Fireside Friday with Marina Golemis
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Marina: I graduated in 2009 when jobs were harder to come by, so I was bartending and met someone who worked at Echo Logistics. I applied and had no idea what they did but was hired as an Account Executive. I really enjoyed the industry, so after a couple of years I had an opportunity to join a very small logistics startup in Boston that ended up being acquired by Echo shortly after (small world). I joined Trunk Club in its second year, pre-acquisition, in Sales and moved up to Sales Manager, then Sales Director for two years. After leaving Trunk Club, I joined a small online personal styling company as a Sales Director but was drawn back to logistics and joined ShipBob almost a year ago as a Director of Revenue.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Marina: I get most excited when I am able to help a low- to mid-level performer turn into a superstar. I have several examples from all my leadership roles and am always looking for the next hard worker with a ton of potential to invest my time in.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Marina: "Be where you are." So simple yet so valuable, given to me by the former President of Sales at Trunk Club. It's so easy to try to be in many places at once and spread yourself too thin. To me, the key to success is to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand, so you are more efficient and effective.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Marina: It's easy to get caught up in what the competition is offering, but generally if a company is scaling, the addressable market is large enough for you to have enough market share to come out on top. Sales reps need to block out all the noise around what everyone else is doing and fully believe in their company's solution to be able to sell it successfully.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Marina: Nicole Gable, my Senior Director at Trunk Club, taught me that there is not a one size fits all sales strategy. She forced me to think outside the box and come up with solutions even when they were unconventional. Sales is all about problem solving for your client; that school of thought is what I use as a guiding light for my approach to tough situations. She also taught me that, as a leader, you dedicate the majority of your time to the team members who earn it by working the hardest, not those who are not meeting you halfway.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Marina: I went to a really intimate talk by Howard Tullman and became slightly obsessed with his ideas and principles. I since read all his books; my favorites were Launching a Startup in the Digital Age and Tullman on Company Culture.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Marina: Sales Assembly articles, first and foremost! Sales Hacker sends a ton of awesome articles I share with my sales team regularly, as well as Ambition webinars.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Marina: Don't look at the beginning of your career as "paying your dues," because that implies that at some point you can stop grinding and coast. Learn to love the game and embrace the input/output model early on. That will keep you highly motivated throughout your whole sales career.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Marina: Moving away from automation and back to human interaction, so refreshing! We work so closely with our Sales Operations and Analytics departments, but, at the end of the day, it takes relationship building and catering custom solutions to solve your clients' problems that can only be accomplished by personalized interaction.
Sales Assembly: What is your favorite interview question when interviewing sales reps?
Marina: If it's the last hour of the last day of the month, and your manager has a rep who is 60 percent to quota and another who is 120 percent to quota both asking for their help, who should the manager give their time to and why? I ask this question because initially, it's natural to want to help the person who is struggling. However, if a candidate is motivated and/or used to being a top performer, they will want their manager to give them the help rather than someone who is expecting to struggle. From a management perspective, while again it is easy to want to help someone who is not at goal, you have to reward someone who has worked hard to reach and exceed their goals rather than make them feel like they are at a disadvantage for over-performing. Therefore, helping the 120 percent rep the right answer.