Lessons from the Field

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It has been over two months since my last post and that was not intentional…but I’m going to be vulnerable here.

This blog is about lessons from the field. Sales is not something you similar graduate from – even top sellers are consistently having to learn and grow and stay humble. Sales is a great career for life long learners because everyday there is a new problem/challenge that we rise to meet.

This constant pushing towards the summit (quota, deal closure, end of quarter) can also leave us burnt out if we are not careful.

In the past nine months I left a company I loved and really imagined being at forever to a new opportunity, that while a wonderful company was not a good fit for me.

I’ve been in my new role just over four months and it has been another firehose. I won’t lie it hasn’t been easy. Then again I never signed up for easy – my goal is to learn and grow every day and be the best team member and counselor sales person I can be.

I’m also a human and it’s okay to recognize that we need to be mindful of the ebbs and flows in our sales trajectory. Missing the mark or not ramping as fast as I wanted to is not a sentence of failure, rather it is an invitation to keep on learning.

I’ve also rediscovered the importance of balance. I love sales, but if I don’t take time to workout and enjoy hobbies outside of work – I’m not going to be 100% at my job. It’s okay to take a break. 24/7 doesn’t always equal success.

Work smarter, not harder.

What I’ve struggled with:

  • going into another role – the onboarding is always hard, but after just going through six months of ramping – being thrown into the fire again was a lot of pressure personally. Luckily I’ve been given adequate support and perspective as I continue to learn and grow in my new role
  • In previous roles I had moved from constantly prospecting (130 dials per day in my SDR days) to net new customers to working primarily with Inbound and Growth opportunities. While these were equally challenging. The grind of moving back into new logo prospecting has been humbling and hard. I know I have the skillset, but I also recognize that COVID and the macroeconomic factors surrounding us have changed the way we prospect. It takes longer to reach a contact and often a full day’s work has felt like beating a stone without a chisel.
    • In this ‘pounding the stone’ example I try to reflect on the old parable about a person who was asked by God to keep pushing a stone, but it would not move. At the end of thirty days – the person asks God why he had them keep pushing when the rock didn’t move. God answered, I didn’t want the rock to move – I wanted to strengthen you.
    • Resiliency from rejection comes quick in the line of fire.

The journey from challenges:

  • In sales it is important to clear your mind of yesterday’s failings before you start the morning. As a person of faith – I lean into prayer and thanksgiving (Even if I’m feeling frustrated). Mindset is the biggest obstacle we face in sales.
  • Patience and fortitude are essential…keep moving forward by reaching out potential clients, following up, and utilizing cadences. Just like a coach tweaks the game play when a player fouls out, it is necessary to constantly reflect and tweak your sales plays and game plan so you can effectively get the message about your product out and HOW it helps the client
  • It isn’t about you – it has to be able the customer. This means researching and being mindful of what each unique client and role type is concerned about is crucial to breaking into a meaningful conversation. Researching trends and leaning into colleagues here is helpful.

What has pulled me out of my comfort zone:

One of my favorite movies, The Music Man, features a traveling salesman with a bit of a shady pitch. He sells the product (instruments) but not the lessons…in the end he changes his ways and all is right and well in Iowa.

When we think of a salesperson traveling from client to client we have the stereotype of a vaccum cleaner salesperson going door to door (and for a laugh check out the I Love Lucy episode). While we cringe at this sort of sales motion for centuries it was the path to getting goods sold.

Interestingly enough, my company has asked us to go into the field to do drop offs. When I was first asked to do a drop off (going to a client’s business unannounced) – I felt ill to my stomach. It feels as if we are violating their privacy…

However, after a month of being constantly in the field traveling from Charlotte to Nashville and Wilmington – I am beginning to see the value of this unique approach.

It seems foreign to tech sales to leave the zoom call and go into the field to a new logo (without a pre-arranged meeting) – but it also shows a client how much you value them and want their business. I drove eleven hours to bring goodies, swag and the Salesforce value to clients in TN.

While some were not interested – it plants a seed and helps bring the human connection back to selling.

Do I think this is the only way to target new logos? No…but has been an interesting exercise and I continue to focus on figuring out creative ways to meet my clients where they are and empower them to reach their business goals.

I’ll be back blogging soon with more lessons from the field.

#focusonhow #neverstop

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