Our Fireside Fridays series is where we have the opportunity to sit down with top B2B revenue leaders for 7 questions and get a behind-the-scenes look at their recommended best practices, their background, and factors that have contributed to their success. This is our interview with Gail Behun, Senior Manager and Director of Sales Enablement at PandaDoc.
Give us your background in sales
I built a career in sales from the bottom up, starting as a Project Manager, then IC, Leadership, and finally, Sales Enablement. At each step, I built upon the skills of the former, leveraging my experience and tenacity. I have always considered myself a “reluctant quota crusher”; I have to build my career one accomplishment at a time.
What’s the best piece of sales or business advice you ever got, and from who?
“Know your numbers but never do the (commission) math.” In sales, numbers drive us; but they can also become a distraction. Knowing how to achieve your goals is critical, but constantly doing the commission math can derail even the most focused rep.
What is the biggest challenge facing a sales professional today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Tenure; Sales reps need 6-9 months to ramp into a job; 15 months to get really good. The average sales rep tenure is 18 months. The challenge is to stay in your seat long enough to reap the rewards of your first 17 months of work.
Who is your mentor, and what have you learned from them?
I had a sales manager who gave me a “perspective hat,” an imaginary way to step back and look at the big picture.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone interested in getting into leadership one day?
Focus on what leaders do, not what they say. Pattern the behavior that gets results and discard the fluff.
Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales or B2B tech?
There is a push/pull between sales automation and the declining number and necessity of sales reps…and the number of SDRs companies are hiring. There will not be enough seats in the AE role to fit all the SDRs. Buyers are much more comfortable buying everything online (even a car), so the role of sales continues to get smaller, tighter, and only the best survive.
Why do you think Sales Enablement has exploded as a profession?
I think SE is growing because orgs recognize that managing people – their quota, performance, and pipeline – is vastly different from teaching them the skills to get there. A typical sales manager is not a teacher. They are programmed to answer questions quickly to get the sale. That produces reps dependent on their leaders to help them close deals rather than training deal closers. Enablement powers that learning! And…it works! Like, 30% lift in Quota attainment results!
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