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Modern Day Sales Success Strategies with Gene Plotkin

Transcript
Wesleyne Greer:

Hello, and welcome to the transformed sales

Wesleyne Greer:

podcast where we talk all about the science of selling. Today. I

Wesleyne Greer:

am so excited to have Jean Plotkin with us. How are you

Wesleyne Greer:

doing?

Gene Plotkin:

I'm doing excellent. Very excited to be

Gene Plotkin:

here.

Wesleyne Greer:

Thank you so much for joining us. Let me tell

Wesleyne Greer:

you guys a little bit about Jean. Over the last 16 years,

Wesleyne Greer:

he's held about every single type of revenue driving role as

Wesleyne Greer:

both an individual contributor and a leader at companies

Wesleyne Greer:

ranging from early stage startups to global enterprises.

Wesleyne Greer:

He is currently the VP of Corporate sales at Mimeo. So G

Wesleyne Greer:

16 years, almost two decades. Tell us how did you get started?

Wesleyne Greer:

And how did you end up where you are today?

Gene Plotkin:

Absolutely. So I never actually thought about

Gene Plotkin:

kind of growing up never thought of sales as being kind of a

Gene Plotkin:

profession. But I knew very early on that I had a talent for

Gene Plotkin:

managing and leading people. And when I graduated college, I

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didn't really have a good direction, sort of went to

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business school, because that was really into into sports and

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playing hockey, and really didn't give my career too much

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thought other than, you know, I'm gonna go to business school

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get going to do something. So I graduated with a degree in

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marketing, but really realized very quickly, it wasn't for me,

Gene Plotkin:

and I kind of had this idea of starting a business one day, and

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I figured that I was going to need to learn how to sell right

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and get a new customer. So I was good at interviewing, I went

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around, had many different interviews, ended up getting a

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job that was completely unqualified for the guy thought

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I was high energy, but there was no formal training of any kind.

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It was, here's an office, here's a laptop, you know, this was

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2006, everybody else has 17 plus years of experience. And I've

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never sold a thing. So that's how I started that that for a

Gene Plotkin:

little while. And then I really got interested in the idea of

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influence and communication, right. And guys like Tony

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Robbins, and there's a few others that I listened to that.

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And I was really just fascinated by their command of language. So

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I started learning those kinds of things, neuro linguistic

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programming and psychology, just influence in general, I got

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certified as a hypnotist, fascinated with the field and

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then decided I was going to take that and kind of bring it into

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salesmen one way or another and going to start kind of a

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2008 came, and that was not a good time to be starting a

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consulting practice. And even though I felt like I did, okay,

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I realized that after a few years, I spent 95% of my time

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selling, and then you know, delivering the actual goods was

Gene Plotkin:

just kind of 5% of the time. So I figured why not go back into

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sales and join an early stage company as the first kind of

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customer facing employee. It was a sales enablement, platform,

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sales enablement, training kind of platform, really went from

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there meant a lot of really good people really started to learn

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the space of SAS and tech sales, and kinda took off from there.

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And before long, I was recruited into Mimeo, where I spent the

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last eight and a half years, and at that time was kind of burnt

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out from a lot of things. And I just said, you know, kind of

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give me the lowest responsibility that you could

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find within revenue, which is customer success, just for it

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was the simplest thing. So before I knew it, I got promoted

Gene Plotkin:

into being an account executive into enterprise account

Gene Plotkin:

executive business unit director, director of sales and

Gene Plotkin:

eventually became vice president overseeing the enterprise space.

Wesleyne Greer:

Wow. So your career, I really liked how it

Wesleyne Greer:

started. And you said you always knew you had the special I like

Wesleyne Greer:

to call it secret sauce, that you had this leadership

Wesleyne Greer:

capability, this thought leadership, this really wanting

Wesleyne Greer:

to develop people? How did you know so early on that that was

Wesleyne Greer:

something that you were destined to do?

Gene Plotkin:

Great question. My father would always say that

Gene Plotkin:

it's funny how little things kind of stay with us, right? I

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just had this ability to organize people, whether it was

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playing sports, you know, outside and on the playground,

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or any kind of a project. It just kind of came very naturally

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to me to delegate and lead and kind of oversee and manage

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people. So ever since I was a kind of a little kid, my father

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would always said, you know, you need to be a manager, because

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you're just sort of innately kind of your thing. I don't

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know, there was just a quality that I felt that I had bringing

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people together and connecting them. And it really, I think

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came down to just being able to see what somebody is good at,

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and then kind of being confident about what you think that they

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should be doing at any given time. You know, kind of

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directing them to that.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah, I think that a lot of us have this

Wesleyne Greer:

innate ability to lead. You know, me being the oldest

Wesleyne Greer:

sibling of three younger brothers. I think it was always

Wesleyne Greer:

something that was in me, you know, like, hey, Wesleyne You're

Wesleyne Greer:

a natural born leader. And I'm like, Oh, what are you talking

Wesleyne Greer:

about? And then as my career evolved, I saw how that played

Wesleyne Greer:

out like, yeah, and No matter whether I was the individual

Wesleyne Greer:

contributor, or I was in a leadership role, I was always a

Wesleyne Greer:

natural born leader.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, being an older sibling, that's the same

Gene Plotkin:

thing for me, right? You just kind of have to step into that.

Gene Plotkin:

You have to organize, you know, your kind of family dynamic.

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Otherwise, you know, it doesn't work. So I think that that's

Gene Plotkin:

definitely a part of it.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. And so you dipped your toe into

Wesleyne Greer:

entrepreneurship? And then you're like, yeah, no, maybe not

Wesleyne Greer:

so much. And so this phenomenon that you said is, like, I was

Wesleyne Greer:

selling 95% of the time, and the delivery was only 5%? How did

Wesleyne Greer:

you find yourself always selling? Was it because that was

Wesleyne Greer:

your natural propensity? Or was it just what you had to do?

Gene Plotkin:

So it's, uh, the most important thing in any

Gene Plotkin:

business is customers, right. And if you don't have those than

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there is no business really, that means you're just doing

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stuff, right without getting paid. So I think it was by

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necessity, right, you just need to, especially early on in that

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type of business, it's all about your ability to kind of acquire

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those first Cornerstone customers that you could then

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use to build, and, you know, and so on, and so forth. And so that

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was kind of a thing. But I've also had other kinds of ventures

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that I've started or have been a part of over the years, and

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where I'm at, you know, I'm gonna do the operational part,

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I'm good at that as well. But inevitably, it's one of those

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things where I'm like, I think I could do that better, you know,

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good, go through this, here's how it should look, here's what

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it is. And it's just something that innately comes to me. And

Gene Plotkin:

before you know, it is just easier to get in there and do it

Gene Plotkin:

yourself. When the business depends on it.

Wesleyne Greer:

I completely understand. I find myself like,

Wesleyne Greer:

I hate love. Because as a natural salesperson, it's like I

Wesleyne Greer:

love the clothes, right? And then being an entrepreneur, you

Wesleyne Greer:

have to balance the sales with the operations or the delivery

Wesleyne Greer:

of it. So you mentioned being burned out at a point in your

Wesleyne Greer:

career. This is something that you know, I think is so

Wesleyne Greer:

important today, really understanding the need for

Wesleyne Greer:

taking care of oneself self care. So what were the signs?

Wesleyne Greer:

How did you know that you were at a point of burnout, and you

Wesleyne Greer:

just needed to do something different?

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah. So again, having your own business, I

Gene Plotkin:

think there's a lot of societal romance around the idea of

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somebody being an entrepreneur, and what really, that means

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that, you know, it's always painted as this thing, or you're

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in charge, you get to do whatever you want, you know, if

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you want to sleep till noon, then that's your thing. No,

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that's the opposite, right? What you do is you have the

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responsibility of doing absolutely everything. And on

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top of that, you get to work double the hours, and you're the

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last one to get paid, right? Because everything is going into

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this child of your business. So it's a difficult thing. And I

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think a lot of people, myself included, would be much happier

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doing the thing that comes naturally to them, and focusing

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on that, and then letting somebody else. You know, being a

Gene Plotkin:

CEO of a company or an entrepreneur is not an easy

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thing. And I think only a select few people can really do it, and

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really have the sacrifice that it takes to make that happen,

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right. And I got to witness very successful entrepreneurs who

Gene Plotkin:

have taken companies public, I got to work very closely with

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them. And I preferred that dynamic of letting them do what

Gene Plotkin:

they do. And I can focus on doing what I'm good at, which is

Gene Plotkin:

acquiring customers, which is, you know, growing the business

Gene Plotkin:

from a revenue standpoint,

Wesleyne Greer:

so how, what are some of the things that you knew

Wesleyne Greer:

when you were like, Okay, it's time for me to make a change?

Wesleyne Greer:

Because either an entrepreneur or a person who's working in a

Wesleyne Greer:

corporate position, sometimes you don't know? Is it me? Is it

Wesleyne Greer:

the company? Is the position? Is it my time of life? So what are

Wesleyne Greer:

some of those indicators you use to say, Okay, I need to make a

Wesleyne Greer:

big change within my career?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, I think seeing the growth, or perhaps

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the lack thereof, I think, making connections with people

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whom you think you want to be like, right, in finding those

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mentors, especially early on in the career, I think is very

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important. And then observing them right. And then seeing, you

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know, here are the really cool things that I would like to have

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out of life, you know, the big apartment, the network, the

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prestige, so to speak, what's the hidden cost of that? Right?

