Category: Podcast

Podcast

PODCAST 139: The Science of Becoming a Better Sales…

 

If you missed episode 137, check it out here: From Marketer to CEO: The Power of Brand as a Growth Amplifier with Jake Sorofman

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. Who is Luke Rogers and what is Instabase?[3:15]
  3. The keys to great leadership [18:24]
  4. A more scientific interview process [20:35]
  5. How to build a more diverse team [24:50]
  6. The role experience plays in evaluating job candidates [27:25]
  7. Who and what inspires Luke [30:06]
  8. Sam’s Corner [34:03]

Show Introduction [00:09]

Sam Jacobs: This week on the show, we’ve got Luke Rogers, the Vice President of Sales at Instabase. Luke has a really interesting life story. At 15, he began going to school part-time in Northern England in Manchester, so that he could run a technology consulting business that he had started.

Through that, he went to university where he studied AI and cybernetics, ultimately leading big teams in EMEA for AppDynamics. He now leads the sales function at a really promising and high-growing unicorn called Instabase.

Before we dive into it we want to thank our sponsors. The first is 6sense. Salespeople are often wasting time. They’re fumbling around with junk leads, just absolutely junk leads, static lists, these lists don’t change. They’re static and haphazardly reaching out to accounts that aren’t ready to close. The 6sense account engagement platform uncovers and analyzes buyer intent at scale, identifying prospects who are in market for your solution and providing salespeople like you with the insight to create highly relevant messaging, generate more opportunities, increase deal size, and get into opportunities before your confrontation. Learn how modern sales teams with deals, win deals now. Modern sales teams, winning deals using 6sense. Go to 6sense.com/saleshacker.

I can tell you from personal experience, 6sense is a really, really cool and powerful suite of technology tools and also just a great company. And they’re doing really, really interesting and powerful things. It’s all about understanding when people are in market versus in funnel. Not get to them before they become a lead, get to them when they’re beginning to do their research, because most people make decisions about the vendor that they choose before they fill out the lead form. Often the lead form is way down in their process. And the first thing they’re doing is searching around on the internet for solutions and beginning to educate themselves, and 6sense can help you find those companies when they’re beginning to search for your solution and then get them right at the moment that they’re going to be most interested. Really cool stuff.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionized is customer engagement by moving away from siloed conversations to a streamlined and customer-centric journey. Leveraging the next generation of artificial intelligence, the platform allows sales reps to deliver consistent, relevant and responsible communication for each prospect every single time, enabling personalization at scale previously. Unthinkable. Check them out www.outreach.io.

Now, without further ado, let’s listen in on my conversation with Luke Rogers.

Who is Luke Rogers and what is Instabase?[3:15]

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today on the show we’ve got a really inspiring sales leader, Luke Rogers, who’s the VP of Sales at a really exciting company called Instabase. So let me give you his bio quickly. Having founded his first company at age 15, Luke Rogers, now VP: sales at Instabase, is determined to turn the world of technology upside down in more ways than one, a passionate believer that experiences is the least important quality when building an elite go-to-market team. The world of tech sales must become a more diverse place. He has dedicated his career to teaching sales as a science. His degree in artificial intelligence and cybernetics combined with over a decade of enterprise sales experience has equipped him with a rich technical and business skillset.

Prior to joining Instabase, Luke joined AppDynamics, which grew from a $100 million to a $3.7 billion sale to Cisco in just four years. Luke, welcome to the show.

Luke Rogers: It’s an absolute pleasure, Sam. Thank you for having me.

Sam Jacobs: We’re excited to have you. As you know, as a loyal listener, we start with your baseball card, an opportunity for you to tell us who and what Instabase is. So we know you’re Luke Rogers, we’re going to dive into your background and biography. You’re the VP of sales at Instabase. What is Instabase?

Luke Rogers: On your smartphone, you have an app store where you can find a dozen apps to have food delivered to your door, but there’s no such app store where a large enterprise, for example, a bank can find an app for income verification or an insurance company can find an app for processing claims. Every one of those apps is custom built from the ground up, and Instabase exists because we ask why? The vision for Instabase is to make computers work for people and to become the new operating system for the enterprise and for the internet.

What we enable is businesses to basically use a toolkit that is powered by very, very sophisticated, modular building blocks to build customizable apps for automating different parts of their business. So for example, a bank can build an app that can automatically verify customer income in a fraction of a second or an insurance company can build an app that can process insurance claims in seconds, which in the real world today, all of those tasks are done by human beings and endless, endless armies of data entry analysts. And it is just a really inefficient process that exists in a really significant way in the world and adds really no value. It’s just because documentation and those kinds of processes are underpinned by so much paper today. Instabase exists to give people that app store, to give organizations the ability to create those systems very quickly and to automate these really inefficient parts of their processes.

Sam Jacobs: Are you teaching enterprises a coding language? I would imagine that building some of these apps requires some technical expertise. How do you indoctrinate that?

Luke Rogers: We’re trying to abstract the technical expertise out and away from it as much as possible. So there already exists an app store or the Instabase Marketplace where these first-party apps, you can go online now, download an app for automatically processing bank statements or driving licenses or passports. And it requires zero technical skills whatsoever. It’s really a self-contained app. Now, if you want to create your new apps, rather than the process that exists today of having to write endless lines of code and assemble huge development teams, what we actually enable you to do is put what we call primitives, but you can liken them to Lego bricks. So you assemble these Lego bricks together to create these apps very quickly.

So one example is Bank of America under the SBA PPP loan program, we’re inundated with weeks and weeks and week’s worth of PPP loans to process that they just couldn’t garner the manpower to process. And in six days, Instabase was able to design and configure an app to process those SBA PPP loans. And we took the processing volume time down from 10,000 a day to 10,000 an hour, and they did that in six days and they built the app themselves with us.

Sam Jacobs: That’s pretty cool. I love it. And Instabase, you’re already a unicorn. Give us a little bit about the stage of growth that you’re at. It was one of these companies that raised a tremendous amount of money before anybody even knew who they were, but give us in your words.

Luke Rogers: So the company only came out of stealth just over a year ago, October 2019, just after it did its series B. What was fascinating about Instabase is it started its life as such a powerful piece of technology born out of a research project at MIT. So our founder was told by his MIT professors to drop out and start a company. And off he went, pedaled down Sand Hill Road, met the likes of Greylock and NEA, and raised a huge series A without really any material ARR or actually much of a commercially viable product. But the investors just saw the huge potential and the platform that he’d created, as did his professors at MIT.

