The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

Ep 71: From Farmer to Sales Leader with George Leith


Ep 71: From Farmer to Sales Leader with George Leith

Part of the "Is This a Good Time?" Series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome to therevenue collected podcast. I am your host, Brandon Barton and you'relistening to Is this a good time the show, I asked revenue Collectivemembers some really basic questions and they have incredible answers. In ashort 15 minute conversation. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays and if youhit subscribe this week, I promise that I will teach you where saskatoonsaskatoon Saskatchewan is in Canada. If I even got that sounding right. Ourguest today is actually from there. That is George Leaf, He is the sierraand Bend Asta and we talk about his journey from working on a farm tobecoming a sales leader. Pretty amazing story. This episode is brought to youby quota path. A commission tracking software built for sales operations,finance and accounting teams. If running commissions and payroll has yourunning for the hills quota path is for you quote a path helps organizationstrack and manage commissions and pay their teams accurately and on timeevery time. Keep your team motivated and on target. Simplify yourcommissions at quota path dot com slash revenue dash collective and give yourreps the gift of transparency. All right. Let's do this. Episode 24 of isthis a good time? All right. We are here with George Leaf. He is the chiefcustomer officer and S. V. P. Of sales at Mendoza, based out of SaskatchewanCanada, where everyone has clearly been so George. Really awesome to have youhere. Brandon. Great speaking to you and looking forward to being on theshow. Well, look here on, on our revenue collective podcast. We have allmeat, no filler. Jump right into the, to the meat of things. So why don't youtell us a little bit about your role today and how you got here? Sure. Youknow, I have the privilege of working with our team of over 200 customerfacing folks in the company with front...

...line sales teams have accountmanagement teams, customer success retention, onboarding and I lied whatwe call the and ask a sales guild as chief customer officer on our seniorteam, reporting directly to our Ceo Mr Brennan King. I started, there's thebell. I started uh, at the company for the last, the last day of the monthhere. So we do have activity in the background. I do love that. I hope theywill sell tomorrow on sunday too because you know, the month doesn't endtill midnight on sunday specific time. I arrived here nine years ago as thefirst salesperson at this company were start up at that time about 20 peopleand I've known our CEO in a past life. I started the media business when I was16 years old, working on local radio station and there's no money on on theair unless you're Elvis Duran or Ryan Seacrest. So I I started selling when Iwas doing play by play hockey and one of my clients was actually our CeoBrendan King. He had a chain of computer stores and he wanted to sellthem to farmers in the area that that I was based out of with our radio station.So I sold him radio ads back then and we had maintained in contact throughoutthe years and so he was looking to scale up a sales organization and youknow, that was nine, some odd years ago and and here we are. That's super,super cool. And look, I always love to think that both hard work and luck atus to where we are in life and would love to know from you a story of eitheror both about that that has propelled your career forward. Yeah, I you know,Brandon hard work. I'm glad that you started with that because I think thatreally is the key. You just got to work hard at it and um you know, really careabout your customers and really care about the people that you put on yourteam. And I think that was instilled in me at a young age by mentors and myparents and you know, grew up on a family farm and you had to work andbringing what type of farm grain farm, No way grain farm and you know, you'reout shoveling been bottoms and hoeing...

...weeds and things like that when you'rea kid and that was just the deal and you know, farm Was you know, there wasa lot of lot of boys in the family, not you got to be a boy to be a farmer, butback 30 years ago, you know, that was kind of the way it worked and therewasn't enough land for everybody and I was kind of told from day one that youshould look at other things and you know, the radio career was somethingthat just kind of happened and and then sales was something that I reallyenjoyed and working with customers. I was really shitty in the first fewyears. In fact, I probably owe some apologies to sales managers and generalmanagers back in the day. But don't worry, karma comes around right becauseI've got some sales people that probably give me the karma from thethings that I did, but you know when I when I realized that if I put mycustomers' needs before mine and and the companies and really startedserving that customer. That was when I started exceeding quotas and, and thenmoving into leadership roles and fortunate enough to run into somereally good mentors that helped along the way. So yeah, that's, that's kindof, you know how I arrived here, I won't sell my own businesses for 10years to and I got a real uh, real taste of, you know what it's like tohave to make payroll and you know, manage staff and, and things like that.I had done a little bit of that and some of my management roles before, butreally and owning some businesses over 10 years and, and what we do, You know,we have a channel partner model and we serve local businesses through thatchannel partner model. Now in 50 countries around the world, I have a,you know, a real affinity to help local businesses and you know, covid happened.And you know, I think all of us are feeling the effects of our favoritelocal business uh suffering in this time. So yeah, that's a little bitabout how I got here. Yeah, great. I mean look, you're talking to somebodywho is obsessed with restaurants and and certainly, yeah, the restaurantindustry has been, it is mostly local businesses, right? Like we have greatnational brands both in the Canada and us, but a lot of local businessessuffering because so I I appreciate that that part of your passion for sure.And look, you know, you have managed many people in your career. I wonder ifyou would share with our audience here.

