Today’s episode topic focuses on Transforming Women Entrepreneurs (TWE) & Leveraging Millennials in the Workplace. I’ve been involved with Transforming Women Entrepreneurs for a few years now here in Atlanta, and I love the work that my guest is doing to help women business owners reach greater heights of success. My guest is also an expert in generations in the workplace and no topic is typically hotter than how companies need to think about millennial workers.
My guest is Nancy J. Lewis the founder and president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where the theme of her organization is, "Developing a Better YOU!" Nancy has 25 years of experience in professional development, diversity and inclusion, leadership, and communication skills.
In the first few minutes of the interview, Nancy and I talked about how TWE got started as an organization. Celebrating 10 years this year, TWE was started to provide a forum for women business owners to provide them education, mentorship, support and so much more. I’ll be speaking at the March 8 event talking about how women can grow their businesses to the next level using social selling strategies.
Learn about other speakers during the interview too. If you are here in Atlanta, register for the event here http://www.twe.events/ You MUST register by March 1st due to the security constraints onsite at Coca-Cola where the event is going to be held.
Then we got into an insightful conversation about generations in the workplace, specifically the dynamics happening between millennials and boomers. We technically have 5 generations in this workspace says Nancy but the main generations are Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, which we discussed.
How do we bridge the relationships?
The biggest issue or war is between Boomers and Millennials. Gen X is often being excluded from the conversation due to their size being so much smaller.
Some key differences between Millennials and Boomers are:
Millennials have a reputation for coming into the workplace with an attitude of entitlement. Not everyone, of course. As Nancy reminds us, we should be careful about making sweeping generalizations. Certainly, these younger workers come in expecting to be promoted in a few months versus doing the job for a year or so as they develop the skills to progress when they are ready. It is also not uncommon for millennials to believe they already know it all and don’t need help. Of course, I’d say that’s probably true of every generation. I remember when I first entered the workforce. There is no doubt that I thought my way was better until I learned to listen, learn and be open to the fact that I’d not developed enough experience to “know it all”.
Boomers on the other hand can be resistant. They don’t trust these younger workers tethered to social media 24/7 who think they already know it all and resist any kind of feedback at all. What Nancy pointed out though is that Boomers created the Millennial generation and thus played a role in why their attitudes are what they are. Good point! These parents were providing positive feedback in all circumstances. And, by now, it is well documented that the Millennial generation is the first generation to get trophies just for participating. That certainly wasn’t case in my day. Winners earned the trophies. That’s life. We can’t all win and showing up is part of life. Still, Millennials find constructive feedback hard to hear.
What can be done?
It is important for Millennials to open themselves up to constructive criticism. Our experience and expertise develop over time. There is an opportunity for cross-mentoring of both Millennials and Boomers. Millennials can benefit from the experience, knowledge and social/people skills or Boomers. Boomers can benefit also by keeping an open mind about the ideas that Millennials bring to the table. That includes learning from Millennials how to leverage social media and embrace new approaches to do business.
Businesses can also adjust their onboarding process to be more customized to meet the needs of these younger workers. Setting expectations about what the job entails is important. As is putting someone in the position to resolve a particular issue if they believe they are now ready to move up if they’ve been on the job a short period of time. I loved that idea because it puts that employee into a position to practice and see that they may or may not be ready yet.
There is so much more in the interview, which I hope you enjoy.
Nancy J. Lewis is the founder and president of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where the theme of her organization is,
"Developing a Better YOU!" Nancy has 25 years of experience in professional development, diversity and inclusion, leadership, and communication skills. A former Dale Carnegie Instructor for thirteen years, and adjunct faculty instructor for Georgia State University, she is a seasoned professional leveraging practical skills to resolve complex workplace issues and conducts motivational keynotes.
As a facilitator and business/executive coach, Nancy has worked with many Fortune 100, Fortune 500, and government agencies. As a former Human Resources practitioner, Nancy brings the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to her workshops. Nancy is certified in a variety of assessment tools, including DiSC, Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI), and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Nancy has a quarterly event called Transforming Women Entrepreneurs (TWE) where she empowers, equips, and encourages women to be the very best they can be in an environment where true connections are made.
Nancy has an engaging and energizing style that creates an atmosphere where attendees are comfortable with sharing their struggles as creative ways of resolving the issues of work and life are provided.
In this episode, I talked with Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Our topic was about how first line sales managers can avoid extinction.
We started by talking about what the first line sales manager role entails. Jim said it was actually 5 roles:
Leader, Coach, Trainer, Recruiter, and Manager
Which of these roles do you see managers doing well today? Where are they lacking?
Most sales managers really play one role – manager of the forecast and pipeline. The aggregate and interpret the data that reps report to them, they massage the numbers before they push them up to the Chief Sales Officer or VP of Sales. While this is important, the missed opportunities are the coaching, training, recruiting and leading teams that the role also requires.
