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The Revenue Operations Blog

Effective Leadership, Marc Gabriel Amigone

January 14, 2022
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The Interview

Kluster's Take

Georgina spoke with ​​Marc Gabriel Amigone, Sales Director at IMPACT. He explains his thoughtful approach to Sales Leadership.

Marc is transparent with the team. He lets them know what his goals are and how they correspond to theirs. He believes his role is to help reps to be successful.

A Sales Leader will identify what is standing in the way of the sales team. He believes that it’s the individuals that are responsible for their own destiny.

He places an emphasis on listening to call recordings. They use an intelligence tool to get insights. He includes role-play in training, to focus on specific insights.

Transcription

My whole job here is to help them be successful. So their success is my success.

Um, when it comes to sales leadership, I think there's a few things that come to mind first and foremost. One is that I try to be extremely transparent with my team and try to always kind of let them know what my goals are and how they're corresponding to their goals. And the thing that I often hear me say, and I hope when they hear this, they, they back me up on this that, um, you know, I tell them my whole job here is to help them be successful.

So their success is my success. So I w I want them to know I'm behind them. A hundred bucks. If I'm asking them to do something, I've been pushing them in a certain direction. It's because I want them to be successful because our incentives are a hundred percent align. So that's kind of the first thing that I try to be real, I try to lead with is we're all in this together.

You know, my, you know, their success is my success and there's no conflicting incentives here by. So that's the first thing. I think the other thing too, is that I tried to lean on my experience having done the job myself. I think sometimes when people who haven't been in the seat try to step in and manage and lead, it can be difficult for them to really understand kind of what they're, what they're up against.

Not to say that's impossible. But for me, I just like to say, I'd been in your shoes. I know that what we're doing is not so fun, but we have to do it anyway. No, this isn't that bad. I've been in your shoes. We can do this, you know, there's different kinds of ways to approach in that way. So, um, again, you know, just try to be really transparent with them and also lean on my experience, I think is that the two things that translate with the most.

Yeah, that's great. I think it really puts people at rest when they, like, when they know that you've also been in that situation, because it's just using empathy in those situations makes you feel a bit less scared. Um, so talking about sales reps and things like that, what is a, um, a player to you? Like what, what is a primary example of a sales rep to you?

Sure. So I think when I think of an A-player, I think of somebody who is knows how to be present and knows how to be kind of on top of their game. Um, and. When, when it comes to working in sales, it w it impacted my experience. A lot of companies there's so much of it. That's kind of that you see, and that you don't see in terms of when a, when a sales rep shows up to a sales call, they're prepared.

They're confident. They're calm. Projecting a sense of what we talk about a lot is empathy and authority. They're being able to talk to somebody and know that they can understand where they're coming from, but also come off as saying, I'm an expert you've listened to me when I pushed you in one direction or the other.

Um, so there's that when you're on the sales calls and then there's a whole bunch of time that you don't see them, you know, it's probably, I dunno, at least half the time, if not more, that they're just either prospecting, finding appointments, collaborating with people internally. And I think that's the type of thing.

Um, when I think of an A-player, that's a, that's a huge aspect of what I think of is somebody that is a, somebody who's good to work with. I think salespeople often have not the greatest reputation at certain companies for being difficult or being just only concerned about their own sales calls or something.

And, um, you know, a good team player is going to help is going to close more deals. They're going to get the support of subject matter expert, or I'm a collaborator from a different team. That's going to help them be more successful. And that is just good for everybody in this. Right. Yeah. Great. So in that situation then, if you've got sort of a sales rep that, um, is an A-player to you, how do you compare that to a B player?

So, well, what does the B player look like and what are those main, like distinctive differences between. Yeah, I think that, uh, um, uh, an any player versus a B player, I think a B player might be lacking in certain areas, whether that's team collaboration, but also self-awareness, I think is a huge thing for sales reps.

And I think it's, you know, a lot of these things you could say about anybody in any position, but I think in sales is especially important that if you're not aware of where you're succeeding and where you're failing on a day-to-day moment-to-moment. Then you're going to really struggle cause you're not gonna be able to course correct.

And you're not going to be able to push yourself to, to, to improve and do better essentially. So, um, you know, I think the a B player might struggle and, um, I'd say, you know, kind of showing up to sales calls and, and being authoritative and, and being able to kind of like come off as a, as somebody who's needs to be respected and needs to be kind of adding value to the conversation when they engage with a prospect.

The thing that we try and focus on the most as we, we actually call our sales reps advisers at 'em as kind of their title. And so if you're not able to either you just lacking the experience or lacking the kind of, like, know how to actually be able to add value in a sales conversation, but, or if you're just, you have the experience, but you're just not able to think on your feet and able to kind of ask good questions, then that's something that, that a B player might struggle with.

Okay. Great. So there are some of the weaknesses that you sort of recognize, and that's what distinguishes distinguishes between a B and an a. So how do you then say if you've got a sales team, how do you distinguish between it being the fault of the individual or this sales team? Could you just saying how, um, a lot of it can be collaboration between, um, sales team members.

Ho how as a leader, do you recognize the difference between an individual and a team? Yeah, that's a great question. I would say ultimately it's the individual's responsibility to kind of produce results. I think that's one thing that I really love about working in sales is it's very black and white.

I've worn a few different hats throughout my career. I've been a consultant. I've been a marketing. I've been a sales rep now, a sales leader. And I think that there, I always struggled when I was especially in consulting and you're kind of in this fuzzy intangible world where you don't really know exactly the value that you're providing.

And it's really hard to quantify that. Whereas in sales, it's pretty black and white. Like either the numbers are there, they're not, you know, and there's a lot of things that, that could get in your way. And it's certainly important to talk about. Well, I would have been successful if, you know, marketing did their job, or if I was better prepared and you know, I didn't know this was gonna happen.

Uh, there's always excuses for why things didn't happen. And then some of them are more legit than others, but at the end of the day, individuals are responsible for producing results. And if they're not able to produce their results, they have to kind of navigate the internal politics to get in a position where they can produce them, essentially.

So ultimately it's, it's down to the individual. In my opinion, I think a good sales leader will identify the things that are big picture kind of standing in the way of their sales team. You know, yell and scream at whoever needs to hear it, to kind of say, Hey, our sales team can't succeed unless we do this.

And that's going to spend at least some of my time doing. But, um, you know, I think at the end of the day that it's it's individuals are responsible for their own, their own destiny. And I think that's something I love about sales. I think that's what attracts a lot of people to it is that you work hard, you produce results so you can be rewarded.

That's what it's all about. Again. That's great. So if you, if you think it's, um, um, the individual and sort of developing the individual themselves, do you ever take guidance from the, a, a class reps that you were talking about sort of seeing what's working tactic wise and then trying to, um, reciprocate that in others, or is your coaching style sort of more personalized?

Um, I'm working on an individual. Yeah, that's a great question. So we're a small team. There's only three reps on my team. Um, and so there's one person on my team. Her name is Melissa. Who's kind of our senior account executive, that's her title. And it's actually, before I became sales director, that's a title I asked for in my position to kind of say, Hey, I want to be, I was working on getting that promotion to director.

And that was, and I said, I want to be kind of like a player coach. I want to take a more responsibility of offering feedback in specific areas. Maybe designated as that person who, who you kind of have to listen to and not just say, you know, I'll take the responsibility of providing good feedback. If you tell me you're going to listen to it.

And so, um, when I became sales director, you know, we moved Melissa into that kind of senior account executive role. And I, I absolutely go to her all the time for things about, Hey, I'm struggling with this. What do you think? You know, I want your opinion. And I kind of seek her out for a lot of. Not that I don't talk to other people on the team for feedback as well, but she's kind of earned the right to kind of give me that perspective as our most successful person, our, um, you know, a person who has very, has a lot of experience and has a lot of perspectives that's really useful.

So I'd really be as a leader, I'd be really stupid, not to kind of, you know, take and take her advice and take her perspective into account. So I try to do that as much. Yeah, I guess it's good because sort of having that approach to things, it gives you more of an insight. Doesn't it? When you can't have eyes everywhere.

And I felt like with sales, a lot of it is sometimes trial and error. So if you're getting positive results, it's sometimes good to hear it from the horse's mouth. So what, what's the best way that you sort of cross-pollinate her? Because obviously she's a, how do you sort of cross-pollinate from her really good attributes into the rest of your brain?

We, um, we put a big emphasis on listening to call recordings and we actually just recently, um, started using a conversation intelligence tool to kind of, to basically kind of get a lot of insights from our calls to say, okay, this is what we learned from this situation. Let's, you know, really draw this insight and apply it somewhere else.

Um, you know, we try to do at least a little bit of role-playing in our training. Um, and which everybody always loves of course, but, um, it's, uh, I think it's really important though, to kind of not just, you know, kind of go through the motions, but to really be aware of what we're doing and, and really focused in, on specific insights.

