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Fireside Friday with Mike Renderman


This is our interview with Mike Renderman, VP of Sales at Smokeball. You can follow Smokeball at @SmokeballNews.

Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.

Mike: I have worked for some of the best technology firms in Chicago over the past 15 years. Cision was my longest stint where I led a variety of different sales teams. I moved over to Solstice as VP, Client Engagement before spending 3+ years at Relativity where I led the Enterprise sales team. Currently I'm the VP of Sales at Smokeball, which is a law firm practice management software company.

Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?

Mike: I've worked with some great people that have gone on to advance their careers. That's the most rewarding.

Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?

Mike: Nothing in particular comes to mind, but I received so much good advice over the years.

Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?

Mike: I think the challenges are not that different compared to when I came into sales. Sales is still part science (metrics) and part art (the ability to motivate someone to make a smart decision towards your product). Someone's ability to focus on the numbers and continue to improve their gift of persuasion will probably go on to have an impressive sales career.

Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?

Mike: Yes I do. At this point, I think of him more as a friend but he's always generous with advice and ideas.

Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read?

Mike: Honestly I don't enjoy the vast majority of sales books. I get more value out of books about the psychology of buying and selling. I think To Sell is Human is a must read for everyone in a business capacity, whether you are directly selling, customer engaging, product development, and any other role that requires you to sell an idea, externally or internally. I recently read Presence by Amy Cuddy which was a great read about building confidence.

Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?

Mike: I really like when colleagues of mine share good content. Often times, I get that stuff on LinkedIn.

Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?

Mike: Well, first you need to be honest with yourself as to why sales is your direction. If your motivation for going into sales is because "people have told me I would be good at sales," that's a bad reason to go down the path. If you have a desire to control your earnings, engage with interesting people, and solve real business problems, then you are on the right track.

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