3 Pro Tips as a Modern Revenue Leader
Zuhairah Washington - 3 Pro Tips as a Modern Revenue Leader
Featured Speaker, March 25th, 2021
Privileged to be here with you and my fellow panellists to have this important conversation about what it means to be a revenue leader, a modern revenue leader today.
One of the first things I think is important to identifiability, because I'm sure there's all different types of leadership styles represented on this panel. But the type of work that I do is mostly long-term relationship management with large, strategic partners or accounts. So I think that's an important lens, as I talk through some of my three tips that I have here to share with you today.
So the first is really this concept of choosing to challenge. Some of you may have heard this during International Women's Day, month, this whole concept of choosing to challenge. And I think it's really relevant for the role that revenue leaders play as well. You know there's a saying that relationships really matter and that people do business with those they know, like and trust. And what I've found over the past year plus is it's not just having that warm relationship, it's also being brave enough to challenge.
And we saw this in the summer of 2020 with a lot of companies looking introspectively to see, where are my blind spots? What did I do or what did I miss? And this is a really important opportunity for revenue leaders in particular during this time when you need to bring something new and different and fresh to the table in order to gain the trust and also the ear of your clients.
One of the things that I always like to think of myself as is a trusted advisor, to my clients and to the partners that I work with. And recently, as Lauren noted, I actually became a member of a public board and really an advisor in that regard. So not just in concept but in actuality.
And one of the questions they ask me is what do you bring to the table? What's unique about what your perspective is? And my answer is simply, I am the person in the room who will challenge the assumptions and will call out the elephant in the room, but do it in a way that brings the conversation forward versus stops it in its tracks.
And I think that's such an important role for modern revenue leaders to play. To not just – to co-sign on the group thing, but to also push conversations forward and bring forward new insight and innovation.
There's also a lot of data behind that being a successful or correlated to some of the most successful types of sales leaders as well. So happy to see those two corresponding.
The second pro tip that I have is just about, you know, similar to what Brian was saying, the importance of humility and humanity. So I call this the humans first. You know, typically when you think about sales leaders you think of, you know mostly someone who's being aggressive, more than likely a man than a woman. You know, confident, something that's big and you know, candidly not necessarily on the softer side.
And for me as a leader kind of growing and scaling I always thought it was not right to put those two at different sides of the spectrum. Personally I believe you can be a leader who is compassionate, but also someone who is assertive and direct.
And I think it's important to find the right balance between those two. Especially because in this time, despite what we've seen recently around job losses and obviously the impact the pandemic has had on unemployment, but in the US in particular there is a war on talent. We are – I'll say this in my personal experience at Expedia – consistently looking for strong leaders who can come and grow the business.
And guess what? They have options. And so showing up as a leader that is compassionate and kind and who embodies both of those things is something that can actually propel your team to drive even greater results.
There's a recent Harvard Business Review article that showed exactly this. That kind is not a dirty word. Actually, in fact, being human can drive results. And so I'm a big believer in leading with human kindness, with heart, with humility. If we don't do it now, whenever will we have a time to do it? So it's a great time now to do that, to engage your team, to push them forward, and to make those investments with those individuals who have been proven during this really difficult time for all of our industries.
The last pro tip that I will share should be no surprise to you, as a female myself, I really believe the future is female. There's a lot of data out there about how women are underrepresented but over perform, particularly in the post-COVID world and the future of sales.
And a lot of that has to do with not necessarily for what you might think. One of the key reasons is the role and the way that women use the core strengths needed to successful execute a sale. That's around compassion, collaboration and shaping solutions proactively. That's been a data-driven finding that women are more likely to lean on those skills versus driving to a particular outcome, they're more open as to what that solution might look like.
And also particularly in this post-COVID world we're looking for more of the EQ to go with the IQ. We need something that's going beyond the digital tools that, you know, package up really nicely all of the insights with a button, like Thought Exchange. So you've got to bring something extra to this table to exceed expectations. That's what women are doing.
And post-COVID, in this world where we need to create warmth across digital platforms, through this little box, through the Zoom, these are areas where we're seeing growth and I'm really excited about that trend continuing.
And that's the conclusion of my three pro tips today as a modern revenue leader.