Fireside Friday with Chris Collins
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales:
Chris: For more than 10 years I have been in SaaS sales; focused primarily on fin-tech and HR Management Systems for the middle market. I have experience as an individual contributor, front-line manager, and leader of leaders for both VC-backed startups and Fortune 300 sales organizations.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Chris: In 2011, I moved from peer to leader on a struggling team. By the end of the year we were top 20% in the country and each rep finished over 115% to their annual quota. With the money they earned that year, two of the reps were able to put a down payment on their first home while another rep purchased an engagement ring for his girlfriend. Watching someone turn their sales success into life-changing events is incredibly rewarding.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Chris: I love the one our co-founder Jeff Ellman says often. "You are paid for your questions, not your answers."
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Chris: There's significant noise in the market. Buyers are fatigued from the onslaught of B2B reps reaching out, so you have to be creative nowadays and earn the right to ask for someone's time. Creativity, persistence, and the smart use of a good tech stack are key to growing a pipeline.
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: My father once told me "Never work for a company that has an outlandish headquarters, because that means their priorities are out of whack." Not listening to his advice I once took a job with a small company that had an insane office (we're talking marble floors with fountains and original paintings throughout the office). They were out of business within 5 years.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Chris: 5 Choices of Highly Effective People. Although not a sales book, this one has helped me tremendously throughout my career.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related books, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Chris: I'm addicted to the podcasts How I Built This, MarketFoolery, The Venture, and StartUp Podcast. Those podcasts aren't sales-specific, but they definitely share what to do (and what not to do) when building a business.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Chris: Whether you're over quota or under quota no one should know the difference.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Chris: The B2B sales tech products are getting pretty impressive. It won't be long before we begin utilizing true A.I. and predictive analytics to become more effective in our sales efforts
Sales Assembly: What;s the most quotable movie of all time, sales related or not?
Chris: The Big Lebowski, but "that's just, like your opinion, man."