Women in Sales Awards North America 2016

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One of the privileges of my job is that I have the opportunity to meet and interact with many talented people from various backgrounds. In recent years, I have met many inspiring women and men. I am always proud of the women we feature in our magazines. I am also proud of the companies that are eager to highlight and celebrate the talent of the women they employ. Having the opportunity to network with these incredible women and men, and seeing their enthusiasm and their strength, I have hope for the future. It is reassuring that our platform contributes to reducing gender inequality and provides opportunities for younger generations to better navigate the sales industry. Tonight we celebrate the exceptional women who continue to play key roles within their organisations. They have many different perspectives, different backgrounds and different experiences however they all share one passion and that is working in sales. I would like to thank the judges who took time to preside over this year’s awards. Thank you to all the nominees and the finalists and thank you to all the companies that nominated this year. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners. We hope you have had a great evening, and we look forward to seeing again you in 2017. AFI OFORI

Managing Director Zars Media

Find latest news about WOMEN IN SALES AWARDS NORTH AMERICA and share yout experience of the event at: LinkedIn: women-in-sales-awards-north-america Facebook: WomenInSalesAwards Twitter: WISAmerica Google +: +Wisawards


In this magazine 72

How Do You Build Strong Mentoring Relationships in Sales?

14 24 6

Things I Have Learned From Conducting 4,000 Sales Interviews


The Most Important "C" Word in Sales


The Sales Tsunami of Millennials


Sales Disrupted! or Twelve Ways Digital is Disrupting Your Sales Cycle


Sales is Science



How to Maximize Your Full Sales Potential



The Numbers Speak for Themselves: Gender Diverse Sales Teams Grow Companies

5 Things About Women Sales Leaders



The Judging Process

Sales and Millennials — A Broken Bridge?



2016 Women in Sales Awards North America Finalists

10 Great Apps to Gamify Your Sales


Can You Imagine Women Becoming The Best Salespeople in The World?



Sales and The Art of Listening



Think Like an Engineer to Improve your B2B Sales Approach



The Most Important Ability of All is Adaptability




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Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

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Julie DeLoyd is an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company where she specializes in sales and marketing topics in B2B companies. She’s developed her expertise with a diverse set of clients from multiple sectors, from consumer to industrials, on a range of go-to-market topics with a focus on developing action-oriented and customer-centric sales strategies. She has a particular passion for building the capabilities of sales forces and has worked hands-on with hundreds of sales reps to help them succeed.

Prior to McKinsey, Julie had a career in the music industry. She ran her own record label for close to a decade while touring the country performing 175+ shows each year. As the founder of Siren Records and professional performer, she self-released six solo albums, a charity album (“Girl Parts” songwriting trio supporting National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence), and a documentary DVD.


How Imposter Syndrome is Undermining Your Sales

Julie was a Distinguished Fellow and Kilts Marketing Scholar at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where she received an MBA with a focus on Marketing Strategy and Statistics. Her BA is from New York University. Julie now lives in Chicago with her wife and two daughters, Eaden and Lennox.


Salespeople: Are You Wasting Your Time Acquiring Customers?



Invested Leadership is the New Sales Incentive R E N A C O H E N - F I R ST


VP Sales, Nature's Crops International, Blogger Huffington Post

How to Master The Art of Social Selling


4 Ways Social Media Has Given Women an Edge in Sales

Rena Cohen-First is a VP of Sales who has sold in the Food Ingredient Industry for the past 18 years, selling to the largest food and beverage manufacturers in the world. She is the author of The Authentic Sale, A Goddesses Guide to Business. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied Professional and Executive Coaching, completed her MBA and Served in the US Army. She resides in San Diego with her two children and husband.


Let’s Encourage Young Women in Sales Careers


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Things I Have Learned From Conducting


Sales Interviews





Southeast Sales Director, OpenText www.linkedin.com/in/ john-kwarsick-1442a4 @EQworksinBiz

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It may sound like a lot of interviews, but over 20 years in sales management that averages out to only 200 interviews a year, by phone and/or in person. If there is one piece of advice I can offer and we have heard this before it is: PREPARE. Have you ever seen a comedian on a late night talk show? They get 8 minutes in the chair with Jimmy Fallon, Steven Colbert, Jay Leno or whomever. Do you think they are extemporaneously funny? Not a chance. They have honed their material for weeks or even months before they get that time on stage. Do the same for your interviews! The question is, how do you distil down all the interviewing advice into some practical points?



Figure out 3 compelling reasons why you are the person for this job and be able to recite them in your sleep.

Know the company whom with you are interviewing! One way to learn, if the company is publicly traded, is to go to the investor relations page and listen to the recorded quarterly earnings calls. Not only will you hear about the financial details of a company’s business, the analysts Q&A’s at the end of the calls provide valuable insight as well.


What are those 3 reasons? Read the job description and map your specific skills to what the company is looking for and then put your unique spin on them.


Be prepared in 2 minutes or less to articulate how you demonstrated those skills. In a practical way (not theoretical). The key is 2 minutes. Believe or not, you can say a lot in 2 minutes.


The first 3 minutes of an interview are very important. Building rapport is critical to getting off a good start and first impressions do count. Think of a topical subject to start the discussion, but keep it light. Dropping a name or two can be helpful, but be confident that people you mention will help your cause, not hurt you.


Hiring managers will typically read *scan* your resume twice. The first time, to determine if they want to talk to you, the second time right before they meet with you. Do not expect them to put a lot of time into reading your resume, as they will spend the time during your interview reviewing it. Take control of this process by steering them in a direction that highlight your skills.



The person you work for is as important as the company you are applying with. I check “Who’s viewed my profile” on LinkedIn every single day. If you have not viewed my profile BEFORE you have interviewed with me, I am going to question how much research and due diligence you have done about the position.

Formulate 5 thoughtful questions. Think about them in advance, write them down. One good question I do not hear enough of: “Why did you take the job at *your company*?” Write down the answer and frame your responses from that point to align with the goals of the interviewer.

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#9 PUNCH BACK! Interviewing can be like sparring. Literally, you are fighting for a job! I once interviewed for a position where the COO “had me on the ropes”. In other words, during the course of the interview, he had picked me apart. As the interview was winding down, he asked me if I had any questions. I knew that he just been promoted to COO. I asked him, “What makes you think that you would be a good COO?” He responded, “No one has ever asked me that question, why are you asking that?” I replied: “Because being a COO is completely different skill set than being a VP of Sales”. What I did was punch back. I would not recommend this as a strategy to use all the time, but the moral of the story is, have challenging and thoughtprovoking questions BEFORE you start the interview. You never know when you need to throw that punch.


2-2-2. Sales reps do move from one job to the next. Two years here, two years there. This is more pervasive in Silicon Valley than elsewhere, but it happens more than you would think. I am not as much concerned about your longevity at one company or the next, but more so with what did you accomplish in the short time you were there?


Tell me about your failures. Chances are, if you are in sales like me, you have missed your numbers (quota) on occasion. I would rather have someone tell me what they learned during a tough stretch than try to dance around it.

#12 Leverage your recruiter, by asking them questions about the position before the interview. Recruiters are talking to the decision makers or hiring authorities all the time. If you pepper them with a few good questions, they may ask those questions to the decision maker on your behalf before you even talk to them. This does not work all the time, but sometimes, it pays off!


Everyone has a “resume face”. That is, most people can talk about what is on their resume. Be prepared to articulate skills and accomplishments relevant to the position that is not on your resume. I have hired veterans from the armed forces based on some of the unique skills they have.


Cheat! Not really, but have notes with you. One sales rep I interviewed pulled out a stack of 3x5 cards with questions and points which they wanted to cover. They told me they used the “flashcards” when they were learning vocabulary for learning a new language.



If you work for a company that is not a household name or is a start-up, be prepared to be able to describe what the company does and what market segment they are in 30 seconds or less. A lot of times, I will have to Google companies I have never heard of right during the interview.

The hiring process always takes longer than you expect. Rule of thumb: take what you think will be the amount of time once the process starts to get hired and then double it.


Anticipate: Tech companies are looking for revenue. Ask the question: “What are my sales people's greatest challenge?” Here is the hint to the answer: A large percentage of companies have a pipeline That is, having enough prospects and qualified deals in their respective pipelines. Having a good solid answer as to HOW you will tackle that challenge will go a long way in your favor.


Never judge a book by its cover or in this case, their resume. People can and will surprise you. Find out what they are passionate about as that will be a better indicator of what kind of employee they will be than the bullets points on their resume.


Towards the then end of the interview: Be assertive, but not overly aggressive. I love it when a sales rep says: “Based on what I know about the position and what we have discussed about my background this is why I believe I would be a great candidate: Boom! Succinctly reinforce how you would accomplish that. You may not need to say this, but absolutely have it ready!

Never think: “you have this one in the bag”. Go hard until the candidate starts on their first day. This goes for both candidates and companies alike. I once “hired” someone and they sent me a text on the day they were going to start and told me that they took another offer at the last minute.



Ask if there is anything that would preclude you from not being offered this position? This is subtle presumptive close while asking the interviewer what are the perceived gaps.

Keep up with interviewing trends. There is a TON of good advice. 4 or 5 hours of reading Forbes articles or posts here on LinkedIn, go a long way of getting your head in the game and being prepared!


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t n a t r o p m I s t e l s a o S M n i e Th Word "C"

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So what were your thoughts when you read this headline? Did you immediately think cost because cost or price is so important? Possibly the word customer came to mind or maybe you are more technology focused and believed CRM to be the most important "C" word? Then again did you think “close” as in ‘close the deal” was at the top of the “C” word list? For many crazy busy salespeople, the word computer might have surfaced. I am sure there are many more words that begin with “C” that could be added to this list. If you answered with any of these “C” words, that was not the answer I was seeking. For cost, customer, CRM, close or computer are not the most important word in sales. No, the word that is far more critical to sustainable sales success is “culture” specifically the culture of your business be it a one person shop to a business that employs 10 to 20 to over 500 individuals.









THE People and Process Problem Solver for Forward Thinking Sales Culture, Employee Engagement, Leadership, Keynotes



What is so sad is each day crazy business professionals spend thousands of dollars in seeking how to increase sales. They attend seminars; go to sales training; attend business to business networking events and possibly even hire a sales coach. However many of their efforts are in vain because when they return to the office the workplace culture is still there, impenetrable not changing, not moving.

For example, research continues to confirm that sales training has very little return on investment. Research by NuVue released in December of 2013 revealed that half of the content of a sales training event is lost in 5.1 weeks and on average 84% of sales training content is lost after 90 days.

Culture is the usually the unseen barrier to sales and can be beyond frustrating to sales people, both external and internal customers not to mention executive leadership and management. What happens is those in executive position focus on the “C’ symptoms of cost, customer (external), CRM, close and computer instead of the real problem that being culture.

Years ago other research by ASTD now STD along with other Fortune 500 firms suggested sales training or most corporate training had a short life span. Some of this lack of retention has to do with how people learn. Yet, when we peel away the issue we can discover culture is hiding in the shadows just waiting to confuse and obstruct all that new knowledge gained from the most recent sales training event. How many times after a sales training event, this statement is

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heard “We don’t do things that way here?” A great example would be the reluctance to use social media including sites such as LinkedIn. The financial industry with its layers of compliance along with a culture of slowness typifies this reluctance.

Then there is the sales manager who has been promoted for his or her sales skills and not people skills (The Superworker, Supervisor Syndrome). This individual continues to prospect and present the way that was successful for him or her not recognizing the sales business world has dramatically changed. Beyond sales management, what about the other operations within the mid-size to small business? How do they impact sales? P E R S O N A L E XP E R I E N C E When I was in corporate sales, my goal was to make buying from our company easy. I would expedite opening new accounts to ensuring customers received the correct material. If there was a problem, I would solve it ASAP as if a sale depended upon it because it did.

As the company grew, we hired an in house CPA to handle the opening of accounts, managing payments and invoices, etc. This individual came from a culture of silos where each department worked independently. As a number cruncher, she never saw how her work interacted with sales, marketing or shipping. Even though our culture in the office was one of collaboration and

realizing the customer came first, she was clueless. Getting her to open an account quickly was like pulling hen’s teeth. I finally had to call a meeting with the owner, our outside sales team and our inside sales team to discuss this significant problem because we were losing sales. Our sales team could work harder and harder, but this individual was still living in the culture she came from. As it is said, old habits (culture) die hard. E XEC U T I V E L E A D E R S H I P E N A B L E S C U LT U R E When executive leadership fails to enforce the culture through the existing values and articulated goals, sales will decline if not dramatically plummet. This happens frequently when examining shipping departments. Items are not shipped out on time or the warehouse does not want to be bothered by a last minute order to be shipped out before the close of business. Firms like UPS decided to strengthen their role in shipping by providing tracking for the end customer. With the Internet, now customers can find where their shipments are and when to expect delivery. T H E H U M A N FAC TO R If you think culture is not the most important "C" word in sales, just call most any business today and you may receive one of those automated, robotic messages. What does this say

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about the culture of that business? Do you really want to buy from them? In some instances, you may be forced to unless you have the private number of the person you wish to reach. Now think about how you feel when you hear a real, human voice? If that voice is warm and friendly, are you more inclined to want to buy from that business? Being old school, I was trained to answer the phone no later than the second ring. If a phone rang three times, my boss was out in the main office asking or rather demanding what was happening.

Over the years I had to train new employees to answer the phone quickly, with high energy and friendliness. This sometimes was a challenge because many of the new employees came from cultures with a different mindset about answering the phone. Even today I attempt to answer my phone by the second ring. My goal is for the phone not to go into voice mail because voice mail seems to be the default option for so many businesses today. What people in business fail to realize is people buy from people not from robots.

When the culture gives the impression the customer or potential customer is a widget instead of a human being, this creates negative reaction sometimes subconscious within the customer or potential customer. Imagine how much more sales a business could have by becoming human?

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." - PRESIDENT THEODORE R O O S E V E LT

Top sales performers realize there is more to increasing sales than just signing the purchase order or shaking hands. The entire organization is behind that newly acquired sale. In a culture of high performance, we care the customer comes first attitude will help to ensure immediate customer loyalty. Conversely a "whatever culture" will take the customer for granted and work just to fill the 8 hour day.

Whether the employee completes one task or several tasks, it makes no difference because the employee gets paid regardless of the number of customers served. Yes workplace culture is critical to increase sales. Possibly more midsize to small businesses will realize extreme importance of culture and take positive actions to identify where culture has built barriers to sustainable sales growth

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The Sales

Tsunami of Millennials R





There is a tsunami headed towards the sales world and it is the Millennial generation. Let me start with this one point, I find it difficult to define a generation of 76+ million Americans with similar characteristics. People are the ultimate variable so obviously there are differences within such a large group. However, some things are more prevalent in this age group of people born between 1980-1995.

Managing Director of Select Metrix LLC, a Minneapolis-based sales assessment and recruiting company.


ve been working with a wide variety of sales leaders with the vast majority of them falling in the Baby Boomer generation. The stories I have heard are humorous, and elucidative, all at once. One Boomer sales leader shared with me his frustration of one of his salespeople texting with a customer. The company is an engineering services firm and he did not believe

texting was an appropriate medium for communicating with customers. He told his Millennial salesperson to switch to email next time. Another Boomer sales leader told me of a Millennial salesperson who aspired to move up the corporate ladder. An opportunity opened up in one of their foreign offices to which this sales leader informed his Millennial salesperson that this would be a strong step towards

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reaching the next level in the company. The Millennial passed stating they did not want to move overseas and that they would still find a way to advance. The Boomer sales leaders responded, "you have to actually do something to move up." Tension has always existed between generations. The Millennial generation is creating a greater tension because of the small Generation X.


Gen We 0-15 years


Millenials 16-34 years

The "natural" changes from generation to generation are exaggerated due to the large age gap jump from Boomers to Millennials in the workplace. The Millennials will have to move up quickly since there simply are not enough Gen Xers to replace the retiring Boomers. This tension leads to sales leaders having to find new methods to managing a much younger sales team. My experience in working with these leaders and Millennials has led me to see these 3 consistent topics for leading younger salespeople. H AV E A C L E A R CA R E E R PAT H One thing I tell all hiring managers is that you have to have a clear career path for this younger generation. They enjoy learning and growing their skills, including an increase in their compensation commensurate with that growth. The Millennials are driven to earn more; the difference is that their work is the funding source for their interests outside of the office. This is a distinction that often gets lost in much of the reporting today.


75.6M 39.9M

Gen Xers Boomers Matures 35-47 years 48-66 years 67+ years

B E P R E PA R E D FO R N O N -T R A D I T I O N A L WO R K H O U R S This difference may be the largest irritant between the classic 8-5 Boomer generation and the Millennials. The Millennials are "burst" workers in that they enjoy grouping their work into short, high-intensity efforts. In their world, time is the ultimate flexible asset. This mindset is difficult to reconcile with a typical sales day comprised of an 8 to 5 goal time. Sales leaders will have to develop expectations that the primary communication with prospects and customers needs to occur during standard office hours...until the Millennials shift the standard for office hours. By the way, that shift is already happening. M OV E TOWA R D S A M AT R IX O RGA N I Z AT I O N Millennials are matrix-oriented in their approach to the workplace. Essentially, they see the organization hierarchy flatter than any previous generation, especially the Boomers. If the Boomers

operate under a military hierarchy of power within the company, the Millennials see a group of people collaborating towards one goal within the company...I include the CEO in this definition. This new approach is shocking to many Boomers (and, at times, to me too). The Millennials want to collaborate with their boss with a focus on results before "rank."

The aforementioned topics are already in play today in the workplace. Some sales leaders are struggling with these seismic shifts in how companies handle these young salespeople. Yet, this is a tsunami that will drastically change the sales landscape. Think of what's to come - integrating social network connections into sales hiring, dedicating salespeople to corporate causes, snap chatting with customers, etc. The classic sales world will be changing quickly and dramatically as the Millennials establish a new order

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Sales Disrupted! or 12 Ways Digital is Disrupting Your Sales Cycle



he good news for a salesperson selling into a disrupted industry is that the forces of change are bringing net new budget dollars to the table. The bad news is, the budgets have not yet landed. In effect, then, there are two kinds of sales opportunities to target. You can go after the landed budgets, the incumbent ones, knowing that they are under assault and will be dwindling, but also knowing that at present they can be deployed quickly and readily. Or, one can go after the much larger budgets that have not yet landed, the ones that will power the future of the target industry and your company’s role within it, but with the knowledge that this is a time-consuming effort that requires a completely different approach from the normal sales motion. Basically then, you can make quota in the short term while marginalizing your company’s future, or you can build a platform for the future while putting quota at much higher risk. Of course, what we need here is an and not an or. And that is possible, provided executive leadership and

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compensation programs acknowledge this challenge openly and segment the field of play accordingly. The key distinction is simple. Selling into undisrupted industries requires to you to compete to consume budget, whereas in a disrupted one, you must create to consume budget. The first activity is conducted with middle managers charged with deploying operational budgets as efficiently as possible. The second is conducted with executives seeking to reallocate investment assets to meet the new challenge as effectively as possible. As just noted, these are two very different sales motions, and the challenge facing many sales teams today is that, like it or not, they have to do both, and do both well, if their companies are going to succeed. THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL DISRUPTION ON THE SALES CYCLE: Here are twelve ways in which selling into a digitally disrupted sector calls for a radically different approach from what marketing, sales, and service teams are used to:

1 CONVENTIONAL LEAD GENERATION DOES NOT WORK It is based on hooking up with midlevel managers who have influence or authority over RFPs and budgets already in place. These people have no influence or authority over sales cycles involving redeployment of assets into new areas. All they will do is steer you to the old regime. Pursuing leads here will ensure you miss the next wave. And cold calling can’t succeed either. Executives employ people called administrative assistants for the express purpose of blocking your call. Instead you need to enable referrals, where a peer or trusted contact of the target executive enables the introduction. 2 PRODUCT NARRATIVES DON’T WORK They are based on having an established view of the problem and of the competitive set. This is very much the case in non-disrupted industries but never so in disrupted ones. So PowerPoint presentations and demos don’t serve. All they do is disappoint and cause executives to redirect the salesperson back to a mid-level manager and an ever-diminishing established budget. Instead you need problem narratives, stories that surface the critical changes under way and that resonate with the business leaders undergoing them. That’s what the early conversations in the sales cycle need to be about. 3 WE NEED THOUGHT LEADERSHIP HERE, PEOPLE! Executives in disrupted industries are hungry for frameworks that can help them diagnose their new situation, envision a novel solution, and engage with peers to discuss their ideas. Slick slogans and asking “What’s keeping you up at night?” won’t cut it. But any vendor, be it a start-up or an established enterprise, who comes with a useful framework will get a good hearing, and the one whose framework gets adopted gets to orchestrate the others in building out a solution architecture. Narratives really, really matter. 4 RELATIONSHIP MARKETING IS FUNDAMENTAL Executives in disrupted industries are open to forming new relationships and are looking for a trusted advisor. To compete for this role salespeople need to monitor industry developments, personal information, and workflow status in real

time so they can bring key issues and ideas to the table in a timely manner. 5 LET’S GET VERTICAL, VERTICAL! Digital disruption is unfolding on an industry by industry basis and manifests itself in ways unique to each one. That means that the early framing conversations need to be couched in the language and issues of the target industry, not the technologies and themes of the vendor’s industry. This requires marketing to develop a whole new set of muscles and sales to learn a new foreign language, which calls in turn for some judicious hiring of insider expertise and a sales training capability to get field teams up to speed fast. 6 SALES AND MARKETING NEED TO MAP OUT A NEW CUSTOMER JOURNEY All sales cycles are built on an underlying model of the customer journey. These become the backbone of workflows through any CRM system. The problem in a disrupted industry is that the conventional sales cycle maps are all wrong because the journey is taking a very different route. Sales teams need to work with their counterparts in marketing to map out the new journey and align their sales cycles and their CRM systems to it. 7 PROOF-OF-CONCEPTS ARE NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT To teams used to selling into nondisrupted markets POCs feel like going back in time, but they are key for disrupted industries where neither the problem diagnosis nor the solution prescription is well established. The challenge here is to manage them judiciously. Conservative forces inside the target customer will try to slow roll things here to buy time, whereas visionary sponsors may be too quick to want to leap to the full implementation. The trick is to make sure they are neither an obstacle to sales progress nor become a destination in and of themselves. 8 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO LEAN IN They have to provide insightful pre-sales consulting on a low-latency, costefficient basis, while still maintaining billable utilization via their other work. In addition, they have to take the lead in the first few implementations, where

their role is often as not to be the chief spear catcher, and then be prepared to package up their expertise and hand it over to partners just when the projects become predictable and profitable. Running professional services inside a technology company is an incredibly important and almost always thankless endeavor. But as the next point makes clear, it is core. 9 ALL OFFERS ARE SERVICES-LED—PERIOD In a disrupted industry no one buys a product. The early adopters buy projects and the pragmatic majority buys solutions. Both of these offer types are services led. That means all proposals need to be services led as well. That is, they cannot be about products or even ROI; they have to be about changes under way and the responses needed to address them properly. 10 ALL SALES MOTIONS ARE LAND-AND-EXPAND No responsible executive underwrites a massive reengineering undertaking with a single check, even when they already have established a deep relationship of trust with a particular vendor. Most follow a three-phase approach, where the first phase is to prove feasibility, the second, confirm desirability, and the third, achieve scalability. There is no place in disrupted industries for fly-by selling of any kind. 11 CUSTOMERS HAVE TO STEP UP TOO This means that sales teams need to learn diplomatic ways for holding the customer’s feet to the fire, provoking them when they are not rising to the occasion, and holding them accountable when they do. Often this is best done through third parties, so creating communities of interest and sponsoring dialogs among peers become critical sales enablers. 12 CHANGE MANAGEMENT BECOMES AN INTEGRAL PART OF EVERY IMPLEMENTATION Getting the new paradigm adopted is key not only to the customer’s success but to the vendor’s continued expansion within the account as well. Service organizations and partners need to be engaged, enlisted, monitored, and compensated accordingly, and this initially at least has to be orchestrated by the sales team who has the winning proposal.

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Sales is

N E X T S T E P I S TO Q UA N T I F Y, in compelling financial terms, the value of your solution. This could be cost saved, profitability improved, or sales increased. Key is to quantify the value in $$ terms. U N D E R S TA N D H OW T H E CLIENT WILL MAKE A D EC I S I O N - I call it the client's decision making web. You will need to understand all those who will be involved in the decision making, and the role each individual could play in making a purchase decision.

B U I L D A P L A N , with timelines, for your leaders to meet with the client's key stakeholders. Create a detailed briefing document that captures the meeting objectives, business details, possible queries/objections from the client, and expected outcomes. Schedule a 30 minute call to step your leaders through the briefing document, and solicit their feedback. Avoid briefing your executives while driving to the client's place - such briefings are seldom helpful. These meetings, if well executed, will leave a favorable impression with the client. They will know that you have the organisation backing you.

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FO L LOW T H R O U G H , with speed, on commitments made and agreed actions. BE OBSESSIVE about making your clients successful in their organisation That is all! Try this out and you will see the difference. You will find a purpose in your profession. Your sales forecasts will be accurate. Clients will respect you, and as a consequence you will be respected in your organisation. You will grow.

Good luck selling and growing!


B A S I S YO U R P R E PA R AT I O N B U I L D A P I TC H , in layman's language, connecting the dots and detailing how your offer/solution is best suited to address client's needs. The technical details could follow, but essence is to explain the solution in plain language, and keep it simple.

A HUMBLE DISPOSITION IS V E RY H E L P F U L I N SA L E S . If you do not possess this disposition, naturally, do take conscious efforts to build the same. Clients love to build relationships with those who command subject matter expertise, have a point of view, and are humble.




P R E PA R E H A R D for any sales meeting - internal or external. Do spend time to understand your client's business - their imperatives and priorities, challenges they are faced with, their competitors, their customers, their business financials, statements made by the CEO and board of directors, key trends impacting their industry, government regulations - favorable or adverse.

Sales , like Science, has its own principles/ laws which when followed assiduously leads to predictable outcomes, every single time. I have been steadfast in following these principles, listed below, and have experienced, first hand, sales metamorphosing into science. Let us go through these principles :

Executive Director - Analytics Platform (Asia Pacific), IBM Singapore www.in.linkedin.com/in/sriramrajan72 @sriram_present

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Co-Founder, OpenX

Sales and The Art of Listening Sales people are often described as great talkers or presenters. While that may be generally true, it fails to capture the key characteristic of the great ones. Truly effective sales and business development professionals do two things that separate them from average: 1) they ask smart questions; and 2) they listen.

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eflect on the best salespeople you know, or the people with the highest social IQ , and think about how they interact with others. These people likely have one common characteristic: they get people talking about themselves and show genuine interest in what those people have to say. Call it human nature, psychology or ego, but the simple truth is that people want and need to be heard and valued. The best way to connect with people on any level, personal or professional, is to get them talking and really listen. This often requires an ability to ask good questions.

THIS SIMPLE CONCEPT APPLIED TO BUILDING COMPANIES CAN HAVE A PROFOUND IMPACT. Here's an example from my own career experience. It was early in the GoTo. com/Overture (paid search) business and at the time we sold "paid search" results as a replacement for algorithmic technology used by publishers to power their search engine. The GoTo.com search product monetized incredibly well, but we were initially only successful convincing mid market publishers to try our product. But when it came to selling larger publishers/portals like Yahoo, we were met with violent negative reaction from their product teams around the idea of “corrupting editorial search results with advertising.” I was a Director of BD for GoTo at the time and we had a meeting with CNet's Search.com property to pitch our full page paid search solution, and two minutes into the meeting they said something like "there’s no way we’re doing that." It was about to be a very short meeting, so with nothing to lose I started asking questions. How was their search business doing? How were they doing against their revenue objectives for the search property? "Not well. It's a pain in the ass and we make no money. But we can't kill our product by making it all paid search--our users would leave us." After about 10 minutes of discussion the customer said, "what if we didn't replace the entire search page with your paid results—maybe just a few results integrated at the top of the page --would that work?” I took that concept back to the product team at GoTo.com and we sketched out a "paid layer" search implementation concept. After some evangelism (explaining the value prop to our own team) we had a deal with Search.com for testing the industry's first "paid layer" search implementation. This initial deal set the precedent for how paid search would take off to become one of our industry's most powerful advertising models. We went on to use this product implementation to convince the largest search destinations on the internet to adopt paid search. First AOL, then Microsoft, and ultimately Yahoo. When Google decided to launch a competing product, they also adopted the idea of integrating a small number of commercial results with their core algorithmic results.

A GREAT CUSTOMER SUGGESTION LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR ONE OF OUR INDUSTRY'S MOST POWERFUL ADVERTISING MODELS. I'd love to take some credit for the idea, but really all we did was allow our partner to share his knowledge and specific needs (capturing the economic benefit of paid search while protecting the user experience). What we did well in this instance was to ask leading questions and focus on really listening. At the end of the day the customer sold himself his own idea based on his business/revenue needs, and that fundamental dialogue around asking questions and listening helped invent the paid search industry as it exists today. Another, more recent example, is how OpenX ended up being a pioneer in the early days of programmatic/RTB. In a meeting with Fox Audience Network, we asked them to tell us how they would like to buy our ad exchange inventory. They expressed a strong desire to be able to value ad inventory at the individual impression and user level, and then be able to execute on a buying decision in real time. RTB didn’t exist at the time (2008) and pursuing the idea would require significant development investment on our part with no guarantee on whether buyers would adopt the new technology. However, we really valued Fox as a partner and decided to make the large investment in developing the first RTB ad exchange (a full year before Google). Within two years the RTB exchange was generating more than 70% of our revenue and the programmatic industry was on its way to disrupting and redefining the way ad dollars are invested across the display advertising landscape. Once again, a great customer idea was foundational for one of our industry's most powerful advertising models.

If we listen to our customers they will give us the vast amounts of invaluable information. They’ll tell us what’s going on in the industry; what our competitors do well and what they don’t do so well. They’ll tell us about their pain points, and help plant the seeds of innovation by suggesting approaches to solve those problems. Often, all we have to do is listen, and if we do that well we can unlock a simple sale, or we can get information that can take our companies, or our industry, in new and unexpected directions. Related to this, Jack Dorsey (Twitter) gave a great talk (www.techcrunch.com / Jack Dorsey: “A Founder Is Not A Job, It’s A Role”) about how successful companies have several "founding moments" in their lifecycle, and those moments can happen at any time and come from anyone in the company. I believe that those founding moments often come from customers, and in order to detect them we have to listen to what customers have to say, understand their needs and then deliver. And how do you know when you are “listening well?” There are no hardcoded rules here, but a simple guideline is to never break the 50% rule—that is, if you're talking more than 50% of the time when you’re with customers, partners or prospects, you're talking too much. Stop. Ask good questions and really listen to what your customers tell you. One of the reasons I'm so passionate about my company, OpenX, is because we sit in the middle of a dynamic, fast moving industry with many current and prospective partners to serve. Understanding the needs of our partners, and delivering against them, has fueled our company’s rapid growth, and will continue to guide our company to greatness—as long as we continue to listen

Need more examples? Microsoft was catapulted into greatness by Bill Gates listening to IBM articulate their need for a Disk Operating System for their planned line of personal computers. Microsoft had no such software, but understood the potential of meeting the needs of IBM. So they found a single software developer in Seattle who had developed something similar, purchased it for 50k, customized it, and within a couple of months MS DOS was born and Microsoft's direction was forever changed. All because they asked questions and listened their customer articulate their needs and then delivered against those needs.

