Fireside Friday with Matt Fowler
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Matt: My sales background started at Snap36 almost six years ago. I was brought on as employee number four and was tasked with building out the sales channel for a company creating a market, as well as establishing itself as the leading services provider. I am fortunate to have an amazing team here who is helping me become a strategic, enterprise sales manager running a team responsible for the majority of our company's revenue.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Matt: My biggest accomplishment is really a Snap36 accomplishment as well. When I first started at Snap36, it was natural to think about fashion and footwear as the main use case for online shoppers, but my head went to a different place. Being from Michigan, I have an intimate knowledge of the automotive industry and felt we could solve a major problem for aftermarket auto parts companies. With that in mind, I spent the next three years working with the primary automotive standards bodies to create an industry standard for 360° imagery. After the standard was successfully established, I created a strategy to educate the suppliers and brands. Now, 360° imaging for the aftermarket is becoming a mandate for industry-leading suppliers, and we are seeing a surge in demand.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Matt: "Ask the hard questions," from our CEO, Jeff Hunt. Jeff taught me the value of asking what can be perceived as tough or uncomfortable questions in order to get the information I need to help build the best solutions to meet our prospects' and clients' needs. It's often easy to take things at face value, but when you spend the time to probe and listen, you are better equipped to drive down to the root issues your clients are facing. It's only when you understand the entirety of the problem that you can work with them to design the solution they need.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Matt: The biggest challenge I see is the ever-expanding access to information people have. If you think about it, 20 years ago companies would send salespeople to seminars and trainings to essentially become "websites" for prospects. Now, all of this information is available to everyone, at any time! While extremely valuable for buyers, this abundance of information can cause more confusion and lead to misguided attempts to self-diagnose a problem and/or solution, causing a host of challenges for a salesperson. Therefore, it's vital that we constantly listen to our clients and practice patience. Taking a consultative approach will help uncover the deeper challenges your clients are facing and ensure they're receiving the best advice to get them where they want to go.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a sales mentor, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Matt: My mentor would be my CEO, Jeff Hunt. We have worked side by side for years, and his experience in sales helps me constantly learn. He has taught me so much, but if I had to pick one main lesson it would be to get immersed. Really dive into anything you're doing and give it your all, don't just dabble.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Matt: That's a tough one, I tend to listen to audiobooks on my commute so I get through a lot! I'd probably say the one that had the most impact was "The Lost Art of Closing" by Anthony Iannarino. As far as today, I am just finishing up "Extreme Ownership" by Jacko Willink and Leif Babin, which is a great read!
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related books, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Matt: EntreLeadership is the podcast I listen to every week, and, of course, I read the Sales Assembly Forum!
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Matt: I usually start with one comment for anyone joining my team, "It's the highest paying, hardest job you'll ever have or the lowest paying, easiest one."
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Matt: I think the future for our business will be focusing on enterprise sales. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many people involved in these decisions and just having information out in the ether is no longer enough. It's the job of sales to be able to work with people to solve their challenges and often times that involves digging well beneath the surface, navigating politics and making someone a hero.
Sales Assembly: What's the one skill you wish you would have mastered earlier in your career?
Matt: Time management. In this day and age, we are constantly accessible, so we are always "on." It's extremely important to manage your time well and rank the importance of tasks. Without doing this, you can end up spending entire days on things that really don't matter much in the long run. In a similar vein, it's important to know how and when to delegate!