The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

Maintaining Culture through a Pandemic w/ Donald McKenna

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If there’s one thing that’s been put to the test in the last year, it’s company culture. As a majority of companies throughout the United States and beyond have moved to remote work, maintaining that company culture has become a challenge.

It’s hard to recreate the office culture when you’re sitting behind a webcam in your living room, or having to navigate internet connectivity issues.

So how do you maintain that culture? The thing that makes your company special? After all, culture is one of the reasons that people come to work for you, and it’s one of the main reasons people stay. Or leave.

On this episode of the Sales Engagement podcast, we chat with Donald McKenna. Donald is the Vice President of Sales at Global Industrial, and had quite a bit to say about

  • Maintaining a thriving, healthy culture, even through a global pandemic.
  • Making sure you’re supporting those front line sales managers
  • Why you should be getting buy-in from your “influencers” before you bring changes to the broader team

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, apodcast, this podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagementplatform and they just launched outreach on outreace the place to learnhow outreach well does out reach learn how the team follows up with every leadin record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can alsosee how outr ecwins account based plays, manages reps and so much more usingtheir own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data puld fromout reach processes and customer base, when you're done you'll be able to doit as good as they do and tooutreach out io on out reach to see what theyhave going on. Now, let's get into today's episode all right. Everybodywelcome back to the sales engagement podcast, and if this is your first timejoining the podcast welcome to the show this is one of your hosts Alex curimmer.I am very, very excited for today's conversation. I am joined by the Oneand only Misir Donald we Kenna done welcome to the show for stop thanks forhaving EOS excited to be Hor, of course, of course, so don you- and I have beenhaving a few conversations over the past few months and after a coupe,these conversations we decided to say you know what this should be reallygood to talk about this. What a broader audience of people and a lot of whatour discussions have been around is culture, and how are you impacting yoursales team? How are you continually uplevelly ing their approach in termsof Ajust, how they're engaging with their customers but, more importantly,how they're coming together as a team and you're creating an environmentwhere people are ready to show up and kind of get after it, so speakl doingit in a very authentic type of way, really quick background on yourselfdown. So you are the DP of sales at global industrial. You have been therefor a wot being. Was It fifteen?...

Sixteen years now, this coming up onsixteen yeah September was fifteen years September. Last year was fifteenyears so long career, exciting career, it's great company to be part of soyeah Elymad. Well! Well, let's do this, so you know don being DP of sales at goindustrial you're living. I lieve out there in New York working your way upthere for fifteen years. I think Ke, starting out as an account executive, aWol Industryal as well good, give us the highlitte background who is Donwith Kenna? What do you care about, and I guess you know what's- helps you besuccessful- do these many years being over there yeah sure, so I actuallyright out of college. I started my career with a office equipment dealerin Manhattan by the name of Card Business Systems who actually number ofyears ago, was acquired by Xerox. So now they are part of the the XeroxGroup of companies at. I started there as an account manager, and I was inthat role for about three years and I was asked to be part of a team tolaunch a frint management program that went really well, but I really I tell alot of people and I say that that role was by far the the best experience Icould have received and really anybody can receive if you're looking for acareer in sales. I believe anybody in sales leadership really should havecarried a bag at some point in their careers, so they understand what theirteams are going through each and every day, but it ultimately taught me how toreally manage a territory, how important pypelie management was andultimately had a network and create those long lasting businessrelationships which it were the catalyst to be growing a Mik book abusiness. At that time. You know it was interesting on working in Inhattan. Youknow one of my. I had teteratory that included the EmpireState Building, and I've literally worked that every day I'd be gettingchased by security. Try to get thrown out, jumping floors to just make sure Icould make as many contects in a day as...