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Think Like an Engineer to Improve Your B2B Sales Approach In business, many people pigeonhole others into departments they think they are best suited for, based on their personality. Many believe you need a particular set of skills to make it as a salesman, a creative bent to succeed as a marketer or a warm personality to work in the training department. More over, it’s rare that someone can transcend departmental roles to offer real value in wildly different positions, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

When you’re working in the manufacturing, electronic or technical industries, the sales process can be a very complex one. There are a multitude of terms to understand and the very

Instead of trying to answer questions thrown at you, it’s time to ask some of yourself. These are the kind of questions that an Engineer would ask, when faced with a technical problem and trying to identify a solution. They will cover pretty much everything you need to know when it comes to the customer’s problem, how your business can solve those problems and how those with a stake in the sales can be affected. In many ways, it’s not the actual question, but more the ethos behind it that will help you. Questions like “What are you trying to do?” may seem obvious, but it will help you articulate your objectives, providing you answer them without resolving to jargon. Also, it’s important to understand how the problem is managed today and how current practices limit what’s possible. If the sale is focussed around an innovative process, then ask yourself what’s new in the approach and why do

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you think it will work. If the process is ultimately successful, then ask who will care and what difference will it actually make to those using it. Ask yourself about the risks involved, but also the payoffs. The last question to ask is often the most important. “How much will it cost” and “ how long will it take?” When you’re dealing with the bottom line, sometimes the salesperson and the Engineer are on exactly the same page. Fundamentally, these are questions that will help you, particularly when faced with a complex B2B selling opportunity. For an experienced salesperson, thinking like an Engineer might seem like a strange way to sell, but sometimes it might be exactly what you need RA



Adding additional strings to your selling bow can sometimes feel like you’re becoming the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, but there are real lessons that you can learn. Often it happens by osmosis; the terminology, understanding and intricacies that Engineering is littered with, may seem like another language, but sales people who understand this fascinating field are ultimately better at their job. Similarly, Engineers who are trained to think more like salespeople, become better at identifying opportunities and can actively demonstrate real value with existing clients.

nature of the business means there are intricacies that will pass many people by. To alleviate this, one thing that can really help sales personnel is to understand and adopt an Engineering mindset.



f you’re working within sales or marketing, then your role may seem like a world away from those technical-types in the Engineering department. But, in order to improve your business-to-business (B2B) sales approach, it might be time to change your mindset and think like an Engineer. Engineers look at challenges differently. They’re analytical, methodical and tend to see the bigger picture when it comes to problemsolving, but you can too.


YOU’RE INVITED Rev It Up will bring together 100 sales leaders - many are women many are VP Sales and C-level. We will have a round table of women Sales VPs from Boston, DC, and Silicon Valley. JOIN US FOR THE


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The Most Important Ability of All is Adaptability!


Many leaders are in position of authority because of their vast experience. They have been around the block a few times and whatever happens they’ve probably seen it before! They will instinctively know how each ‘crisis’ will play out and most importantly when to sit back and when to act. As employees and junior managers this fills us with confidence and reassurance that we have the right person at the helm of the ship!



Sales performance strategist, consultant, trainer, coach & 'Twitter for Business' exponent.

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ots of leadership books talk about ‘adaptability’ as a key skill and I truly believe it is one of the greatest skills of all. Managers need to be adaptable and above all must teach their people how to be adaptable as well. Adaptability is key to selfsufficiency and staff members that are self-sufficient are vastly more productive than ones that aren’t. Many management courses I have been on in the past taught me how to use my experience to mentor, coach or train junior members of staff. One course that I attended required the manager to decide (based on THEIR experience of the task to be done) whether to delegate, support, guide or mentor the staff member concerned. At this point I raised a question that got the trainer scratching his head!

“But what happens when the manager has NO experience in the specific task he is asking the other person to do?” There was a puzzled silence and very little input from my fellow course attendees. I went on to explain that in the past (early on in my career) it had happened to me on numerous occasions. Newly promoted managers had tasked me with delivering work or projects that they had no idea how to execute themselves! When I asked for their help I usually got a swift rebuff along the lines of “Just get on with it.” I usually did and out of necessity (not to get fired) I scraped through each time. As I did I increasingly became more self-reliant and adaptable.



t hink posit ively

It is fact that if you look at any problem with a positive frame of mind you will come up with more and better quality ideas than thinking negatively.


To everyone involved to fully understand drivers and motivations of all stakeholders.

learn from success

We all analyse failure to death but we rarely analyse success. If something worked, WHY?

welcome change

Many people hate change, adaptable people love it!

work in teams

It is true that when more minds work together they will always come up with better ideas (providing they adhere to point one above) than people working alone.

take act ion

Don’t wait until you have a perfect plan before you start, the perfect plan probably doesn’t exist. As soon as you have a ‘working plan’ start. You can always ‘adapt’ as you go.

So in summary, don’t rely on your manager to give you all of the answers, all of the time, they may not know them! Instead use YOUR own skill, learn new things and adapt accordingly to deliver what is required

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Judging Process

THE JUDGES A group of senior executives from various industries were carefully selected as the evaluation panel of independent judges. Their objective was to review thenominations and interview each of the finalists. You can read about the judges on the website www.wisawardsna.com WHY AN INTERVIEW WITH THE JUDGES? An interview allows the judges to further assess each finalist’s skills, strategies and process etc. The interview also complements their review of the submitted nomination forms. THE JUDGING DAY The judges were organised into groups; each group was made up of 3 judges and interviewed a number of finalists within their assigned categories. Nomination forms and any supporting documents was reviewed by the judges prior to a nominee being selected as a finalist. Each nomination was evaluated and scored out of a total of 5 points. The next stage of the process was the interview with the judges. THE FINALISTS TIME WITH THE JUDGES This was an opportunity for the finalists to engage the judges by telling them the story of their success. Each judge awarded points across the same criteria. After the interview, all finalists answered one final question: “why they should win the award in their category?” Each finalist’s overall score was the sum of the scores from the interview plus the scores from the final question. The finalist with the highest score in each category was selected as the winner in that category. THE MOST DISTINGUISHED WINNER OF 2016 This award is for the finalist who impressed the judges the most and scored the highest among all the finalists.

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WHO ARE THE JUDGES? WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? Zars Media invites judges from all over North America and sometimes Europe. Judges may be executives with social innovation expertise, business people, educators and university administrators and leading practitioners in the field. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE JUDGES? We usually look for executives with backgrounds relevant to the event and with more than 15 years’ experience. We actively recruit and also take suggestions from partners, mentors and past judges. WHAT DO THE JUDGES EVALUATE? Judges review all the entries within their assigned categories and give their scores as per the guidelines. This includes reviewing the nomination forms and any confidential supplemental documents and sales information that is included in the application. IS THE JUDGING BY INVITATION ONLY, OR CAN I APPLY TO BE A JUDGE? We recruit judges after screening their profiles using LinkedIn and other news sources. We are happy to consider suggestions. If you would like to be considered, or suggest future judges, please email judges@wisawards.com

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A DA M ELSTER EVP & Group Executive of Worldwide Sales and Services, CA Technologies

CLAIRE C U R ZO N Managing Director, Brighter Directions

DA N A M ATA Head of Business Development, Zoom Video Communications

EILEEN ROBERT SVP/Director of Townhouse Sales, The Corcoran Group

ELINOR STUTZ Smooth Sale, CEO, International Best-Selling Author

G W I LY M JONES Head of Global Sales, 7Park Data

JAC Q U E S SCIAMMAS President & CEO, Selling to Executives

JA N E T DELL Global Head of Sales Operations, Marsh Inc.

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JENNIFER I N TAG L I ATA Vice President, Nutrition, Kerry

J OA N FO L E Y Head of Enterprise Sales West, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn


LEANNE H OAG L A N D - S M I T H Chief Results Officer, Advanced Systems

L E N YS M A LC O R E Z A National VP Sales & Field Marketing, UnitedHealthcare

LO R I HARMON Author, Speaker, Vice President, Sales, Contrast Security

MARTIN C A S S I DY Head of Sales, Mid-Markets Central , Thomson Reuters

NICOLE LEMUS VP Sales - Contract Manufacturing International Vitamin Corporation

RENA COHEN-FIRST VP Sales, Nature's Crops International, Blogger Huffington Post

SANDR A CASEY B U FO R D P H . D. Leader in Talent Management, Diversity, Inclusion, & Organizational Transitions

S C OT T McCONNELL SVP of Banking & Insurance Transformation Solutions Sales, Genpact

SKIP GUMBLE Director of US Enterprise Sales, End User Computing, VMware

STEPHANIE CHUNG Award Winning Business Coach, Sales Expert

S T UA R T ALLEN Managing Director, The Sales Performance Company

TA S S E Y RUSSO Women in Sales, Program Leader, The Institute for Excellence in Sales

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“Do not run from the fire although at first you may get burnt lessons will be learnt and opportunities earned”

“Create a simple 2-word mantra for personal motivation. Mine: ‘Best Self ’”

“Remaining human in the sales process and doing things as “me” is important to me” A L I SO N VA N VA R K


“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle” - Steve Jobs


“Sometimes I will win and sometimes I will fail and learn, but most important thing I will not forget is to enjoy this journey and as a women sales leader”

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Ben Franklin


“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome.”

“There are going to be battles you win and battles you lose. Just make darn sure that you learn from the questions you asked, the mistakes you made and the battles you lost. Don’t let it all be for nothing. Grow from it, move on and be better.”



“Begin by always

expecting good things to happen.” - Tom Hopkins

B R A N N E N Mc D O N A L D



“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it” - Maya Angelou


“People are our greatest asset, so it is crucially important to remain inclusive, open, and actively engaged”

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” - Tony Robbins



“The path to greatness is to start.”

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”

You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

- Albert Einstein

- Zig Ziglar




“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”

- Sheryl Sandberg

– Ann Landers



“Success isn't just about what you accomplish in your life; it's about what you inspire others to do.” - Unknown


"People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.”

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win.” - Zig Ziglar


“Try to discover the road to success and you will seek but never find, but blaze your own path and the road to success will trail right behind.”

-Robert Collier



“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

“Do one thing every day that scares you”

- Marian Wright Edeman

- Eleanor Roosevelt

- Maya Angelou





“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it. But if you love what you are doing, and always put the customer first, success will be yours”

- William James

- Ray Kroc

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi



“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”

“Be confident in who you are and what you know, and remember that when you are in new or challenging situations.”

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.”

- Billy Graham



“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It’s a muscle. You can build it up and then draw on it when you need it. And in that process, you figure out who you really are. And you just might become the very best version of yourself ” – Sheryl Sandberg



“Life is about making an impact, not about making an income.”


“Strive for Simplicity Focus on Positivity Value Authenticity Be Present Hustle.”

J U L I E ( H A RT N E T T ) RU SS E L L


“What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” - Steve Covey


“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” - Winston Churchill


“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”


“Figure it out! "People will forget That was to what youtold said. me by my father People will forget a young age whatatyou did. But and has served people will never me well. When I forget how you am faced with a madedifficult them feel." task, - Maya Angelou I don’t give up – I Figure it out!”


“Be well. Live inspired.”

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing we would literally astonish ourselves.” – Thomas Edison


“Be the change you want to see in this world”

“Now having had time to adequately reflect and plan my career path, I know I want to (and can!) run a business.”

– Mahatma Gandhi


“So often in sales we focus on what is next-the forecast, the projected revenue, the following quarter- and forget to celebrate what we have achieved.”


“You did not wake up today to be mediocre”


“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” - Maya Angelou


“Have a bias toward action – let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.”


“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you take it” - Charles Swindoll


“Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen, others make it happen.”


“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

- Indira Gandhi




"I want every little girl who is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills!”

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

- Sheryl Sandberg


“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

“Being a great mentor is about balance and perspective”



“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style".

– Zig Ziglar

- Maya Angelou

-Charles Swindoll




C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S from Zars Media prou d organ iser of the Women In Sale s Awards Nor th America

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Entrepreneur Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Inc., built a profitable business from scratch that created new opportunities for women to achieve financial success. /www.biography.com/

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Can You Imagine Women Becoming The Best Salespeople in The World?

We need to distinguish between communicating, and understanding. Communicating is making other people get what you are trying to say. Understanding is the ability to get what other people say. Women in general have an uncanny ability to read between the lines, to read body language, and to decipher meaning in what other people are actually trying to say, or to pick up on signals about what someone isn't trying to say, but what they are really thinking.




Since women pick up on communication so well, they can often actually be quite poor at expressing what it is they are really

So, how can women, with superior listening and understanding skills improve their sales roles vis-à-vis their men counterparts? Dialogue and understanding. Each genre should put aside the head trash that goes into identity of one’s-self. The head trash I’m talking about is the identification your parents and close

Hooray Women!!


This is not communicating. It's understanding. Women excel at understanding. Clearly.

Meanwhile, men understand each other fairly well because we try our best to communicate as clearly as possible so we are understood. Yet at the same time, it often seems as if women are purposefully being obscure and obtuse in their communication, giving hints but refusing to say out loud what it is that they are thinking. They might be able to pick up what other women are hinting at, but we cannot, because we don't think like women, and we don't have the knack for picking up on subtle clues.

I’ve been fortunate and honored to mentor, train and work with some of high technologies most outstanding women throughout my career. Women who formed their own tribes, became leaders and led with conviction and purpose toward disruption and gaining new purpose within their organizations. Many have left their jobs and work as entrepreneurs. How did they do it? Not by taking advantage of opportunities, but feelings of obligation. They wanted their genre peers to do more, be more, accomplish more. It was through feelings of love and obligation that they took career risks, because throughout history, it was always encouraged ‘not to rock the boat’ and ‘don’t gain too much identity yourself ’. These ideas have been thrown out the window by these leaders.



Men on the other hand, generally speaking, are not as good at picking up on the subtle cues of communication. So we, in general prefer simple and clear, direct, and obvious communication. Women never have a hard time understanding what men are trying to say. If they do, it's often because they are distrustful that we can be so brutally honest and direct. We have to have something up our sleeves, or we wouldn't be so clear. And that can confuse some women, even though they really do understand us.

peers fed to you all your developing life – men are going to be loud and expressive, always conduct yourself in a demure, quiet way, men have all the advantages to make big money because it’s a ‘man’s world’ and other head trash, because that’s exactly what it is.



trying to say. Perhaps they assume that other people (men) have these abilities and they do not feel the need (nor desire) to just say what it is that they are thinking. This inhibits communication.



dmittedly, they are in some industries – real estate, fashion (clothes/shoes), and cosmetics come to mind. Another search of Inc.’s 10 most successful salespeople identifies only two – Mary Kay Ash and Erica Fiedner. Why are their numbers so low, only 20% of the total?

Founder, Richard McLemore LLC

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Harvey Vice President - Specialist Staffing Group



hen I heard that I had been selected as a finalist for this award, I felt both excited and humbled. I immediately reached for the phone to call the person that nominated me, Morgan Kavanagh, my professional mentor and manager. I am extremely grateful to him for his recognition and support throughout my career. Winning this award, has prompted me to reflect on the amazing adventure I have been on for this past decade. In 2006, I was offered the opportunity to move from London to New York with an elite team to establish our US presence. I arrived in New York invigorated

and intimidated by the scope of the opportunity. I had been a top biller on my home turf in the UK, but could I start over in a new country and market? I was fortunate that in my moments of self-doubt, I had managers that believed in my abilities and motivated me to push past my fear and harness my strengths. Ten years later, our small start-up has grown into an established company with over 400 employees across 8 offices nationwide. I am now a Vice President overseeing our Midwestern operations in Chicago and Minneapolis. Taking part in the WIS Awards process has been such a positive experience and re-affirmed my

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commitment to paying it forward by advocating the development and promotion of talented women within Specialist Staffing Group. I am the US champion for my company’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, which includes training, mentoring, and sponsoring a cohort of high potential females. I am proud to work for an organization that understands the importance of recognizing achievement; it is one of our core values. In the future, I will encourage my company as well as others to nominate women for this wonderful award. The quickest way to “close the gender gap” and “break the glass ceiling” is for women to support and empower one another.

