Rodrigo Manjarrez shares his career journey from wanting to be a firefighter to working in sales and entrepreneurship. He emphasizes the importance of passion and developing employees. Rodrigo discusses the benefits and challenges of working in large corporations and startups. He highlights the need for balance and happiness in one’s career and personal life. Rodrigo also shares his experience in opening bike stores and the importance of understanding customers’ needs. He provides insights on transitioning from an individual contributor to a sales leader and the lessons he learned along the way. Rodrigo discusses the challenges of the past year, including burnout and mental health, and the importance of supporting employees’ well-being. Finally, he explains how Sesame HR helps companies with their HR activities and provides an all-in-one solution for employee lifecycle management.


  1. Passion is key in sales and entrepreneurship
  2. Balance and happiness are important in both career and personal life
  3. Understanding customer needs and providing personalized solutions is crucial
  4. Developing employees and creating a supportive work environment leads to success
  5. Burnout and mental health should be addressed and supported in the workplace
  6. Sesame HR offers an all-in-one solution for HR activities and employee lifecycle management




Wesleyne (00:01.655)

Hello and welcome to the Transform Sales Podcast. I am so excited today to have Rodrigo Manjares with me. How are you, Rodrigo?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (00:10.35)

I'm really fine and thank you for to be here with you.

Wesleyne (00:17.175)

Let me tell you guys a bit about Rodrigo. He is a professional with more than 18 years in startups and companies in EdTech, HR, SaaS, IT solutions and services. He led businesses opening and development from zero basis to an accelerated growth and expansion in Mexico and Latin America. One of his passions is developing employees. He...

grew a organization. He developed a team of 168 employees in 15 months with an income of up to 15 .5 million euros. He is currently in a place where he is focused on coaching and training for business employees. So tell me, tell us, how did you start your career? So how do you get to where you are today?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (01:06.382)

Well, thank you once again Wesleyan. Well, it has been an exciting path and a great chance to work in different companies. But in a very fast way, I mean, I love sales. I can tell you for sure that one of my strongest sales opportunity was to tell to my parents that I want to be a firefighter.

So it was complicated. In fact, all my paperwork was done. Everything was, I mean, ready to roll. But unfortunately, the first year of preparing to be a fighter fighter was quite expensive. So, you know, the scholarship was not available until two years after that. So well, I started to take a look of...

what else I'm going to do with my life. Even I was thinking to be a priest or another thing. And then, well, communications and technology started to be my passion. And yeah, with the developing of how companies were growing really fast with technology, I started to have the chance also to work in my university.

And yeah, I started to see how fast that they can grow the companies with some software, with some hardware. And that was a part of my development skills. Then I have a chance to work in companies like Intel, like Oracle, like IBM. And you know, I mean, these huge corporations provide you a really strong, solid sales methodology. However, I mean,

The bureaucracy is over there. So, you know, you need to move fast, you need to grow. And then I started to be an entrepreneurship guy. I love triathlon and I had the chance to open some bike stores and it was an amazing experience as well. But yeah, I still continued with my idea of what else I can do with technology.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (03:32.942)

So I took the chance to make a reflection on, okay, if I want to go back, I have two chances. I mean, to return to that corporate area or move to something more disruptive, more, I mean, something more tangible. And yeah, the tech technologies, the HR technologies, I mean, love me.

And that's where here I am. And right now I have the chance and a privilege to work to Sesame HR, which is a company based in Valencia, Spain, and is one of the fastest HR solutions in the world that provides different solutions for companies that wants to have more efficiency in their HR activities.

Wesleyne (04:29.111)

Awesome, awesome. I love it, I love it, I love it. You've had a very vast experience from working in large corporations to opening up bike shops and now, you know, working in a smaller, mid -sized environment. So let's roll back to some of your early experience. The thing that you said that I think is a challenge that we have in today's marketplace is the very solid sales training that you got in the corporate environment.