Gene Plotkin:

You know, and that's the thing, where, and how is that? How does

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that connect with your life? And ultimately, what you want to do,

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right? Do you want to work 20 477 days a week? Do you work

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really well, when there is no structure? Right? Where you kind

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of have to define your own word? Or do you work better within a

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structure that's outlined for you? So I think that was a part

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of it. I think, you know, truthfully, I just wasn't seeing

Gene Plotkin:

the kind of traction that I was hoping to. And, you know, I, it

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was one of those things where I gave it an honest shot. And

Gene Plotkin:

really, if I'm spending most of my time doing this thing, and I

Gene Plotkin:

could just be doing that thing, getting highly compensated for

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it, and not have to worry about all of those other things. You

Gene Plotkin:

know, I think, I think the realization came when I was

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doing something and I was building were working on my

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website and build some widget that would be like a referral

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thing and, and I got very excited about it. And then I

Gene Plotkin:

went, well, this isn't at all what I signed up to do. This

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isn't at all what I was. decided to do what I thought I would be

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doing. And I think that that was kind of one of those catalysts

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of that. And I think talking to somebody who I looked up to, and

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I said, you know, you do if I, if you were me, and he said, If

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I were you, I'd get a job. And I kind of got hurt by that in the

Gene Plotkin:

beginning. And then it kind of sat there for a week or two, it

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started to make sense. And then just life kind of handed me an

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opportunity to join a very early stage company where the CEO had

Gene Plotkin:

just taken a company public, and I knew to be working directly

Gene Plotkin:

for him would be a really good career move in and ended up

Gene Plotkin:

being

Wesleyne Greer:

awesome. So we don't often talk about the other

Wesleyne Greer:

side of sales, customer success. And you at one point in your

Wesleyne Greer:

career, you said, hey, I want to still do something in sales, but

Wesleyne Greer:

maybe not as high pressure, something a little bit

Wesleyne Greer:

different. So tell us about your role in customer success. And

Wesleyne Greer:

what that taught you to exit because I really think that

Wesleyne Greer:

everything that we do within our career helps us see something

Wesleyne Greer:

from a different perspective or understand from a different

Wesleyne Greer:

lens. So talk to us about that customer success role.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, and customer success is very much sales,

Gene Plotkin:

right? It's just the context of how you're going about it is a

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little bit different. So for me, I was recruited into Mimeo. And

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for years, I kept saying no, and actually how I got recruited

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into it was through that job I ended up taking, we ended up

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interviewing somebody, and then that person kind of stayed in

Gene Plotkin:

touch with me and tried to recruit me for, for joining the

Gene Plotkin:

company. And customer success was interesting, because you

Gene Plotkin:

here, you know, at that point, I spent close to eight years going

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out and hunting. And as you may know that that's it's a

Gene Plotkin:

difficult thing. And most of the time, you know, people are not

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excited to talk to you. So all of a sudden, I had a list of 200

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customers who when I picked up the phone did not hang up, that

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was not their immediate kind of thing I needed to overcome. They

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actually say, Oh, hey, you know, Yep, thank you for calling. And

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then we started talking about their business. And that was a

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really a kind of a big shift, what was different for me, and

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why I think I was able to succeed, the way that I did is I

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brought that hustle that I've had for years, that pace of

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working at a early stage company, or my own company, or

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whatever it happens to be where you really need to make

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everything happen. And all of a sudden, now I brought it into an

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existing customer base. So I knew how to generate the

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excitement and the passion. And then some of it is just, you

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know, hard work, right, it was getting a hold of these people.

Gene Plotkin:

And you know, if somebody moved on to a different company, and

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just came very naturally to me, and all of a sudden, before I

Gene Plotkin:

knew it, I was outperforming pretty much all of my all the

Gene Plotkin:

peers that were there. And I didn't come I didn't have a

Gene Plotkin:

plan. I felt like I've had a plan up until that point where

Gene Plotkin:

whatever company I joined and coming into Mimeo, I really

Gene Plotkin:

didn't have a plan that six months to spend before that was

Gene Plotkin:

just trying to figure out if I could start another business or

Gene Plotkin:

not. And I couldn't come up with an idea that would yield the

Gene Plotkin:

kind of results I wanted in the timeframe I was comfortable

Gene Plotkin:

with. I was looking to start a family. So I just said, hey, why

Gene Plotkin:

not do this. And I had no plan I just wanted to do really well. I

Gene Plotkin:

knew at some point I wanted to go into management, I didn't

Gene Plotkin:

even mention that. I just kind of took it on. And then once I

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started to see the success, and I think it was evident to

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everybody around me, that's when those conversations started

Gene Plotkin:

coming naturally of what do you want to do next. And I said, Oh,

Gene Plotkin:

I'm interested in managing. And I've had some of that experience

Gene Plotkin:

in the past. And all of a sudden, you know, the track was

Gene Plotkin:

available for me,

Wesleyne Greer:

I love that you said by having to hustle and

Wesleyne Greer:

hunt that really made you so much better and customer success

Wesleyne Greer:

because I feel that a lot of companies, they just stick

Wesleyne Greer:

people in customer success. First of all, everybody's

Wesleyne Greer:

renamed it to from customer service to customer success,

Wesleyne Greer:

because hey, this is what we want to do. But they're not

Wesleyne Greer:

actually thinking this is essentially a sales job. Because

Wesleyne Greer:

I like to say there's two ways to grow revenue by getting more

Wesleyne Greer:

from existing customers or getting new customers what's

Wesleyne Greer:

easier. And so your role after the sale has ended. I mean,

Wesleyne Greer:

there's still so much more to do to retain the customer to get

Wesleyne Greer:

more value from them, to sell them more products to get

Wesleyne Greer:

referrals, all of those things that happen on the back end. So

Wesleyne Greer:

as a customer success, individual contributor, you made

Wesleyne Greer:

a very fast ascent to leadership, how and each and

Wesleyne Greer:

every one of your roles. How did you set yourself up for the next

Wesleyne Greer:

promotion?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, I'd say the first thing is you got to do

Gene Plotkin:

really well let the job description that's given to you

Gene Plotkin:

currently, right, exceed those expectations. First, make it

Gene Plotkin:

very known and clear that this is the path that you want right

Gene Plotkin:

to management, right. And I think that being on the other

Gene Plotkin:

side of it being a leader now for many years, there's nothing

Gene Plotkin:

better than somebody really asserting themselves and saying

Gene Plotkin:

this is what I want to do, especially if they're a star

Gene Plotkin:

performer because now you know what the career path is. Now you

Gene Plotkin:

know what the retention path for this person is? Because as

Gene Plotkin:

leaders, we're always thinking about that right? What is this

Gene Plotkin:

person doing especially if you see that they're super Star, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, how long can they stay in that role before they are either

Gene Plotkin:

approached or they get hungry for more or, you know, whatever

Gene Plotkin:

it happens to be right. So I think for me, it was, I'm going

Gene Plotkin:

to do really well, I'm going to keep my mouth shut, right, do

Gene Plotkin:

really well at what I'm supposed to be doing, and then make it

Gene Plotkin:

clear. And then the last part is actively start doing things that

Gene Plotkin:

to help others, right. So for me, it was, here's a template I

Gene Plotkin:

wrote, when I got to Miami, we were not as advanced as coming,

Gene Plotkin:

especially from the emerging sales enablement space, right,

Gene Plotkin:

there were a lot of tools I had at my disposal. And I just

Gene Plotkin:

looked around, and I said, I could do this 10 times more

Gene Plotkin:

efficiently. And so that was one of those things where I said,

Gene Plotkin:

here, this is how you find contacts. This is how you

Gene Plotkin:

utilize the Yesware and utilize templates to write an email

Gene Plotkin:

once, right, and just created a lot of systems that really

Gene Plotkin:

worked for me, or I've learned, you know, in the past, but

Gene Plotkin:

again, coming at it with a lot more experienced than I think

Gene Plotkin:

that the folks that would be in that a lot more wide experience,

Gene Plotkin:

there were people that spent more time in a sales role, but I

Gene Plotkin:

just had a very eclectic kind of group of skills and talents, and

Gene Plotkin:

just things that I've learned along the way, and then actively

Gene Plotkin:

sharing that, like I was not holding on to any of it. So by

Gene Plotkin:

the time it came to making the promotion, I've already had the

Gene Plotkin:

respect of my peers, because not only was I outperforming, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, just about most of them was one of the top performers.

Gene Plotkin:

So that spoke for itself. But I was also actively doing things

Gene Plotkin:

to help and contributing in meetings and whatever it happens

Gene Plotkin:

to be. So one kind of that opening happened, basically, the

Gene Plotkin:

team stepped up and said, you know, Gene should lead us. And

Gene Plotkin:

you know, that's the ultimate in terms of helping convince people

Gene Plotkin:

to give somebody a leadership job as if the team that they're

Gene Plotkin:

already on says, you know, I think it'd be a good idea if you

Gene Plotkin:

know, he steps in or she steps in, and I would follow them.

Gene Plotkin:

Right. So I think that was a big thing.

Wesleyne Greer:

You gave us some really, really good gems there.

Wesleyne Greer:

And I want to make sure that I highlight them many times, we

Wesleyne Greer:

think that, hey, a top performer is going to be a good manager.

Wesleyne Greer:

And yes, that is one component. But something else that you said

Wesleyne Greer:

is having that propensity just to help when you didn't have to

Wesleyne Greer:

write just to show up and say, Hey, let me show you how to do

Wesleyne Greer:

this. Here's a template, stepping up as a leader without

Wesleyne Greer:

their leader title, I think is a really important thing that we

Wesleyne Greer:

should look for, when we're looking to promote from within.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, raise your hands for things, raise your

Gene Plotkin:

hands for this, right. You know, I just recently, last year,

Gene Plotkin:

COVID kind of hit us hard. And we're in the space of business,

Gene Plotkin:

the business content distribution. And a lot of that

Gene Plotkin:

happens during, you know, meetings in person events,

Gene Plotkin:

training sessions, you know, whatever it happens to be. And

Gene Plotkin:

obviously, that was impacted. But as a result of it, we had to

Gene Plotkin:

kind of shrink down our sales development team, as well as

Gene Plotkin:

some other teams. And it was difficult, but we got through on

Gene Plotkin:

the other side, we're growing aggressively, I think we've had

Gene Plotkin:

probably one of the best years we've ever had in terms of

Gene Plotkin:

growth. And we'll continue on that path. But one of the things

Gene Plotkin:

coming out of it was we needed to rebuild our sales development

Gene Plotkin:

team. So I stepped up and I said, I want to do the

Gene Plotkin:

recruiting for it, I'm gonna hire the manager, I'm gonna hire

Gene Plotkin:

the team back up. All right. And luckily, in our organization,

Gene Plotkin:

you get those kinds of chances. But that was interested in me,

Gene Plotkin:

and I was able to deliver and learn something new along the

Gene Plotkin:

way. And, but those are those kinds of things where step up,

Gene Plotkin:

and if there's a project to be done, then put your you know,

Gene Plotkin:

make it clear that you want that responsibility.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely remove the it's not my job, so

Wesleyne Greer:

I'm not going to do it, or I'm not getting paid for that.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because if that's your mindset, then leadership is not what you

Wesleyne Greer:

should be doing at this point, right? You're still in the

Wesleyne Greer:

mindset of an individual contributor, because as you

Wesleyne Greer:

said, it was like, Okay, I didn't have to, but I actually

Wesleyne Greer:

cared about the success of the organization. And since I cared

Wesleyne Greer:

about the success of the organization, I'm going to say,

Wesleyne Greer:

yes, hey, let me help push this initiative forward.

