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 Paul Rosen, CRO at Shipbob.  

Give us your background in sales leadership

From 2011-2017, I was the Chief Sales Officer for On Deck and grew the team from 15 to 250 and revenues from $10M to $350M over that period of time. Currently, I’m the Chief Revenue Officer for ShipBob.

What’s the best piece of sales advice you ever got?

“A’s” hire “A’s,” and “B’s” hire “C’s.” An “A” will hire people who are better, smarter, and more efficient than they are. An “A” realizes that the only way to win in a competitive environment is to hire great people. “A’s” are not self-conscious and are more worried about getting the job done vs who gets the credit. An “A” will always want to work for/with another “A.” A “B” will worry about their team members outshining them and losing their position, authority and/or influence. So they will tend to hire “C’s,” which is very dangerous if you are expecting growth and strong levels of productivity.

What’s the biggest challenge for a sales rep today, and how can they overcome it?

Increase in information and competition. It is becoming more difficult to differentiate yourself. I would do things that you don’t get paid for to become a valued resource. If you add value, the business will come.

What’s the best sales or business book you’ve ever read?

Brian Tracy- Goal Setting

Who is your mentor, and what did they teach you?

One of the best ways to grow and develop is by having a strong mentor. I haven’t had one recently specifically to sales, but Noah Breslow, our CEO at On Deck, was a great mentor professionally. His advice was to always have an “N2” or a number 2 (someone who can replace the work that you are doing today). As you are scaling, it is important to determine if you have the talent internally to develop into N2’s (which is ideal), or if you have to hire outside. Either way, if you don’t have an N2, you will get stretched too thin and limit your overall growth. He also helped me press a little before hiring someone. He told me “If there is any doubt, there is no doubt” (don’t hire him/her).

What’s the best advice you’d give someone just starting a career in sales?

Whatever is asked of you, do 20% more.

What’s the biggest professional failure you’ve had, and what did you learn from it?

I started a company with two other guys many years back. We grew revenues quickly, but we drove the business into the ground financially and operationally. The biggest takeaway was to focus on the stuff that you are good at and enjoy and find people to take care of your blind spots.
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