EPISODE 239: Diligent Corporation’s Global Sales Chief Trevor Vale Lists Three Fresh Strategies to Lead Sales Teams Beyond the Pandemic

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We conducted this interview in February 2020. Since the show was released during the pandemic, we asked Trevor what his advice is for sales professionals now. He offered the following:

  • In today’s environment, sellers must be very aware of buyers circumstances and respond with appropriate levels of empathy and patience. This could be both personal (ie. someone who’s loved one is sick) or related to their particular industry (ie. travel & hospitality). While some buyers are willing and able to act as though it’s “business as usual”, sellers should never assume that this is the case for all. The pandemic has effected everyone and every business in different ways. Sellers should be mindful of this and act accordingly.
  • Rethinking your key value proposition to ensure it highlights the new world realities. This is critical to grabbing and maintaining buyers attention today. While it is sometimes difficult to change what has worked so well in the past – sellers who do not adjust their messaging to incorporate the new future will look prehistoric. Think hard about what current problems you and your company can help solve for your buyers. Then have meaningful conversations that inform the both of you about what is possible.
  • Communicate more than ever with your marketing and product teams. Give them constant intel on what is working … and what needs to change. Over communicate!  The smart companies are willing to alter their strategies and product offerings quickly to respond to changes in the market. Make sure sales has a place at the table to help set the agenda. While everyone can agree that we are in a crisis – opportunity is always available for those who work for it.

EPISODE 239: Diligent Corporation’s Global Sales Chief Trevor Vale Lists Three Fresh Strategies to Lead Sales Teams Beyond the Pandemic

TREVOR’S FINAL TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “If you’re going to get into sales, you’ve got to be prepared to handle pressure. If you’re not confident it’s definitely not the career for you. You always must be confident. You must be confident when you’re winning and most importantly you have to be confident when you’re failing. If you’re not believing in yourself you’re just not going to inspire anyone to purchase from you.”

Trevor Vale is the SVP and Global Head of Sales at Diligent.

He worked at Intercontinental Exchange and Thomson Reuters

Find Trevor on LinkedIn here.

Fred Diamond: Tell us what you sell today and tell us what excites you about that.

Trevor Vale: In short, I sell modern governance. What is modern governance? We provide a software suite of services that empowers leaders to simplify, secure and streamline their governance practices leveraging our tech. Our governance solutions offer a range of capabilities including entity management, insights and analytics, secure collaboration and our flagship product, the one we’re known most for is Diligent Boards which is the most widely used board portal in the world used by 50% of the Fortune 1000. Simply put, we provide the right information to the right leaders at the right time.

Fred Diamond: You mentioned in the beginning that it’s a PE backed firm, what does that mean from a selling perspective? Do you have to sell differently if it’s a public company versus privately owned versus private equity based?

Trevor Vale: Big stark difference between selling within a publicly traded company like a Thomson Reuters, for instance and a PE backed company like Diligent. We’re fortunate to have some great PE backers so Insight and ClearLight are two private equity firms. I have a keen understanding of the SaaS space so they get it, they understand the importance of marketing demand generation in that vertical and provide us a ton of support and resources to scale and acquire new companies and assets to expand what we are doing.

It’s a real privilege to align with solid private equity companies like the ones I’m currently working with and it’s a different dynamic, frankly. It’s one of hyper growth so very performance based, expectations are high, that’s why we’re all there but also the support and the vision are super clear. There’s a great sense of purpose and if push comes to shove, I’ll pick that any day of a week because as a seller, someone who’s asked to lead sales teams it’s easy to tap into that energy, it’s easy to leverage that energy to inspire the team. When you’re constantly moving and change is often the order of the day, it’s a fantastic stimulating environment to work in.

Fred Diamond: How did you first get into sales?

