This is part three of the conversation I had with Catie.
In Part 3, Catie and I talk about:
- Win-Win selling
- How women are different when it comes to sales/selling
- The debate of focusing on strengths vs. working on weaknesses
- Transparency in the selling
- Getting and giving feedback
Catie is a seasoned sales leader with a passion for coaching and people development and a track record of quota attainment, driving YoY growth, and building a cultivating true value selling methodologies within an organization.
She believes that great cultures produce great results, that empowered people empower others, and that there is no limit to what a team of gritty, hardworking, genuinely curious people can do when they are committed to winning together.
She is an avid proponent of the power and possibility of digital transformation, a lover of all things digital, and genuinely enthusiastic about technology’s ability to drive human connection. She believes that great brands build great connections and harness best in class technology to drive genuine engagement and build real relationships, which has turned her into a MarTech enthusiast with a love for all things sales and marketing.
E154 – Transcript
Jason: All right. Welcome to the sales experience podcast. Welcome to part three of my conversation with Catie Ivey. We are having a dynamic conversation. Make sure to have checked out parts one and two subscribes. You can catch all of our episodes and a, here you go. Part three enjoy.
Catie: If I’m going to give something I need to figure out what’s in it for me and is there some sort of reciprocal action because that doesn’t just get you things which is also important sales but it builds the sense of perspective like, Hey, we’re we’re peers here together. Like I absolutely want to partner with you and make this worth your while in a win-win but got to be mutual in terms of how we’re going about this. I think that’s maybe the concept that you’re trying to breed into these sellers to move beyond just that order taker capacity that you talk about.
Jason: And it’s fascinating where you talk about, you know, the females falling into that category more often and you know, this is the discussion we wanted to have as well. But it’s interesting because if you really look at it and step back and not that everyone has to go into these buckets, but just as even humans and the [inaudible] both the way that we’re raised like generationally and then just biologically and nurturing, you know, you see mostly customer service teams made up of women. They are more nurturing, supportive, and then less in sales. So if you know the stereotypical, it’s more sale. Like I tell people all the time, you don’t see a lot of movies about boiler rooms full of women selling to people, right? Like you just don’t, that’s not what the movies are about. However, in my experience, this is why I’m open and honest with everybody and all the teams I’ve ever worked with. However, if you have a woman who has the ability to bridge that where it’s both the caring side but also the closing side, not just the killer nap that you know, next snap and kind but just like can do both of those things, then it’s amazing because it works so well and it’s so powerful. And I think female salespeople who are professionals and know what they’re doing and have the skills will just dominate most men in any way possible. Like as far as their results.
Catie: Preach it. And you said it, not me.
Jason: Yeah. So because you know, here’s the thing, right? And this is, this is just the truth about the world. I call somebody and I’m a guy, and instantly if I’m not careful, I’m going to come across as I’m trying to sell something. All the barriers and walls go up and people are freaking out. You call somebody and who’s, again, there’s no movie about women ripping people off. There’s only movies about dudes ripping people off. And so like I have to be careful. You can be genuine and then be a closer and it’s always amazing. Best closers I’ve ever seen in any sales floor are the women who know how to do both.
Catie: Yeah, no, I, that’s a good example of obviously being very self aware and perceptive and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, which is so important for any seller in any capacity because we all have things that we’re naturally really, really good at. And if we can figure out how to lean into those, I feel like we fixate and managers are the worst at this. We fixate on people’s weaknesses and what are their gaps, what are all the things I need to fix? Not that that stuff doesn’t matter. And of course we can help over time. But if you can figure out those one or two superpowers that every rep that reports to you has and really lean into those and help them amplify those before trying to squash on the weaknesses, so, so impactful,
Jason: And then fill in for their weaknesses so that they don’t have to think about it. Right. So I’ve always been a fan of what technology can we put in place because salespeople generally have the same weaknesses as far as attention to detail and filling out their forms or their CRM or doing any tracking or any reporting. And notes and so how do you use technology to fill in those gaps, but then also on a personal level, like if you know somebody who’s not strong in this, like how do you support them? Who can you team them up with? But yeah, I think you know, strengths and focusing on that, you’ll get way more out of people when you just again, self-awareness.
Catie: Yeah. And then if you can convince them of what their strengths really are and then better yet get them leaning in and giving themselves critique and feedback just creates so much, just incredible opportunity
Jason: And get them to trust that if they lean into their strengths, it will be good for them and to trust you as their manager or their coach or their leader that you support that and you’re not just going to keep kicking them for what they’re not doing. Right. Like just going all in on the strengths.