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Gammage Head of Americas New Business Transaction Sales - Thomson Reuters

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was truly delighted when I received the news that I had been selected as a WISA honoree! The category is such an important one because being a great manager is a crucial role in an employee’s professional and personal lives ….where you can make such a significant impact if you do it well. The ability to be a role model for women within Thomson Reuters is one that I take very seriously and I am so grateful to my firm for allowing me to be my authentic self. The accomplishments of those I mentor is a metric for me in terms of my own professional progress and success in coaching. Receiving this honour this evening has been extremely humbling and I am truly grateful to those who came before me to act as guideposts and mentors for me. I am hoping that this recognition will allow me to reach more female employees and make a further impact on their careers. The joy of working with successful, promising and accomplished women

is what continues to drive me as I look forward in my own career. The awards process has been intense and really rewarding. Being mindful about why I feel I have been successful as a manager has been especially meaningful because I recalled all those mentors and managers who have helped me in my evolution in my career. The interviewers were great fun and they asked really thought-provoking questions. It was a conversation I enjoyed and we even had a few laughs along the way! The WISA program is valuable for companies like Thomson Reuters because it gives us the chance to reflect on what we do well, celebrate strong women’s success and allow the winners to network within different parts of our organization. Throughout the process, my colleagues and I have collaborated much more and gotten to know each other better. My advice for firms considering participating is a resounding –YES! Who wouldn’t want to celebrate success?

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hat did I do after getting the news that I was a finalist? At first, I thought it wasn’t real. After reading it again, I thought, “What an honor!” It was humbling to be selected a finalist, among such an astute and accomplished group of women. Winning this evening has been incredible! I have already reached out to the clients and colleagues who recommended me and thanked them. I am humbled by their comments and encouragement. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with the judging panel. In preparing for the interview, I took the time to reflect deeply on my career and to think about the future. Looking back, three things stood out. I realized all the trials that once seemed insurmountable were, in fact, learning experiences that made me stronger. I saw how my journey has meant growth -- not only professionally but personally – and understood that

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the family, friends, and colleagues in my life have always been the most important part of the journey. Looking forward, the Right Management company values of “Guiding and Inspiring” play an important role in my personal goals. Being a trusted partner with integrity, business acumen and passion is at the core of who I am professionally. I can’t imagine being in a better position than to be someone who helps others overcome obstacles and encourages their growth. I’ll share the insights gained through this experience with other women, helping them rise to new heights and reach their goals. Personally, I am wondering what new adventure my life will present and what I will learn next on this journey I highly recommend this experience for other companies and professional women colleagues. Continuing to showcase the accomplishments of the great women in our lives helps all of us aspire to be the inspiring and guiding light that is needed to show the way.


Davidson Senior Vice President, Client Services - Right Management

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lated. Proud. Humbled. These are just a few words that describe how I’m feeling right about now. Elated because being awarded Best Woman in Field Sales, North America is the most exhilarating accomplishment that I’ve attained in my career thus far. Proud that hard work, determination and an insatiable drive does indeed pay off. Humbled because I am surrounded by so many great teammates, mentors and sponsors who are the reason I am here today. My support system is cheering me on, often without me even knowing, and I’m so thankful. Be Famous for Something! This past February, I listened in on a Leadership Academy Webinar sponsored by the Network of Executive Women and was moved by one of the exercises. The webinar challenged listeners with the question - and I use the word challenged deliberately - “What is your claim to fame?” I pondered and pondered throughout that hour and, if I’m honest, I didn’t give much thought to anything else. As an avid journalist, just a mere 5 months before this prestigious nomination and award, I scribbled down that I, Michele Neher, want to be famous for driving results. More specifically, I wrote that “I exceed target every single time and I do it with creativity and grace.” The more and more thought I give to these words scribbled just

a few months ago, I find them to be applicable in all facets of life. I love that my “be famous” mantra is built on exceeding targets, which inherently means that one needs to have a plan. Yes, planning is so important! I know this because I am going through the arduous but fun process of planning my wedding this coming October. And, I love the purposeful use of the words “creativity” and “grace”. As a sales professional, a spouse or a mum, one must always be determined to find a way, often creatively, to surpass targets whatever they may be. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s ever more important to do so with respect and care for others. The journey of reflection has been such a rewarding part of this nomination and award process. As I reflect back, I had a non-traditional entry into my sales career. I started with Kimberly-Clark after getting my undergraduate degree with dual majors in Marketing and Management and obtained my MBA in International Marketing while juggling a full-time job. I spent six rewarding years in Marketing with Kimberly-Clark where I launched dozens of new products into the retail channel and supported those launches with 360’ Commercial Marketing Programs. One day, while in the middle of leading a major development and go-to-market strategy for a new-to-market product, I received a call from my Team Leader. She explained that, while

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she’d be disappointed not to have me on her team, she suggested I apply for a Business Development Manager position that had just opened up. At that moment, I found myself making a major change in my career – from a Marketing Professional to a Sales Professional and from Retail specialization to B2B specialization. This was a complete 180-degree change, but I was ready! The best part of all is that my Team Leader was right and I’ve never looked back. The marketing skills that I honed early in my career have been a tremendous advantage for me as a sales professional and I truly believe that’s what sets me apart. I understand the importance of identifying customer needs in a way that only a marketer-at-heart can and I tailor my messages and solutions in ways that truly make a difference for my customers. As I look back, I can proudly say that I am working on being famous for something with back-to-back 2014 and 2015 Key Contributor Awards the highest recognition for KCP Sales - for growing revenue 14% in 2-years! My sales career has brought me so much joy and accomplishment and I can’t wait for what the future brings. For now, I’m absolutely thrilled to be marrying my best friend in just a few months and retiring my maiden name – Michele Neher - with such an exhilarating accomplishment as Best Woman in Field Sales, North America. Ah, what a feeling! Still Elated. Proud. Humbled.

Neher Michele L.

Business Development Manager - Kimberly Clark

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Weiss Director, Market Development - Thomson Reuters



earning I'd been selected as a finalist for WISA was a very proud moment for me. While selling has always come naturally to me, I hadn't entered the field through careful career planning but rather stumbled upon my first sales job after reluctantly leaving New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully, I love what I do. As I look back on my success and accomplishments over the past several years, these being, a finalist for WISA, a Women's Bond Club Rising Star and CEO Circle, I identify two key factors which have been instruments in reaching these achievements. First and foremost is the support of my Manager and other leaders within the organisation. They have

allowed me the flexibility to keep me motivated, the support to grow into my own potential and the honesty to help me improve. Second is my gender. I don't mean this in the sense that I'm a woman in a male-dominated industry and that I use that to my advantage, but rather that my natural female habits make me a natural at sales. I am curious, empathetic, long-term focused and team-oriented. These traits have helped me close the biggest deals of my career and see them through successfully. McKinsey recently published "Breaking Down the Gender Challenge" which studied common stop gaps to gender equality in the workplace. One of the most common challenges for women is finding themselves locked out of the top. Women trend away from job roles

responsible for P&L which is often feeders for Executive positions. Companies should put greater stake and emphasis in encouraging and supporting their female sales leaders through awards like WISA to create gender parity at the top of their organisations. Now having had time to adequately reflect and plan my career path, I know I want to (and can!) run a business. My experience and recognition as one of the top salespeople in the organisation by WISA will help me get there. I hope that other women look to my approach in sales and career growth determination, and learn to embrace their own natural characteristics that will add to their success in a male dominated field. Thank you so much for this award. It's an honour.

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Fogarty Sales Representative – Stryker



hen I first read the email that I was a finalist my jaw dropped in disbelief. I couldn’t believe I was being considered for such a prestigious award.

an industry that is still primarily dominated by men, I would like to serve as an inspiration to young women looking to forge a career in the medical sales arena. Hopefully, this will allow them to see that hard work, dedication, and consistency are the gateways to success in this field.

I was very honoured to be considered for this award in a category filled with so many incredible and talented women, but to have won this award tonight is truly unbelievable. It is an incredible confidence-booster as well being recognized as being at the top of one’s chosen field.

This awards process has been an incredible experience from the start. Even the process of putting together my application allowed me to learn so much about myself and my career by sitting back and reflecting on where I am at and what it took to get there. Being challenged to explain how I got to this point in my career and why I deserve this award also forced me to focus on my strengths, something

I plan to use this win to continue mentoring other women within my company and in my field. In

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every harsh self-critic should take the time to do every now and then. I feel that awareness of one’s strengths is equally as important as the recognition of one’s weaknesses. Historically, Stryker has been supportive of their employees and WISA through the nomination of qualified individuals for this award. I am so appreciative of this opportunity and this whole experience. I would encourage any company in healthcare sales to consider nominating their top female associates for this award, allowing them to be recognized not only within their company but also across the industry as a whole.

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Anthony Smart Solutions Consultant- Kimberly Clark



ittle girl, you did it!” is what I immediately told myself before texting my husband after learning that I had been shortlisted. I often talk to the proverbial little girl inside, always checking to making sure I am making her smile. I have overcome much and stand in this moment fulfilled and proud. This win is an honour. I have competed against women who have given their all and are so deserving. Thank you, Kimberly-Clark leadership and IDS team for betting on me! They have given me the tools and constant encouragement to

excel. Therefore, this award is not mine, alone, but for every woman in my company. It is a testament to Kimberly Clark’s commitment to attracting, developing and retaining talent and it is especially heartfelt when that talent happens to be female. I will continue to give my best, duplicating my talent through the development of others – that’s the legacy I am achieving. I would certainly recommend Kimberly-Clark to continue to participate in the Women in Sales Awards. This honour has given me the added boost to take on new challenges and further commit to growth within the company – I want other women to feel the same by

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being nominated! This award is about more than sales numbers, it is about growing into leadership. Thank you, Women In Sales Awards committee. They have made this experience a pleasure. They presented me the challenge to tell my personal story and articulate my accomplishments – that does not come often. I’d gladly welcome the opportunity to participate again! For companies considering nominating, please understand this is more than an award. It is your chance to convey the message that you are more invested in the golden geese than you are the eggs they produce!

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Staples Corporate Account Executive – Retail - Netsuite



hen I heard the news I was selected as a finalist, I reached out to my Executive Leadership team who nominated me for this very prestigious award to thank them. I am incredibly honoured by the time and effort by my leadership for this nomination. Second, I shared the news with my husband and 11-year-old daughter to thank them for all their support throughout the year. Being in sales, sometimes you are forced to sacrifice time with your loved ones, and they make it possible for me to be in the role I am in. It is truly incredible to be recognized as the Best Woman in Software Sales for 2016. I am honoured to

receive this award amongst the many accomplished women selected in this category and to have received the nomination directly from my company, NetSuite. It has been wonderful to receive the cheers of support among my peers at work. I have truly enjoyed being part of the Women of Sales award ceremony and having a night of celebration. Helping women within NetSuite and in sales roles is very important to me. Early this year, I was recognized as the first woman Worldwide Account Executive of the year. With this accomplishment, I had several women reach out to me for advice and support. With my win for the Best Woman In Software Sales, I will further mentor my team and other individuals within my organization.

This is my second year being nominated for The Best Woman In Software Sales Award. The process has been exciting and very professional at each step of the process. It has been a very positive experience to be honoured for this award and to reflect on my achievements of the year. I would highly recommend my company to nominate other women in NetSuite for this award. As an individual contributor in sales, it is very easy to get caught up in your daily role. Taking the time to step back and participate in this event has allowed me to review my year. My advice to any company considering submitting nominations in 2017 is to nominate your top account representatives across your teams and have the team there to cheer them on during awards night.

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Huff Principal Solutions Consultant – Adobe



was thrilled when I learned that I was a finalist for the Women in Sales Awards. It is a true honor to be nominated by my company because there are so many amazing women at Adobe with whom I have the privilege to work, collaborate, and share ideas. After learning the news, I kissed my husband of 26 years for supporting me, texted my boss to thank him for nominating me, and called my daughter and my mother. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. Over the years, I have worked tirelessly to be a successful woman in a technical career, and it has not been easy. There are so few of us in the field as it is. While I have won many awards within my company, to win across companies is a humbling accomplishment. Like Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, I have found accomplishment to mean stepping outside of my comfort zone at times.

She says, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” With this win, I would like to reach out to young women, maybe even before high school, and let them know that they can and should strive for technology fields. As a mother of two, I would like to share my experiences so that young people are aware that it is possible to work and have a family. I want them to know that women working in the technology field can succeed, and more importantly, enjoy what they do. Taking part in this journey has made me reflect on my career in sales as a whole. I had to think back to what inspired and motivated me growing up. I realize how thankful I was for the opportunities I had in my youth having been raised on a farm in East

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Texas. I developed a great work ethic being involved with organizations like FFA and 4H and understood how to be a leader at an early age. Those experiences gave me the confidence and drive to succeed in my career. I want other young ladies out there to know how to get involved, lead, and succeed. I would absolutely advise my company to continue to nominate women for this award. I am so proud that Adobe supports and acknowledges women in sales. If a company is considering nominating in 2017…please do. It doesn’t take much to nominate one of your own, but the impact to the nominee is priceless. It makes her feel appreciated and valued, and lets her know that her company notices her efforts and contributions. If she receives the award, she will be proud to promote her company, which will in turn help it to attract and retain more talented women.

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Viado eCommerce Sales Manager, Consumer & Business – Adobe

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hen I first learned that my colleagues and I were finalists, I immediately emailed my VP and my colleagues to thank and congratulate them. I was so proud of them and so thankful that our senior leaders recognized us. I never thought I would make it this far and was really humbled and honoured. The second thing I did was to stop and reflect on my journey for the past years. I realized that I have come so far and I have grown tremendously because I have been so blessed with great teams and mentors (especially at Adobe). The exercise of reflecting on my journey always keeps me grounded and it motivates me to do better each time. I was definitely overwhelmed with gratitude. It is an honour winning tonight because it's a representation of not only my hard work, but the work of the entire Adobe team. It is hard to manoeuvre through E-commerce with multiple systems and the volume of customers it interacts with. It literally takes a village to get things done. My team motivates and challenges me every day to make sure we are always doing the right thing for our customers, and that's exciting! This is a true testament to the Adobe brand. The idea that as long as we keep our customers first, we will succeed as a company and as individuals. It is my commitment to tell my peers the story of my success. The value of hard work, believing in your strengths, and not compromising your authentic self-are key to one's success

and should never be underestimated. I can't wait to share this experience with our "Voice & Influence Circle" and "Women's leadership circle" at Adobe. I am going to spread the word that each of us can make diversity and equality happen in the workplace. In addition, I want to make a commitment to honour, celebrate and recognize people who work hard. Everyone plays a role to make things happen at Adobe, and often some teams or individuals are not recognized enough but they work just as hard. Being nominated and going through the submission process has allowed me to reflect and think about the highs and lows that made me who I am today. It is a rewarding feeling to be recognized. But it is even more rewarding to remember how much I have been blessed with great people who guided and supported me along the way. The nomination process was seamless and allowed me to be creative. Thinking about the past two months brings a big smile on my face. I think other women should experience this journey, and I would absolutely recommend that Adobe participates again. It is motivating and rewarding to know that your work is recognized. If a company is considering submitting in 2017, I would say - just do it! Make a big noise about it because it is a big deal not only for the individual but for the company overall. A quote from Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in this world"‌if each of us makes a commitment to making a difference, we'll build a stronger, more diverse workplace.

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Van Vark AVP – Global Relationship Manager- Genpact

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feel truly honoured to have won the Insurance Sales award this evening. I am thankful to many mentors and managers throughout my career who have dedicated their time to guiding and supporting me to this level of success. Once I realized I was a finalist, I thanked not only my current manager and teammates who nominated me, but also thanked other pivotal mentors from my past (former managers and coaches, etc.). After posting on social media, I was overwhelmed by notes of support and encouragement from friends, coworkers, and former MBA classmates, so the excitement this award has generated is amazing. The entire awards experience has been gratifying. By writing the nomination questionnaire, I was able to purposely reflect on my achievements; this reflection helped me see how my day-to-day efforts truly led to personal and professional impact. Similarly, the interview process helped me communicate my passion for sales, my problem-solving skills, and my belief in the importance of life-long learning. Throughout the process, the Women in Sales organization supported me by sending regular communications on expectations and next steps. Celebrating with all of the nominees at the awards dinner is truly the icing on the cake of this entire experience.

