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Why I Joined The Appian Mountain West Sales Team

Neil Neal Stanfield

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Before I joined Appian, I was noticing a big shift in the technology industry. 

I saw  lines of business like finance, R&D, sales, HR, manufacturing, and product development looking outside of IT to advance their digital transformation. IT was their go to for support and definitely not driving innovative disruption. 

I kept seeing speed as a distinguishing factor for the most advanced environments. They could pivot, iterate, respond, and adjust with the market. Customer feedback drove change. Change was embraced and feedback was sought after. 

I wanted to work for a disruptor, a company that could help customers achieve their objectives faster while increasing meaningful business impact. That’s what led me to Appian. 

  • Enterprise Account Executive 
  • Joined Appian December 2021
  • Based in Utah 

Searching for a disrupter company.

My job search involved talking to a lot of different people across companies to learn about how they approached their work. I looked into RPA companies, consulting, and big tech players like Amazon, AWS, Azure and Google. I spoke with large integrators, consulting firms and the reseller partner community.

I had never heard of Appian, but when a recruiter reached out I took the meeting. I was astounded by the Appian platform. It would allow customers to take any business process with any team and any applications and make it a single digital workflow to be used on any device at any time. It was the use case for complete automation, to drive speed of business outcomes. 

Everything started lining up as I did more research about Appian. They won Gartner’s Customers’ Choice Award every year and across four categories, Global Enterprise $10B+, Large Enterprise $1-10B+, etc. They were the only vendor that is recognized as a leader across Digital Process Automation Software, Intelligent Business Process Management Suites, Dynamic Case Management, and several other categories. 

In June 2021 there was a Total Economic Impact study done by Forrester to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises realize by deploying Appian. The key findings were that customers on average accelerated application development by 17x, improved time-to-value of application by 50%, simplification and automation of application portfolio reduced costs by 50% and improved employee efficiency by 7,800 hours annually through Digital Process Automation (DPA). 

Within the partner community, I found major consulting firms like Accenture, KPMG, PwC and Deloitte with entire Appian practices built out. Appian has been the enabling platform during some of the most disruptive and transformational periods over the years. Customers included major finance institutions, healthcare payers and providers, life sciences, high tech, media, manufacturing, government and education. 

Use cases were not limited to one or two lines of business either. Customer retention was almost 100% and once a customer had used the Appian platform for one use case, it would spread to all lines of business. I found one customer used Appian in over 65 different use cases.

Lastly, one of my most unexpected findings was that the founding leadership and owners who developed Appian in 1999 were still leading the company today. These leaders weren’t sitting back in their chairs waiting for success either. I listened to the 2019 Appian World conference key notes and CEO, Matt Calkins blew me away with his sincere interest in people, his innovative vision, and his college grad drive for taking Appian to the next level! 

In the end, I realized Appian was exactly what I was looking for. 

Top 3 reasons I chose tech sales at Appian. 

I went from having zero prior knowledge on Appian to joining the team as an Enterprise Account Executive. Here are the main opportunities I see working in Sales at Appian: 

  1. Market share and opportunities for the product 

The Appian product is the next competitive edge for advancing business outcomes. I believe our unified low code automation platform is ahead of its time by enabling faster time to business outcome. .

Companies want market share, speed, and overall lower risk. By using Appian, our customers don’t have to pay high end developers or wait years for a solution they need today which drives lower cost and improved efficiencies. I saw a huge opportunity for what the product could do, providing the flexibility of custom code and the speed of an off the shelf solution. 

I believe Appian is the next AirBnB or Uber. In just six months, I am seeing how it’s changing our approach to work and how companies operate. 

In tech, we all know things break. But when you have a solid technical product with systems in place and a track record of responding quickly with fixes, it makes a world of a difference for your customers. In my first six months at Appian, my customers haven’t had any major outages or technical problems that have impacted performance at all. 

As a salesperson, it’s reassuring  to stand behind a product that has a history of delivering to its customers. I’ve heard from our clients first hand about the positive impacts they’ve experienced. With a solution like Appian, you don’t have to question if your integrity is on the line while working in Sales. The appian platform delivers every time.

     2. Customer reviews and retention rate

As mentioned previously, Appian has a five star ranking from our customer reviews by Gartner, and was named a Customers’ Choice in the latest Gartner Peer Insights Report. Last quarter our cloud subscription revenue retention rate was about 120%.

When I joined Appian, I wanted to hear directly from the customers about their experience. I met with many customers face to face and asked them to be honest with me and tell me what their experience was with the platform. What stood out to me most wasn’t what they said but how they said it.

Our customers smiled ear to ear and told me how much they love Appian. Additionally, some of them even said they’ve won awards in their organization because of the impact the Appian platform has had on their business. 

These interviews with our existing customers showed me that Appian customers truly love the platform and the Appian teams that partner and advise them. 

     3. A culture of iterating and experimentation 

I believe the best tech companies aren’t the biggest, they’re the ones that respond fastest to customer needs. I could tell from the start people at Appian were open to trying new things and not limited to the way things have been done. 

For example, I recently requested permission to host an event with our field marketing team. I had some of our existing customers speak about their experience prior to and after moving to the Appian platform. The audience had both customers and prospects. Since then, I have had multiple meetings with net new customers and have the flexibility to get creative to develop new business. There’s a lot of financial opportunity at Appian in the Mountain West market and it's an exciting time for our growing Sales team here.

What I learned from the inside at Appian during my first 30 days. 

It’s all true. Appian is still amazing, even after you join the team. 

In my first month at Appian, I made an effort to meet at least one person every day to learn as much as I could from others. I talked to colleagues in marketing, sales, and management. I asked about their work, how they are successful and their tips for how I could be successful in my new role.

Many people went out of their way to help me. They listened and provided valuable feedback. I was given resources and directed to best practices. I was surprised at how much is prepared for us to be successful. In fact, Appian has adopted a methodology to sales that I have never seen before. And, it’s not just this year’s training that will eventually be forgotten. It is ingrained in all we do and part of the common language between sales, operations, delivery and support. 

People here want you to be successful. They believe in Appian and see us as a real team, not just as individuals. I met one of the founders and they are  just as invested and tenacious as when they started the company. I know I am important here and my efforts are making a difference. This gives me purpose. It drives me every day. 

You’ll have a meaningful impact working at Appian. We’re not 20,000 employees, we’re 2,000. You need to come with a lot of grit and you have to be interested in building and innovating in creative ways to solve sales problems. But, it’s worth it. Believe me. We really do make an impact and the company makes it worth it financially to us as well. They really do value us. Each one of us. 

I’m honored and thankful to have made the move to Appian. I left my last company after being there for 7 years. Considering the change was definitely uncomfortable but after looking deeper, it was worth it. Appian made it worth it. 

Friends, if you have questions or would like to learn more about Appian, I’d be happy to chat. 

If you’re interested in joining the Appian Sales team, see our current job opportunities here



Written by

Neal Stanfield

Neal is an Enterprise Account Executive at Appian.