How 5 Navan Salespeople Scaled Careers at Navan

How 5 Navan Salespeople Scaled Their Careers at Navan

author two

Karlie Souris

author two

Samantha Shankman

9 Jul 2024
10 minute read
How 5 Navan Salespeople Scaled Their Careers at Navan

At Navan, we believe deeply in meritocracy. We’re as invested in our team members as they are in us — which means we all grow together. 

To illustrate our commitment, we want to share five examples of salespeople who joined Navan, worked hard, and made leaps forward in their careers. These individuals have achieved four or more promotions due to their admirable work ethic in selling a product that eclipses anything else available in its category, as well as a supportive company culture that positions experienced sales leaders as mentors and provides abundant resources for new employees.

Here are their stories.

Marton Chesler, Regional Vice President of Mid-Market Sales for Navan

Marton Chesler, Regional Vice President of Mid-Market Sales for Navan, based in New York City, recently celebrated his fifth anniversary at Navan. He oversees a team of regional directors and account executives driving the sales of Navan’s all-in-one travel and expense management solution. His journey from sales development representative (SDR) to regional vice president is a testament to his deep curiosity and dedication, as well as the integral role of Navan’s supportive culture.

Marton joined Navan as an SDR in the mid-market segment at the New York office in February 2019. His commitment and drive quickly propelled him to senior SDR. Soon after, he faced an exciting choice: transition to an account executive role or become an enterprise SDR, working directly with Director of Travel Management Matt Shephard-Lupo and initiating the company’s enterprise business. Marton chose the latter, and the experience proved invaluable.

“I got to ask many questions, learn the product and business better, and apprentice under Matt Lupo, who had mastered his role,” said Marton. “It set me up for success. Other people might want to progress quickly or make more money faster, but I wanted to learn.” 

His tenure as an enterprise SDR equipped him with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the Navan Expense sales team, where he became one of the first commercial account executives. Marton’s willingness to learn and hard work soon led to his current role as regional vice president of mid-market sales.

“Navan’s culture rewards curiosity and hard work,” said Marton. “Even when I was the least-tenured person on the Navan Expense team, I closed the most revenue and was promoted quickly. It’s a good lesson in slowing down and taking time to be curious. I don’t think every company rewards that choice. Our leaders and more experienced salespeople are willing to help their teammates.”

Marton also attributes much of his growth to the dynamic environment of the New York office.

“New York is also looked at as the lighthouse of sales for many tech companies,” he said. “Our culture in the New York office is based around our work. We work hard, celebrate when we win, and are proud of it.”

As Marton’s role evolved, so did his responsibilities. From seeking answers and guidance, he has transitioned to mentoring and guiding newer team members on their paths to success. 

“I felt like I was one of the people looking up to our leaders and asking the questions. Now, people are asking me questions, and I get to be a part of the boot camps where we teach new salespeople about our product, sales process, and culture.”

Marton looks forward to expanding his team and making a more significant impact on his colleagues’ careers and the business. Despite the fluid nature of tech sales, Marton appreciates the stability and growth opportunities Navan offers. 

“Navan has exceeded all my expectations,” he said. “Our culture has a way of keeping great people around.” 

He advises anyone working in tech to maintain their sense of curiosity, which Navan CEO and co-founder Ariel Cohen also shared with him early on in his tenure at the company.

“Curiosity is how you’ll grow,” said Marton. “When you’re an SDR, be curious about how an AE closes a deal. Be curious about why a customer likes something or does not like it. Be curious why your sales manager wants you to do A instead of B. Ask questions.”

Sam Boyd, Senior Mid-Market Account Executive at Navan

Sam Boyd, Senior Mid-Market Account Executive at Navan and based in San Francisco, has made significant strides in his career here. After joining the company in 2019 as an SDR in Chicago, Sam quickly demonstrated his potential and was soon presented with an exciting opportunity to move to either the New York City or San Francisco office. 

Sam chose San Francisco, where he worked remotely during 2020 before receiving his first promotion to join the commercial team as an account executive. His hard work and dedication soon led to another promotion to the early mid-market team as a founding salesperson.

Reflecting on his journey, Sam emphasizes the importance of the team at Navan. 

“My favorite part about the job, and arguably the biggest reason I want to be successful at Navan, is that the people are fantastic,” said Sam. “Everyone’s super-eager and friendly.” 

“It makes it much easier to get out of bed early and come to work driven and ready. As someone who is fairly impressionable, it's crucial that I'm surrounded by smart, motivated people.” 

Sam’s journey wasn’t without challenges. He started at a travel company right before the pandemic, at an office that closed six months into his role. “Navan has come through for me in the sense that when I show commitment and work hard, they’ll ensure that I’m treated fairly and even more than that in many cases. I’ve been grateful for that.”

Sam credits his team in San Francisco for his growth, especially those who lead the team. “There are a lot of folks here who are sharp, well-trained, and execute well. I've been lucky enough to shadow Jack Tuton, who leads our MM team in the west and has seen consistent success over his 5 years at Navan. Having so much exposure to Jack, as well as other extremely competent leaders & coworkers, has significantly impacted my career trajectory."

Sam is deeply invested in Navan and looks forward to continuing his career with the company. “The longer I stay at Navan, the more invested I become and the more excited I am to stay.”

Melissa Kaganovsky, Senior Director of Expense Sales Development at Navan

Melissa Kaganovsky, Senior Director of Expense Sales Development at Navan and based in Palo Alto, transitioned from a career in nonprofit leadership to tech sales with remarkable success. Driven by a desire to break into the tech industry, Melissa joined Navan and quickly found her passion in developing others’ careers.

Her journey began as an SDR, where she spent six months mastering the role. Although she had the qualifications to apply for a manager role immediately, she chose to start at the beginning to thoroughly understand the ins and outs of the job. 