Trevor Vale: Like a lot of people, I got my start in an unexpected way in sales. There is no sales university, you don’t go do four years to get your sales degree so my path into sales is unique like I’m sure most folks listening today. After graduating college with a political science degree I took a year off to try and figure out what I wanted to do. Politics was a dirty possibility but I thought I’d pursue law, that’s where a bunch of my friends had moved onto pursuing a law degree somewhere. I decided to take that year and move to Japan where I spent a year teaching English and took the opportunity to learn a little bit about another culture and also make a little bit of money.

After a year when I returned to Toronto, I found myself back at mom and dad’s place – which was great, I love mom and dad, just want to make that clear – but as I quickly ran out of the money I’d saved in Japan I started to think about what I needed to do. One thing I really needed to do was find an apartment, I needed to get back out there and live on my own, I’d done it in college and of course, a year abroad. That was a big catalyst to me, deciding that I’d probably better go make some money and I debated, “Do I keep the band going or do I maybe see if I can get into law school and again make that money and find an apartment?”

In the end, that again was the catalyst and I ended up one day picking up the phone and calling a good friend of mine who I hadn’t spoken to in a couple of years. As I called him, he picked the phone up and I could sense that he was very busy and there was a lot going on in the background, phones ringing, people screaming and he quickly cut through the pleasantries and said to me, “So what, are you looking for a job? Get a resume over to me tomorrow” and abruptly hung up the phone. [Laughs] I quickly went into mom and dad’s study and tweaked my resume as best I could, and at the time I was a kid fresh out of college, a couple of odd jobs in the summer at a gas station and a little stint as a dishwasher at Denny’s and of course, a year teaching in Japan but tried my darnedest to parlay that into something that could be exciting to a company.

I ended up getting an interview at this company my friend was working for and the company was called SuperCom, I think it’s since defunct but it was essentially a VAR reseller of computer components. After a quick interview I got the job and found myself working at SuperCom which was essentially a boiler room for computer components. Doing that for a year taught me a lot about cold calling, taught me a lot about value selling and really taught me a lot about performance based sales, frankly. What’s the old joke? We’ve got a sales contest this week and the winner gets to participate in the sales contest next week. That’s what this place was about, you were only as good as your quarter and if you didn’t produce, you were out. 70% of what you did was based on commission, we used to have spiff campaigns. Maxtor Hard Drives, for instance would come in and say, “Whoever sells the most hard drives gets $500 bucks.”

Fred Diamond: How many phone calls did you make a day on average?

Trevor Vale: We must have done three dozen calls a day, just to outreach, maybe more. I had a small book of business, was asked to grow that but most of it was just pure straight up cold calling.

Fred Diamond: What are some of the key lessons you took away from those first few sales jobs?

Trevor Vale: I think the lessons were being comfortable in terms of being able to message something and you had to message lots of different products and you had a short time to do it. You had distracted buyers you were reaching out to, intense competition, this was going back to 1997 so everybody out there was selling computer components so how do you distinguish yourself? How do you differentiate? All those things were quickly instilled into me in the short time I was there.

Fred Diamond: How did you differentiate yourself when you’re selling such commoditized products?

Trevor Vale: That’s a great question because a Maxtor Hard Drive or an Asus Motherboard is a Maxtor Hard Drive or an Asus Motherboard regardless of where it’s coming from. As I sold to these VARs, one of the things we had going for us and that we leveraged in our pitches was that we did some work for IBM. IBM actually outsourced some of their Toronto based PC business to our firm so gravitating towards that and trying to communicate that we were a trusted partner of IBM definitely differentiated us and transcended us from the suburban office mall that we existed in – it was essentially a warehouse. To the buyer on the phone was able to communicate a degree of trust, a degree of legitimacy that frankly our competitors couldn’t do.

Fred Diamond: Who did you sell to? Was it to the home or to corporations or certain verticals?

Trevor Vale: It was a ton of local electronic stores in the Toronto GTA area that happened to sell PCs as well. We sold to VARs who we would sell components to and they would build customized PCs and we also sold to resellers as well. It was a mixed bag of storefronts and this was in the early days of dot com so there wasn’t a ton of online options. Firms like SuperCom were pretty much a go-to for most of these brick and mortar type environments.

