Guest Speaker Series – James Munro – Enterprise Account Executive at Peakon
“You may want to leave the company you are at to progress, but James advises to first take a step back before leaving because, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
James Munro has gone through each stage of the sales ladder. From Sales Development Representative (SDR), to Enterprise Account Executive (AE) at Peakon. James started his career in sales travelling around the world and selling tea at Lux Tea, despite not being a fan of the beverage. Afterwards he had an interview with our COO, Chris Ritson, and although he thought it didn’t go well he ended up getting the role and joining Peakon.
Sales Development Representative to Account Executive
While James was an SDR he had the goal of becoming an AE, but was rejected twice before landing the role. Upon reflection he realised he didn’t have the tools needed to perform well at the job. This taught him patience and he figured out what he needed to do to get there. He realised the importance of continually developing yourself and being self-aware. You may want to leave the company you are at to progress, but James advises to first take a step back before leaving because, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
How James Progressed
Something that helped James was speaking to others to get perspective and increase his awareness of the gaps to improve on. James realised his perception was too relaxed, he wasn’t working hard enough and his demo needed to be stronger. To fix this he ran internal demos, which he believes is the hardest thing you can do, with his colleague at the time, Laurence Langstone. Laurence would give constructive criticism each time, until there was nothing left to improve on. James knew there were people around him he could learn and develop from and he took every learning opportunity he could.
James’ SDR Tips:
- Learn the market and know the product you’re selling. Take a year and understand what to focus on and why.
- Shadow an Account Executive to learn and develop.
- Don’t become complacent. Always continue to learn.
- Keep in mind that people remember stories not facts.
SDR starting out
As an SDR you feel like you have to sell straight away and offer consultation, but remember they need the product and you’re helping them to get it – why wouldn’t they have a free chat. If you do an early in the morning demo it will give you a confidence boost for the rest of the week. Learn people’s behaviours. They are busy and have limited time. Before their first meeting at 9am or after 5pm when they’re working later on in the evening tends to be a good time to catch them.
Mastering the art of sales
- Know who runs parts of the company ecosystem and build your social network.
- Learn about your target company, but don’t assume. If LinkedIn says they have 1000 employees, but when speaking with them they say there’s 250, don’t disagree. People may feel intimidated if you appear to know more about their company.
- Learn another language. Knowing Spanish has helped James connect to people and close deals. It opens doors and gives you an advantage. You don’t have to be fluent, but knowing the basics and being able to have a conversation is useful.
- It’s better to be consistent than have high and low dips in pipe performance. Dips can result in missing your target. Look ahead and see what you have got for Q3, Q4 ect. This will help you see if you’re off target in advance and be aware of what you have to work on.
Gatekeepers are very important, but often overlooked by people in sales. You’ll be surprised how many people treat them like their job title. Be the exception. Get to know them and build rapport. They know the company better than anyone. If you make a bad first impression, then apologise and acknowledge how you should have approached the situation. Sales people never apologise. Own it. People appreciate it.
One workplace rule James would add
Compulsory workplace drinks or social events. This has been difficult during the pandemic, but it helps address issues and resolves challenges. If people aren’t talking, issues could escalate and result in people leaving. At social events people are more likely to open up and vocalise their feelings. Sometimes over Zoom people are less likely to open up, resulting in teams not bonding and not unearthing issues. Openness is important for connection and to the company.
Ready to talk? Get in touch today