So talk to us about in the early days of your career, how that really focused sales training helped you develop your skills.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (05:06.83)

Yeah, I mean, this kind of structure that these huge corporations provide me gives you the chance to be more strategic and more structured thinking. But they also give you the chance to be prepared and also make a lot of rehearsals to do that. And when you are ready,

you can go and start doing what you learn. And it's very useful for you because you started to design a strategic plan for how you're going to structure your ideas with customers, with your clients. But at the same time, you need to be focused on building trust.

on your skills and be ready to do that. So that's what I really enjoy in this kind of company because they give you the chance, the time to make that this happen. But when you go in a startup environment, time is your worst enemy. So, I mean, it was a really great experience to take this from the corporate area.

and bring it to the startup environment and do it fast, but efficient with a great efficiency and also at the same time building teams to make this happen.

Wesleyne (06:44.471)

Yeah, you know, one of the things that I think the disconnect that we have in these corporations versus in like the startup arena. So in these large corporations, they give you a lot of structure. They give you a lot of onboarding plans and you're really focused. And then when they release you into the field, it's like we gave you everything already. So there's very little margin for error. Right. And that very little margin for error is where I think a lot of people stumble and fall. So as you were

moving through the ladder, it seems like at some point you said, I'm going to do a little something different. What was that within you that said, okay, I'm ready for a change?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (07:25.518)

Well, you know, um...

One of my biggest concerns was to be happy on what I'm right now. I mean, I spoke to me and said, okay, in five years, I'm going to be here sitting in this huge corporation or I will be doing something different and enjoy it and also the chance to be with my family, with my kids. And I said, okay, no.

This is not, this is not working. So you need to have balance and also understand that you need to respect you and also that you have life outside of the work. And sometimes with these huge companies and these huge corporation, I mean, you're a slave on that. So you need to watch out for that and be ready to, okay.

If I'm going to be more focused on being more efficient with me, I need to respect my time, respect my schedule, and work very strategically with my clients, with my customers, with my team as well, and enjoy it. And this is something that... I mean...

In a short answer is if I'm going to enjoy this in five years or not. And that's why I really make this change.

Wesleyne (09:02.199)


Yeah, I love to say that a company will take as much as you give them. So if you give them 50, 60, 70 hours a week, then that is what they will take. They'll never say, Rodrigo, you're working too hard. Rodrigo, you're doing too much. And as a business owner myself, that work -life balance is really important for me. And so even within my organization, when I feel like my employees are working a little bit too much, I'm like, you need to take some time.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (09:19.246)

Yeah, yeah.

Wesleyne (09:34.807)

Right? Like I make them take time. I make them have those boundaries. And it's the thing is because we have so much trauma, if you will, from corporations, we don't realize when somebody says, yes, take time off, it's okay. Like they're being genuine and they really want us to. They're not trying to do something to hurt us, to harm us, to have that gotcha moment. It is the balance of good, strong leadership where there are some leaders that understand that you need some disconnect.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (09:35.47)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (10:03.598)

Exactly. And this is where it also brings me to a different idea of my life as a professional person. I want to be in a company where you can have this chance to develop as well, be fast, be furious in sales, but at the same time, build trust in people and

and make more leaders to make this happen with this new vision. And yeah, so far, I mean, it has been a really great experience.

Wesleyne (10:44.023)

So you went from a corporate world and then you moved into something that was more business to consumer in terms of starting up bike shops. How did you make that transition?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (10:56.11)

Well, right now you see me a little bit thin, but I was really, really fat. And with no good habits, eating really bad. So I decided to make a really strong change in my life. And one day I was walking and I saw a radio check and I saw a really great TV and there was showing a video of an Ironman. And I say, okay, I'm gonna do that.

I'm going to make an Ironman. And then, yeah, I started to swim. I started to run. I also have a chance to ride a bike. And yeah, it has been my passions in almost 13 years in my life. And the good thing is that without pushing my kids, right now these guys are doing it and they are enjoying it and we are very strong.

athletes right now. So it's a privilege to make this and on some occasions I also bring this discipline and this methodology in my professional career because you know one of the toughest things in the professional area is to have good habits and also to be disciplined and enjoy it at the same time. So it has been a great journey on this.

in this area and you know that the transition is okay if I'm doing this kind of sports why don't we make a bike store and yeah I have the chance to have a partner over there and we open four bike stores in Mexico City and also in Woodland and Houston and yeah we enjoyed it really good in a good moment yeah.

