At the 2016 Chief Sales Executive Forum, a panel of women executives shared their experiences in driving revenue growth at their companies and the challenges they faced along the way. The panelists were Helen Donnelly, executive director of strategic messaging & communications at Verizon Enterprise Solutions; Judy Buchholz, general manager of digital sales at IBM; Sophia Kim, SVP of sales enablement at Change Healthcare; Karla Burda, vice president of customer success at Dun & Bradstreet; and DeLania Truly, vice president of customer engagement at CUNA Mutual Group. They offered the following advice on how to leverage the changing customer contract in building a career in sales.
- Embrace Change–Get comfortable with change. Consider it an opportunity to learn more and add more. Try new approaches, promote yourself, showcase what differentiates you from others and be marketable. Don’t take a job unless you will learn something. Believe in yourself. Find others who will believe in you.
- Understand the Customer–The more we listen to customers, the more value we can deliver. Understand the shape of the customer environment and make it your own.
- Unite Across Functions–Find what resonates in the market. Identify willing collaborators who will share their success stories. Team with marketing, formally and informally, to showcase this success. Demonstrate that you know customers want solutions, not products.
- Communicate–Make connections for yourself and your people. Build communication channels up and across organizational functions. Create avenues in the business for people who are intuitive and who have ideas of substance.
- Have a Work/Life Balance–Don’t be too hard on yourself for the work/life challenges that arise. They happen! Be present for both and be agile; oscillate focus as needed. Have a support network and ignore the “mental chatter.” Be confident in yourself and your ability to maintain presence in both worlds.
The illustration below from graphic recorder Kelly Kingman illustrates the women in sales panel presentation in a most innovative way. Enjoy!
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