Fireside Friday with Nicole Wylie
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Nicole: My parents would tell you that I’ve been selling since I was four years old when I would sell rocks from my front porch! My recent career history includes Groupon, where I started in tech sales and then moved over to managing an inside sales team. Today, I oversee a team of incredibly talented sales leaders who are responsible for growing our largest region.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Nicole: Above all, I’m proud of the people who I’ve hired over the years who have built successful careers for themselves, either by being promoted internally or earning a new position elsewhere. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve always worked with smart, ambitious and thoughtful people who have encouraged me to grow, and I strive to do that for every team I work on.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Nicole: My very first manager once told me, "You never know who your next boss will be, so conduct yourself accordingly." As a salesperson, growing strong relationships with both my colleagues and with clients and partners has been critical to my success. I credit much of this to my interpretation of my boss’s advice: to treat everyone I work with the way I would want to be treated. To me, that means with respect, empathy and transparency.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Nicole: It sounds old school, and maybe even outdated, but in my experience it’s still as true today as it ever was: pick up the phone. Or even better, meet someone in person. It’s really easy to rely on email, and while email has its function, choosing to call or meet up helps build and strengthen relationships more quickly, because you can observe tonality and body language as insight into how that person is feeling.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Nicole: As they say… it takes a village. It’s too tough to name one person in particular. Writing that makes me realize, again, how lucky I am; I’ve been fortunate to have an incredible arsenal of sales mentors in my life. I can pick up the phone (or email, I guess) or grab coffee with a lot of talented and accomplished individuals depending on where I need insight at that time.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Nicole: I am about to finish The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath. One big thing that I’ve taken away from this book is a new perspective on how important someone’s first day really is. I’ve made changes to a few on-boarding tactics to ensure that I get to know new additions and make sure that person feels integrated, welcomed and inspired. I’m now also making even more of a cognizant effort to randomly recognize my team's incredible accomplishments.
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Nicole: I subscribe to and regularly read the "Broadsheet," an electronic newsletter from Fortune, that shares news stories and articles of powerful women across the world.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Nicole: Work. Hard. Get close to successful people who inspire you – seriously, just sitting next to someone gives you the opportunity to pick up great tactics or phrases that you can incorporate. Create a schedule for outreach and try to stick to it as much as possible. Make sure to be the squeaky wheel when it comes to follow-ups and experiment with a variety of mediums (email, phone call, text messages, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Nicole: I don't know if it's a trend, but I do believe that customers want to make sure you did your homework since this is the age of information - so always make sure you do before going into a call or meeting!
Sales Assembly: If you had one re-do, what would you do with it?
Nicole: When I was early on in my career, I didn’t take advantage of as many networking opportunities as I would if I were to go back and do it over. I felt intimidated sometimes, and I just didn’t know where to start. Being so focused on the company that I was working with paid off in terms of learning and growing as a salesperson, but I could have expedited that process by chasing opportunities to branch out, find mentors and meet people outside of the four walls of my office.