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Scaling Your Sales Team and Revenue with Samantha McKenna
Episode 6116th March 2022 • The Science of Selling STEM • Wesleyne Greer
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In this episode of the Science of Selling STEM, I had a chat with Samantha McKenna, the Founder of SamSales Consulting. Sam is the former head of LinkedIn Sales Solutions, Enterprise, NYC, and VP of Sales at ON24.  She is an award-winning leader, who has broken over a dozen sales records across three different companies, created seven global sales programs for culture, training, and onboarding, and has been named a Top 50 Leader by Outreach.io, and Top 50 Women in Revenue by Engagio.io.  

She has been an individual contributor and executive in sales for the last 12 years and has spoken globally on the topics of sales, leadership, and technology. She is a brand ambassador for Linkedin and a highly sought-after speaker who spent her career doing two things; breaking records for herself, her employers, and now her clients. She always puts others first to ensure every client engagement she delivers has an exceptional experience. Sam will demonstrate (From her own hands-on experience) what successful sales leadership really looks like and how you should go about advancing your sales career. 

She will also share the tactics you can apply to thrive in entrepreneurship, and so much more. You won’t wanna miss this one. And if you ever need help with a sales or leadership issue don't hesitate to book a complimentary clarity session with me HERE. You can also email us at podcast@transformedsales.com with any suggestions or comments about the podcast.

On Today’s Episode of the Science of Selling STEM:

  • Falling into sales despite not being into it at first (01:50)
  • What sales is really all about (03:52)
  • Taking time to build her skills and relationships before moving up the ladder (08:00)
  • Great sales leadership: How sales leaders can build great teams (13:25)
  • The WHY behind her transition into entrepreneurship (16:53)
  • Tips on how to succeed as an entrepreneur (19:33)
  • How she efficiently and effectively services her 100+ clients (24:23)
  • Building her brand with tons of experience before venturing into business (27:51)

Connect with Wesleyne Greer:

Connect with Samantha McKenna:

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Thanks for tuning into The Science of Selling STEM! If you enjoyed this episode and want to learn even more about what it takes to transform your sales, don’t forget to tune into our other episodes and share your favorite episodes on social media!

Join The Science of Selling STEM community on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and visit my website for even more content, information, and resources.

Transcripts

Wesleyne Greer:

As a sales manager, you are judged by the

Wesleyne Greer:

performance of your team, and you're praised when they do

Wesleyne Greer:

well. But one thing that you've not been able to figure out is

Wesleyne Greer:

how to get everyone on your team consistently hitting quota every

Wesleyne Greer:

single month. On the Snack size sales podcast, we discuss the

Wesleyne Greer:

science of selling stem sales leadership in the science,

Wesleyne Greer:

technology, engineering and manufacturing fields is

Wesleyne Greer:

difficult. You will learn from sales managers just like you

Wesleyne Greer:

that will give you actionable insights and tips on how to

Wesleyne Greer:

develop as a leader and achieve your revenue targets every

Wesleyne Greer:

single month. So pop your headphones in and get ready to

Wesleyne Greer:

listen to my guest today. They will give you information and

Wesleyne Greer:

inspiration to ensure that you have actionable insights that

Wesleyne Greer:

you can put into place today. Hello, and welcome to another

Wesleyne Greer:

episode of the science of selling stem today I am so

Wesleyne Greer:

excited to introduce our guest, Samantha McKenna, also known as

Wesleyne Greer:

Sam, how are you today

Samantha McKenna:

are so good. Thank you so much for having me

Samantha McKenna:

what a total pleasure to be here.

Wesleyne Greer:

Thanks so much for taking time today. Let me

Wesleyne Greer:

tell you guys a little bit more about Sam. She is an award

Wesleyne Greer:

winning sales leader, brand ambassador for LinkedIn. She is

Wesleyne Greer:

a highly sought after speaker who spent her career doing two

Wesleyne Greer:

things breaking records for herself, her employers and now

Wesleyne Greer:

her clients. She always puts others first to ensure every

Wesleyne Greer:

client engagement she delivers has exceptional experience. Oh,

Wesleyne Greer:

so you sound like you are all about the customer experience.

Wesleyne Greer:

But how did you start your career to how you get to where

Wesleyne Greer:

you are today?

Samantha McKenna:

I think you know, probably like everybody

Samantha McKenna:

else, I fell into sales. I don't know a lot of people who have

Samantha McKenna:

you know, had a long term vision of like, I'm gonna be a

Samantha McKenna:

salesperson when they're six, right? We're all like ballerinas

Samantha McKenna:

and lawyers and all that stuff. But I fell into sales, I had

Samantha McKenna:

someone offer me a job, I actually turned it down come to

Samantha McKenna:

realizing I've turned down a lot of the jobs that I was

Samantha McKenna:

originally offered and then eventually took them. But I

Samantha McKenna:

thought okay, you know, I'll give it a shot. And I think the

Samantha McKenna:

reason I didn't even want to get into sales was the perception of

Samantha McKenna:

what it's like to be a salesperson, you know, that it's

Samantha McKenna:

like aggressive and salesy and slimy and car salesman and all

Samantha McKenna:

that stuff, you know, which, you know, we're actively working to

Samantha McKenna:

change that perception. But I got started there as an AE, and

Samantha McKenna:

the rest is kind of history.

Wesleyne Greer:

Hmm. So tell us about your first when you first

Wesleyne Greer:

dip your toe into the water and became an AE for those first

Wesleyne Greer:

days or months like for you.

Samantha McKenna:

So scary, you know, and I think I think you

Samantha McKenna:

you get into a sales role. And you realize that you're

Samantha McKenna:

continuing down this path of a sales job is really predicated

Samantha McKenna:

on whether or not you can sell, right? So you can't just kind of

Samantha McKenna:

skirt your way through. You can't figure out like, oh, how

Samantha McKenna:

do I just be a good person and do mediocre work and just

Samantha McKenna:

hopefully keep my job like, it's, you know, it's cutthroat.