“I wanted to break into the tech industry, as many people in Silicon Valley do,” said Melissa. “I realized I had accomplished all the goals I had set out to accomplish in the nonprofit sector. I had overseen a B2C sales team at a nonprofit and enjoyed that kind of hustle.”

A long-term vision for her career drove her decision to switch fields. 

“I had to look in the mirror and decide what was important. It could have been seen as risky, but I was taking a chance on myself,” said Melissa, who encourages others to consider their long-term career progression rather than immediate titles or paychecks. 

“If it’s the right company, which I genuinely believe Navan is, then there is no such thing as a lateral move or step backward. It’s betting on yourself and the company.”

Under the mentorship of Ben Coggins, vice president of global sales development, and other sales leaders, Melissa quickly adapted to her new role. Her passion for developing others soon led her to create a dedicated sales development team for Navan Expense. 

“This is the beginning of a journey for every SDR, and we will have an impact on this inflection point in their career,” said Melissa. “It is very fulfilling.”

Melissa’s personal life also benefited from Navan’s supportive culture. Joining the company when her daughter was three months old, she experienced firsthand Navan’s commitment to supporting working mothers

“Navan is amazing at supporting working moms,” she said. “That support informed me that this is the right place for me. I could see myself growing here because the culture supports people as their whole selves — we’re not just cogs in a machine.”

Taking on the challenge of joining the Navan Expense sales team right from the start, Melissa introduced the Navan Expense product to some of Navan Travel’s largest customers. This experience hooked her on the product and its potential. 

“I raised my hand and requested the ability to create a sales development team specifically for Navan Expense,” she said.

Today, Melissa splits her time between the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices, finding the in-person collaboration invaluable for growth

“I’ve connected with people in person that I wouldn’t have if we were a fully remote culture. Even as an SDR, I got to connect with Ariel Cohen, our CEO and co-founder. Working together in person is an integral part of career growth, as is building those natural connections.”

Melissa advises those starting their sales careers to embrace the unknown and discomfort. “The people who jump in with both feet are rewarded,” she said. 

Ben Burns, Mid-Market Account Executive at Navan

Ben Burns, Mid-Market Account Executive at Navan, based in London, has seen his career here progress at an impressive pace. Starting as an SDR in Dublin, Ben quickly made a mark and, within seven months, was promoted to account executive and moved to the London office. Today, he is a mid-market account executive.

Ben’s journey began with sales fundamentals, generating leads and building pipelines for the sales team.

His dedication and ability to excel under his manager’s guidance in the London office earned him a promotion from the growth team to the commercial team in just nine months. 

“I hit my targets, got promoted, and then it was heads-down again to learn how to work larger deals with bigger companies,” said Ben. “Each promotion comes with more complex, larger deals.” 

After his latest promotion, he began selling to businesses with thousands of employees, demonstrating his ability to handle more challenging responsibilities.

And Navan’s commitment to enablement has been pivotal in Ben’s transition from SDR to sales leader. 

“There is much focus on having people who have transitioned from one role to the next help you get up to speed on how to sell and demo the product,” said Ben. “Tons of hours go into that, and coaching is available from those who have done it before.” 

He attributes much of his professional growth to the support and mentorship he received, particularly from UK General Manager Jeremy Schneeweiss

“Jeremy has positively impacted my career; he taught me the product, how to sell, and why we sell,” said Ben. “He got me to understand the ‘why’ from both Navan’s and the customer’s perspectives.”

Ben emphasizes Navan’s meritocratic culture, which rewards hard work and dedication. 

“You might not think people notice you’re working hard, but they do,” he said. “The more you put in, the more you get out. This culture of fostering and nurturing teammates’ growth is key to Navan’s overall success.”

The collaborative environment in the London office also plays a crucial role in Ben’s growth. 

“The London office has a collaborative culture where colleagues share resources and insights easily. People aren’t afraid to share their success or their failures, and there is a team mindset among everyone involved” 

Ben is excited about the future and sees limitless opportunities ahead. As his role continues to evolve, he is ready to take on new challenges and more complex deals. 

“I’m competitive, so it’s the challenge and the learning that goes along with it that gives me a buzz,” he said “You don’t win by staying in the same position. You have to keep moving.”

Isabel Gudenus, Director of Commercial Sales, UKI

Isabel Gudenus, Director of Commercial Sales, UKI, has made remarkable strides in her career at Navan, achieving three promotions in less than three years. Based in the London office, Isabel is known for her exceptional sales skills and leadership abilities.

"Isabel joined Navan during the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the unusual circumstances, she quickly proved her mettle. A memorable moment for Isabel was when Navan’s CEO and co-founder, Ariel Cohen, inquired about her experience at the company. “It stayed with me,” said Isabel. “Our leaders want to get in the weeds, to understand where the issues are, where to focus on, and how to help.”

Isabel’s journey at Navan has been nothing short of impressive. She won the sales pitch contest at the sales kickoff (SKO), showcasing her prowess and dedication. This achievement, among others, has fueled her passion for her work. “I genuinely enjoy going to work,” she said. “The opportunities here are limitless, and the culture rewards hard work.”

Isabel’s growth at Navan has also enabled her to contribute to the growth of others. Now in a position to promote and mentor her colleagues, she finds immense satisfaction in being a part of the London team’s development. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to see the team grow and to be able to promote talented individuals who are as passionate about their work as I am.”

Reflecting on her journey, Isabel likens her experience at Navan to a thrilling video game. “It’s like leveling up in a game,” she said. “Opportunities come your way if you’re working hard and proving your worth. There’s always a new challenge, a new level to conquer.”

Explore open roles and start your own journey with Navan today.

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