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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Sales Game Changers virtual learning session sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on May 1, 2022. It featured an interview with Lauryn Scott from Cvent, the 2022 Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star Award.]
Find Lauryn Scott on LinkedIn.
LAURYN’S TIP: “Lauryn applies the wise words of Earl Graves Sr, the Founder of Black Enterprise Magazine, daily: “To have a successful career, you must approach it as an entrepreneur, even if you are working for someone else. Your career is your own private business”.
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Fred Diamond: We have a treat today. We’re talking with Lauryn Scott. She’s with Cvent, and I’m very excited to announce that Lauryn Scott will be the 2022 Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star Award recipient. Two years ago, the IES created the Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star. Jay was a sales leader, a bigger-than-life sales leader, public sector at Oracle, Xerox. He created a company called Agilex which was eventually purchased by Accenture. It’s now Accenture Federal, and he was truly one of the giants. He unfortunately passed away summer of 2019. He was one of our Lifetime Achievement Awards. Every year at the IES we have a gala award event. Jay was our second Lifetime Achievement Award. We created this award in his name, in his honor, and Lauryn, I think Jay would be proud to know that you are going to be the recipient of this year’s award.
Lauryn Scott: Thank you.
Fred Diamond: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Again, Lauryn Scott, you’re with Cvent. You are the third recipient of the Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star Award. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us what you do at Cvent and tell us a little bit about how you got there. You have a pretty fast sales career and you’ve ascended pretty quickly. Give us a little more background.
Lauryn Scott: I do want to first say I am very honored to be the recipient. I am super excited. This is an award that I take great pride in. I’m originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. I actually went to school here in the DC area. I went to Howard University. I am actually a sales manager now, a manager of sales at Cvent in their Hospitality Cloud division, which basically helps hotels grow their group business. I know I get a lot of questions on, what do you actually do at Cvent? That is really what I do. I help hotels grow their group business through insights, data, products that we have. We’re a cloud-based organization that’s growing really fast, and we have exciting things in the works. But yes, I am a manager of sales there.
Fred Diamond: Again, we’ve had some great people from Cvent over the years on the Sales Game Changers podcast. Kevin Carr, who you report up to has been on the show a couple of times. Brian Ludwig, Darrell Gehrt, Alex Otwell, we’ve had some great people from Cvent. It is a tremendous place to work. Cvent is also an IES Premier Sales Employer, so congratulations. By the way, Lauryn, we have a lot of congratulations coming in. Dan says congratulations. Mary says congratulations to Lauryn. Nelson, who’s a frequent listener says, way to go Lauryn.
You also started your career at Monumental Sports. I’ve had a couple people on the show who have been at Monumental, Patrick Duffy and Jim Van Stone. For people who don’t know, that’s basically selling sports. You’re selling Wizards, you’re selling Mystics from the WNBA. That’s a hard grind. It’s a great place to learn sales but it’s hard. We were talking before the show, if the team’s doing really, really bad, it’s a hard sell. If the team’s doing really, really well, it’s too easy of a sale. Companies question why they would need you. Tell us some of the things you learned at Monumental.
Lauryn Scott: It was a phenomenal place to start my sales career. I actually started right on the cusp of the lockout. I had a very difficult time starting my sales career. That is not how normally you would start a sales career is in the middle of a lockout, but it taught me so much and I don’t take any of that for granted. I learned so much through that process. But really, it was a grind. I started in inside sales and it was actually funny how I started. I graduated in 2010, which was pretty much the end of the economic crisis that was going on with home loans and everything like that. It was very hard to get a job around this time. I knew I wanted to work in sales. I had a previous internship with the Wizards, and so I knew I wanted to work for a sports team.
I found the hiring manager, and I literally emailed him every day and I called him every day, and I said, “Hi, this is Lauryn Scott, I’m so excited to work on your team. I want to let you know that I’m eager to get started.” I sent over my resume, and then I would send an email to follow up. “Hi, just left you a voicemail. Here’s an email following up. I just wanted to let you know I’m really eager to start working with you.” I really manifested that job because he never responded to me. It took about three months for him to finally call me back and he brought me in for an interview.