Even from a coaching point of view, many sales managers simply assume the role of “super rep” – they join calls not to coach – but to be the hero – which makes them just another rep. This remains a pervasive problem as reps are promoted into the role often with very little, if any, training to help them be successful in their new position. Lacking training in how to manage and lead their teams, they default to what they know - closing the deal.
Our title starts with the words “avoiding extinction” – how are managers at risk for extinction?
Artificial Intelligence certainly puts sales managers at risk. Think about it. If their primary role is to gather and communicate the forecast and pipeline information, with artificial intelligence the forecast will no longer come from the field but from data.
Without that need for “human interpretation”, that role of keeper of the forecast goes away. And if that is the only role that differentiates a manager from a rep – the role is no longer needed.
So how do managers avoid becoming extinct?
Expand their role and develop their skills as coach and trainer to their teams. What gets in the way of these things happening, according to Jim is that these things are not expected, not inspected and managers often lack the ability.
To address these managers need both strategic coaching and performance coaching to be effective in their role.
Since I'm a believer in "learn 2 earn", and I would suggest that if sales managers are not getting the training that they need to be successful, they should be accountable for investing in themselves.
Technology, including AI, can help in these roles with things like:
Leveraging video coaching technology to allow for asynchronous coaching.
Using AI to help guide managers to where they need to focus on coaching.
Using AI to create “sales simulators” in the same vein as “flight simulators” – allow a rep to simulate a call – and the rep and manager review their performance together.
Delivering “training in a box” digitally to help managers deliver learning to their reps during regular sales meetings.
There was a lot of meat in this discussion, so please enjoy the interview!
Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Formerly an analyst, Jim led the sales enablement research practice at SiriusDecisions – helping, in many ways, to define the space, and working at the research firm for 10 years, while publishing 200+ research reports and briefs. He has more than 30 years of experience driving sales productivity and great tips, anecdotes and best practices to share.
In this episode, I talk with Josh Miller, CEO of Deciding Edge and certainly the youngest CEO I have ever had the pleasure of interviewing. I have always been a believer that we should NOT box people in with our generational biases. I believe we can learn from anyone, anywhere and at any age.
During this segment, Josh and I discuss his Gen Z research in partnership with XYZ University. The study was conducted with over 1,000 Gen Z'ers, and the findings will likely surprise you, as they did me. And, like me, I think you will be inspired by Josh's passion and enthusiasm for the work that he does.
While Millennials remain a focus given the fact that they will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, Gen Z is coming right up behind them and it is NOT too early to get ready.
I started by asking Josh what inspired him to become an entrepreneur at 16 years old.
Josh nails down the definition of Generation Z.
We discussed the research and studies Josh has been doing on the topic.
Josh shared some of the biggest insights that came out of his recently published white-paper. I found some of the research very surprising!
We talked about effective sales strategies to use for Gen Z members of your team.
Finally, I closed by asking Josh about his goals for 2018.
Download your copy of the research report here.
Connect on LinkedIn
Josh Miller is a 16-year-old student, entrepreneur, and thought leader on Gen Z. He currently serves as the CEO of Deciding Edge and Director of Gen Z Studies at XYZ University. He has spoken in front of some of the powerful leaders in the business world, been mentored by top executives, and discussed marketing strategy with Fortune 500 companies.
His work has been featured in prominent national publications. Equipped with a passion around leadership, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, Miller founded Deciding Edge with the mission of creating a platform for organizations to better understand how to recruit, retain, and sell to Generation Z. As a regular 16-year-old, he enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and spending time with friends and family. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In this episode, I talked with Ken Lundin. Ken is hosting the B2B Sales Summit, which we discussed in the interview. He was gracious enough to collect 28 of the top speakers to supercharge your sales activities by bringing you the whole experience free of charge. No pitches just pure content - it's an irresistible opportunity. Remember, learners are earners so take advantage of this incredible chance to jumpstart your B2B Sales Success. REGISTER NOW.
Here is what you will learn about in my interview with Ken.
For most listeners, their sales year has just kicked off, and for those listeners who are half-way through their sales year, Ken's nuggets of advice apply to you too.
Ken started off by sharing his actionable advice about the steps that salespeople both individual contributors and their managers do to set themselves up for success.
For anyone looking to fill their pipeline with more qualified sales opportunities, Ken shares his thoughts on the top priorities to focus on to get you there.
The sales cycle is often misunderstood, and Ken and I talked about the most misunderstood aspect of the selling process.
Learn what a salesperson or their sales manager can do today to improve their sales in the coming year.
Hear from Ken about why he decided to create The B2B Sales Summit kicking off on February 6, 2018.
Ken told me what surprised him most when interviewing some of the top sales influencers around the world.