I feel that winning this award comes with an added level of responsibility to ensure I am doing all that I can to support women at Genpact, in the industry, and beyond. I plan to work with Genpact’s global Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team to share my experiences with other females in the organization and to support and communicate the diversity team’s programming related to building women leaders, creating a supportive ecosystem, and attracting diverse talent to our team. I will look to mentor other females in sales, including the next participants in the Sales Development Program. Similarly, outside of Genpact, I will continue to be an advocate for women in sales in the insurance industry by attending conferences and actively participating in women’s forums. For 2017, I highly recommend that Genpact nominates additional women in sales. To me, this process has reinforced my commitment to a meaningful career in sales at Genpact; I would hope and assume it would do the same for other talented women. As women are less than 50% of the sales force, this is a great opportunity to recognize and reward the female sales rock stars in our organization. For other companies considering nominating women in 2017, my advice is, just do it!

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Ampudia Account Development Manager – Adobe

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aving been named a finalist for Best Woman Sales Newcomer, I was truly in shock I did not even know I was eligible for this type of award. This has been a year of firsts and surprises, and the recognition alongside this group of extraordinary women has definitely been a highlight. I immediately called my parents to tell them the news since they have been my biggest supporters as I navigate a new career away from Architecture, a field in which I studied and worked the past four years of college. They’ve encouraged me to follow my gut; none of us thought that would be a career in sales, but my journey with Adobe has certainly put me on an exciting path. I am thrilled and deeply honored to have been chosen as this year’s winner because it marks the beginning of the career I hope to build, and demonstrates that there are no limits to what I can achieve with hard work, introspection, and the support of my peers. This award is not only a reflection of the success I’ve achieved thus far, but the importance of diversity in our Sales Academy program at Adobe and the milestones we’ve been able reach together. I am proud to be a woman in tech. Beth Comstock of GE says, “Be where the world is going.” As someone who works it digital marketing, this quote speaks to how I build relationships with my customers

to help them be on the right side of innovation. But, it also reaches me on a personal level because I think it speaks volumes about women, women in tech, and women in business. Diversity has proven to be good business, and investing in women is a big part of that. I am proud to work alongside the women on my team. We have worked hard to create a culture of equality within the workplace and are respected as innovators. However, being a woman in sales is not without its challenges, even at a progressive company like Adobe which takes major strides to increase diversity and inclusion. This is why platforms like the Women In Sales Awards are so important; by acknowledging the achievements and the strengths of women in business, we encourage our peers to continue to speak up, approach their work with confidence, and demand recognition. Winning an award like this is uplifting and encouraging for me, and I would highly recommend my company participate again next year, so others continue to have the opportunity to experience what I have throughout this process. I am proud to be a woman in sales and I am honoured to have been named 2016’s Best Woman Sales Newcomer. I am excited to bring this award back to my team and our amazing group of managers because it is with them who I share this with tonight.

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Imm Sales Capability Team Leader - Kimberly Clark



was so excited to be nominated for the Women in Sales Award for Best Sales Mentor. After all, it’s a feather in your cap when someone recognizes you for a job well done, right? Something else to put on your LinkedIn profile and socialize to your boss. But as I began to think about it further, something nagged me in the back of my mind. Why did such an award mean so much to me? In my 20 year career at Kimberly-Clark, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in multiple roles in several different businesses in

our organization – from field sales, to finance, marketing, national accounts, business development, and sales capability. Most recently, I’ve been promoted to Director of Sales, and I’m excited to begin the next chapter of my career leading the West Region of North America. From early in my career, I’ve aspired to be the kind of woman that others look up to as a role model, both men and women, in how to be successful – but of course, in sales, results are king. Many times they are the sole focus of

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an organization. However, some of the best moments of my career, the ones that I look back on with the most pride, are not the big sales milestones or the teams that exceeded our goals (although I’ve had my fair share of those, and am certainly proud of them). The legacy of the mentor and mentee network I’ve developed over the years is one of the true accomplishments I look back on with pride. As an example, this year at our North American Sales Meeting, four of my mentees had key roles in the meeting for which they were recognized, including one who won the









Rookie of the Year award. Mentoring is truly a lifelong skill, one that never stops giving back to you, and back to your community or organization. I’m honoured to have been recognized for something that has given so much back to me as a person. When I heard I’d been nominated for the Women in Sales Awards in the Sales Mentor category, it validated my dream of success. One of the first things I did was to forward the notification email to my team leader and my mentors, thanking them for their help and guidance. Without my mentors, I would not be where I am today, nor would I have grown as a leader in order to be worthy of mentoring others. I’m humbled and honoured to even be nominated, much less chosen to win. All who undertake to mentor others deserve the highest recognition from their communities and organizations. In addition, I’m gratified that the mentoring program I created for new hires has been recognized as an enabler for our new talent and for our business. My mentoring program, SkillMasters, was created after recognizing two unmet needs in the organization. First, we recognized that our new sales onboarding program, while wellorganized and comprehensive, was not producing the business results we needed. New sales professionals were taking almost 24 months to get up to speed and producing new business at the same rate as seasoned sales professionals. In addition, we have a wealth of sales expertise in the field in our seasoned sales pros that we were not utilizing to help train our new hires, especially in the area of vertical segment expertise such as selling to healthcare facilities and commercial office buildings. These seasoned sales people at times had become stagnant in looking for in-place leadership development opportunities. Looking for solutions, I drew on my experience as a mentor and mentee

to develop the program which paired each new hire with a seasoned sales professional to pursue a specific business goal. The goals, such as selling a certain amount of healthcare new business, were designed by the pairs based on a targeted business need. Sounds like a traditional mentoring relationship, right? On the surface, yes. But in the implementation, we focused on leveraging the strengths of the mentor as well as the mentee’s business experience to take the SkillMaster pairing to the next level. Using multiple field workdays in different markets, leveraging our coaching training, and setting specific milestones and metrics for the program, we were able to accomplish specific business and new sales goals for the mentees, while at the same time proving leadership development opportunities for our seasoned sales professionals. The program has been a win-win for everyone and is now being expanded. Our industry has historically been male-dominated. Over the last 25 years I have spent in the industry, I have seen the woman field sales talent increase dramatically, and that’s been reflected in our long-term results as an organization as well. It reminds me of my first national sales and awards meeting I attended at KimberlyClark. All the sales award winners had been called on stage, and as I was sitting in the audience I counted over fifty people who’d received awards. Only three of them were women. That ratio was reflected in the overall demographics of our sales organization as well. Twenty years later, the Kimberly-Clark Professional sales organization is roughly equally divided from a gender perspective, and the awards night at the sales meeting reflects that diversity. I think that is something to be very proud of. Our leaders have made conscious efforts to choose the best candidates for our sales roles and it has resulted in our increased diversity

and better results as an organization. Where there is still huge upside for both Kimberly-Clark and for our industry is in the continued advancement of diversity in the leadership talent pipeline, and that is where my focus continues to be from a mentoring perspective. Companies who figure out how to leverage all their organizational talent to lead with excellence will have the competitive advantage in the future, and I want Kimberly-Clark to lead the way with a strong and diverse leadership team. I’ll continue to mentor our up-and-coming women leaders to take their place in the organization and accelerate results. The experience taking part in the event has been gratifying especially in seeing the quality of talent being recognized across the board. I would advise the organization to devise a process to socialize these awards early on, and to leverage our nominations for additional development opportunities within the move-up leadership ranks of our talent pool. Competition is at the heart of many sales professionals, and we should harness that competitive spirit to get the best possible talent for nomination from Kimberly-Clark for the 2017 awards. Women who would like to be nominated from Kimberly-Clark could work with their team leaders throughout the year on a development plan which would not only accelerate their potential candidacy for a nomination, but also continue to develop their leadership skills in their current roles. My advice for companies considering submitting nominations in 2017 is, be clear about your competitive advantages during the award process. What makes your candidate for the award special? I wanted to highlight the development of the SkillMasters program, in addition to the individuals that I continue to mentor, as reasons to choose me as an awardee.

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You are inspiring the next generation of women in sales. You ROCK!

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How Do You Build Strong Mentoring Relationships in Sales?


s a new generation of sales professionals begins to make its mark on the workplace, the need for effective mentoring has increased dramatically. As younger people begin to see sales as less of a career and their older counterparts come to it after shifting out of other fields, it’s a novice’s world–and getting the most out of these new professionals requires a large amount of effort up front. Many businesses have recognized this and have begun increasing spending in employee training after a temporary lull during the recession of the late 2000s. According to the 2014 Corporate Learning Handbook, spending on corporate training increased by 15% in 2013 and is trending steadily upward. Getting the most out of such training requires more than just throwing money at expensive seminars and continuing education programs. Most leading brands know this and have developed robust mentoring programs to extend the value of their training dollars even further with on-the-job clarification of lessons and comprehensive strengthening of new workers’ skills. It’s no coincidence that while on average, about half of companies overall have mentoring programs of some kind, more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies have crafted clear and compelling formal mentoring environments.









Mentoring can require significant time and effort, however, so getting the most out of the time spent on it is critical to success. Not all companies take the time to make sure their formal mentoring programs work for the benefit of all involved, either because their leaders do not see the value or because they are inexperienced and not sure where to start. We touch on some of the research in industrial-organizational psychology and educational psychology that will help your sales team increase its commitment to your company, improve its overall results, and develop organically as a part of a more complex organization.

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WHY MENTORING HELPS – BY THE NUMBERS Though mentoring is often encouraged, a really clear breakdown of what it does for a business isn’t always there. Asking many people why mentoring is a good idea earns blank looks, or the ever-vague “It makes employees do better.” Answering the fundamental question requires a better sense of what modern research says that mentoring will actually do for both the mentor and the protege. A clearer sense of what purpose mentoring is intended to serve can make it easier to communicate and measure the impact of both formal and informal workplace training, and in turn make it clearer if the resources currently invested in these activities have been appropriately recouped. MENTORING, RETENTION, AND TEAM-BUILDING Mentoring often gets couched in terms of learning, but one of the off-label benefits it brings to a team is group cohesion. Studies done in the past decade on mentoring relationships and interpersonal orientation have found that mentoring improves retention and leads to superior long-term outcomes in companies. In addition to more rigorously preparing an employee or executive for the challenges of a job, mentoring also helps individuals feel a greater sense of community and loyalty. If a company counts issues such a high employee turnover, excessive burnout, or shaky succession planning among its issues, starting a mentoring program can be a great way to get alleviate these issues and get down to improving the bottom line. Encouraging the development of an informal mentoring environment, in

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which employees can offer advice to one another without the scaffolding of a formalized program, can also pay dividends. Informal mentoring, unlike its formal cousin, has significant benefits for the emotional relationships between participants. By encouraging employees to build one another’s strengths and to cover for one another’s weaknesses as a whole, mentoring allows for tighter-knit, longer-lived teams. One model to consider here is horizontal mentoring, wherein two professionals with comparable amounts of experience (but different backgrounds and areas of expertise) are paired together. These relationships can empower the participants as well as add breadth to their bases of knowledge. Participants are likely to be at similar places within the contexts of their careers and potentially their personal lives as well, enabling them to more effectively provide lateral support and relevant advice about issues like work-life balance and acclimation than a more senior manager might be able to give. CULTURAL TOUCHSTONES Part of the reason that mentoring is so effective at encouraging retention, and one of its other benefits independent of that, is its strength in transmitting–as well as outright creating–corporate culture. Sharing stories from the company’s past, including strategic, tactical, and ethical successes in accordance with the organization’s values, mentors can prime their proteges with knowledge of exactly what success in the company entails on many different axes. These aspects of a mentor-protege relationship can be thought of as the equivalent of bedtime stories and fairy tales in a parent-child relationship. When a mentor tells a protege about the time he volunteered to take a pay cut to stay accountable for a failure, for instance, or about the tactics she

personally used when she was in a sales team before taking a management position, the mentor is really saying: “This is how we do things here. This is the shape of success in this particular organization. This is the way you can expect to be treated if you treat others the same way.” New employees often hear the words a company associates with its strategic posture and value structure and don’t really understand or care. How can they? They’re just words. Mentoring provides the opportunity to give those words weight, form, and context, and uses the human affinity for narratives to better both the protege and the mentor, and their mutual understanding of the company. MITIGATING RISK–HIRING FROM WITHIN Through mentoring, both employees and mentors gain a greater understanding of the company’s culture, which in turn makes it easier to hire from within when executive and managerial positions become available. Strong mentors bring a breadth of experience and familiarity with different aspects of the business to roles higher up in the company’s hierarchy, and proteges have access to the practical knowledge and informal understanding of their mentors–a true trickle-down effect. This constant transmission and reinforcement of company culture makes certain that those who earn higher positions are already conversant with that culture, and in turn, more likely to stay. Someone hired from outside might prove themselves to be a poor fit for the company only long after they’ve undergone training and assimilation, which is a very large waste of time and money. When an experienced mentor or a valued protege ends up in an executive position, they’re more likely to stay there.

THE BIGGEST VARIABLE–PERCEIVED ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT Why, then, do some mentoring relationships work while others fail? What are the common threads between good mentoring relationships, and how can we use those threads to be leveraged towards success? Newer research indicates that perceived organizational support (POS)–the idea that an organization cares about its employees and is invested in their health and development–plays a crucial role in the relationship between mentors and proteges. This relationship feeds on itself and, over time, can play out perpetually within an organization. As POS increases, mentoring improves, and the amount of support proteges feel increases significantly. Perceived organizational support can even make better mentors out of those who normally wouldn’t pursue such relationships. A study conducted by Changya Hu of Taiwan’s National Chengi University, titled “When mentors feel supported: Relationships with mentoring functions and proteges’s perceived organizational support”, discovered that while mentor altruism predicted involved and effective mentor-protege relationships, mentors with low natural altruism did much better as mentors when they had a heightened sense of perceived organizational support.

OPTIMIZING POS: IT’S MENTORS ALL THE WAY DOWN Building up perceived organizational support starts from a simple premise: support your employees. More than that, however, POS increases most when the support employees receive comes from on high. Assistance and support from those with higher status, whether formal or informal, tends to generate greater gains in POS. Those who enjoy the clear respect and value of their superiors are typically seen as better representatives of what the organization values, and their support tends to come with more weight in organizational perception. Appropriately, a mentoring culture has a trickle-down aspect thanks to POS. Those who receive mentoring from their superiors feel supported and enthusiastic, and in turn become more supportive when it’s their turn to do the same mentoring. Building a company culture that values professional development and personal well-being leads to stronger mentoring, and vice versa. It can even make stronger mentors of those who don’t have an ounce of “natural teaching ability” in them. Part of the reason this works is the basic human understanding of reciprocity, or the idea that people should give back in equal measure with what they receive. Those who receive assistance from the company feel more comfortable providing that assistance in turn, whether it’s through horizontal mentoring activities or more traditional mentor-protegee relationships. An organization that does right by its employees is more likely to get good results when asking them to share their knowledge with each other.

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INFORMAL AND DISCRETIONARY MENTORING: ADVANTAGES IN A POS MODEL Good mentoring isn’t always formalized and precise. Perceived organizational support increases when the proteges believe at least some of the actions are discretionary. In other words, if mentoring is strictly regimented, employees will just see it as part of going through the motions of working with a company, and the benefits of POS on them may dwindle. The benefits of existing POS for the mentors, however, will still persist, so many of the other advantages of a mentoring program should still apply. But, to get the absolute most out of mentoring, it cannot all be procedural. Those who are already in formal mentoring relationships should pursue more than the mandated minimum time spent evaluating, discussing, and otherwise working with their proteges. This type of discretionary assistance can continue to improve the perception of

support, and in turn can lead to better employee engagement and performance. ENDORSEMENT: A KEY FACTOR One of the behaviors that most rapidly increases the perception of organizational support is the endorsement of the protege to other members of the organization. Obviously this is the sort of thing that needs to be earned, but making mention of smaller accomplishments and letting the protege know it occurred can generate that perception, and in turn, the engagement that goes with it. For a protege, their mentor can become the face of the organization; they’re in a position of relative power and experience, and they’re the one who provides the most direct input from above on a regular basis. Accordingly, having that mentor willing to go to bat for the protege and talk about successes says that someone with experience, whose opinions carry weight and respect, is committed to their success.