I was really starting my sales career even before I actually got hired. I was very persistent. We actually laugh about it now but he was a great manager. He taught me a lot about persistence and helped groom me. He wanted to see how hungry I actually was to start that career because a lot of people think, “Oh, I want to work in sales, I want to work in sports, it’s going to be so glamorous,” and it really is a hustle. It’s a constant grind. I was learning that even before I got hired.
Once I actually got hired, that’s when the lockout started. We were selling the hope of basketball. That really taught me how to sell the value in something and not actually the product itself. That was something really big that I learned from Monumental that I took with every job from that point on, was really how to sell the value when the data is not adding up, when things aren’t going your way. Like really having that passion in the product and knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing.
We didn’t know if basketball was going to come back that season, but we were still required to sell tickets. What did we do? We sold the value of the team. We sold what they were doing, where the team was planning to go in the next few years, how we were planning to be a playoff contender. You want to get in now, you don’t want to miss out. Those were real tools that I now take at every job. That was my career at Monumental.
Fred Diamond: If you think about it, you’re always competing. Basically, you’re competing against entertainment dollars. If you’re going to corporate, then the corporate can decide, “Okay, do I want to spend my money taking 10 customers to watch a Wizard’s game or do I want to bring them in for a seminar? Do I want to put them on a plane, take them somewhere else?” People don’t realize that there’s a limited amount of funds out there and it really isn’t about the sport, it’s about the opportunity for you to have some time with your customer and provide some value for them.
We have a couple of questions here coming in. Let’s get to some of these, see how you answer them. But before I get to the first question here, you talked about how you learned to sell value. Now you’re at Cvent, and Cvent is a Premier Sales Employer for those of you who don’t know it. It’s basically a designation from the Institute for Excellence in Sales that represents companies where there are great places to work for sales. What is the value of what you’re selling right now? If you had that same type of conversation with event directors or whomever buys the software, how do you describe the value?
Lauryn Scott: We think of ourselves as an extension of their sales team. We have insights that they aren’t privy to, and so we know what’s going on in their specific market. We know the trends, we know where the industry is headed, and we can actually set up a marketing approach for them so that they can capitalize on that and reach their bottom line. At the end of the day, the bottom line is the only thing that matters. Are you making money? Are you profitable? Cvent has those tools that can actually help you get there.
It is very different from my time at the Wizards because the Wizards was a nice-to-have. It was entertainment dollars, like you said, so that was always the first thing to get cut. If the budget gets smaller, your entertainment dollars are the first thing that gets cut. With Cvent, it’s a need-to-have. Our hotels need us to survive. With that being said, the value pitch is a lot different because we already know that they need us, but how much do they need us? That’s where the sale comes in, because we want to put together a holistic approach where we look years down the line, not just right now business, but where are you going to be in the next two to three years and five to ten years? Because right now you’re the big player in this space, but if you don’t continue to put a plan in place, you’re going to lose that market share. It’s a different kind of sale, but you’re definitely still selling the value for sure.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here from Dan. Dan wants to know, “Are you a reader, and if so, what is the most influential book in your career, and is that book in sale?” Thanks, Dan, for the question.
Lauryn Scott: Yes. I actually love this question. I have one book that really changed my life. I encourage everyone to read it. It’s called Secrets of a Millionaire Mind. It is not a traditional sales book, however, it did help me tremendously in my sales knowledge, my sales acumen. It really changed my mindset to be successful. It changed my thermometer for success, is what it talks about in the book. It is a great read. I really recommend everyone to read that book because it will change the way you think about things, it’ll change your language, how you approach situations, how you problem solve. It’s an amazing book.
Fred Diamond: We have a question here that comes in from Louisa. Louisa wants to know, “What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced on your career to get to this point?”
Lauryn Scott: There are so many challenges. Probably going from selling in a lockout, that was a huge challenge for me, especially starting my career. It really taught me how to pivot. It really taught me how to find that value prop, change that value prop. Then moving into the pandemic, as I moved to Cvent, we are 100% hospitality, so we are meetings and events. When the pandemic happened and it literally became illegal for anyone to meet, that really put a hindrance on our business. That also taught me how to pivot and how to look at other ways to sell. I would say those were probably the two biggest challenges, but I can say that it has made me a better salesman. Both of those challenges have made me a better salesman today.
