Guest Speaker Series – Todd Laurence – Global Sales Leader, Professor and Philanthropist
“Never become a salesperson that doesn’t prospect”
Todd Laurence joined us last week on our LinkedIn Live Guest Speaker Series and his sales knowledge shone through. Todd is a sales leader in the technology industry and was able to provide eye opening sales insights. This was the first time I co-hosted a LinkedIn Live and I couldn’t have asked for a better guest.
Big or small company?
Todd encouraged those of us starting out in our career to join a startup because large companies manage your career, whereas you get to manage your own career at smaller companies. What you learn in a large company in 5 years is what you’d learn in 1 year at a startup. There are so many balls on the floor to pick up and run with that you quickly excel your personal growth.
Todd’s advice to Founders
For those of us founding our own company, Todd advised focusing on having the best leadership and putting time and energy into forming a culture that represents the values you think are important for the company. Successful sales founders know the product and have to ensure that the sales team knows how to sell the product well.
When asked when do you have to bring in a sales team? Todd believes that you’ll know when you see it. Once selling takes too much brain space and you’re not giving enough time to the sales function and the company begins to suffer – it’s time.
SDR to VP
Figure out what knowledge and skills you need to learn to get you to the role you want to be at and take total ownership of your own career. It isn’t on your company or anyone else – you need to be strategic and manage your own career.
Our CEO, Will Koning, who co-hosted with me, has found the best SDRs are the ones that constantly learn and seek out advice.
Even when you make it as VP never become a salesperson that doesn’t prospect anymore. Even Todd is back being an SDR in many aspects of his role, which keeps his mind flexible.
Todd’s top two tips to SDRs starting out
- You’re just starting. Think about where you want to get to. Figure it out. Come up with answers to questions you have.
- Focus on your leadership skills now. It’s important to stretch yourself and leadership skills is not something most of us are born with.
Versatility is a badge of honour
Todd plays different roles in his team and proudly wears his badge of versatility, as it is vital to be able to put on different hats.
When Todd interviews people he looks for people that can learn and apply different parts of their life to their role. Todd could have rinsed and repeated what he’s learnt previously, but instead prioritises learning and doing something new everyday and it keeps him much more engaged. You should be elastic, jump in and try something new every once in a while.
Why do we grow up with negative sales biases?
If you told Todd he’d end up in sales he would have taken that as an insult. The media portrayal of sales is not great. Todd highlighted the negative portrayal in media such as Death of a Salesman to Wolf of Wall Street and even how only men work in sales – it’s no wonder people are put off working in sales. If this is what we think of as sales we’re never going into sales. It shows that there’s no room for a variety of people, but this is not the case. Sales has an abundance of people from various backgrounds and personalities. It involves building partnerships based on trust.
Due to the evolution of the internet there is no place for this kind of behaviour, as your prospects will find someone else in one search.
Sales was Todd’s calling and it can be your calling too. Sales is a life skill. It can be used in personal life to be better parents, co-workers and friends. Will has found that he uses it to be open, questioning and to get out of sticky situations.
How to sell better
Have more value based conversations. Know their pain, where they want to get to and the positive business outcomes if they join. Don’t go in and say this is my product – work with them and be exceptional.
Be a trusted advisor, someone that cares about getting them to where they want to go and will get them there through your understanding of their needs and pains and your experience helping others with the same problem.
Todd’s Secret sauce – three questions to ask yourself before trying to close that deal
- Why would they want to do something differently? It comes down to greed or fear.
- Why would they do something about it now?
- Why is your product the best for them?
- Joining a startup over a larger company excels your personal and professional development.
- Founders – nail your business model and make sure your sales team understands it well and are able to sell it well.
- Never stop stepping out of your comfort zone and never stop prospecting.
- The media doesn’t portray sales in a positive light and you should know sales isnt what is shown on tv – mostly.
Ready to talk? Get in touch today