But what then came within the course of a year of raising that money, it was just massive interest from in particular, the banking and insurance community. And we’ve got Standard Chartered is one of our earliest clients who they now have got hundreds of apps deployed on Instabase and users in over 25 different countries. They saw that client onboarding times dropped from 41 days on average to eight days after they deployed Instabase.

Sam Jacobs: Wow. Those are great stats. I’m excited for you. Let’s learn a little bit more about you because you’ve got a really interesting background. So tell us about your origin story. You’ve got an English accent. Am I talking to you in Toronto? Is that right?

Luke Rogers: You’re talking to me in Toronto, yeah. I married a Canadian, a dual national British, so we were lucky enough to have our first child just over a year ago and we decided to come home and be with her family for that. And it’s just been a real blessing to be around family. And also, explore a beautiful new city. I’m now a happy permanent resident of Toronto, but always open to new places in the future. But yeah, you detect an English accent. The origin story is I grew up outside of Manchester in the UK. If you’ve heard of Manchester, I’m sure you’ve heard of the football team or the soccer team.

I grew up there and was there at school. I actually left home at age 15, on good terms with my parents, but I’d got to a point where I just kind of outgrew the family and we went our different ways. And one of the catalysts for that was I had set up a company while I was at school, in high school. And it was essentially providing consulting services for people in my local town and surrounding area. And back then at that time, this was around 2000, 2001, everyone was freaking out about the millennium bug, if you remember that, I’m sure you do.

Sam Jacobs: Of course, Y2K.

Luke Rogers: Y2K. And so I found my angle there and everyone was installing Windows ME, which was a categorical disaster. Everyone was buying wifi access points for the first time and no one knew how to set them up. And so there was just this huge opportunity, and I’d spent time working a weekend job at an electrical retailer, just like Best Buy, but in the UK and just saw that so many people were so out of their depth with these consumer electronics and computers and just thought, Hey, there’s a big angle here. And before I knew it, I just had unprecedented demand for the services. I ended up working an out of hours helpline that was running from 6:00 PM till 6:00 AM. I was selling PCs online through an e-commerce site that I’d built and also, actually doing web design services for local businesses who’d come and said, “Hey, I think we need this. We need websites now. Apparently, it’s a thing.” And so I taught myself web design.

The whole business just grew up and blew up so much that I actually had to go and negotiate with my principal, a part-time study arrangement on the basis that I maintain a particular GPA at school, and it all worked out. The business was turning over about a quarter of a million pounds a year but by the time I was ready to go to university.

Sam Jacobs: That’s amazing. And so the business funded your way through university, is that right?

Luke Rogers: Yeah. So I was able to take the profit I made through that journey. And then I’d, by that point, taken on a business partner. He opted to buy me out and liquidated my share in the company. And that was enabled to put me through university without needing to take on massive loans. That was huge for me coming from a family without much means, and being able to do that without much of a debt burden, and go to a university that I was actually quite in awe of as well and do a degree I was in awe of.

Sam Jacobs: That’s fantastic. And so what happened after university? How did you find your way into the sales world? One of the questions I have is how did you determine that you wanted to go to work for somebody else after being so successful, starting your own business at such a young age?

Luke Rogers: So I had opted to do a really technical degree. I wanted to study a field that challenged me and it wasn’t something that I was already deeply familiar with. So I opted to study artificial intelligence and cybernetics, and then also with Chinese Mandarin on the side because I just wanted to stretch my mind.

Sam Jacobs: Light course load there.

Luke Rogers: You’ve got to do something with all the nights out in the bars. It was so fascinating to study a subject that was really talking about the future in such a present way and saying that these technologies are already far more pervasive than you think they are. I just got really, really, really excited about what the world of technology was all about, and my eyes started getting open to the likes of Silicon Valley companies.

The challenge with all of this was, I was at university from 2005 to 2008, and we all know what happened in 2008. And so there weren’t a lot of thriving startups around to go join. I knew I was ready to go and learn from someone else, from a bigger organization, from other leaders. I knew I didn’t want to go back to a small town and run a small business. I knew I wanted to get into the world of tech and learn about that. And so I just set to work applying for all of the grad schemes, Google, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, you name it. I probably applied to eight or nine of them and I got into the majority of them.

But in 2008, Cisco was offering a graduate sales academy based in Amsterdam. And there’s a 20-year-old guy, a paid year to go and work and be taught and Amsterdam was pretty appealing.

Sam Jacobs: Absolutely. And so you were an individual rep at Cisco and then I guess, would you say that things really took off when you joined AppDynamics in 2013?

Luke Rogers: Yeah, I think it was a meaningful part. I was at Cisco for three and a half years, and then I was told by a mentor to go to IBM or go to a different company if I wanted to get a pay rise because I was stuck on that graduate pay band. And I did, and I really discovered what I didn’t want from my own career and the kinds of people that, as nice as they all were, I just didn’t want to be around a lack of ambition and a lack of drive. And I really felt that with my time at IBM. So I actually started a second business, which they shut down because they weren’t happy with the fact that I have done that in company time, it was a breach of contract, all that good stuff that I had been too naive to realize at the time, and just realize that this is the time to go and work for a startup. And AppDynamics, as you say, was the startup that I chose in 2013, but it wasn’t because of the product and the market, it was really because of the people that I met.

Sam Jacobs: Tell me about those people. What was special about them?

Luke Rogers: I think I’d been lacking any form of manager or leader in my career to that point. And that was really pushing me, really, really pushing me to achieve things that weren’t easily obviously achievable. I met this gentleman called Jeremy Duggan, who’d just been appointed GM of EMEA by the board of AppDynamics. And they were scaling out the operation. And I knew about this gentleman, Jeremy. He has quite the reputation in the UK. He’d already taken and seen two companies through to a billion dollars, Bladelogic and Essential Software. And he came from the PTC School of Sales and everyone warned me about him. They all told me, “Yeah, he’s a horrible person. He runs a hire and fire culture.”

Sam Jacobs: Horrible person

Luke Rogers: People were really quite aggressive about it.

Sam Jacobs: Jeremy, if you’re listening, I don’t think you’re a horrible person.

Luke Rogers: And I now know he’s not, having worked for him for such a long time. But what it made me realize is when I did meet him, that he isn’t a horrible person, but if you are somebody that has ambition and drive and wants to achieve things that seem very difficult, it’s the greatest thing that could ever happen to someone like me. But he’s probably the worst thing that could ever happen to somebody that doesn’t want those things, which is maybe where a bit of that reputation came from. Like people who really aren’t trying to push the envelope, they’re not his thing. And it just made me want to be around someone like that because I knew he would assemble a culture and a team of people like that. And that’s just what he did.