Fred Diamond: On today’s Sales Game Changers podcast we’re talking to Trevor Vale, he’s a senior VP of global sales for Diligent. Trevor, get us caught up on you right now. Tell us what you’re an expert in, tell us a little more about your specific area of brilliance.

Trevor Vale: I’m sure my wife would have a different answer than the one I’m going to give you and I’m sure some of my team members would also, but I think I’ve become an expert in, it sounds a little strange, but just adapting to change. I think spending 25 years in sales you learn a ton and your experience provides perspective on lots of different scenarios so sales acumen gets refined. You have a good tool box of things that you can utilize in various sales environments but the rapid pace of change that’s going on right now is unprecedented.

My father was a very successful sales and marketing executive, he let a number of large sales teams and marketing teams within the consumer electronic business over his career. When I speak to him about the X’s and O’s of sales, it’s a pretty stark contrast the world that he lived in versus the one I’m living and he can see that when we’re trying to compare accomplishments in a healthy competitive way, by the way. I think the rapid change that we’re going through right now provides a whole ton of opportunity, tons of new ways to unpack analytics, to understand what your close ratios are in different circumstances, how you fair against your competitors. There’s just a deep mind of data that can be accessed in a very quick way and there’s tons of new tools and technologies that are constantly being introduced into not just sales but frankly, every profession whether it’s legal, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s sales, what have you.

Fred Diamond: What’s a good tool that you deploy in your sales organization?

Trevor Vale: We’re a big fan of Salesforce, we’re a big fan of Domo which adds another layer to access that data out of Salesforce and we’ve started to deploy Gong which is an effective tool to see how messaging is going in the marketplace, how reps are positioning new products, etc. and for on-boarding new sales staff. Those are an example of three, we’ve got many more that are used across our customer success groups and within our sales organization. Where I was going with what I’ve become an expert at, I think it’s really managing that new capability on the technology side to empower the sales organization and improve your close rates and generate more bookings ultimately. Also being able to maintain a focus on the sales side so inspiring the team, making sure they’re not distracted with too many new things, making sure we adhere to the old principles of those sales X’s and O’s I referred to earlier. Becoming an expert at just balancing the new world with the old, if that makes any sense, is how I view myself as a nice cross between the two.

Fred Diamond: I’m just curious, I very rarely ask this question but before I ask you about an impactful sales career mentor, how would you describe yourself as a leader? If someone would say, “Trevor is a ‘blank’ type of leader” how would you fill in the blank? How do you view yourself as a leader?

Trevor Vale: My leadership style is absolutely performance driven, so I spend a lot of time studying coaches. We talked about hockey so hockey is a place I go to a lot and try and read as much as I can about leadership roles in that form as well as other sports. One of my favorite books is Urban Meyers’ Above the Line, I think he’s got a very succinct way of inspiring a team to win. Those things definitely resonate with me on the sports side of the spectrum. I think the constant search to find new ways to inspire has to be part of any successful sales leader. It takes a lot to continue to wake up every day and rally the team and you’ve got to be legitimate about that. I’ve worked for sales leaders who you didn’t buy into what they were doing and similar to sports, if a coach doesn’t really feel that that team can win or that they’re going to do it then that team probably won’t.

Being a constant variable in terms of inspiration and energy I think is something that I aspire to on a daily basis. Also, an important and often overlooked component of sales leadership is trust so being able to gain the trust of your team and having walked into Diligent and inheriting a sales team that I didn’t choose, they didn’t choose me, I didn’t choose them but being able to establish that trust takes time. It has to happen on the individual level so I have a team of just under 50 around the globe and I make an effort every two months to interface with each of them on a 30 minute call or in person when I can but because they’re all over the world, sometimes a call has to happen. Just being able to communicate for 30 minutes with that individual and start to understand what makes them tick and conversely communicating what I’m looking for is extremely valuable. That trust needs to be invested in through time and as sales leaders it’s sometimes difficult to carve that time out but I’d encourage everyone to try and do that and know all of their sellers.

