The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

Leadership, Mentorship, and Career Certainty in Sales Development w/ Evan Nissenbaum


How do you know whether you’re doing the right thing with your career?

Today’s guest used to be mired in uncertainty, like most of us, but has finally arrived at his calling: sales development leadership.

In this episode, I interview Evan Nissenbaum, Global Director of Sales Development at Hyperscience, about his route to career certainty.

What we talked about:

  • Leadership insight from the sales track
  • How to find a mentor
  • The right sales career path & earning your stripes

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast,this podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagementplatform, helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged withbuyers and customers in the modern sales era, check out sales,engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales,engagement available on Amazon and Barns and noble or wherever books aresold. Now, let's get into today's episode all right, Hello. Everyonewelcome back to the sales engagement podcast. This is one of your hostJenadonni Hu. This is going to be an exciting one. Today we appreciate allof you spend in the next twenty to thirty minutes with us today, on our show, we have a specialguest, so we have Evan Nisenbom joining us from hyperscience Evan. Welcome tothe show how you doing ana thanks, Om Mone for aving me, I'm doing greatcited to be here, Ason, we're so glad to have you so a little bit of abackground for some of our listeners Evan. You have a really really uniquestory that I think will resonate with a lot of our listeners today. So HeavenGlobal Director at for sales development at hyperscience. I thinkmost impressively. First and foremost, you know you started this role abouttwo months ago were midpandemic you're, developing a new team, very interestingstory. There we're going to go ahead and dive into some of your background,though, because you have kind of a unique career progression and that'ssomething that's really relevant to a lot of sales professionals. You know, Ithink, especially today, as people are working through what they want to do astheir next step. Thinking about what their career is going to look like intwo thousand and twenty one, and I know something that you're really passionateabout- is kind of a difference of understanding what I want to do in my career and whatI should do as I move through my sales career, so oven, you know, would loveto kind of handit over to you. If you want to give us a little bit ofbackground on what your story looks like you know, where Yiu came from someof the things that you're passionate about yeah for sure. So things are forme like most people in sales which, as I never planned on being in sales. Ifyou had told twenty one year old, Evan that this is where he is now, he wouldhave expected to be the GM of the jets by now, so that didn't work but bellbackwards in the cells like most people did a bunch of smile and dial cok,calling gigs and just kind of bounce around from one job to the nexce,without really finding much success or joy in a lot and what I was doing and Istumbled upon demand base currely by accident and after my initial interviewwith J tool, who ended up becoming my boss, great mentor and now very closefriend. I knew that this was the right move for me to step in the sale,development, world and TAK, the proverbial step back from accountexecutive back to the sell development and WAC, really the first time thateverything quick for me was the first time I put a hundred percent in and gota hundred percent back across the board from you know, money, visibility,opportunity impact and I really loved it. I was fortunate enough to be in aposition to lead a team on the east coast. I had always wanted to trymanagement, something I always thought I'd be great at and wats fortunateenough to be given that opportunity at to man base tat for about a year insales development. I built out a team from scratch on the East Coast. It waseverything I wanted. It was really just the most fun job. I've ever had themost rewarding being able to teach people how to be professional, how togrow their careers, what they should be thinking about and and really how tomaximize their own potential. U Did that for a bit and ended up leveling upand being able to roll a manager underneath me and everything was justgoing incredibly well. I love the company, Love the environment and oneof my mentors whut, I actually supported as an str early Ono, mycareer to man. BAS was promoted to head up our enterprise team on the EastCoast, and at that point my career, I...

