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.
Account based selling and marketing are hot topics in business today. During this interview, Kristina shares research about what's working with regard to account based everything.
We discussed Kristina's views on:
The top trends in sales today.
How organizations should think about Account-Based execution.
How Account-Based changes the metrics for success for both sales and marketing.
Whether Account-Based is a realistic approach for most organizations.
An example of an account-based campaign that worked.
Finally, Kristina shares her perspective on what women in sales roles can do if they want to move into leadership positions.
Enjoy the interview!
Kristina McMillan leads the research organization behind all of TOPO’s practices. She works with TOPO’s analysts to develop best practice frameworks and actionable research that help clients cultivate world-class demand generation, sales development, and sales organizations. She is also one of TOPO's sales development experts and advises clients on all matters related to sales development. Previously, Kristina spent 12 years as a best practices consultant and practitioner helping build sales development and inside sales teams for companies such as Knova, Taleo, Eloqua, Five 9, Zmanda, and more.
In this episode, Lee Salz talks about sales differentiation and why it matters. We discussed:
Whether sales differentiation is a sales or marketing issue.
Why is sales differentiation is important…why it matters.
How you can differentiate yourself even if you sell a commodity product.
Though Lee developed 19 sales differentiation concepts, he discussed an example of a way in which salespeople can leverage sales differentiation.
Other ways that salespeople can incorporate sales differentiation into their sales strategy.
What is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make when it comes to sales differentiation?
Mistakes salespeople make with sales differentiation.
What to do if prospect’s buy through RFPs (Requests for Proposal)…how can you use sales differentiation when faced with an RFP.
Enjoy the interview!
Lee Salz is a leading sales management strategist and founder of Sales Architects. He is the best-selling author of four business books with a fifth in development on sales differentiation that will be published by Wiley in April 2018.
His latest book “Hire Right, Higher Profits” is an Amazon best-seller and was the #1 rated sales management book on Amazon for 2014. His sales book “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager” was named by Amazon as one of their top 20 most highly-rated sales books of all-time.
He is also a featured columnist in the Business Journal, a member of the Sales and Marketing Management magazine Advisory Board, a member of the Sales Education Foundation Advisory Board, and serves as the Program Advisor to the Kansas State University National Strategic Selling Institute.
In this Women in Sales Leadership interview, you'll hear tips and strategies for running an effective sales discovery call, but first I asked Tonni about how she got into sales and what she loves about the profession.
Then we discussed:
How Tonni has prepared her sales team to run effective discovery calls.
How you earn trust and credibility quickly in the call to allow for effective discovery.
Tips for sellers who struggle to keep a prospect engaged throughout the discovery conversation.
Traits that women have that make them effective at discovery during sales meetings.
Tips for keeping discovery going throughout the sales process.
What comes first? Demo or discovery call?
Tonni's advice for women would are thinking about how to move into a leadership role.
Enjoy the interview!
Tonni Bennett is the Vice President of Sales at Terminus, a leader in account-based marketing software. She has scaled the sales team to 29 members over the past 2 years. (Terminus was ranked #2 at the Atlanta Business Chronicle's Pacesetter Awards as a top 5 fastest growing company in Atlanta.) Before Terminus she was a top producing sales professional at Pardot, PeopleMatter and SalesLoft.
I talked with Rob Kall, CEO of Cien about the deeper impact that artificial intelligence can have on the sales process. Cien's application helps sales leaders answer difficult questions with better accuracy. Questions such as:
I asked Rob about his thoughts about whether sales leaders are measuring what matters most to the business.
The impetus behind starting Cien.
The specific business problems that Cien is solving.
What he thinks about Salesforce Einstein.
And the benefits that artificial intelligence brings to salespeople.
Enjoy the interview! And don't forget to take the survey that Rob mentioned during the interview. Find it HERE.
Rob Kall is Swedish American serial entrepreneur, known for his data-driven approach to sales management and performance. His latest start up, Cien, is a new artificial intelligence app focused on helping teams increase their sales productivity by answering their most difficult questions.
