Fireside Friday with Dustin Deno
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Dustin: I’ve spent my entire adult life in sales, where the bulk of my SaaS experience was at Salesforce leading a part of the retail vertical. I’m now heading up the scaling efforts at Maropost. At Maropost, we’ll be building out a large team and all of the supporting functions to drive growth.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Dustin: I always love when people on my team get promoted to a role they always wanted, or they start running a team. No matter how many numbers you hit or deals you close, it’s the people that matter.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Dustin: Be a leader people would fight to work for. If you do that and hire right, the numbers are easy.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Dustin: Time is the only thing reps have. Right now there is so much information coming at them. Getting rid of the noise is the biggest challenge. It’s simple, but I’d ask myself everyday and all day, “Does what I’m doing right now move the needle now or in the near future for me, my team or the company?” If it doesn’t, you are wasting the only thing you have as a rep.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a sales mentor, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Dustin: One of the best mentors in my life is Mike Wolff at Salesforce. His approach to leadership is the best I’ve seen. He’s a servant leader, combined with ability to execute. It’s rare, and something I learn from every time we talk.
Right now my CEO, Ross Paquette is an amazing mentor to me. Learning how he navigated the growth of Maropost doing every role is inspiring.
I have been fortunate to have a lot of great mentors. All have helped form my perspective on sales.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Dustin: Radical Candor is a great business book that applies to leading teams. I feel like everyone in your organization needs to know where he/she stands in real time all of the time. Candor, in a way that helps people, is by far and away the best approach in most scenarios. In regards to sales books, I’ve read plenty, but find that they all say a lot of the same things. In sales, we aren’t curing cancer, so I think we over complicate it. So much of our success is tied to how we motivate, lead and inspire our customers and teams. For that reason, I lean on leadership and management books that have helped.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related books, articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Dustin: The SaaStr podcast is a great one! It’s amazing to hear from industry experts on how they are building and scaling SaaS organizations. You get to learn the mistakes they have made and the lessons learned. If you are part of a SaaS organization or sell to them, it’s a great one.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Dustin: Listen. So much of the training you’ll get, the books you'll read and the feedback you’ll get will tell you what to say and how to say it. The best sales reps and leaders are the best listeners. The more you listen, the more you’ll sell.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Dustin: I’m so excited for sales in the future, because I think a lot of the things that give sales a bad reputation are going to be automated. The issue with that is the bad reps can’t hide. Strong business acumen, technical skills and creative thinking are going to win the day. I’m excited for that technology to finally stop getting in sales reps' way and shining a light on the true skill sets.
Sales Assembly: What’s the biggest mistake sales reps make?
Dustin: Most reps don’t add value on every conversation or email. You should really ask this question before every call, “What is the customer walking away with?” If the answer to that is weak, you should rethink the meeting. Always add value.