Fireside Friday with Kevin Young
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Kevin: Starting out in the finance world and quickly realizing it was putting me to sleep, I began my tech sales career, like many others in Chicago, at Groupon. After helping to scale the travel segment (shoutout Getaways alum!), I landed on a #DreamJob at Salesforce. I credit my time at Salesforce for really sharpening my skills as a salesperson, as well as for solidifying my desire to go into leadership. A quick pit-stop at a small startup, then I answered the call from a former Salesforce colleague to join the rocket ship at G2 where I began as an individual contributor. After about nine months in an AE role, I made the transition full time to leadership in November 2018.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Kevin: Upon taking over the Growth (SMB) team, we had just five people in the role. In less than a year, we've grown the team to 14 and seen several people promoted upmarket or move on to great careers outside of G2.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Kevin: One of my all time favorite quotes, by Chester Louis Karrass: "In business, as in life, you don't get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate."
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Kevin: The easy answer is automation, but the reality is that social proof (like G2) is changing the way buying is done. 90% of buyers nowadays will do their research online and, when they're ready to reach out, they'll find you. Because of the newly educated buyer, it is ever more important that reps find the real pain of the business rather than selling on features & functions. My recommendation: If you don't know why a prospect would buy, neither do they. Don't be afraid to stop the conversation and ask, "What are we trying to solve for here?"
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Kevin: At Salesforce, Cale Tully was instrumental in helping me transform from a "salesperson" to a "sales professional." Current sales leadership at G2, like Brian Kroopf, Olivier L'Abbe and Clay Bentley, have shown me what it takes to scale a hyper-growth business while not overlooking the day-to-day needs of the team. Lastly, Michelle Vu (of Fireside Friday fame) has been the model of consistency. Month after month she simply gets the job done.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Kevin: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. I've read it three times and have made it required reading for all of my new AE hires.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Kevin: Continuing from the last question, check out the Black Swan Blog written by the author behind Never Split the Difference. Also, David Priemer has a great video catalogue called Cerebral Selling. Lastly, anything put out by Dave Gerhardt at Drift is a must read/watch.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Kevin: If you're not at least partly motivated by earning potential, this is too stressful of a gig to ride out the low points. Speaking of lows, never get lower than you'll allow yourself to get excited about the highs. Staying level will keep you sane and, more importantly, keep you consistently successful.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Kevin: Perhaps more than I've ever witnessed in my career, Marketing and Sales are becoming much more aligned. The companies with the most cohesive groups will have a huge advantage over those whose departments are kept at arms length.
Sales Assembly: What is the best Sales Methodology out there?
Kevin: While I'm very partial to Sandler Sales, the most important thing is to have a replicable process no matter the methodology. If you don't know where you're getting off track in the process, you'll never know why you keep losing the deal.