Enjoy the interview AND REGISTER NOW for the B2B Sales Summit for FREE!!
Event Dates: February 6, 2018, to February 14, 2018
About Ken Lundin:
Ken made his sales bones by delivering $26,000,000 in contracts in under 9 months and being a part of a management team recognized as 1 of INC 500 Magazine’s fastest growing companies for 3 years in a row driving sales from under #2 million to $77 million in just 4 years. Today, he is a consultant for Span the Chasm, helping deliver sustainable sales growth for companies under $100 million in revenue and the Host of The B2B Sales Summit.
As 2018 kicks off, what is your process for achieving your sales goals? If you don't follow a process, you going to find it tough to meet your sales objectives. And, that's the topic for today's episode with Jim Brown of Salestuners.
Jim and I discussed:
If you don't have your process nailed down, do it now before you find yourself staring at an empty funnel.
Enjoy the interview!
Jim Brown has led two companies from $1 million to more than $10 million, and one from $1 million to $0. He now trains entrepreneurs who don’t realize they’re the VP of Sales and individual salespeople how to 10X their revenue using a step-by-step sales formula.
Previously, Jim’s sales performance led Slingshot SEO from $1.2 million to $11 million in revenue within two years. He was then recruited to Compendium to build and lead the sales function, which he took from $2 million in sales to an eight-figure acquisition by Oracle. After the Oracle acquisition, Jim left the well paying job and comfort of success that he’d known and raised $1 million for a B2C app startup. They had some initial traction but failed to execute the vision. This resulted in a 100% loss for himself and the investors.
Today, Jim hosts the SalesTuners podcast where he talks with world-class sales performers about the techniques, behaviors, and attitudes that listeners can use to close more deals and make more money.
This episode is all about building rapid pipeline growth, a challenge facing many salespeople today. My guest, Chris Bennett shared his strategies for building the sales pipeline that delivers sales results.
We talked about:
Why so many salespeople struggle to build the proper sized sales pipeline/ funnel.
The one type of question that is designed to fuel the funnel with the right kinds of sales opportunities.
The characteristics of a good challenge question that you need to be asking.
Chris shares examples of what a good challenge question sounds like.
Through his examples, Chris reveals that it is relatively easy to ask the right kind of question and yet, he talked about why more reps don't do it.
You'll learn what happens when salespeople are trained to use these questions properly. And Chris shared examples of actual sales results.
Finally, we discussed what sales managers can do to support their salespeople in this process.
Enjoy the interview!
Chris Bennett heads up Chris Bennett Sales Training. Chris has been helping businesses increase pipeline and crush quota for 24 years. He always measures for hard financial results. He has worked with companies like Dimension Data, CDW, SHI, Bell Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, TELUS, Cisco, AT&T, and others. The core of his teachings are built upon the foundation of; understanding, helpfulness and creating real measurable business impact. He believes in relentless follow up. He is happily married and loves recreation such as; fishing, skiing, golf, tennis, squash and mixed martial arts. He is an avid Chicago Bears fan and listens to classic rock turned up loud.
Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.
My guest in this episode is James Bawden, Business Development and and Sales Excellence Coordinator at Evalueserve. Our conversation focused on the importance of empowering and motivating your front-line sellers.
We talked about:
Why it is important to provide emotional support and guidance in order to motivate your team members.
James' suggestions for how leadership can grow and nurture their sales talent.
Where leaders can go wrong when working with new salespeople.
Tips for salespeople just getting started in their career.
How peer to peer relationships play a role in empowering the front line to be the best that they can be.
Enjoy the interview!
About James Bawden
James is the Business Development Manager and Sales Excellence Coordinator at Evalueserve. He is a sales professional with nearly a decade of experience in several industries, spanning from wireless retail sales to complex B2B sales. He has a unique vantage point on sales leadership, as he has continually been promoted to leadership roles and been charged with leading a team of salespeople that were once his peers. He truly knows what a front-line salesperson is like, as well as what it is like to lead a team. He is fiercely passionate about all things sales, especially providing a voice for salespeople who are just beginning their careers.
Curt Redden and Courtney Walsh are the co-authors of GOING PRIMAL, A Layered Approach to Creating the Life You Desire.
In this episode, we talked about A PRIMAL Approach to Accelerate your Sales Career!
I started by having Curt and Courtney tell me what this Primal thing is all about.
They talk about the idea behind the book and why they decided to work together on the project.
Based on Curt's years of great work in the area of learning and development for salespeople, Curt shares his advice about what salespeople need to do to improve their sales results.
Learn why attitude and perseverance is necessary now more than ever if you want to be the best in sales and in life.
We closed by talking about the best piece of business advice that Curt and Courtney want you to know about.
Order Curt and Courtney's book HERE.
Enjoy the interview!