Fred Diamond: That’s an interesting answer. A lot of times trust comes up on the Sales Game Changers podcast from the concept of being a trusted adviser for your customer but this was the first time I believe one of the sales leaders that we’ve interviewed talked about having to build trust. The reason you had to do that was you mentioned you took the job and your sales team was given to you as compared to growing with them type of a thing.

Trevor Vale: Yes, that’s one thing and also we acquire new companies at a fairly rapid rate at Diligent. Our growth is tied into organic and acquisition so we do inherit salespeople from time to time. The trust, I think just needs to be established in a way that the sales reps feel that they can trust their sales leader, that they can speak and communicate to that sales leader, that they can bounce new ideas off that sales leader and feel like they won’t be penalized for it. I’ll take the truth any day of the week so if I understand why a seller is not performing, for instance, if they trust me and I trust them there should be a good back and forth on, “How can we improve this? What you’re telling me in terms of maybe your persona situation in life or otherwise is certainly having an impact. How do we course correct, how do we bring in new resources? Whatever the fix is.”

If you don’t have the trust, I feel like sometimes you just won’t get candid answers around what’s not working and on a more superficial level it’s just like, “This product is not working because of this.” As an example, if I’m a sales rep overseeing a region that’s far away from HQ in the Middle East, for instance and that rep is having problems with a certain product I’d like to know about that sooner rather than later.

Fred Diamond: You’ve been in sales for 25 years. Why don’t you tell us about an impactful sales mentor and how they impacted your career?

Trevor Vale: I mentioned I was at a bit of a boiler room in terms of SuperCom and during my stint there it quickly became evident to me that I wanted to do more, I knew there was a bigger world out there and felt like I’d established or gotten a foothold in the sales game and was enjoying it, enjoying making money and enjoying communicating with a variety of characters on a daily basis. Sometimes it would be a dramatic phone hanging up with an explicit or sometimes I’d actually establish a bond with a potential client and got connected to sales through that back and forth but I knew SuperCom was not going to be big enough for my aspirations.

In my sixth, seventh month at the firm dialing for dollars I started to establish a shortlist of companies that I felt had the scale to elevate my game and offer maybe a more professional and civilized environment to work in with better options than the strip mall that was just down the street from where SuperCom was located in terms of lunches and things. Ultimately I identified Reuters as a potential company to work in so I took those cold calling skills I’d learned and started to dial for dollars around these firms that I’d earmarked and tried to connect with the sales leaders within those firms and got a couple of bites, one which turned out to be Reuters. I connected with their head of sales who was a bit confused as to why I was calling, I had no background in financial services, I barely had any background in sales but I was able to communicate a bit more about me in terms of what I had accomplished, the experience in Japan, for instance and other things, enough to captivate him to take a meeting.

One evening after working a full day I drove into the city of Toronto and met with that sales leader and I spent about two hours with him. I remember it was a late night meeting, it was probably from 6:30 to 8:30 and had a good back and forth and tried my darnedest to show him that I understood financial services, I knew what investment banks did, I knew the difference between a buy side and a sell side which I didn’t know at the time. I’d done enough research to put together a bit of a story and he was walking me out of the door leading me towards the elevator shaking my hand thanking me for the time and all that. I turned to him just before getting on the elevator and I said, “I really appreciate the meeting and I just wanted to see when would be a good time for you to have a follow up discussion and talk about next steps.”

It was a very stark moment in my life, he grabbed me and pulled me back into the office and sat me down on the couch in reception and said, “I was just about to say goodbye to you and thought you were a great guy and really enjoyed meeting you.” We had a lot in common, he was – surprise, surprise – a hockey guy and happened to grow up in my neighborhood but he said, “I was going to let you go until you asked for the close. Because you did that, I’m going to give you another shot and I’m going to have you actually come back and talk to some other people.”

