vision and Self-Confidence: Believe in the Possible: Visualize success, set ambitious goals, and trust in your ability to achieve them. Confidence is the cornerstone of progress.
  • Strategic Choices: Forge a Positive Future: Every decision matters. Choose paths that align with your aspirations. Seek opportunities that contribute to personal and professional growth.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay Informed and Relevant: Education is our compass. Attend workshops, pursue certifications, and stay abreast of industry trends. Knowledge fuels innovation.
  • Curiosity and Exploration: Stretch Your Mind and Boundaries: Embrace curiosity. Explore uncharted territories, experiment fearlessly, and challenge conventional thinking. Growth lies beyond comfort zones.
  • Collaboration and Support: Seek Brilliance in Others: No one succeeds alone. Surround yourself with brilliant minds—mentors, peers, and allies. Collaborate, learn, and uplift each other.

4. Are there any mentors or role models within the tech world who have inspired your sales leadership approach?

My team serves as my inspiration. The tech professionals I collaborate with possess a unique blend of wit and curiosity. Their forward-looking mindset celebrates the vision of “what’s next.” The advantage of technology professionals:

  • Intellectual Agility: Wit and Interest: Tech enthusiasts engage in lively discussions, share novel ideas, and approach challenges with intellectual agility. Their zest for learning keeps our environment vibrant.
  • Futuristic Outlook: Embracing Tomorrow: These individuals aren’t content with the status quo. They thrive on envisioning the future—anticipating trends, disruptive technologies, and transformative shifts.
  • Collective Growth: Collaboration and Empathy: Our collaborative ethos fosters growth. We recognize that our collective success hinges on supporting one another. Together, we elevate our platform.
  • User-Centric Approach: Empathy and Impact: Tech professionals prioritize the end user. Their solutions are not merely functional; they resonate with the people who rely on our platform. User satisfaction drives our innovation.

In this dynamic ecosystem, I find purpose and motivation. Let’s continue to champion excellence, foster collaboration, and create meaningful impact among each other.

5. Discuss a sales achievement or initiative under your leadership that you find particularly significant or rewarding.

During my early days in sales, I inherited a book of business upon assuming my role. Alongside that, I was entrusted with a group of “lost customers”—those who had ceased using our products. Among them was our largest customer, who had parted ways with us.
Undiscouraged, I committed to consistent outreach over the course of a year. The result? Our once-lost customer returned. This experience taught me invaluable lessons:

  • Business Development as Relationship Development: Success in sales hinges on more than transactions; it’s about fostering genuine connections. Whether within our organization or externally, relationships drive growth.
  • Dual Responsibility: We bear a dual responsibility—to our clients and to our team. Internally, collaboration and alignment are essential. Externally, understanding our clients' needs and aspirations is paramount.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Beyond technical skills, emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role. Sensing unspoken cues, empathizing, and adapting to diverse personalities—all contribute to effective relationship management.
  • Reading the Room: In any interaction, context matters. “Reading the room” involves perceiving nuances, gauging moods, and adjusting our approach accordingly. It’s an art that enhances our effectiveness.

As we navigate the dynamic landscape of business development, let’s remember that every interaction is an opportunity to build bridges, foster trust, and create lasting impact.

6. In your view, what are the groundbreaking trends in technology sales that are transforming the industry?

Honestly, there are so many exciting emerging technologies that include market demand and innovative ideas:

  • First and foremost Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: This will only continue to advance with applications moving across all industries; healthcare, finance, and autonomous vehicles will be impacted, just to name a few.
  • The Future of being connected: 5G isn’t yet what it can be. With the advent of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), faster digital connections are on the horizon. Implementing these connections in areas like mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail could boost global economic growth.
  • Low-Code Development Platforms: The market for low-code development platforms is projected to grow at a compounded rate. It will empower developers to create applications faster and with more efficiency.

Remember, these trends will not only impact businesses but also shape the modern workplace and our daily lives. Buckle up for an exciting tech-filled future!

7. Finally, if you could convey one message to the next generation of women aspiring to lead in tech sales, what would that message be?

As you embark on your journey in this dynamic field, I want to share some insights and encouragement:

  • Embrace Your Unique Perspective: Your voice matters. As a woman, you bring a fresh perspective to the table. Don’t shy away from sharing your ideas, challenging norms, and advocating for innovative solutions. Your diversity is an asset.
  • Learn Continuously: Technology evolves rapidly. Stay curious and committed to learning. Attend workshops, read industry blogs, and engage with thought leaders. Knowledge is your compass; use it to navigate uncharted territories.
  • Build Authentic Relationships: Sales isn’t just about closing deals; it’s about building lasting connections. Be genuinely interested in your clients’ needs. Understand their pain points, aspirations, and goals. Trust is the foundation of successful partnerships.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Sales can be tough. You’ll face rejection, setbacks, and tough negotiations. But remember, each “no” brings you closer to a “yes.” Adaptability is your superpower—pivot, learn, and persevere.
  • Collaborate Across Teams: Sales doesn’t happen in isolation. Collaborate with product teams, engineers, and marketing. Understand the entire ecosystem. Your ability to bridge gaps and communicate effectively is invaluable.
  • Advocate for Inclusion: Champion diversity within your organization. Encourage mentorship programs, sponsor other women, and amplify underrepresented voices. We rise together.
    Lead with Empathy: Understand your clients’ pain points deeply. How can your solution alleviate their challenges? Empathy fuels impactful sales conversations.
  • Negotiate with Confidence: Know your worth. Don’t hesitate to negotiate. Be assertive, backed by data. You’re not just selling a product; you’re solving problems.
    Celebrate Wins, Learn from Losses: Celebrate every milestone—big or small. Learn from failures; they’re stepping stones to growth.
  • Remember Your Impact: Every sale impacts lives—whether it’s streamlining processes, enhancing productivity, or enabling innovation. Your work matters.

You’ve got this! The tech sales world awaits your brilliance. March forward, break barriers and leave a trail for the next generation.

I’ll see you there!

A Fellow Woman in Tech Sales