Gene Plotkin:

100%, I do think that it's a there's a good point

Gene Plotkin:

that you made about the individual contributor does not

Gene Plotkin:

automatically make a good leader. And I think a lot of

Gene Plotkin:

individual contributors are very, especially in sales.

Gene Plotkin:

They're all about getting the job done and all about there's,

Gene Plotkin:

there's that kind of mentality of I'm all about it. And listen,

Gene Plotkin:

we have fabulous sales reps. I think maybe it was unique in

Gene Plotkin:

that we're able to retain our talent in a way that I have not

Gene Plotkin:

seen other organizations. That's why I've been here for eight and

Gene Plotkin:

a half years. You know, but the folks that I managed now, I

Gene Plotkin:mean, the company's you know,:Gene Plotkin:

sales rep is one has been with the company for 20 years. Wow.

Gene Plotkin:

And that's a big testament to the product and the service that

Gene Plotkin:

we have because salespeople won't stay at a company for 20

Gene Plotkin:

years unless they're doing well. You know, it's 20 years. It's 15

Gene Plotkin:

years. It's 14 years. It's those kinds of things that those are

Gene Plotkin:

the kinds of folks I manage these days. But all that is to

Gene Plotkin:

say is they're very happy in being an individual contributor,

Gene Plotkin:

they have a lifestyle that they've built around that. And

Gene Plotkin:

that's what they want to do. Right? Certainly, they've had

Gene Plotkin:

opportunities, you know, if they would have wanted to become

Gene Plotkin:

leaders, in fact, some of them have, and then decided to take a

Gene Plotkin:

step back and say, I'm happier as an individual contributor,

Gene Plotkin:

this is all something that I could control. I know how to do

Gene Plotkin:

this, I know how to do this well, as opposed to being in

Gene Plotkin:

charge of other people, which comes with its own burdens.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah. And I think that as a salesperson, or

Wesleyne Greer:

even as a sales manager, understanding what your true

Wesleyne Greer:

passions and drives are in life are important, because there are

Wesleyne Greer:

companies that I've worked with, and we've said, Hey, this

Wesleyne Greer:

manager isn't a good manager, but there's such a strong

Wesleyne Greer:

individual contributor, let's give them the option to go back

Wesleyne Greer:

and be an individual contributor. And they worked

Wesleyne Greer:

well, right. And then you have that salesperson who's been

Wesleyne Greer:

trying to move into management for so long, and they just can't

Wesleyne Greer:

get a break. And you it takes a person to say, Hey, I see you

Wesleyne Greer:

and I want to elevate you. And so I think that as a

Wesleyne Greer:

salesperson, and as a leader, we need to recognize what our

Wesleyne Greer:

team's what their long term path is. Because some people are

Wesleyne Greer:

like, I just want to be in sales for 30 years and retire and be

Wesleyne Greer:

done. Some people are like, I want to go all the way I want to

Wesleyne Greer:

be a CEO one day, I want to be a CRO one day, and that's okay.

Wesleyne Greer:

And our job as leaders is to really help that person develop

Gene Plotkin:

100%. And it's also okay to say, I want to

Gene Plotkin:

manage a team, I don't want to be the CRO, I don't want to be

Gene Plotkin:

the numbers guy or gal, right? I don't want the responsibility

Gene Plotkin:

for the vision of where the state of sales organization is

Gene Plotkin:

going. But I'm passionate about developing talent about closing

Gene Plotkin:

sales and, and managing people. There's nothing wrong with that

Gene Plotkin:

either, right. And I think, again, there's a lot of societal

Gene Plotkin:

pressure to say, oh, continue pushing upwards at all costs,

Gene Plotkin:

right. And then there's that idea that, you know, people get

Gene Plotkin:

promoted up until the level where, you know, they become

Gene Plotkin:

incompetent, because they've sort of got promoted above their

Gene Plotkin:

capabilities. And then they think that they have to stay

Gene Plotkin:

there. And a lot of people would be, again, happier, depending on

Gene Plotkin:

where you are, because there's certain things that you're just

Gene Plotkin:

better at, or you prefer according to your lifestyle,

Gene Plotkin:

just because it seems like there's more prestige at the top

Gene Plotkin:

does not actually mean that that's what you will be happier

Gene Plotkin:

doing. And you know, what you'd want to do?

Wesleyne Greer:

So you've been at your company for eight years,

Wesleyne Greer:

and in your role for a number of years in through a pandemic, and

Wesleyne Greer:

no less. So I'm curious, what are some of the current

Wesleyne Greer:

challenges that you're experiencing? And things that

Wesleyne Greer:

you're doing to overcome them?

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, great question. So you know, one of

Gene Plotkin:

the things that I'm kind of really proud of is just the way

Gene Plotkin:

that our organization has to respond quickly and swiftly to

Gene Plotkin:

this pandemic. You know, it's a testament to our I think, our

Gene Plotkin:

CEO and our leadership at the executive level, because, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, starting a print tech company in the late 90s, and

Gene Plotkin:

then keeping it alive through the because we're actually a.com

Gene Plotkin:

company like one of the original ones, right. So it's mimeo.com,

Gene Plotkin:

Inc, but to have that company through 911, right, and we're so

Gene Plotkin:y things got impacted through:Gene Plotkin:

business just disappeared overnight and never came back.

Gene Plotkin:

And, you know, continuing that through and then going to the

Gene Plotkin:

pandemic, they acted quickly and swiftly and we had to make some

Gene Plotkin:

really difficult decisions to consolidate down and, you know,

Gene Plotkin:

for a time actually had to step back into being an individual

Gene Plotkin:

contributor in order for the math to work for everybody. So

Gene Plotkin:

coming out of that last year, I had to both carry quota

Gene Plotkin:

individually, and, you know, step up that way and manage a

Gene Plotkin:

team. And then as I said, on top of that, I've volunteered to

Gene Plotkin:

help rebuild and rehire our sales development team. So there

Gene Plotkin:

was a lot to do as far as challenges. Now I think, just

Gene Plotkin:

like anything else, you know, making sure that we're hiring

Gene Plotkin:

good people that we continue to keep our current employees

Gene Plotkin:

happy. And there's a new generation of sales folks

Gene Plotkin:

entering the workforce, who are different and have different

Gene Plotkin:

values, different type of work ethics are motivated by

Gene Plotkin:

different things, and recruiting them and retaining them and

Gene Plotkin:

training them and getting them to be successful in a day and

Gene Plotkin:

age where it's becoming increasingly more difficult to

Gene Plotkin:

get a hold of somebody from an outbound perspective. So you

Gene Plotkin:

have to really work on you know, at our company, it's been

Gene Plotkin:

hashtag win as a team, right? Because sales is no longer a you

Gene Plotkin:

know, back in the day, you could just hire more salespeople and

Gene Plotkin:

they will call call their way or whatever it happens to be into

Gene Plotkin:

business. You can't do that. Now. It's customer success on

Gene Plotkin:

one end of the funnel, it's marketing and awareness at the

Gene Plotkin:

other end of that funnel, and sales folks are there to help

Gene Plotkin:

bridge that gap, right, and help evangelize. So really finding

Gene Plotkin:

that, that kind of working as a team approach where I'm now

Gene Plotkin:

aligning my team with some of these folks Just coming out of

Gene Plotkin:

college was so green, and then teaching them and building the

Gene Plotkin:

work ethic and the focus that it takes to be successful. I'd say

Gene Plotkin:

those are the kind of the biggest challenges that we've

Gene Plotkin:

been kind of in, in the midst of of addressing right now.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yes, the multi generational workforce. And we

Wesleyne Greer:

have, I think, four or five generations in the workforce

Wesleyne Greer:

right now. And so really having to lead the baby boomers that

Wesleyne Greer:

are on their way out all the way down to Gen Z, right, who are

Wesleyne Greer:

just entering the workforce and having to balance that, right.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because one thing that sales leaders know is every person is

Wesleyne Greer:

an individual. And yes, that's true. But then you also have to

Wesleyne Greer:

go into those generational things, right? So you can send

Wesleyne Greer:

your Gen Z salesperson in a quick tags. But if you do that

Wesleyne Greer:

to a baby boomer, they're probably offended. Right? It's

Wesleyne Greer:

so you have to understand what each person needs and making

Wesleyne Greer:

sure that that person that's just coming into the workforce,

Wesleyne Greer:

kind of like you are when you're like, I was so excited. And they

Wesleyne Greer:

hired me because I was high energy. We know that it takes a

Wesleyne Greer:

little bit more than high energy these days to be a good

Wesleyne Greer:

salesperson.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, 100%. And I think there's that focus. And

Gene Plotkin:

yeah, I mean, as I said, my most senior rep has been with the

Gene Plotkin:

company for 20 years, I think the most senior person at at the

Gene Plotkin:

company I've hired, she has more sales experience than I've been

Gene Plotkin:

a year as I've been alive, right. And she's amazing. But

Gene Plotkin:

it's very different than somebody that we've hired, that

Gene Plotkin:

is just out of college, they've never had a single sales job in

Gene Plotkin:

their life. And they're things that you get put in a position

Gene Plotkin:

to get put in as a manager that's completely new, and you

Gene Plotkin:

don't know how to react because there are these social norms.

Gene Plotkin:

And now this new generation seems to completely break them,

Gene Plotkin:

right. So you don't necessarily know how to react with somebody

Gene Plotkin:

just gets hired. And then a week into it, they send you a text in

Gene Plotkin:

the morning saying, I got up and I'm feeling kind of slow today,

Gene Plotkin:

I'm going to be out the first half the day, and I go, I don't

Gene Plotkin:

know how to respond to that, right? What's the appropriate

Gene Plotkin:

thing I understand mental health, you know, mental

Gene Plotkin:

wellness, and all of that. And it's just a very different kind

Gene Plotkin:

of thing, where in the past, that's like, you know, you'd

Gene Plotkin:

have to be on your deathbed to not make it to work. In the

Gene Plotkin:

first in the first year of your job, right? You're there, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, at 730. And you don't leave until seven. And that's

Gene Plotkin:

just that's not the case now, right? And everybody wants

Gene Plotkin:

flexibility. I think individualism is a lot more

Gene Plotkin:

important and all those things, so really have to adjust for

Gene Plotkin:

that and understand who you're talking to, and how you could

Gene Plotkin:

connect with them in a way that makes sense. Right? So how do

Gene Plotkin:

you drive that urgency while still being sensitive to their

Gene Plotkin:

individual feelings and mental health and all that stuff?

Gene Plotkin:

That's an interesting journey.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. I 100% agree. I'm just you know,

Wesleyne Greer:

giggling because thinking about like, you know, it's like, okay,

Wesleyne Greer:

even if there isn't a rule of you're on probation, it's like,

Wesleyne Greer:

the first three months, you just don't call in, you don't take

Wesleyne Greer:

off because you're just scared, right? And that's kind of the

Wesleyne Greer:

way that we grew up in being culture where but my younger

Wesleyne Greer:

brother, he's like, oh, yeah, I don't, I don't feel good. I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

just going in late. I'm like, What do you mean, you're going

Wesleyne Greer:

and like, helped me understand what does that mean? Like, help

Wesleyne Greer:

me, right. And so I think as leaders, we have to understand

Wesleyne Greer:

what we have to do to push a little because that same person

Wesleyne Greer:

who's like, I'm coming in late, they'll be working until eight

Wesleyne Greer:

or nine o'clock at night, right? Because I like I'm gonna do my

Wesleyne Greer:

eight hours, I'm just gonna do it at a different time. There

Wesleyne Greer:

was one time I had an employee, and she was like, Yeah, I just,

Wesleyne Greer:

you know, is working eight to five, it's not working for me.

Wesleyne Greer:

So I was wondering, Can I come in at 12? And I was like, we'll

Wesleyne Greer:

try it. And we'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, it didn't

Wesleyne Greer:

work out well, for but I was open to it. Right. I was like,

Wesleyne Greer:

let's try it. I'm not just gonna say no, as we would have been in

Wesleyne Greer:

the past, like, no, it's in the box.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, I think you bring up a good point, as you

Gene Plotkin:

want to be willing, you want to be flexible, and you want to be

Gene Plotkin:

accommodating. But you also have to remember the overall culture

Gene Plotkin:

that you're looking to build, right? So and your culture is

Gene Plotkin:

it's what you do, right? It's what you let people get away

Gene Plotkin:

with. It's what you accept, right? So if you have to

Gene Plotkin:

counterbalance that with, I want to be sensitive to this person's

Gene Plotkin:

individual needs. But if I do that, for them, I've just set a

Gene Plotkin:

new standard. And then you created a new culture in which

Gene Plotkin:

it's acceptable to set your own hours and work from whenever to

Gene Plotkin:

whenever and you want. In some cases, that's okay, depending on

Gene Plotkin:

what you do. But if you're a sales team, and you know you're

Gene Plotkin:

selling into the East Coast, probably not the best idea.

Wesleyne Greer:

Exactly, exactly. Make sure that the

Wesleyne Greer:

company's mission, visions and values are aligned with the

Wesleyne Greer:

teams and it goes down to the individual so you can make sure

Wesleyne Greer:

that that translates up and down the food chain. So you've had a

Wesleyne Greer:

very, very vast broad career and so I'm curious what is one thing

Wesleyne Greer:

personally or professionally that you are most proud Have

Wesleyne Greer:

accomplishing?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, on the individual, a personal front

Gene Plotkin:

that it's, it's by far and away having kids, I have a couple of

Gene Plotkin:

young boys ages, one just turned 15 months today and the other

Gene Plotkin:

one is five and a half. So nothing has been as rewarding or

Gene Plotkin:

as challenging or as, as far as pride. Those are far and away my

Gene Plotkin:

number one. Yeah. But from a career standpoint, I think just

Gene Plotkin:

being able to persevere and to come into an organization and

Gene Plotkin:

really grow through the ranks and get to a place where you

Gene Plotkin:

really do feel like you're part of the actual culture of the

Gene Plotkin:

company, and you're getting to shape that. I think that that

Gene Plotkin:

would be the thing I'm most proud of. from a professional

Gene Plotkin:

standpoint.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. Your boys and your career. I have two

Wesleyne Greer:

boys two, so 15 months and five. I can imagine you're having lots

Wesleyne Greer:

of fun right now. But

Gene Plotkin:

yeah, I love it. It's challenging. It's hard,

Gene Plotkin:

right. And as soon as my work at memmio ends, that's when my real

Gene Plotkin:

job begins of being a father and getting, you know, doing the

Gene Plotkin:

homework and cleaning and making them dinner and getting them to

Gene Plotkin:

bed. So it never stops.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yes. Homework. We have a couple weeks left

Wesleyne Greer:

here. Like oh, yes. Oh, work. I didn't know, second grade was

Wesleyne Greer:

gonna be so hard, man. It seems

Gene Plotkin:

like I'm the one doing homework not you know, to

Gene Plotkin:

be fair, I mean, he's in kindergarten, right? So I think

Gene Plotkin:

there's just an I think this translates back into sales is I

Gene Plotkin:

think there's this idea that more volume of something is

Gene Plotkin:

going to lead to better results. And whether it's more homework

Gene Plotkin:

or more, you know, start younger or whatever, I don't necessarily

Gene Plotkin:

subscribe to that. I think you have to be smart and see if the

Gene Plotkin:

results are really matching the hypothesis of, hey, if you start

Gene Plotkin:

somebody doing something early, or you give them this stuff,

Gene Plotkin:

does that actually make them better? Or do you feel like

Gene Plotkin:

you're doing something, right? That's the old kind of the jokes

Gene Plotkin:

around man and sales management. As you know, the manager just

Gene Plotkin:

kind of comes in and says, you know, are you guys working hard,

Gene Plotkin:

and you know, and make sure we call all the leads and make sure

Gene Plotkin:

you're following up and tell them this. And if there's

Gene Plotkin:

anything at all you need you call me for help. And after a

Gene Plotkin:

while, you kind of roll your eyes and go, Yeah, okay, come

Gene Plotkin:

on. I understand my business and I get it, but you feel like you

Gene Plotkin:

have to say something. So really being able to add value to any

Gene Plotkin:

kind of an individual contributor, really see what it

Gene Plotkin:

is that they need, and sometimes reflect back to them, the things

Gene Plotkin:

that are unpleasant for them, but will push them harder, that

Gene Plotkin:

I think is really what defines a really key successful leader

Gene Plotkin:

that could get the most out of out of people, even against

Gene Plotkin:

their own sort of pre judgments. You know,

Wesleyne Greer:

I love to say quality over quantity, it's more

Wesleyne Greer:

important to have valuable touches and valuable impact than

Wesleyne Greer:

just a lot. So let's have a good one meeting a week instead of

Wesleyne Greer:

three or four that are just beating you over the head with

Wesleyne Greer:

KPIs or going through the CRM. Right, let's focus on what is

Wesleyne Greer:

important. 100% Thank you so much, Jean, this has been a such

Wesleyne Greer:

a delightful conversation, what is the one best way that people

Wesleyne Greer:

can get in contact with you if they're curious?

Gene Plotkin:

Sure. I'm on LinkedIn, just search for me

Gene Plotkin:

Jean Plotkin memmio. And that would be the most direct way to

Gene Plotkin:

get in contact with me, or you could send me an email. Je

Gene Plotkin:

plotkin@mimeo.com

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. And all of that will be in the show

Wesleyne Greer:

notes. So thank you so much again, Jean, for sharing your

Wesleyne Greer:

time, your talent and your expertise with us. We definitely

Wesleyne Greer:

appreciate it.

Gene Plotkin:

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed

Gene Plotkin:

the conversation.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. And that was another episode of the

Wesleyne Greer:

transformed sales podcast. Remember, it's all about the

Wesleyne Greer:

science of selling. It's not just about beating your

Wesleyne Greer:

salespeople over the head with KPIs. Focus on teaching them the

Wesleyne Greer:

how behind selling, not just the what, until next time

Get Your FREE GUIDE to A Build High-Performance Sales Team

Highlights

  • What 16 years of holding about every single type of revenue driving role looks like (00:40)
  • How he knew he had what it took to be a sales leader (03:31)
  • Why every salesperson has to have a self care practice (06:47)
  • Indicators that helped him determine whether he needed to make a career change (08:17)
  • Going from customer success individual contributor to sales leader (14:12)
  • Telling if an individual contributor is ready for a leadership role (19:09)
  • Modern day recruitment, retention, and team success strategies for sales organizations (22:32)
  • Being accommodating as a sales leader while also keeping things in line with your organization’s overall culture (28:14)

In this episode of the Transformed Sales Podcast, I sat down with Gene Plotkin, the VP of Corporate Sales at Mimeo, a company that provides the fastest, easiest, most reliable way to manage and distribute their content. Mimeo brings customers’ content to life through print and digital formats via its enterprise app suite and global print production facilities. Founded in 1999 as a startup, Mimeo has grown into a global organization, distributing content to customers in over 140 countries. 

Over the last 16 years, Gene has held about every single type of revenue driving role as both an individual contributor and a leader at companies ranging from early stage startups to global enterprises. “To succeed in your sales career, you must do what comes naturally and focus on that”, he says. He will talk to us about how he managed to deal with burnout, why he decided to make a big career change, the value of working in customer success, how he has always been able to set himself up for promotions at a fast pace, why a salesperson being a top performer doesn’t always mean they have what it takes to lead a team, and so much more. Stay tuned for that and more.

Quotes

“Customer success is very much sales. It’s just the context of how you go about that is different” – Gene Plotkin

“Just because it seems like there’s more prestige at the top does not actually mean that that’s what you would be happier doing” – Gene Plotkin

“The individual contributor does not automatically make a good leader” – Gene Plotkin

Learn More About Gene in the Links Below:

  • LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/geneplotkin/
  • Email – GPlotkin@Mimeo.com

Connect with Wesleyne Greer:

  • Wesleyne’s Website – https://transformedsales.com/
  • Wesleyne on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/wesleynegreer/
  • Wesleyne on Facebook – https://web.facebook.com/wesleynegreer
  • Wesleyne on Twitter – https://twitter.com/wesleynegreer
  • Email Her at WGreer@TransformedSales.com
Transcript
Wesleyne Greer:

Hello, and welcome to the transformed sales

Wesleyne Greer:

podcast where we talk all about the science of selling. Today. I

Wesleyne Greer:

am so excited to have Jean Plotkin with us. How are you

Wesleyne Greer:

doing?

Gene Plotkin:

I'm doing excellent. Very excited to be

Gene Plotkin:

here.