Samantha McKenna:

If you don't sell me, you don't get to hang around. So I was

Samantha McKenna:

terrified. And thankfully, I think one of the best things

Samantha McKenna:

that I had going for me is that I worked for a small company.

Samantha McKenna:

And I had a CEO at the time, who really saw the potential that I

Samantha McKenna:

had. So while I didn't succeed right out of the gate, you know,

Samantha McKenna:

he gave me so much, you know, advice, he constantly educated

Samantha McKenna:

me and then said, you know, let's figure out how to continue

Samantha McKenna:

building you. But I was so scared, you know, how do I ask

Samantha McKenna:

for a contract? If somebody wants one thing, and we do just

Samantha McKenna:

a slightly different thing? You know, Will I lose the deal? It

Samantha McKenna:

was so terrifying. And mostly because I'm someone who hates to

Samantha McKenna:

inconvenience people. So the thought of calling someone and

Samantha McKenna:

being like, Bill, I would love for you to buy my stuff, please.

Samantha McKenna:

Thank you, you know, and then he says, I'm not interested. I'll

Samantha McKenna:

be like, Okay, thanks. Sorry. Sorry, to inconvenience you by.

Samantha McKenna:

That was my early early experience in my early

Samantha McKenna:

perception of what sales was.

Wesleyne Greer:

So how did you get over that? You know, like,

Wesleyne Greer:

Ah, I don't want to bother people. And I actually have to

Wesleyne Greer:

ask her things and push a little bit. How did you get through

Wesleyne Greer:

that?

Samantha McKenna:

I think, you know, it's the most amazing

Samantha McKenna:

transition when you realize some of the most obvious things that

Samantha McKenna:

are in front of you. And for me, the obvious thing I was missing

Samantha McKenna:

is that sales isn't this aggressive, skeezy kind of

Samantha McKenna:

thing. It is really the art of helping someone. And I think one

Samantha McKenna:

of the most influential things my I think was my head of sales

Samantha McKenna:

at the time said was, no one's taking a call with you for their

Samantha McKenna:

health, like they're busy, they're not going to get on the

Samantha McKenna:

horn with you and just listen to what you have to say if they

Samantha McKenna:

don't have a challenge that they need you to solve. So if you

Samantha McKenna:

shift the idea of sales from you, just trying to push your

Samantha McKenna:

product, send someone to thinking about the fact that

Samantha McKenna:

you're here to help them to be a pair of hands, right, you'll

Samantha McKenna:

really change your lens and start to have totally different

Samantha McKenna:

conversations. And that's what we say like my, my mantra, I

Samantha McKenna:

think probably since that day has been even thinking about our

Samantha McKenna:

discovery calls our first dates, if you will, as an opportunity

Samantha McKenna:

to simply solve the challenge of the customer. And it may not be

Samantha McKenna:

through us, you know, we get people who call us AMS sales all

Samantha McKenna:

the time, and they're like, you know, have you fly us to the

Samantha McKenna:

moon? And we're like, oh, fascinating, not what we do.

Samantha McKenna:

Right? But like, I need to get to that I need to find out what

Samantha McKenna:

the challenges are, what the landscape is what they're

Samantha McKenna:

looking for, so that I can be of help to them, even if it's not

Samantha McKenna:

necessarily with what we do.

Wesleyne Greer:

So really thinking about like, Hey, I have

Wesleyne Greer:

a million different things that I can do. But I said, Yes, I'll

Wesleyne Greer:

talk to you. So okay, sure. That means there may be there's some

Wesleyne Greer:

kind of interest, and it's your job as a salesperson to really

Wesleyne Greer:

say, Okay, this is how I can help you. I like to call it

Wesleyne Greer:

committing sales malpractice, if you don't actually help the

Wesleyne Greer:

person when they have said, Oh, I do have a problem here.

Samantha McKenna:

Right? Yeah, exactly. Well, and you, you

Samantha McKenna:

think about it, like just that even the way we kick off a

Samantha McKenna:

discovery call. We talk about this ad nauseum thing so many

Samantha McKenna:

people struggle with like, Okay, I want to get to their

Samantha McKenna:

challenge. But what do I What do I do? Do I show up on the

Samantha McKenna:

Discovery call? And so you know, what interested you in taking

Samantha McKenna:

this call today? And it's not what you say? Or do I just go

Samantha McKenna:

through my, you know, 17 questions to uncover BANT now.

Samantha McKenna:

But instead of you kind of take it like, take some of the words

Samantha McKenna:

you just use, right? Even though you were speaking about the

Samantha McKenna:

customer side, think about this, you show up to a call, we start

Samantha McKenna:

having a conversation. And then I say So listen, I could tell

Samantha McKenna:

you a million things about Sam sales. But I'd love to hear from

Samantha McKenna:

you. First, can you tell me a little bit about your team, your

Samantha McKenna:

challenges, maybe what the overall landscape is like on

Samantha McKenna:

your side? Can we start there? If that's okay, and what I love

Samantha McKenna:

about this is that you're kind of breaking that question down

Samantha McKenna:

into three parts, right? I'm going to tell you about me, I

Samantha McKenna:

will. But first I'd love to hear about you. And you kind of build

Samantha McKenna:

some EQ and after that, right? If I say like, tell me about

Samantha McKenna:

you. And then I just sit there, you're gonna be like, Oh my

Samantha McKenna:

gosh, what? A deer in headlights, right? Like, what

Samantha McKenna:

about me? So I want to build in some kind of fluffy words there

Samantha McKenna:

to give you time to think and give you some crutches and then

Samantha McKenna:

ask for permission. The most beautiful part about this,

Samantha McKenna:

especially when we teach it to sales reps is that they're like,

Samantha McKenna:

Okay, I'm going to try this. They try it, they get two or

Samantha McKenna:

three or four minutes of stream of consciousness from that

Samantha McKenna:

buyer, right? Their pens are on fire taking notes. And then

Samantha McKenna:

they're like, Oh, my God, why haven't I been doing this my

Samantha McKenna:

whole career? And we're like, I don't know. But rinse and

Samantha McKenna:

repeat.

