Talent Spotlight: Melissa Humble on Why Selling a Product Everyone Loves is Easy

Talent Spotlight: Melissa Humble on Why Selling a Product Everyone Loves is Easy

Libby Zay

13 Apr 2022
4 minute read

Navan's Vice President of Commercial Sales Melissa Humble began her career in sales by accident. “I needed a job out of college, and I fell into what I call the family business,” she says. Her father had worked at IBM for 42 years, and her first job was in hardware sales at Dell. It turned out to be a happy accident: Melissa has now worked in tech sales for more than 20 years. She joined Navan a few weeks ago from Elastic, a search and analytics software company.

In her new role, Melissa leads sales teams in Austin, where she resides, as well as New York City, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. Her philosophy on sales is simple: “My job is to solve customer’s problems through technology,” she explains. For her, the value of Navan for customers comes down to driving efficiencies—whether that be saving time completing expense reports, providing visibility into employee spend, or streamlining the experience for all travelers, finance teams, and leadership.

“Navan really helps solve a lot of customer problems, and it impacts every employee at a company,” she says.

On the move to Navan:

Melissa understands that to know Navan is to love Navan. “I moved to Navan because I'm in love with the product,” she says, explaining that she used Navan as a customer in her prior role. “I really believe the opportunity at Navan is endless because there's such a market fit for what we're doing along the full traveler journey, from booking travel to payments to expense.”

Another draw to Navan for Melissa was its company culture. “You could see that everyone at Navan loves their job and wants to see the company succeed,” she says. “And it’s a true meritocracy; it’s clear you can get promoted for doing good work.”

Melissa only wishes that the Navan solution had come along sooner in her career.

“If this product was rolled out 20 years ago, I can’t even tell you how many hours and hours of my career I would have back,” she says. “I’m thrilled not to just have such a great product to represent, but to represent it authentically because it has already made such a difference for me.”

On travel, family, and other interests:

Melissa’s move to Navan is also serendipitous because it aligns with her love of travel. She enjoys soaking up the city energy in New York City and catching shows in Las Vegas, and she is also an avid cruiser. “What I love about cruising is it allows you to visit multiple countries in the same week,” she says.

Another parallel between her business and personal life is her husband’s new job: He became a professional travel agent earlier this year. “He is helping families book trips while I am helping companies with their corporate travel and expense,” she explains.

The couple has two young children at home, ages 6 and 8, and activities such as gymnastics, ballet, and soccer often consume their nights and weekends. Melissa still finds time for her other interests: While working out or commuting, she enjoys listening to entrepreneurial and financial podcasts, and at the end of the night, she winds down by reading murder mysteries and historical fiction.

On what she looks for in team members:

Under Melissa’s leadership, the Navan sales team continues to grow. “We're looking to meet the best talent where they are,” she says, referring to the offices in Austin, New York City, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City. When it comes to finding the best fit for Navan, Melissa says there are tangible traits she looks for and intangible things, too.

“We definitely want people who have some sales experience, and if it's in a relevant industry, that certainly helps,” she says. As far as those intangible qualities, Melissa looks for “a little bit of grit” as well as people who are willing to be coachable, take advice, and implement it.

“You can't teach initiative and work ethic,” she says. “You have to have a desire to learn and grow. And those two things—a little bit of experience coupled with the intangibles—will be a recipe for success.”

The sales team is hiring frontline sales professionals, account executives, managers, and directors. See available roles at Navan.

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