...really wasn't thinking about making momove. I was loving when I was doing feeling like I was on a good path, butlong term. For me, I want to get into higher levels of leadership, break intothe executive field and BVP or ultimately tscrl, and a lot of mymentors had guoded me towards the importance of carrying a dag and beingable to prove that you can close big deals. It was one of those too good tobe true, can't pass up opportunities to join the enterprise selling team atdemand base, and you know really worked alongside people who had closedmillions and millions of dollars and had ten plus years of experience, and Ihad sold some ads and Yelle and some tickets Bor theonthers. So definitelysuper intiminating, but truly one of the best and scaries experiences of myentire life, just kind of being launched into the fire and having ahuge number over my head selling into some of the biggest companies on theglobe, an ended up being the top rep in demand Bass in Qone of that year andthen made the really difficult decision to leave. I've been there for almostfive years. It was like family to me truly between the mentors that I hadthe friendships that I developed the team that I built. I made the decisionto leave and for me I really wanted to figure out. You know: Does EnterpriseSales Work for me, because I'm at to Membas and because of the personalbrand I built here, can I you know achieve these goals? Can I be greatsomewhere else, so I went to a company called Dizibo to do cells there, andyou know it was really difficult. It was. It was a tough selling environmentreally strong LADERSHIP team, but really difficult sale in a reallycrowded marketplace and some of the thoughts in the back of my head thatwere creeping up. Where you know, am I doing the right thing? Should Icontinue to try to push myself to sell? I was starting to think about gettingout of sales, direct sales and individual atribital life and back othe leadership, because that was where I was really having the most fununtilin like go was provided in most value, but those same tentors kepttelling me you know you're so early in your career. These are the ups anddowns you got to keep pushing. You have to keep pushing yourself so rightaround the time the pandemic star. It started up, unfortunately, tees avisibo being an impersonal event. Typh Company, not the best time to beselling live in person. Events, although they're doing mazing right now,I decided to jump to Mondaycom so ing to be enterprise as well, and for methere. That was where it really became clear that I needed to be doing more of what Iloved anless of what I felt, a social pressure lets shouo, say or aprofessional pressure to do so s there for not a very long time realize thatthe type of sale and the type of work was just not really satisfying anymore,and that's how I made my way to hyperscince. But I've been for fiveweeks now as a global director of self development, and the way I feel todayis better than I felt in honestly over a year. I know that I'm doing what Ishould be doing and what feels right and where I'm going to be at my mosteffective, most impactful and ultimately happiest so I's, been a verybizarre couple of years for me, but finally, feeling like I've got my feetback under me and I'm feeling a lot more confident about my day today. Yeah,that's awesome. What I really love hearing about this whole story. Is itsounds like you've really trusted your gut? You know along the way, so manyyoung sales professionals that I speak with are just so focused on that nextstep, right, upward mobility and they sometimes miss out on the fact thatsales is really endless right, there's so many different career paths that wecan take and what matters most is really when you're happy you're goingto perform right and there's a lot of different versions that we can a lotdifferent patts that we can take to get there. And so it's really, you know,inspiring to hear your story out of curiosity, and I think it's reallyinteresting. The way that you move from leading and then went into an icy roleand now you're back leading again, you know developing a segment and a team,I'm curious! You know what are some of the lessons and takeaways now thatyou're stepping back into a leadership...

...roll after selling that you're reallyleaning into as you're setting ap this new team yeah. It's actually one of themain reasons that I'm I wanted to get back into self development leadership.Specifically, a lot of interviews that I went on a lot of people I spoke withsaid. Well, why aren't you man managing account executives and I think in Halong term? It's definitely something I want to get into, but for me you knowwith sales development being the place where my career finally Sart take shape.You know it's big part of my heart. I love the sales development function. Ithink it's such an interesting roll. It's such a unique place to takeprofessional young professionals that haven't been in a work environmentbefore they don't know what they want to do. Thay, don't know how to getthere and having the opportunity to use my experience to help guide them andhelp them get to that. Next level is something I'm really passionate aboutand something that has really been enjoyable, and I think for me,especially now that I've had the experience of you know, being an SDRbeing an s leader being an enterprise sales that bizarre three Sideod coin isgiving me unique perspective to have really difficult conversations for SDRs,who are confident that they're ready to take that next step? Who are six monthsinto their new job as an str and are ready for their next promotion to be anaccount executive, and I think a lot of the conversations I'm going to behaving with my team and with others. You know who I have the chance to speakwith. Is it's a lot harder than you think it is, and I'm living proof ofthat there's so much. That goes into being an account executive, so muchthat we're just not expected to know that we're never taught when we're inCDs SDRs and I'm going to use that knowledge and that perspective to Ay.You know help fill in some of those gapts from a knowledge and skillperspective, but be also just show them. You know, what's ahead of them and howdifficult that path is going to be and what it really takes from a minsetperspective to be successful and enterprise selling function could notagree more. It's definitely not an easy role, but it is so rewarding right. I'mcurious! You know, as you kind of think, about some of these SRS. I know you'vementioned mentorship quite a few times here right, so I know a lot of youngSDRs are so focused on getting to that next step, they're working ondeveloping themselves. I love that you specifically called out the mindsetpiece right, because I also see a lot of parallels with successful sales.Folks when they go in with the growth mindset. They don't see negativeresponses or rejections, as you know, a blocker right. They see itas opportunity and feedback. So I'm curious if you have any advice formaybe someone in the SDR roll who's gunning to be an a and say the next sixmonths or a year. You know H, what's something that you would tell them. I've got loads of vice. I think youknow on the mentor ship point it's something I never was expecting it'ssomething I' never had in previous roles and a demandas. So I suddenlyfound myself working with people who have been there before who have donethis before. Who have been me at some point and saw the energy Sall thepotential and we're willing to dedicate the time to take me under their wingand really help guide me not only personally but professionally as well,and that was something that that changed the game. For me, I'm veryfortunate that I had multiple mentors at deman base, who I still stay intouch with today, many of which have become great friends and it's a bigreason why I want to get back into this place too. So I can give back to othersells development reps, who were just figuring things out, but my advice tosales development reps right now is stay in your lame. It's really easy. Wecan. We can call it what it is. I unfortunately fall into the category ofmillennials to and now there's the whole genz thing, but that mentalitythat you are ready before you actually are is real. I think, because Texhsales there's so much opportunity and you see that person who's a year or twoolder than you. That's making you know half a million dollars and you think toyourself. I can be that person and you...