Catie: Yeah. I love that. I think it ties to to transparency and building trust. I mean as a leader, nurse, sales manager, at any level, being willing to be honest with your people, Hey, I’m really good at these things, so you should really trust me here. Like I’ve got your message to heart. I’m going to be honest with you too about what my gaps are, what my weaknesses are. Hey, I know I struggle at times with this, so keep me honest. If you’re ever feeling this certain way, give me feedback. Just setting that type of stage with people that report to you. So impactful.
Jason: So going back to the women in sales topic, one of the things, and this is just my experience, from my perspective, I’ve seen very many, like I said, excellent. Just doing so great. I was gonna say dominated, but basically dominating female sales people in those roles. However, rarely see sales managers that are women sales leaders, you know, in organizations that I’ve seen. What does it take to be successful in that? Like what have you found works well as you moved your way up? Like they either that you’ve had to do differently or you know, take into account.
Catie: That’s a good question. It’s definitely a topic that I’m super passionate about and we’ve done a good job I think just as the profession of selling in leveling the playing field from an individual contributor role. Like you mentioned, there’s some uh, just female sales people that are crushing it. A lot of industries, a lot of different roles. Uh, but as you work your way up and move through the ranks, I mean the numbers are pretty staggering what the gap is today, especially if you start looking at VPs of sales and even more so if you look at CRS. So it’s definitely something that we need to as an industry you really, really focused on, in my opinion, because if you want to get the best out of the organizations that you’re leading, there just has to be more quality and more diversity. I’m not just male and female, lots of different levels.
Catie: But the female dynamic and leadership I think is really important. To your question of what does it take to move up? I think there’s a couple of things maybe worth highlighting. One, there’s an element of taking responsibility as organizations and making sure that we’re doing the right things to facilitate and create opportunity. And then there’s an element of taking responsibility and ownership as females in the profession and saying, here’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to make it happen. And not sitting back and waiting for opportunities to land in your lap as organizations and companies, we’ve got to do a really, we have to do better at showcasing women that are in leadership, getting the right people on our websites, getting the right people on stage, making sure that when we’ve got an interview process that’s happening, that we’ve got a relative balance when it comes to gender and diversity that individuals are seeing and creating that visibility of, Hey, we’ve got folks at the highest of levels, um, that, that, that do look like you and think like you and maybe have your gender. I think that that’s really important. But I also think that there’s definitely an element whereas women, if we want to progress and move up in our career, we’ve gotta be willing to one, ask for something that we may not feel completely ready for. Uh, there’s tons of studies out there that say that like a, again, generalization, but men will typically put up their hand or apply for a position that they think they’re 50% qualified for. A women typically won’t even consider applying until they feel like they’re like 96% qualified.
Catie: Uh, so some of that’s on us, like the, the willingness to say like, Hey, I see, you know, part of this that I absolutely have in the bag and I’m really great at here would be, you know, the areas where I may not be qualified, but I’ve done it before. Let’s give it a shot. You know, put up our hand and say like, I’d like the opportunity, uh, and be willing to go toe to toe with, you know, maybe three other counterparts and fight for the position that we want.
Jason: That’s so funny about the stat, whether it’s true or not, like scientifically about men raising their hand if they’re 50% qualified. Because in all my experience, a lot of people who say, Hey, I want to be a team leader. Hey, I want to be a manager. I’m looking at them and going, no, like why? There’s no way like show me how you think you’re a good leader or even a good role model, right? Like if you are not crushing it, then how are you going to help other people? Now obviously there’s the caveat that great salespeople typically make terrible managers because they’re too focused on themselves and being salespeople. But you still have to know the fundamental. You can still have to know how to do it. Even if you, even if you’ve not done it and dominated forever, you still have to know what to do.
Jason: But it’s so interesting cause I was literally gonna ask this part and then you brought up, which is perfect, is I’ve also seen so many women who are doing great in sales and they have the leadership qualities. So unofficially the leader on the floor, people go to them, they help them with issues I’ve presented. Other managers have presented many women’s women with opportunity to, Hey, we’d like to have you be a team lead or a sales manager or a branch manager and hands down, always know like they don’t see themselves in that role and they don’t want to move up. They don’t want, I don’t know if it’s, they don’t want the pressure. I mean obviously without speaking for them, but have you seen that before where they just don’t, like you said, maybe it’s because they don’t feel, unless they’re 96% like they’re just not going to do it.