Curt Redden is a speaker, talent-development and sales training expert, and author of 3 books on sales and leadership excellence. His most recent work, Going PRIMAL, is co-authored with colleague Courtney Walsh. Curt has spent more than twenty-five years working to support and encourage employees as they strive for success. He currently is the head of global talent development for UPS Capital. He is also certified by the Association for Talent Development as a master trainer and performance-improvement consultant.
Courtney Walsh uses her position as a communication and talent-development professional to help others achieve a healthy work-life balance. Originally from Daytona Beach, Florida, she now works for a Fortune 50 company in Atlanta, Georgia. When she isn’t working, Walsh enjoys spending time outdoors and testing out new culinary creations. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and has earned numerous professional certifications in learning and development.
For more information on Curt Redden or Courtney Walsh, please visit: www.primalsuccess.com
In this episode, I talked with Leslie Grossman, author of the book Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections.
So, I was curious. We all know LinkedIn but I started by asking Leslie what she meant by Link Out.
We also talked about:
When it comes to trust, the most effective ways to build trust with a customer or client.
How many people find typical networking ineffective in making sales, yet they force themselves to do it. Leslie tells me why she thinks that happens.
The most important communication skill you need to master to be successful in sales.
You will also learn how to build your own entourage, which Leslie delivered a TEDx talk about.
Finally, I closed by asking Leslie to share her advice to women looking to move into leadership roles.
Enjoy the interview!
Leslie Grossman is an award-winning entrepreneur who advises, trains and speaks on business development, leadership, and marketing, Her most recent book Link Out: How To Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connectors (Wiley) puts a spotlight on building trusted relationships to achieve your goals.
She is the founder of Leslie Grossman Leadership and speaks throughout the world about how trusted relationships transform your business and career. After leading a marketing agency for 12 years, Leslie created the Women’s Leadership Exchange, the first national conference series to propel the businesses of women business owners and professionals reaching more than 65,000 women through more than 100 live events and online programs. Leslie is an executive coach and Chair for Vistage International, the largest peer advisory board organization in the world. She is on the adjunct faculty for The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership and coaches entrepreneurs and women executives to break-through to the top by building relationships and transforming habits that dilute their leadership potential. Grossman’s previous book SELLsation! How Companies Can Capture Today’s Hottest Market: Women Business Owners and Executives made her a popular speaker on business development for companies like Aetna, Axa, NorthWestern Mutual, IBM, Best Buy, American Express, and IKEA.
In this episode, my guest is Stephen Walsh, CEO of AndersPink. We focused our discussion on the art of content curation. You probably already know that part of your social selling strategy includes using content to connect and engage with new buyers. Contrary to what many "experts" tell you though, you don't have to create your own content. If you are able to do that at some point great but when you are first starting out, it just isn't that easy. Your job is to sell, right? Plus, not everyone has the time, inclination or talent to write blog posts. There are other ways to create content like recording audio tips, hosting webinars, etc. but that takes time too. That's why I like this topic. You can learn to curate content like a boss in ways that help you to engage with buyers and positions you as a thought leader in your field.
Stephen and I discussed:
What content curation is and what it has to do with social selling.
Why sharing other people's content is a good idea. Learn how it helps you.
Learn tips for finding great content fast without losing your day to the internet.
How you can be more targeted in how/when you share content with more than just the folks in your network.
How you should think about social selling and content curation as a team sport. You don't necessarily have to do it all on your own.
Finally, we talked about the FANTASTIC new ebook that Stephen and his team put out on this topic. More than theory, this is a "boots on the ground" field guide you will reference again and again. I've already read it twice! You'll find specific strategies that you can put into practical application right now to improve your results when curating and sharing content.
Enjoy the interview!
Stephen Walsh is the CEO and CoFounder of AndersPink. Stephen is passionate about helping sales teams stay smart, share better content, grow their business and keep learning every day. He's has worked in learning, sales, and marketing for over 20 years. He co-founded Kineo, an elearning company, ran sales and marketing and grew it to a $20m business before selling it. He's a co-founder of BuzzSumo, a leading content discovery tool and of Anders Pink, a new tool to help social sellers with content curation. He's written 2 books on learning and selling and is a regular blogger and speaker.
Kurt is the Chief Sales Officer at Vengreso, and he has been an early evangelist of the use of LinkedIn and social selling strategies in the sales process. We started off talking about how Kurt defines social selling, which depending on who you talk too has different meanings.
During the interview, you'll learn why salespeople need to be incorporating social selling approaches into their current sales process, and what happens if they don’t. Surprising there are still a lot of naysayers and fence sitters who haven't begun integrating social networks into their selling strategy.
Kurt shared his perspective on how an organization successfully implements a social selling strategy. He also shared tips for the individual sales contributor.
Content is widely promoted as a key part of any social selling effort. But it is fiercely debated about whether salespeople should create their own content. Kurt shared with me where he stood in the debate.
