Fireside Friday with Chris Cassidy
This is our interview with Chris Cassidy, Director of Sales at 3PM Solutions.
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Chris: I have over 10 years of sales and sales leadership experience primarily in the software and technology realm. I have managed new business teams at fast growth pre-IPO tech companies and I have been on the product and delivery side of the business, which I think is valuable experience in solution sales. Currently, I lead sales and service for 3PM Solutions, a fast growing eCommerce software company.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Chris: Definitely the reps I've hired and coached who have progressed their careers into the highest ranks of enterprise sales or into leadership where they are now contributing to the learning and success of others. Getting to contribute to the growth of others and seeing how far some of these sales pros have pushed their careers is one of the greatest things about being a sales leader.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Chris: Sales is like the game of golf - you're playing the course, not the other players, and when you are playing well you're taking it one shot at a time, one hole at a time. When you obsess about a shot or hole that doesn't go your way, your game suffers. When you get wrapped up with how the other players are performing on course, your game suffers. You take tips or best practices and you implement them into your system, but you focus on putting up your best score against the course. - Tim Countryman, a much better golfer than me and a great leader.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Chris: Cutting through the noise. Technology has widened our access to prospects and has streamlined our outreach (pun intended for you outreach users) which can be a great thing for a sales person but the competition for our target buyer's attention has never been more fierce. Know you target buyer profile, know how your service or technology impacts that target buyer like the back of your hand, and be very concise in your messaging on what your product will do for your potential customers business.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Chris: I have had many mentors in my career, leaders who've invested in me and given me tools and tricks I use today. Over the years, the mentors who have had the biggest impact on me saw my strengths and gave me opportunities to showcase those strengths. Certainly I've been given a ton of constructive feedback that has made me better, but I think we make a mistake as coaches if that becomes the exclusive focus. I try to model some of my mentors today and identify where people are really good and give them chances to use those skills to better our team or to obtain recognition. Confidence and momentum are funny things in sales and my best mentors were great at building both.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Chris: The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge is an excellent book for those of you building a early phase system. The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson is an awesome methodology teacher. Right now I am reading The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday, attitude is everything, taking the challenges in my career and life and seeing them more objectively and as an opportunity is something I would like to master.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Chris: Sales Assembly is great! Check out "Tech Tavern" with Frank Cespedes, he has been doing some really interesting webinars focused on scaling businesses.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Chris: Dive right in and accept that you have a ton to learn, be a sponge, ask questions and do not be afraid to fail publicly. Find mentors, challenge them to challenge you. You will grow more in your first five years in sales than you have in your entire life, so just embrace it. Spoiler, you will never reach a point in your chosen profession where you are done learning, so become a consummate student early.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Chris: I think that sales organizations within the software/technology industry will be leaner in the future, less segmented, more focused on higher profit transactional sales, and reps will be asked to do more with technology than they do today. At 3PM, we run towards anything that we can do to increase individual productivity and in 2018 will be doing a ton to give potential customers more access to our product with the goal of keeping our sales operation lean, the company is driving towards profitability and speeding up our top of the funnel process. I think a lot of companies will be thinking this way in the future.
Sales Assembly: How do you build a winning sales culture?
Chris: I think it is one of the harder things in sales leadership and something we all invest a lot of time and thought into. I think it comes down to a few things: trust and transparency, integrity, commitment to each other. The best teams I've been a part of were never perfect but they were always respectful to each other, committed to not accepting anything but the best from each other, and good at celebrating wins - big and small. We all want to feel good walking in to work and great leaving at the end of the day. In sales that can be tough, but ask yourself if you are having a positive impact on those around you, if not do something about it, if yes then do more.