Wesleyne (12:51.415)


So you literally took something that was holding you back, being a bit overweight. You said, you know what? You saw a picture. You said, I'm going to do that. And you didn't just see it and sit on it. You actually executed, right? You actually said, OK, I'm going to start practicing and training. And then you turn that passion into a business idea. And a lot of times people do that and they aren't so successful. But it sounds like you open one bike shop and then you open a couple of other ones.

So how were you able to successfully take that passion that you had and turn it into a profitable business?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (13:29.006)

Well, you got the correct word, passion. If you don't transmit passion, probably your clients will not feel the same of you and your products. So one of the strongest things that I usually do when I was on the bike store is, okay, be on the store, but also be on the races and go to the races.

and use my case story to be a fat person and right now a person that I really enjoy and try to change lives. So with that trigger, I join a lot of people to the bike stores and they take a bike and then another helmet and other things. So...

At the end you need to be passionate what you do and also transmit also the real things of each of your products and let them know to the client that okay you want this but probably not necessarily what you need. You probably need something different because you're starting to practicing and you can get an injury for this.

And you started to be more a consultant guy. So that's what I really enjoyed in a bike store that usually people arrive to the store and, oh, I want this bike. Okay. If I'm a regular sales guy, okay, take it. No worry. But you started to ask why.

Wesleyne (15:19.031)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (15:23.374)

Why do you want that? Or what are you going to do with that? Do you practice a little bit of sports or how many times you take your bike during the week? And after that, you started to think, okay, this is not the real product that the client needs. So it's amazing. I mean, it's trying to personalize the sales.

Wesleyne (15:23.607)


Wesleyne (15:34.423)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (15:52.366)

And this is what I really enjoy.

Wesleyne (15:54.679)

And you know, the really amazing thing that you shared is sales is personal, whether you're selling to an individual person or you're selling to another business, it is really important for you to connect with that person. Ask them those deep, probing questions, right? Not just take what they say and run with it. Because I like to say, we're the experts, our prospects, our customers, they don't actually know what they want or need. And if we don't provide them, if we don't...

give them the knowledge if we don't ask them the right questions and we can't take them to the place where they need to get to. So in your career, you made a transition from individual contributor to a sales leader. Share with us some of the biggest lessons learned that you had in moving up the ranks.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (16:28.974)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (16:44.205)

Well, you know, one of the strongest lessons was that you need to, how can I say, you need to be your own leader and at the same time, I mean, be a person that can...

really think that anything you mention or anything you do can have consequences, bad or good. So you need to watch out for that. And also, if you also have some people around you and you have a team to make this happen or a sales team,

Wesleyne (17:23.095)

Mm. Mm.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (17:40.494)

You also need to train them to understand that everything they promote or everything they speak with a client can have a consequence, good or bad. So one of the lessons that I learned is be prepared. Be prepared on what you do and really train on what you're going to sell. This is something that my first lessons.

The other thing is, you know, every day counts and every day is your last day. So try to enjoy it, but also work hard, play hard. So this is really, really relevant. And you know, you go to work not to make friends, but at the same time,

Wesleyne (18:20.343)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (18:36.782)

These guys are your family because you spend a lot of time with them. But try to recognize them, all their efforts, small, big, whatever they are, but try to recognize them because you need to generate loyalty. You need to generate some kind of trust on what they do every day.

And the last lesson that I really enjoy making this transition is, you know, try to create an space that if, how can I say, that if you say something, it's not a risk to, that you're gonna have a consequence of fire you or.

or another consequence. I mean, you have an opinion, you have a point of view. Okay, do it and share it with us. And let's try to think how we balance all this power from you and you and you and you and let's build something strong. So this is one of the strongest lessons I also learned from this transition.