Sam Jacobs: And then how long were you at AppDynamics?

Luke Rogers: Seven and a half years. I had quite a journey. So I was the first rep he hired in the UK. Two years later, he promoted me to be the first manager, regional director in the UK to build out a team. And then two years after that, I became the VP of the UK, now running four or five teams, took on responsibility for the Nordics, then ultimately all of Northern Europe and then just acted as interim GM of EMEA through the end of the fiscal year in 2019. And then all through that, the company had been acquired in 2017 by Cisco but had been left to be an autonomous business unit as part of Cisco. So we were operating very autonomously and independently continuing to grow, continuing to be successful.

And then in 2019 we got pregnant and decided to go and be in Canada for the birth of my daughter. And so that’s when they facilitated a move for me to move over to run the US central business and Canada.

The keys to great leadership [18:24]

Sam Jacobs: You’ve had a pretty, I don’t know if it’s meteoric, but it’s a steady ascension from being an individual contributor now to having built and run teams all over Europe and now in the Americas. As you’ve become and now are an experienced leader, what do you think the keys to great leadership is? And to assembling an effective and powerful team?

Luke Rogers: Ultimately, any leader should say this, which is it’s about recruiting the right people. Any business book you read, it’s all around the right people, but there’s more to it than just getting the right people in the boat. I think it’s what is the right person? In my opinion, it’s hiring for intelligence, resilience, and entrepreneurship, instead of experience. That for me is the key learning. And of course, somebody like me who got plucked out of Cisco and IBM with no very mediocre experience, no enterprise software experience, I had that same experience coming into a company and being given a shot, and I think if people are really smart, really coachable, really resilient and entrepreneurial, they’ll thrive in a startup environment.

One of the lessons that I’ve learned is that those people that are just looking for a big paycheck, they’ll stick around just as long as it’s easy to make big money, and then as soon as it’s not, or as soon as things don’t go their way, they’re nowhere to be seen. And the really damaging thing about people like that, and I’ve seen plenty of them now, is that as they get towards that point where everything doesn’t start to go that way and they don’t get the promotion because actually they’re not really the right people to lead, and maybe they don’t get all the accounts that they want and the patch needs to start being redistributed, is that they become a bit toxic. And another thing I’ve learned is that no breath is better than bad breath. The longer you let those people stick around as much as they might be your top earners, the worse you make it for everyone else, and actually the worse you make it for yourself.

Sam Jacobs: I’ve never heard that. No breath is better than bad breath. As somebody with bad breath, that hurts.

Luke Rogers: But luckily I don’t have to experience that, so.

A more scientific interview process [20:35]

Sam Jacobs: We’re at a distance right now. One of the reasons people focus on experience is because it’s a proxy for an ineffective recruiting or interviewing process where they don’t feel comfortable assessing somebody’s skills and determining if somebody is resilient or entrepreneurial or self-driven. Have you been forced to design the point of sales as a science? Have you been forced to design a more scientific interview process so that you can suss out those qualities?

Luke Rogers: Absolutely. And I can’t obviously take all the credit for it because this harks back to a gentleman named John McMahon, who has trained a number of people in looking for these traits and priorities. So this isn’t my proprietary idea, but I’ve certainly bought into it, believed in it and evolved it. And as you are trying to enable leaders that you bring in to bring in the right talent, you do have to give them tools and techniques. So one of the things that we will do is we’ll take a big pile of resumes and we’ll do a yes-no exercise and we’ll give them no prompts, and we’ll say, “Hey, right. Would you hire this person?” And then they have to come up with all the reasons why they should.

And then what we really do is we teach them to see what a resume really says about somebody and read between the lines to find these qualities, and then also read between the lines to ask the right questions and understanding what somebody has been through in their life and what their life story is about, will you proper insights into their levels of resilience, because a lot of people have thankfully led very comfortable lives. And it doesn’t mean those people also aren’t great, but there is a direct correlation in my opinion, between those people that have sought out discomfort in their life, or have been forced through it and risen out of it in the right way and beaten it and a direct correlation between those people in success.

And so it’s about asking the right questions and also being able to read the resume in the right way, so also you’re not wasting your time being sold to, by a myriad of candidates that are never going to work out. And another thing that a mistake I’ve made is I’ve hired people because I’ve fallen for them and I thought, this is somebody I really want to give them a chance. And as long as they’re coachable, and as long as that tough, it’s all going to work out. But the other hard lesson I’ve learned is that certainly when you’re talking about startups, if they’re not intelligent enough, they’ll never truly make it. They’ll never be able to handle the levels of ambiguity that we need in a startup world.

Sam Jacobs: You mentioned reading the resume the right way and asking the right questions. Give us one or two examples of a really good question that you rely on or an interesting experience that might not be obvious to somebody that hasn’t reviewed a resume carefully before that would jump out to you as indicative of the qualities you’re looking for.

Luke Rogers: So there’s basic things like the people who jump around a lot, that have a very small, like a sub two year tenure between roles. Because for me that demonstrates a lack of resilience because they tend to leave when things get tough or they don’t go their own way. Another thing that I tend to like to see is people that have pursued non-academic achievements outside of work, that have done remarkable things.

Some of the examples I could give, one lady that I was privileged enough to hire had danced on stage ballet at the Royal Albert Hall, and had done an incredible standard of outdoor mountaineering. Another person had diffused bombs for the Royal Navy underwater in shipyards, and was trained as a military underwater bomb disposal diver. Another gentleman had lived with monks in some of the highest mountains in Nepal and studied and fasted for many months in a voyage of self-discovery. And so smart people will put that kind of detail out on their resume or out on their profile because those are really remarkable achievements that they should be proud of. And those are the remarkable achievements of typically remarkable people. And people who aren’t remarkable, they don’t typically have that many remarkable achievements.

How to build a more diverse team [24:50]

Sam Jacobs: Well said. One of the big efforts and a big focus for you is diversity, and making sure that you’re doing your part, talk a little bit about your perspective on how to build diverse teams and what you’re doing at Instabase to further that effort in that goal.

Luke Rogers: I was raised by a single mother, and so I have a passionate and strong belief for the fact that women can do anything and the world should be a very equal place. Coming up through Cisco, that wasn’t so much of a thing. Cisco had actually done a very good job, certainly at the graduate level of assembling a diverse culture, certainly on the agenda from, but also other fronts. So I didn’t have too much exposure to it there. But it was really when I got into my time not just within AppDynamics but also looking at a lot of other tech startups, that I realized that it’s a bit of a boy’s club.

Sam Jacobs: I think that’s an understatement.

Luke Rogers: It’s a bit of an understatement, right? And it’s a self-perpetuating problem because the more guys you promote into leadership positions, people who aren’t trained in looking for talent in the way that I have been, you recruit people that are like you. It’s natural, it’s a human instinct. And therefore, people who aren’t like you, i.e middle-class white men, don’t get a shot. And especially when you’re hiring for experience, then that’s a particular problem because you go out there looking for five years of enterprise SaaS sales experience, you’re mostly going to find middle-class white guys.

And what I’ve been taught to believe and what I do believe is that by deprioritizing experience and prioritizing intellect and character and resilience and entrepreneurship, you can hire people from anywhere. I’ve hired people from finance, from recruitment, from marketing, and they’ve been exceptional. And so, I would love for us all collectively as an industry and as leaders across the industry to shatter this belief that enterprise software sales experience is a necessary requirement when hiring great talent, because it’s an impediment to assembling diverse teams because there’s just not the talent pool of people out there that is diverse, that has that experience right now. We’ve got to create it through an effort in education and enablement and through giving people a shot.

The role experience plays in evaluating job candidates [27:25]

Sam Jacobs: I completely agree with you at the same time that I personally have become who I am as a human being, because of experience, and because I’ve learned lessons often the hard way. What role does experience play for you in evaluating a candidate?

Luke Rogers: So the latter part of that question is absolutely the case. We built an outstanding enablement organization at AppDynamics for that very reason, because our mantra was about the experience last and we had not just one boot camp, we had two, and we had this extensive quarterly training program that operated in every theater. We had this really sophisticated e-learning platform. And we had in-field enablement leaders that were individual contributors whose sole job it was to shadow sales calls with reps to help them ramp as quickly as we possibly could. So you do have to over-index on enablement and training in that configuration.

Where does experience play a role? It still plays an experience. It’s not off the table completely. It’s just the bottom. It’s the least important criteria for me. And the amount of experience required depends on the phase of growth of the company. If I was today, go and recruit 10 people straight out of university into Instabase, as it’s growing from 10 million in ARR and beyond, then that’s not going to be a particularly smart move because there is some level of self-sufficiency that’s required. And because there isn’t an established enablement organization yet, then that would be a much harder ramp for those kinds of people.

But I think as time goes on, as long as you establish that as a foundational requirement for a GTM organization, the enablement is going to play an inherent role in everything that we do, and the people that we promote into positions of leadership, we promote them because they are teachers, because they are mentors and because they believe in nurturing talent, then we’ll build the organization in the right way with the right people, and we’ll be able to give people a chance as we scale.

Who and what inspires Luke [30:06]

Sam Jacobs: That makes a lot of sense, and that’s inspiring. So kudos to you for embracing that ideology. We’re almost at the end of our short time together, Luke, but this is the part of the conversation. You’ve mentioned Jeremy Duggan before, but there’s probably a variety of other people, books, podcasts, content, influencers, you can define it in any way that you would like to. When you think about the people that you think we should know about, or the books that we should know about or the ideas that we should know about what comes to mind, what can you point us towards?

Luke Rogers: I loved reading Elon Musk’s autobiography by Ashlee Vance, just because Elon Musk doesn’t give a fuck, and I love that about him. And I think there should be more people in the world like Elon Musk.

Sam Jacobs: That’s the right amount.

Luke Rogers: I just love it. If there were a few more crazy billionaires like Elon, the world would be a very different and hopefully a better place, especially given his interest in green technology and having been a proud Tesla owner, I do subscribe to the Elon fan club. There’s also interesting people that I’ve met along my way, that have trained me. A gentleman called Mike Rognlien, he runs Multiple Hats Consulting. He was the head of people development at Facebook. So he spent his entire career from the very early days of Mark and Cheryl, essentially coaching young, early-in-career talent at Facebook, to be the best that there could be. And he’s been a very important influencing factor in the later half of my career here.

Podcasts, everyone’s got to unwind as well. And I always had a deep fascination, obviously with Sales Hackers, Sam, but the Serial Podcast and season one in particular, if no one’s listened to that or people haven’t heard that, it was absolutely brilliant.

Sam Jacobs: Luke, it sounds like Instabase is growing, is on fire, is already a unicorn in evaluation perspective, now it’s time to become a unicorn from a revenue perspective. And I’m sure that you’re hiring as you look to build your team. If people are listening and they want to reach out to you, are you okay with that, and do you have a preferred channel through which they should communicate?

Luke Rogers: LinkedIn. I think it’s my go-to, one of the tabs I always have open in my Chrome browser is LinkedIn, but I think people who obviously take pride in keeping their profile up-to-date, that helps. [email protected], always a good way to get me, but I would love anyone to reach out, and especially for a job, but also if they just want to get to know me and be in my network, I am always looking to grow that network, especially with other like-minded leaders who believe in the same sort of cause that I do. I would be thrilled to meet anyone that wants to talk. And obviously, being a proud member of the Revenue Collective, if anyone’s in there, please just send me a message. I’m on Slack.

Sam’s Corner [34:03]

Sam Jacobs: Hey folks, Sam’s Corner. I’m going to give you some food for thought. Once your thought eats the food, you’ll have more energy to think more thoughts. I guess that’s where that comes from. Anyway, I really enjoyed that conversation with Luke Rogers, and I think you can tell when you’re talking to those special people, those people that just take a differentiated approach to life and want something for their lives. Luke has already done great things, but you know I think will achieve his goals, whatever those goals are. He didn’t articulate them to me, but he’s got that way of approaching life, systematic discipline but still with novelty. He’s looking for interesting experiences, interesting people, interesting ideas.

This is all me just extrapolating based on that conversation, but he just seems like a good person and somebody that really takes achievement and accomplishment in the short time that we have on this planet seriously, which I think we should, because as I just said, it’s a short time that we’re here and we can spend it on the couch or we could spend it accomplishing things. In the age of technology, I suppose you can accomplish things from the couch. So it’s not really where you’re sitting, it’s about your mindset.

Now, a couple of things that Luke mentioned, the first is the biggest takeaway. Experience is clouding our ability to hire great people, and it’s reinforcing stereotypes. If you’re looking for people with experience and all the people with experience are middle-class white people, then you’re only going to constantly hire middle-class white people. And if you’re trying to build diversity, if you believe that diversity makes great teams and helps you perform at an elite level, and you’re going to have to deprioritize experience and focus on qualities.

And then you’re going to have to focus on an interview process that allows you to identify those qualities and Luke talks about how you read somebody’s resume in a differentiated way. Don’t just look at the fact that they worked at Oracle or Cisco or Microsoft for five years, look at what else they do in their lives. Have they achieved something great? Have they overcome some great adversity? And also, you’re going to have to ask differentiated or interesting questions, and you’re going to have to solve for intelligence and aptitude and capability and potential, more than you solve for just pure resume-driven experience, and I think that that’s powerful advice.

