Parul Sharma was born and raised in Ranchi, a small industrial town in India. Though it's best known for its waterfalls, life was very simple for many, including Parul and her family. Making the best of things was a part of life, for example, when there was no drinking water or electricity in their home for nearly a fortnight. Nothing could be taken for granted, and survival was based on quickly adapting. The well-known concept 'survival of the fittest' had very real meaning for Parul even as a child, and ambition and hard work were essential. Within her competitive family and among four hard-working sisters, top grades in school were in constant focus, and engineering was the inevitable path forward.
Parul wanted something more, however. She felt she was destined for something different. After breaking from the mold and getting a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, her creative side and interest in marketing were calling and soon led her to study further– this time to an MBA in Brand Management from MICA in Ahmedabad. As this is one of India's most reputed educational institutes, it's no surprise that she was soon working in marketing with India's leading firms.
For many, this would be the end game. However, in Parul's case, this was just another step in her journey.
Her husband was offered a position at Ericsson in Sweden, and in 2008 she moved with him to Stockholm, not thinking much about what was to come. Parul welcomed the opportunity to grow and explore the world.
- Stockholm was not as cosmopolitan then as it is today. It was very important to speak Swedish, especially if you wanted to work in marketing. I didn't have the patience to learn the language before working, so I accepted an opportunity to work in B2B sales at a software company. And from that point onwards, I was glued to sales. In fact, I wished I'd started much earlier in sales.
Today, Parul is the Chief Commercial Officer at Viedoc and is responsible for the global sales and marketing teams. Working closely with both functions, she sees their commonalities more than their differences and describes marketing and sales as different sides of the same coin.
- If marketing does a great job, sales become easy to facilitate. And the opposite also applies. When sales teams are doing a great job, they can bring a lot of great insights to marketing, and marketing can, in turn, do a better job. They complete different parts of the same journey and work together to persuade customers to invest in your product or service.
Parul makes most things seem easy, including adapting to an entirely new culture with little knowledge of the local language. Difficult situations she'd faced growing up had readied her with a healthy dose of adaptability, a skill she believes propels you forward in adverse circumstances, allowing you to respond in constructive ways. A childhood filled with day-to-day challenges was very different from her new comfortable life in Sweden, and it made her appreciate and value what it offered her.
For Parul, Sweden seemed set up to make things possible. It was designed to help people take care of themselves and those they loved while trying to achieve their dreams. And though she had to work extra hard to prove herself as a foreign woman of color, she found support in many of her managers, and turned being different into an advantage.
Growth can come from many places, as she points out, but a company has to make the right choices and prioritize the right things, such as the right regions and verticals or sales philosophy.
- Viedoc’s sales philosophy is really about understanding the customer. What are their pain points? Is Viedoc going to be the right solution for them? It is essential to be reliable and prompt, and it is paramount to listen to them and understand everything that they're saying.
And then, of course, there are the people. The right people.
- The right people with the right mindset and attitude on your team are a key ingredient for growth. In our Uppsala office, we have more than ten nationalities and actively work towards gender equality. We give everyone a fair chance, and with the right attitude, skillset, and experience, you can certainly get far at Viedoc.
Parul joined Viedoc to work towards a healthier world, and she was considering accepting the role as Viedoc’s CCO in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took over and made the deep and true value of expertly managed clinical trials ever more apparent. And then, when her beloved mother suffered a heart attack in September 2020, she could recover—thanks to timely intervention and a medical device.
- The medical and scientific community are doing their best to bring treatments to people and preserve their health, and companies like Viedoc facilitate that. We help make clinical trials faster, more efficient, and more abundant. My work at Viedoc is a great way to contribute to a healthier world, and that motivates me to come to work every day and to put in my very best.
Like most purpose-driven people, Parul has a beautiful life story behind her. It has been difficult at times and imperfect at others, but it has propelled her forward and taught her to see challenges as opportunities. Like the waterfalls in her industrial hometown back in India, she seems to find momentum no matter what comes her way.