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 James Hornick, Partner at Hirewell.
Give us your background in sales
Started my career doing enterprise sales at WorldCom. (Crazy way to start, right?). After working there and Akamai, I moved into the recruiting space, doing both sales and fulfillment. Over the last 16 years at Hirewell, I moved into various roles: management, strategy, marketing, etc. But always through the lens of business development.
What’s the best piece of sales or business advice you ever got, and from who?
When a prospect says no, ask if you can help them in their career. (Probably only works in recruiting.) You’d be amazed at how many slammed doors immediately reopen.
One of our partners, Mike Ehlers, taught me that.
What is the biggest challenge today facing a sales professional, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Buyers are more sophisticated and have heard it all before. They know when they’re having a real conversation vs being talked at. Learn your product, seek to understand the buyer, but perhaps most importantly learn about broader aspects of business, technology, culture, etc. Become knowledgeable and well-rounded. When you do that you can just rip up the script and talk with people.
What’s the best sales or business book you’ve ever read, and why? Are you reading anything now?
Range: Why Generalists Triumph is a Specialized World. It’s a reminder that having broad interests and experience makes you better in ways you could not predict. And it’s counter to the must-specialize narrative.
I just finished Artemis. Business books get boring after a while.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting a career in sales or revenue overall within B2B tech?
Join more experienced people on their calls and meetings whenever you can. Seeing how they articulate things in the real world will help things sink in faster. Then ask a lot of questions: why they said this, what went well and what didn’t, what they need to do next, what challenges they have, etc. Role playing is ok but the real thing is better.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who is interested in getting into leadership one day?
Don’t ask anyone to do something that you wouldn’t. And above all, always be nice.