Wesleyne Greer:

And then, you know, it's like that aha moment

Wesleyne Greer:

when you're in a discovery call and it goes, right, right.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because sometimes you will throw a question out, and people will

Wesleyne Greer:

be like, oh, yeah, this one word answer. Like, oh, no, I missed

Wesleyne Greer:

something, right?

Samantha McKenna:

Or even if you ask that you know what

Samantha McKenna:

interested you in taking this call today? Just think about

Samantha McKenna:

like your grumpiest buyer, they can show up to the call and say,

Samantha McKenna:

You know what, I'm not really sure your BDR book time with me.

Samantha McKenna:

And you know, here I am. And then you're like, then you get

Samantha McKenna:

nervous. And then you're talking about yourself for 28 minutes.

Samantha McKenna:

So instead, right, let's think about the question that can

Samantha McKenna:

really net us something valuable. And it's why just show

Samantha McKenna:

up here today in a beautifully said professional way.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. So you started your world in sales as

Wesleyne Greer:

an AE, what was your the next step on your career? What did

Wesleyne Greer:

you do after that?

Samantha McKenna:

I stayed in that first role for about four

Samantha McKenna:

years. And I really took the time, I think this would be a

Samantha McKenna:

piece of advice I would have for anybody is don't try to move too

Samantha McKenna:

quickly. And I think especially for younger generation, we are

Samantha McKenna:

so quick to want to move up the ladder, right? I've been an SDR

Samantha McKenna:

for eight minutes. Can I be an AE? Can I be an enterprise AE?

Samantha McKenna:

And we're like, hang on, hang on, hang on. So I stayed there.

Samantha McKenna:

For four years I mastered my craft. I took the breathing room

Samantha McKenna:

that I had to really figure this out from a foundational

Samantha McKenna:

perspective, I learned how to be a great social seller. And then

Samantha McKenna:

what was really interesting to me is the company I worked for

Samantha McKenna:

resold, a phenomenal product called on 24. And at some point,

Samantha McKenna:

they made a decision to go in a different way. They built a

Samantha McKenna:

relationship with another vendor and we kind of went from selling

Samantha McKenna:

like the Tesla's to selling like, you know, sure to catch on

Samantha McKenna:

fire 1978 Pintos. And I was like, Whoa, no. And it's

Samantha McKenna:

interesting, because I lasted about 10 days selling that

Samantha McKenna:

product. The relationships that I built with countless clients

Samantha McKenna:

were really starting to come undone because people were like,

Samantha McKenna:

this technology is really bad. It's making us look really bad.

Samantha McKenna:

And so I did something that I thought I would never do. And I

Samantha McKenna:

quit without having another job lined up, then to me, the brand

Samantha McKenna:

that I built, the relationships that I'd worked tirelessly to

Samantha McKenna:

build, were too important to leave up to this bad technology.

Samantha McKenna:

So I quit. And the really incredible thing was my again,

Samantha McKenna:

my CEO at the time, reached out to the head of sales at on 24

Samantha McKenna:

and said, Sam just quit, you'd be a fool not to have her like,

Samantha McKenna:

go hire her immediately. And that's what happened. So I ended

Samantha McKenna:

up transitioning from having sold that product for so long to

Samantha McKenna:

then moving to a much bigger organization on 24 and starting

Samantha McKenna:

as an AE there, and I'll say to when I got there, having been a

Samantha McKenna:

top performer like the top performer at a small company for

Samantha McKenna:

so long, you're kind of dropped into that, you know, it's like

Samantha McKenna:

you're going from like middle school where you're like the

Samantha McKenna:

most popular head to high school where you're like nobody. And

Samantha McKenna:

for me, I was figuring out quickly how to navigate the

Samantha McKenna:

internal organization and how to succeed as quickly as I could.

Wesleyne Greer:

So, I'm sorry, I had to take a moment because the

Wesleyne Greer:

bet on yourself, a lot of people, they don't bet on

Wesleyne Greer:

themselves, right, like so you realize, like, literally 10

Wesleyne Greer:

days, it's like two working weeks, you said, I can't do

Wesleyne Greer:

this, because one thing that you found that was so very important

Wesleyne Greer:

for you is your personal brand. And a lot of times at sales

Wesleyne Greer:

people as entrepreneurs, we don't always think about our

Wesleyne Greer:

personal brand. But I tell people, my word is my bond, if I

Wesleyne Greer:

come to you, and I say, this is a good product, this is a good

Wesleyne Greer:

service. I stand behind it. And I know 10 years later, like,

Wesleyne Greer:

there are things that I sold 10 years ago, and people still know

Wesleyne Greer:

me for that, right? Because it's like, I stood behind this, this

Wesleyne Greer:

was a good thing. So when you went from being the eighth

Wesleyne Greer:

grader to being the ninth grader, I actually have an

Wesleyne Greer:

eighth grader right now. So I get it. He's like, I'm a big

Wesleyne Greer:

guy. We're doing all these things. And I'm like, Yeah, next

Wesleyne Greer:

year, you're gonna be a small chest,

Samantha McKenna:

just right.

Wesleyne Greer:

So how did you make that transition? How did

Wesleyne Greer:

you start making a name for yourself and kind of going

Wesleyne Greer:

through the ranks there?

