Episode 190: Wesley Ulysse on Cultivating a Healthy and Authentic Sales Culture
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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast, I’m Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space, and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.
Today, I’m excited to have Wes Ulysse from Red Points join us. Wes, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Wesley Ulysse: Yeah, great to be here. Obviously, my name is Wes, I’m the VP of Sales over at Red Points. Our software allows brands to protect their online revenue against counterfeits, piracy, and impersonation, so it’s pretty cool, pretty relevant in these times.
SS: Fantastic. Well, we’re really excited to have you here. Now, you caught my eye because on LinkedIn, you emphasized that sales is a challenging career that requires a lot of perseverance. I’d love to just kick off this conversation by understanding, in your opinion what are some of the biggest challenges that sales teams are faced with today?
WU: To be honest, and this might sound kind of counter-intuitive, but information. There are a lot of different ways to sell, a lot of different strategies, and I’m sure we’ve all heard plenty of acronyms. LinkedIn is great, but there are so many opinions and in the age of information, information is just so accessible and maybe too easily accessible. It can be tough for a rep seeking guidance to focus.
I like to keep things simple, but the other side to it is the social aspect of it all. We’re still in a pandemic, the job, housing and financial markets are crazy. I won’t even get into politics, but it’s very easy to get distracted, and sales is difficult. Sales requires mental focus and execution, so in my humble opinion, I feel as if information – and this information overload right now – can be one of the biggest challenges, for almost anyone, but particularly for those in sales.
SS: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. The last two years have definitely been challenging. Given all the change that has also happened over the last two years, how can sales leaders like yourself help set their teams up to persevere through the change and actually thrive in this type of environment?
WU: I think from that perspective, nothing has really changed. I think transparency, vulnerability and accountability, they’re all still necessary. That’s how we can connect with or understand people, that’s helping them through change. I think keeping to those principles, that’s the best we can do, in terms of sales leaders, to help those persevere through any type of change.
SS: I agree. Now, I do want to talk about something that seems to be prevalent, these days especially, and that’s burnout. Especially amongst sales reps, I think it’s a common challenge a lot of organizations are facing right now. How do we help our sales reps from feeling that sense of burnout in the day-to-day grind and all the chaos that’s going on in the world? What are some of your strategies for mitigating the risks of burnout for your sales teams?
WU: Yeah, sales burnout is definitely a thing. I think, from my perspective, staying in tune with the person – just little things, common things, nothing ground-breaking – is just knowing when to tell that person, hey, take a day off. I mean, this is going to sound crazy in this day and age, but dare I say being okay with Zoom calls with the cameras off. I think little things like that really help when it comes to burnout.
Not only that, I feel as if traditionally in sales, there is this idea and this mantra: well, I’ve hit my target, but do more. And again, this is a bit counter-intuitive, but to some extent I think we as sales leaders need to be okay with someone doing what’s expected of them. When they do that, you know, meet their targets and don’t overachieve, and let’s say they want to take the last week of the month or quarter off, not to judge them for that. I think that is something we need to keep in mind. I could go on and on about that, but I do think that is part of the sales culture that, as sales leaders, in today’s climate, given everything that’s going on, we do need to be conscious of: being okay with just doing what’s expected and not necessarily going above and beyond.
SS: I love that approach and advice. Obviously, our audience is predominantly in sales enablement, so I’d love to hear from a sales leader’s perspective, how can enablement best partner with sales leaders like yourself to help retain high-performing reps and really do things to curate a healthy sales culture?
WU: First of all, I think sales enablement is absolutely necessary in almost every organization. I would say to really help push and challenge teams, in more ways than one – for me it’s less about picking up new skills and refining one’s pitch or guiding one’s pitch – I think it’s more about learning to identify those who might be top performers but aren’t necessarily growing. They’re pretty stagnant, they’re comfortable and often sales leaders tend to, I wouldn’t say ignore top performers, but put them on autopilot. In my opinion, that’s a great opportunity for sales enablement to step in and identify someone who is doing well but isn’t necessarily challenged enough. We don’t know one’s potential until it’s met. And even when it’s met, we don’t really know their potential. I think that’s a key area where sales enablement can assist and partner with sales leaders to help drive the business, but also increase the ceilings in any way.
SS: Absolutely, I think that’s phenomenal. In addition to your role as a sales leader, you also serve as a DE&I chair for a community organization. That’s something I’m also exceptionally passionate about. As an advocate for DE&I, how can sales leaders really nurture diverse teams and build an inclusive culture in a really authentic way? Is there anything that perhaps enablement can do to partner and assist on that front?
WU: You said the keyword: in an authentic way. For me, it again goes back to knowing your people, taking an interest in their culture, who they are, in and out of work, without being too invasive. The keyword there again is interest and authenticity, so I think it’s more on the organizations to hire someone who is genuinely interested in creating and maintaining that diversity. That obviously goes hand in hand with enablement, so being able to partner with someone who is genuinely interested in creating that type of environment, partnering with sales enablement to propel that environment into success.
SS: Absolutely. Well Wes, my last question for you is just really a look ahead. We’ve just started 2022 and as we look ahead to this year, what is your biggest priority to ensure that your sales teams are equipped for success this year?
WU: Honestly, it’s simple. Just keeping up with the ever-changing times. Like I mentioned earlier, information is just circulating so fast, things are evolving at probably the fastest pace, fastest rate ever, in history, so just being able to make sure that the team is taken care of, making sure they have everything they need to succeed. But again, staying or trying to stay ahead of the current and keeping up with everything they need, that’s my plan; making sure that we evolve as the world evolves.
SS: I love that. Well Wes, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time and your advice.
WU: Thank you, thank you guys for having me.
SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there’s something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.