What is a tactic that you feel like isunderutilized that people could use tomorrow and be specific, nothinggeneral, something somebody can put in their deals tomorrow are referringbrown into managing teams, are working with custom water, tactical advantageor how to close it. You know, sometimes, you know, deals closed on the last dayof the month. You know, keep it simple and over communicate the message. Don'tassume that the audience has understood and hung on every word that you've saidover communicating the message very clearly understanding what the goalsare of the team member or of the customer and focusing on an outcome forthem because they really are, they really want the product or service orthey want with the product or service is going to deliver to the might, youknow, I heard a really good line a few years back that actually kind ofdescribe something that I had been, um, that I believed and I was living andit's fall in love with your customers problem and how you can solve it andnot in love with your product or service. And you know, that has, wehave that as one of our guiding principles here at the organization.And it it really changes your perspective when I think back to thoseearly years in the radio business, I was selling what the sales managerwanted me to sell and not serving the customer. And the minute that I flippedthat around and started serving the customer was when actually in someclients, I was their marketing manager, like they wouldn't buy anything fromeven competing properties without talking to me to see what I thoughtabout it, that you became that trusted expert in that reliable individual thathad the client's best interests at heart. And I think if we put that intoour teams, if we have our team members best interests at heart and reallyunderstand where they want to go and how they want to, you know, how theywant to conduct themselves and guide them to get to that outcome. Um, it hasa tendency to work out a lot more times than it doesn't. I love that. That's a,it's a great little mental switch to make, right? You sell you sell to theproblem, not not, you know, not the...

...product. Right? That's awesome. Welllook, um, always want to try to be able to add value to you here. Are there anypositions that you're hiring for that folks in in the audience might want to,you know, know about and come jump on with you? And are they remote? That's agood question. I don't know how many people are, where you are. Yeah, We soBrandon we're dealing with the work from home challenge that everyone isdealing with Last March. We we move 400 some odd people to work from home. Andthe majority of them are in our offices. We do have some senior folks that arein our leadership group that are in the United States because we brought insome top talent and we're starting to embrace more work from home And we'regrowing like crazy. We were fortunate to raise 40 million just before Covidcame in and we were going to put that stuff to work. Um and we wanted totrack that talent to our market And you know, Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada. Itis a mouthful were about six hours north of the US. border where Montanaand North Dakota meet that there is a country up above here, it's calledCanada. Um and if you drove in a car from the border, you would arrive hereabout six hours later. We're 350,000 people. Beautiful city. We're in themiddle of where I'm sitting right now is is on a temporary floor, We'rerenovating the top six floors of one of the tallest towers in town. And uh youknow, we we like to call it the vendor master rocket ship. Um so to answeryour question, absolutely, we're looking, you know, we have, we try tofind great people and then figure out where they fit. But I I am looking fora director of training and enablement that would service the sales guildunder Ian jones is our VP of operations and we're always looking for top salestalent from a leadership standpoint. So captains, directors of sales. Um we're,you know, we're looking to fill those positions and an initiative that westarted last May, it was called the next 100 and we were going to hire 100sales professionals and then move them throughout the sales, jailed into theroles that we needed. We're at about 67...