Lately, the “this or that strategy is dead” crowd has been rising up to suggest that social selling dead and that it doesn’t work. I asked Kurt what he thought about this… do these people have a point or is it simply click bait to get people reading their posts?
Kurt recently teamed up with other businesses to form a new company – Vengreso – to provide an array of services related to digital sales transformation. He told me what was behind his decision and what is Vengreso bringing to the world of social selling?
Finally, Vengreso has a new social selling boot camp starting on Sept 19. Kurt told me what people can expect to learn when they participate in the program.
Peeps, I want you to know that I’m an affiliate partner of Vengreso because I often have individual sales contributors or small business owners looking for social selling help. Since I mostly work with larger teams, I wanted to be sure I had a great place to refer folks too that I’m unable to support. So, go to my blog or company website and you will find program details there. Use my link to get yourself registered for the program.
Thanks and enjoy the interview!
Kurt Shaver is a co-founder and Chief Sales Officer of Vengreso. Kurt is an expert at getting sales teams to adopt new sales tools and techniques. Through a successful career in technology sales, Kurt learned what it takes to reach B2B decision makers. In 2011, Kurt recognized that LinkedIn would be the next great sales technology and that it would require expert training. He pivoted his business and now has over 10,000 hours of experience training corporate sales teams like CenturyLink, Ericsson, and TelePacific Communications. Kurt is the creator of the Social Selling Boot Camp and he frequently speaks at corporate sales meetings and conferences like Dreamforce, Sales 2.0, and LinkedIn’s Sales Connect.
In this segment of the Women in Sales Leadership series, I talked with Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President in the One Commercial Partner team where she is responsible for global partner channel management and programs, with a focus on driving digital transformation for partners and customers.
I talked to Gavriella about what it means to build a career as a life long learner, and why you should too.
I asked Gavriella about her different roles with Microsoft, from sales to operations and now as Microsoft’s channel chief. Here's what she told me is the most important thing for everyone to keep in mind as they build their own careers. It is all about ongoing learning to keep growing your skills and opportunities.
Gavriella shared with me the constants she has noticed throughout changes in her career.
You will love Gavriella's story about how she took the stage at Microsoft Inspire with tens of thousands of people, both in the arena and watching online, for a keynote address. She shared her major learning from that opportunity.
You'll also learn what Gavriella feels she has learned in the past year or so. Things like leading teams through ambiguity, start with won't change, how to create clarity or yourself on how you, personally, can help achieve that outcome, why you should not work in a vacuum and more.
Finally, Gavriella shared her advice for women just getting started on this journey as a lifelong learner.
Enjoy the interview!
Gavriella Schuster is a Corporate Vice President in the One Commercial Partner team, Gavriella Schuster is responsible for global partner channel management and programs, with a focus on driving digital transformation for partners and customers. Gavriella’s team is responsible for the high-touch experiences of Managed Service Providers, Hosters, Resellers, Distributors and National/Local SIs. She is also responsible for connecting, enabling, investing in, and rewarding partners through high-touch and low-touch programmatic experiences. She has extensive experience in sales, marketing, product management, and partner development with a strong track record of managing customers, partners, and teams. Over the last 20 years at Microsoft, she has managed sales and marketing teams across the Server and Cloud business, the Windows Client Commercial business, Enterprise Services, licensing sales and marketing, field business development, training initiative development, segment marketing, worldwide partner marketing and training strategies and worldwide operations.
In this episode, I talked with Jasmine Sandler about The Importance of Social Branding and its intersection with Social Selling in Delivering Results.
I asked Jasmine to start by giving me the deets on how she got to where she is in her career today.
Jasmine's perspective on the intersection between Social Branding and Social Selling, and what she means by that.
You'll hear tips on how to build a successful social brand presence.
You learn why Social Branding is for everyone, and your social brand is useful for anyone from Entrepreneur to Executive.
Discover how the Social Branding of the Individual Executive supports a company's brand strength.
Jasmine provides tips for executives branding themselves online.
Finally, Jasmine talks us through a client case study, so you can understand the process she uses to help people build their brand.
Enjoy the interview!
Jasmine Sandler is a Google awarded Author, Senior-level Consultant and Keynote Speaker on Online Branding for global organizations and C-level executives. She is the Founder and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, a NYC-based Social Media and Search Agency serving global brands including: CitiBank, Private Jet Card Comparisons, Fly Home Jets, Tuescher Chocolates, Diamonds International, Almod Diamonds and The Shade Store. She writes on SEO and Social Media Strategies for Fast Company, LinkedIn, Entrepreneur.com, SearchEngineJournal.com and ClickZ.com. She has a dual MBA in Marketing and CIS and is a former IBM Marketing executive. Her passions are Speaking, Singing and Hockey.
