Michael is the VP of Sales at Mappedin. In this Q&A, we discuss the impact of remote work on sales strategies and tactics, how to challenge uncertainty in prospects, the key to closing deals, and most importantly, how to excel in sales.
Michael, thanks for chatting with me. To start, can you tell us about your current role at Mappedin?
I am the VP of Sales at Mappedin. I manage bringing in revenue for the company and solving potential clients’ problems while managing our Sales teams. I do that by providing white glove service to our potential clients and solving their problems through our technology.
Interestingly, you joined Mappedin after working for Google Maps. How did that relevant experience help in your role here?
It helped immensely. It provided me with context for GIS and the mapping world, and helped me understand and hone in on the very large problem with indoor maps. Ultimately, there’s not a lot of indoor mapping technology. It’s a glaring problem that I found Mappedin could solve, and I wanted to be a part of that journey.
You’ve been at Mappedin for over 3 years now. What made you decide to join the team?
Mappedin was a seamless transition from Google. I was looking to join a smaller company, wear different hats, and really learn and grow within a company. More importantly, I wanted to learn everything I could about the indoor mapping market and sharpen my skills with Sales, Management, and with indoor mapping technology.
What do you like most about working at Mappedin?
The culture, the people, and the technology. At Mappedin, we work hard, we work fast, and we’re constantly at the bleeding edge of technology trying to push the envelope of what we can provide. The people are the ones that help support that. You can have blue sky dreaming ideas, but without the people working hard, there’s no innovative technology.
Being able to work towards the same goal, have fun while doing it, and have genuine friends at the workplace really makes Mappedin a great place to work.
How would you describe the culture and environment of the Mappedin Sales team?
The Mappedin Sales team is extremely motivated, extremely persistent, and very hardworking. There’s no individual lone wolf mentality on the team; it’s one team, one dream. We’re all doing our part to push the Sales team and ultimately Mappedin towards our revenue goals.
Everyone makes mistakes, but we learn from them so that we are consistently in tip top shape to provide the best solutions. Even if it’s something we can’t provide; what can we do in the interim for our potential clients to give them exactly what they need? All of that boils down to the motivation on the team and the hardworking environment.
That’s not to say it’s work hard and no play; we do like to have fun, we’re a very close knit team, and we’re always willing to help extend a hand to anyone outside and inside sales to ensure that as a team we win.
From your experience, what has the effect of COVID-19 been on sales and customer conversations?
It’s taken a lot of the sales aspect out of conversations, and it’s humanized the art of sales. We’ve learned to be way more empathetic and understanding of where people are coming from. We might ask “why” more often, but asking why helps us understand why it might not be a good fit or a good time.
We want to understand when it would be a good time, and when you do enter into that buying window, we will be there. We want to build relationships, expand the network, and we definitely don’t want to force anything down anyone’s throat.
A couple years ago when we were in the office, the Sales team would get together to do cold calling blitzes, attend trade shows and meet with prospects in-person. How has remote working changed the strategies and tactics on Mappedin’s Sales team? Do you think it’s made it easier or more difficult to close a deal?
Sales is hard. If sales were easy, we would automate 100% of the process and we wouldn't need human intervention. I would say that the strategies and tactics we use haven’t made it easier or more difficult to close a deal, it’s just different.
Before COVID-19, sales was very centered around human interaction. With remote work, we have to take that physical aspect of networking and shift it to video. The world is all about video calls right now.
Sales cycles might take longer, but we are truly getting to know the prospect, truly understanding what their problem is, and from there we can make sure our solution fits their needs. We’re very focused on those relationships, engaging in more small talk, and getting to know our potential clients.
What do you think is the key to closing a deal?
The overarching fundamental thing you need to ensure is that the potential client is getting exactly what they need to solve their problem. If they’re not, they’re not going to be happy and they’re not going to be a client 2 or 3 years down the line.
We’re here to maintain those long term relationships, and being very truthful about what we can and cannot do helps with that. Understanding what they need, how you can solve for it, and ultimately being transparent and getting to know them.
Everyone thinks of a suave salesman as this individual that’s talky and gabby, but that’s not true. Sales is primarily listening and asking very pinpointed questions: why is this happening, have you considered this, what are you trying to solve for? Mastering that is the key to closing up a sale and providing a solution for someone.
What aspects of your job do you find the most rewarding? What do you find the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing my team win and being able to solve for clients in a big way. It’s like a dopamine rush when you close a deal, bring in revenue for the company, and more importantly, when you solve someone’s problem.
The most challenging part would be that things pop up every day that I have never experienced before. You can’t Google these things, there is no rule book, these are problems that clients have that need to be solved. Although it can be challenging, being able to solve that unique problem on your feet is also extremely rewarding.
How do you overcome uncertainty and doubt in prospects?
By challenging and understanding the specific uncertainty. What are you hesitant about? That’s ultimately what it is, a hesitation. They want to ensure they’re getting the perfect solution for their problem, and we want to provide the perfect fit. We’re not going to sell them something if it’s not going to work for their problem, so we challenge the uncertainty by asking questions.
What are the things you’re truly trying to solve, what are you uncertain about, and how can we overcome this? Can we provide our best practices, our network, and our knowledge within the market to either solve that problem or push you in the right direction? That’s how we overcome uncertainty.
What makes a good sales representative?
A good sales representative is honest, persistent, hardworking, humble, and able to pivot the conversation at a moment’s notice. Having that hardworking and helpful mentality both within the team but also towards your clients will help you do exceptionally well. As long as you maintain your motivation and determination, you will excel in sales and sharpen your negotiation skills to maintain being a sales shark.
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