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 John Trumbull, VP of Sales at Access Mobility 24, Inc.  

Give us your background in sales

~30 years selling and managing sales teams in the Biotech space; 6 years of sales management consulting and business coaching; and now a 5-month veteran in the SaaS space!

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

From a sales mentor, circa 1995 — This is “the secret to success” in sales: “The salesperson who gets the order … is the one who most successfully minimizes … RISK!”

What is the biggest challenge today facing a sales professional, and how would you recommend they overcome it?

The elephant in the room, is: We, all of us, are inundated with overwhelming volumes of information, from multiple sources, all day, every day. The chances that a salesperson gets noticed by a Prospect, in that clutter, are plummeting. Tenacity, “polite persistence”, and high visibility win the day: The goal is to earn and maintain “mindshare”. But if your Prospects never hear from you … you’re “out of sight, out of mind” … and … trust me on this:
you’re not getting the order.

Who is your mentor, and what have you learned from them?

At the moment: my CEO. (But if my wife asks how I answered, tell her I said: “My wife!”) As I am new to the SaaS market, I am in humble learning mode — soaking up info, like a sponge. I liken it to a high school senior adjusting to life as a college freshman: Moments ago, I was “a big deal”. Now, I am a neophyte, once again. Humility is good for the soul….

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

The brutal truth, is: The skills that make you a great salesperson … are the exact _opposite_ of those that would make you a great manager. Don’t feel obligated to “climb the ladder”. The world needs more fearless, talented snipers than armchair generals. If you truly love our species, and you are excited at the thought of inspiring good people to become great, then go for it … “servant leadership” is so rewarding. But, if you are that talented sniper … stay in the trenches, and do what you do best: pickin’-off clients and making gobs of money. These are noble pursuits!

What’s a mistake or fail you vividly remember from your journey in business, and what did you ultimately learn from that experience?

So often, people don’t want to hear that “the Emperor has no clothes”. Realism is an unpopular worldview, in some corporate cultures. Unbridled optimism is fun, but it eventually sets you up for failure. When you encounter a manager who lives in a fantasy world, and says things like “Sure, we can grow 50% next year, no problem!” … run … run like the wind. “No (wo)man is more hated than (s)he who tells the truth.” — Plato … “In the eyes of an optimist: a realist looks like a pessimist.” — Me

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

I am actually John Trumbull VI – “the sixth” … and I have three daughters, no sons. God and my ancestors are giggling about this….
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