I talked with Bridget about her leadership experience working in Israeli start-up Logz.io. During this episode, you'll first hear how Bridget got her start in sales.
Then we talked about her experience working for an Iraeli company.
How her experience working with an Israeli company is different from other start-ups she has worked with.
You'll gain some perspective on Bridget handles the time difference and what that means for communication among the leadership team.
Bridget shared a few of her biggest surprises.
Finally, Bridget shares her advice would to women in sales roles who want to move into leadership positions.
Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales at Logz.io and manages the company’s worldwide sales organization. She was most recently VP of Corporate Sales as well as Executive Advisor at Sumo Logic. Prior to Sumo Logic, she was VP of Worldwide Sales at Yesware and Senior VP of Worldwide Sales at Engine Yard.
In this Women in Sales Leadership segment, I talked with Jen Spencer, VP of Sales and Marketing at Allbound about building partner relationships that drive revenue.
As a kicking off point, we talked about how Jen got started in sales and what she loves about the profession. Then we discussed:
Jen's recommendations for engaging channel partner sales reps to drive qualified sales leads.
Some of the most common challenges sales teams face when the company sells both directly and indirectly.
The revenue benefits of building out a partner program and strategies for making that happen.
Finally, Jen shared her advice for women in sales who would like to move up in the leadership ranks, but aren’t exactly sure how to get started.
This episode is sponsored by Hubspot.
Don’t miss out HubSpot’s annual sales event – Inbound Sales Day – on June 6th! 30 leading sales experts will be sharing their knowledge and expertise. Register now for FREE at hubspot.com/inbound-sales-day
Jen is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Phoenix-based Allbound, an easy-to-use SaaS platform that helps companies accelerate recurring revenue with channel partners. Jen subscribes to the notion that “we’re all in this together,” and great communication leads to great partnership. She loves animals, technology, the arts, and really good Scotch.
Successful selling is all about the basics, but how well do sales teams execute on the basics these days? Jim Ninnivaggi, SVP of Business Development at Brainshark shares his views on why the basics in selling matter more today than ever.
We talked about:
Jim's belief that salespeople have to get “back to basics.” He talked about the basics he means and how sales teams have veered away from them.
How the factors that contribute to sales success have changed over the past few decades.
What has diverted sales organizations’ attention away from the basics, the repercussions and how can sales teams can get back on track.
Critical components to sales readiness – specifically onboarding, training, and coaching – and how to implement a back-to-basics approach.
An example of how organizations really excel at executing on the basics and what modern sales teams can learn.
Enjoy the interview!
Jim is the SVP of business development at Brainshark, a leading sales enablement and readiness solutions provider. He helps to shape and execute Brainshark’s partner strategy – driving key partnerships that extend the power of Brainshark’s solutions and platform.
Jim has three decades of experience in B2B sales productivity. He previously served as service director for sales enablement strategies at research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions – helping to build and define that practice area for both the firm and industry at large.
In this Women in Sales Leadership episode, I talked with Samantha McKenna from ON24. We talked about:
What led Samantha into sales and what she loves about the profession.
How she set herself apart with prospects and clients from the other reps she competed against. Think going bigger, stretching further and getting creative.
The core values that enabled Samantha's sales success.
Her advice for women in sales who want to move into leadership roles, and what she did to get herself promoted into leadership positions.
Enjoy the interview.
Samantha McKenna is an award-winning leader, who serves as a Regional Vice President of Sales for ON24, and has worked within the SaaS sales and marketing space for ten years. She is a thought leader in the demand generation and content marketing space, having spoken across the US regarding webinars, the use of technology in the marketing stack, the use of analytics for business development and lead generation, and how leading law firms and professional services organizations are leveraging technology to drive revenue. Samantha served four years as a board member for the Legal Marketing Association’s Capital Chapter and actively volunteers with financial literacy initiatives in Washington, D.C.