Wesleyne (19:56.791)

Wow, I mean that right there is a whole graduate degree Sales leadership I'd be like there's so many things I think though the one big one that I want to drill down into is many times sales leaders they they have trouble with the Let's

Rodrigo Manjarrez (20:01.87)


Wesleyne (20:19.383)

be friends or let's be foes, right? So it's either I'm managing with an iron fist or let's go have a beer, let's hang out. Oh, it's okay, you didn't hit your quota, you didn't update the CRM, you didn't, that's fine. So you talked about striking that balance and it's really hard for a lot of people to do. So what are some tips, some practical tips that you can give us on how you strike that balance between being a dictator and being too much of a friend?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (20:23.566)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (20:29.262)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (20:47.662)

Well, what I really recommend is if you like marketing is what we understand like a kind of a swap. I mean, your strength, your weakness, your opportunities and your threats. Okay. So each one of us, we have this kind of things. So if you have a team with two, three, four, five, a hundred of employees, one of the things that you need to understand is that

each people is different. So if you generate a SWOT for each one of them, it's going to take time, but at the same time, it will give you the chance to work with them in a very strategic way and also in a very, in a way you understand how they're going to react in a problem, how they're going to react when they need to move fast or with a client or a

I mean, it's not just providing them really great incentives and really good salary. No, no, no. I mean, you need to understand what they move them and what do they feel when they wake up and say, okay, I'm going to Césame and I'm going to work really hard, really strong. So you need to understand that.

And if you do that, I can be sure that you're going to have a really strong team. It's going to take time, but you need to make that, you need to keep that time. Otherwise, I mean, you need to invest on your career and the results will speak themselves.

Wesleyne (22:40.343)

Ah, that's so good, that's so good. It's really understanding each person as an individual. And I like to say each person on your team needs to have an individual coaching plan. And it's really based on, like you said, their strengths, their weaknesses, their areas of opportunities for growth.

the things that you know that no matter how much training or development you give them, they'll just never be good at it, right? And I think it's okay to admit that some people just will never be good at X thing. And we have to ensure that we align their position with what their strengths and their areas of opportunity for growth are. Because if we keep trying to force somebody into a position that they're not well suited for, it just ends up in failure for everybody involved.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (23:01.774)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (23:20.974)

For sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you need to, as I mentioned, you understand what drives them, each one of them. I mean, probably for you is, okay, I'm gonna buy a Ferrari. Okay, so if you wanna buy a Ferrari, okay, what do you need to get your results? So you need to prepare for A, B, C, and you need to get these.

in your quota and your plan, but at the same time, you need to train more on this, this, this. And you know, it's complex. And sometimes the companies do not have that time. But as a leader, you need to make that in your career path. I mean, you are the responsible to make this in your teams. Of course, you are responsible for a quota, for a national quota. Yeah.

But at the end, you are responsible for people and you need to make these people new leaders. And these guys needs to replicate what you really trust and what you really are passionate.

Wesleyne (24:35.927)

Absolutely, our job is to develop the next generation of leaders and we can't do that if we ourselves are not strong leaders. And you mentioned that also, you know, being a strong leader yourself helps you to develop those things within your team that you are really looking for and striving for.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (24:55.342)

Exactly. Yeah, definitely.

Wesleyne (24:58.039)

So as we look back over the past 12 months or so, we've had a very tough economic time. Companies have been laying off, interest rates have been high. So what would you say has been your biggest challenge over the past 12 months in your position?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (25:15.854)

Well, you know, I can tell you for sure that in an HR perspective and also as a leader of a great team, is okay, how to transmit that people, you know, you need to be employed in a company, but not go just for the money.

go also for your development. Also go to that this kind of employment will give you a chance to grow, to learn, and also to develop more skills. So sometimes you can have a great engineering, a great sales guy, but if this guy do not have that attitude, the passion, and also at the same time, some values.

like even be respectful for all your colleagues as well, it's going to be complicated. So this is something that you need to watch out and take care when you hire some people in the economy. And in a very general way, I mean, one of the toughest things that...

we have seen in the 12 months is that the companies have a huge rotation and a huge layoff and also a strong burnout in the environment. And why? Probably we try to reduce our chat right now is trust and make loyal, fellow loyal employees.

