Fireside Friday with David Gensler
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
David: I started my career in traditional sales and marketing at News America Marketing and enjoyed an 18-year career with them. I landed at Millennial Media to learn more about mobile adtech, and we were acquired by AOL in 2015. Since then, I enjoyed different leadership roles at Liveintent, Time Inc. and then founded my own consulting firm GSD Consulting. Recently, I took on the position of SVP of Client Development at Centro.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
David: Over the course of a 25-year career, I have had so many different types of accomplishments, both from a talent development perspective and revenue generation. Since I am at heart a sales person, the two biggest accomplishments was building a $200M+ business with Procter and Gamble during my time at News America Marketing, as well as growing Liveintent's revenues to almost $100M in sales.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
David: The best sales advice I ever received was from a former boss, co-worker and mentor of mine, Jason Kelly. He encouraged me to stay focused on revenue generation opportunities and not get distracted with the day to day internal activities that can distract you. "If you're not working Sunday, don't bother coming to work on Monday!"
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
David: Sales reps often get distracted after they have made the sale. Often times those sales reps fall into more of an Account Management role when they really need to be focused on prospecting, new business development and up-selling/cross-selling their current active accounts. Stay focused, and DON'T GET DISTRACTED!
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
David: I do not look at any one person as a mentor today. I actually look at some of the amazing leaders I have worked with over the years and try to extract as many of their leadership traits to continue my evolution as a sales manager. I often call fantastic sales leaders and business operators like West Naze, Jason Kelly, Dave Helmreich, Jay Seth, Robin Steinberg, Karen Kovacs, Alia Lamborghini, Kevin Crociata and many others for advice and guidance, both personally and professionally.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
David: There have been some interesting books over the years like The Challenger Sale, Fanatical Prospecting, etc.; however, the best guidance I can give is to lean on the experiences you and your leadership team have endured in the past and apply them to the current business. As my old boss used to say, "You can't go to the tenure store and buy yourself some tenure." Tenure is something you earn, and the experiences you collect over the course of 25+ years are more valuable than any sales book that has been published.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
David: There are countless TED talks about sales, sales leadership and revenue generation techniques that are always interesting to listen to and learn from. Another consultant I think is very interesting to listen to is Rob Fazio, the founder of OnPoint Advising, who imparts interesting knowledge and points of view from a sales and thought leadership perspective.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
David: The best advice I can give someone starting out their career in sales is to pay your dues. Very few salespeople do this, especially in the current generational model; however, there is a value with being the first one in and last one out of the office. Let's be clear, you need to be productive during that time and stay focused on the days activity. However, as I get older and reflect back on those times, it gives me a great perspective on truly what "working hard" means and helps to develop my current work ethic.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
David: The key to the future of sales is the concept of "Consultative Selling." The best-positioned salespeople for future sales opportunities are those who make their clients smarter when they walk out of the meeting than when they walked into that meeting. I embrace the concept of the "Challenger" methodology. However, equally as important is the relationship building aspect of sales. Personalizing the business is ultimately the driver of success, as it provides for greater intelligence of strategic business insights and guidance from your clients.
Sales Assembly: What value do you currently place on relationship selling?
David: I place an enormous amount of value on personalizing the business. It creates a foundation for future success as well as provides for greater intelligence than will be shared with your competitor. It should NEVER guarantee you business. However, it should allow you an advantage to build a better proposal to win the business. Most importantly, you may walk away with some personal relationships that last a lifetime!