Dell Thompson – Conversations from the Sales Front
It’s 2PM and I have a phone interview with Dell Thompson – one of Xactly’s top enterprise sales reps. I’m sitting in my chair waiting for the phone to ring, eager to dig in and try to understand what makes a sales rep tick; especially a rep like Thompson, who has accolades under his belt and 8 years of history at Xactly.
The phone rings:
Guni: Hello Dell!
Dell: Hi Guni, how are you?
Guni: I’m great! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me.
Dell: Not a problem, I’m here to help.
Guni: So let’s jump right into it, my first question is: what do you enjoy about being a sales rep?
Del: Ah… I enjoy the autonomy of it. I like solving problems and I love to learn about other businesses.
Guni: What’s your day-to-day strategy in communicating with customers?
Dell: Hmmm… the customer communication strategy has changed in recent years. On my part, I do my very best to gain their trust by always trying to connect with them. I am big on social selling – it helps me connect directly with customers.
Guni: That brings me to my next question…how can a sales rep succeed in the social era?
Dell: (Sighs) Social channels help reps to connect with the right people – mainly customers – and it helps the reps themselves, if meaningful content is being shared. Reps must go on LinkedIn to find out whom and where their customers are; so knowing your customers and their companies via social is key. The game has changed with social media, so if you don’t change with the game then you are going to lose.
Guni: What do you think prevents a rep from succeeding in sales?
Dell: Well! (Laugh) – Being selfish, not listening, and being all about themselves. The worst is trying to close too soon. Reps have a quota to make so there is a balancing-act here. Growing the pipeline is a key activity that is in their control. The deeper the late stage pipeline, the lower the temptation to desperately close any one deal before the client is ready.
Guni: So, who would you consider to be a top performer?
Dell: Reps have to empathize with their customers. Customers also do a lot more research before they get to us. They are more educated than ever, so educating and learning more about them in return is key. Looking at the big picture, a top sales performer should maintain a balance. You’ve got to be able to sell a vision and inspire from a high level, and also know enough detail about the customer to align the value of what you do with the requirements at hand.
We wrapped up the interview on that note, and said our goodbyes. I sat back in my chair and processed all that Dell had shared with me. One thing that stood out about Thompson was his humorous personality, his resilience, and his passion to connect with people – that’s what makes him tick as a sales rep!
There is more to come from this short series – so keep an eye out for the story to continue in my next blog post!