From that, he actually put me on a trade show floor manning a booth for Reuters product. I had to take a day off work because I was still at SuperCom and he said, “Come on in, I want you to work this booth and I want to see how you do.” He had me stand there for six hours at the booth, I knew nothing about the product, he was taking a big risk although I guess he knew the trade show better than I did, but I still did it for six hours learning about the product as I engaged potential clients. He was barely to be found, he was in the room but he actually had people coming up to me interacting with me and asking me about the product and things and getting feedback on the side. At the end of that day he took me out for a glass of scotch – I don’t think I drank scotch at that time, I think I was a jack and coke guy – but he took me out for a nice glass of scotch in a nice place in Toronto and offered me the job to start at Reuters as an account manager.

Fred Diamond: One of the key things that you just said there which comes up not infrequently is the lack of follow up. We’ve interviewed some people who have managed call centers and they said after analyzing hundreds if not thousands if not tens of thousands of millions of calls, one of the key things that they see wrong is that people don’t do the follow up so good for you for asking that question about what’s the next step and what do we do. I’m just curious, what do you see as the two biggest challenges that you face as a sales leader?

Trevor Vale: I think the challenges today that I have, I think some of your listeners might be a bit envious. If I take a look at my business, I am lucky enough to have a first class marketing organization that I align with on the commercial side. It’s been an extremely pleasurable working experience to work with my colleagues in marketing at Diligent and they’ve developed a first-class demand gen capability for Diligent. The result of that is a big chunk of my bookings are the result of a lot of inbound leads and that’s a good thing. Again, I think a lot of folks would be envious of that.

My challenge is to make sure my sales reps don’t get too lazy, too complacent with that drip which is more than a drip, and y #1 challenge is to motivate, inspire and teach them how to be better sales prospectors. Expect some great inbound leads for sure because my marketing team are great at delivering those, but also to own your book, own your territory. I’ve spent the last couple of years instilling that culture trying to make those changes and I’m happy to report in 2019 we increased our sales prospective contributions to our book, we almost doubled that contribution and it now represents about 20% of our annual bookings. That’s one thing I focus on, the other one is equally enviable in some ways but it’s really about product. I talked about the rate at which we acquire companies, it’s at an accelerated rate, it’s making the modern governance story better and better but for sellers I have to make sure – back to my point on distraction – that I’m very cognoscente of the fact that they need to be able to understand the new products we put into market. They need to be able to message our proposition as it relates to those new products and most importantly, that those products work and are ready for prime time. The go to market strategy as a sales leader, I try and be very active in working with my product team, with my legal team, with my marketing team to ensure that when we release a product it is fully baked, it is ready to go, we can contract for that product, we can create a sales force for that product, that the product works and is ideally integrated into our other offerings. That’s something I spend a lot of time focusing on.

Fred Diamond: Why don’t you take us back to the biggest success or win from your career that you’re most proud of?

Trevor Vale: I’m happy to say there’s a lot of them but if I look back to a sale that I feel leveraged a whole bunch of my skills and brought them all together to realize a successful win, it has to be during my time at a startup company. It was back in 2012, I was working with a San Mateo based company called Xignite, fortunate to work with their CEO, Stephane Dubois. They had brought me in to leverage my relationships within the financial services sector and break out of a model that was API delivered to a lot of startups and try and take a market data cloud concept – remember, this was 2012 so the cloud was not as popular or accepted as it is today – and push that into the financial services space.

At the time most of the major investment banks had server firms, very few of them were open to cloud distribution points and I was asked to try and change that. Stephane and I traveled the world talking to pretty much every bank you can name and I would reach out to my network and do my best to facilitate those meetings. One Canadian bank in particular started to be receptive to what we were talking about and was open to exploring the cloud. After a lot of scrutiny around our security, after a lot of internal product changes to our stack working with my CTO and also CEO, we actually started to gain some traction at this Canadian bank and identified some champions there who we could make look good.