Samantha McKenna:

Again, like, same thing, I had great reprieve

Samantha McKenna:

from a great leader. The time I had Mike Henry was my boss, who

Samantha McKenna:

I still know and was a client of ours, even just in the last

Samantha McKenna:

year, but he gave me a little space, you know, well, actually,

Samantha McKenna:

quite a few of us came over from that old company. And we came

Samantha McKenna:

over in the end of q2. So I basically had six months of

Samantha McKenna:

breathing room to figure it out, and to hopefully bring some of

Samantha McKenna:

those relationships over. I think that's the first year the

Samantha McKenna:

only year I didn't hit quota, because I was just trying to

Samantha McKenna:

figure it out. And then all bets were off, you know, in January,

Samantha McKenna:

it'll tell you to, you know, looking at the year ahead,

Samantha McKenna:

looking at that six months, I knew I wasn't going to hit my

Samantha McKenna:

quota. So instead of just thinking like, how do I hustle

Samantha McKenna:

and grind and put $3,000 on the board, I really just shifted

Samantha McKenna:

into thinking about long term success. So what can I do in q3,

Samantha McKenna:

and definitely in q4 to build these deals that will tip in q1

Samantha McKenna:

and q2, and q3, taking our foot off the gas and thinking about

Samantha McKenna:

what's realistic. And what we can do to be smart for the year

Samantha McKenna:

ahead was really important. And I'll tell you, even as a leader,

Samantha McKenna:

this is something that I did as well. In fact, during my time at

Samantha McKenna:

on 24, our team had obliterated our quota already, but mostly

Samantha McKenna:

due to one really strong top performing rep who just kept

Samantha McKenna:

closing deal after deal after deal. Two of our team members

Samantha McKenna:

had no shot of making it and so for the year, but we knew their

Samantha McKenna:

jobs were in jeopardy, but there was just no way they were going

Samantha McKenna:

to hit their quota. So at the end of October, I think I said I

Samantha McKenna:

don't want you guys to think about closing a single extra

Samantha McKenna:

deal for the year, the only thing I want you to do is build

Samantha McKenna:

a pipe for q1 and the year ahead. And that's what they did.

Samantha McKenna:

And so it was really tough for me as a leader to keep showing

Samantha McKenna:

up for those forecast calls and saying, We don't have anything,

Samantha McKenna:

we don't have anything for these two reps. But when q1 comes

Samantha McKenna:

right, like midnight, and one minute on the 31st when you

Samantha McKenna:

know, you're like, I have to start there over way. I mean, we

Samantha McKenna:

crushed it, we again obliterated our number that team perform

Samantha McKenna:

those reps performed. And everybody was like, how did you

Samantha McKenna:

do that? And frankly, I did it through insubordination, and not

Samantha McKenna:

trying to close deals when we knew it wasn't gonna pay off for

Samantha McKenna:

us as a team. Hmm.

Wesleyne Greer:

You mentioned having a really great leader a

Wesleyne Greer:

couple of times. And I'm curious, what about those

Wesleyne Greer:

previous managers who had made them such great leaders,

Samantha McKenna:

I think it's interesting to you, when you've

Samantha McKenna:

got great leadership, they see the potential in you, and they

Samantha McKenna:

give you what it is that you need to succeed, right. They'll

Samantha McKenna:

give you access to resources, they'll give you support,

Samantha McKenna:

they'll let you you know, test the waters with a marketing

Samantha McKenna:

event or going to some conference or something like

Samantha McKenna:

that. And I think it's our job every time we get a little bit

Samantha McKenna:

of a line to prove that we've done something meaningful with

Samantha McKenna:

it, because that's how we'll continue to get those chances.

Samantha McKenna:

And I think for me, you know, I've had on the flip side, I've

Samantha McKenna:

had bad bosses, you know, I remember once going to is

Samantha McKenna:

running multi by coastal team flying back and forth to San

Samantha McKenna:

Francisco all the time. And I don't know it was working 80 or

Samantha McKenna:

90 hours. And I remember saying to my leader, I'm dying, like

Samantha McKenna:

I'm just dying. And I said, you know, I could use an EA, I could

Samantha McKenna:

use somebody who could just even take five or six hours of back

Samantha McKenna:

and forth scheduling every single week for me. It I

Samantha McKenna:

remember him laughing and saying I don't have an ETA, you don't

Samantha McKenna:

get an EA and I was like No Okay, so it just the great

Samantha McKenna:

leadership to me is seeing the potential rewarding the effort,

Samantha McKenna:

right, especially when somebody goes above and beyond for your

Samantha McKenna:

company is always doing more than they're asked for and

Samantha McKenna:

delivers, like find out how you can just skyrocket that person,

Samantha McKenna:

give them the resources, whether it's personnel, whether it's you

Samantha McKenna:

know, additional training, whatever it is, but you've got

Samantha McKenna:

incredible people like set them on fire in a good way.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah, right, like, elevate them. Yeah, make

Wesleyne Greer:

them. And I think that one of the biggest wrong things we do

Wesleyne Greer:

as a leader is like, I don't have that. I never had that. So

Wesleyne Greer:

you can have that, right. And the thing is just because it was

Wesleyne Greer:

hard for you, just because nobody taught you to do this

Wesleyne Greer:

does it means that when I ask for help, or when your new

Wesleyne Greer:

person asks for help, that you shouldn't give it to them,

Wesleyne Greer:

because the past does not always predict the future.

Samantha McKenna:

You nailed it. And I think even just you as a

Samantha McKenna:

leader, having a conversation with those top performers, or

Samantha McKenna:

those people that you're like, there's a spark here, and I want

Samantha McKenna:

to turn it on, when you even think about those top

Samantha McKenna:

performers. I like, again, one of our best and brightest, one

Samantha McKenna:

of the things I asked for her before the days of VDRs was,

Samantha McKenna:

let's give her a BDR. You know, she is unbelievable, as a closer

Samantha McKenna:

the fact that she's spending so much time prospecting is

Samantha McKenna:

bananas, like what a poor division of labor for us as a

Samantha McKenna:

company, let's hire even a part time resource that can just book

Samantha McKenna:

meetings. So the only thing she's doing is being in front of

Samantha McKenna:

customers mountain, if we just thought outside the box a little

Samantha McKenna:

bit, had tested the waters with that our revenue would have been

Samantha McKenna:

off the charts, because we would have been making the most

Samantha McKenna:

effective use out of her brains and her talent. So I think it's

Samantha McKenna:

looking for that and even talking to your people and

Samantha McKenna:

saying, If I could do something to make you even more

Samantha McKenna:

successful, if I could remove a burden from your plate to you

Samantha McKenna:

know, just set your talents on fire, what would that be?

