Interview with Xerox – not impressed

I reached out to a Director to ask if he was looking for sales, and he pointed me to the recruiter.  It took multiple attempts to hear from the recruiter then when I met with her via phone she obsessed about my recent job changes (out of my control) and focused on W2s and Quota; honestly she sounded exhausted/fatigued.  SHe said she’d run my candidacy by the hiring manager. I  sent her a thank you note and, it took three more emails over two weeks to she and the manager before she said they had moved forward with another candidate.  Not even an interview with the manager?  Seriously?   Was not impressed with their process and their recent GD reviews are not good.  Need to remember for next time.

Interview with Xerox – not impressed

A lot of sales activity this year / again

I will finish this year averaging 26 sales activities (calls, emails, voice mails) per day, not including meetings, prep and internal items. This is despite missing several weeks and not deducting those days (or holidays) from that total (I am over 30 if those days are removed). That is one of my highest totals ever, yet have nothing to show for it. quite yet. The last five years have involved extensive sales calling to continously build a pipeline. Usually, I have a year of intense activity, then 1 or 2 years of less activity to manage existing pipeline and growth, then repeat. I am looking forward to getting back to that 🙂

A lot of sales activity this year / again

Trying to make the most of a slow week at work

Normally, I take this week to rest and recuperate since most clients are OOF anyway and I am a firm believer that it is important to re-charge the batteries.  But I am OOF next week due to timing, so am doing the best I can to be productive this week.  

  • Updated our slide deck and posted it online.  Have been making some suggested changes, which I appreciate — it is nice to get feedback in an attempt to make the info better.  My boss isn’t responding though – I never know if he is going to respond or not.
  • I don’t want to put work aside next week, so made a list of clients I should/could email next week.  There are 92 who I need to check in with, so am going through each one now to add my note to them, then will transfer that to a mail merge that I can copy and paste into emails next week, when people are returning from the holidays.  I am also adding a few prospects who didn’t respond to previous emails so could email again.
  • I am making some calls today.  I reached a couple of people, including one who might have an immediate need.
Trying to make the most of a slow week at work

Wow – I respond better to kudos that criticism and the proof is in the data.

For several months I was breaking my butt, making sales calls, setting up meetings, finding a few opportunities, including a couple of real good opportunities.  I was frustrated with our lack of detail in delivery and our delivery’s slow responses and missed meetings, but figured that was part of the learning curve of this org and I would be able to adapt as time went on.  But in October our owner vented at me about our lack of sales, never mind that I’d warned him before even accepting the job that their solutions would take time to build, and that was before I realized some of the other challenges we faced.  I was irritated that he blamed me, versus recognizing there had been challenges but we were making progress (and we were).  

Since that time, my sales activities have dropped by 25%, not out of spite but because I am no longer killing myself (working from home at 6 AM, racing to the office, staying after the office closes, working through lunch).  I am funny – I work as hard (if not harder) than anyone when I am appreciated, something that others have always recognized in me. But that is not unconditional, and I know from experience that I only respond well to criticism if I truly truly respect the person giving me constructive feedback, which is rare and is definitely not this company.

I think that is true of most people.  I like to hire hard workers then encourage them to reinforce good behaviors versus criticizing.  I’ve hired two people who turned out to not meet expectations, and both were strong referrals taht went against my gut, a mistake I’ll never make again.

Wow – I respond better to kudos that criticism and the proof is in the data.

I got a reminder today that many techies don’t know what they are talking about :)

When I used to sponsor a lot of technical demos, where I’d have a sales engineer present technology to a room full of techies, I was frequently reminded that techies speak a lot of gibberish, even to each other.  For example, I’d listen to a few techies talk in Greek to each other and not be able to discern what they were talking about but feeling impressed at their level of knowlegdge.  Then, almost invariably, later I would mention to one of the techies later in private what a great conversation that seemed to be, and they’d say, “Oh, he/she doesn’t know what he is talking about” then explain how most of what they were saying didn’t make sense.

