Fireside Friday with Bryan Naas
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Bryan: I’ve been in a sales or sales support role for more than 10 years. I got my start in sales as an account manager at a small startup in Indianapolis. After a couple years nurturing, training and growing client accounts, I made the leap to a field sales role to try my hand at driving new business. From there, I made the jump to ExactTarget/Salesforce to combine this experience in sales with my background in education to tackle Sales Enablement. I now head up all sales enablement efforts for Lessonly and work in tight coordination with sales leadership to drive ARR growth throughout the company.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Bryan: I love sharing my expertise and interacting with customers. My biggest accomplishment has been the trust I’ve built throughout my career for my teams to bring me into the sales cycle to help deliver value. I live for these incremental victories that help drive the close of that next deal or the improvement of an individual skill.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Bryan: The best advice I’ve received wasn’t actually direct advice. I was discussing the challenge of attention with a senior sales leader and the challenge of breaking through the noise that surrounds sales professionals on a daily basis. He shared that once a week he deletes every email in his inbox to clear it out. This often means hundreds of emails are deleted without an open or engagement. This highlighted the value of creativity in communication, especially the need to avoid hiding behind email and picking up the phone to interact with a customer (no matter if that “customer” is external or internal).
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Bryan: Simple...noise. Sales reps are pulled in a thousand different directions - from engaging with customers and prospects, to building pipeline, to updating their CRM, to learning about new products and practicing to improve their skills - all of this combines with a constant pressure to hit short-term and long-term goals. Sales reps MUST be explicit about time management to break through all this noise. Scheduling specific time on their calendar dedicated to learning and skill improvement, updating CRM and account planning is crucial to ensure nothing falls through the cracks, and they can perform at their highest each and every day.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a sales mentor, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Bryan: I have a whole list of individuals I look up to and go to for advice and idea brainstorming. In my first interaction with one of these mentors, I learned the power of curiosity and how it is woven throughout every successful deal. Seeking to understand a customer or prospect’s business without an agenda builds trust and helps us capture the full value of the opportunity. Ultimately, you have to understand their business and convince them that change is imminent if they want to succeed. Only then can you show them how your product is uniquely positioned to be that change agent to drive success.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Bryan: I just finished reading "Grit" by Angela Duckworth. While it isn’t specifically a business book, I loved the direct correlations I was able to draw between the sales process and the power of will and drive to succeed.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related books, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Bryan: I’m a podcast junky so anything with sales or sales enablement in the title I’ve probably listened to at one time or another. Right now, I’m enjoying Sales Tuners w/ Jim Brown and Make it Happen Mondays w/ John Barrows.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Bryan: Read (and listen to) everything you can get your hands on that has any relation to selling. There is no silver bullet. Those who succeed are the ones that are confident and able to adapt to the situation presented to them.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Bryan: I’m interested to see how VR and AR make their way into the sales process of the future. Video conferencing has broken down many walls when it comes to inside sales, and I think VR and AR could be the next evolution of that trend.
Sales Assembly: Where is your favorite spot to unwind and not think about sales?
Bryan: This is going to sound strange to you but...Disney World. We LOVE taking our kids and losing ourselves in the magic bubble. Is it exhausting at times? Sure. But the joy on our kids' faces and the memories we make with them make the sore feet worth every step.