Samantha McKenna:

Imagine how valued that person will feel, just knowing that

Samantha McKenna:

you're even asking,

Wesleyne Greer:

really valuing each person as a person I'd love

Wesleyne Greer:

saying salespeople are humans to a lot of times, we just think

Wesleyne Greer:

about them as these revenue generating machines, because

Wesleyne Greer:

numbers are humans to write and they have needs, and they have

Wesleyne Greer:

desires, and they have really key things that we as leaders

Wesleyne Greer:

should give them to really expand. So you went from being

Wesleyne Greer:

an AE leaving a team going from coast to coast, and then you

Wesleyne Greer:

transitioned into entrepreneurship. So tell me

Wesleyne Greer:

about the why why did you decide to strike out on your own,

Samantha McKenna:

I think, you know, as humbly as I can say it

Samantha McKenna:

every year, you know, from being an A to then working my way

Samantha McKenna:

through leadership, the executive ranks, every single

Samantha McKenna:

year that I was in sales, I did something you know, phenomenal

Samantha McKenna:

in terms of breaking records, or getting our full team over quota

Samantha McKenna:

or being the top performing leader out of six, or seven, or

Samantha McKenna:

eight or nine. And I think just at some point, and I'll say

Samantha McKenna:

like, there's never been a year in my career, where I've made

Samantha McKenna:

less money every single year continues to go up. And I think

Samantha McKenna:

to me, there just became a time to say like, if I can make an

Samantha McKenna:

impact like this on one team on several teams on one

Samantha McKenna:

organization, what could I do if I just went out on my own? And

Samantha McKenna:

I'll say it is terrifying. You know, you're giving up your

Samantha McKenna:

salary, your comp, your options, your health care, all of that

Samantha McKenna:

stuff, right? And you're going out on your own. But to me, what

Samantha McKenna:

an ultimate test of salesmanship, can I go on my

Samantha McKenna:

aunt, build it from scratch, and sell myself or sell what

Samantha McKenna:

services I think our clients would need. And I'll say to

Samantha McKenna:

like, I had incredibly humble aspirations, you know, I

Samantha McKenna:

thought, well, I'll just go, we'll support I'll support for

Samantha McKenna:

five clients, you know, I'll teach them how to sell, I'll

Samantha McKenna:

listen to their calls, I'll do all that jazz. And if I can make

Samantha McKenna:

X amount of money and help, you know, three or four or five

Samantha McKenna:

clients, I'll be happy when you know, we grew seemingly

Samantha McKenna:

overnight. We started in September 5 2019. I think we

Samantha McKenna:

cleared like $6,000 of receivables for that quarter who

Samantha McKenna:

we signed more than that. And then in our next year, we just

Samantha McKenna:

blew our number out of the water. I think we hit 312% of

Samantha McKenna:

our forecast, we ended 50 to 54 clients and then ended last year

Samantha McKenna:

at about 110 or 11 clients. So you know it was again, and I

Samantha McKenna:

think for me, I always try to keep the bar low. Try to keep my

Samantha McKenna:

expectations low for what we're going to do. And then hopefully

Samantha McKenna:

accelerate over that,

Wesleyne Greer:

huh? So once again, you bet on yourself. All

Wesleyne Greer:

right, he said, Ah, I can do this really, really well for

Wesleyne Greer:

this one organization for this one team. But you know, I'll

Wesleyne Greer:

toot your horn for you. I'm too amazing to keep this secret all

Wesleyne Greer:

locked up, right? So I share all my magical fairy dust with so

Wesleyne Greer:

many other people. And literally in less than three years, you've

Wesleyne Greer:

gone from zero to you know, having over 100 clients. So if

Wesleyne Greer:

there's somebody here and they're out there, and they're

Wesleyne Greer:

like, You know what I'm thinking about betting on myself, what is

Wesleyne Greer:

the single best piece of advice you can give them?

Samantha McKenna:

Oh, man, I think there's a few really

Samantha McKenna:

important components. So I would say probably the very first one

Samantha McKenna:

is follow through and I say that with with it because there's so

Samantha McKenna:

few people that say I'm going to do something and then

Samantha McKenna:

consistently follow through. If you are that person that makes

Samantha McKenna:

New Year's resolutions and keeps them you're probably in good

Samantha McKenna:

shape. If you quit at six weeks like the most of us do, right?

Samantha McKenna:

Probably not so much but think About that, are you You know,

Samantha McKenna:

that's an honest conversation to have with yourself? Are you a

Samantha McKenna:

woman or man of your word? Right? Do you follow through on

Samantha McKenna:

the things you say we'll do by the time you say we'll do them,

Samantha McKenna:

because I think that's the thing that surprises I think a lot of

Samantha McKenna:

people about me is that just the follow through, if I say, I'm

Samantha McKenna:

going to do it, I will and for your business, especially that's

Samantha McKenna:

so important having to wake up in the morning, be alone and

Samantha McKenna:

say, I'm going to create content, I'm going to go

Samantha McKenna:

prospect, I'm going to go sell without anyone but yourself

Samantha McKenna:

holding you accountable. That's a tough thing. So I would say

Samantha McKenna:

that first and foremost, I would say the second thing is make

Samantha McKenna:

sure you can sell. So if you can't sell, then you need to

Samantha McKenna:

have the capital to have someone who can be a partner to you, a

Samantha McKenna:

co founder, something like that they can go and prospect,

Samantha McKenna:

because I'll say where most businesses fail, as they start a

Samantha McKenna:

business, they capitalize on their referrals, their inbound

Samantha McKenna:

leads, people that they've had as clients before, just like we

Samantha McKenna:

did, but then after two or three years, they plateau. And you

Samantha McKenna:

know, that business runs out, or they just focus on executing the

Samantha McKenna:

business that they've already sold. And they don't continue to

Samantha McKenna:

build that pipeline. So you need to have someone that's capable

Samantha McKenna:

of doing that, if that's not you, and then making sure that

Samantha McKenna:

you actually follow through. So putting those two things

Samantha McKenna:

together. And I'll just say one more thing, like the

Samantha McKenna:

entrepreneurs that we coach, and I'll try to spend time with

Samantha McKenna:

people here and there. But we'll talk about, you know, their

Samantha McKenna:

deals and their pipeline. And I'm like, This is great, you've

Samantha McKenna:

got a bunch of pipeline, like what's happening with this, and

Samantha McKenna:

somebody will say, Oh, I owe them a proposal. And I'm like,

Samantha McKenna:

when, and they're like three weeks ago, and unlike, right, so

Samantha McKenna:

making sure if you can sell, but maybe you're not great to follow

Samantha McKenna:

through, then make sure there's someone who can do that. Okay,

Samantha McKenna:

one more thing. I like it just even on our friend like thinking

Samantha McKenna:

about our division of labor. As we've grown, I realized how much

Samantha McKenna:

work it was for me to not only be on the call to sell the

Samantha McKenna:

product to create the proposal to follow through to nurture. So

Samantha McKenna:

instead, you know that most of that work is my Chief of Staff

Samantha McKenna:

thinking back to that top rep that I mentioned, how do we

Samantha McKenna:

capitalize on her talents, my talents to do what I'm best at,

Samantha McKenna:

and then take the things that somebody else can probably do,

Samantha McKenna:

and outsource that to someone else so that you can be focused

Samantha McKenna:

on the things that really deserve your talent and

Samantha McKenna:

attention.

Wesleyne Greer:

I love it. I love it. I love it. And I 150%

Wesleyne Greer:

endorsed every single thing that you said. Because you know, like

Wesleyne Greer:

one thing that you said, you told your boss like, Hey, I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

working 80 to 90 hours a week and I have an EA literally six

Wesleyne Greer:

months into my business. That was my the first part I was

Wesleyne Greer:

like, I can't do all this same say, right? Like, whoa, you

Wesleyne Greer:

know, it's like you have to have someone you can lean on. Because

Wesleyne Greer:

if you get I call them leads, if you're always in the weeds, then

Wesleyne Greer:

you can't do everything. And even for my podcast, I tell my

Wesleyne Greer:

team, I want to show up and interview all the other stuff

Wesleyne Greer:

before and all the other stuff afterwards. I'm not gonna do it.

Wesleyne Greer:

I don't want to learn how to edit a podcast. I don't that's

Wesleyne Greer:

like, that's not even what I want

Samantha McKenna:

to do. And it's not a good use of your

Samantha McKenna:

time. Yeah,

Wesleyne Greer:

exactly. And I think whether you work for a

Wesleyne Greer:

corporation, or you're working for yourself, you have to really

Wesleyne Greer:

lean into your strengths and realize that in order to grow,

Wesleyne Greer:

in order to grow your territory, in order to grow your team, in

Wesleyne Greer:

order to grow your company, you must reach out and say, Okay, I

Wesleyne Greer:

can't do everything, I need to hire people. And yes, you do

Wesleyne Greer:

have to invest, you have to invest to grow.

Samantha McKenna:

And that's, I think, the toughest part, right?

Samantha McKenna:

Like you and I can account for that, that when you are running

Samantha McKenna:

your own business, it's your money that you're taking out,

Samantha McKenna:

you know, to pay these individuals to invest in this

Samantha McKenna:

business. It's not like we have a budget or that we came from

Samantha McKenna:

someone else that you know, has this pile of money for us. It's

Samantha McKenna:

literally taking money out of what we would spend it on and

Samantha McKenna:

spend it on personnel instead. But to your point, you know, for

Samantha McKenna:

me, I'm very, I'm very cautious about how we hire and very, I

Samantha McKenna:

guess I always call it I'm cart way, way behind the horse. You

Samantha McKenna:

know, I'm never like, oh, we need 16 employees before we

Samantha McKenna:

really need them. But that investment, you know, Carol's my

Samantha McKenna:

EA God bless her the things that she deals with on my behalf. But

Samantha McKenna:

that investment even when I see her invoices come through, I

Samantha McKenna:

look at the hours that she worked and I'm like, if she

Samantha McKenna:

wasn't doing that, I would be doing that right what an

Samantha McKenna:

incredible reprieve and benefit it is to have someone like that

Samantha McKenna:

in your life that can handle the minutiae of the everyday.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. 150%. So you started your

Wesleyne Greer:

company a couple of years ago, and you have over 100 clients

Wesleyne Greer:

now how are you able to service all of them in excellence? Like

Wesleyne Greer:

how what are you doing to really make sure that client number one

Wesleyne Greer:

and client number 120 are getting the same amount of Sam,

Samantha McKenna:

I think it is again, like just thinking about

Samantha McKenna:

division of labor and what I'm needed for and then what the

Samantha McKenna:

rest of our teams can do to support them. So as you kind of

Samantha McKenna:

said like earlier, the brand for me is the most important thing.

Samantha McKenna:

I never want a client to come and have an engagement that they

Samantha McKenna:

didn't expect or how Have a subpar engagement. You know, I

Samantha McKenna:

think that that's part of our appeal is that people are like

Samantha McKenna:

you're gonna be blown away when you work with Sam and Sam's

Samantha McKenna:

team. I think that's also what's helped our growth, right?

Samantha McKenna:

Because there's so many consultants out there that you

Samantha McKenna:

know, do what we do sales training, help you stand up

Samantha McKenna:

organizations, LinkedIn training, social selling all

Samantha McKenna:

that stuff. But I think that kind of difference with us one

Samantha McKenna:

is that experience that responsiveness that being on it,

Samantha McKenna:

right, that brand of who we are the two that I think the other

Samantha McKenna:

thing is the tangibility and practicality of what we teach.

Samantha McKenna:

We're never saying like, hello, you know, be in front of your

Samantha McKenna:

clients more, we're like, here's how you do it. Here's what you

Samantha McKenna:

write, here's the timing, here's how the medium you use very,

Samantha McKenna:

very specific. So it's thinking about every engagement, what is

Samantha McKenna:

it that they expect? What do I have to do? And what can someone

Samantha McKenna:

else do. And it's interesting, even kind of looking at my

Samantha McKenna:

calendar for February, it's definitely not light, but it's

Samantha McKenna:

lighter than it was last February. And it kind of gave me

Samantha McKenna:

a pause. And I was like, wait a minute, and I'm like, Should I

Samantha McKenna:

be worried about this. And I just realized, it's because I

Samantha McKenna:

have so many other people on the team that are doing the things

Samantha McKenna:

that I was doing before, that's why I've got more room to do the

Samantha McKenna:

things that are really important for me to do, right. And then

Samantha McKenna:

the rest of the team handles that. I'll say just the other

Samantha McKenna:

thing. You know, I talk about our brand a lot I reinforce when

Samantha McKenna:

I see great examples of things are when I see poor examples out

Samantha McKenna:

in the space, I'm like, take a look at this. This is why we're

Samantha McKenna:

different. This is what makes us different. And I think it

Samantha McKenna:

reinforces our brand in a really positive way through and through

Samantha McKenna:

to our employees. So it's not like taking an example of like,

Samantha McKenna:

here's what you did wrong. And here's how we should have done

Samantha McKenna:

it better. It's here's how you're doing it really great.

Samantha McKenna:

And here's how someone else is not doing it well, and what I

Samantha McKenna:

would have done differently, right. So it communicates that

Samantha McKenna:

to our team without ever needing to be negative. But I think the

Samantha McKenna:

other thing that we do to really think about our growth and who

Samantha McKenna:

we are is we're really a culture of growing versus knowing. And I

Samantha McKenna:

celebrate when people fall on their swords and talk about a

Samantha McKenna:

mistake they made I celebrate when they share that

Samantha McKenna:

collectively with our company, I want you to feel comfortable to

Samantha McKenna:

you know, screw things up, I want you to know that you're

Samantha McKenna:

going to be human and that you're going to disappoint us,

Samantha McKenna:

the thing that I care about the most is that we learn from our

Samantha McKenna:

mistakes we learn from the things that we do that maybe

Samantha McKenna:

don't meet them are, and then we change them. So we continue to

Samantha McKenna:

build as a team, just we're not perfect today, and we never will

Samantha McKenna:

be right. But we can be better than we were yesterday.

Wesleyne Greer:

Being 1% better every day. I love that. That is

Wesleyne Greer:

amazing. And I think that you know, one thing that as a

Wesleyne Greer:

business owner, as a sales leader that's so important is to

Wesleyne Greer:

ensure that consistent customer experience, like you mentioned

Wesleyne Greer:

early in your career, that you were acquired by someone, and

Wesleyne Greer:

the experience wasn't the same. And I think that when you ensure

Wesleyne Greer:

that what you believe your mission, your vision is through

Wesleyne Greer:

the fabric of the organization, that's what really helps you

Wesleyne Greer:

accelerate and grow and push. So when you think back over your

Wesleyne Greer:

career, working in the corporate realm now out on your own, what

Wesleyne Greer:

is one thing that you are most excited about accomplishing? You

Wesleyne Greer:

know,

Samantha McKenna:

I think it has to be this business, I think

Samantha McKenna:

just the, you know, both my parents were entrepreneurs, I

Samantha McKenna:

dreamed of being able to do that. And I just never thought

Samantha McKenna:

frankly, I would have the courage like fear 100% held me

Samantha McKenna:

back for however long, but I think I'm proud of waiting to

Samantha McKenna:

start this career, by the time I had built a brand. So you know,

Samantha McKenna:

not trying to jump the gun or being in sales for two weeks,

Samantha McKenna:

and then saying, like, I'm gonna consult on this, like some

Samantha McKenna:

people do, right? Like, let me make sure that I've got a well

Samantha McKenna:

rounded base of experience. And then I've done this over and

Samantha McKenna:

over and over again. And I can use that as my credibility

Samantha McKenna:

factor that I think just standing this business up and

Samantha McKenna:

building it to what it's been is probably my biggest achievement.

Samantha McKenna:

And I'll say to like, there's been two experiences in my life,

Samantha McKenna:

kind of thinking about what I said before, like, don't be so

Samantha McKenna:

quick to get promoted. But sometimes don't be so quick to

Samantha McKenna:

take the you know, sexy job title. When I left that company

Samantha McKenna:

where I didn't support the product. When I left, the new

Samantha McKenna:

owner came back and said, Would you stay like what can we do to

Samantha McKenna:

get you to stay? We're gonna make you a VP of sales. And I

Samantha McKenna:

was like, what, like going from account executive and then just

Samantha McKenna:

skipping up to be VP of sales. But I remember I got great

Samantha McKenna:

advice from one of my clients who said, Well, if you say,

Samantha McKenna:

you'll be VP of Sales spears, so gonna be VP of she used another

Samantha McKenna:

S word, and then sales. And I was like, oh, and then you know,

Samantha McKenna:

when it was the decision to leave on 20 form, I transitioned

Samantha McKenna:

to LinkedIn as a leader. And that again was kind of two

Samantha McKenna:

decisions final Rose was with LinkedIn and then with another

Samantha McKenna:

company that's very well known. And the company at that point,

Samantha McKenna:

had about a million dollars in ARR. They've since been acquired

Samantha McKenna:

big success, but the role there was to be their head of sales

Samantha McKenna:

and to be you know, basically be their CRO because they were so

Samantha McKenna:

small. And to me the decision between being CRO for a company

Samantha McKenna:

that could take off and then being a head of sales for a

Samantha McKenna:

company like LinkedIn was a tough decision. But what I

Samantha McKenna:

realized is I didn't feel like My education was perfectly well

Samantha McKenna:

rounded yet, you know, I could have gone to be that zero, I

Samantha McKenna:

could have figured it out, I could have built it like a built

Samantha McKenna:

Sam sales. But I felt like I was just missing that big company

Samantha McKenna:

experience and just a few years of education that would really

Samantha McKenna:

help me. So again, not taking the Big Sexy role, but taking

Samantha McKenna:

the role with a company that, frankly, I was so so fortunate

Samantha McKenna:

to work for, and continuing to build on my baseline of

Samantha McKenna:

education.

Wesleyne Greer:

And so many times, especially in this day

Wesleyne Greer:

and age where people are like, Yeah, I don't want to work at

Wesleyne Greer:

this company. There are a gazillion companies hiring, it's

Wesleyne Greer:

like, yeah, that's a really nice title. And I would love to do

Wesleyne Greer:

that job. But I've never had that experience. And what

Wesleyne Greer:

happens is, it actually comes back to bite you because you

Wesleyne Greer:

take the job and you're in the job and you're not successful in

Wesleyne Greer:

the job, you get demotivated and then you're out there looking

Wesleyne Greer:

again and you you're taking a step back. So instead of going

Wesleyne Greer:

up and down and up and down to say, Yeah, you know what, I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

not quite ready for that yet, I should probably take this

Wesleyne Greer:

stepping stone before moving on. And while

Samantha McKenna:

we talk about Peter Principle, and the

Samantha McKenna:

corporate world all the time, and for anyone who's not

Samantha McKenna:

familiar with that, it's the idea of being you're promoted to

Samantha McKenna:

the highest level of your in competency. So what you

Samantha McKenna:

basically do, let's say, you jumped the gun, and you let's

Samantha McKenna:

say, I jumped the gun. And I took that VP of sales job, which

Samantha McKenna:

I was in no way prepared to take. But let's say I'd taken

Samantha McKenna:

it, I might have figured it out and learn and things like that,

Samantha McKenna:

because that's my nature. But for most people, they'll take

Samantha McKenna:

that job, they'll be excited about the title, they may still

Samantha McKenna:

not learn how to do well, they may fail. And then what are they

Samantha McKenna:

going to do, they're going to jump to a lateral position and a

Samantha McKenna:

lateral position and a lateral position, because they might try

Samantha McKenna:

to interview for the SVP or the EVP role, but they don't

Samantha McKenna:

understand even their own role. So they don't, they don't

Samantha McKenna:

interview properly, right, they can't articulate the value of

Samantha McKenna:

what they would bring to that position. So they just continue

Samantha McKenna:

to go down that path. And I would say like just a great kind

Samantha McKenna:

of hiring alert for anyone that's, you know, an

Samantha McKenna:

entrepreneur or seed round Series A, if you're hiring a VP

Samantha McKenna:

of sales, one, I've got a great recruiter for you. But to think

Samantha McKenna:

about this, in terms of who like what their previous experience

Samantha McKenna:

has been like, do they continue to move through the same job to

Samantha McKenna:

the same sized companies, or maybe it's the same title, but

Samantha McKenna:

they keep going bigger and bigger and bigger in terms of

Samantha McKenna:

organization, you should either go bigger with the same title,

Samantha McKenna:

or you should go bigger title with smaller or equal sized

Samantha McKenna:

organizations. If they're not doing that, that's a signal to

Samantha McKenna:

that maybe there's a gap in competency and that they just

Samantha McKenna:

are stuck in the same role. Hmm, that's a really great, I love

Samantha McKenna:

your man's after they say there's no,

Wesleyne Greer:

I'm just absorbed we get it's like, I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

just like eating ice cream and listening, like.

Wesleyne Greer:

And a lot of the clients that I actually work with, they fall

Wesleyne Greer:

into that trap, like you're talking about when I'm talking

Wesleyne Greer:

to their managers or the companies that are hiring me.

Wesleyne Greer:

They're like, yeah, they were up for promotion, but they didn't

Wesleyne Greer:

get it. And it's because we noticed 123 things. And it's

Wesleyne Greer:

like because they've been able to skirt below, right? They've

Wesleyne Greer:

been able to go below and go with the flow. But now they want

Wesleyne Greer:

to take a step up, and they're like, I've been with this

Wesleyne Greer:

organization for 1015 20 years, why can't I move up? You know

Wesleyne Greer:

what I mean? And they get so discouraged. But it is so so, so

Wesleyne Greer:

important, you must invest in your own development. And if you

Wesleyne Greer:

want someone else to bet on you, you have to first start by

Wesleyne Greer:

betting on

Samantha McKenna:

yourself. You're now I couldn't agree with

Samantha McKenna:

you more.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. This has been an amazing

Wesleyne Greer:

conversation. Sam, you've given me so many little ice moments

Wesleyne Greer:

where I just want to sit back and eat my ice cream and listen

Wesleyne Greer:

to the podcast again and take notes. So if people want to get

Wesleyne Greer:

in contact with you, what is the one best way?

Samantha McKenna:

Yeah, so pop over to LinkedIn, of course,

Samantha McKenna:

you'll find I post tons of content there. And then if you

Samantha McKenna:

also want to come over to our website, Sam sales

Samantha McKenna:

consulting.com Sign up for our newsletters. We give you golden

Samantha McKenna:

nuggets to use every single week. We've got subscriptions

Samantha McKenna:

you can sign up for to learn everything about sales,

Samantha McKenna:

leadership, hiring LinkedIn, all without having to spend a

Samantha McKenna:

fortune on hiring us directly. And but more than anything, you

Samantha McKenna:

know, come in, connect with us on LinkedIn because it's a great

Samantha McKenna:

place to have a conversation and attract what we do.

Wesleyne Greer:

Spoken like a truth sales person. Here is the

Wesleyne Greer:

free way to get me here is how you can get just the bite of a

Wesleyne Greer:

cookie. And here's how you can get the whole cookie. I love it.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome, awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing

Wesleyne Greer:

your time, your talent and your expertise with us today. I truly

Wesleyne Greer:

appreciate

Samantha McKenna:

it. Thank you for this great conversation.

Samantha McKenna:

What a pleasure to be here truly

Wesleyne Greer:

awesome. Well, guys, yeah, that was a nether

Wesleyne Greer:

lovely episode of the science of selling stem and remember and

Wesleyne Greer:

whatever you do, in all things, transform your sales until next

Wesleyne Greer:

time

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