Today, in this segment of the Women in Sales Leadership series, I’m talking with Ellen Kindley is a dynamic revenue operations leader at QASymphony specializing in sales process, data management & analytics, strategy, and sales tech.
Ellen believes that sales operations leaders should think about internal operational improvements as if you are building a product with features. Your sales people are essentially your customers, and everything done in revenue operations is geared to support them in success. Operations should act as a product owner - creating a road map where key stakeholders can collaborate on which projects (product features) to prioritize and why.
How revenue operations are different from traditional sales operations.
The overarching goals of a revenue operations team.
How to best organize the business initiatives you need to prioritize.
How to stay in tune with what’s happening on the sales floor and bring that back into your operational roadmap.
Ideas for cross collaboration with stakeholders across your business.
Some of the common operational challenges solved with the approach that Ellen advocates.
Ellen Kindley is a dynamic revenue operations leader at QASymphony specializing in sales process, data management & analytics, strategy, and sales tech.
Ellen seeks to enable growth by facilitating strategic planning, infrastructure, and overall sales excellence. Ellen is passionate about laying the foundation on which SaaS startups can scale and grow - always striving to be the driving force for productivity improvement.
Starting at QASymphony in 2014, first as a consultant and then as a full-time employee in 2015, Ellen has successfully set the stage for hyper growth. Every step is data driven as she sets initiatives and priorities, evaluates gaps and executes improvements. Ellen's goal every day is to allow sales management and individual contributors to focus solely on revenue generating activities.
QASymphony's software testing and QA tools help companies create better software by improving speed, efficiency, and collaboration during the testing lifecycle.
I talked to Jim Burns of Avitage about how to support B2B value selling sales teams with the right knowledge, communication support, and situation-ready content.
High-performing content is your First Product and Currency with which you earn attention, interest, engagement -- this is the way you create value for buyers. Unfortunately, many executives aren't aware of strategic imperative of high-performing content and the impact on their business. Since most content tends not to be sales or situation ready, it generally performs poorly, often negatively, which does not reflect well on the salesperson or the company brand.
Jim and I discussed:
How to assess the current state of your current sales content assets.
What Jim believes to be the underlying causes of why content doesn't perform well.
The primary cases for using sales content:
How an organization should go about producing content that is high-quality, high performing and sales-ready.
What Jim recommends in terms of deploying content, or making situation-ready content easier for salespeople to access and use?
And much more.
Enjoy the interview!
Jim Burns is a sales professional with a unique expertise in sales conversation and content. For over 20 years his company Avitage developed sales content and software that improved the way sales professionals differentiated themselves and created value for customers through the way they sold.
B2B selling organizations of all sizes have benefited from breakthrough approaches Avitage provided to capture and incorporate selling knowledge into daily activities. They've learned how to create effective communication support and situation-ready content that fuels value selling models.
Avitage no longer produces content. They help organizations capitalize on methodologies and practices that create high-performing content, at scale, without compromise.
In this Women in Sales Leadership episode, I talked with Erin Bush. She is the Director of Revenue Operations at SalesLoft, the platform for modern sales engagement.
A Walker 2020 report revealed that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as a key differentiator. There is no doubt that experience is a key priority for many organizations. Forrester reported that 72% of businesses say that improving the customer experience is their top priority. In a blog from NewVoiceMedia, their recent research indicates that companies lose more than $62 billion due to poor customer service. That's a big problem!
I talked with Erin about SalesLoft defines customer experience and who is involved in the experience process. From their point of view it is a team effort between Marketing, Sales and their Customer Success team.
We talked about:
How the teams work together to create seamless experiences.
How they make sure that the team is well informed and hand-off points are clearly defined.
How technology and systems are key to a successful workflow.
Enjoy the interview!
Erin Bush is the Director of Revenue Operations at SalesLoft, the platform for modern sales engagement. In this role, she works with Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success to create systems to more efficiently prospect, win, onboard, and support customers.
Erin is a veteran sales leader in the Atlanta startup community. An innovator in sales operations, Erin specializes in building a connected sales practice utilizing modern sales technology.
I talked with Katie Early, a sales leader at HubSpot, about her strategies for leading SDR/BDR teams to consistent sales success. Katie first talked to me about how she got started in a career in sales and what she loves about the profession.
We then talked about:
How Katie made the transition from an individual contributor sales role into a sales leadership role and the surprises she encountered and the lessons she learned.
Katie then shared her guidance for women who’d like to make the same transition into a leadership position.
Successfully leading teams to exceed monthly and annual sales targets on a consistent basis isn't always easy. Katie shared some of her strategies that help her lead her team to ongoing success.
We discussed the importance of hiring right, coaching, ongoing training.
How SDR/BDR roles are important in selling success and Katie's thoughts on how those front-line roles are evolving.