I talked with James Buckley at Cirrus Insight about his passion for sales, specifically the role of the SDR (sales development rep) in the selling process. We talked about:
How James got started in selling.
The types of sales positions he's held and what he's learned.
How his background in Writing Communications benefits him in selling.
The importance of social media presence in today's competitive climate.
Where James sees the sales industry headed in the next couple of years.
And, why James loves the position of SDR and the value he feels it brings to sales organizations.
James Buckley is a Business Development Manager and Sales Trainer at Cirrus Insight. He is originally from Miami, Florida but has lived in the Knoxville area for 12 years. James attended a small liberal arts college in Maryville, Tennessee Maryville College, where he graduated with a Writing Communications degree. James' focus and specialty is the Sales Development Role. He believes that these are long-term positions under-utilized in today's fast paced business models. James is a customer focused, results-driven professional with growth on his mind. He believes there is no substitute for hard work, and ultimately it's what helps him stand out.
Today is a big day! I am launching a special series devoted to Women in Sales Leadership roles in corporations across the globe. My first interview is with Lisa Muller, CEO of Lantevasin Sales Enablement and we talked about building a strong and healthy sales pipeline.
I talked to Lisa about:
Why she got into sales and what she loves about the profession.
Why keeping the pipeline full of qualified opportunities is a challenge for many organizations.
CRM information is used to forecast sales revenue, but is it always accurate?
Tips for sales leaders on how to improve the quality of the pipeline.
Why coaching is so important to great sales skills but also ensuring that the sales pipeline is healthy.
Finally, I asked Lisa to share her advice for women in sales who want to move into leadership roles. She shared her thoughts about some of the traits of individual contributor’s vs leaders?
This episode is sponsored by Hubspot.
Don't miss out HubSpot's annual sales event - Inbound Sales Day - on June 6th! 30 leading sales experts will be sharing their knowledge and expertise. Register now for free at hubspot.com/inbound-sales-day
Lisa Muller, CEO of Lantevasin Sales Enablement. Lisa has over twenty years of experience based helping organizations in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She has worked with small and large companies across the world, overseeing national and global sales teams, driving sales as a sole contributor and providing consultancy services to increase sales and commercial success. Her projects have spanned the achievement of a variety of revenue objectives from $2m to $64m.
Connect with Lisa:
Follow Lisa on Twitter @lantevasin
In this episode, I talked with Jonathan Jewett. Jonathan is the sales professional’s salesman - someone who has spent every day of his 22-year career on the front lines of sales. He’s sold for giants like Oracle and helped numerous startups build their sales organizations from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue.
We talked about The 40 Best Sales Techniques Ever, which happens to be the title of Jonathan's book. During the interview, Jonathan told me:
Enjoy the interview!
Jonathan Jewett is the sales professional’s salesman - someone who has spent every day of his 22-year career on the front lines of sales. He’s sold for giants like Oracle and helped numerous startups build their sales organizations from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue. Today, Jonathan is still in the sales trenches - observing, learning, and experimenting to find the perfect sales formula.
As a student of sales, Jonathan is obsessed with finding new ways to help salespeople close more deals and achieve greater financial success. Jonathan’s been the #1 producer in almost every company he’s joined and booked tens of millions of dollars in revenue by selling complex enterprise software to the Fortune 500. Jonathan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being a rock star sales rep doesn't necessarily mean that the transition to becoming a sales managers is going to be easy. Sales managers need training to help them transition because the skills that led to individual contributor success, sales rock star greatness aren't the same skills needed to be great in leading sales teams.
Kevin and I talked about:
Kevin is the president of TopLine Leadership, which provides customized sales training and sales management development programs. His 3rd book, “The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness: 10 Essential Strategies for Leading Your Team to the Top” is now available in hard cover, ebook and audiobook from Amazon.com. Early in his career, he worked for a Fortune 200 company in sales management and general management responsibilities. He, therefore, understands the unique challenges faced during the transition from sales to managing salespeople and the transition from managing salespeople to managing sales managers. Kevin is also the author of two sales books, “Getting Into Your Customer’s Head and “Slow Down, Sell Faster!” He lives in the Reno-Tahoe area.
