Fireside Friday with Alexine Mudawar
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Alexine: My sales career started early in my childhood walking around my neighborhood selling door-to-door. I moved to Chicago with every intention of becoming a buyer, but (naturally) ended up on the selling side of the table. My first professional sales role was with VISANOW (now Envoy) where I was company-wide quarterly high achiever for four consecutive quarters. My current position is with Yello as a field manager, previously an enterprise account executive and leading the SDR team. Outside of work, I am Director of Community Development for Enterprise Sales Forum, Board of Directors for Sales Enablement Society, Adjunct Professor for Victory Lap and a member of The Chicago Leadership Alliance.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Alexine: I was recently named 50 on Fire by Chicago Inno for my work in mentoring and teaching young sales professionals - recognized as one of only two individual winners in the B2B category!
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Alexine: "Stop trying to tell people who you are and show them." My dad told me this during my first inside sales role. I was on a predominantly male team at the time and struggling a bit to find my voice and make a name for myself. Once I stopped looking around and started looking ahead, the numbers spoke for themselves and I rose to top performer on the team within a year.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Alexine: The biggest challenge I see for salespeople today is differentiation. There is so much noise in every industry now, and information is constantly being hurled at our ideal prospects. Now more than ever, you have to be extremely strategic in order to gain entry into accounts. The positive here is that we have more access to information than ever before, so we can leverage this to reach our contact and build rapport. My first recommendation is always LinkedIn - help someone associate your voice with a face by interacting with articles people are posting, sharing valuable insights and messaging someone directly once you feel like you have built credibility.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Alexine: I've had several mentors over the years - ranging from peers to C-level executives! One C-level mentor I had many years back coached me on career progression. I showed him a business plan I put together and (selfishly) thought he would be really impressed, but he asked what my master plan was to get the promotion that my cover page mentioned. He said if you want to be promoted you need a timeline, executive sponsorship and to know the exact steps needed to get there. That advice completely reshaped the way I approach working toward new roles now and helped me pave a career path at my current company, Yello.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Alexine: Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. This isn't a sales book, but my mom bought it for me years ago and it was life changing. This book taught me that it was okay to be gritty and get after what you believe in - that the way up isn't always sunny and there will be a lot of mishaps (balanced with big wins). Favorite excerpt: "Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you.”
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Alexine: Best sales-related networking groups in Chicago: Sales Assembly, Enterprise Sales Forum, Startup Grind, Sales Enablement Society.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Alexine: "Stack the deck." I've used this phrase for years, and it's my personal sales mantra! Essentially, put all the steps in place so that it's impossible for you not to be successful. Starting out in sales is a grind, so you have to approach it with a strategy. Emulate what other successful reps are doing, blow KPIs out of the water and forge ahead to get to where you want to be. Your unique attributes are the extra aces you are adding to the deck.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Alexine: The reemergence of a hunter salesperson is the biggest trend I anticipate. Companies are seeing the success of SDR teams and inbound marketing, but watching many sales reps take their foot off the gas on personal outbound efforts. One of the hardest skill sets to find nowadays is someone who can hunt and close. I truly believe that if a job can be automated, it will be. Consequently, if we are operating off of the school of thought that "buyers are 67% of the way through the buying journey" by the time they speak to sales reps, the "closers only" roles may inevitably be weeded out and traded for a well-rounded salesperson.
Sales Assembly: When was the moment you knew you were going to make sales a career?
Alexine: On my very first cold call, I scheduled a demo. It was one of those serendipitous moments where I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.