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 Larke, SVP of Sales & GM at Revieve.
Give us your background in sales.
I have over 20 years of experience in individual contributor roles as well as leadership positions in both early-stage & more established companies. After starting up my own firm in 2009, I wanted to get into SaaS and took a strategic selling role with a retail analytics company (ShopperTrak). From there, I worked under several great mentors to develop my leadership skills, and our company was sold to a large global company (Johnson Controls). After working for them for several years leading the East Coast, I was eager to move onto an earlier stage opportunity to make a true impact on results.
What’s the best piece of sales or business advice you ever got, and from who?
One of my first sales leaders, Tony Lenhart, told me “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” He was by far one of the best listeners I’ve ever worked under and made him that much more effective as a leader (and an even better human). That advice was given to me when I first started out in sales and still plays a major role in how I sell & coach.
What is the biggest challenge facing a sales professional today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Truly connecting with your prospect or client. I believe the pandemic has really made it more challenging to do so now that everyone is on video conferences all day long. It’s harder to get someone’s attention, let alone their undivided attention. Overcoming this is hard, but we’ve taken quite a bit of strategy from #SamSales of personalizing messages to stand out.
What’s the best sales or business book you’ve ever read?
The last great sales book I read was “The Challenger Sale,” as I’ve seen the data-driven approach work wonders in strategic sales cycles.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting a career in sales or revenue overall within B2B tech?
Don’t chase the highest-paid offer. Run to the company & the leader that will challenge you the most. Your total earnings (over the course of your career) will be astronomically higher, and the level of satisfaction will be right where you want it to be.
What’s a mistake or fail you vividly remember from your journey in business, and what did you ultimately learn from that experience?
In my first role as a leader, one of my top producers resigned when I relied on him the most. When he told me, I was so furious and gave him all sorts of guilt trips about leaving and telling him he wouldn’t be as successful wherever he was going. In reality, he fulfilled everything I asked him to do and more while being on my team…looking back on it, I regret how I responded, and it has shaped the way I respond if/when someone moves on. If the leader you chose to work for tells you how grateful they are for the contributions you made during your tenure, they will question why they invested any time with you at all.
Interviewee’s choice: What was the worst sales job you ever had?
I sold toilet paper to businesses door to door, and it was the best job to learn how to differentiate your product and provide value.
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