The Transformation Series: Carly Benson
by Carly Benson, VP of West Coast Sales
I started my ad sales career in Sydney, Australia. However, when I graduated from college, my first stop was actually England. I moved to Manchester right out of school which is where I met my now husband. Who doesn’t love a northern English accent? While we were dating in the UK, he received a job offer that took us both to the Land Down Under. I landed my first sales job at a magazine called CLEO — think of it as the Cosmopolitan of Australia. While I was successful and had an incredible manager, you could say that I saw the writing on the wall and decided it was time to transition from traditional print into digital ad sales. While working at Yahoo! my boyfriend was offered the opportunity to transfer with his company to Los Angeles. After 5 incredible years in Sydney, it was time to say goodbye as we headed off to sunny Southern California.
Since moving to the west coast, I’ve had the opportunity to work for companies like Demand Media, Microsoft, Pandora and Sony. When I was at Sony, I was selling PlayStation, PlayStation Vue and Crackle. This was my first foray into the world of OTT, vMVPDs and CTV. Over time, clients and agency teams started asking “How do I know that I’m not reaching the same person on Hulu as I am on Crackle? What is my audience duplication? Can you prove incrementality from Linear TV?” I didn’t have the tools to answer these questions so I started researching the measurement and attribution landscape. You could say I once again saw the writing on the wall.
During my research phase I came across a podcast featuring Ross McCray where he was describing VideoAmp and ultimately describing how his company built the solution that answered my client’s questions. I thought to myself “Who is this guy? What is this company? ” Low and behold, not only was VideoAmp’s LA office around the corner from where I live (which was a major plus considering I have a strict west of the 405 radius for any job) but also there happened to be an open LA Sales Director role. I immediately applied directly on the company website.
The next morning the legendary Laura Tormey reached out and she immediately had me intrigued. Within the first few minutes she asked a ton of pointed questions. That was my first taste of the VideoAmp selling culture and I was like WOW, this is exactly what I am looking for. After a few additional rounds of interviews, I was slightly hesitant as all of the conversations had been over the phone with the NY based executive team. I really wanted to meet someone in person to get the vibe before I could commit. Luckily, Michael Parkes was heading to town and we were able to connect at VideoAmp’s temporary office space. There was a moment of realization that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, I might actually be leaving Sony for my very first startup.
During the in-person interview, I was grilling Michael on VideoAmp’s data infrastructure and who their partners were to the point where I think he grew a little suspicious of my intentions. I honestly just wanted to know how the company was differentiated! We had a fantastic conversation and he let me know that VideoAmp was opening a new LA headquarters. After the interview I snuck over to the new space and saw Michele Robertson setting up desks inside. I knocked on the door and she was so warm and inviting and offered for me to come in and check it out. Walking around the space, I felt immediately at home and my mind was made up. I was PUMPED! I resigned from Sony two days later. There were those who questioned my decision to move from a studio lot to a startup however, I stuck with my intuition and as it turns out, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
A large part of what defines my passion for VideoAmp are the people. My colleagues inspire me to do more. I without fail learn something new every day. There has also been exponential personal growth since joining the company nearly 3 years ago. When I started, I was the sole seller on the west coast. I have since moved from an individual contributor, to regional director to now VP with a team and running the region.
I never thought I’d be at a company where I’m able to generate so much impact. It’s very different to working at a larger company where you are just one of many. For example, I was able to work directly with a product lead to create the company’s first OTT to online conversions measurement report. With much persistence I also helped to build the TV Maximizer Gaming solution from the ground up as I recognized a market fit and revenue opportunity. These situations were made possible for two reasons. One: working at VideoAmp has enabled me to garner technical knowledge and experience that I was not exposed to at other larger companies. To that end being able to regularly interact with our engineers, marketing science team, product leads, data scientists and CEO, has helped me to understand how we are building our platform and why. The second reason: my managers put so much trust in me. They have my back and are always there for support, but they let me fly and that’s an incredible feeling.
The pace and culture isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to be successful at our company. Our sales talent is not afraid of change, we can easily adapt, and are able to take on new responsibilities and figure out when something isn’t working. Thankfully, this matches my work style and overall personality to a tee. I’m always in “GO mode”, keeping up the momentum and keeping end goals in sight.
VideoAmp has transformed me from an ad salesperson to a technical sales manager and I am so grateful for that. At VideoAmp we aren’t just a vendor, we are consultants that bring expertise to our clients delivering a value exchange that is exponentially greater for everyone. We’re able to bridge knowledge gaps for customers while making it fun. I’ve built some of the best client relationships of my career. When I think about how far the company has come over the last three years, the work we have done with some of the biggest TV networks in the country with our data and attribution to make sound investment decisions and optimizations, it is so rewarding. I feel I am part of that success and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!