...absolutely can, but you have to earnyour strikes, you have to put in the work and you have to be patient and notskip steps and not cut corners. I've seen so many good SRS who have all theskills. All the knowledge should be extremely successful, but they're sofocused on the next step that they're not even paying attention where they'reat currently and you're missing those key opportunities to develop those softskills to develop emotional IQ and Eq, to learn how to be a professional. Howto conduct yourself how to have conversations with buyers and internalstake holders as well. So I think yes, Youour function is so amazing becauseit gives you the opportunity to fall fast in a low risk environment onceyou've got that million dollar quoto over your head. It's a totallydifferent ball game, but when someone's just asking you to come in and set upsome meetings and try to set up good meetings that are going to convert topipeline, it's a place where you can experiment it's a place where you canreally get your footing and figure out what you're grat at and start toidentify those weaknesses and work. With someone like myself to correctthose weaknesses, absolutely that's really really greatadvice. I want to kind of double tap on something that you mentioned a fewmoments ago, and I know you've brought up a few times here. So definitely canfeel the passion that you have behind mentorship. Specifically. So tell me alittle bit more about that right. You know from your perspective, how do youeven go about you know identifying finding mentors becoming a mentor howto become one yourself yeah? It's something that I really want to focuson for the rest of my career. Honestly, it's it was such an unexpected benefitfor me and when I think back about these people and all that they've donefor me in a very non ego driven way, just a natural carefor other people is something that I found to be just amazing and early inmy career at Man Base. I was also in the satellite office S. We are a verysmall team, very, very hard to disappear in a very small office, andmy first Mentora woman, by the name of Christine Poto, was the first one tonotice that I was taking all F. my calls in the one conference room thatwe had, which was annoying her because we only had one conference through him,but also because I didn't have the opportunity to fail in front of a groupand she was the first person to say listen. I know it's scary and I know itsucks and I'm going to get in your face and tell you what you did wrong, butit's going to make you better, and that was really my first Aha moment ofsomeone just coaching me in such a direct, direct and honest way and treally changed the game. For me, I think for me, I get to know peoplepersonally. First, I identify those key people in the organization I take themout for coffee. I take them out for lunch. I pick their brains and I wantto get to know you know. What's what's made you successful, what's differentabout you that separates you from all the other people that are all doing thesame thing and then just treat them really well, I think these people, ifsomeone is willing to give you that time, you need to respect that theseare people who have been there before. Who can teach you something- and Ithink just coming into it with an open mind and knowing that you have so muchto learn, especially early on in your career, will prove to them that it'sworth their time, and I think that's been one thing that hopefully all of mymentors would say back to this conversation is that it's always been avery mutual relationship and that I listen. I sit back, I'm a sponge Iabsorb and I want to learn. I crave their opinion. I crave their feedbackand it makes me better and I think, as a mentor and I fortunately had theopportunity to be a mentor for some of the people that have worked for me inthe past. That's the best part when you see them take that feedback, and yousee them start to change their habits and start to win more and start to feelbetter about the work that they do. That's when it becomes a very mutualrelationship for me. So I think, if you're you know looking for Mentorship,seek out the people w are willing to sit down and give you their time andreally really respect that time and know that that it's really valuable forthem and they're doing it to help you to make you better. Even if it sucks tohear some of that feedback sometimes,...

