Fireside Friday with Alisha Johnson
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Alisha: I have over a decade of experience in B2B technology sales. I've held leadership positions as a Rotary Trust Board member, with youth-focused nonprofits, in academia (while obtaining my PhD) and now as a manager at Neon.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Alisha: Building Neon's sales training and on-boarding program. It's been extremely satisfying to bring together my work in education and my sales experience to help people get the tools they need to ramp quickly and to be successful.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Alisha: It actually came from a professor, Nancy Beadie, who taught me to always pay attention to the question of significance - the big "so what?". Speaking to why your audience should care has made me better at sales and so much more.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Alisha: The same as always, commodification and price. Very few can say they have no competition, and folks are rarely selling the cheapest version of a product. So, establishing the value of your offering is an ever-present challenge. Reps have to learn their value prop, believe it, practice it and keep practicing it.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Alisha: In terms of sales, I'd actually say no. However, I've had a number of people throughout my life who've seen my strengths and have encouraged me to bring my full self to the table, challenging me to live up to my capabilities.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Alisha: Is it corny to say The Challenger Sale? Now, I'm reading The Transparency Sale by Todd Caponi. I actually bought it after he spoke at Sales Assembly Annual 2019.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Alisha: Because I'm focused on sales enablement and training, I find a lot of value in ATD's (the Association for Talent Development) materials.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Alisha: Know why you want to be in sales. Yes, you can make a lot of money, but remember that you get commission (and most people hate doing it) because it's hard. If you know what motivates you to keep selling, even if it is money, you'll be able to use that to power you through the tough parts.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Alisha: Not a trend so much as I'm curious to see how the literature, etc., around best practices will evolve with the shift toward little to no face-to-face interaction that is already well underway. How do we think about connecting with our prospects/customers (and break through the noise) when we don't have the non-verbal cues and often never even see them face-to-face.
Sales Assembly: What would you like for people who aren't in sales to know about salespeople?
Alisha: That people in sales are not just a bunch of bros - they are smart, interesting and creative people who believe they have something to offer. We are all selling something, salespeople just get paid for it.