Laura Wrisley, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Velodyne Lidar, is on the frontline of working with Velodyne’s customers to promote safety in mobility across all levels of autonomy.
On a weekly basis, Laura and her sales team facilitate hundreds of conversations with mobility innovators, including traditional automotive companies, fleet operators who deliver goods and people, robotics integrators, mapping companies, drone specialists, and agriculture and industrial integrators. Additionally, as lidar has become more cost effective and accessible, many companies use lidar in stationary applications such as augmented and virtual reality, security, retail analytics, in-home entertainment, traffic management and other smart cities use-cases.
Laura has been with the company for three years, starting in business development to help to organize and define target market segments. She transitioned into Director of Sales and then, most recently, Vice President of Sales, North America, supporting Velodyne to focus sales resources around common applications and taking leadership of the North America sales team. Laura now leads Velodyne’s sales efforts across the globe, with teams in both the EMEA and APAC regions in addition to North America. With 20+ years of experience in sales management, Laura leans into strategic collaboration with customers and internal teams.
“I really enjoy the conversations we are having with our customers. We have a unique opportunity to help the world see people, objects and scenery in a new and very valuable way. Velodyne’s lidar solutions are a key component in enabling all types of vehicles to navigate with accuracy and precision that is beyond a human’s capacity, so vehicles can become far safer. It’s exciting to be part of the autonomy revolution,” said Laura.
We chatted with Laura to learn about how the Velodyne sales team works with customers and each other.
LW: Back in 2020, our team slogan was “be curious and listen.” This approach still drives my vision today. During customer meetings, our salespeople know we should talk less and listen more. We can achieve deeper engagement by asking “what problems are you trying to solve and how can we help?” Usually, we are meeting with engineers who have a very sophisticated understanding of our technology and they are eager to use it. Our team earns credibility and trust through a humble curiosity about our customers’ projects combined with timely, meaningful responses.
LW: Teamwork and collaboration are critical elements to any business’s success. I think that this is especially true at Velodyne because lidar is a new and quickly evolving technology. For Velodyne to keep our lead position in the industry, the sales team needs to involve all internal stakeholders. It’s the salesperson’s responsibility to act as a live conduit of communication between our customers and Velodyne’s internal teams such as engineering, finance, product development, legal, marketing and operations. This way, our leadership team can practice a deep internal collaboration to inform our customer-facing actions. Ultimately, this propagates a rich, multi-faceted interaction with Velodyne as a trusted and experienced advisor to our customers and the industry. And it’s fun to work with each other!
LW: I am very happy to be here at Velodyne. Team Velodyne continue to promote a safer world with innovative lidar technologies and our new CEO Ted Tewksbury delivers a clear, deliberate and organized vision to our team and our customers. We get to have conversations with scientists all over the world who are working to solve interesting problems using our lidar. Customers are telling us they appreciate our renewed commitment to be curious and listen. And they love our point clouds!
LW: Who doesn’t love a good walk on the beach with your favorite person? I do, I love beach walks! But I also love the snow! Snowboarding is our favorite family vacation; cellphones down, chins up, let’s go! I enjoy playing piano—classical only, I’m terrible at jazz—love reading the New York Times and fiction books (I’m an OG Harry Potter fan), and spending time with my young adult children.