...and I think, if you're looking tobecome a mentor, just be honest and direct and do it win an ego freeway. Ithink we, as leaders going to space, have such a massive opportunity to havean impact on young professionals lives and, if we're not taking that seriously,where we're in the wrong profession and wwe're missing a messive opportunity,absolutely yeah. I definitely feel like the mentors I've had in my life trulydeveloped the person that I am today right. It was so much of a focus on whoGenna was as a person and that mattered more and those are the moments that Iwill never forget in my career and it kind of feels like the sales and theprogression comes as part of the aftermath in a way right hundredpercent, and it sticks with you to right her if you're lucky enough tohave those mentors h, t you stay in touch with, I mean all of them reachedout to me after I got this new role and not one of them questioned the decisionand, to be honest with you, it was a fear I had in the back of my mind,because they had pushed me so hard to stay on the IC path to keep pushingmyself and when I came to my own conclusion that that this wasn't theright move. For me, there was a little voice in the back. Well many littlevoices in the back of my head. That said AL is: Is this one going to bedisappointed? Is this one going to come and tell me that I gave up too soon andthat I'm making a mistake and not one of those people? You know when theyfound out about the news? They all called me to congratulate me. They allcheered me on and said this is an amazing move for you, and this is whereyou're at your best, and it was really powerful to feel that way and not haveto actually worry about those people judging me, but rather continuing tosupport me and whatever direction I end up going absolutely, and so I think this issomething that really is a big focus of today's conversation right so kind ofchew this up in the beginning of our call, but I know with our previousdiscussion something that you've really leaned into. Is that idea of? How doyou know the difference right of what you should be doing and what youwant to be doing in your sales career yeah? It's it's funny. You said alittle while ago that I sound like I've always trusted my gut, and I triedreally hard not to laugh at that because as absolutely something thatI've Stravele with especially recently and thank God for my fiance for herincredible amount of patience. But the number of conversations that she and Ihave had about what should I do? Should I continue being an IC? Should I trytit another company? Should I go back and do mid market, because Itechnically skipped that step and went straight to enterprise? Should I goback and lead a team? Should I be a director? Should I be a manager, somany questions and no no clerk cut answer right. No one is ever going towalk into the into the room and say to me this is exactly what you should do.I reached out to lots of people to get their opinion and still just didn't,feel comfortable or confident in in what I wanted to do, and I started toboil it down to what makes me happy on a day today basis, and I think, whenyou are young, Seles Professional, you see the the juicy ote, the huge numbers,the ability to retire early and make the huge paychecks and all that goodstuff and there's a lot to be said. For that. There's a lot of lifor sales,people that get all of their joy and all their energy towards. You knowmaking a ton of money, and I tried that life and I love it and it'sbest pace and it's intense and I've seen some really big paychecks and I'vehad some really tough months and really tough quarters and the for me thatemotional rollercoaster every single day in that intense pressure started toimpact my personal life and that's where I started to have doubts aboutwhether or not that that was the path that I needed to be on. At this pointin my life- and I started reflecting on what made me happiest in my you know,last six years of my career six, seven years of my career and my best momentswere watching my team get promoted, watching those people that I hiredstraight out of college figure it out...

...and get promoted and have incrediblejobs. I've kept in touch with almost all of them and watching their careersand watching the spiderweb of people that kind of came up through you know,Evans bootcamp that are now doing incredible. Things is the bestprofessional feeling, ihave had it's better than any paycheck I've gottenit's better than any promotion. I've gotten so once I kind of wrap my headaround how important that was to my character and how important hat was, tomy day to day happiness. I made that decision that much easier and for me itcame down to where can I do it in the right place, where I'll be empowered tohave those impactful conversations the opportunity to grow people from scratchand help them get to that next level? Unfortunately, for me so far, early onhyperscience is absolutely that place and for the first time like I said inprobably over a year, I'm actually loving what I'm doing. I'm waking upevery day energize and can't wait to get my hands dirty and solve problemsand help people get better, and I can just hear it. You know I canjust hear the passion in your voice and I think, there's often a very clearline you can tell when somebody loves what they do right and man. Idefinitely remember that moment of transitioning from you know, anindividual contributor to managing- and I spent like six months spinning outtrying to think about what the right thing to do was and then one day I justhad to breathe and say I'm just going to trust my gut on this, because youknow you can always try something and go back yeah right, but I thinksometimes people get so paralyzed with the decision that that's when youbecome stuck right- and I think that's such an important point to especiallyfor people younger theyre in their careers- and you know, I'm thirty- I'mnot sub. You know. Lifer who's been doing this forever. I'm still learningthis stuff as I go along to, but that point about you're not trapped right. Ithink so many people are afraid to not continue to move in that at next levelor keep leveling themselves up. I've seen very, very incredible amazingSeles people that felt the pressure to become the leader, but didn't have heleadership, capabilities and we're just not great leaders and those people feltthat pressure professionally personally, whatever it may be, to keep leveling up,but I think it's so unfair to yourself to force yourselfto do something that you're not ready for an not comfortable to do becauseyou're afraid that if you don't do it, you'll never be able to do it again.I've bounced from you know, stro manager to STR director to enterpriseaccount executive and back, and anyone can do that. I've had friends a lot ofmy friends from home started in a financial sector and one of my bestfriends pivoted from finance sitting in a boring stuffy office to leading an enavalmant team at a high text, start up and he's never been happier. So I thinkthere's always that opportunity to pivot. You just have to figure out whatyou're pivoting towards and figure out your Wy. Why are you making this movewhat's driving this, and what are you trying to get to and really just havethat be your guiding light and know that you always have the opportunity tomake those changes as long as you're doing it for the right reasons andyou're really thoughtful about your approach? Absolutely, and you know we hear that TN throwin aroundyou know, understanding your Wy and in my creer experience I know howimportant that's been, especially for those moments when I don't know what todo right, it helps you simplify and go back to. Why am I doing this job? Youknow? How can I find that in my next step in my career? Why does this matterI'm curious of an what is your Wy Yeah? That's great question. I've alwaysbroken it down in short term, medium term, an long term right so like when Iwas in Sr. Why am I picking up the phone when it's sick excel one, becauseI want to get one more meeting, so I can get to my quate right, like shortterm goals, medium turn goals? Why am I continuing to try to push myself to getto my quota, so I can get that next promotion and then long term. You knowwhat am I ultimately trying to land at...

...and for me, I've seen the life ofworking in sess working in text startups, there's so much value to behad in so many different ways, and I know for a fact that this is where Ineed to be in this space. My wy now is figuring out. How can I get closer tothat ultimate goal of one day being a crl at a tech startup and a lot of itcomes from knowing that my course strength is on the leadership side, andI think leaning into that right now, where I'm at you know emotionallyprofessionally personally, is where I need to be to be happy and to beexcited, and I think something, that's Ben Missing the last couple of monthsor year for me is not being cruly deep down at my core excited towake up and spring through a wall to get my daily test on and run through awall to make sure that I'm doing everything that I possibly can to besuccessful and that's what I need to say motivated. So my wife right now isyou know, figuring out how I can leverage what I've learned, leverage,what I'm doing here at hyperscience and keep pushing myself to find new areasof opportunity for growth, find new people to latch on to and learn from tomake myself better. And unfortunately, I think hyperscience has a wealcule ofthose folks and then ultimately just keep positioning myself closer andcloser to that Ingo. Absolutely well Evan. This has beensuch an interesting conversation and I know I've personally learned so muchover the past. You know thirty minutes that we spend to dic together reallyjust want to acknowledge how strong of HA leader you are. It'sreally amazing to hear your story and how you've really leaned into theconcepts of you know supporting the people around you bringing passion,bringing life, bringing excitement to the people that you're managing youknow not being afraid to pivot and try different things: the importance ofmentorship and understanding your. Why we really appreciate you haven't on theshow today and I'm you know just curious before we leave any final wordsof wisdom for our listeners today, yeah for sure, and I really appreciate itGenna. This has been a lot of fun and I think for me it's a lot of it comes down to feeling enable to have these types offeelings and and feeling enable to challenge yourself in those ways. Ithink a lot of what I was struggling with was just not knowing am I doingthe right thing and at the end of the day, I trust that I can figure it outif I am put in a position to be successful so when you're thinkingabout that next move, whend you're thinking about that company that youwant to work for, and you thinking about that boss that you're going towork for figure out if they are in line with your expectations and what youneed to be successful, and that was a big part of the reason why I wound upat hypersignce, because I believe the company is on the right trajectory andbelieves in what I want to do. My manager believes in all those things,and now I believe in those things I think a lot of it is just feelingreally confident that you can figure it out. You've just got to feelcomfortable that that that is a trajectory you can go on and I guesstrust your gut is the takeaway, even though I'm technically not a posterchild for that at all. It's a process. We're always learningright. That's for fure awesome, well, think so much Evan really appreciateyour time. Everyone listening thanks for joining us today and we lookforward to have ane join us on the the next fession. All right have a greatrest of your day. This was another episode of the sales engagement,podcast join us at sales, engagementcom for new episodes, resources and thebook on sales. Engagement now available on Amazon, Barns and noble or whereverbooks are sold to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, makesure to check out outrage. The leading sales engagewint platform see you onthe next episode.

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