Wesleyne Greer:

Thank you so much for joining us. Let me tell

Wesleyne Greer:

you guys a little bit about Jean. Over the last 16 years,

Wesleyne Greer:

he's held about every single type of revenue driving role as

Wesleyne Greer:

both an individual contributor and a leader at companies

Wesleyne Greer:

ranging from early stage startups to global enterprises.

Wesleyne Greer:

He is currently the VP of Corporate sales at Mimeo. So G

Wesleyne Greer:

16 years, almost two decades. Tell us how did you get started?

Wesleyne Greer:

And how did you end up where you are today?

Gene Plotkin:

Absolutely. So I never actually thought about

Gene Plotkin:

kind of growing up never thought of sales as being kind of a

Gene Plotkin:

profession. But I knew very early on that I had a talent for

Gene Plotkin:

managing and leading people. And when I graduated college, I

Gene Plotkin:

didn't really have a good direction, sort of went to

Gene Plotkin:

business school, because that was really into into sports and

Gene Plotkin:

playing hockey, and really didn't give my career too much

Gene Plotkin:

thought other than, you know, I'm gonna go to business school

Gene Plotkin:

get going to do something. So I graduated with a degree in

Gene Plotkin:

marketing, but really realized very quickly, it wasn't for me,

Gene Plotkin:

and I kind of had this idea of starting a business one day, and

Gene Plotkin:

I figured that I was going to need to learn how to sell right

Gene Plotkin:

and get a new customer. So I was good at interviewing, I went

Gene Plotkin:

around, had many different interviews, ended up getting a

Gene Plotkin:

job that was completely unqualified for the guy thought

Gene Plotkin:

I was high energy, but there was no formal training of any kind.

Gene Plotkin:

It was, here's an office, here's a laptop, you know, this was

Gene Plotkin:

2006, everybody else has 17 plus years of experience. And I've

Gene Plotkin:

never sold a thing. So that's how I started that that for a

Gene Plotkin:

little while. And then I really got interested in the idea of

Gene Plotkin:

influence and communication, right. And guys like Tony

Gene Plotkin:

Robbins, and there's a few others that I listened to that.

Gene Plotkin:

And I was really just fascinated by their command of language. So

Gene Plotkin:

I started learning those kinds of things, neuro linguistic

Gene Plotkin:

programming and psychology, just influence in general, I got

Gene Plotkin:

certified as a hypnotist, fascinated with the field and

Gene Plotkin:

then decided I was going to take that and kind of bring it into

Gene Plotkin:

salesmen one way or another and going to start kind of a

Gene Plotkin:ing practice. And this was in:Gene Plotkin:

2008 came, and that was not a good time to be starting a

Gene Plotkin:

consulting practice. And even though I felt like I did, okay,

Gene Plotkin:

I realized that after a few years, I spent 95% of my time

Gene Plotkin:

selling, and then you know, delivering the actual goods was

Gene Plotkin:

just kind of 5% of the time. So I figured why not go back into

Gene Plotkin:

sales and join an early stage company as the first kind of

Gene Plotkin:

customer facing employee. It was a sales enablement, platform,

Gene Plotkin:

sales enablement, training kind of platform, really went from

Gene Plotkin:

there meant a lot of really good people really started to learn

Gene Plotkin:

the space of SAS and tech sales, and kinda took off from there.

Gene Plotkin:

And before long, I was recruited into Mimeo, where I spent the

Gene Plotkin:

last eight and a half years, and at that time was kind of burnt

Gene Plotkin:

out from a lot of things. And I just said, you know, kind of

Gene Plotkin:

give me the lowest responsibility that you could

Gene Plotkin:

find within revenue, which is customer success, just for it

Gene Plotkin:

was the simplest thing. So before I knew it, I got promoted

Gene Plotkin:

into being an account executive into enterprise account

Gene Plotkin:

executive business unit director, director of sales and

Gene Plotkin:

eventually became vice president overseeing the enterprise space.

Wesleyne Greer:

Wow. So your career, I really liked how it

Wesleyne Greer:

started. And you said you always knew you had the special I like

Wesleyne Greer:

to call it secret sauce, that you had this leadership

Wesleyne Greer:

capability, this thought leadership, this really wanting

Wesleyne Greer:

to develop people? How did you know so early on that that was

Wesleyne Greer:

something that you were destined to do?

Gene Plotkin:

Great question. My father would always say that

Gene Plotkin:

it's funny how little things kind of stay with us, right? I

Gene Plotkin:

just had this ability to organize people, whether it was

Gene Plotkin:

playing sports, you know, outside and on the playground,

Gene Plotkin:

or any kind of a project. It just kind of came very naturally

Gene Plotkin:

to me to delegate and lead and kind of oversee and manage

Gene Plotkin:

people. So ever since I was a kind of a little kid, my father

Gene Plotkin:

would always said, you know, you need to be a manager, because

Gene Plotkin:

you're just sort of innately kind of your thing. I don't

Gene Plotkin:

know, there was just a quality that I felt that I had bringing

Gene Plotkin:

people together and connecting them. And it really, I think

Gene Plotkin:

came down to just being able to see what somebody is good at,

Gene Plotkin:

and then kind of being confident about what you think that they

Gene Plotkin:

should be doing at any given time. You know, kind of

Gene Plotkin:

directing them to that.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah, I think that a lot of us have this

Wesleyne Greer:

innate ability to lead. You know, me being the oldest

Wesleyne Greer:

sibling of three younger brothers. I think it was always

Wesleyne Greer:

something that was in me, you know, like, hey, Wesleyne You're

Wesleyne Greer:

a natural born leader. And I'm like, Oh, what are you talking

Wesleyne Greer:

about? And then as my career evolved, I saw how that played

Wesleyne Greer:

out like, yeah, and No matter whether I was the individual

Wesleyne Greer:

contributor, or I was in a leadership role, I was always a

Wesleyne Greer:

natural born leader.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, being an older sibling, that's the same

Gene Plotkin:

thing for me, right? You just kind of have to step into that.

Gene Plotkin:

You have to organize, you know, your kind of family dynamic.

Gene Plotkin:

Otherwise, you know, it doesn't work. So I think that that's

Gene Plotkin:

definitely a part of it.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. And so you dipped your toe into

Wesleyne Greer:

entrepreneurship? And then you're like, yeah, no, maybe not

Wesleyne Greer:

so much. And so this phenomenon that you said is, like, I was

Wesleyne Greer:

selling 95% of the time, and the delivery was only 5%? How did

Wesleyne Greer:

you find yourself always selling? Was it because that was

Wesleyne Greer:

your natural propensity? Or was it just what you had to do?

Gene Plotkin:

So it's, uh, the most important thing in any

Gene Plotkin:

business is customers, right. And if you don't have those than

Gene Plotkin:

there is no business really, that means you're just doing

Gene Plotkin:

stuff, right without getting paid. So I think it was by

Gene Plotkin:

necessity, right, you just need to, especially early on in that

Gene Plotkin:

type of business, it's all about your ability to kind of acquire

Gene Plotkin:

those first Cornerstone customers that you could then

Gene Plotkin:

use to build, and, you know, and so on, and so forth. And so that

Gene Plotkin:

was kind of a thing. But I've also had other kinds of ventures

Gene Plotkin:

that I've started or have been a part of over the years, and

Gene Plotkin:

where I'm at, you know, I'm gonna do the operational part,

Gene Plotkin:

I'm good at that as well. But inevitably, it's one of those

Gene Plotkin:

things where I'm like, I think I could do that better, you know,

Gene Plotkin:

good, go through this, here's how it should look, here's what

Gene Plotkin:

it is. And it's just something that innately comes to me. And

Gene Plotkin:

before you know, it is just easier to get in there and do it

Gene Plotkin:

yourself. When the business depends on it.

Wesleyne Greer:

I completely understand. I find myself like,

Wesleyne Greer:

I hate love. Because as a natural salesperson, it's like I

Wesleyne Greer:

love the clothes, right? And then being an entrepreneur, you

Wesleyne Greer:

have to balance the sales with the operations or the delivery

Wesleyne Greer:

of it. So you mentioned being burned out at a point in your

Wesleyne Greer:

career. This is something that you know, I think is so

Wesleyne Greer:

important today, really understanding the need for

Wesleyne Greer:

taking care of oneself self care. So what were the signs?

Wesleyne Greer:

How did you know that you were at a point of burnout, and you

Wesleyne Greer:

just needed to do something different?

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah. So again, having your own business, I

Gene Plotkin:

think there's a lot of societal romance around the idea of

Gene Plotkin:

somebody being an entrepreneur, and what really, that means

Gene Plotkin:

that, you know, it's always painted as this thing, or you're

Gene Plotkin:

in charge, you get to do whatever you want, you know, if

Gene Plotkin:

you want to sleep till noon, then that's your thing. No,

Gene Plotkin:

that's the opposite, right? What you do is you have the

Gene Plotkin:

responsibility of doing absolutely everything. And on

Gene Plotkin:

top of that, you get to work double the hours, and you're the

Gene Plotkin:

last one to get paid, right? Because everything is going into

Gene Plotkin:

this child of your business. So it's a difficult thing. And I

Gene Plotkin:

think a lot of people, myself included, would be much happier

Gene Plotkin:

doing the thing that comes naturally to them, and focusing

Gene Plotkin:

on that, and then letting somebody else. You know, being a

Gene Plotkin:

CEO of a company or an entrepreneur is not an easy

Gene Plotkin:

thing. And I think only a select few people can really do it, and

Gene Plotkin:

really have the sacrifice that it takes to make that happen,

Gene Plotkin:

right. And I got to witness very successful entrepreneurs who

Gene Plotkin:

have taken companies public, I got to work very closely with

Gene Plotkin:

them. And I preferred that dynamic of letting them do what

Gene Plotkin:

they do. And I can focus on doing what I'm good at, which is

Gene Plotkin:

acquiring customers, which is, you know, growing the business

Gene Plotkin:

from a revenue standpoint,

Wesleyne Greer:

so how, what are some of the things that you knew

Wesleyne Greer:

when you were like, Okay, it's time for me to make a change?