Catie: I think there’s a capacity or a portion of that being true as well. I have seen some differing or I have some different perspectives. Like the team that I managed at Marquetto was 85% female I think. And I was part of a really powerhouse female leadership team and I was reporting to a female VP of sales. So we were a little unbalanced in the other direction, which is unusual for a software sales organization. So I think it depends on the scenario and the example. I will tell you in that dynamic where my boss was a female and I was seen as a very strong female leader, all but one of the women on my team at some point throughout the year and a half that we worked together approached me and said, here’s what I want to be long term. Most of it was management. How do I get there? So I think if you’re seeing that and you’re exposed to women that look like they’re very good at what they do are relatively good at what they do, it creates a different perspective. I could do that, I could absolutely, you know, do this role or I’d love to move up here. So I think part of it is just exposure as well.
Jason: And the culture that you built at w, you know in that example. So the people that you hired, the people that you attracted, the people that stayed versus the ones who’ve left, those are going to be the ones that stayed, that are attracted and in alignment with the culture of your team and the company. And they want to be a part of it, which makes total sense that they would also want to move up or do bigger and better things.
Catie: But I think our job as leaders is to always convince people they’re capable of more than they think they’re capable of. And so part of that is, Hey, you’re absolutely capable of running a team and kicking ass at it. And if that’s not the path you want to go, all good. There’s lots of different paths in sales and marketing and other professions that are amazing, but if this is something you want, like my job is to help you get there. Uh, but before I help you get there, it’s to make you believe that you actually are capable of doing the role.
Jason: I think some of it is as a leader, you can always see other people’s potential and all the great things that they can do. Like it’s always easier to see two things, all the great things somebody can do and then all of the issues or challenges that they’re facing way easier than they can. And you could easily diagnose it more than you can for yourself. And so I think that’s an interesting tough balance because I can see this person could be a great leader. They already have it and they’re doing it. They just don’t believe it or it’s not something they want to do. They don’t want to deal with the messy management side that comes along with the great parts of management.
Catie: Yeah, no, it’s very true.
Jason: So going into my questions here, with the time that we have left, let me try to go through some of them like my preplanned questions, which again, anyone who’s listening is probably tired of hearing me talk about how I’m not asking those questions, but like I really want to hear this part from you forum. What is a great sales experience look like? Like what does that look like in your organization or from your experience?
Catie: Do you mean on the customer side or on the seller side or both?
Jason: Uh, both. So either how you’re creating it, how you’re building it, what that feels like for the customer. For the sales side, what does a great sales experience look like?
Catie: Um, so I really liked the question. Uh, and I think it’s important to look at it through both of those lenses cause we sellers we tend to naturally be very selfish and we see the world through our perspective a lot full true. I would agree with you there. Um, but I think a great experience from the customer’s perspective definitely ties into what makes a great experience from the seller side because the two are working very much in tandem and towards the same goals and the same outcomes. For me, a lot of it starts with just transparency being very honest. I think sales, I know this is one of something that’s really important to you is changing the perception of sales and sellers. I think that there’s this kind of perception out there that salespeople lie and they’re pushy and they’re aggressive and maybe we are a little bit aggressive, but I, that’s like my number one rule.
Catie Literally a sales person that works for me can’t ever lie. Like it’s not allowed. It’s not something that we do. And if you like at fire, like that’s just black and white. And so I think being really honest and transparent with the people that we’re selling to, not just about the products that we offer, that stuff’s all really obvious, you know, clear on what we do, but also, Hey, here’s some transparency in terms of what the process normally looks like for us. So there’s a lot of complexities within your organization, but here’s the steps that we usually go through when someone’s deciding whether they want to invest in this technology and laying it out in a way that feels really, really clear. And most sales organizations, or at least B2B sales organizations have this concept of whether they call it a mutual close plan or a mutual evaluation plan or there’s lots of different words for it, a project plan, but being able to outline in a slide or in an email or on paper that this is the steps that we generally go through.
Catie: I want to get your feedback, figure out what I’m missing, what are my gaps? Do you agree with this? Are we on board for working on working through this together? And if not, is there something that I need to do from my perspective to get you on board with actually working through this process with me? And I think if you set the stage in that way as opposed to just, you know, of course we want to do discovery and dig in and really understand what’s important to that buyer or to that business. But we also want to understand them as a human being and what it is that they’re working towards. And I think if you can lay that foundation of a ton of mutual respect and transparency from day one, then it’s going to feed into the whole process and it’s going to give both the seller and the customer a lot of comfort and understanding this is what our process looks like. I in no way have a guarantee from you that you’re going to buy for me, but I do have a bit of a guarantee that we’re going to work through this together. And if at whatever point we need to part ways and you have to tell me no, you feel comfortable to do that.
Jason: Alright, and that concludes part three of my conversation with Catie Ivey. Again, go to the cutterconsultinggroup.com website. You can find the podcast page there with the transcript. All of Catie’s links, everything that we talked about in there connect with me also on LinkedIn. And as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.