Fred Diamond: Tell us about some of the lessons that you’ve learned. By the way, the first Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star was Andrew Bailey from SAP NS2, last year, Veronica Poissant from Red Hat. We’re very excited to have Lauryn as our third recipient. You have the passion for sales, which is amazing. You talked about value and selling on value and we talk about that every single day on the Sales Game Changers podcast.
Share some things about being a team member. How do you see yourself as part of the team?, Cvent has a lot of people in sales, and like you said, as compared to a discretionary thing that’s selling sports tickets might have been, you really are selling a very important product. Like you just said, it’s an industry that just got bombed over the last two years with the pandemic and everything. But now it’s quickly coming back because people want that human connection, and they want to get back to that and there’s a lot of things going on. Talk about sales as a team and then talk about some other lessons that you’ve learned along the way.
Lauryn Scott: Collaboration is key with sales. There isn’t one perspective, right? There’s not one way to sell something. There’s not one way to get to a goal. I think having a team is really important, and Cvent actually prides itself on team collaboration. We have a huge team at Cvent. We’re almost like a family at this point especially coming through the pandemic together. We really felt like a family. But it really gives you different perspectives. You can go through and have your idea of how you want to get to a goal, and someone can come in and literally turn that upside down and give you a fresh perspective that you were never thinking that was actually a better move for you.
I think constantly collaborating, knowing what to do, how to pivot, and taking constructive criticism. I would say that’s probably the most important thing. No one is ever the perfect salesman, right? This is a constant journey. You’re constantly learning and improving and getting better and being able to take constructive criticism from people above you, people that report into you, whether it’s a lateral employee or colleague. But being able to listen and really take that constructive criticism is going to make you a stronger salesman for sure.
Fred Diamond: Actually, earlier in your career, you want to soak in from people like Kevin Carr and Brian Ludwig and the people that you deal with every single day because they’ve risen to that point because they’ve experienced a lot of things. When they see someone like you, they definitely want to see you continue to grow and provide a mentor.
We have a question here from Ruthie. Ruthie says, “Can Lauryn talk about her network, and does she network with people outside of her company?” Again, you worked at Monumental and now you work at Cvent. Talk a little bit about your personal network, the kind of people that you associate with and how do you advise other people in sales to be building those networks? Ruthie, thanks again for the question.
Lauryn Scott: Yeah, absolutely. Your network really is your net worth. I’ve definitely networked outside of Cvent, as well as Cvent. Cvent has 6,000 plus employees. Networking within Cvent is just as valuable. Go to those networking events, even in the most unlikely places. Just start a conversation. Really know who you are, really have a good sense of your personal brand, where you want to go in the future, and have those conversations. At the airport, literally anywhere you go, the grocery store. You can meet the most influential people that can change your life in the most unlikely places, but you have to be open and willing.
You have to practice your elevator pitch. I actually tell people that I practice in the mirror speaking, just so that I feel more comfortable because talking to strangers is not a gift of mine. I had to learn this. I had to grow into this. This is a skill that is not natural to me. I would spend hours in the mirror practicing my elevator pitch, making it sound natural, making sure that I don’t fumble over my words, really concise and clear ideas. But it really does help. I would say honestly, join even organizations like IES and join their seminars and get to know those people.
I will say after joining, I have been introduced to so many influential people, it actually makes my head spin. I’m like, “Wow, how am I in these rooms? How am I starting these conversations? This is so amazing.” They have a wealth of knowledge that they’re willing to share with me, and I think that is just so key. They actually want to see me win and they want to see me succeed. So definitely organizations like this, I would say for sure become a member.
Fred Diamond: We have a comment here from Bob that says, “Wow, what a great answer.” We have a comment here from Lauren who says, “That is such an amazing answer.” We have a question here that comes in from Jillian and Jillian says, “Can Lauryn describe why she’s deserving of this award?” I think what Jillian is asking is, why you, Lauryn Scott?
