This is our interview with Christian Dydo, Managing Director of Strategic Growth at Compass. You can follow Compass at @Compass.
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales.
Christian: I started in sales out of college with no experience and even less appreciation for how uniquely complicated yet rewarding sales can be. I've carried all sorts of bags -- facility service equipment, newspaper and radio advertising, tech hardware and enterprise software. The thread that tied those diverse sales roles together was a commitment to doing right by the customer and demonstrating the value the customer cared most about. I transitioned to sales leadership, because I found the most satisfaction in helping others succeed in doing that and whatever else they want to accomplish in their careers.
Sales Assembly: What's your biggest accomplishment in sales or sales leadership?
Christian: The greatest accomplishment in sales has been every instance where what I sold worked as planned or better. There aren't many better feelings than knowing that you played a key role in aligning a solution to solve a real problem. I never take that for granted, nor does the feeling of accomplishment ever dissipate.
The only better feeling is when you play a role as a leader to help your team members become successful in the ways they want to be successful -- becoming leaders themselves, hitting their number, winning the deal nobody thought they could win, whatever.
Sales Assembly: What's the best piece of sales advice you ever got?
Christian: Sales is an "AND" business. To be successful you have to manage the tactical AND the strategic. You have to earn trust AND ask hard questions. You've got to hope for the best AND plan for the worst.
- The amalgamated advice of Warren Wick (EVP of Sales, Salesforce) and Ryan Barretto (SVP of Global Sales, Sprout Social).
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Christian: Rising through the noise.
People (prospects) hear more, read more and see more messages today than ever. They're inundated with the next best solution everywhere they look, and they have an infinite library from which to research (and an even more infinite library of Cliff's Notes from which to reference). They don't have the time nor the perceived need to talk to a salesperson.
To cut through the noise, a sales rep has to demonstrate a unique perspective and give honest and valued advice. If they do that in the way the prospect needs, and their product solves what it claims to solve, the rest becomes a matter of arithmetic.
Sales Assembly: Do you currently have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, what did they teach you?
Christian: I currently have a handful of former peers and leaders on whom I lean for coaching and advice, though I probably don't take advantage of often enough.
During my time at Salesforce, I was fortunate to have two leaders who served as mentors (and still do). Bob Koviak (VP of Sales, UiPath) taught me the science of sales and showed me what hard work really looked like. Adam Alfano (SAVP of Sales, Salesforce) taught me how to lead with conviction, to always have fun and to be myself while doing it.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What are you reading now?
Christian: Best: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Reading Now: Mastery by Robert Greene
Sales Assembly: Best sales or business related articles, podcasts or newsletters?
Christian: I'm not fanatical about any one publication or source. I do find myself listening to podcasts/radio shows with great interviewers and storytellers. I've learned more about discovery from Howard Stern's interviews than from any blog, and more about communication and storytelling from This American Life than any newsletter.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Christian: Control the controllable. The best sales reps still lose more than they win, but they always stack the odds in their favor by controlling everything (work ethic, attention to detail, etc.) that can be controlled.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Christian: Machine learning and Deep Learning will continue to permeate the profession. I'm excited to see how top sales organizations leverage those tools to augment certain elements of their sales motion and how they'll offset other elements.
Sales Assembly: If you could do one thing differently in your sales career, what would it be?
Christian: I would have taken a step back to watch and listen to top performers and leaders more early on. And then I would have asked questions and learned how to apply my learnings.
You can learn so much from peers in the moment, and I have at times been far too myopic to take the time to learn. I still work hard to take my own advice, and I'm always better for it when I do.