...possible, but it was really it was itwas. It was a great experience and and made a ton of friends there. I friendsstill speak to to this day, and I really was it was. It was a great greatexperience about four years of being in that business. I actually was referredto someone too global and I gid a lot of research and noticed that it wasreally an up andcoming company in the MRO industry at the time, and I saw itin tremendous amount of potential when you really think about what we do andand the products that we offer and services that we offer there'svirtually no company in the world. That really does not buy the products thatwe sell and that was really attractive to me. So I came in for an interview. Iwas really about the upper mobility that I had conversations with. Thenational sales manager at the time- and that was really what convinced me toultimately make that move spent about four years in an account managementrole. There was a assistant manager position that opened up at the timewhich I interriew for, and I was fortunate enough to get, and then Ijust continued to excel throughout the organization over the years and takingme to ultimately where I am today. So you know one of the things I reallyappreciate, as I've had a great number of great leaders and met Tours in mycareer. I really, I don't think I'd be where I am today, if it wasn't forthose mentors and the amount of time that they dedicated and confesseidreally in developing me and am y career, and, quite frankly, I try to spend asmuch time as I possibly can doing that exact thing for for my team members,because to me I really believe that ' the most rewarding part O of being aleadership or in the roll that I'm in today, you know it's always fun- to seea sales lader who's at the top of an...

...organization. WHO's been there for solong, especially as the organization has grown, because I feel like you haveso much more credibility within the organization like if you were askingsome sales reps or whoever might be to be doing something. Th t you can alwayskind of say I've been where you are right. I know what you're going throughand it just kind of helps to build back comroderie right there yeah. I think Iget a a certain level of of respect. When you know people know I've been inthat Ceat I've dealt with challenges that they deal with on a day in anddayour basis, and I think it's it's definitely helped meabsolutely fot, my team, you know in our previous conversationto one of the things them were you're being really proud of a and you take alot of pride in was the culture and the culture that you are continuing tocultivate in the culture that youere continuing to get people to buy intoand feel like. They are part of, especially you know, Preto Thousand andtwenty. I guess you could say: Whel people actually were in the office andyou know through two thousand and twenty. You know there was changes thatoccured, but your team, you know in our conversations it continue to outpastecompetation by tentioally. You know tenx or something on those lines. SureI'm curious, I mean that's unique right, especially going througheverything went through. What did you do and what have you done to actuallyallow that to be possible right? How did you actually deal with so muchchange and even you know, as we're kind of coming out of this, a little bit,there's still changes that are occurring. How are you continuing tokeep the culture the way that it is lo keeping up that exponential growth,especially in he face of competition? Sure so I think there's one overaurching seeing that that really goes into building and maintaining thatculture, and it's really about communication right, so, whether it'sin the office environment or in a...

...remote enevirment, you know all of ourteams have have kept that rhythm of the daily Huddles, where we're viewing ourprior days performance. Talking about those those success stories and sharingthose success stories amongst the team and those best demonstrated practicesthat are helping to drive our growth right and helping our team members whenwe continue to run DAILYAN weekly incentives and contest to keep thathealthy competition at the forefront, which really makes people want to win,regardless of whether they're sitting in the office or sitting in their HomeOffice and then ultimately is providing a ton of support right. So our linemanagers or what we call our assistant, Salles managers, you know they'recommunicating with their teams having one on ones, weekly and providing thatcoaching. You Know Two thousand and twenty was definitely a rough year withthe pandemic, and I don't think we realize how much it really affectedpeople in different ways and we really had to be cought Incentev that and Ithink our team weiders did a tremendous tremendous job and keeping everyonefocused and keeping them arould high, which really allowed us to continue toexcel and outpace the Competition Yeah. I really like Whal, you saidTheyare, so you continue to do that. Team Puddles every single day to thereis the competition as you guys are Cotini Colspe, and then you talkd aboutthe support as well. So a couple of fogus that the team huddles that you'redoing every single day was ther pushback. With that I mean because ifyour continug then and that's another, you know there's that whole thingqalled zoom fatigue that not people are starting to experience. How did youkind of overcome that zoo fatigue, while still keeping up that camarateryou with those idols? So I think it's about keeping hem interesting and keepkeeping them funright. So we allow our individual meters to make decisions onwhat they want to share in those hoddles. You know we bring games intothem. They play music in the beginning...