I’d forgotten about this, but yesterday, I sat in a room where four techies talked to each other about the cloud, including SaaS and Lambda and other things.  I heard them talking about latency and instances and data collection and so on, and in general couldn’t string together the general meanings although I know what each of the phrases were.  Then, after the meeting, one of them said, “I didn’t know half of what I was saying” although all the other guys int he room were nodding the entire time he was talking.

So, once again, I am left thinking that most of what techies talk about is truly gibberish, even to themselves.  They are masters at baffling people with BS.

I got a reminder today that many techies don’t know what they are talking about :)

Talked to former employee about how work was going, made me glad I was not working there any more :)

Had coffee with a former employee who remains at the company where we worked together.  It sounds like the company is still a mess, and mired in metrics hell.  For example, each Rep has to find 6-8 leads a week, and they are measured on how well the delivery team covers the leads since (in theory) if the lead is good then delivery will do good work on it.  This is shocking – the delivery team isn’t doing good work and usually blames the leads, since they don’t really have any accountability (again, if the leads don’t advance it is the rep’s fault).  

Meanwhile, there are twice a week meetings where each rep’s leads are reviewed, they are given action items on each lead then questioned about the these items at the next meeting.  So there is a perpetual current of stress that begins with the 6-8 leads and runs down sh** creek from there.  

Oh my god.  What a hell hole, and a sign that the company is run by a former data-obsessesed engineer and not an actual good business person.  It makes me veeeerrrrryyyyy glad I don’t work there anymore.  How can you possibly be strategic and thorough — and possibly enjoy your job — when you are obsessed all the time about meeting one-size-fits-all metrics developed by people with no common sense?  🙂 

Talked to former employee about how work was going, made me glad I was not working there any more :)

Whoa – a brutal (challenging) week to reach clients by phone – which in some ways is kind of nice :)

This past week was one of the worst weeks I can remember at successfully reaching people.  Very few people responded to my emails, and even fewer picked up my phone calls.  Why?  I don’t know – I am just reporting what the data shows me.  In general, I reach people about 11% of the time when I make an attempt to reach them (which means when I *have* to reach them I need to try several times :)).  This week was 7%.  8% is lousy, and about as low as I ever see except for the week of July 5, Christmas, etc.  so this week was absolutely brutal.  Ironically though, I had several good meetings so it was overall a successful week.

Speaking of which, it is ironic that I make a lot of sales calls each week.  I *hate* using the phone — I literally walk several blocks to my favorite pizzeria to place my delivery order so I don’t have to phone in the order and I am pretty bad at returning voice mails but good about responding to text.  But my job pays the bills, and I’ve found over the years that phone is an effective tool for doing my job, so just have to grin (and reward myself with coffee and chocolate) and bear it.  I am also less likely to pick up a call from a friend than I am from an employee – I always pick up calls from people who work for me.  On weekends, I don’t pick up the phone from anyone who is not a client or employee – friends know to text me if they want to reach me, and if they don’t text then it must not be that important or must not be anyone that truly knows me that well 🙂

In my last job, we had this clown VP Howard in New York, one of those loud and annoying guys who is like 300 years old and was buddies with the CEO and always flying into everyone’s offices but no one knew exactly what he did.  He and I didn’t always see eye to eye — it was one of those things where my team was dependent occasionally on my pushing back on his intrusivness so that we could generate revenue, so to ignore him hurt my business but to push back hurt me politically and unfortunately he had a vested interested in one of our area accounts so was always in our business poking around.  But he was  also one of those guy was always calling on things that he could’ve emailed about, so we would have a 20 minute conversation (mostly one sided) about something that would have taken a 2-minute email or text exchange.  I used to call him (privately) the SHakespearean Fool – the foolish court jester that everyone pokes fun at but also has the king’s attention so is potentially dangerous.  I am very glad I don’t have to worry about that guy anymore.

Whoa – a brutal (challenging) week to reach clients by phone – which in some ways is kind of nice :)