I am the beneficiary of that approach. I joined Gerson Lehrman Group as a young whippersnapper with not a very good resume and I rose up quickly and I didn’t have the experience, but people gave me an opportunity when they saw what I was capable of. And similarly, with other of my friends at Gerson Lehrman Group, including frankly, the CEO Alexander Saint-Amand, but also Jim Sharp, the now CEO of Aventri, James Yockey, the CEO of Landdox, these are all my friends and they’re all people that are on the younger side at the time that they were rising up, but they had that capability, they had that entrepreneurial mindset.

So I guess the number one thing I would say about Luke’s conversation and Luke’s thoughts is I agree with him. Deprioritize experience because experience can be misleading. I think the other thing that we need to be thinking about is if that’s true and particularly if we’re in a remote world where people are distributed all over the world, we’ve got to emphasize and prioritize constant and ongoing sales readiness and sales training. You’ve got to enable your teams, and this is something I have not been great at, but you’ve got to find a way we’re not all sitting next to each other, we’re not at the water cooler or in the cafeteria, or going to PREC for a sandwich, as Sam Southern would say, a mediocre sandwich, but a sandwich nonetheless, and maybe one of their little granola apple cinnamon, yogurt things. Those are always really good, where you walk there with your coworker and you’re talking about what you’ve learned. You’re talking about experiences. We don’t have the socialization opportunities to absorb tacit knowledge.

So you’re going to need tools, technology, and systems, systems, and a process for teaching and training people in an effective way. And especially, you’re going to need to do that if you’re intentionally going out and hiring people that don’t have exactly the right experience. So those are my thoughts. I really liked the conversation with Luke and hopefully, you got something out of it.

Don’t miss episode #140

We want to thank our sponsors. The first one is 6sense, the account engagement platform that uncovers and analyzes buyer and tenant scale, identifying prospects who are in the market for your solution and providing salespeople like you with the insight to create highly relevant messaging, and learn how modern sales teams win deals. Now at 6sense.com/saleshacker.

Finally, our sponsor is Outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach is currently revolutionizing customer engagement, creating the category of sales engagement and becoming the number one leader in sales engagement, enabling personalization at scale previously. Check them out at www.outreach.io.

And without further ado, I will talk to you next time.

The post PODCAST 139: The Science of Becoming a Better Sales Leader with Luke Rogers appeared first on Sales Hacker.

Diversity and Inclusion

Special Episode: Driving Diversity: Highlights From Top Women in…

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:10]
  2. Driving diversity at the sales executive level [1:00]
  3. How to run great meetings [5:13]
  4. Creating pivotal moments [10:56]
  5. Putting customer experience at the center of the business [14:34]
  6. Overcoming imposter syndrome [19:35]
  7. The three traits of an organic career path [25:50]

Show Introduction [00:10]

Sam Jacobs: Today on the show, we have a very special episode. October is Women in Sales Month. To celebrate, we are highlighting some of the best moments and insights shared on this podcast by female sales leaders who are elevating the entire sales profession. It’s got clips and highlights from some of my favorite conversations with the best women sales leaders that have appeared on the Sales Hacker Podcast. I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s dive into our Women in Sales bonus episode.

Driving diversity at the sales executive level [1:00]

Sam Jacobs: The first person we’ve got is Lori Richardson, really a pioneer for women in sales. She’s the founder of WOMEN Sales Pros, which is helping smart, savvy women get into B2B sales positions and sales leadership, and helping companies find and develop great women sellers. She is also the founder. She runs the organization, Score More Sales, which is helping leaders of B2B companies solve problems with their sales team, so it’s a sales consultant organization. And she is a main figure driving diversity and women representation, not just in the sales force, but at the sales executive level. Let’s listen to my conversation with Lori.

I do want to ask you about women in sales. It’s a big initiative and the organization that you started, WOMEN Sales pros, why do you think it’s so important to have diversity in sales?

Lori Richardson: The most important reason now, Sam, is because you need a selling team that matches who your buyers are. We’ve seen this in many instances lately where people just aren’t going to settle for what used to work. They want a diverse group of folks helping them who are listening to what it is that they need. And the other advantage to having diversity inclusion on a sales team of all types is that you have different answers to problems.

I saw an instance for myself once where I took over a sales territory from someone else, and a company had not let us bid on a huge project because they didn’t like the rep. The rep was a guy. He happened to be very egotistical, and I was very egoless at the time. I hope I still am, at least to some point, but I just had a whole different style. And because of that different style, I got an opportunity. We won a huge deal because of it, and that happens all the time. It takes different sets of eyes, different questions, different sets of empathy to work together. And we know that that happens in business. That boards that are diverse are more successful, leadership that’s more diverse is more successful. It’s the same with sales teams.

Sam Jacobs: Yeah, I believe that. Regardless of the demographic diversity, do you think we should be rotating accounts more often within a sales team because different approaches can uncover opportunities people thought were dead, closed, or lost?

Lori Richardson: It’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? I mean, I would have hated that when I was a rep. “Don’t take my account away,” right. But there’s a lot to be said. And team selling, there’s a lot to be said for that.

Sam Jacobs: You were telling me before that some of the folks that have said that diversity isn’t a priority for us. And now they’re saying, “I don’t know about that. It’s a pandemic. We’re just trying to stay alive.” What’s your response to that? And how do we make sure that diversity and inclusiveness stays a priority even as we’re trying to make sure that the economy stays afloat?

Lori Richardson: It really got me thinking because I don’t want to be promoting something that’s just a “nice to have.” I don’t think that diversity is just a “nice to have.” Some people think that it’s what we “should” do, but I think it’s much more than that.

And I think today, when we’re working to get this economy going again, we’ll be working to get the economy going, and it will take all hands on deck and it will take diverse points of view like we were talking about. I just think that it’s a requirement now more than ever. I think that we know that women have a very good dose of empathy, communication skills, listening skills. These are all things that we need in the new economy going forward.

RELATED: Building Diversity Into Your Revenue Organization with Simmone Taitt

How to run great meetings [5:13]

Sam Jacobs: Great little sound bite from my conversation with Lori. I love these bonus episodes because you get to hear just the hits, just the best parts of every conversation.

