Finding a mentor, visualizing success, and putting in the hours are all part of a successful career in sales. But are you really doing what it takes?
Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.
The topic is assessing where you are as an individual contributor, where you want to go, and the next step to get there. Bridget talks about assessment, in context of life goals.
An SDR position is usually of short duration. It is critical for an SDR to think ahead. Millennials sometimes have a hard time seeking out mentors. Bridget recommends having a mentor who is not your manager, to gain a different perspective.
Prospecting for a mentor is like prospecting for customers. They need a pitch and a value proposition. For Andy, some reps have approached him indirectly, leading with questions, to build a relationship, without assuming familiarity.
Earn the trust, and the right to ask the next level of question. The first person you talk to may not be the mentor that aligns with you. Enjoy the interaction of the time together, but be willing to be challenged. You need to be open to learning.
The next step is to develop a point of view of what sales means for you. Formulate a philosophy — who you are in sales and what you stand for, to see the next step of your career. Your POV will change in time. A mentor helps with this.
In tech, there’s always a new bright shiny object, and people rushing from one company to the next. Having a POV puts you in position to find a company aligned with you, so you know what you can offer them to engage in their success.
An SDR may learn the steps to become an AE, CSM, or account manager. An AE can prepare for the enterprise side, or large enterprise, or to become a manager. Bridget suggests a gap analysis between you and your goal, including skills.
Start by asking for feedback from your manager. You need to know where you stand. Even if there is personal friction, they can still be your ally for success. Peer feedback and mentor feedback is also helpful.
Start reading books that will develop your business acumen, biographies of leaders, and broaden your worldview. Career progression involves additional responsibilities, so additional knowledge and a broader perspective is needed.
A listener sent Andy a link to an article in which a CIO says he wants to hire people who understand human behavior — who have read Shakespeare. Andy suggests looking for opinions diametrically opposed to yours, and reading them.
Some NYT readers are infuriated that there is a conservative columnist writing for the paper. For every POV, there is an opposing POV. Although it is a challenge, be open to learning about them. There is not only one way to sell.
Sales leadership starts with the individual contributor. Andy cites Lolly Daskal’s book, and says, never stop learning. Consciously assess where you are, where are you strong, and where are you deficient?
The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.