Every year, strong salespeople get promoted to sales leadership positions, receive little or no training, and then just be expected to do their job. They put in long hours, trying to figure out what to do. Often they just don’t know how to go about solving some of the most common sales staff problems. In this episode, I talked with Suzanne about the guidance, training, coaching and mentoring that sales managers need to successfully lead their teams. We discussed:
The inspiration behind Suzanne's book.
How sales leaders attempt to solve problems.
The challenges that often impede their ability to solve problems.
Why, when things aren't working out, sales managers keep hoping things will change on their own.
A problem-solving framework. For example, your reps aren't prospecting as expected.
What sales leaders need to understand to be successful.
Enjoy the interview!
Suzanne Paling, who is a recognized leader in sales management, has over 25 years of experience in sales management consulting and coaching. She has helped more than 55 companies improve their sales performance and processes. Clients include product and service firms in the manufacturing, software, publishing, distribution, medical, and construction industries. Docurated selected Suzanne’s blog as one of their “Top 50 Sales Management Blogs.” She writes for Entrepreneur.com and American Business Magazine, publishes a monthly newsletter and was profiled in The New York Times Small Business column. Suzanne is the author of two award-winning books The Accidental Sales Manager, (Entrepreneur Press) and The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver (Career Press).
Sales coaching is a hot topic and one that is often misunderstood. Coaching isn't the same as managing and does require a different skill set to be effective. In this episode, I talked with Richard Smith about his perspective on sales coaching. We talked about:
The difference between training and coaching.
The disparity between sales leaders valuing coaching but not actually doing it.
Tips for sales managers to find the time to coach.
Coaching remote reps effectively.
Creating a coaching culture in your sales organization.
Richard Smith is a sales professional of almost ten years, selling SaaS solutions to SME and Enterprise organisations. He is currently the Co-Founder and Head of Sales for UK SaaS company. Refract - sales coaching and feedback technology for calls, demos, and emails. He is passionate about sales development and changing the broken culture and mindset towards sales coaching.
With quota's to hit and increasing stiff competition, increasing productivity is always on a sales manager's mind. How do they help their salespeople do more in less time? In this episode, I talked with Scott Amerson, VP of Sales at VanillaSoft, and we discussed:
Enjoy the interview!
As Vice President of Sales, Scott is responsible for leading VanillaSoft’s global sales team. He is a results-driven professional who brings more than 25 years of sales and executive-management experience to VanillaSoft. He is a proven veteran at building a scalable infrastructure for inside sales and call center teams by defining key performance indicators, sales process, and training programs.
In this special episode, learn about creating presentations that move deals forward with Victor Antonio, breaking barriers in sales and in life with Elinor Stutz, relational intelligence with Jane Gentry and the psychology of the purchasing decision with Jeff Shore. Once you listen to the best of, you'll want to go and listen to the full interview with each of these great guests!
Artificial Intelligence is increasingly showing up in more and more business processes and sales is no exception. In this episode, I talked to Dennis Mortensen about how artificial intelligence can be incorporated into one challenging aspect of selling, which is getting meetings scheduled with prospects and clients. We talked about:
Prospecting best practices for sales people for using AI when trying to set up first meetings.
The etiquette of using an AI to schedule their meetings.
Dealing with the social dynamics when they are dealing with important customers.
How artificial intelligence can be used to handle a variety of meeting time requests and multiple people's schedules who also need to be part of meetings.
Enjoy the interview!
