Fireside Friday with Maria Tribble
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Maria: I was born into a family of professional networkers, which included weekly cocktail parties with foreign dignitaries in Washington, D.C. My first “sales job” involved making and selling jewelry at a farmer’s market in Woods Hole, MA, and then various shops in Richmond, VA. Once I better understood my labor and product costs, and their effects on my profit, I set out to work for someone other than myself. I spent 8+ years in investor relations and marketing webcasting sales for PrecisionIR and ON24 before joining Oracle Marketing Cloud as the leader of the mid-Atlantic sales team. Since February 2017, I’ve hung my hat at PathFactory – currently as the VP of Enterprise Sales.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Maria: I imagine I could say it’s the countless President’s Club awards or amazing deals I’ve led with companies like LinkedIn, IBM, SAP or EY, but the truth is that my biggest accomplishment has been the network I’ve built. The customers and prospects I’ve had the honor of working with over the years have been amazing. The biggest accomplishment I’ve had in sales leadership so far is having account executives in my network who have flourished under my leadership and would want to work with me again.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Maria: “Go cut the grass.” This is something my SVP of Sales at ON24 would say to me whenever he saw me getting wrapped around the axle on something. What he meant was that I should walk away from my desk and clear my mind of clutter to allow deep thought – and thus the ability to craft the solution or proposal I needed to create. Cutting the grass with a push mower was my personal antidote at that time in my life. Being outside in the sunshine, getting exercise, with my hands and ears unable to do anything more. Over the years, my antidote has shifted, and I’ve become acutely aware of what my various direct reports need in these cases as well.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Maria: Noise! Remember you are selling to humans. Why do they care about you and your offering over everything else they’re inundated with on a daily basis? Don’t opt for busy work (the easy stuff to check off your list) over the deep strategy work that will help you stand out above the noise.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Maria: I’ve had many, starting with the late painter, George Jacobs, who sat beside me at the farmer’s market back in the early 1990s. He taught me to make eye contact and talk to customers about why they might like what I was selling or suggest that my art pieces make good presents. Another mentor gave me highlights on sporting events every Monday, so I’d be prepared to talk to my customers each week, helping me get to know my audience and what they care about. Most recently, PathFactory’s COO Helen Baptist has taught me about “Intelligent Speed,” staying in your swim lane and the importance of progress over perfection.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Maria: There hasn’t been one “best sales book” but rather a collection of authors I continue to return to year after year. Brene Brown and Simon Sinek are two that stand out to me as they write about what it means to be human, as well to work with and sell to humans. Simon said it best: “People don’t care what you do but WHY you do it.”
A recent favorite is Reboot by Jerry Colonna which focuses on leadership and growing up. I don’t think I’ve ever marked up a book as much as I have this one. This is also a book about being human and learning about yourself in order to grow your business. He also has a podcast series that you can find here.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Maria: LinkedIn Influencers post articles daily (so many great ones to follow including Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, etc.), Harvard Business Review, TedTalks, Reboot Podcast, Quora Digest.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Maria: A career in sales can be a roller coaster of emotions. The highs are tremendously high, and the lows are extremely low. Start every year/quarter with a clear “north star” for yourself that directly relates to your personal territory plan and income goal. Don’t opt for busy work over deep strategic work that will get you to that north star. You must always bring yourself back to focused work centered on the “why” of your customers and prospects. Why do they care about what you have to say? Get really good at questioning out of curiosity and storytelling. Finally, always have an antidote ready for when your mind starts spiraling, and you need to reset.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Maria: I see a true fusion of sales, marketing and customer experience on the horizon. Content consumption data will become the glue that marries all three functions together in order to provide a cohesive customer journey and fuel true personalization from the first click through to sale, renewal and advocacy.
Sales Assembly: What is your greatest passion outside of work?
Maria: Teaching kids to be carriers of kindness. The year my twin boys went to kindergarten, a young mother was hit by a drunk driver on her morning run just after the kids got on the bus. She was killed instantly, and the community was forever changed. Megsmiles was formed to raise funds for community initiatives close to her heart. My life changed that day as well - suddenly life became much more fragile. Meg's death and the idea that her three children would grow up without her was the trigger that focused me on what mattered most to me as a mother. The most important thing was that I raise my children to be kind humans, which I began clearly explaining to my husband, children and friends. There are countless ways to teach your children to spread kindness in your communities, starting with competitions to “catch the most smiles” on a car ride or donate your time to the local food pantries. We have a hobby flower farm and give flowers away or sell them to raise money for various organizations in our town.