Of course, if it didn’t work they would look bad but we all knew that, they were willing to take that risk and we got access to some of the most senior folks within that Canadian bank. In the end, we ended up papering a multi-million dollar deal, it was a milestone deal for the company, it was a game changer for the industry and it’s certainly one I’m super proud of.

Fred Diamond: You’re a hockey guy, who’s your favorite hockey player of all time?

Trevor Vale: Favorite hockey player of all time? The obvious one is Gretzky and I know he gets a lot of press so I don’t need to give him any more but yes, Wayne Gretzky, definitely my favorite but my favorite Toronto Maple Leafs has got to be Darryl Sittler, #27. He’s a guy I grew up with, inspired me so big Leaf fan, I’ll say those two guys.

Fred Diamond: Those are good, you know who mine is?

Trevor Vale: Who?

Fred Diamond: Bobby Clarke.

Trevor Vale: There you go.

Fred Diamond: I grew up in Philadelphia.

Trevor Vale: He’s a scrapper, he had some great teeth, great chompers.

Fred Diamond: [Laughs] he did, from Flin Flon, Manitoba. Have you ever been there, Flin Flon, Manitoba?

Trevor Vale: Never been to Manitoba, no.

[Sponsor break]

Fred Diamond: Trevor, we have Sales Game Changers listening around the globe. What’s the most important thing you want to get across to them to help them take their careers to the next level?

Trevor Vale: If you’re going to get into sales, you’ve got to be prepared for pressure. The good thing about sales I’ve always said is that it is so quantifiable that you could potentially avoid any corporate politics – I used to say that [laughs] I’m getting older and wiser now. It really is one of the few jobs in the world that performance can be assessed relatively quickly. You know if you’re winning, you know if you’re losing, you know if you’re adding value, you know if you’re not. It’s not abstract in any sense. There are of course other nuances and caveats that you have to be mindful of working together with your colleagues and making sure you interact with your customers in a professional manner, etc.

At the end of the day it’s a results-driven profession so being cognoscente of that, being confident in yourself. I think confidence has to align with that performance based culture, if you’re not confident it’s definitely not the place for you. You always have to be confident, you have to be confident when you’re winning and most importantly you have to be confident when you’re failing. I think confidence is tough to fake, you could fake it for a day or two but when you’re talking about a lifetime profession, sales is all about confidence. If you’re not believing in yourself you’re just not going to inspire anyone to purchase from you.

Fred Diamond: Tell us about one of your selling habits that has led to your sales success.

Trevor Vale: One of my big selling habits is off what you just said there, just being organized and prepared. Those two things I can’t stress enough. Being prepared for a sales meeting is half the battle, being able to demonstrate that you’ve done the research, that you know who you’re meeting with puts you in the driver’s seat and can only fuel your confidence. If you’re under prepared and just winging it, you’re just not going to extract any value from those meetings. You have to set the agenda, you have to be very specific on what you want that outcome to be, the information you’re looking for and be respectful of the people you’re meeting with whether it’s your colleagues or the buyers themselves.

I think that point was driven home to me, I remember my early days at Reuters and I remember accompanying a colleague to a meeting with a large Canadian commodity firm. We were supposed to meet with one person so the senior sales colleague was bringing me, the rookie along. He said, “We have this meeting with one person, he’s very senior but it should be quick, I just have to get some pricing over to him and a proposal and we’re just going to drop it off and leave.”

When we arrived at this lavish office, the receptionist took our coats and then walked us down a long hall and opened two double doors and inside the board room were over a dozen executives all waiting for us. I remember this moment vividly because my senior colleague stood there with her mouth literally open and I could feel the fear, I could feel the shock, this was not what she was prepared for. One of the executives, they were talking amongst themselves, looked up and say, “Okay, you guys can plug in over there for your presentation.” We didn’t have a presentation, we weren’t expecting to give a presentation and I was young and probably stupid, too stupid to understand what was going on but I basically just started talking about Reuters, what we were doing, just pushing out as much information as I knew about that commodities client as I could.