And then I try not to only use, you know, my, my top person or top people to kind of say, okay, this is the person that we're going to model everything. Um, there's a really great book called the, um, the sales acceleration formula by mark Roberto. She was, um, the sales leader at HubSpot in their early days.

And, um, he talks in his book about actually how it's a really bad idea to take your top reps and have everybody just model after them because everybody's sales. Superpower is different in that. You know, some people are really good relationship builders. Other people are really good with technical and product knowledge.

And if you just take, say, well, this person has succeeded. So everybody do what they're doing. That's actually not a recipe for success. So, um, you know, I think, um, basically I try to just the way I like it, I like to kind of think about solving problems for the team is to give people as much information as they can and have them kind of use their brains essentially, and kind of think through things.

So when this situation happens, let's take this approach and kind of like, how would you handle this if you're faced with that situation? And that's kind of what I try to do by using call recordings and insights from calls to address. Okay. So one thing that's really interesting about you was your inbound talk and, and that, um, presentation was really great.

Do you think that sort of mental health and, and positivity, and sort of having a good positive approach really impacts your, your sales reps and even you as a lead on a day to day? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I think that's huge. I think, again, this is something that's universal for, um, you know, for pretty much anybody.

Um, I think that, so the talky referencing was referencing, um, the experience I had coming up on about 10 years ago, I'd say at this point, um, when I was injured in a rock climbing accident and, um, used a lot of, uh, mindfulness and yoga and kind of like positive thinking to kind of get through that whole experience and then have a recovery and kind of change my perspective on a move moving forward basis.

And I think you've talked a lot of people, you know, it was a pretty serious injury that I have. Actually life-threatening, I'm lucky to be alive. And whenever I talk about this OSA, we're all lucky to be alive. You know, like we're all lucky to take, you know, take life in as a, as a gift and, and to not take that for granted.

Quick plug for just being in the moment and that sort of bang. Um, but as it pertains to sales, absolutely. I think something that I, we actually take time that our weekly huddles that we often start with like a quick five minute meditation session. And I really like to do that because it just gets everybody in the state of mind where.

You know, we're kind of racing and running from one thing to the other. And then we take a minute just to be just to ground ourselves. And then we have a much more productive conversation as a result of that. And it's something that obviously you can't start every sales call with, with the meditation, you know, I mean, you could try it.

I don't know if certain people get into it more than others, I guess. But what you can do is just take at least one mindful breath and you can just ground yourself in the moment and just say, okay, I'm going to be fully present for this conversation. And if you do that, you're going to have much, much higher chances of success.

I would say, I think a lot of, a lot of times salespeople struggle with man, I really need to steal I'm so stressed out about, you know, being behind them, my goals or whatever it is. And if you let that anxiety and that fear kind of get into your, your, you know, emotion in your voice during the sales call, it's not going to help you close the deal.

You know, it's not going to help. Yeah. So I think the more that you can, um, just be in the moment and the easiest thing to do in the world is to breathe. You know, that's the, it's the something that we're all doing. If we're alive, we're breathing. So, um, you know, you can, and you can't breathe in the past.

You can't breathe in the future. You can only breathe in the present moment. So a great. Yeah. I felt like that's a very simple thing that sometimes when it's such a high pressure environment like salespeople forget to do so sometimes after a sales call, you have to be like, huh. Okay. So we're just going to do the last question now.

So if you are in a room of the best sales leaders, what would you ask them? Hmm, that's a good question. I would say, I think a lot of the time. You've asked me a few good questions today that I might actually, um, you know, in terms of taking people that, um, realizing what their potential is and helping them realize it.

I think it's the number one thing that sales leaders can do. I think hiring and building the team is critical to being successful in a leadership position, getting the right people on your team and identifying the right characteristics to hire for. But I think. You know, like for myself, I became a director after the team was already in place.

I didn't actually hire any of the people that run my team. They were kind of given to me and it's my job to get the most out of them, you know, not to say, oh, I need to fire everybody and start new. That's the only I'm gonna be successful. Like, obviously. That'd be very cruel to the people on my team center would also not be viable for the business.

You know? So there's, I feel like a lot of people are often put in the position where you you're given a set of resources, you have to maximize their potential in terms of people. And that would be my number one question to sales leaders is how do you unlock the potential that's in everybody? Because if you can, if you can get your team performing at its maximum capacity, Then you're going to produce good results, even if you're not working with much, essentially like that's really.