Again, we had over 25 nominations this year for the Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star Award. We had eight amazing finalists, who hopefully you’ll become friends with if you haven’t already from companies like Akamai and Salesforce, and AWS, just amazing companies. Don’t be shy. Give us the answer on why you have gotten to this point in your career, and what do you think sets you apart?
Lauryn Scott: I would say definitely my mindset. Instead of asking, why me, ask why not me? Then go into your accolades, go into your resume, look at what you’ve done, look at how much you’ve learned, look at how much you’ve grown over the years. I remember when I first started my sales career at the Wizards, I didn’t know my up from my down. I didn’t know how to pick up the phone. I would get anxiety attacks from picking up the phone and talking to a stranger.
We were required to make 70 calls a day. It was either I was going to get over my anxiety, or I was going to get fired. I had to really make that decision and something in my mind clicked and it was like, I want to be a winner. I want to win. When I made that conscious decision, it seemed like everything else was falling into place. You have to take that leap of faith. Kevin always says, “Jump and the net will appear.” He’s one of my mentors, and that is probably the best advice that I have ever gotten because I constantly jump and the net will appear because I believe in myself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to believe in you.
Fred Diamond: One of the biggest challenges for companies is hiring, attracting, retaining great talent. We’ve heard about The Great Exodus and The Great Resignation. It’s hard for companies, even a great company like Cvent to be attractive to young people such as you and getting them into sales jobs. It’s really, really difficult right now. What would be some of your advice for companies to get better at recruiting young sales talent such as you?
Lauryn Scott: Something that Cvent did, actually. They used to use their HR department and send them out to colleges for job fairs and things like that. Those little networking events at colleges to recruit entry level. It worked out okay, but they did a little switch and they started sending salespeople out instead of just sending people from their HR department. I was one of the salespeople that they sent, and the passion that you have is contagious. The passion that I have for Cvent, when I started talking about Cvent, they’re like, “Oh, I want to work for you. I want to go to your department. You make this sound amazing.”
It’s a gift that salesmen have because we’re able to transfer our passion and our energy. That was probably the best move that Cvent did, was sending salespeople along with their HR department to go in tandem. That way, we can do the selling of the company, and then they can tell you all of the back-end things like, “Oh, this is a great career for you, X, Y, and Z”, but we can really sell that passion, and why we love working where we love to work.
Fred Diamond: I have a question here that comes in from Carlos. Carlos says, “What motivates Lauryn?” Thank you, Carlos. I’m going to ask that question slightly different. We hear all the time about the three most important things for salespeople. Point blank, what motivates you and what motivates people like you? I want you to answer the question as if you’re talking to companies again that are looking to hire salespeople. What is it going to take to keep someone, so first of all, attract someone like Lauryn to my company, and secondly, what’s going to keep you at my company? What is that really motivates you?
Lauryn Scott: The first thing I always say, I’m motivated by money. I think every salesperson would say that. I’m being very honest right now, money is the ultimate motivator. That’s why I got into sales. I think what keeps me at Cvent aside from the money, the money is great, but I would say that the support. They allow me to be creative, they allow me to create new departments and fix problems. If there’s a problem, they empower me to fix it. If I can find a solution, they are all for it. This is the first company that I’ve ever worked for that gave me that much empowerment and I will say it changed my life. I feel like I am unstoppable, I can do anything because I know that Steven believes in me just as much as I believe in myself. I would probably say money first, and then that support, that backing to be creative and be yourself and really figure things out. It’s an intrapreneurial spirit is what we say at Cvent.
Fred Diamond: We got a lot of question for Lauryn Scott. Brian says, “Can Lauryn tell us what else she likes to do besides work? She’s so infectious.” Tell us a little more about you from a personal perspective. By the way I’m still thinking about your answer where you said you talk in front of the mirror.
We tell people all the time, practice. Sales is a profession, and same way you would get great if you’re an athlete, ironically with your background selling sports, you got to practice. You got to show up and you don’t practice in front of the customer, you practice 100 times before you get to the customer. You’ll learn from your interactions of course, but that’s not when you first try things and maybe you navigate away. Tell us a little about you. What are some of the things that you do, that you enjoy doing that builds the well-rounded Lauryn Scott?