Katie recently moved into a new leadership role and made a move to Dublin. She told me about her new role and what led her to tackle this new challenge.
Enjoy the interview!
Katie Early leads the Corporate Sales Team for HubSpot in EMEA, focusing on growing the HubSpot's presence with large scale organizations. She started her sales career with HubSpot 6 years ago, where she worked as an individual contributor before moving into Sales Management in North America, and then later moving to the Dublin office for her current role.
I love this topic because it is a reminder that we are the owners of our plan for work and life! My guest in this segment was Lindsay Zwart, Microsoft General Manager of the US SM&SP National Sales Organization (NSO).
Lindsay is an advocate for women in leadership roles. She told me why that advocacy is so important to her.
We also talked about:
Why Lindsay believes women need to put more emphasis on building their brand and why she believes that it is important for career success.
To be successful, we certainly cannot go it alone. I asked Lindsay to share her advice for networking effectively – inside and outside of any organization where you work.
How Lindsay's international experience has been of value to her working for Microsoft and how she leverages experience that in her career.
Lindsay also shared her suggestions for women to help them identify their next roles and once those roles are identified, how to create a plan to get there.
Finally, we talked about work/life balance because Lindsay is an extremely busy executive, as all the women in this leadership series are. Lindsay talked about how she maintains the balance between work and her home life. Good stuff!
Enjoy the interview!
Lindsay Zwart is General Manager of the US SM&SP National Sales Organization (NSO) at Microsoft. Lindsay’s team manages Corporate Accounts Licensing and in SMS&P, Software Asset Management, Sales Excellence and CTM Strategy. Lindsay previously led the U.S. Dynamics Partner, Industry and SMB Sales organization, the Dynamics Country Lead for New Zealand, and led the consulting team within the Microsoft Services organization. Lindsay worked for IBM before joining Microsoft. She enjoys working in a vibrant, collaborative environment, and is an advocate for supporting women in leadership roles and empowering people through trust and accountability. When not working, Lindsay enjoys time with her husband and two girls, ages 12 and 9, keeping busy with sporting activities and adventures.
Are today’s buyers really different from the buyers of a few years ago? In many ways, yes and Mary Kay Hauer of MK Associates also shared her perspective on how some things aren't really all that different in today's market.
Questions we tackled include:
The difficulty many sellers have in selling to today's buyers.
Some of the strategies a seller can use to avoid these difficulties.
Ideas on how to best connect with a potential buyer who often ignores salespeople.
How salespeople can increase their win rates if they truly understand the drivers behind why buyer make their buying decisions.
Enjoy the interview!
About Mary Kay:
Mary Kay Hauer of MKH Associates whose personal mission is "Creating passionate salespeople who love their job as much as she does”. When you love what you do, and you are good at it, customers will want to buy from you. Her goal is to transition good people into passionate sales people who help their customers be more successful…and make good money doing just that.
Working with large companies such as Microsoft, HP, Kyocera, Southern California Edison, and Lands’ End to small start-up companies, Mary Kay has helped organizations apply the Solution Selling® principles, best practices and a framework that develops and enables salespeople to reach success with passion.
Want to know how to close more business, more profitably? In this episode, my guest Jeff Koser tells you how to do that by selling to zebras. Not the kind of Zebra you find in a zoo, but the Zebra that is the perfect customer for you.
Jeff and I discussed:
What he means by selling to a Zebra.
How the approach of selling to Zebras came to him when Jeff was working for a company called Baan.
In addition to advocating that sellers stay focused on pursuing business with Zebras aka their ideal prospect, Jeff told me why it is so important to get to the "power" in any organization.
Most salespeople can rattle off a value proposition but Jeff talked to me about why sellers need to quantify value in a way that they probably haven’t thought about.
Of course, we talked about the role of CRM and why salespeople often don't like it.
Finally, Jeff shared his advice for salespeople selling in a world that is vastly different from years past.
Enjoy the interview!
Jeff Koser is the spirited CEO and founder of Selling to Zebras, a sales tools Software company www.SellingtoZebras.com. Jeff is an award-winning co-author of Selling to Zebras, HOW to CLOSE 90% of the BUSINESS YOU PURSUE FASTER, MORE EASILY, and MORE PROFITABLY. In 2010, Jeff was recognized as one of the best sales authors of all time in the book, The Sales Gurus. Jeff has more than thirty years of experience in building businesses, speaking, consulting, executive sales management, business strategy, and business development.
Hiring the right people with the right skills is critical to sales organizations. In this episode, I talk with Katie Ng-Mak from HubSpot who shares her thoughts on hiring top talent and building a culture of inclusiveness.
As we kicked off, Katie told me what led her into a sales career and what she loves about the profession. She then shared her advice to women in sales who want to move into leadership roles.