Next up we’ve got Mykal White. One of the things she talked about was how to run great meetings. Another thing that she talked about was just bringing the human back into the sales conversation. Making sure that we’re not just referencing marketing copy, but we’re also referencing how people really speak. And she runs an organization called NUNDA. Mykal, she’s a force. She’s really honest and authentic, and I really enjoyed this little snippet. Take a listen to my conversation, to this part of the conversation, with Mykal White.

I did have one question for you. We have our guests fill out a little one-pager. And one of the things that you said is, “The way most weekly sales meetings are held is bullshit.” I want to hear more about that. Why do you think that’s true and how should they be run?

Mykal White: Bullshit. Bullshit. It’s actually two things. The weekly sales meetings are completely ridiculous, but then the one-on-one meetings are even more or equally as ridiculous. The sales meetings are supposed to be a time and place where the sales team comes together. We learn from each other. We learn from successes. We learn from failures. We learn from mistakes. There is some sort of training. There is some sort of way that these reps are being developed during these meetings, where it’s like, “All right, so I’ve been hearing a lot of this this week. I want to focus on this. I want to focus on the first seven seconds. What are you doing to get their attention?” Whatever it is, there needs to be some sort of developmental aspect of these training sessions.

What happens in these training sessions instead is the team comes together. They’re sitting in front of a huge screen. One by one, the pipeline of each rep is put on the screen, where the rep now has to explain their pipeline to the manager in front of the team. It’s the same meeting every single week where it’s like, “Well, where are we with this one?”

“Yeah, so talked to his guy. He blah, blah, blah. This is what’s happening. Yeah, so… ”

And then the manager’s like, “Yeah, make sure that you connect with them again next week. Make sure that blah.”

“Yep. Will do.”

“And what’s going on with this deal?”

“Yeah, so this deal, it’s been a couple of weeks, but I think he’s on vacation.”

But it’s never… and that’s all it is. It’s just, where are we? There’s never any actual training. There’s never any, “Hey, Luke, there’s this thing that you did this week that I thought was actually really smart. Can you share that with the team? I pulled you to the side and I told you that I thought it was great. Just let the team know about our conversation or whatever, and tell them where you got that from or why you decided to do that, that day. And what did the clients say?”

But it should be an opportunity for everyone to come together and learn and get on the same page instead of being a dog and pony show. It’s just a waste of time because you’re not actually even getting real answers.

Again, I was talking about the ego. If I’ve said in a sales meeting three weeks ago that I have Pepsi. “Oh, I spoke with Pepsi.” And it’s like, “Oh wow, that’s really cool.” I don’t want to tell you in front of everyone, that Pepsi hasn’t answered any of my calls for the last three weeks since that one conversation we had. I’m just going to keep speaking in the affirmative. “Oh yeah, yeah, no, for sure. I think they’re on vacation… ” And there’s no honesty, so there’s no authenticity.

Then with the one-on-ones, terrible waste of opportunity and resources, and really opportunity. The whole point of the one-on-ones is it is this protected time between a leader and the seller, where this leader is there to help develop the seller, is there to give them a voice in the privacy of this room where they have questions, they have concerns. But they’re able to call them out. They’re able to say things like, “I know you keep saying that you’re doing all these dials, but the dials don’t make sense for the numbers. The productivity that I’m seeing based on what you’re saying you’re doing doesn’t actually make sense, so let’s talk about that. What are you actually saying on these calls?”

Because the numbers tell a story. If they’re not converting, if they’re making a zillion dials, but rarely are they converting to a first meeting, well, then we know that the problem is probably on that very first call, so why are they not coaching them? Why are they not role-playing? Why are they not having a conversation? Instead, they just kind of bypass the whole thing, and they’ll just say things like, “What can we do to increase your pipeline? How can we make more calls? What’s going on with this opportunity?” And it’s the same conversation week after week without the training, without the development, without even calling them out on their bullshit. So, yes. Can you feel the passion though, Sam?

Creating pivotal moments [10:56]

Sam Jacobs: The passion is coming through the microphone. Thank you for that, Mykal.

A great little interaction with Mykal White there. I’m struggling to figure out what to call these things. Blurbs? Snippets? I feel like “snippet” is a little condescending. Micro moment? Moment, maybe we just call it a moment. Okay, it’s a moment. All right, here’s the next moment.

RELATED: Tips for Building a Diverse Team of High-Quality Salespeople with Wesley Ulysse

The next moment is with somebody that’s a friend and that really is a pretty incredible sales leader, and also just a leader that demonstrates true empathy and authenticity, and somebody who manages to navigate her career in such an exceptional way. She is… I think the latest title, I don’t have LinkedIn up in front of me, but she works at LinkedIn. It’s Alyssa Merwin. Last time I checked, she was running North America sales for LinkedIn for Sales Solutions, which of course includes Sales Navigator. She started her career at Corporate Executive Board. She is well-known across the sales scene. She’s going to be CEO at some point, whenever she chooses, and here’s her advice for creating pivotal moments. Let’s give it a listen.

You’ve had such an incredible career. We look at average tenure in kind of high growth companies, and you’re trumping that in spades and your tenure runs both at CEB and now at LinkedIn. When you think about giving advice to some of the people that are earlier in their career, what advice do you have? I guess, specifically, there are probably some pivotal career moments that you think helped land you in your current role. What were they, and how did you handle them that you think was beneficial, and share those lessons with the audience?

Alyssa Merwin: Sure, and thanks for the very, very kind words. But I think that there are probably just a couple of things that I would say that made me stick out slightly, sometimes in good and sometimes in not so good ways from the crowd. And one of the pieces of advice that I had gotten, probably early and then you hear it repeated throughout your career, is really making your boss look good. But it’s not really making your boss look good, it’s basically doing your absolute best to perform at the best of your abilities so that you are the person that your boss never has to worry about. And that doesn’t mean just results. It means being a great team player and having a great attitude; it means helping other people.

It also means, and this is where sometimes I get myself into hot water, It also means at times giving feedback to your boss and highlighting things that aren’t really resonating or working. Or that feedback on behalf of the team that you can channel in a constructive way that helps them to be more effective or helps them to identify a problem they didn’t even know they had. That one can be a little tricky and it has to be done delicately depending on who your boss is and what their personality is. But I actually think it’s a combination of those things throughout my career that has enabled me to just take on more responsibility because I showed up in a slightly more mature way than maybe the role called for or what they would have expected at the stage of my career.

And then I mentioned earlier about that one move where I said to my boss, “I want to take this job even though I’m the least obvious candidate, but I think I’m exactly what you need.” I think it’s also being willing and comfortable to state what you want and ask for it. And even when he said, no, the first couple of times, we had some really constructive conversations about why I didn’t agree with his perspective. And ultimately, I really think it was the role that unlocked this next role for me. And so I think it’s finding the confidence to be willing to have those conversations when you’ve earned the right.