Dennis R. Mortensen is the CEO and Founder of x.ai. He’s a pioneer and expert in leveraging Data and a serial entrepreneur who has successfully delivered a number of company exits on that theme. Dennis’s long term vision of killing the inbox triggered the formation of x.ai and the creation of an artificial intelligence personal assistant to schedule meetings. He’s an accredited Associate Analytics Instructor at the University of British Columbia, the Author of Data Driven Insights from Wiley and a frequent speaker on the subject of AI, intelligent agents, and the future of work. A native of Denmark, Mortensen currently calls New York City his home.
Being able to clearly communicate value to potential buyers is a real art and a key opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. In this episode, I talk to Lisa Dennis of Knowledgence Associates about:
How value propositions are important to both marketing and sales people – and why this topic led Lisa to write her book.
Lisa's primary research on value propositions and what she found.
The differences between the value props salespeople use versus what marketing uses.
The top 3 ways to make a value proposition really “speak” to a buyer.
The most important thing to consider as a marketer or salesperson when developing or upgrading a value proposition.
Enjoy the interview!
Lisa Dennis who is President of Knowledgence Associates, brings to the table over thirty years of marketing and sales experience as both a practitioner and a consultant. The core focus of her business is to help clients to “see the world through their customers’ eyes.” She has consulted to companies like Citrix, CSC, Dell, FedEx, HP, Hitachi, IBM, Verizon, Wipro and many others.
She is co-author of the book 360 Degrees of the Customer: Strategies & Tactics for Marketing, Sales and Service. Her new book: Value Propositions that Sell: Turning Your Message into a Magnet that Attracts Buyers is due out in the Spring 2017.
Jeff shared his expertise with me about the psychological factors at play in the purchase decision. We talked about:
Some of the things salespeople do in a typical sales presentation that makes it difficult for a customer to make a purchase decision.
Whether or not you need to adjust your sales presentation when selling a complex product.
A few of the common mental shortcuts that customers take when they are making a purchase decision.
And the point when you cross the line from being an advocate to an adversary. In other words, how do you know when to stop pushing a customer to a purchase decision?
Enjoy the interview!
Jeff is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author, and consultant whose innovative and real-world selling strategies help you to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, "Closing 2.0," is now available. Learn more at jeffshore.com and follow Jeff on Twitter.
The sales profession is in the midst of a perfect storm. Buyers have more power, more information, more at stake, and more control over the sales process—than at any time in history.
Legions of salespeople and their leaders are coming face-to-face with a cold, hard truth: what once gave salespeople a competitive edge—controlling the sales process, command of product knowledge, an arsenal of technology, and a great pitch—are no longer guarantees of success.
Yet, in the eye of this storm, an elite group of top 1 percent sales professionals are crushing it. These Ultra-High Performers are acutely aware that the emotional experience of buying from them is far more important (and powerful) than products, prices, features, and solutions.
Do you want to know how ultra high performing sales reps do it? This is the episode for you.
In the book, Jeb shares the specific strategies that ultra high performers use leveraging sales-specific emotional intelligence to close complex deals.
Jeb and I talked about:
Sales EQ begins where many of the great books and sales training programs like The Challenger Sale, Strategic Selling, Insight Selling, and SPIN Selling leave off. It addresses the emotional side of selling and the human relationship gap in the modern sales process.
It was such a great conversation that I didn't limit this one to 20-minutes. So, strap in and plug in for the next 45-minutes. It will definitely be worth your time!
About Jeb Blount:
Jeb is CEO of Sales Gravy and a Sales Acceleration expert who helps sales organizations reach peak performance fast by optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate a high-performance sales culture, developing leadership and coaching skills, and applying more effective organizational design. Jeb has written a number of books including Fanatical Prospecting and his latest book Sales EQ.
In this episode, I talked with Ken about how to build predictable revenue in their sales organization. It all first starts with hiring the right people every time. Ken also talks about the importance of having a solid recruitment process in place to be building their talent pipeline consistently. We also talked about taking the emotion out of hiring, how to build a solid process, the elements of great onboarding, sales assessments and more
Enjoy the interview!
Ken provides keynotes, consulting services, training and products designed to improve business and revenue performance. His company Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.