Wesleyne Greer:

Because either an entrepreneur or a person who's working in a

Wesleyne Greer:

corporate position, sometimes you don't know? Is it me? Is it

Wesleyne Greer:

the company? Is the position? Is it my time of life? So what are

Wesleyne Greer:

some of those indicators you use to say, Okay, I need to make a

Wesleyne Greer:

big change within my career?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, I think seeing the growth, or perhaps

Gene Plotkin:

the lack thereof, I think, making connections with people

Gene Plotkin:

whom you think you want to be like, right, in finding those

Gene Plotkin:

mentors, especially early on in the career, I think is very

Gene Plotkin:

important. And then observing them right. And then seeing, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, here are the really cool things that I would like to have

Gene Plotkin:

out of life, you know, the big apartment, the network, the

Gene Plotkin:

prestige, so to speak, what's the hidden cost of that? Right?

Gene Plotkin:

You know, and that's the thing, where, and how is that? How does

Gene Plotkin:

that connect with your life? And ultimately, what you want to do,

Gene Plotkin:

right? Do you want to work 20 477 days a week? Do you work

Gene Plotkin:

really well, when there is no structure? Right? Where you kind

Gene Plotkin:

of have to define your own word? Or do you work better within a

Gene Plotkin:

structure that's outlined for you? So I think that was a part

Gene Plotkin:

of it. I think, you know, truthfully, I just wasn't seeing

Gene Plotkin:

the kind of traction that I was hoping to. And, you know, I, it

Gene Plotkin:

was one of those things where I gave it an honest shot. And

Gene Plotkin:

really, if I'm spending most of my time doing this thing, and I

Gene Plotkin:

could just be doing that thing, getting highly compensated for

Gene Plotkin:

it, and not have to worry about all of those other things. You

Gene Plotkin:

know, I think, I think the realization came when I was

Gene Plotkin:

doing something and I was building were working on my

Gene Plotkin:

website and build some widget that would be like a referral

Gene Plotkin:

thing and, and I got very excited about it. And then I

Gene Plotkin:

went, well, this isn't at all what I signed up to do. This

Gene Plotkin:

isn't at all what I was. decided to do what I thought I would be

Gene Plotkin:

doing. And I think that that was kind of one of those catalysts

Gene Plotkin:

of that. And I think talking to somebody who I looked up to, and

Gene Plotkin:

I said, you know, you do if I, if you were me, and he said, If

Gene Plotkin:

I were you, I'd get a job. And I kind of got hurt by that in the

Gene Plotkin:

beginning. And then it kind of sat there for a week or two, it

Gene Plotkin:

started to make sense. And then just life kind of handed me an

Gene Plotkin:

opportunity to join a very early stage company where the CEO had

Gene Plotkin:

just taken a company public, and I knew to be working directly

Gene Plotkin:

for him would be a really good career move in and ended up

Gene Plotkin:

being

Wesleyne Greer:

awesome. So we don't often talk about the other

Wesleyne Greer:

side of sales, customer success. And you at one point in your

Wesleyne Greer:

career, you said, hey, I want to still do something in sales, but

Wesleyne Greer:

maybe not as high pressure, something a little bit

Wesleyne Greer:

different. So tell us about your role in customer success. And

Wesleyne Greer:

what that taught you to exit because I really think that

Wesleyne Greer:

everything that we do within our career helps us see something

Wesleyne Greer:

from a different perspective or understand from a different

Wesleyne Greer:

lens. So talk to us about that customer success role.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, and customer success is very much sales,

Gene Plotkin:

right? It's just the context of how you're going about it is a

Gene Plotkin:

little bit different. So for me, I was recruited into Mimeo. And

Gene Plotkin:

for years, I kept saying no, and actually how I got recruited

Gene Plotkin:

into it was through that job I ended up taking, we ended up

Gene Plotkin:

interviewing somebody, and then that person kind of stayed in

Gene Plotkin:

touch with me and tried to recruit me for, for joining the

Gene Plotkin:

company. And customer success was interesting, because you

Gene Plotkin:

here, you know, at that point, I spent close to eight years going

Gene Plotkin:

out and hunting. And as you may know that that's it's a

Gene Plotkin:

difficult thing. And most of the time, you know, people are not

Gene Plotkin:

excited to talk to you. So all of a sudden, I had a list of 200

Gene Plotkin:

customers who when I picked up the phone did not hang up, that

Gene Plotkin:

was not their immediate kind of thing I needed to overcome. They

Gene Plotkin:

actually say, Oh, hey, you know, Yep, thank you for calling. And

Gene Plotkin:

then we started talking about their business. And that was a

Gene Plotkin:

really a kind of a big shift, what was different for me, and

Gene Plotkin:

why I think I was able to succeed, the way that I did is I

Gene Plotkin:

brought that hustle that I've had for years, that pace of

Gene Plotkin:

working at a early stage company, or my own company, or

Gene Plotkin:

whatever it happens to be where you really need to make

Gene Plotkin:

everything happen. And all of a sudden, now I brought it into an

Gene Plotkin:

existing customer base. So I knew how to generate the

Gene Plotkin:

excitement and the passion. And then some of it is just, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, hard work, right, it was getting a hold of these people.

Gene Plotkin:

And you know, if somebody moved on to a different company, and

Gene Plotkin:

just came very naturally to me, and all of a sudden, before I

Gene Plotkin:

knew it, I was outperforming pretty much all of my all the

Gene Plotkin:

peers that were there. And I didn't come I didn't have a

Gene Plotkin:

plan. I felt like I've had a plan up until that point where

Gene Plotkin:

whatever company I joined and coming into Mimeo, I really

Gene Plotkin:

didn't have a plan that six months to spend before that was

Gene Plotkin:

just trying to figure out if I could start another business or

Gene Plotkin:

not. And I couldn't come up with an idea that would yield the

Gene Plotkin:

kind of results I wanted in the timeframe I was comfortable

Gene Plotkin:

with. I was looking to start a family. So I just said, hey, why

Gene Plotkin:

not do this. And I had no plan I just wanted to do really well. I

Gene Plotkin:

knew at some point I wanted to go into management, I didn't

Gene Plotkin:

even mention that. I just kind of took it on. And then once I

Gene Plotkin:

started to see the success, and I think it was evident to

Gene Plotkin:

everybody around me, that's when those conversations started

Gene Plotkin:

coming naturally of what do you want to do next. And I said, Oh,

Gene Plotkin:

I'm interested in managing. And I've had some of that experience

Gene Plotkin:

in the past. And all of a sudden, you know, the track was

Gene Plotkin:

available for me,

Wesleyne Greer:

I love that you said by having to hustle and

Wesleyne Greer:

hunt that really made you so much better and customer success

Wesleyne Greer:

because I feel that a lot of companies, they just stick

Wesleyne Greer:

people in customer success. First of all, everybody's

Wesleyne Greer:

renamed it to from customer service to customer success,

Wesleyne Greer:

because hey, this is what we want to do. But they're not

Wesleyne Greer:

actually thinking this is essentially a sales job. Because

Wesleyne Greer:

I like to say there's two ways to grow revenue by getting more

Wesleyne Greer:

from existing customers or getting new customers what's

Wesleyne Greer:

easier. And so your role after the sale has ended. I mean,

Wesleyne Greer:

there's still so much more to do to retain the customer to get

Wesleyne Greer:

more value from them, to sell them more products to get

Wesleyne Greer:

referrals, all of those things that happen on the back end. So

Wesleyne Greer:

as a customer success, individual contributor, you made

Wesleyne Greer:

a very fast ascent to leadership, how and each and

Wesleyne Greer:

every one of your roles. How did you set yourself up for the next

Wesleyne Greer:

promotion?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, I'd say the first thing is you got to do

Gene Plotkin:

really well let the job description that's given to you

Gene Plotkin:

currently, right, exceed those expectations. First, make it

Gene Plotkin:

very known and clear that this is the path that you want right

Gene Plotkin:

to management, right. And I think that being on the other

Gene Plotkin:

side of it being a leader now for many years, there's nothing

Gene Plotkin:

better than somebody really asserting themselves and saying

Gene Plotkin:

this is what I want to do, especially if they're a star

Gene Plotkin:

performer because now you know what the career path is. Now you

Gene Plotkin:

know what the retention path for this person is? Because as

Gene Plotkin:

leaders, we're always thinking about that right? What is this

Gene Plotkin:

person doing especially if you see that they're super Star, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, how long can they stay in that role before they are either

Gene Plotkin:

approached or they get hungry for more or, you know, whatever

Gene Plotkin:

it happens to be right. So I think for me, it was, I'm going

Gene Plotkin:

to do really well, I'm going to keep my mouth shut, right, do

Gene Plotkin:

really well at what I'm supposed to be doing, and then make it

Gene Plotkin:

clear. And then the last part is actively start doing things that

Gene Plotkin:

to help others, right. So for me, it was, here's a template I

Gene Plotkin:

wrote, when I got to Miami, we were not as advanced as coming,

Gene Plotkin:

especially from the emerging sales enablement space, right,

Gene Plotkin:

there were a lot of tools I had at my disposal. And I just

Gene Plotkin:

looked around, and I said, I could do this 10 times more

Gene Plotkin:

efficiently. And so that was one of those things where I said,

Gene Plotkin:

here, this is how you find contacts. This is how you

Gene Plotkin:

utilize the Yesware and utilize templates to write an email

Gene Plotkin:

once, right, and just created a lot of systems that really

Gene Plotkin:

worked for me, or I've learned, you know, in the past, but

Gene Plotkin:

again, coming at it with a lot more experienced than I think

Gene Plotkin:

that the folks that would be in that a lot more wide experience,

Gene Plotkin:

there were people that spent more time in a sales role, but I

Gene Plotkin:

just had a very eclectic kind of group of skills and talents, and

Gene Plotkin:

just things that I've learned along the way, and then actively

Gene Plotkin:

sharing that, like I was not holding on to any of it. So by

Gene Plotkin:

the time it came to making the promotion, I've already had the

Gene Plotkin:

respect of my peers, because not only was I outperforming, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, just about most of them was one of the top performers.

Gene Plotkin:

So that spoke for itself. But I was also actively doing things

Gene Plotkin:

to help and contributing in meetings and whatever it happens

Gene Plotkin:

to be. So one kind of that opening happened, basically, the

Gene Plotkin:

team stepped up and said, you know, Gene should lead us. And

Gene Plotkin:

you know, that's the ultimate in terms of helping convince people

Gene Plotkin:

to give somebody a leadership job as if the team that they're

Gene Plotkin:

already on says, you know, I think it'd be a good idea if you

Gene Plotkin:

know, he steps in or she steps in, and I would follow them.

Gene Plotkin:

Right. So I think that was a big thing.

Wesleyne Greer:

You gave us some really, really good gems there.

Wesleyne Greer:

And I want to make sure that I highlight them many times, we

Wesleyne Greer:

think that, hey, a top performer is going to be a good manager.

Wesleyne Greer:

And yes, that is one component. But something else that you said

Wesleyne Greer:

is having that propensity just to help when you didn't have to

Wesleyne Greer:

write just to show up and say, Hey, let me show you how to do

Wesleyne Greer:

this. Here's a template, stepping up as a leader without

Wesleyne Greer:

their leader title, I think is a really important thing that we

Wesleyne Greer:

should look for, when we're looking to promote from within.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, raise your hands for things, raise your

Gene Plotkin:

hands for this, right. You know, I just recently, last year,

Gene Plotkin:

COVID kind of hit us hard. And we're in the space of business,

Gene Plotkin:

the business content distribution. And a lot of that

Gene Plotkin:

happens during, you know, meetings in person events,

Gene Plotkin:

training sessions, you know, whatever it happens to be. And

Gene Plotkin:

obviously, that was impacted. But as a result of it, we had to

Gene Plotkin:

kind of shrink down our sales development team, as well as

Gene Plotkin:

some other teams. And it was difficult, but we got through on

Gene Plotkin:

the other side, we're growing aggressively, I think we've had

Gene Plotkin:

probably one of the best years we've ever had in terms of

Gene Plotkin:

growth. And we'll continue on that path. But one of the things

Gene Plotkin:

coming out of it was we needed to rebuild our sales development

Gene Plotkin:

team. So I stepped up and I said, I want to do the

Gene Plotkin:

recruiting for it, I'm gonna hire the manager, I'm gonna hire

Gene Plotkin:

the team back up. All right. And luckily, in our organization,

Gene Plotkin:

you get those kinds of chances. But that was interested in me,

Gene Plotkin:

and I was able to deliver and learn something new along the

Gene Plotkin:

way. And, but those are those kinds of things where step up,

Gene Plotkin:

and if there's a project to be done, then put your you know,

Gene Plotkin:

make it clear that you want that responsibility.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely remove the it's not my job, so

Wesleyne Greer:

I'm not going to do it, or I'm not getting paid for that.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because if that's your mindset, then leadership is not what you

Wesleyne Greer:

should be doing at this point, right? You're still in the

Wesleyne Greer:

mindset of an individual contributor, because as you

Wesleyne Greer:

said, it was like, Okay, I didn't have to, but I actually

Wesleyne Greer:

cared about the success of the organization. And since I cared

Wesleyne Greer:

about the success of the organization, I'm going to say,

Wesleyne Greer:

yes, hey, let me help push this initiative forward.

Gene Plotkin:

100%, I do think that it's a there's a good point

Gene Plotkin:

that you made about the individual contributor does not

Gene Plotkin:

automatically make a good leader. And I think a lot of

Gene Plotkin:

individual contributors are very, especially in sales.

Gene Plotkin:

They're all about getting the job done and all about there's,

Gene Plotkin:

there's that kind of mentality of I'm all about it. And listen,

Gene Plotkin:

we have fabulous sales reps. I think maybe it was unique in

Gene Plotkin:

that we're able to retain our talent in a way that I have not

Gene Plotkin:

seen other organizations. That's why I've been here for eight and

Gene Plotkin:

a half years. You know, but the folks that I managed now, I

Gene Plotkin:mean, the company's you know,:Gene Plotkin:

sales rep is one has been with the company for 20 years. Wow.

Gene Plotkin:

And that's a big testament to the product and the service that

Gene Plotkin:

we have because salespeople won't stay at a company for 20

Gene Plotkin:

years unless they're doing well. You know, it's 20 years. It's 15

Gene Plotkin:

years. It's 14 years. It's those kinds of things that those are

Gene Plotkin:

the kinds of folks I manage these days. But all that is to

Gene Plotkin:

say is they're very happy in being an individual contributor,

Gene Plotkin:

they have a lifestyle that they've built around that. And

Gene Plotkin:

that's what they want to do. Right? Certainly, they've had

Gene Plotkin:

opportunities, you know, if they would have wanted to become

Gene Plotkin:

leaders, in fact, some of them have, and then decided to take a

Gene Plotkin:

step back and say, I'm happier as an individual contributor,

Gene Plotkin:

this is all something that I could control. I know how to do

Gene Plotkin:

this, I know how to do this well, as opposed to being in

Gene Plotkin:

charge of other people, which comes with its own burdens.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yeah. And I think that as a salesperson, or

Wesleyne Greer:

even as a sales manager, understanding what your true

Wesleyne Greer:

passions and drives are in life are important, because there are

Wesleyne Greer:

companies that I've worked with, and we've said, Hey, this

Wesleyne Greer:

manager isn't a good manager, but there's such a strong

Wesleyne Greer:

individual contributor, let's give them the option to go back

Wesleyne Greer:

and be an individual contributor. And they worked

Wesleyne Greer:

well, right. And then you have that salesperson who's been

Wesleyne Greer:

trying to move into management for so long, and they just can't

Wesleyne Greer:

get a break. And you it takes a person to say, Hey, I see you

Wesleyne Greer:

and I want to elevate you. And so I think that as a

Wesleyne Greer:

salesperson, and as a leader, we need to recognize what our

Wesleyne Greer:

team's what their long term path is. Because some people are

Wesleyne Greer:

like, I just want to be in sales for 30 years and retire and be

Wesleyne Greer:

done. Some people are like, I want to go all the way I want to

Wesleyne Greer:

be a CEO one day, I want to be a CRO one day, and that's okay.

Wesleyne Greer:

And our job as leaders is to really help that person develop

Gene Plotkin:

100%. And it's also okay to say, I want to

Gene Plotkin:

manage a team, I don't want to be the CRO, I don't want to be

Gene Plotkin:

the numbers guy or gal, right? I don't want the responsibility

Gene Plotkin:

for the vision of where the state of sales organization is

Gene Plotkin:

going. But I'm passionate about developing talent about closing

Gene Plotkin:

sales and, and managing people. There's nothing wrong with that

Gene Plotkin:

either, right. And I think, again, there's a lot of societal

Gene Plotkin:

pressure to say, oh, continue pushing upwards at all costs,

Gene Plotkin:

right. And then there's that idea that, you know, people get

Gene Plotkin:

promoted up until the level where, you know, they become

Gene Plotkin:

incompetent, because they've sort of got promoted above their

Gene Plotkin:

capabilities. And then they think that they have to stay

Gene Plotkin:

there. And a lot of people would be, again, happier, depending on

Gene Plotkin:

where you are, because there's certain things that you're just

Gene Plotkin:

better at, or you prefer according to your lifestyle,

Gene Plotkin:

just because it seems like there's more prestige at the top

Gene Plotkin:

does not actually mean that that's what you will be happier

Gene Plotkin:

doing. And you know, what you'd want to do?

Wesleyne Greer:

So you've been at your company for eight years,

Wesleyne Greer:

and in your role for a number of years in through a pandemic, and

Wesleyne Greer:

no less. So I'm curious, what are some of the current

Wesleyne Greer:

challenges that you're experiencing? And things that

Wesleyne Greer:

you're doing to overcome them?

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, great question. So you know, one of

Gene Plotkin:

the things that I'm kind of really proud of is just the way

Gene Plotkin:

that our organization has to respond quickly and swiftly to

Gene Plotkin:

this pandemic. You know, it's a testament to our I think, our

Gene Plotkin:

CEO and our leadership at the executive level, because, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, starting a print tech company in the late 90s, and

Gene Plotkin:

then keeping it alive through the because we're actually a.com

Gene Plotkin:

company like one of the original ones, right. So it's mimeo.com,

Gene Plotkin:

Inc, but to have that company through 911, right, and we're so

Gene Plotkin:y things got impacted through:Gene Plotkin:

business just disappeared overnight and never came back.

Gene Plotkin:

And, you know, continuing that through and then going to the

Gene Plotkin:

pandemic, they acted quickly and swiftly and we had to make some

Gene Plotkin:

really difficult decisions to consolidate down and, you know,

Gene Plotkin:

for a time actually had to step back into being an individual

Gene Plotkin:

contributor in order for the math to work for everybody. So

Gene Plotkin:

coming out of that last year, I had to both carry quota

Gene Plotkin:

individually, and, you know, step up that way and manage a

Gene Plotkin:

team. And then as I said, on top of that, I've volunteered to

Gene Plotkin:

help rebuild and rehire our sales development team. So there

Gene Plotkin:

was a lot to do as far as challenges. Now I think, just

Gene Plotkin:

like anything else, you know, making sure that we're hiring

Gene Plotkin:

good people that we continue to keep our current employees

Gene Plotkin:

happy. And there's a new generation of sales folks

Gene Plotkin:

entering the workforce, who are different and have different

Gene Plotkin:

values, different type of work ethics are motivated by

Gene Plotkin:

different things, and recruiting them and retaining them and

Gene Plotkin:

training them and getting them to be successful in a day and

Gene Plotkin:

age where it's becoming increasingly more difficult to

Gene Plotkin:

get a hold of somebody from an outbound perspective. So you

Gene Plotkin:

have to really work on you know, at our company, it's been

Gene Plotkin:

hashtag win as a team, right? Because sales is no longer a you

Gene Plotkin:

know, back in the day, you could just hire more salespeople and

Gene Plotkin:

they will call call their way or whatever it happens to be into

Gene Plotkin:

business. You can't do that. Now. It's customer success on

Gene Plotkin:

one end of the funnel, it's marketing and awareness at the

Gene Plotkin:

other end of that funnel, and sales folks are there to help

Gene Plotkin:

bridge that gap, right, and help evangelize. So really finding

Gene Plotkin:

that, that kind of working as a team approach where I'm now

Gene Plotkin:

aligning my team with some of these folks Just coming out of

Gene Plotkin:

college was so green, and then teaching them and building the

Gene Plotkin:

work ethic and the focus that it takes to be successful. I'd say

Gene Plotkin:

those are the kind of the biggest challenges that we've

Gene Plotkin:

been kind of in, in the midst of of addressing right now.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yes, the multi generational workforce. And we

Wesleyne Greer:

have, I think, four or five generations in the workforce

Wesleyne Greer:

right now. And so really having to lead the baby boomers that

Wesleyne Greer:

are on their way out all the way down to Gen Z, right, who are

Wesleyne Greer:

just entering the workforce and having to balance that, right.

