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 Kevin Baumgart, VP Sales at Hologram.  

Give us your background in sales

I’ve spent my entire career (over 20 years – eek!) in sales and sales leadership positions. All of that time has been spent with early stage/entrepreneurial businesses. I’ve been lucky in my career and given the opportunity to build out sales teams. I love getting into a business early and seeing it grow and be successful.

What’s both your personal, and professional, superpower?

I don’t feel like this is a superpower, but I consider myself somewhat of a machine. I don’t need much sleep. Never needed adderall. And am happy to crank for hours on end.

What’s the best piece of sales or business advice you ever got, and from who?

My father was in sales training for the majority of his entire career. I was lucky enough to sit in some of his trainings in college. He always preached about a focus on the value that you can provide in Sales. If you can show value, closing happens naturally. It’s something that I’ve taken this focus on value to heart in each role I’ve had and I truly think it’s made an impact.

What’s the best sales or business book you’ve ever read, and why? Are you reading anything now?

Glad I read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman early in my career. Stuck with me more than any business book that I’ve read. I have used these concepts throughout my career and also in my personal life. EQ has been proven to be a trait of successful sales people.

Now: I just read “own the day” by Aubrey Marcus. I started to adopt some of his morning routine. It’s borderline insane (cold shower, drinking salt water, etc.) but I can feel the change it’s making to my day.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting a career in sales or revenue overall within B2B tech?

In my experience, early in your sales career is a grind. Most folks start in lead generation or prospecting roles. Though incredibly important, these roles are tough and filled with monotony and rejection. My advice would be to work hard, stay motivated, focus on small wins and do whatever you can to move into a true selling role as quickly as possible.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who is interested in getting into leadership one day?

It’s not for everyone. Though I love leading a team and working with people, I also miss the thrill of working a deal and getting the win. It’s why most people got into sales – they are competitive, love to win, and love the thrill of getting that commission check. Though you still get a taste of that in management, it’s not the same. Take time to think about if this leadership role really what I want.

What is one weird/quirky thing about you that most people don’t know?

I surf on Lake Michigan year round. In the winter specifically we can get decent waves. It’s not Hawaii, but I’ll take it!
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