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In her role as vice president of worldwide sales for Xi3 Corporation, Tiffany Arcaris is helping the Salt Lake City-based computer company to thrive in an industry that’s dominated by big players such as Dell, HP and Lenovo. But Arcaris hasn’t always been a techie—in fact, she originally planned on joining the FBI. But she discovered her talent for sales, marketing and administration while working at Broadview University as its youngest-ever campus director, and then expanded her experiences by working at Robert Half International as a staffing manager.
Her professional background served her well when Arcaris started working at Xi3, where she and the other executive team members established the company’s sales architecture and strategy, training programs, commissions and incentives plans, benchmarks, quotas and goals. Under her direction, Xi3 has expanded its business portfolio and achieved significant quarter-over-quarter sales increases. Arcaris explains how she’s able to use her sales skills effectively in the ever-changing world of computer technology.
This job is your first experience in the tech world. How did you learn everything that you needed to know to succeed in this position?
I had to jump in with both feet. Now I’m happy to say that I’m a bit of a tech nerd. Quite honestly, I learn something every day. It was scary at first, but I like a challenge.
All of my experience has been sales oriented, but with services—not products. I had to switch from selling intangibles to selling tangibles, and there are a lot of different challenges.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered when you first started at Xi3?
Our biggest challenge was brand awareness. What we did initially was to conduct an awareness campaign. We asked ourselves—where have we seen success? One area we had seen success was at local auto dealerships, where the people work in a very dusty and dirty environment. Our product does very well in harsh environments, so that was a good fit. So we started from there and started a direct mail/direct call campaign. We then turned our focus to other industries such as medical, manufacturing, big warehouses—basically the low-hanging fruit. As an executive group, we dug in deep. You have to get in and do the work.
In what ways does Xi3 differ from its competitors?
Our company takes more of a consulting approach rather than the hard sell—we will even tell customers if our product is not the best fit for their needs. Also, Xi3 holds several patents that are centered around small form-factor computers with solid-state drives, which is where the market has been headed the past two years or so. Additionally, our systems are adaptable, which allows the users to upgrade and modify their PCs as technology changes.
What is a typical day at your job?
I haven’t had the same day in the last three years. There are days where I am on the phone with key customers or strategic partners, or other days where I am working with my colleagues to build strategies. I like the variety—it helps me to get going every morning. I believe that you need to be involved with your business at the ground level. It’s important to understand what others do and to be able to do it, too.