Wesleyne Greer:

Because one thing that sales leaders know is every person is

Wesleyne Greer:

an individual. And yes, that's true. But then you also have to

Wesleyne Greer:

go into those generational things, right? So you can send

Wesleyne Greer:

your Gen Z salesperson in a quick tags. But if you do that

Wesleyne Greer:

to a baby boomer, they're probably offended. Right? It's

Wesleyne Greer:

so you have to understand what each person needs and making

Wesleyne Greer:

sure that that person that's just coming into the workforce,

Wesleyne Greer:

kind of like you are when you're like, I was so excited. And they

Wesleyne Greer:

hired me because I was high energy. We know that it takes a

Wesleyne Greer:

little bit more than high energy these days to be a good

Wesleyne Greer:

salesperson.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, 100%. And I think there's that focus. And

Gene Plotkin:

yeah, I mean, as I said, my most senior rep has been with the

Gene Plotkin:

company for 20 years, I think the most senior person at at the

Gene Plotkin:

company I've hired, she has more sales experience than I've been

Gene Plotkin:

a year as I've been alive, right. And she's amazing. But

Gene Plotkin:

it's very different than somebody that we've hired, that

Gene Plotkin:

is just out of college, they've never had a single sales job in

Gene Plotkin:

their life. And they're things that you get put in a position

Gene Plotkin:

to get put in as a manager that's completely new, and you

Gene Plotkin:

don't know how to react because there are these social norms.

Gene Plotkin:

And now this new generation seems to completely break them,

Gene Plotkin:

right. So you don't necessarily know how to react with somebody

Gene Plotkin:

just gets hired. And then a week into it, they send you a text in

Gene Plotkin:

the morning saying, I got up and I'm feeling kind of slow today,

Gene Plotkin:

I'm going to be out the first half the day, and I go, I don't

Gene Plotkin:

know how to respond to that, right? What's the appropriate

Gene Plotkin:

thing I understand mental health, you know, mental

Gene Plotkin:

wellness, and all of that. And it's just a very different kind

Gene Plotkin:

of thing, where in the past, that's like, you know, you'd

Gene Plotkin:

have to be on your deathbed to not make it to work. In the

Gene Plotkin:

first in the first year of your job, right? You're there, you

Gene Plotkin:

know, at 730. And you don't leave until seven. And that's

Gene Plotkin:

just that's not the case now, right? And everybody wants

Gene Plotkin:

flexibility. I think individualism is a lot more

Gene Plotkin:

important and all those things, so really have to adjust for

Gene Plotkin:

that and understand who you're talking to, and how you could

Gene Plotkin:

connect with them in a way that makes sense. Right? So how do

Gene Plotkin:

you drive that urgency while still being sensitive to their

Gene Plotkin:

individual feelings and mental health and all that stuff?

Gene Plotkin:

That's an interesting journey.

Wesleyne Greer:

Absolutely. I 100% agree. I'm just you know,

Wesleyne Greer:

giggling because thinking about like, you know, it's like, okay,

Wesleyne Greer:

even if there isn't a rule of you're on probation, it's like,

Wesleyne Greer:

the first three months, you just don't call in, you don't take

Wesleyne Greer:

off because you're just scared, right? And that's kind of the

Wesleyne Greer:

way that we grew up in being culture where but my younger

Wesleyne Greer:

brother, he's like, oh, yeah, I don't, I don't feel good. I'm

Wesleyne Greer:

just going in late. I'm like, What do you mean, you're going

Wesleyne Greer:

and like, helped me understand what does that mean? Like, help

Wesleyne Greer:

me, right. And so I think as leaders, we have to understand

Wesleyne Greer:

what we have to do to push a little because that same person

Wesleyne Greer:

who's like, I'm coming in late, they'll be working until eight

Wesleyne Greer:

or nine o'clock at night, right? Because I like I'm gonna do my

Wesleyne Greer:

eight hours, I'm just gonna do it at a different time. There

Wesleyne Greer:

was one time I had an employee, and she was like, Yeah, I just,

Wesleyne Greer:

you know, is working eight to five, it's not working for me.

Wesleyne Greer:

So I was wondering, Can I come in at 12? And I was like, we'll

Wesleyne Greer:

try it. And we'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, it didn't

Wesleyne Greer:

work out well, for but I was open to it. Right. I was like,

Wesleyne Greer:

let's try it. I'm not just gonna say no, as we would have been in

Wesleyne Greer:

the past, like, no, it's in the box.

Gene Plotkin:

Yeah, I think you bring up a good point, as you

Gene Plotkin:

want to be willing, you want to be flexible, and you want to be

Gene Plotkin:

accommodating. But you also have to remember the overall culture

Gene Plotkin:

that you're looking to build, right? So and your culture is

Gene Plotkin:

it's what you do, right? It's what you let people get away

Gene Plotkin:

with. It's what you accept, right? So if you have to

Gene Plotkin:

counterbalance that with, I want to be sensitive to this person's

Gene Plotkin:

individual needs. But if I do that, for them, I've just set a

Gene Plotkin:

new standard. And then you created a new culture in which

Gene Plotkin:

it's acceptable to set your own hours and work from whenever to

Gene Plotkin:

whenever and you want. In some cases, that's okay, depending on

Gene Plotkin:

what you do. But if you're a sales team, and you know you're

Gene Plotkin:

selling into the East Coast, probably not the best idea.

Wesleyne Greer:

Exactly, exactly. Make sure that the

Wesleyne Greer:

company's mission, visions and values are aligned with the

Wesleyne Greer:

teams and it goes down to the individual so you can make sure

Wesleyne Greer:

that that translates up and down the food chain. So you've had a

Wesleyne Greer:

very, very vast broad career and so I'm curious what is one thing

Wesleyne Greer:

personally or professionally that you are most proud Have

Wesleyne Greer:

accomplishing?

Gene Plotkin:

Well, on the individual, a personal front

Gene Plotkin:

that it's, it's by far and away having kids, I have a couple of

Gene Plotkin:

young boys ages, one just turned 15 months today and the other

Gene Plotkin:

one is five and a half. So nothing has been as rewarding or

Gene Plotkin:

as challenging or as, as far as pride. Those are far and away my

Gene Plotkin:

number one. Yeah. But from a career standpoint, I think just

Gene Plotkin:

being able to persevere and to come into an organization and

Gene Plotkin:

really grow through the ranks and get to a place where you

Gene Plotkin:

really do feel like you're part of the actual culture of the

Gene Plotkin:

company, and you're getting to shape that. I think that that

Gene Plotkin:

would be the thing I'm most proud of. from a professional

Gene Plotkin:

standpoint.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. Your boys and your career. I have two

Wesleyne Greer:

boys two, so 15 months and five. I can imagine you're having lots

Wesleyne Greer:

of fun right now. But

Gene Plotkin:

yeah, I love it. It's challenging. It's hard,

Gene Plotkin:

right. And as soon as my work at memmio ends, that's when my real

Gene Plotkin:

job begins of being a father and getting, you know, doing the

Gene Plotkin:

homework and cleaning and making them dinner and getting them to

Gene Plotkin:

bed. So it never stops.

Wesleyne Greer:

Yes. Homework. We have a couple weeks left

Wesleyne Greer:

here. Like oh, yes. Oh, work. I didn't know, second grade was

Wesleyne Greer:

gonna be so hard, man. It seems

Gene Plotkin:

like I'm the one doing homework not you know, to

Gene Plotkin:

be fair, I mean, he's in kindergarten, right? So I think

Gene Plotkin:

there's just an I think this translates back into sales is I

Gene Plotkin:

think there's this idea that more volume of something is

Gene Plotkin:

going to lead to better results. And whether it's more homework

Gene Plotkin:

or more, you know, start younger or whatever, I don't necessarily

Gene Plotkin:

subscribe to that. I think you have to be smart and see if the

Gene Plotkin:

results are really matching the hypothesis of, hey, if you start

Gene Plotkin:

somebody doing something early, or you give them this stuff,

Gene Plotkin:

does that actually make them better? Or do you feel like

Gene Plotkin:

you're doing something, right? That's the old kind of the jokes

Gene Plotkin:

around man and sales management. As you know, the manager just

Gene Plotkin:

kind of comes in and says, you know, are you guys working hard,

Gene Plotkin:

and you know, and make sure we call all the leads and make sure

Gene Plotkin:

you're following up and tell them this. And if there's

Gene Plotkin:

anything at all you need you call me for help. And after a

Gene Plotkin:

while, you kind of roll your eyes and go, Yeah, okay, come

Gene Plotkin:

on. I understand my business and I get it, but you feel like you

Gene Plotkin:

have to say something. So really being able to add value to any

Gene Plotkin:

kind of an individual contributor, really see what it

Gene Plotkin:

is that they need, and sometimes reflect back to them, the things

Gene Plotkin:

that are unpleasant for them, but will push them harder, that

Gene Plotkin:

I think is really what defines a really key successful leader

Gene Plotkin:

that could get the most out of out of people, even against

Gene Plotkin:

their own sort of pre judgments. You know,

Wesleyne Greer:

I love to say quality over quantity, it's more

Wesleyne Greer:

important to have valuable touches and valuable impact than

Wesleyne Greer:

just a lot. So let's have a good one meeting a week instead of

Wesleyne Greer:

three or four that are just beating you over the head with

Wesleyne Greer:

KPIs or going through the CRM. Right, let's focus on what is

Wesleyne Greer:

important. 100% Thank you so much, Jean, this has been a such

Wesleyne Greer:

a delightful conversation, what is the one best way that people

Wesleyne Greer:

can get in contact with you if they're curious?

Gene Plotkin:

Sure. I'm on LinkedIn, just search for me

Gene Plotkin:

Jean Plotkin memmio. And that would be the most direct way to

Gene Plotkin:

get in contact with me, or you could send me an email. Je

Gene Plotkin:

plotkin@mimeo.com

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. And all of that will be in the show

Wesleyne Greer:

notes. So thank you so much again, Jean, for sharing your

Wesleyne Greer:

time, your talent and your expertise with us. We definitely

Wesleyne Greer:

appreciate it.

Gene Plotkin:

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed

Gene Plotkin:

the conversation.

Wesleyne Greer:

Awesome. And that was another episode of the

Wesleyne Greer:

transformed sales podcast. Remember, it's all about the

Wesleyne Greer:

science of selling. It's not just about beating your

Wesleyne Greer:

salespeople over the head with KPIs. Focus on teaching them the

Wesleyne Greer:

how behind selling, not just the what, until next time

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