That gave my senior colleague enough time to get it together and we put something together. It was not a successful meeting by any stretch, don’t get me wrong, but it did really emphasize to me the importance of preparation.

Fred Diamond: Tell us about a major initiative you might be working on today to ensure your continued success.

Trevor Vale: We’re calendar year so we just wrapped up our Q4. Analyzing 2019 or analyzing the prior year is something that I always do just extracting data points around what was working, what wasn’t working, trying to understand what our year over year ratios look like in 2019 versus 2018, what regions need to be focused on and potentially invested in to improve performance. I think right now there’s a global initiative on my end going on to really see where we’re deploying resources and where we might need more of them. This all boils down to new territory planning and taking a look at adjusting certain sales structures in certain regions. Organizationally it’s the main focus right now.

Fred Diamond: What is it about sales as a career that has kept you going?

Trevor Vale: Finding the right company, that is a big part of it. I talked about passion, I talked about bringing an energy to what you do every day and you’ve got to believe in the company, vis-à-vis the product. That is definitely table stakes in terms of being successful. Like I said earlier, if you don’t believe it it’s going to be difficult to convince your team, it’s going to be difficult to convince your buyer that that product is going to be a game changer. With Diligent being in the corporate governance space, it’s a unique space to be in for sure but I do find a ton of inspiration in the fact that our products are materially impacting businesses in the way that they govern and those things, if you look at the roster of clients that we have – I mentioned earlier 50% of the Fortune 1000 – these are companies that change the world.

These are companies that when they decide to do something, they’re affecting tons of lives. Amazon wants to set up a new corporate office somewhere, that’s going to impact the local economy, that’s going to impact a whole bunch of things. If you look at all the challenges that governance professionals are facing today with ESG, environment sustainability, all those good things, activist investors, diversity in the board room, there’s just a ton going on. I understand intimately that our product and services offers governance professionals a ton of tools to make decisions quicker and address these changes.

I think that’s where I am right now so this is easy for me to inspire my sales team, this is easy for me to get into a conversation with someone in an airplane about what we do or one of the many hockey dads who’ve heard me pitch to them I’m sure one time too many. It’s definitely something I would urge all sales professionals to do. You’ve got to interview the companies as well as they’re interviewing you, some salespeople or sometimes people view sales as, “Anybody can do sales, that’s an easy thing to do, you don’t have to go to Harvard to be a salesperson” but the reality is as we’ve been talking about, Fred, there’s so many variables that are unique to salespeople, there’s so many traits that salespeople have that a lot of other people don’t. I think if you find the right place, if you find the right company and the right product and you can believe in that, that is half the battle.

Fred Diamond: Give us a final thought to inspire them today.

Trevor Vale: Being able to make a difference as you say, Fred, is absolutely key to every salesperson in today’s world. If you look at where brick and mortar has gone, if you look at where Amazon has entered the equation, you can purchase most products or even services online these days. If you look at where buyers go after work, after they’re finished dealing with us on a B to B basis, they’re clicking to get their groceries, they’re clicking to get their TVs, they’re clicking to get whatever it is, dog food, you name it. The buying experience on the consumer side has moved in a very significant way over the past few years. You do not need to go to a car dealership to purchase an automobile, you can do that online and if you don’t like it, you can return it.

There’s very little friction in the sales process so your point on the value that we bring is even more pronounced today than it ever has been and we have to leverage technologies as I mentioned earlier to enable sellers to provide more information to buyers sooner. The buying process is typically 30% completed by the time they make a call to us, so goes some data, sometimes it’s even higher than that. There’s been an internal decision that they need something and by the time they reach out to vendors, a lot of decision have been made. The ability to impact, say 60% or 70% of that process has to be controlled, has to be understood and as salespeople, we need to add that value by keeping things clear, by asking the right questions, by being prepared and by understanding our buyers.


Transcribed by Mariana Badillo
Produced by Rosario Suarez

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