...of the it's really just a way to kindof get the day started. We keep them ver short right, because tar point youdon't want to create that fatigue at aybody sitting on a hour long meetingand the more every morning is probably going to end up tuning out. So we keepthem to twenty minutes. Thirty minutes they're all again about topics of youknow where we're succeeding and ultimately those things that we need tocommunicate that a re going on within the business, whether it's you know,internal business partners that are jumping in to share some of the thethings that are going on in their port parts in the organization, but I thinkjust keeping them fun. Keeping them short has really allowed us to not havepeople just check out when those those calls every morning right. You knowit's the thing that my teams always said there. You know, because I do nota daily Hotdo, but I do and every other day huddle and initially there was bigpushback from it and the thing that everybody says like if there's value inthe meeting like if we're receiving something and we're talking toouing,that's e value I will show up, but if its just another meeting to have ameeting, because you feel like you need to have a meeting to keep people closertogether, it's Goinna start tout or not, and that's when start getting peoplechecking out. So it's a fine balance between the two there. It is you'reabsolutely right, and I think you know you hit the Nad out the head. It'sabout people walking away, saying, okay, I got something out of that right. Sothat's why we try to make sure we put that timethat planning time into it to make sure that there is communiccation that isvaluable to them and they know that it's going to help them and I thinkthat's really the key to the to keeping people intrigued and to your point.Getting pushed BA efer moent we're not getting pushed back on hey, so wereally have to do these calls. Well, you know, and then the thirdthing you said there was t e support, and I want to kind of talk about thatin two different bains, because I think...

...there's you know a ton of support thatleadership is always trying to give to individual costributors right thosefront lines: Sales Reps. you know because this Sam that and that'sunbelievably important. We need to make sure we're doing that. You know, Ithink, from a higher level leadership from a BPOF sales. I alt think it'sreally important to give support to the front line sales managers as well rightbecause they're, the ones who are having the one on ones wit the frontline sales, raps they're, the ones who are often times creating these teamsand if they are feeling a sense of burn out. If they're feeling a sense of manwhere we'recing really the hard here sort of thing, it can be exhausting. Soyou know what have you done to provide support? I guess to the frontline salesmanager, specifically acknowledging that you for sure need to be giving thesupport as well. Onous you to the front lice sales, raps, sure sure. So wereally you know we pride ourselves on having the same expectations regardlessof level right, so whether it's our Asm's coaching, our individualcontributors or account managers on a daily basis. The expectation is thatI'm doing that with my team they're doing that with their teams and andultimately it really triples down- and you know, one of the things that wereally focus on is making sure that we're listening to our leadership teamsright and making sure that their voice es heard and that they're part of allof those those decisions and the plans that we're making and when we're, whenwe're trying to continue to develop the organization. So again, I thinklistening and hearing our leaders and what they're going through and beingable to pivot, based on that feedback as as really kept them engaged andmaking them feel as though you know that their opinions, valued and keepingthem focused as well as our acount managers yeah. No. I definitely hearthat to me. You know at times it's so simple, but I think especially when weare in so many Zomedians, but I feel...

...like the world has only spet up whetherit's about you know what the go to market strategy is what the changes are,how are serving our customers that we get it's very easy to get caught up in deals, Greaer easy, a in a forecast ortraining or the new thing right. We're so often the only thing that you need to dobefore divagnel staff was just bike, hit quick check in here before Demin.How are you doing right? I Shang just the simple, genuine, authentic askright there like actually wanting o. You know like hey just just. How areyou doing this before we like Thavand, all this other stuff? That's forsureborn you Doon't get goes a long way. It really does it absolutely Os. Iagree yeah and you use the word pitot within theretoo, and I kind of want to Chake. You know so speak pivot, this thisconversation as well. You know in any sales organization Youre wanting theideal sales are to be hungry right, your one that to be coactive, notsomeone who's, just know, sitting back waiting for the phone Torain, you knowmaybe getting meetings booked on their behalf by a sales developont Rep f. Ifyour organization has them- and it sounds like you know, this Wa a shiftyou guys had to make within your company right from the Oo sit back kindof way for the orders, Comin or wiy fom me is coming to be ye proactive, youknow being intentional with reaching out and that's a hard shit to makewithin organization and I'm curious, leading from the top and kind ofpushing downwards. What do you do to to make the shit to be more collective tohaving hungrier sellers within your organization? Sure? So you know, Ithink it really started with, and we started this transformation process andsay about three or four years ago, and it really started by removing thatnonproductive work or what I call non value it added tasks. Obviously allthese things are important, however,...

...and they have to get done. However,they can be done by other resources right, so it started by shiftingthatwork away from our account managers to other resources which really allowedthem to do what they do best, which is engaging our customers, N and creatingand moving opportunities through the pipeline. We also provided and partnerdwith a a great training organization by the name, a carew international whichallowed us to have one consistent selling process and how we engaged ourcustomers. You know before we partnered with crew and we created and puteveryone through this process. You know e used to say we used to have threehundred selling processes right with three hundred sales people. They alldid it their own way, but bringing that streamline focus on how we engage ourcustomers has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity for us and reallyhas been again one of those drivers in our success. So all of our leadershipteam provides daily coaching and reinforcement around all the elementsof our selling process, and it really helps to make our team members betterevery single day and then lastly, I'd say it's about having the right insenteof plans right. It's critical that the compensation plan that you have foryour team really rewards for over achievement and are truly aligned withthose trategic goals and objectives that we have within the organization. Ilow that so so couple of things that so number one when you did make this shiftand you started working with this training organization was theirpushback. was there certain raps, especially you know when we try to makeshits, you can hear I that reach. You know. Generally, the pushpack comesfrom the reps, who have been here the longest sure that I've been doing athis. A cergainly and ive been seeing success TAT's. I like Si back here to this PENU cloudand Havhese bes book for me. How do how...

...do you handle that shift or how do ohandle that pushback, especially from maybe some reps, who they have a bigvoice? Not In a negative way, but like the people listen to them becausetheyve had the credibility of being there for a while. What do you do toovercome? Some of that? It's really just about you know getting that byright. So we spent a lot of time with some focus groups and we were vettingthe the spelling process that we were going to ultimately move forward with,and I think that allowed us to to reallyyou know, stop and have those conversations with those folks thatYoure referring to you to say, look. I know it works. I know what you've beendoing wort all these years, but what? If I could help you just get a littlebit better and allow you to ultimately make more money and when they startedto you know they came out of the training again, you still have somepushback right, but then once they started to really execute on theelements of the selling process, we got byind quick because it works right, sothey were able to have more informd, the more intelligent conversations withtheir customers and what ultimately they start to get that feedback of Hey.I appreciate you asking me about what my personal goals and objectivs areright. Most of my vendors. Don't do things like that they're just trying toget me to buy another product or get me to join another service that they'reoffering, and I think that was ultimately what allowed us to succeed,especially with those folks that have been successful for many years doing itthe way they did like that, you know getting to know what is most important to the actualperson you're sign to be on UST trying to get them to buy your platform. Anone of my one of my favorite questions that if anybody is on this Listenis podcast,who I've actually sold to before may have heard his question from me, butit's always hey. If I take off my company hat and U You take off yourcompany hat real quick. What do you...

...care about? Like you row, you knowdecided to you now have three to five hours worth of conversation with me atthis point, like that's taking time out of your day, Whac, you haveresponsiblas as well like why. If we were to be this, what would be a winNases for your company, but specifically pretty you exactly, and Ithink it you know and it ultimately it makes people feel good about what youknow. We're trying to do. It's Really Hey Alec actually cares about me atcares about my success and wanting his platform to obviously help me sicseen.So I think that goes a long way. I think consiltated selling is really theonly way to sell now. It really is so ats Ta Glin thenail in the head. Well,the thing about that too, is it's very easy to say that, but if it's notcoming from A, I actually want to know it's just like what we ere talkingabout earlier when you're having a wone o one with somebody on your team. Whenyou ask that I really want to know how you are. If it's I'm ask you how youare so I can check that box and make you feel good and then move onto thenext versus. Let me like support you here, but the essence sot to speak withwhat you're coming from the question makes all the difference there. I thinkyou make a great point, because I think you can I mean I know I've got getSeles calls all day right from people nd and, quite frankly, you know when somuch genuine and then I think it takes about ten seconds to understand whethersomeone's actually coming from a genuine place or whether they're justworking through their call plan and trying to you know, like you, said,check that box totally. I got TA. I got a few morequestions here for yet on, and you know when it comes to culture kind of TATmack into this. A lot of it is about getting people to buy it to the cultureand not feel like they're, just cool I'm here a get to receive the awesomeculture our organization has created...

...but really feel ois a great culture,and it's because I'm contributing towards it. I am actually part of theteam. That is cultivating what we have here today and if it needs change, I have theownership to change it as well, and that's hard. At least it's not easy tocreate that environment, and I'm curious. You know from from your side,you know global industrial or even beyond what d he do here like. How doyou make people feel like ther nax contributing to it, but that they cangrow at the organization personally and within their careers as well? Yes, Iand- and I think I touched on it a bit earlier, but it's really aboutgarnering the team's opinion and getting their input into those keystrategic decisions that were making to continually evolve as an organizationright, so whether it's things like bringing on new products or servicesthat were considerating, adding to the offering or how other parts of thebusinesss may be impacting their customer experience. You know whenteams make those contributions. We not only make better decision of decisionsass, an organization, but they also know that they and feel so. They'veplayed a large part in creating that strategy. You know it's interesting,because we continually conduct focus groups and you know what you had besteabout about, how they feel as though the you know the culture plays intotheir careers. But those focus groups are really centered around the changesor the investments that were making in the business, and you know garneringthat feedback, thes, O or associes really have a voice, and it'sconsidered in what those impacts are from every level within theorganization right. So I think I think our teams appreciate that, and it helpsus to not only execute our initiative successfully, but it also helps tocontinue to build that stronger culture and they known that they truly had animpact on what ourt strategiculd...

...objectives are and what aure forignforward. You know approach is going to be for the business yeah. You know somesome of the things that you know why I've done in the PASSAS won it sa on asimilar. You kind of note to what you're saying there to is before wehave. You know this big communication to theentire sales team, or whatever might be I'm going and picking off a fewindividuals who I know, are decently outspoken and who I know if I can getthis person on our side, it's going to go a long way for everybody else beingon our side and you knowil I'll plan. Seso Hey when I play speeklist Ild loveto hear your perspective amongst the greater group as well right, and then Idefinitely have. I definitely have that that same same situation here so theresthere's definitely a few. I guess I'll call them influencorsright that I make sure that I'm aligned with before we we go out to the largerpopulation because jous to your point, you know it there's there's a lot to besaid in a lot of value in getting those influential team members that have beensuccessful here for many years, because they are looked at as a mentor and ifthey're bng in the rest of the groots going to buy it. So I think, you're, Ithink o pot, a hundred percent percent all right ANA goy. I got a little moreof a personal question here for you, if you're open orit and this one might bea lot unscripted, but you know, being you know, VPS sales at a company forfifteen years. Obviously you have to be driving results for your team. You haveto be continuing growing and beating that competition beyond those thingsbeyond the numbers. What do you care about as a leader of a very successfulgrowing and large organization? What are the things that you are thinking ofevery single day that you're like? If I can do this, it was a successful day. Iam feeling a certain sense of I guess...

...one could say fulfilments from youbeing, you know top dog and a sales later there yeah so and again think Itouched on it earlier. Also, it's really what I've experienced in my career andthose things that I know have really helped me to get where I am today andthat's that's really: Mentoring, people and finding that time to spend withwhether it's new account managers in the team or tenure to count matagers inthe team and understanding what their career goals and objectives are andhelping to play a part in that process, and I mean there's nothing morerewarding than seeing those folks that I know I've taken a metorship role withand seeing them succeed. So we've had many people within Tyeu organizationthat have, you know, moved into leadership roles and have been verysuccessful. But then you also have you know just yesterday. So I hope one ofour brand new team members been your about six months, had the largestopportunity of his career here so far in short career, and he came into myoffice last night, and you know e thanking me and thanking me, and youknow we spent some time just going through that you know the th, the RFPthat we worked on and WBOYIT was all the the gory details, but you know hewalked away and he was like don thanks. I'd love to buy you watch tomorrow, Isaid: Absolutely not you're not buy any lunch. This is what I actually enjoydoing and what's really satisfying to be in my career, but I think it'sreally seeing that upremobility and that progression and people and seeingthem grow within their perse of their professional career, is by forand.There's nothing else that that's better to me or it feels more rewarding to me.I love that on so many levels there, because what I'm hearing for you is you're, notafraid to get on the front lines and do thedirty work with them. Absolutely it...

...just N- and you you've touched this acouple of times after that's conversations like you still get thatfeeling of being in the hunt in the race so speak and be like hey. If we'regoing to do this, you know six months in rap like let's get this going and Ilbring my fifteen ears exfrance like that. Just that just fills a bait andthat's that's what your rest, you know and your team starts looking up and belike I'll go to that wit, this guy sure sure bokay. I can't ask anybody to dosomething that I'm not willing to do regardless of of where I am in mycareer or what level you know. I really and I try to convey that message and make sure allmy weiders kind of Hav that approach, because, quite frankly, we were all inthis together and the only way we succeed as if we all succeed right. SoI think that's that again goes back to you know having that that culture, thatstrong culture, that truly people can rally behind so hundedpercentunderstand well go. I got one more question for you before we dide in atdone. I just want to you, know, honor you and appreciate you for joiningtohis conversation and just sharing some of your wisdom, shareing. So ofyour experience and there's a reason why we're looking at cobal industrilland we're seeing them having tha success that you guys are, and even youknow, changing that times: Yor Bot, O Marcstatogy, just continuallyupleveling it and bringing I those people. So thank you for just showingup and shareing with that. I appreciate Yo Yeah Hav enjoyed the conversation solast question for you. This is the quid essential question. I always ask allthe guests on our PODCAST: It's if you had to impart any piece of wisdom,honour listeners, you know listeners who have isten for a very long ten Houfirst time, listeners- and this could be in regards to what a conversationwas. It could be in regard to to complite something completely else here.What would that piece of wisdom we thyou like to impart us with?Ultimately, I would say it's really on...

...you and ultimately you're the openlyperson that controls your success right. So, as I said, I've had a lot of greatmentors, but the only reason that I've continued to excel in my career isbecause I've been hungry for that no one's going to do it for you right.Unless you ask for it and self educating. You know. I spend a lotof time reading and listening to different cod going to differentconferences and listening to other great leaders within this space, and Ijust a'm continuing to try to selfeducate and ultimately I thinkthat's what has led to t the success that I've seen in my career, butultimately no one's going to give you anything in life right, it's reallyabout going out and finding what it is. You want and then working to get it andI hope hat doesn't sound cliche. But it truly is you know it's the truth, and Isee many times in the culture we live intoday, that you know people kind of expect things and just think things aregiven to you, but that's not how the world works really. So I hope that answers your question, butI really, I truly believe that it's all about what you put into something iswhat you're going to get out of it so well set well, so my frend will don. Iappreciate you once again for Jones Bo sales, engagement, podcast and followour listeners. Thank you. As always, we look forwrd to senyoall Nex do thank soit's appreciate I ad a good time. This was another episode of the SalesEngagement podcast to help this get in front of more eyes and hears. Pleaseleave us a shining five star, revew join us at sales, engagementcom for newepisodes, resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out ofyour sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out out reached tio. Theleading sales engagement platform, see you on the next episode.

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