A TWO -WAY STREET Unlike training or coaching, which tend to have relatively limited scope, mentoring lasts a long time and provides the participants with many opportunities to learn from each other. The ability of the mentor to learn from the protege serves as one of the hallmarks of good mentoring. An exceptional mentor can take something new from every interaction with a protege, and find ways to implement that new information elsewhere to add more value to the company. AN OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVE Proteges provide mentors with a perspective that isn’t rooted in years of company tradition or a particular business school’s preferred practices. When a protege asks for reasons why business is done a certain way, or why the lead pipeline is structured the way it is, that’s a teachable moment for both parties. If the mentor can’t come up with a satisfying justification once the question is posed, that might indicate that a reassessment of the company’s practices is in order. This is not to say that every challenge from a protege indicates a structural issue, but a perspective not mired in tradition can be very helpful in identifying problem points.

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lessons learned in the relationship, and a significantly poor experience can cause proteges or mentors to terminate the relationship early. The overall experience quality can further improve enthusiasm for mentoring in its on right, in addition to increasing perceived support. As a general rule, bad experiences affect the perception of a relationship much more than good ones. (This doesn’t just apply to mentor-protege dynamics, either; relationships of all kinds need as many as five good major interactions for every bad major interaction to stay stable.) Within mentoring the question is a little more complex, and some areas of the relationship suffer much more due to bad interactions than others. This is not to undermine the fact that some things can change rapidly due to good experiences. Some factors respond much more profoundly to a good mentoring experience than a bad one. At least one major factor, meanwhile, goes almost unaffected by the quality of the mentoring. THE EFFECTS OF GOOD EXPERIENCES BRIDGING THE GAP Mentors also have chances to learn when paired with representatives of different generations. A millennials who’s been with a company for a few years has a chance to learn an older way of doing business from a baby boomer switching to sales after years in another field, and a Gen X team lead can learn a lot from the digital-native perspective of a millennial fresh out of college. Building familiarity with these outside perspectives can also help the mentor when performing other management duties. The insights gained from interacting with one member of a different generation or cohort can be applied more broadly, and will make the manager more effective at maintaining motivation and getting results out of a broader swath of employees.

GOOD AND BAD EXPERIENCES: BUILDING A MENTORING CULTURE Experience shape people, and the quality of a mentoring experience affects later willingness to participate in a mentoring relationship. Beyond that, good and bad experiences affect how willing proteges and mentors are to acknowledge the

For proteges, good experiences are necessary for a perception of quality in the mentoring relationship, and indeed actually outstrip bad experiences in their importance. This leads to a heightened perception of secondary career-related benefits of mentoring, such as career growth and positive self-image. Proteges in a relationship that ends up merely “okay” will still derive the primary benefits of mentoring, but an exceptional relationship can pay significant rewards in the long term. Good experiences affect well-being for mentors more than proteges, though neither bad nor good have a drastic effect relative to one another here. A mentor whose relationship with the protege is good will be more likely to derive general emotional and psychological health from it than the protege in the same relationship, assuming all other factors are equal. THE EFFECTS OF BAD EXPERIENCES Bad experiences significantly affect the emotional well-being of proteges in a mentoring relationship, and don’t really matter for mentors. A protege is in a position of unique emotional and career vulnerability when participating in a mentoring relationship, and a bad experience can leave them feeling helpless, unappreciated, and worried about the future. As mentors hold a

significant amount of perceived sway within the organization, a protege who has a bad experience may end up feeling like their career prospects and day-today experience will both suffer. For mentors, meanwhile, bad experiences more drastically change the perception of the quality of the relationship itself. While proteges bring more emotional energy to the relationship, mentors bring more cognitive effort, time, and energy to their role. As the mentoring experience primarily serves to enhance the protege, a poor experience for a mentor can create a feeling of wasted effort. A bad mentorprotege relationship can make this expenditure of effort feel like a waste. THE UNAFFECTED FACTOR: BURNOUT While the relationship between burnout and mentoring has been examined, research shows that mentoring has no significant impact on the rate at which mentors burn out. Bad experiences contribute very slightly, but mentoring experiences rate low on the list of possible burnout explanations. Even when they contribute to a sense of wasted effort or weakened prospects, they don’t directly contribute to the deep-seated exhaustion associated with burnout. If significant numbers of mentoring personnel experience burnout, the mentoring itself isn’t likely to be the cause. Conversely, a mentoring program isn’t like to decrease the burnout for its participants, either.

CONCLUSION As more and more industry leaders make mentoring a cornerstone of their organizational strategy, a solid understanding of how people become strong mentors and the benefits of good mentoring becomes an essential piece of business strategy. Industrialorganizational psychology and educational psychology provide clear perspectives on what roles mentors play in a business. Encouraging both formal and informal mentoring helps businesses succeed. It’s not enough to hastily throw together employees and supervisors, though; almost everyone in an organization has something to offer as a mentor or a protege, and the relationships work both ways. When proteges feel as though they’ve earned a mentor’s respect and assistance beyond the minimum, they redouble their efforts in other areas as well, bringing a new zest for the job to all areas of their work

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How to Maximize Your Full Sales Potential





e all know the sales industry is a male-dominated field and like most other industries, it is extremely competitive. The good news for women is times are changing. According to a LinkedIn study, in the last 10 years, the percentage of women in sales has increased from 36 to 39 percent. The best way to see these numbers increase is by continuing to educate ourselves, practice and master polished sales methods to reach our full potential.

Executive Coach and Sales Mentor www.stephaniechung.com

The main goal shouldn’t necessarily be how one can reach their full sales potential but how to reach it and stay there. It is the hardest part as many salespeople (both novice and expert) struggle to keep a high sales record consistently. It takes commitment to reach this point in your sales career. You must be passionate about learning new trends and techniques and applying them to your sales plans. As a sales mentor, I’ve seen how frustrated clients get when they know they’re capable of closing one deal after another but don’t know exactly how to reach and maintain an impressive success rate. This can even apply to people who have educated themselves on the latest, greatest sales tactics. Can you identify with these salespeople? If so, there are four key steps you must exercise to take on the challenge of maximizing your full sales potential. Review the tips below and put each strategy into practice on a daily basis. By doing so, you will certainly become the expert sales closer you’ve always wanted to be.

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CREATE A FLAWLESS GAME PLAN To create a solid game plan, you must do more than just practice. Like the Olympics, athletes need to train until they feel ready to compete with the very best, they must practice to be as flawless as possible.

GET OUT OF THE SALES SLUMP Would you label your current situation as a sales slump? When business is slow, people tend to have more time to ponder on reasons they feel are causing the sales rut. Telling yourself “no one is buying,” “the market is slow,” or “our price is too high” is not going to get you anywhere. If any of these phrases sound familiar to you, now is the time to change your situation. To get out of the sales slump, you must first take your self-talk to a more optimistic level. Don’t make excuses about your low sales, take your focus off of how you got there and move it to how you can get out of it. Trust your training, perform the practiced skills you have acquired over the years and continue that pace until you reach a breakthrough. Remember: one good, qualified prospect or phone call can change your momentum. By being persistent with your skills and sharing your extensive knowledge about your product, you can always remain a successful salesperson.

ACCEPT YOUR MISTAKES Nobody is perfect, we all have bad days. And, as a result, mistakes and failures may reflect in our work. As salespeople, our charisma and likeability is important, therefore being composed even during the most difficult times, is critical. If you’re in a rut, it’s completely okay to step back and disengage for a day. Be sure to redirect your mind to something that will allow you to de-stress and re-energize. Whether it’s just one bad day or a bad week, it’s not the end of the world. One mistake can create more errors if you don’t pay close attention to your performance. It’s important to accept your mistakes, learn from them and move on. Be sure to simply breathe, recharge your batteries, give yourself a pep talk and when ready, get yourself back in the game.

Similarly, the perfect sales game plan must consist of successful selling strategies, practiced techniques and a vast amount of knowledge about the product. The only way to make a plan truly “flawless” is to work on it until it is good enough to present as a top tier sales professional. If you see any mistakes or weaknesses either in your sales routine or game plan, make the changes necessary to get them top notch. By developing an impeccable game plan, you will demonstrate your knowledge, your credibility and your potential as a reliable salesperson.

CREATE VELOCITY It’s a wonderful feeling when you close a deal, but don’t make the mistake of closing one deal and then moving on the next. This is too slow of a pace for optimum results. As stated earlier, one great prospect or sales call can provide motivation and greater momentum. Take advantage of this fast pace and reach your full sales potential by closing several deals at a time. This method gives you a more impressive sales record and motivates you to work better than ever. If you’re in a sales slump, this strategy can help you get out of it fast and keep you busy working with multiple clients and making more money.

By being optimistic, persistent and taking the time to practice more flawless plans, you can confidently reach your full sales potential. The trick is to work on your obstacles as quickly as possible and using these four tips to close every deal effectively and impressively. With the experience of applying these strategies and the new tactics you’ll pick up over time, you can be a master sales closer as well as the go-to person in your company for trainings and expertise. You can also help pave the way for more women to succeed in the sales industry

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If you want to get inspired, speak with women running B2B sales teams and sales organizations around North America. The women sales leaders I’ve met over the past year range from senior SVPs to CEOs to front line, first time Millennial managers. Through organizing seven Women in Sales panels for Salesforce.com and for the AA-ISP recently, I’ve learned some great things to share.

5 THINGS About Women Sales Leaders


WILLING TO SHARE With that said, all have expressed willingness to share their top lessons learned – no matter how senior they are now. These generous and collaborative women represent a collection of knowledge and insight unmatched for success in growing revenues.


CONFIDENCE OR BRAVERY? Many times women are saying they DO have confidence but lack the technical skills of knowing exactly what to say or do to advance. There has been a lot of discussion around working to be more brave and risk failure – a different issue than confidence. In my own onboarding experiences with hundreds of new reps I found that young men and women both shared some confidence issues but women tended to talk about it more. The guys “faked it till they made it.” I’m not suggesting being an impostor, but in the words of social psychologist Amy Cuddy, “fake it until you become it.” Show others around you that you’ve “got this” and they will be more supportive of you. Two helpful TED talks to watch to further assist you in this are Amy Cuddy’s “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” and Reshma Saujani’s “Teach Girls Bravery Not Perfection”. Reshma is founder of “Girls Who Code”.

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ACTION THEY ENCOURAGE Make five “stretch asks” this month. A stretch ask is something you want but have been reluctant to ask for due to any number of reasons. Ask. Get prepared to hear “no’s” and know that one of these could get a “yes”. How would that change your month, your year, or your life? Because of this great idea, on one of our panels we came up with the hashtag #justask. Share on Twitter or Instagram when YOU succeed with one of your asks. Be prepared and build your personal brand. Network with peers outside of your company. Negotiate better. Let us know how it goes at @womensalespros R




RISK TAKERS Unlike that statistic* about how women only apply for a job if they feel they meet 100% of the qualifications, women leaders step outside of their comfort zone and advance. Many have told me they just stepped forward without thinking much about it. They have a hard time relating to women in our audiences who ask how to advance when they don’t feel fully capable. It’s fascinating

because we also have found no common denominator as to who climbs fearlessly and who stays put.



EXPERTISE FIRST The leaders I have met all want to be known as leaders who happen to be women. This matches up with the women sales experts in my circle who want to be known for their expertise first and foremost. Gender seems secondary.

Sales & Accelerator Strategist; Sales Leadership; Women in Sales expert












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As the children of the baby boom begin to age out of the workplace (to be replaced by their children, the millennials), a major shift in values and skills between these two generations has become apparent. Millennials, born typically between the early 1980s and the start of 2000, have different long-term interests and employment desires than their predecessors. Many small-scale studies and surveys have been conducted that attempt to understand the major components of millennial motivations, and generally these people have a unique set of priorities and expectations for their managers and more experienced coworkers, making the managing of a mixed-generation team a nuanced task.


illenials have specifically proven difficult to attract to the sales industry, causing companies to miss hiring goals which leads to a chain reaction of lowered sales predictions and shifts in strategic goal setting that can sometimes be counterproductive to business. A business should be cognizant of the factors that influence the long-term motivations of its prospective employees, since falling behind the crest can lead to perpetual churn and doomed profits. What is it that makes millenials so much different from their older counterparts? Are there ways that businesses can reach out to younger people more effectively, and if so, where does one even start?

MILLENNIALS AND SALES CULTURE: NOT SO COMPETITIVE Millennial applicants generally don’t bite on the same bait when it comes to hiring. A lot of the key words that once attracted people to sales jobs, such as highly variable compensation based on commission and a competitive work environment, now mostly drive away new applicants of a younger mindset. The old “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps” adage that drives other generations has been replaced with a different urge: the urge to help other people solve problems as a group. Unlike previous generations, millennials seek cooperation rather than competition. This is not to say that there aren’t competitive millennials or cooperative baby boomers, but as a group, millennials tend to value the ability to confer with one another on major issues and collaborate towards creating something new. Sales, to them, can appear to be a field that relies on competition at every level, both between sales representatives and their coworkers and between sales representatives and customers. For some younger professionals this model is untenable. Millennials want to work together rather than proving the quality of their approach to draw personal recognition. THIRD PLACE GETS FIRED – SALES IS SCARY! Some of the stereotypes surrounding sales don’t do much to attract millennial workers to the profession either. Ideas from literature like Glengarry Glen Ross, a play that depicts sales as a vicious, ruthless, and predatory business that takes advantage of people’s good nature and that forces professionals into an eat or be eaten situation, are still a wide part of the public conscious, perpetuated by ubiquitous shows and movies that have similar portrayals. Depictions like these can sustain a picture of sales that simply doesn’t mesh with the values of millennials. These workers value stability and safety over the variable pay and perceived risk that comes with working in sales. Job security is a huge priority, and millennials value it more than most other metrics according to a 2013 Pew Research study. Job security was second only to having a job that they enjoy, and with good reason: millennials

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face significantly higher educational debt than many previous generations. Stable employment with consistent pay suits their needs, and the lack of a safety net they perceive in jobs that run significantly off commissions can make those jobs seem scary. Further, sales typically has high turnover, and that lack of a stable environment can make it difficult for millennials to get settled into the routine of performing sales duties. Even in fields with high job satisfaction, a high turnover rate and lack of continuity in the overall job environment can be discouraging and unfavorable. When opportunities for cooperation are relatively low and the ability to build lasting relationships with coworkers is diminished, millennials will ultimately stray away. STRESS AND PRESSURE: A GENERATION ALREADY OVERWHELMED The other component of the millennial situation that tends to lead them away from sales is their stress. According to an American Psychological Association study, millennials face higher stress than many other generations. Coupled with a perception of sales as a disproportionately high-press, catch-as-catch-can kind of environment, millennials who value balance will be asking themselves why bother to choose being even more stressed out than they already are? According to the study, the average stress level of millennials was a 5.5 compared to a 5.4 for members of Generation X, 4.5 for baby boomers, and less than four for the mature generation. There were several specific stress behaviors they also led the pack in, including stress increases in the previous year, levels of loneliness due to stress, and meal-skipping because of stress. While younger people are generally more susceptible to stress than their elders, their stress is higher than previous generations at the same stage of life as well. When coupled with a lack of interest in competition, sales becomes an even less attractive field–millennials ultimately find themselves doing something they associate with behaviors they don’t like, in an environment that they are likely to find isolating due to perceived competition, when they’re already somewhat stressed or unhappy to begin with. In order to get millennials into sales, sales-driven organizations need to start by selling them on the job itself.

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what’s coming up next and why. They like to know how they fit into the lives of others, and into the picture of something bigger than themselves.

MILLENNIALS, TEAM STRUCTURE, AND LEADERSHIP These generational differences lead to differences in the management styles millennials respond best to, and sales team leaders should be aware of the ways in which they can more effectively lead this cohort towards success and long-term sustainability. The structure they’ve had in their lives and the shift in their childhood activities from those of previous generations has a significant impact on the way they approach work and life as a whole, and has rendered previous thoughts on best management practices obsolete in some respects. Those who want to manage millennials in sales teams need to be keenly aware of the ways in which their motivations differ from those of other generations. In a field with high turnover and low acceptance among these professionals, keeping them motivated is essential. Providing a platform for their distinctive skills will help them stay engaged and become better producers. MILLENNIALS SEARCH FOR MEANING Millennials crave purpose and are eager to see how they fit into the world and their organizations as a whole. “Need to know” information and opaque processes don’t fit into such a worldview. As a generation that has had constant access to information from an early age thanks to the Internet, millennials love to know

While the responsibilities inherent in sales can add pressure to a generation that doesn’t necessarily thrive on adversity, managers can re-frame these responsibilities as something much more positive. Businesses that make a positive impact in people’s lives in a visible way, such as pharmaceutical sales and those with strong public images, will have the easiest time with this, but selling millennials on sales will always start here. Show them how the sales team affects others positively both inside and outside the organization; their enthusiasm will magnify significantly. Sell them on sales by selling them on the good that moves behind each successful step.