Putting customer experience at the center of the business [14:34]

Sam Jacobs: A great moment. See, I’ve learned, they’re moments now. A great moment with Alyssa Merwin and really she is exceptional, and I can’t wait to see what companies she gets to run over the course of the next one, two, five, 10 years. But she’s an incredible sales leader. I know that she’s in the DC area now. She relocated from San Francisco running all Sales Solutions for North America.

Next up, the next moment that we will present to you is Leah Cheney. Now Leah is based in Portland, Oregon. In fact, after our interview, I recruited her and her team to run the Portland chapter of Revenue Collective. This is conflict of interest time, where I’m using the Sales Hacker Podcast to meet amazing women and then getting them to be leaders for the global community that we’re building with Revenue Collective. But Leah’s expertise is customer success and customer experience.

And what we talk about in this next topic is the process for putting customer experience at the center of the business. How do you put the customer right at the center of the business? Leah Cheney tells us. Let’s give it a listen.

Let me ask you, when BetterGrowth is going into a company and first thing, as you mentioned, there are first principles and one of them is that they’re not the customer, they’re something other than that. They are the guests, they are human beings and we need to give them a great experience and make sure they have a seat at the table. I’m sure you have some process by which when they say, “Okay, Leah, I want to put customer experience at the center of the business. Tell us what to do from a step-by-step perspective.” Do you have a methodology? What is the process by which you deliver that and you potentially help them reorganize so that they can put customer experience at the center?

Leah Cheney: That’s a great question, Sam. And it’s different for every organization, just like the customer success metric is different for every customer, right? I think if you try to blanket things, it gets really hard. Where it gets scary is you want to scale. The tricks to do that at scale, in my opinion, are to start internally. There needs to be internal conversation. The company needs to understand that they’re bought in.

One of the things that BetterGrowth does immediately before they touch on churn and everything else is they help the company to create the customer experience journey. What is every step that the customer goes through? BetterGrowth to help that along has created different tools and tricks to do that. One of those is just simply identifying different areas, like if it’s a relay race that everybody would be responsible.

We’ve broken it up in our case to what we call the 4 A’s, so acquisition, activation, adoption, and advocacy. And so basically, that is the journey that most companies have. Acquisition is the marketing outreach, right? The brand image we’re putting out there, outbound sales, anything that’s going to acquire a customer is the first step in that experience. As your collateral out there, like if it’s a theme park, right, is it representing what their experience is going to be? Are you just putting things out there that’s going to be clickbait or get people in, and then they sign up for it and feel like they’ve been bamboozled, right? That’s the first step in a good customer experience is making sure that the outreach is true to what the experience is going to be.

From there into act activation of it, that’s where the customer is signing up, they’re paying for it. That’s where sales is involved. That’s where the baton passes, back to that relay race, is going to go from sales to customer success and to the customer support team. That’s where they start getting onboarded.

The adoption phase, which is the red hot, most important phase in the customer journey is when the customer has actually started using it. And unfortunately, this is where a lot of people get super lazy and go into what I call “maintenance mode”, right?

And then from there, the last phase is advocacy. This is where most companies fail because they panic and ask the real questions in this last 90-day window when customers have already made their decision at that time. That’s why instead of calling it renewal phase, I call it advocacy. Because they should have already made up their mind and you should now be using them to bring on more customers with their customer stories or their reviews, et cetera.

Yeah, so I think that that’s one of the main things. I will tell you that there’s some things that are really handicapping companies right now, and that is relying solely on metrics like NPS. I’m not saying they don’t have their place. But in my opinion, it’s a vanity metric in its own way, right? You’re only looking at how the customer feels about you and you’re not looking at what the customer needs. And that’s why, oftentimes, I find out that companies that are just relying on a simple metric or even a five-star rating, it doesn’t have to just be NPS, whatever you use for customer sentiment, now the renewal comes up and you’re like, “But you love us.” Yeah, but that’s not what makes a customer renew, right? I know that’s long winded, but hopefully I’ve touched on your points enough.

Sam Jacobs: You have no reason to be self-conscious about being long-winded again.

Leah Cheney: Can you tell that to my wife? Can you write that down?

Sam Jacobs: You’re the guest. I just want to listen and learn.

Leah Cheney: Awesome.

Overcoming imposter syndrome [19:35]

Sam Jacobs: Another great moment. Great moments abound in this bonus episode featuring women in sales. That was Leah Cheney talking about how to put the customer at the center of the business, of the company, of really the whole thing.

Next up, we’ve got a friend, a member of the New York Revenue Collective, a sales leader herself but also a woman that stepped back from being a sales leader and became a founder and entrepreneur, and that is Stephanie Blair. Stephanie started an organization called Know & Flourish.

And she has really been really important to the Revenue Collective during COVID. We created a community called On the Bench for people that were out of work and we wanted to bring in great coaches and great people, service providers that could help people that were in need, right? They had been fired, they had been laid off, they were suffering; and On the Bench helped them reposition themselves, helped them overcome imposter syndrome, and helped them achieve their career objectives and get back to the workforce.

That is Stephanie Blair, an incredible human being. She’s had over the course of 2020, specifically, an incredibly positive impact on a number of people. And we just get amazing feedback about the work that Stephanie does. If you’re not familiar with Know & Flourish, go check it out. And we’re going to listen to this moment. This moment is about overcoming imposter syndrome, which is just so important and so critical. Let’s listen to what Stephanie has to say.

You’ve spoken a lot in the past about imposter syndrome and it’s something that so many people relate to. Why don’t you help define it for us and explain how you think it holds people back, and then what do we do with it if we have it or if we think we’ve self-diagnosed as having it?

Stephanie Blair: Well, the generally accepted definition of imposter syndrome is the inability to believe that your success is deserved and legitimately achieved and the result of your effort and skill. I see it showing up in a couple of ways. People who have perfectionist tendencies or sort of super human tendencies, the do-it-all person. Or they call it a soloist, somebody who’s just this lone wolf who just says, “I’m just going to take it all on myself because nobody else can do it as good as I can do it.” But all the while, they’re sort of doubting themselves in their mind, “Should I be on this table amongst these great leaders or not?”

And so I think it’s important to acknowledge and I do think it shows up in different parts of life. There was a study that said, I think it was a 2011 study so this is not a new concept, but it said that 70% of people will experience it at one time in their life. And this was by the Behavioral Science Research Institute who published a paper on imposter syndrome. I mean, if 70% of us are going to face it, we really shouldn’t be pretending it doesn’t exist. It tends to show up more with women than men, according to these studies. And I think that’s just due to self-doubt is more prevalent, but really it can impact anybody at different times.

