Meet Amber Lyon, Sales Manager at Spring Health and Primary Mastermind Network Founding Member

Read Amber Lyon's experience as a Sales Manager at Spring Health and the lessons learned along the way.

Sales Mastermind NetworkSales Mastermind Network

As Primary's Sales Mastermind Founding Member, Amber has learned how salespeople can be better stewards of growth through tactical workshops and small group sessions. Interested in joining? Apply here.

Can you walk us through your career journey to date? How did your interests and/or values help shape where you landed?

I’ve wanted to be an attorney for as long as I could remember. However, when I started my legal job at a stale law firm in Midtown, I knew that I needed to pivot to a different working environment. I craved a role where I’d be surrounded with bright and creative people to connect with daily. I was cruising through the r/nycjobs subreddit and came across a Sales Development role at Justworks, which at the time was a small <75 employee HR tech company in Flatiron. I applied, got hired, and spent more than 4 years in the revenue organization, which was an incredibly rewarding experience. When the pandemic hit, I felt my growth stagnate and decided to pursue a more meaningful and mission-driven opportunity, which brought me to Spring Health.

How did you transition from AE to Sales Manager at Spring Health? What advice do you have for others who are looking to level up from IC into Manager?

I made the IC>Manager transition happen because I started acting like a leader before there was even a role open. When I encountered a problem as an AE, I solved it and then documented and fixed the same issue for everyone else on the team. When a new person started, I offered my time and energy to help train them. When our team needed an AE’s perspective, I raised my hand. When Spring cemented our 2022 headcounts for the sales team and it became clear that there needed to be a new manager to build out a team, I was the natural choice.

Did you choose the sales career or did it choose you? The most surprising and/or challenging?

I did NOT choose Sales, it chose me! When I first got into Sales I was actually embarrassed because the only association and knowledge I had of the profession were the depictions of pushy car salesmen in movies and TV shows. The most surprising element about being in Sales was the immense satisfaction that follows after closing a deal. I think for some roles it might be hard to quantify the value you bring, but when you are in sales it’s easy — like yes, I just brought $200k ARR into the company, I am a badass.

What advice do you have for women who are thinking about a career in sales?

Early in my Sales career I thought a lot about what I was going to say if I had an idea or an objection to something being discussed. I worried about not just what I was going to say, but how I would say it, when, who I would be looking at and where my hands would be while speaking. It was all about contorting myself to reflect the environment around me, which was mostly cis white men who attended prestigious schools. As the years went on, I saw a lot of these people — who I thought were so much better than me — fall behind me on the leaderboard, lose a deal I know I could have won, roll out initiatives that ended up being total dumpster fires, or even leave the company entirely. I finally had this lightbulb moment where I realized that I am, and always have been, as smart and capable as the men around me. So my advice is to trust your intuition. A woman's intuition is strong and it serves well in business environments, especially Sales.

Who is someone that you admire that you’ve learned from? How have they influenced your career, your thinking, your approach?

Someone I deeply admire is a former manager of mine named Dan Park. He was a peer of mine at Justworks when we first met and later became my boss when he made the AE>Manager transition. He was a first-time people manager leading the most crucial sales territory in the company’s hyper growth stage, with many of his reps being freshly promoted AEs. It was the first time I had a manager who genuinely cared about me as a human being more than the work I was producing. He went above and beyond to understand what motivated me, what triggered me, and created a psychologically safe place for me to make mistakes, learn from them and ultimately thrive. He proved that what matters most is connecting with the people around you in an authentic way. When I confronted hardships in my first manager role, it wasn’t uncommon for me to ask myself “what would Dan do?”

How has the Sales Mastermind Network helped you level up in your career?

I've learned a lot through the weekly programming. For example, Cassie Young, Operating Partner at Primary, hosted a session on navigating the Customer Success --> Sales transition. This transition is not easy to maneuver, and her story taught me that salespeople can be better stewards of growth if they take the long term account management strategy into consideration during the sales process.

Interested in joining? Apply to join Primary's Mastermind Networks here!