Wesleyne (27:04.951)


Rodrigo Manjarrez (27:09.966)

But also, I mean, in a general way, they need to feel that they are value. They need to feel that you understand me, what moves me, what drives me. And at the same time, I mean, creating a space where that they can feel comfortable. And of course, it's a company, you need to generate revenue, but...

But I'm gonna recognize you, I mean, your speed, your small efforts, but we're gonna work hard and play hard. So this is something that is happening not just in America, I mean, in Latin and also in Europe, the burnouts are incredible. And yeah, this is something that, I mean, the way to attack this kind of pain is,

understand each one of your employees and make this work as I mentioned previously.

Wesleyne (28:12.727)

Awesome. You're a little bit outside of the camera. Can you slide? Yep, there you go. There we go. So when you talked about really this burnout factor, I talk a lot about mental health and I talk a lot about like mental health is health period. And a lot of times I know at least in the US, it's something that's still a little bit taboo to talk about. And so I'm wondering in your part of the world, is this something that you guys have open conversations about?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (28:16.27)


Wesleyne (28:39.671)

within the organization and do you guys offer support for it? How does that work for you guys?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (28:45.102)

Yeah, I mean, in different countries, in Mexico, and even in Latin, there are some countries that already have some laws that help employees to have these kinds of programs. So this is very useful. And even if the companies do not have any plan or they are not prepared for this.

they can have some, how can I say, they can have really strong, yeah, factors of reputations that will not allow them to move and have better clients. So in a very short answer is,

Right now is something that it's not a taboo. It's something that it really needs to happen because you know that pandemic also provides us something different and a different perspective and the employees right now are hybrid and sometimes they work at home, sometimes they work at office and everything changed from the pandemic. So,

We need to understand what kind of mental things do they require to be happy, but at the same time be productive and have a great performance.

Wesleyne (30:26.135)

That's good. That's good. It's good to know that there are things that are at more of a national level that really protect employees' well -being. Because we know that if we don't take care of the whole employee, that that burnout, it impacts our top line and our bottom line. It impacts human beings. It impacts families. So I'm glad to know that there are active initiatives regarding that. So as we...

Rodrigo Manjarrez (30:52.686)


Wesleyne (30:54.583)

As we get ready to wrap up, tell me a little bit more about what Sesame HR does and how you help them.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (31:00.654)

Yeah, well, in Sesame HR, we love to help companies to deliver that, I mean, to the best experience of the HR work. We provide in a all -in -one solution. All the life cycle of the employee can have, I mean.

from the recruitment to the off -boarding. So as you can know, a lot of companies, they struggle with these kinds of things. With absence, with time tracking, with performance reviews, with these kinds of also policies and laws to create a good environment, provide mental support, all that kind of things.

What we try to do is that in one solution, try to put everything in one place so all the HR department or even the employees can have the chance to interact in a very fast way. And at the same time, I mean, create a good communication channel to move forward and move more faster in the market. So we really enjoy it and help.

companies from any kind of sectors and different size. So that's nice.

Wesleyne (32:31.319)

Awesome, and if people want to get in touch with you to learn more about Sesame HR or to chat with you about what we discussed on the podcast, what is the one best way?

Rodrigo Manjarrez (32:39.47)

Well, you can go and reach us on sesamehr .com and you can find a lot of things from us and we will get you on the way.

Wesleyne (32:54.455)

Awesome. Well, Rodrigo, this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you for sharing your time, your talent, and your expertise with us.

Rodrigo Manjarrez (33:01.966)

Thank you for listening.

Wesleyne (33:04.279)

So, and that was another episode of the Transform Sales Podcast. Remember, in all that you do, transform your sales. Until next time.

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