JUST LIKE SOCCER PRACTICE: TEAM PLAY As a generation driven to team sports and quiz bowl, a generation pushed towards “service learning” opportunities, and a generation that spent tremendous amounts of time engaged in activities beyond themselves, millennials excel as team players. Millennial salespeople aren’t often going to be dynamos who can take a potential customer from lead to closed sale, but they also don’t necessarily have to be, either. One lesson they’ve learned time and time again is that they can rely on each other and play to their unique strengths. For sales managers this cooperative nature can be a boon. Consider staggering responsibilities based on a given sales representative’s strengths. Those who have a keen sense of what the company’s products actually do can handle demonstrations and product Q&A. Those who make natural salespeople can focus on up-selling and cross-selling customers once they have

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a foot in the door. By distributing the load across consistent performers rather than creating a common hat for all to wear, companies can use this natural proclivity for teamwork to enhance user experiences. This does require some technological support, however. One big disadvantage of this approach is the lack of continuity between customers and sales representatives, so companies planning to implement such an approach should have a robust CRM strategy developed to make efficient use of data. Wellkept archival information on specific clients, including their interests, buying histories, and personal or business needs, can make it much easier for larger teams to provide a personal and enjoyable experience, even though the interactions are spread among many representatives. Another thing to consider when implementing such a team model is continuity of the teams themselves. Employees need to get to know each other and understand what they’re all working towards if this sort of model is to work. It’s much like team sports: teams grow together and learn how to work best alongside an unchanging group of relationships. While teams require effort to cultivate, groups of millennials specifically can become even more productive over time given the right motivations and support. A CULTURE OF RESPECT The final thing that distinguishes millennial workers from their predecessors, in terms of work environment, is an expectation of mutual respect. They are unwilling to bear up under unfavorable workplace conditions, hostility, or a sense that their personal lives don’t matter; they’ll give exactly as much respect as they’re given. They won’t openly disrespect someone from neutral, but if they feel as though they aren’t valued, they’ll return that feeling in kind. A top-down management style won’t catch their attention for very long, and may even turn them off to working with a manager altogether. What millennials crave is real leadership. They want to work with people who won’t ask anything of them that they’re not willing to shoulder themselves as well.

QUICK, EASY, AND STREAMLINED: MILLENNIALS AND TECHNOLOGY As digital natives and the first generation to face a childhood full of communications technology, millennials have a facility for technology unlike many generations prior. They gravitate toward technology use in professional contexts more rapidly than other generations, and find working under low-technology conditions to be difficult. As sales moves to catch up with the digital age, these young people are well-suited to take advantage of technological advances. They don’t have as much patience for certain issues with technology as their predecessors did, so a solid design is even more important for them than others. INTEGRATION: EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED As a group, millennials do their best to finish things quickly and efficiently. Reduplication of effort is almost unforgivable to them, and they do their best to find solutions they can implement on their own. Accordingly, convenience has proven essential in software if there’s any hope of getting a millennial to use it. Clunky software will see lower adoption rates and worse results, and a piece of software that ends up not adopted by the majority of a sales team is ultimately a poor investment. Consider using CRM solutions that integrate easily with other software and tasks, such as social posting tools, marketing automation, and email. If millennial workers see the efficiency inherent in a system, they’ll be more likely to put it into active use. Software

has to do something for them now, or have a clear benefit for later, rather than merely promise potential better outcomes if they use it. Similarly, it has to be something that can be easily and naturally built into the flow of a sales professional, rather than something that itself adds more steps. This integration should also use as much of the familiar interface as possible. Part of the urge to do things quickly is finding shortcuts, and for digital natives like millennials these are second nature. Being able to work quickly in a familiar setting helps them get down to the business of selling much faster while still maintaining enthusiasm for the overall pursuit. MOBILITY: SELLING ON THE GO Millennials often have difficulty convincing themselves to sit down at a desk and get work done. They want to be on the move as they do work, and have adopted the smartphone, tablet, and laptop as their tools of choice. These tools offer streamlined interfaces and portability, making them a natural fit for their approach. Mobile phone and tablet applications assist this generation with everything from scheduling meetings to picking out lunch. Good business software for millennials has mobile support. Not only does this offer easy access for those who travel to do project demonstrations or close deals, but it also allows an anxious millennial salesperson to get reacquainted with their sales pipeline while lying awake in bed, or while commuting. Instead of doing nothing with the nervous energy they may have while already contending with the effects of stress, they can channel that energy into something practical that they can readily access. The ubiquity and familiarity of mobile

access can make communicating with millennials easier, too, provided that the communication takes a form they can use easily. More than half of millennials use a laptop or a handheld device to connect to the Internet wirelessly when not at work, according to a study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Consider integrating portions of your sales flow with text messaging, instant messaging, or email functionality, as this generation can be counted on to have ready access to at least one of these through a phone or tablet. The boundary between work and life doesn’t register for millennials in quite the same way it does for other generations. While they do value having both work and a personal life, they don’t segregate them as cleanly. While this sometimes means they like to browse the web during work, it just as often means they’ll check up on work while at home. Taking advantage of this inclination can lead to a more efficient, more engaged workforce.

THE NEW LARGEST WORKFORCE DEMOGRAPHIC Millennials now make up the biggest slice of the American workforce, according to the Pew Research Center, and businesses that can’t take advantage of their strengths have a rough road ahead of them. Regardless of where a business’s management team stands on the generation’s status as insightful entrepreneurs, self-absorbed Internet junkies, or just the next generation of workers, learning how to leverage the strengths they bring to a business team toward sales success is now essential. Not everybody within the 1981 to 1997 birth group identifies as a millennial, and everyone is different. But on the whole, individuals born in this time period have changed significantly in how they work with the advent of the Internet and mobile technology, and these differences should be recognized and highlighted in the workplace to create a lasting, sustainable workforce built for the future

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10 Great Apps to Gamify Your Sales Question: What’s better than being a good salesperson? Answer: Being a good salesperson and liking it.


he sales profession has one of the highest burnout rates of any industry in the nation. No matter who you are and what you sell, potential sales apathy can be a killer for your business. That’s one of the reasons why companies like Paypal and Black & Decker have invested in the trend of sales gamification. Basically, these and thousands of other companies have turned their sales process into what it truly is at its core – a game. DOES GAMIFICATION WORK?










According to a research report by the Tas Group, most sales professionals are not motivated by financial gain alone. In fact, 40% state that their primary reason for being in sales is to “make progress or win.” Intrinsically, sales managers have known this for a long time, setting up sales contests and awards for those who can “win” the quarter or year of sales.

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Yet, gamification is not just the next level of sales contest. It is a way for sales managers and CEOs to train their teams and “nudge” them to learn skills and exhibit behaviors that they may not currently have. In an article from Gartner researcher Brian Burke, he says: “Gamification can be used to nudge salespeople to enter client information, assess the quality of sales leads, and follow-up after sales meetings. Following these steps leads to a more effective sales process, benefiting both the salesperson and the company.” You don’t make your sales team more effective by just adding a virtual leaderboard or a few online award icons. True gamification works by setting up your team to become more involved in the sales process and to increase its collective skill through specially designed games. Then, you can use the data from those experiences to track how the new skills improve the team’s effectiveness. This makes your team feel good about its growth, and generally, you see better sales.

FANTASY SALES TEAM This app takes the idea of Fantasy Football and applies it to sales so that your team can be more motivated to take actions that will lead to sales success. It is an SaaS program, so it integrates with almost any CRM, including Prophet. One great feature is that you can create specific sales metrics, quotas, and prizes for each player on your team.

GAMEFFECTIVE This app was designed to improve your sales team’s behaviors when it comes to sales process, operations, and customer service. It is completely customizable, so it works just as well with small businesses as it does with large ones. You can also choose your own game theme, custom activities, and metrics.

BADGEVILLE Badgeville is all about making your CRM more effective and minimizing the loss that comes with poor CRM adoption. Your sales team gets points for inputting customer information, following up with tasks, and other “missions” you designate. All games are in real-time, so rewards are instant. This is an Enterprise-level application.

Q-STREAM Based on brain research, this application sends sets of questions to your team quizzing them about common customer concerns, product information, and other sales topics. You can use one of the hundreds of ready-made courses or create your own. It also offers “lightning rounds” for fast play, leaderboards, and individual and group reporting.

XACTLY EXPRESS Players can earn badges and receive social notifications each time they accomplish one of the pre-set or individually-created goals on their list. This app also includes a commission spreadsheet so reps can instantly see their financial gains in relation to their sales activities. This product integrates with most CRM applications.

MONITAE If worldwide sales goals are on your docket, then Monitae’s sleek look and language enablement is the right choice. It is available in English, Portuguese, Spanish, German, and French. Its main goal is CRM adoption and best practices, and integrates with a variety of CRM and ERP platforms.

MYSALESGAME In the MySalesGame system, users learn the skills and perform activities that will lead to business success. Along the way, they complete missions and earn badges and points that can be redeemed for real-life prizes designated by management. This app also integrates the MySalesSherpa digital selling adviser to give reps tips on how to be more successful.

APPAROUND CPQ Connect your digital catalog, contract generation, and a guided selling solution with gamification and you get this handy little app. You can set up missions like Bundling, Survey Completion, or Upselling so that your reps can earn points and rewards. Reps can also “level up” after hitting enough smaller goals. Totally mobile and supported by all SaaS platforms.

PAKRA SIMULATION GAMES These web-based games are designed to improve your sales teams’ customer service, problem-solving abilities, and selling skills. Choose from simulations that teach tech support, outgoing call etiquette, overcoming customer concerns, and much more. This is a widely used app and has past clients like NBC, JP Morgan Chase, and Pitney Bowes.

MINDTICKLE When it comes to gamifying sales force training, MindTickle is among the best at making the experience fun and seamless. You can use it for sales onboarding, assessing sales readiness, measuring activity, and pitch testing. And, since it’s mobile-integrated, you and your team get real-time success stories and insights.

GET YOUR GAME ON No one wants a burned out, ex-awesome sales pro. In order to keep your team happy and engaged, gamification is a great solution that leads to proven results. You’ll be shocked by just how much your sales can improve with a couple of digital badges and a fantasy leaderboard. And, your employees will be more motivated to achieve in the ultimate game of sales success.

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How Imposter Syndrome is Undermining Your Sales Imagine you’re heading into an important meeting with a potential client. You have the information they need, the sales skill to close the deal, and a product that will help them. Suddenly, your inner monologue turns skeptic: “Who are you to help this person? You’ve only been doing this for a little while. This is a huge responsibility and you’re not even really trained for it. You’re just pretending to be a good sales person. You’re an imposter.”

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Syndrome often work harder to “prove themselves worthy” of their elevated positions, men tend to avoided situations where their perceived weaknesses can be noticed.


The problem with Imposter Syndrome is that is makes capable people feel that they are unable to meet the demands placed on them. And, when people believe that they are not capable of making sales, giving presentations, or having positive customer relationships, they often can’t.

mposter Syndrome isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that can have hugely negative effects on your ability to close sales and deal with customers. This pervasive disorder may lead you to undervalue your skills and abilities, making it almost impossible to build the confidence of your potential buyers or sales staff. In short, imposter syndrome can make you feel like a failure, which can make others believe that it’s true.

The term was first coined by a group of researchers in 1979, who published their findings in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice. The study found that very successful women tended to perceive themselves as “imposters” – attributing their success to fate, accident, or external overestimation of their skills. Over the past 35 years, however, research has expanded to show that Imposter Syndrome is not just a female ailment. In a recent study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers found that women and men both suffer from this problem, although they deal with it in different ways. While women who deal with Imposter


CONSIDER THESE POTENTIAL SITUATIONS: John feels uncomfortable about coldcalling. He feels like a fake every time he tries to build rapport with a potential client over the phone. His nervousness comes off as brusk, hurried, and uninterested to those he talks with. As a result, his sales performance is suffering. Tiffany is the VP of marketing at a small firm. She has worked very hard to prove herself in her workplace, often commenting that “there must have been

a mistake when they were reviewing applicants.” When others question her decisions, she becomes aggressive and immovable – one of the many ways she tries to hide her insecurity about her decision-making process. This has led to several ironclad productivity policies that are driving many customers to her competitors. Jorge has recently been promoted as a sales manager. Although he has won several awards for his customer service skills, he avoids giving a presentation about customer service improvement for fear that his weaknesses will be “found out.” So far, no one has benefited from his knowledge but himself. Although these are just examples, you may recognize the behaviors as being very true-to-life. And, in each case, the customer relationships are the ones that will be harmed the most. John’s potential customers will leave feeling that his company is uninterested in their business. Tiffany’s customers are leaving due to the inflexible, productivitydriven policies she’s put in place. Jorge’s customers don’t even know what they’re missing, although his administrators will eventually question the lack of sales gains from his team.



Fortunately, there are ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome and regain the footing you may have lost with your customers and sales staff. By thinking positively and actively managing your fears, you can virtually eliminate the Imposter Syndrome from your work area.

Any business whose leaders, sales staff, or customer service providers suffer from Imposter Syndrome is in danger of long-term negative repercussions. That’s why it’s vital for leaders to encourage team members to see and value their own accomplishments, in addition to providing external rewards for their skills

Dr. Denise Cummins, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), shared some tips for overcoming Imposter Syndrome in a recent Psychology Today article. She suggests three main ways to deal with the internal pressure this affliction causes. OWN YOUR SUCCESSES There is a real reason that you’ve gotten to where you are. You need to acknowledge those abilities and skills on a regular basis. Consider writing and framing a list of your accomplishments, talents, and positive traits. Then, place it somewhere you will see it regularly. OWN YOUR THOUGHTS Most people who are debilitated by Imposter Syndrome don’t take responsibility for the power they have over their own mind. Recognize that the way you think about yourself can positively or negatively affect the way others perceive you. As such, it is acceptable (and necessary) to see the best in yourself and eliminate negative self-talk whenever you recognize that you’re doing it.








Without the development of fear as a part of the human psyche, Neanderthals would never have lived long enough to invent fire. Fear is an important part of your life, and triggers naturally when you are stressed or under pressure. Recognize that all successful people are dealing with the same feelings you are. It’s a natural and normal part of being successful. As long as you don’t give them undue attention and credence, they will pass and you will be a more confident leader.




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Salespeople: Are You Wasting Your Time Acquiring Customers?

It's the classic sales dilemma: How much time should you spend acquiring new customers vs. retaining existing customers?


, MASc



A new study by Professor Carter and colleagues found some surprising results: On average, salespeople in their sample spent 9% too much time on acquiring new customers, which represents a loss of nearly 11% in annual sales per salesperson. Here's what the research tells us how to optimize your time spent acquiring vs. retaining customers.

Head Data Scientist, Ideal

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THE STRATEGIES USED TO DETERMINE TIME SPENT ON CUSTOMER ACQUISITION In general, companies use three types of strategies when determining how much time their sales teams spend on customer acquisition activities: •

Firm-level customer acquisition allocation: a uniform customer acquisition allocation across all salespeople in the firm.

Supervisor-level customer acquisition allocation: a uniform customer acquisition allocation for salespeople set by their supervisor.

Salesperson-level customer acquisition allocation: an individual customer acquisition allocation based on each salesperson’s optimal performance.

Looking at data from 227 salespeople, 106 of their supervisors, and their prospect/ customer databases, the researchers examined the relationship between the time spent on customer acquisition and sales performance.


