“The toughest lesson I learned was not about the external sale. I found the inner workings with the clients to be some of the easier part of what we do.” – Lisa Palmer in today’s Tip 1329
What’s your thought about this?
Join the conversation below and check out the full conversation with Lisa!
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today over on the Sales Success Stories podcast I shared an interview I did with Lisa Palmer to help setup the Sales Career Panel conversation that we’ll have at the Sales Success Summit. I wanted to share a taste of that here as well. Listen to this:
Lisa Palmer: I think I told you before, Scott, that early in my career, the toughest lesson I learned was not about the external sale. I found the inner workings with the clients to be some of the easier part of what we do. And my biggest learning in my first sales gig was really about how do we marshal all of these internal resources, how do you find the right people, how do you push through when you come up against barriers from a process perspective? What are some of the tools that we have to work from?
And when you’ve been in an organization like you just described, Scott, when you’ve been there for a while and you know the people, you know the processes, you know the dysfunction of your particular organization, you know how to work around those things and how to coach people on your team to help you to work around those things. So I think that piece is just critically important for people to get real about how much influence that has on their ability to be successful in closing these big deals.
And if you are contemplating a change, particularly right now, when we’re talking about facing economic headwinds and all of the downsizing of staff that we’re seeing happen, particularly across the tech sector, we really need to be prudent and wise about the choices that we’re making regarding career changes.
So make a list. That’s what I said to myself when I’m starting to think through these questions. Let’s make a list of all the things that I know were critical to me being successful and then take a difficult, deep dive, careful look at the situation that you’re considering and say, hey, am I going to be able to replicate that in my new environment?
Scott Ingram: Yeah, I came to this epiphany maybe at the same time sort of these two ideas. One is being successful because you’re able to marshal these internal resources on behalf of your clients, right? So that you can deliver and get future business. This is a whole different conversation you and I have had over the years, which is around this idea that the really big deals are almost never the first deal or the second deal, or even the third deal. They really happen after you have engaged for a while and you’ve built up a level of trust and now we’re ready to make a really big commitment. And that’s where the big seven, eight, nine-figure kind of opportunities come from. And as I reflect on the enterprise sales conversations that I’ve had here on this podcast, so many of those top performers will talk about how more than half of their sales effort is internal. It’s not that external sale.
But as I think about this from a career perspective, I’m going to try and real quick tell a story of a friend of mine that’s totally insane. The idea that if you have those relationships you can use it to kind of navigate your own career. It’s not just something that you do on behalf of your clients, but it’s something that you can leverage on behalf of yourself when needed. And I’m actually trying to get this individual onto the podcast. It would ideally be kind of the first witness protection interview that we would do because I don’t think we would disclose his identity or where he works. And again, I heard the second hand a couple of times and thought, this is legend, I need to go to the source. And so I called my friend and basically, the story was he was with a big tech company, they had a round of layoffs, he got the call that he was being let go and he basically said, “Yeah, no, that’s not how this is going to work.”
And then worked the system. He worked all of these internal relationships that he had and he still works there and he still has this role. And so in this environment, part of my primary inclination in guiding people is to think really hard about, are you sure that you want to make a change? Because right now, especially if you’re experiencing some level of success, you have some of these resources, you have a track record, you have credibility, and maybe most importantly, you’re not the last person who just got hired who is likely on the front of the line when it comes time to getting cuts. And I’ve seen just too many of these.
The cuts aren’t logical or rational. I mean, one of these examples I’ve seen lately, it was basically if you were below this performance threshold, you were let go. But as we know so many times, that territory and some of that performance, that’s just a lot of luck. There are some people that locked into good territories that were above that threshold that absolutely should not still be at those organizations. But they just took this completely binary look at the world and they didn’t really factor in the capabilities of the individuals at play. So I think you really need to think carefully about do you really want to be the person that just got started and is on a ramp quota and we’re going to cut 10% – 20% of the workforce and you’re out. There’s just nothing you can do about it.
Lisa Palmer: Oh my gosh, got so much to unpack. And what you just shared there a couple of things that jump to mind right away is how often do people end up landing doom from the start with a quota that they’re never going to be able to reach? And if you are changing environments, how realistic is it that you will be able to see that red flag without understanding all of the things that you know in your current environment today, if you get a quote handed to you, knowing what you know about your environment and being well entrenched, knowing what the processes are, how your interritories are all set up, et cetera, et cetera. You can take a pretty good shot at knowing if your quote is reasonable. And so, personal Story I was given a quote of one year after I had been at the organization for roughly five years, and I knew from the moment they handed me the quote that it was unattainable. Fortunately, I have an MBA and I went and did all of the financial justification and actually showed them, I was able to show them ,that the quote they had given me was actually unattainable. And then we had to deal with it from there. But I was only able to do that because I had been in the environment long enough to know all of the limiters that would preclude me from being able to hit that quota. So to your point, if you’re brand new in an environment, are you even going to know that the quota they’ve given you is unattainable? And that’s something that’s really going to put you on that high risk for losing your job list.
Scott Ingram: For a link to my full conversation with Lisa and to get connected with her directly, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1329. Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!