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 Debra Senra, SVP of Revenue at Hireology.
Give us your background in sales
I started my career on the Account Management side of revenue where my job was to retain and sell to existing customers. I loved the thrill of the sale and over the course of the next few years I moved further away from the customer side and closer to the sales side of the business. Then in 2018 I swung back over to lead a Customer Success organization with Hireology. Over time the call of sales grew stronger and I started taking on more responsibility for sales again, eventually taking all revenue in January of 2020.
What’s both your personal, and professional, superpower?
Time management! I can’t explain what I do to anyone else…but I can get an obscene amount done in short periods of time without compromising quality. That’s true in business but also in my personal life (kids swim lessons, paying bills, doing taxes, grocery shopping, meal planning, redecorating, AND planning birthday parties? no problem!).
What’s the best piece of sales or business advice you ever got, and from who?
A former colleague on the product side of the business once told me: You can do one of three things at a time: you can listen, you can judge or you can talk. You can’t multitask. So if you’re thinking about how you’re going to respond as someone is talking, you’re not listening.
What is the biggest challenge today facing a sales professional, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
I describe it as “riding the roller coaster…and having fun doing it”. Sales is a TOUGH gig. The highs are high…but the lows can be LOW. It’s hard to stay positive and energized and confident during the lows and it’s hard to stay humble during the highs. I think the solution will vary for each person…but I try to remember that everything is temporary. When I’m winning, I try to focus on the future and how I stay on top; I celebrate my win, but not for long. When I’m losing, I remember that this too shall pass: if the highs don’t last, neither do the lows. I focus on what I can control and tell myself that the next high is just around the corner.
What companies, brands or influencers in the industry do you follow and/or respect most, and why?
I don’t just say this because it’s a Sales Assembly post…but Christina Brady is someone I follow with the utmost respect. She has an amazing perspective on leadership and on managing a revenue organization. She balances humanity with drive to succeed in a way that few leaders can. I also love (and shamelessly steal) some of her catch phrases. My favorite? “Be the soil, not the ceiling”.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who is interested in getting into leadership one day?
Don’t keep your desire a secret: make your goals known! That will come with criticism, which you should view as a gift. When someone knows you want something, and they’re comfortable enough with you to tell you why you’re not yet ready, absorb that feedback and find ways to either get better, get more experience, or get good at offsetting weaknesses with other strengths.