Fireside Friday with Tom D'Amico
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Tom: I have spent the last 25 years building and enabling high performance sales and sales support teams primarily in the application software industry. Having worked for companies of varying size, maturity and vertical industry focus, I have an understanding and appreciation for their differing requirements and how that translates into building an effective sales organization.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Tom: As a sales person - consistently meeting or exceeding the revenue and margin goals that were set for me. As a sales leader - mentoring and guiding each member of my team to best leverage their individual strengths so they achieve their goals as well as the team's.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Tom: Listen!! You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, use them in that proportion - from my father.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Tom: Not getting discouraged. In most industries, the pipeline to revenue goal ratio is on average 4:1. Translated, that means as a sales rep you are only going to win on average 25% of the deals you're pursuing. That can be very demotivating. What can you do? 1 - Accept this and be happy with a 25 - 30% hit rate (or whatever is typical for your industry); and 2 - Celebrate the wins.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Tom: I can't really point to just one individual that I would classify as my mentor. I've had the distinct pleasure to work with some of the best software sales minds in the industry at several iconic companies, so I am really a bit of a sales "Frankenstein." The one common thing they all shared was to always remember and respect that there is a buying process going on as well as your selling process and they need to be aligned.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Tom: Spin Selling by Neil Rackham and The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Tom: The Sales Blog, Sales Hacker, and Center for Sales Strategy.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Tom: Don't do it!! (Just kidding). There's a common view, I sense, that many people view sales as just a first "stepping stone" to grander things. I would advise anyone starting out in sales to obviously first tackle the task at hand, but consider sales as a possible profession. If you explore the business world landscape you'll find sales opportunities of every shape, size and responsibility level.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Tom: From a B2B selling perspective, I see the B2B buyer persona changing to more resemble a B2C consumer. They have the tools and expertise to do much of their upfront research on products and companies without ever engaging a seller. When they do decide to engage, the seller is entering the buy process at a much different entry point.
Sales Assembly: Do you have a guiding principle that you follow in business?
Tom: Yes, it's the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated.