In April 2017, Okta made their IPO debut and a I was closing in on 4 years with the company where I built out the Orange County territory for the organization. It was an incredible run there as I consistently finished in the top 10 in worldwide sales and even made it to the very top finishing #1 in the world in 2016. I decided to do it all over again and join another startup at Rubrik in June of 2017 where I was hired to replicate what I did at Okta in Orange County for Rubrik.
Upon joining Rubrik, I was handed the same number of accounts I was given when I started at Okta, ZERO. My first quarter at Rubrik, I was able to bring on two customers which created the beginning of the future groundswell of customers I would accumulate. From that quarter on, I was snagging 4-6 new logos every quarter which was 2-3X the company average. By the time I finished my second year with the company, I went on stage at our Sales Kickoff and received an award for finishing #1 in the world for customer acquisition. Fast forward to today, I've surpassed 50 customers in my 3 year tenure and have completely buried my top competitor who is on their 4th sales rep in the territory since I started. To date, no other rep at Rubrik has reached this milestone of 50 customers.
At this point, you might be reading this and are starting to think this is me doing a "humble brag" but that's far from the case. My blog's sole purpose is to help other sales professionals get better. I think it's important to share the results of my efforts to help put into perspective what's possible as well as provide others a taste of the formula I used to help me get there. Knowledge is only powerful if you share it with others.
“We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give." Vernon Jordan
I truly feel that my success at Okta and Rubrik can be boiled down to the 3 principles below:
1. I TAKE MASSIVE ACTION
If you follow the sales legend Grant Cardone, you have heard the term, "massive action." Grant stresses the importance of taking massive action in order to achieve true success and I couldn't agree more. There are no shortcuts to this game. Discipline, consistent, and persistent actions are required to win at this sport of sales and doing this in mass quantity is one of the elements of my success and many others.
When it comes to customer interaction, I like to "Sell it Like Serhant" and perform the 3 F's. This is how I start every day when I get into my office. I perform these tasks first before anything else.
Follow Up - I never expect people to get in touch with me. Instead, I follow up with active clients every single day in some form or fashion.
Follow Through - I do what I said I'm going to do. Remember, these are not just clients, they are relationships so if I told a customer that I would get back to them with something, I check and double check that I deliver and on time.
Follow Back - I keep in touch with past clients. The relationship does not end at the closing so I constantly check to see how we are doing and ask how we can do better. I also strive to touch base with clients I lost because things change.
My ultimate goal is to have an omnipresence. I want everyone in my industry to know who I am, where I am, and how to get ahold of me - even my competition. You can't do this unless you take massive action. Here are a few examples of things I do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to help reach my goal of an omnipresence.
3 F's (described above)
Post at least 3x a week on LinkedIn (build a following)
Like 5+ posts a day on LinkedIn (your contacts see your activity)
Host an event at least once a month (your competitor is)
Prospect daily (lifeblood of the business)
Send unsolicited proposals monthly (why not?)
Attend at least one industry event a month (don't be lazy)
Take someone to lunch 3+ times a week (strive for 5!)
Work remotely somewhere in public (you can't bump into anyone new at home)
Meet someone new every day (or three)
"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier
2. I BUILD CHAMPIONS
If you have read a lot of my posts, you have definitely come across me referencing the sales methodology MEDDIC. I follow this method religiously and it's a vital tool I lean on to help me run deals as effective and efficient as possible. For those familiar with MEDDIC, you know that the "C" stands for Champion and we all know that if you don't have a champion - you don't have a deal.
Champion: This is the person inside the customer's organization who will "sell" for you when you are not there. They are your biggest advocate and have strong influence in the deal and often can make decisions.
Because of this, I emphasize a lot of time and effort into developing a champion or even better, champions in any given deal. It really stems down to a three step process when it comes to champion building:
Identify - First, it's important to identify who has the potential, willingness, and criteria to be your champion. They must be someone who has power and influence in the deal so more often than not, they have a management title. Typically a Champion has a strong personality and they are well-known in the organization and have a track record for getting deals done. Lastly, they have to be someone that has some sort of personal gain in the deal such as a job promotion, monetary bonus, strong recognition, or are avoiding job loss.
Develop - Next, it's time to start building rapport with your identified champion. The key first step to this is to listen empathetically. This will help you understand their pains, goals, personal gains, success criteria, desired outcomes, etc. as it relates to the project. Make everything about them in all of your interactions. You will start to create trust and rapport that will allow you to further develop a relationship and start making them a believer in what you are selling. You will know when your Champion is becoming real when you start seeing them sell for you and are influencing others to get on board.
Maintain - It's important that when you have verified that you have a Champion that you arm them to the teeth with everything they need to continue selling for you when you are not there. Some examples are a Champions Deck, TCO and ROI documentation, whitepapers, competitive comparisons, etc. It's also critical that you consistently test your Champion because it's never set in stone that your Champion today will be your Champion tomorrow. Read more about how to do just that.
3. I SELF-EDUCATE
When I graduated college, I thought that was it, that was the end of my education. I just spent 16 years in school and read all the books they required and when it was done, so was I. The last thing I wanted to do was read. This average mindset got the best of me and set me back in so many ways that I feel a pit in my stomach talking about it. I can honestly say, I didn't read more than two books in close to 8 years after college. Because I was a slower reader and my mind was constantly drifting from the text that was in front of me, sitting down with a book in my hands was the last thing you would catch me doing. The force of average get the best of me and I bet it cost me millions of dollars.
Jim Rohn once said, "Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune." I couldn't agree more. In fact, out of the 3 key principles, self-education is by far the most important. If you're not consistently reading or listening to content related to your job, you're missing out on your biggest payout of your life. Average people only learn when they are forced to. The elite's education is self induced. Warren Buffet says you should, "Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."
The legends at the top of their field are all avid readers. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets by reading books and his brother recalls him reading two books a day as a child. Bill Gates says he reads 50 books a year. Mark Cuban talks about how he reads at least 3 hours a day. Mark Zuckerberg asked the world to join him in reading a book every two weeks a couple years back and Oprah says reading is her path to personal freedom.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr Seuss
At the age of 30, I began reading again and made a commitment to read professional selling and self-help books . It started out slow, maybe a book every 3 months but I knew it was important. I noticed some small gains in my career after two years of my new habit so I started putting more emphasis on it so I joined Audible. This is when I started getting addicted. Not only did I bump up from a book every 3 months to a book a month, my income doubled. Coincidence? I think not. When I bumped up to two books a month, my income nearly doubled again. Reading (or listening in my case) two books a month will change your life, it sure changed mine. Reading is how you grow.
When it isn't books, it's blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. The amount of incredible resources at my fingertips is being taken full advantage of. Here is a list of some my favorites:
Top 3 blogs I read to stay fresh:
14 books that helped feed my think tank:
Sell or Be Sold - Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule - Grant Cardone
Atomic Habits - James Clear
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins (read my post on this book)
Make Your Bed - William McRaven
Sell it Like Serhant - Ryan Serhant
Objections - Jeb Blount
The Little Red Book of Selling - Jeff Gitomer
Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
Never Split the Difference - Chris Voss (read my post on this book)
Start With Why - Simon Sinek (read my post on this book)
The Power of Broke - Damon John
Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter - 50 Cent
YouTube channels to watch instead of junk television:
The Wolf of Wallstreet
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Gandhi