And so it’s important to acknowledge it, not hide from it, but then try to use it as fuel to say, “Okay, here I am. What are my gaps? Maybe I have gaps and that’s okay.” Let’s work on taking action against that, filling them, or working with a peer or a leader in my organization to identify if my thinking about my gaps are the actual gaps, and just sort of level setting what’s real and what’s in our own mind. And so much of our own self chatter is what holds us back. And so it’s about sort of arming people to acknowledge it and move past it, and then figure out their way forward.

Sam Jacobs: In terms of actionable, is there a thought process? Is there an exercise? Is it just mentally reassuring yourself? Is it some kind of mantra? I feel it frequently, just as an individual. But if you’re out there and you sort of wake up in the middle of the night feeling like, “Oh shit, I don’t really know what I’m doing even though I’m telling everybody I do.” What do you do besides say, “Well, maybe I really don’t know what I’m doing.” How do you know the difference between what’s valid and what’s not?

Stephanie Blair: That’s probably the toughest question you’ll ask me. I’ll do my best here. But I do think, first of all, it’s acknowledging that like, “Okay, everybody’s felt like this,” even if they don’t admit it to you, right? Again, if studies show that 70% of us are going to feel it at some point, chances are other people in your org have experienced it, even the best leaders. That’s number one is just to normalize it a bit.

And then it’s about like, I think a mindful leader is also a leader who recognizes that your job is never done. We’re always on a pursuit of learning, of excellence. And so in that spirit, you can apply that to your imposter syndrome and say, “All right, well, maybe there is a gap here and what can I do that’s actionable to achieve it. Is it around my communication skills? Is it around how I’m showing up each day? Or is it around forecasting? Maybe there is something that I’m missing here. Maybe I need to take an Excel course to re-up my abilities there.”

It’s about sort of parsing it out and saying, “Okay, what is just like fabricated in my mind and what is something that I can actually move forward with.” And I suggest to people to have an accountability partner in this. When I come into corporate settings and do workshops around this, we often will have the groups identify what type of imposter syndrome they face. That way they see their peers, first of all, admitting that they’re feeling this way and then also they have somebody to turn to in your organization when it shows up.

I also think it’s important to have an open dialogue with your direct manager about this. Or if you’re a leader, to have it with your teams so that perfection is not the only acceptable result.

Sam Jacobs: Well said.

Stephanie Blair: The founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, talks about her father growing up and he would say, “How did you fail today?” This is what he would ask at the dinner table, right? It’s embracing that concept of failing, failing fast, but learning and growing from it.

The three traits of an organic career path [25:50]

Sam Jacobs: What a great moment with Stephanie Blair talking about how to overcome imposter syndrome. The next up on this bonus episode is perhaps one of the more senior women. Alison Wagonfeld, she’s the COO, the chief marketing officer of all of Google Cloud. She is, as we say, a very important person.

She’s also been on the buy side. She worked at Emergence Capital Partners. She wrote the original business plan for Quicken Loans in 1996. She’s brilliant. Of course, she’s a graduate of HBS, Harvard Business School. She went to Yale undergrad. The point is how she’s constructed her career.

And what we’re going to talk about is we’re going to talk about the three traits of an organic career path, how to put your career together. And who better to do that than Alison Wagonfeld, who is the chief marketing officer of Google Cloud, and just an exceptional human being, an executive? Let’s listen to this final, final moment from this bonus episode featuring incredible women that have been on the Sales Hacker Podcast.

When you’re thinking about advice maybe for people that are starting off in their careers, that are trying to replicate some kind of approach similar to the journey that you’ve been on over the last however many years because it seems to have gone so well, are there specific insights that you have or frameworks that you’ve used as you’ve made different career decisions? Because to your point, these roles and functions, they all have commonalities, but they’re all quite different.

You went from being a banker to an operator within a very large company, to an operator at a very small company, to an investor, and now back to an operator, but this time at a much larger global company. What are the frameworks that you use as you think about making these decisions and advancing over the course of your career?

Alison Wagonfeld: Yeah, it’s interesting because, as I said, it’s not a particularly linear career path and it’s actually to some degree been somewhat organic, but there are common themes in that I’ve always liked to build. I’m a huge believer in how technology can really make a fundamental difference in people’s lives, in organizations, in everything. Essentially everything that I’ve done has had technology at its core. I’ve always been really curious and able to ask a lot of questions, and comfortable with ambiguity, and able to then learn and frame messy problems or complex areas, and try to distill as to what needs to be done next, and kind of with a bias to action everywhere along the way.

I’ve always surrounded myself with really strong people. I feel like every role that I’ve been in, I’ve been working with a top-tier team, and so that’s been another commonality. And then I’ve always found it interesting how much overlap there always is. I mean, the same person that hired me at Microsoft, as a summer intern while I was in business school, was the person who then became a partner at Kleiner Perkins, that recruited me into that startup as the VP of marketing.

And so one of the frameworks that I tell people, and even tell my kids, is remember that life is often a series of back channels and that the people you interface with you will likely interface with again. And always do things in a way that whenever somebody asks about you, that you feel proud about what they would say and the contributions that you’ve made. And so there’s been a lot of commonality in terms of the people in the companies and everything as a common thread through everything I’ve done.

Sam Jacobs: That’s it, folks. A great moment there from Alison Wagonfeld. And that is our episode. That is it. That is a compilation. I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode and the insights shared by these incredible sales leaders, these incredible women, as much as I did.

If you have questions or are facing a challenge at work or just need a community with listening ears, join 7,300 other sales pros in the Sales Hacker community at saleshacker.com. Any sales professional can join the community as a member to ask questions, get immediate answers and share their experience with like-minded B2B sales professionals.

Thank you so much for listening to this bonus episode. October is Women in Sales Month. We hope that you celebrate the women that you’re working with, the women that are your bosses, the women that are leading you because they are a critical part of driving overall revenue growth across the entire ecosystem, the sales universe that we all work in. That’s what I have to say about that. I hope you enjoyed the episode.

If you want to reach me, you can, LinkedIn.com/in/SamFJacobs. If you haven’t applied to Revenue Collective yet, we’ve got an incredible community. Women of Revenue Collective, it’s a private community, and it’s focused on helping women, led by women, achieve their career goals as is everything that we do at Revenue Collective. That’s revenuecollective.com, click apply now. And without further ado, I will talk to you next time. Thanks for listening.

The post Special Episode: Driving Diversity: Highlights From Top Women in Sales appeared first on Sales Hacker.

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