Have you been keeping up with our flurry of conversations these last several weeks? We’ve been busy interviewing sales professionals at startup and enterprise companies across the nation who consistently exhibit incredible qualities: integrity, respect, and professionalism, to name a few. In just the last several weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to talk to the likes of Simon Mutlu, Large Enterprise Accounts at Slack, Courtney Shaffer Lovold, Global Strategic Account Manager at Emarsys, and Adam Weber, VP of Sales at Emplify. Each of these sales professionals—whether in an individual contributor or management role—consistently put their prospect’s needs above their own. In this series, we’re sharing some behind the scenes secrets that make these sales rockstars so special.
We continue along in our People > Processes series with our tenth article featuring Jessica McQueen, Account Executive at Greenlight Guru, a quality management software designed specifically for the medical device industry. Unlike many of our past interview participants, Jessica always knew she wanted to be in sales because of her drive and desire to measure her success quantitatively—it was just a matter of finding the right fit. Throughout college, she cut her teeth in the industry by working at a national wellness clinic selling monthly memberships. It was that job that propelled her to pursue sales after she graduated from college and, by sheer happenstance, she landed at a fast-growing startup called TinderBox (later to become Octiv, which was acquired by Conga a few weeks ago). Thanks to Indy’s highly accessible tech leaders, Jessica says that she got her Masters in sales just by observing and working with some of the best (like her VP of Sales, Scott Cramer, and SalesTuners’ Jim Brown).
In Jessica’s interview, she shares some pro tips on how she went from working in sales at a startup to transitioning to the highly-regulated medical device industry—while building deep customer trust and respect throughout the process.
Embrace Your Craft and Display Empathy
Now that Jessica works in the medical device industry, she’s learned the importance of being an expert in her field of work. When she started at Greenlight Guru, she essentially went through a legal crash course. Unlike many other sales positions, there is a right answer and a wrong answer with little room for error as her prospective customers will have to answer to the FDA at some point in their near future. Because of the black and white nature of the job, Jessica has adopted a 2-fold approach:
- Express empathy for the buyer by genuinely being interested and trying to understand what they’re trying to solve—and why
- Avoid trying to be the ‘smartest person in the room,’ even when answers are clear-cut
For Jessica, it takes balance to have confidence that she knows the industry inside and out, but also not assume that she’s right 100% of the time. In order to strike this delicate balance, she aims to build trust not by telling prospects all the right answers, but by asking the right questions that confirm her expertise and credibility.
“I believe wholeheartedly in giving my prospects the opportunity to speak and be heard. It’s my job to ask the the right questions so that they can have a platform to share why they’re taking time out of their day to speak with me. No one wants to go through the process of buying software—but I want my prospects to feel comfortable opening up, sharing what their pains are, and trust that I am capable of helping,” explained Jessica.
Use Video for a Better Conversation
Even after the short interview with Jessica, it was clear that she has a passion for selling at Greenlight Guru. So when asked about it, Jessica explained that she does whatever she can to let the joy of her job come through in her conversations with prospects. Jessica explained that sales professionals who are good at what they do and genuinely love their jobs bring an invaluable X-factor to the table. To set herself apart throughout the sales process, she takes advantage of a simple, but often forgotten tool in the world of sales: video.
Jessica always uses video when she’s talking to prospects as she believes sales professionals often do themselves a disservice by hiding behind a phone or email. More importantly, with the understanding that all decisions are driven by emotion, she wants her prospects to be able to work with her face-to-face and leverage the larger pieces of the communication pie (tone and body language). Jessica also embraces the fact that people want to work with people that they like. Greenlight Guru’s culture is special, so letting prospects see teammates high fiving each other in the background, leftover balloons from a company party, or conversations happening between peers allows them to feel like they’re a part of it.
To put it simply, Jessica wants her words to be the icing on the cake—not the reason that her prospects will buy from her.
Always Focus On the ‘Why’
Simon Sinek may have made the term “Start With Why” popular, but Jessica also embraces that single, all-important word. Due to the highly-regulated industry of medical device, her prospects have to eventually sit in front of the FDA and answer questions about their compliance to the regulations. To Jessica, that moment of truth means that she needs to do everything in her power to pull back the curtain and get to the root of the issues that may be jeopardizing that meeting. A few of her favorite ‘Why’ questions include:
- Why does this conversation matter in general?
- Why does it matter to you?
- Why does this matter to the organization?
- Why does this matter to your CEO?
Jessica believes in the importance of asking these questions as each will likely gain a different response—and every person asked will supply a unique point of view. In fact, she believes that the ‘Why’ question really has nothing to do with the product she’s selling, but rather a tool that gets to the core of the issue (instead of settling for the surface-level reasons that prospects may come to the table with).
Jessica’s Advice: Trust Your Gut and Surround Yourself With Good People
When Jessica was looking for her first sales job out of college, she expected to find a job in the blue chip, corporate world (and felt it was expected of her). But when she came across the opportunity at TinderBox, it felt right to her—and served as the foundation to her sales career.
“It can be very hard to turn your hand to what’s expected of you—as a graduate, as a sales professional, as a daughter, and so on. Ever since I started to trust my intuition, I have not regretted a single career decision I’ve made—even when it wasn’t the most embraced option by others. With that, people are also a big factor in my success. My advice for anyone is to work with good people. Trust your gut and surround yourself with the ones that will help you get where you think you want to go,” said Jessica.
Ready to Learn More?
For more information on best practices of great sales leaders, check out the Costello resources below. If you’d like to see Costello in action, request a personalized demo of our real-time sales playbook software.