According to the research, hiring is a top priority for many sales organizations. You'll hear how Katie believes that hiring right translates into achieving sales results.
We also discussed:
What the ideal sales persona looks like today and how that persona will evolve as we move into the future.
The role diversity and inclusiveness plays in creating a sales team of A-players.
Strategies for sales managers who may discover after hiring someone that they aren’t a fit for the role after all.
The most important thing Katie has learned about hiring top talent.
Enjoy the interview!
Katie Ng-Mak is a Sales Director at HubSpot where she manages a 65-person sales organization and is in charge of the company’s North America channel business. She developed her sales career at HubSpot where she started as a rep 8 years ago before moving on to sales management and sales leadership. Prior to HubSpot, she worked on Wall Street and studied at the Harvard Business School and Columbia University.
In this segment of the Women in Sales Leadership series, I talked with Mary Ford, Director, Sales Strategy and Operations at SecureWorks.
The sales operations team is often overlooked for the value that they bring to the sales force and a company's business overall. Mary shared her views on why might happen and what you can do about it. After Mary let me know how she got started in sales, we talked about:
Mary's definition of Sales Operations.
How to develop and evolve the Sales Ops team inside your company.
How the Sales Operations function has evolved over time.
Mary's suggestions for becoming a Sales Ops Rockstar.
Where the future of Sales Operations may be headed.
Finally, Mary shared her advice for women looking to move into leadership roles.
Mary Ford currently serves as Director, Sales Strategy and Operations for SecureWorks.
Previously, she was a member of the leadership team at Cbeyond, taking the company from start-up to a publicly traded, $450 million leading Cloud and Managed services provider to SMBs. She held a number of roles leading marketing, sales operations and learning and development functions.
Ford serves as chair of the Board of the Atlanta Track Club and as a board member for the Technology Association of Georgia Sales Leadership Society.
Ford is a graduate of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2014 and serves in a variety of other volunteer roles. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Virginia and aanMA degree in Telecommunications from George Washington University.
In this episode, I talk with Sebastien Denes, Senior Director SAP Digital Business Services. He talked with me about he incorporates social selling strategies into his sales process.
Sebastien began using LinkedIn about 10 years ago but said he really realized the power of social about 5 years ago when he moved to take a position in China. It was his way of staying connected with his colleagues in Europe. He also uses LinkedIn Sales Navigator to share content, engage with prospective buyers, stay in touch with customer and partners, and to plan for his sales calls. He also loves the educational value that LinkedIn offers.
Finally, we talked about Sebastien's keys to success using social media on a daily basis.
Sebastien Denes is a Senior Director and Head of RunSAP Center of Expertise APJ within the Digital Business Services organization at SAP. In this role, Sebastien leads the delivery of Run/Operations Services, overseeing a team of 120 professionals and managing the annual Run Services contribution.
His team advises CIO/CTO in various industries such as Banking/Insurance, E-commerce/Retail, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Utilities and Telecom.
Coaching done consistently is one of the best ways to ensure that all your salespeople are achieving their goals but coaching isn't the same as managing. Donald shared his thoughts on:
How he defines coaching.
Why it is so important, especially for a small business.
What an effective coaching session looks like for the sales rep and sales leader.
How often leaders should be coaching.
Ways to measure coaching effectiveness.
How coaching has helped Donald in his career and business.
Enjoy the interview!
Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire. Early on in his sales career, Donald struggled with sales, but through the proper training and coaching, he became a top performing seller. He has since taken it upon himself to “evangelize” the message of effective selling to struggling entrepreneurs, salespeople and anyone looking to improve their sales hustle. Donald hosts a popular sales podcast call “The Sales Evangelist.
He works with small to midsize companies in developing effective sales processes as well as training their teams. He is an award-winning sales and motivational speaker. When he’s not training, speaking or selling, he loves spending time with his family in South Florida."
In this episode, I talk with Federico Winer, Head of Entertainment Industries EMEA at SAP. He talked with me about he incorporates social selling strategies into his sales process.
Fede got started some years ago when he realized the power and importance of building an online brand. He uses LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to share content, engage with prospective buyers and customers and plan for his sales calls.
You'll hear in the interview that Fede believes salespeople should be human and authentic. After all, people buy from people. He also thinks that doing your homework before sales conversations is important but that you shouldn't be over scripted.
Finally, we talked about Fede's keys to success using social media to drive sales opportunities.
Enjoy the interview!
Federico Winer has developed international business for media, sports and entertainment firms since the start of his career, with a firm understanding of how humanities and IT coexist. In his role as Head of Entertainment Industries for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at SAP, Fede is responsible for the generation of Entertainment industry revenue and pipeline. He is a trusted industry advisor for both SAP customers as well as SAP Account Executives across sectors like lotteries, betting houses, casinos, amusement parks, trade shows, game publishers and museums.