Lauryn Scott: I would say I love to travel. That has been put on hold obviously because of the pandemic. I am ramping back up to travel again, but I enjoy travelling. I also love giving back. I’m very philanthropic. I love to give to at-risk youth and just give them a confidence boost. I help them with resume building and finding internships, but really, I love to speak life into the youth and just let them know that anything is possible. Don’t limit your dreams. If you can work hard, and you can dream it, you can achieve it. I would say that’s probably what I do with my free time. I give back and I travel. Oh, and I love to shop. Yes, I do love to shop [laughs].
Fred Diamond: You mentioned some mentors from work. Are there any other people in your life who have been very influential in helping you develop this mindset and this positive attitude?
Lauryn Scott: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been so many people. A former professor of mine, actually, at Howard University is the one who really got me interested in sales. It’s funny because I was a marketing major, and I just knew I wanted to do marketing campaigns for a sports team. I was really excited about that. I could not get my foot into marketing. They wanted like five years’ experience. As I said, it was during the economic crisis when I graduated, so all of the entry level positions were not so entry level.
My professor actually is the one who said, “Lauryn, I think you have very good raw talent in sales.” I’m like, “No, I don’t want to be a salesman.” I thought that salesmen were just used car salesman is what came to mind. She’s like, “No, that’s the exact opposite. Let me show you this world of sales.” She’s really the one who opened up my mind. I do think that we should go back more into colleges and change the connotation of sales to a lot of students, because I don’t think they really understand how beneficial it is to have a career in sales.
Fred Diamond: The Institute for Excellence in Sales, we start off with the perspective that sales is a profession. If you think about the places where you worked, I mean, you’re not convincing people to do something they don’t want to do. You’re providing value. The people that you’re communicating with in enterprise and B2B and complex sales, they have really important jobs where millions, if not tens of millions of dollars are on the line. If you have a bad event for something, it’s at the wrong venue, and whatever happens, you may struggle for years to regain the customers that you just lost.
Same thing if you don’t treat people well when they come to your arena, they’re not going to come back. Usually people are doing things not for themselves. They’re doing things for their customers or to help their customers’ customers, so it’s a long chain. Lauryn Scott, we got time for one more question before we ask you for your final action step.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Again, winning the Rising Sales Star Award. One of the factors that the judges considered was, can they see this person having a – to say you’re going to have a Jay Nussbaum type of a career is setting you up for failure because there was only one Jay Nussbaum. But at the same time, striving to the next level, and then to the next level and becoming a VP of a division or eventually a GM. Five years is a long time and it’s a short time. Where do you see yourself in five years ideally?
Lauryn Scott: I see myself still at Cvent. Cvent has great career growth for me. I see myself as a director moving into a VP level. I definitely want to put down roots at Cvent. I would like to see myself starting a new division where it’s not so much hotels but unique venues. Actually growing that share of wallet in that industry. I’m really excited about that. Then I guess outside of Cvent, I would like to see myself go back to colleges and get them excited about a career in sales especially with the marketing majors and the advertising majors who may not know because you can’t major in sales, at least not at my university, you couldn’t major in sales. But really showing them the benefits of having a career in sales and how that can translate in your personal life as well. Having more confidence, having better communication skills, all of those things are transferable. I would say probably it’s a two-fold answer. I would like to be moving into a VP level in Cvent and I would like to go back to colleges and universities to help change their perception of sales.
Fred Diamond: Once again, Lauryn Scott, congratulations on being the 2022 Jay Nussbaum Rising Sales Star Award recipient. Again, in June 1st, we’re going to be giving this award to Lauryn. The award event is open to anybody. We’ll have a link in the show notes. Lauryn, congratulations again on the success you’ve had to this point and the recognition from the IES and you’re definitely a champion for the great stuff that Cvent is doing and the potential for sales as a career. You’ve given us some great ideas. Give us one more specific piece of advice, and action step that the people listening to today’s Sales Game Changers podcast should do to take their sales career to the next level.
Lauryn Scott: Absolutely. I would say, find a mentor and change your mindset. Change your mindset to have a winning mindset and find a mentor as soon as you can.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo