The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Had to outreach that io on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. All right, everybody, welcome back to the sales engagement podcasts and if this is your first time joined in the PODCAST, welcome to the show. This is one of your hosts, Alex Krammer. I am very, very excited for today's conversation. I am joined by the One and only Sir Donald Mc Kenna. Dawn, welcome to the show for stop. Thanks for excited to be here, course, of course. So, Dawn, you and I have been having a few conversations over the past few months and after a couple of these conversations we decided to say, you know what, this would be really good to talk about this with a broader audience of people and a lot of what artist got sins I've been around is culture. And how are you impact being your sales team? How are you continually upleveling their approach in terms of just how they're engaging with their customers but, more importantly, how they're coming together as a team and you're creating an environment where people are ready to show up and kind of get after it, so speak, well, doing it in a very authentic type of way. Really quick background on yourself down. So you are the VP of sales at global industrial. You have been there for a walk being. Was It fifteen, sixteen years now, ...

...that's coming up on sixteen. Yeah, September was fifteen years. September last year was fifteen years. Long career, exciting career. It's great company to be part of. So yeah, hell, yeah, man. Well, well, let's do this. So, you know, done being DP of sales at global industrial. You're living, I believe, out there in New York, working your way up there for fifteen years I think he started out as an account executive at global industrial as well. And good. Give us the high level background on who is down with CANNA. What do you care about? And I guess you know what's helps you to be successful through these many years being over there. Yeah, sure, so I actually write out of college, I started my career with a office equipment dealer in Manhattan by the name of Car Business Systems, who actually, number of years ago was acquired by Xerox, so now they are part of the Zeros, a group of companies, and I started there as an account manager and I was in that role for about three years and I was asked to be part of a team to launch a print management program that went really well. But I really I tell a lot of people and I say that that role was by far the the best experience I could have received and really anybody can receive if you're looking for a career in sales. I believe anybody in sales leadership really should have carried a bag at some point in their career so they understand what their teams are going through each and every day. But it ultimately taught me how to really manage a territory, how important pipeline management was and ultimately had a network and create those long lasting business relationships which, it were, the catalyst to be growing, in my book, a business at that time. You know, it was interesting working in and Hadden. You know, one of my had a territory that included the empire state building and I literally worked that every day. I'd be getting chased by security trying to get through now jumping floors to just make sure I could make as many contacts in a day as...

...possible. But it was really was, it was a it was a great experience and I made a ton of friends. They're friends still speak to to this day and I really was it was it was a great, great experience. About four years of being in that business, I actually was referred to someone to global and I did a lot of research and noticed it was really an upandcoming company in the Mr Industry at the time and I saw it to a tremendous amount of potential. And when you really think about what we do and and the products that we offer and services that we offer, there's virtually no company in the world that really does not buy the products that we sell and that was really attractive to me. So I came in for an interview. I was really about the upper mobility that I had conversations with the national sales manager at the time and that was really what convinced me to ultimately make that move. Spent about four years and an account management role. There was a assistant manager position that opened up at the time which I interviewed for and was fortunate enough to get, and then I just continued to excel throughout the organization over the years and taking me to ultimately where I am today. So, you know, one of the things I really appreciate as I've had a great number of great leaders and mentors in my career and I really I don't think I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for those mentors and the amount of time that they dedicated and invested really in developing me and my career and, quite frankly, I try to spend as much time as I possibly can doing that exact thing for for my team members, because to me, I really believe that's the most rewarding part of being in leadership or in the role that I'm in today. You know, it's always fun to see a sales leader who's at the top of an organization who's been there for so long,...

...especially as the organization has grown, because I feel like you have so much more credibility within the organization, like if you are asking some sales reps or whatever might be, to be doing something, that you can always kind of say, I've been where you are right I know what you're going through, and it just kind of helps to build that Camaraderie right there. Yeah, it's like I got a certain level of respect when you know, people know I've been in that to see I've dealt with the challenges that they do with not a day in and day out basis, and I think it's it's definitely helped me absolutely. What might team you know in our previous conversation to one of the things that I'm are you, you're being really proud of and you take a lot of pride in, was the culture and the culture that you are continuing to cultivate and the culture that you're continuing to get people to buy into and feel like they are part of, especially, you know, pre two thousand and twenty, I guess you could say, when people actually were in the office and you know, through two thousand and twenty you know, there was changes that occurred, but your team, you know in our conversations, it continue to outpace the competition by Atensially, you know, en ax or something on those lines. Sure, I'm Curios of me. That's unique, right, especially going through everything went through. What did you do and what have you done to actually allow that to be possible? Right, how did you actually deal with so much change 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 to keep the culture the way that it is while keeping up that exponential growth, especially in the face of competition? Sure so. I think there's one over arching thing that that really goes into to building and maintaining that culture, and it's really about communication. Right. So, whether it's in the office environment or inner remote environment, you...

...know, all of our teams have kept that rhythm of the daily huddles where we're viewing our prior days performance, talking about those those success stories and sharing those success stories amongst the team and those best demonstrated practices that are helping to drive our growth, right and helping our team members win. We continue to run daily and weekly incentives and contests to keep that healthy competition at the forefront, which really makes people want to win, regardless of whether they're sitting in the office or sitting in their Home Office. And then, ultimately, it's providing a ton of support. Right. So our line manager or what we call our assistant sales managers, you know, they're communicating with their teams, having one on one's weekly and providing that coaching. Two Thousand and twenty was definitely a rough year with the pandemic and I don't think we realize how much it really affected people in different ways and we really have to be common sant of that and I think our team leaders did a tremendous, tremendous job and keeping everyone focused and keeping them around high which really allowed us to continue to excel and and outpace the competition. Yeah, I really like what you said. They are. So you continue to do the team huddles every single day. Sure, there was the competition that you guys are continue to cold spate, and then you talked about the support as well. So a couple of bog plushs that the team huddles that you're doing every single day. was there push back with that? I mean because if you're continue that and if it's another you know, there's that whole thing called zoom fatigue that now people are starting to experience. How did you kind of overcome that zoo fatigue while still keeping up that Camaraderie with those huddles? So I think it's about keeping them interesting and keeping them fun, all right. So we allow our individual meads to make decisions on what they want to share in those huddles. You know, we bring games into them, they play music in the beginning of them...

...and it's really just a way to kind of get the day started. We keep them very short, right because, to your point, you don't want to create that fatigue. Anybody sitting on a hour long meeting, and the more every morning, is probably going to end up tuning out. So we keep them to twenty minutes, thirty minutes. They're all again about topics of you know, where we're succeeding and ultimately those things that we need to communicate that you're going on within the business, whether it's, you know, internal business partners that are jumping into to share some of the things that are going on in their parts of the organization. But I think just keeping them fun. Keeping them short has really allowed us to not have people just check out when on those those calls every morning. Right, you know, it's the thing that my team is always said there, you know, because I do not a daily huddle, but I do and every other day huddle, and initially there was a big pushback from it. And the thing that everybody says like if there's value in the meeting, like if we're receiving something and we're talking to hing, that's a value, I will show up. But if it's just another meeting to have a meeting because you feel like you need to have a meeting to keep people closer together, it's gonna Start Droat or on and that's start getting people checking out. So it's a fine balance between the two. There it is. You're absolutely right, and I think you know you hit the nail of the head. It's about people walking away saying, okay, I got something out of that right. So that's why we try to make sure we put that time, that planning time, into it to make sure that there is communication that is valuable to them and and they know that it's going to help them. And I think that's really one the key to the keeping people intrigued and and not, to your point, getting pushed back or we're not getting pushed back on Hey, do we really have to do these calls? Well, you know. And then the third thing you said there was the support, and I want to kind of talk about that in two different veins, because I think there's, you know, a ton...

...of support that leadership is always trying to give to individual contributors, right those front line sales reps, you know, because it's and that's unbelievably important. We need to make sure we're doing that. You know, I think from a higher level leadership, from a VP of sales, I also think it's really important to give support to the front line sales managers as well, right, because they're the ones who are having the one on ones at the front line sales reps, they're the ones who are oftentimes create these teams and if they are feeling a sense of burnout, if they're feeling a sense of man where working really, really hard here sort of thing, it can be exhausting. So, you know, what have you done to provide support? I guess to the the front line sales manager, specifically acknowledging that you for sure need to be giving the support as well, obviously to the frontline sales reps. sure, sure, so. We really you know, we pride ourselves on having the same expectations regardless of level, right, so whether it's our Asim's coaching, our individual contributors or account managers on a daily basis, the expectation is what I'm doing that with my team, they're doing that with their teams and ultimately it really triples down. And you know, one of the things that we really focus on is making sure that we're listening to our leadership teams right and making sure that their voice is heard and that they're part of all of those those decisions and the plans that we're making and when we're when we're trying to continue to develop the organization. So again, I think listening and hearing our leaders and what they're going through and being able to pivot based on that feedback as really kept them engaged and making them feel as though, you know, the their opinions valued and keeping them focused as well as our managers. Yeah, no, I definitely hear that. To me, you know, at times it's so simple, but I think, especially when we are in so many zoo meetings I feel like the world has only sped up,...

...whether it'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, very easy to hear forecast or training or the new thing. Right. We're so often the only thing that you need to do before Diagnosia is just be like, Hey, quick, check in here before you demon how are you doing? Right, I say, just the simple, genuine, authentic ask right there, like actually wanting to know, like he just just how are you doing this? Before we like that. Having all this other stuff that's for sure important, you doing get goes a long way, it really does. That absolutely agree. Yeah, well, and you use the word pivot within there too, and I kind of want to shake you know. So speak pivot this, this conversation as well. You know, in any sales organization you're wanting the ideal sales up to be hungry, right, you're one that to be proactive, not someone who's just, you know, sitting back waiting for the phone to ring, you know, maybe getting meetings booked on their behalf by a sales of belt and rep if your organization has them, and it sounds like you know this was a shift you guys had to make within your company, right from being sit back kind of way for the orders commit or, which means coming, to be a proactive, you know, being intentional with reaching out, and that's a hard shit to make within organization, and I'm curious, leading from the top and kind of pushing downwards, what do you do to make the shift to be more collective, to having hungrier sellers within your organization? Sure so, you know, I think it really started with them and we started this transformation process, and say about three or four years ago, and it really started by removing that nonproductive work, or what I call non value at a tasks. Obviously, all these things are important, however,...

...and they have to get on. However, they can be done by other resources, right. So it started by shifting that work away from our account managers to other resources, which really allowed them to do what they do best, which is engaging our customers and creating and moving opportunities through the pipeline. We also provided and and partnered with a great training organization by the name of Carew International, which allowed us to have one consistent selling process and how we engaged our customers. You know, before we partnered with carew and, we created and put everyone through this process. You know, I used to say we used to have three hundred selling processes right, with three hundred salespeople. They all did it their own way, but bringing that streamlined focus on how we engage our customers has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity for us and really has been, again, one of those drivers in our success. So all of our leadership team provides daily coaching and reinforcement around all the elements of our selling process and it really helps to make our team members better every single day. And then, lastly, I'd say it's about having the right incentive plans right. It's critical that the compensation plan that you have for your team really rewards for overachievement and are truly aligned with those strategic goals and objectives that we have within the organization. A of that so so. Couple of things that so. Number One, when you did make the shift and you started working with this training organization, was there pushback? was there certain reps, especially, you know when we try to make shifts, even hear it outreach. You know, generally the push pack comes from the reps who have been here the longest. True, said I've been doing it this a certain way and the seeing success. That's yeah, well, I like said back here during this Penia Clotte and having these needs book for me. How do you...

...how do you handle that shift or how do you handle that pushback, especially from maybe some reps who they have a big voice, not in a native way, but like the people listen to them because they've had the credibility of being there for a while? What do you do to overcome some of that? It's really just about, you know, getting that by it and right. So we spent a lot of time with some focus groups and we were vetting the the spelling process that we were going to ultimately move forward with, and I think that allowed us to really, you know, stop and have those conversations with those folks that you're referring to to say, look, I know it works, I know what you've been doing worked all these years, but what if I could help you just get a little bit better and allow you to ultimately make more money? And when they started to, you know, they came out of the training again. You still have some pushback, right, but then once they started to really execute on the elements of the selling process. We got buy and quick, because it works right. So they were able to have more informed, more intelligent conversations with their customers and all would ultimately they started to get that feedback of Hey, I appreciate you asking me about what my personal goals and objectives are. Right most of my vendors don't do things like that. They're just trying to get me to buy another product or get me to join another service that they're offering, and I think that was ultimately what allowed us to succeed, especially with those folks that have been successful for many years doing it the way they did like that, you know, getting to know what is most important to the actual person. Your Styn to beyond is trying to get them to buy your platform. One of my one of my favorite questions. That's if anybody is on this listen as podcast who I've actually sold you before may have heard this question from me, but it's always hey, if I take off my company hat and you take off your company hat real quick, what do you care about? Like...

...what you've vow? You know, decided to have three to five hours worth of conversation with me at this point, like that's taking time out of your day, which you have responsibilities as well. Like why, if we were to do this, what would be a win masses for your company, but specifically for you exactly, and I think you know and it ultimately it makes people feel good about what you know we're trying to do. It's really hey, Alex actually cares about me and cares about my success and wanting his platform to obviously help me succeed. So I think that goes a long way and I think consultative selling is really the only way to sell now. It really is. So I think when the nail on the head well in. The thing about that too, is it's very easy to say that, but if it's not coming from a I actually want to know. It's just like what we were talking about earlier when you're having a one one with somebody on your team, when you ask that, I really want to know how you are. If it's I'm ask you how you are so I can check that box and make you feel good and then move on to the next versus. Let me like support you here, but the essence, so to speak, with what you're coming from the question makes all the difference. there. I think you make a great point, because I think you can. I mean, I know I get seals calls all day right from people and and, quite frankly, you know when so much genuine and I think it takes about ten seconds to understand whether someone's actually coming from a genuine place or whether they're just working through their call plan and trying to, you know, like you said, check that box. Totally are I I got a few more questions here for you. Here. Done. And you know, when it comes to culture, kind of TAP Mech into this. A lot of it is about getting people to buy it, to the culture and not feel like they're just cool. I'm here, I get to receive the awesome culture organization has created,...

...but really feel well, is a great culture and it's because I'm contributing towards it. I am actually part of the team that is cultivating what we have here today, and if it needs change, I have the ownership to change it as well, and that's hard. At least. It's not easy to create that environment and I'm curious, you know, for me, from your side, global industrial or even beyond, what do you do here, like how do you make people feel like a next contribute to it, but that they can grow at the organization personally and within their careers as well. Yes, and I think I touched on it a bit earlier, but it's really about garnering the team's opinion and getting their input into those key strategic decisions that we're making to continually evolved as an organization. Right so, whether it's things like bringing on new products or services that were considering adding to the offering, or how other parts of the business may be impacting their customer experience. You know, when the teams make those contributions, we not only make better decision a decisions as an organization, but they also know that, they and feel that. So they've played a large part in creating that strategy. You know, it's interesting because we continually conduct focus groups and you know, you had best about about how they feel as though the you know, the culture plays into their careers. But those focus groups are really centered around the changes or the investments that were making in the business and, you know, garnering that feedback they so our associates really have a voice and it's considered in what those impacts are from every level within the organization. Right so I think I think our teams appreciate that and it helps us to not only execute our initiative successfully, but it also helps to continue to build that stronger culture and they know that they truly had an impact on what our strategic objectives are and what...

...are for and forward. You know approach is going to be for the business. Yeah, you know some of the things that you know I've done in the passes. Want it's on a similar you kind of note to what you're saying. There too, is before we have, you know, this big communication to the entire sales team or whatever might be, I'm going and picking off a few individuals who I know are decently outspoken and who I know if I can get this person on our side, it's going to go a long way for everybody else being on our side. And you know, I'll I'll plant seas like hey, we're night my speak this. I would love to hear your perspective amongst the greater group as well, right, and I definitely have. I definitely have that, that same same cent tion here. So there's there's definitely a few, I guess I'll call them influencers, right, that I make sure that I'm aligned with before we go out to the larger population, because he's to your point. You know, there's there's a lot to be said in a lot of value in getting those influential team members that have been successful here for many years, because they are looked at as a mentor and if they're buying in, the rest of the group's going to buy it. So I think you're I think your spot. Understand percent all right down, I got. I got a little more of a personal question here for you, if you're open to it, and this one might be a little unscripted, but you know, being, you know, vpa sales at a company for fifteen years, obviously you have to be driving results for your team, you have to be continuing growing and being that competition. Beyond those things, beyond the numbers, what do you care about as a leader of a very successful, growing, in large organization? What are the things that you are thinking of every single day that you're like, if I can do this, it was a successful day. I am feeling a certain sense of I guess one could say, fulfilments from you being, you know, top...

...dog and a sales leader there. Yeah, so I and again, I think I touched on it earlier also it's really what I've experienced in my career and those things that I know have really helped me to get where I end today, and that's that's really mentoring people and finding that time to spend with whether it's new account managers in the team or ten yeared account managers in the team, and understanding what their career goals and objectives are and helping to play a part in that process. And I mean there's nothing more rewarding than seeing those folks that I know I've taken a mentorship role with and seeing them succeeds. So we've had many people within the organization that have, you know, moved into leadership roles and have been very successful. But then you also have, you know, just yesterday, so I hope, one of our brand new team members, been here about six months, had the largest opportunity of his career here so far in short career, and he came into my office last night and, you know, he thanking me and thanking me and you know, we spent some time just going through that, you know, the the the RFP that we worked on and boy with all the gory details. But he walked away and he was like, Don thanks I'd love to buy you launch tomorrow. I said absolutely not. You're not buying me launched. This is why I actually enjoyed doing and what's really satisfying to me in my career. But I think it's really seeing that upward mobility and that progression and people and seeing them grow within their purse of their professional career is by far 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 here for you is you're not afraid to get on the front lines and do the dirty work with them. Absolutely it just and you, you've touched this couple...

...of times after this conversations, like you still get that feeling of being in the hunt, in the race, so to speak, and be like hey, if we're going to do this, you know, six months in Rep like, let's get this going and I'll bring my fifty is experience like that just that just built to bait, and that's that's when your reps, you know, in your team, starts looking up and me like I'm going to that what this guy? Sure, sure, okay, I can't ask anybody to do something that I'm not willing to do, regardless of where I am in my career or what level. You know, I really I try to convey that message and make sure all my leaders kind of have that approach because, quite frankly, we were all in this together and the only way we succeed is if we all succeed right. So I think that's that again goes back to, you know, having that culture, that strong culture that truly people can rally behind. So understand, understand. Well, yeah, I got one more question for you before we got in that Don I just want to you know, honor you and appreciate you for joining the conversation and just sharing some of your or your wisdom, sharing some of your experience. And there's a reason why we're looking at global industrial and we're seeing them having that success that you guys are and even you know, changing that times. You've got a mark strategy just continually upleveling and bringing those people. So thank you for just showing up and sharing with that. Appreciate you. You haven't mad enjoyed the conversation. So last question for you. This is the quintessential question I always ask all the guests on our podcasts. It's if you had to impart any piece of wisdom on our listeners, you know, listeners who have listened for a very long time, our first time listeners, and this could be in regards to what a conversation was, it could be in regards to complete something completely else here. What would that piece of wisdom be that you like to impart us? Like? Ultimately, I would say it's really on...

...you and ultimately you're the only person that controls your success. Right. So, as I said, I've had a lot of great mentors, but the only reason that I've continued to so in my career is because 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 lot of time reading and listening to different coind going to different conferences and listening to other great leaders within this space, and I just I'm continuing to try to self educate and ultimately I think that's what has led to the to the success that I've seen in my career. But ultimately, no one's going to give you anything in life, right, it's really about going out and finding what it is you want and then working to get it and I hope that doesn't sound Cliche, but it truly is. You know, it's the truth and I see many times in the culture we live in today that, you know, people kind of expect things and just think things are given to you, but that's not how the world works really. So I hope that answers your question. But I really, I truly believe that it's all about what you put into something is what you're going to get out of it. So well said, we'll set my friend will done. I appreciate you once again for join us the sales engagement podcast and follow our listeners. Thank you as always. We look forward to seeing you all in next dot. Thanks, Oh, it's appreciate it at a good time. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach, that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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