If each supervisor sets their sales team acquisition allocation to the supervisor's specific optimal level, the average salesperson’s annual sales would increase by $409K (an 18.2% increase).


+ $541K











If customer acquisition allocation was set on the firm-level optimal level of 45%, the average salesperson’s annual sales would increase by $239K (a 10.6% increase).


+ $409K









+ $239K











The results found that on average, salespeople spent 54% of their time on customer acquisition activities. In this sample, 67% of the salespeople are misallocating their time and hurting their sales, with 49% over-allocating their time and 18% underallocating their time to customer acquisition.

If each salesperson set their acquisition allocation to reflect his or her own optimal level, the average salesperson’s annual sales would increase by $541K (a 24% increase).






Base case: existing acquisition allocation


Average: 54% Range: 4-87%

Firm sets a uniform acquisition allocation for salespeople

Firm Level

Suprvisors a acquisition allocation for all of their salespeople

Salespeople have unique acquisition allocations






All salespeople 45.2%




Supervisor Level

Average: 45.1% Range: 25-75%




Salespeople Level

Average: 45.4% Range: 25-75%




Note: We restricted optimal acquisition allocations to the range of 25-75% because more than 90% of the sample data occured within the range.

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THE FACTORS THAT INCREASE CUSTOMER ACQUISITION SUCCESS Carter and colleagues looked at factors believed to increase customer acquisition success including: •

Experience: years in the current position

Product Knowledge Breadth: understanding of the company's products and matching solutions

Job Commitment: likelihood of leaving the company within the next five years

Prospect Quantity: total number of prospects in their funnel

Prospect Quality: proportion of prospects from cold calls



EXPERIENCE Surprisingly, salespeople experience did not affect the relationship between acquisition time spent and sales performance.

Salespeople’s optimal acquisition time allocation increases as their product knowledge breadth increases. For salespeople lower in knowledge breadth, their optimal acquisition allocation is 35% of their time. For salespeople higher in knowledge breadth, their optimal acquisition allocation is 48% of their time. This means for salespeople lower in product knowledge, the majority of their time is spent more effectively working on retaining existing customers, whereas for salespeople higher in knowledge breadth, their performance is maximized when they split their time evenly between acquiring and retaining customers.

JOB COMMITMENT Salespeople’s optimal acquisition time allocation increases as their job commitment increases. For salespeople lower in job commitment, their optimal acquisition allocation is 38% of their time. For salespeople higher in job commitment, their optimal acquisition allocation is 48% of their time.

Somewhat counterintuitively, salespeople’s optimal acquisition time allocation increases as prospect quantity increases. For salespeople with fewer prospects in their funnel, their optimal acquisition allocation is 35% of their time. For salespeople with a greater number of prospects in their funnel, their optimal acquisition allocation is 49% of their time.

PROSPECT QUALITY Salespeople’s optimal acquisition time allocation increases as prospect quality increases. For salespeople with prospects of lower quality, their optimal acquisition allocation is 38% of their time. For salespeople with prospects of higher quality, their optimal acquisition allocation is 46% of their time.

THE TAKEAWAYS The data suggests that on average, salespeople are spending too much time trying to acquire new customers instead of retaining existing customers, and losing out on nearly 11% of annual sales revenue as a result. Contrary to popular advice, the data show that implementing firm-wide customer acquisition targets is the least effective method of maximizing sales revenue. Instead, setting customer acquisition targets customized to each salesperson would lead to approximately twice the sales gain compared to setting firm-level targets. Figuring out a salesperson's optimal acquisition–retention trade-off should be based on his or her product knowledge breadth, level of job commitment, and the quantity and quality of prospects. If you're not doing this, you're probably wasting time on sales activities with diminishing returns and losing out on a lot of money

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Invested Leadership is The New Sales Incentive


ecently I was running a business development workshop with a group of younger, “up and coming” CPAs. It was our first session together and the agenda was focused on identifying any underlying challenges that might derail growth efforts. About mid- way through the session, one of the participants raised his hand and said that he was confused. He said, “I thought that this session was about business development. I expected that we would discuss networking. I don’t understand why we are talking about internal management issues.” My response to him was that our discussion was centered around smarter business development and that he and his colleagues could never reasonably be expected to go out and solicit new business if they had underlying concerns about the direction of the firm. These “cracks in the foundation” polluted the

internal culture and undermined any and every effort that the group might make towards developing a sustainable client base. The fact is, a firm’s culture is the cornerstone of any successful business development plan. Why? Because a great place to work creates happy employees who are excited about their workplace and are eager to spread a good word about where they spend their days. A healthy corporate culture gives employees a feeling of ownership and pride. It can provide a sense of belonging and foster a need to bring others “into the good”. In today’s world of oversharing on social media and smartphones, younger generations are chock full of folks who are eager to advocate for something bigger than them. This certainly has an application in promoting the latest shoes, restaurants or social causes, but it also presents a fertile, yet untapped opportunity to campaign for an employer.

Be sure to personally connect with each team member in order to identify goals and create a plan to achieve them.

This concept applies to any kind of firm and sadly, usually goes unrealized. Even some of the “cooler” companies in the tech space struggle with this idea. Just because a breakroom with beer kegs and ping pong is offered to its team, without the skilled direction of intuitive and altruistic leaders, a game of beer pong is not enough to elicit authentic free PR from an associate. I run into so many firms that still subscribe to the idea that assigning business development goals and a few marketing dollars to their people is enough to motivate and incentivize them to grow the company. They miss the fact that before these folks can go out and bring in new clients the leadership needs to create loyal internal fans. These “corporate groupies” must be in place before they can be expected to enthusiastically support growing the bank account that sources their paycheck



The thing is, the person promoting (on social media, at an event or networking with peers) must totally believe in what their employer is doing and be genuinely excited about it. If they feel as though they are just collecting a paycheck or that their manager is not invested in their development, they will remain mute, wasting an invaluable resource of the company.

EDUCATION: Do your people understand what the firm really does and how they can have an impact?






Founder and Chief Rainmaker wendy@strategyhorse.com @strategyhorse


This is about giving employees enough rope to hang themselves and then trusting that they won’t because of all of the skills you helped them to develop. Imagine what it would be like to have your most promising employee post an exuberant (but discreet) tweet about how they provided a client with a creative solution? This is an example of a hugely impactful marketing/sales strategy.

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How to Master The Art of Social Selling





Sales are like great employees: every business can use more of them.

Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor


nfortunately, though, I'm a pretty poor salesman. (Okay, really poor.) That's why, when I write about sales strategies and techniques, I turn to experts for information and input. Like Mike Derezin, Vice President of LinkedIn Sales Solutions. Recently we talked about Social Selling, the process of building stronger relationships with potential customers based on truly understanding their needs and problems - in short, better knowing the people you hope to do business with. Every salesperson dreams about living in a world without cold calls and enjoying a network built solely on referrals.

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Those dreams are actually closer to reality than you might think. And that's a good thing, because cold selling lacks personalization and relevance--the fundamental tactics that establish good business relationships and lead to more sales. In today's B2B business environment, savvy salespeople use cold calls as a last resort. Instead they use social networking to strategically ask for personal introductions and network with prospects and customers--otherwise known as Social Selling. By building a strong personal brand and leveraging existing networks, anyone regardless of industry - can master the art of Social Selling to drive referrals.



While this might seem obvious, a strong network built on real world connections will allow people to vouch for you. It will also strengthen your referral universe by opening up the possibility to form relationships with people that your connections know.

Have you ever made a cold call only to later find out that your co-worker knows your prospect? The power of social networks minimizes the chances of this happening because it provides a quick and easy view into your network.

At LinkedIn our research shows that buyers are five times more likely to engage if the contact is made through a mutual connection, so be sure your offline contacts are reflected in your online world.

In the world of social networking and big data, having intel on the people you want to engage, and a path to connecting with them, has never been easier. According to LinkedIn research, 88% of buyers will engage in discussion if introduced through someone in their existing network.

According to LinkedIn research,


of buyers

will engage in discussion if introduced through someone in their existing network.

Remember, no one likes a canned approach. Be thoughtful enough to customize your message. It will go a long way in making a good first impression.

5. BE VOCAL Beyond completing your profile, liking and sharing content can increase the likelihood that your network will engage with the information, and pave the way for new referrals. We know that 92% of B2B buyers will listen to sellers who are known as industry thought leaders. Consider sharing articles or blogging on relevant industry topics to establish a regular cadence of content. Have a point of view and take risks in your answers.

3. FIND CONNECTIONS BASED ON SHARED INTERESTS Online alumni networks and professional networking groups are just a few places to connect through shared interests. Think of these as your "digital water cooler "--a place to engage in conversation with information that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Engaging with prospects through common interests will give you more visibility, making it more acceptable to proactively ask for a referral rather than reaching out cold.

4. BUILD YOUR PROFESSIONAL BRAND BEYOND JUST A RESUME Think beyond the resume and approach your online presence as a key marketing tool. 50% of B2B buyers say they won't work with sales professionals with incomplete social profiles, so make sure you put your best foot forward by tailoring the content to reflect your expertise and personal brand. Experiment with videos, slideshows and images by embedding them into your profile. The saying "a picture is worth a 1000 words" has never been more true than on social media.

It's okay to share information about your company's products and services, but only occasionally, and as appropriate. This will distinguish you among a sea of salespeople and position you as a smart resource. And lastly, stay on top of what's important to your key contacts by paying attention to the content they share, and chime in when you have meaningful insights. Social Selling offers salespeople massive opportunities to significantly enhance their efforts to make new contacts, establish their online reputation, and build a sales pipeline. Together, these activities lead to an increased network of referrals, at scale, which is easier to achieve than ever before.

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4 Ways

Social Media Has Given Women an Edge in Sales


f you asked just about anyone what image they conjure up when they think about a sales person it would likely be the cheesy, sleazy, and slimy used car sales guy. And while that may have been a fitting image in years past, women are softening that image and turning sales into something different.

The great thing about the sales profession and one of the reasons why I’ve been able to be so successful as a woman in the industry is that success is measured on the number, not the gender. Every person is measured on performance. That doesn’t mean that gender never plays a role, but in the end it always comes down to the numbers. In the past, I’ve talked about the five pillars of social selling and I’ve built my career in tech sales by focusing on how I can use social media to be more successful. What is interesting about those pillars is that they also happen to be things that either provide an edge to women in the industry or that women are particularly skilled at.



Now that social media has ushered in the age of a digital presence, a successful salesperson has to build a presence the right way. Women have an edge in this area, showing they can successfully leverage social media as a channel to demonstrate how they help customers solve their business problems and achieve their goals as opposed to pure self-promotion. Why is this important? Because everyone is looking each other up online all the time. Let’s say the CIO at a Fortune 500 has received a meeting invite from the vice president of IT to join a meeting with a sales person at a vendor. That CIO goes to LinkedIn, searches for the sales person and decides if it’s worth the time. That sales person’s digital presence shouldn’t be a resume. It needs to be optimized for the buyer, and focused on how he or she can improve the business outcomes of the customer. Social Selling is about framing everything through the lens of the buyer and how you can help them. Your digital presence is an extension of yourself and social media is a useful tool to increase success. For example, Speakeasy, a conference calling solution that I am an advisor for, allows you to see social profiles of those on the call so you can tailor conversations and bring up relevant details to build rapport with them. At the risk of sounding stereotypical, most women are more comfortable putting the spotlight away from them and focusing on what is relevant and helpful to the buyer. This is simply an area where women shine.

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If the slimy sales guy is the typical image of the salesperson, his tagline is “ABC: always be closing.” In my world, ABC doesn’t stand for always be closing, it stands for always be connecting. These days, your social network IS your professional network. Thanks to the social web, my network now includes some extremely successful and influential people from all over the world. I am always actively building my network and having a strong digital presence that is focused on demonstrating my business acumen, my subject matter expertise and my ability and desire to help others allows me to do that successfully. This takes time, just like networking in person, however it’s time spent on my terms – I don’t even have to get dressed to do it. I can do it at home while my kids are sleeping. While this may seem like a stereotype or generalization, data shows that women still spend a disproportionate amount of hours on tasks at home (childcare and housework) compared to their male partners. Because of this, they may have less time to go to networking or social events or take on additional projects in the office that might get them exposure to other opportunities. Social media provides a way for women to bridge that gap, allowing them to “attend” an event via the hashtag while they’re at home or on the run. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can be building your personal brand, building your network and sharing valuable content.

Some may say “content is king” but more than that, content is the currency of the modern sales professional. Just like numbers are numbers, there is no gender bias blocking a woman from finding great content that would be interesting to her buyers and sharing it on her digital platforms. And good content isn’t about how great her product is or awards won. Rather sharing content that is relevant to the buyer and their world can help you be more visible and relevant to that buyer and attracts customers to you. Buyers are inherently allergic to the slimy sales guy. No one wants to be pushed or oversold, but everyone wants help. Women are especially good at using social media to help others, usually by sharing useful content. My best mentors don’t even know they’re mentoring me because I’m learning from them on a daily basis simply because of what they put out in the social web.



Whether or not a specific woman is this way, the perception has always been that women are generally better listeners – at work, in relationships, at home. They’re seen as more helpful and more genuine in their desire to put others’ needs ahead of their own. Social media has provided an incredible platform for women to be present with their customers and really make them feel like they are being heard. When someone tweets about a problem they’re having, a woman is more likely to start out by empathizing, learning more about the problem and providing information that may help the person find a solution. The best salespeople don’t sell, they help someone buy. Instead of jamming the sales process down someone’s throat and closing the deal just to close it, it’s more important to listen and figure out if who you’re talking to is a viable customer and a ready buyer. Listening on social media and using that information to better serve the customers is something women excel at. They can show they care, be believed, and thanks to social media they do it all without the typical barriers of time, home obligations and travel.

Buying has changed more in the past 10 years than the past 100 years and social media is a huge part of that. Tech advances, the influx of millennials in the workforce and the gradual rise of women in leadership are allowing sales organizations to adapt and evolve to suit the modern buyer. It’s no longer buyer beware, but seller beware and women have the ability to lead the charge








Chief Evangelist & Startup Advisor at #SocialSelling www.linkedin.com/in/jillrowley @Jill_Rowley

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Let’s Encourage Young Women in Sales Careers


his week we have seen the gender debate rear it’s head in a new way. The nerve center of the democratic political media war was about how younger women view feminism. Semantics, discouragement and an overwhelming lack of positive regard to younger generation’s ability to view the gender gap the way that the older generations did was the conversation of the week. Let’s do something positive for young women, starting with respecting their world view. Having grown up at a time where their parents’ foreclosures taught them about economic safety, and volitale job market taught them about choices, I think we owe them a bit more respect.









www.thesalesgoddess.com www.linkedin.com/in/renacohenfirst

of Millennial sales job applicants. Women avoid pursuing Sales careers at an even greater level. Most Millennials have a negative view of sales. They often perceive sales careers to be lacking in job security. Female Millennials are as even less likely to apply for jobs if they don’t feel 100% qualified, less apt to apply for promotions, and are less prone to take risks if they perceive a high potential for failure. There are other reasons that they avoid sales as a career. They perhaps view sales as having a demanding work schedule. This would conflict with the high value they place on balancing work with having a “life” for themselves outside of work .

As a result of this thinking and avoidance, a career in sales is perhaps the greatest-kept secret Millennials are the most studied ever. In reality, it is a top-earning generation in history. They have profession and will continue to been researched and analyzed for be so throughout the next few the benefit of those who want to decades. There are few other careers lead them. But an equal amount that give someone more flexibility of study has not been done on how and opportunity to balance work to prepare them to lead the other and having a personal and social generations. Millennials are the life. Also, there is an incredibly largest generation in the workforce - high payoff and relatively low approximately 80 million Americans barrier to entry unlike any other - and they are overwhelmingly position. There are no other careers avoiding a critical commercial that have a greater potential for entry path into corporations, sales advancement, and among fortune careers. As a result, organizations 500 CEOs, a sales background is are struggling with a daunting lack one of the most common

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15 JUNE 2017 AWARDS D INNER *These dates maybe subject to change

For more information about Women In Sales Awards North America visit our website www.wisawardsna.com or contact Skye Seymour skye.seymour@wisawardsna.com

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