Time was, I more or less refused to put my activity into CRM, as mandated by most Sales Organizations. I figured I was measured by quota, and if I hit quota they’d keep me regardless if I updated CRM and if I didn’t hit quota they’d fire me anyway, so screw them – if they wanted me to update CRM they could get ride of my quota. But the past few years I worked as a manager where CRM was watched soooo closely and it was so chaotic that (to make a long story short) you had to use CRM. So I;ve gotten int he habit of it and am one of the most ardent documentary in CRM now. I still dont think it’s a great tool as compared to effort vs. reward, but when in Rome…
We are on a training call where the Product Manager for a product was presenting to the sales team but was talking a little slowly, so the very impatient VP gradually then blatantly took over the presentation. It was funny to hear. But at the same time, this is bad to do as a leader IMHO – the message he sent to his product manager was that he (the PM) should rely on the VP and/or the VP will not have his back or allow him to falter.
I’ve always thought that once you showed you can do something, that it is obvious that you can do something. For example, if I am a basketball player who leads the league in scoring, I can obviously score. But for whatever reason, this is not true when interviewing for sales positions.
What I mean is this… 12 years ago I was looking for software sales jobs, but two strikes against me were in my previous role I had not had a quota* and I had not needed to cold call since my company worked with most customers. By some miracle, I talked a company into taking a chance on me, and I not only became the #1 sales person for exceeding my quota but cold called successfully. In other words, I showed I can do it! Never again would I have a problem getting a software sales job!
(An aside… A year later, I was interviewing for a job where the primary customer was Microsoft. I’d never worked with Microsoft before, so although I had a good track record the hiring manager went with another candidate. Again, by some miracle, the next company I worked for gave me Microsoft as an account and I exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations and made quota at Microsoft every year for over 5 years. Once again, I proved I can do it.)
The past few years, I’ve sold services instead of software. But not now that I am trying to get into software again, companies are afraid to hire me – my background recently has shown me to be a services person. Does it matter that 10 years ago I passed everyone’s wildest expectations selling software? No. Once again I have to re-prove myself and try to find someone who will “take a chance” on me.
It’s never easy. 🙂
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.
Before lung disease forced my retirement, I loved play softball and flag football. And when I was a kid I loved playing basketball. What I remember are the day and moments before games: I’d control my diet, pre-game activity and mindset all day long, and then in the moments before a game I tried very hard to focus on the game, to visualize it, to not allow myself to get distracted by chores, work, etc.
When I interview for a job, it is the same way. I make sure I get enough sleep the day before, I try to rest as much as possible the day before, then the day of I regulate my caffeine, diet and exercise to maximize my performance at the time of the interview. In the moments before the interview, I think through all the questions, I put away my phone and I focus on my breathing/energy so that when the interviewer arrives/calls and starts asking me questions I am at 100% of all I can possibly do. For awhile, before my illness, I didn’t have to worry about it quite as much, but now all those things are extremely important. The actual job can be done with inertia and experience, but the interview takes 100% clear thought and energy.
I am glad I played sports. I feel like it was a good prep for interviewing. Along those same lines, one of my favorite feelings in life are in those final minutes before tip-off in basketball: the sounds, smells (of oiled hardwood), and the possibility of a great game. My favorite moment in sports has always been lacing a line drive over shortstop where I know I have a chance to turn a single into a double, and when a shot basketball starts to fall through the rim into the net.
A few years ago I published a couple of books on Kindle, just for fun. I even got a positive review or two (I got one reasonable-but-bad review about my formatting so promptly took that book from the shelf since I don’t want to waste people’s money) and got a commission check for 100 bucks based on a few years of royalties. But I’ll never be more than an informal, self-published writer: I love to write but a) only like to write first drafts, b) have a short attention span so get bored after just a few pages, and c) don’t need the hassle of actually trying to get things published, so Kindle is pretty easy and ideal for a hobbyist hack like me. Anyway, I haven’t done it in a few years since I’ve been busy and tired, but took a couple of hours and published a short booklet last night. I have an interesting sales pitch: I am brutally honest with the quality of the work. I’ve found that it is very important to charge a cheap price and to be perfectly honest in my write-up (i.e. saying it is self-published, has typos and may not be very good); that way if someone buys it (rare) and hates it (common), at least they only spent 99 cents on it and were warned. I do it for fun, not for money, recognition or false aspirations of being a published writer, and my favorite part is just seeing once or twice a month that a book was purchased.
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 🙂