...right now and uh I'd love to hit that100 number before the one year is up. There's been some start stops in thereas we tried to figure out whether we get locked down again or you know,you've got that money in the bank, you had a bit of a runway so you want tomake sure you can preserve it. But you know, we uh we're in the e commercebusiness and we offer an e commerce platform to our channel partners andthen we offer e commerce that our channel partners can sell to theircustomers. So Our business has benefited from this forcing function ofthe new normal that we're all facing. And we actually had one of our biggestyears of growth ever last year, not the early years where you're doing thetriple double double, but we, we got to 45 again were down around 36 37 yearover year. So we, and we anticipate this year that we might be able todouble that growth with the headcount that we've added. So it's excitingtimes and we're looking for, we're looking for top talent, I'd love forsomeone to come and uh and be the chief customer officer and then I can, I canretire, That would be fantastic. So we were saying you've been there too longanyway with night when I read some of the stats, I tell our ceo I'm like,what the hell are you doing? Keep me around. Well you gotta, I guess that'sbecause you have the long relationship with them, so well, hopefully it'sbecause I bring value and reinvent myself every three or four months ago.I mean the fact that you even say that, you know, you don't want to, you don'twant to give them him any any ideas. But uh well look, who are some of thepeople that you value like, you know, hearing from them and and hearing theircontent. I know you put out a bunch yourself. I want you to make sure youplug that and then who are some of the up and comers that that you see in thein the industry that you'd want to shout out? Well, you know, 11 groupthat are one individual I always turn to is Patrick Leahy Cioni and hismaterial really speaks to me when it comes to scaling up an organization,200 people in our sales team is actually not the largest team that I'veever lead when I own my own business is we were 400 or 500 people. But when itcomes to the sales side of it, and, and... you get bigger and you start tobuild out divisions and we have three different divisions in our company. Youknow, there is, there is some politics there and you know, I can't really doanything anymore. I can lead and I can direct and but you can't, I'm going todo that. It's not going to happen because you just have too many otherthings going on. So I'm always looking for, I've found that's faster and the,and the faster podcast, you know, the people that, that that group get on,that broadcast there usually isn't a week that goes by, that we're notsharing some content, whether it's an old episode or a new episode that'sspeaking to us, according to, you know, I'll say robert, you know, Mark robertshas got some great ideas and where, you know, we are big followers of thereforge model that him and Patrick Campbell, that group have put togetherand of course the revenue collective, and I'm not just saying that becauseI'm on this podcast, but I will tell you that what an amazing resource thathas been, Stephen Delfina in Canada up a clear bank, Butch lang butch language,who started the whole thing, you know, Butch was actually the consultant thatwe brought in back in 2016 to help us build out inside sales. So when hemessaged and said that you were gonna start a Canadian chapter, like Torontois a hell of a long way away from where I am. Um but I like going to Torontoand Maple Leafs fan, so you know, to be able to go out there quarterly to thosemeetings has been really good. And Sam, uh Sam has been a guest on the podcastthat I host, which is called conquer Local. We're entering our fourth season.We're now over 15,000. Listens a month unique. Listens a month in 50 differentcountries to that broadcast. So you know, I could just do a laundry list ofguests that have been on that show. I've been very fortunate interview alot of leaders there that I would consider to be mentors that are, thatare adding to it. So leave a little meat on the bone and have people goseek out the podcast and listen to it themselves so they can, they can findtheir favorite leaders. I like that. Well, look, last, but not least when Iget myself up to your neck of the woods in Saskatoon, uh, it doesn't need to bethere. It could be in Toronto to...

...whereby it actually does have an office.So I make my make it up to Toronto often. Where should we eat well in, inSaskatoon right now. I have the privilege of a really good friend ofmine who managed and ran one of the best restaurants in the city. It was agroup of three brothers. He decided to do his own thing. And I actually helpedhim with the marketing plan and their go to market, which my wife likesbecause she does not want me to start another restaurant or bar ever again inmy career. I've actually given her permission to kick me square in theplums if I ever even have that idea. So if you come to Saskatoon, we'll go to aplace called Philosophy. It starts with a fantastic restaurant. My buddy BillBarlas has opened and he opened it during Covid. So speaking of plums,he's gotta, you know that guy, he's, he's in there, but I'm trying to cleanit up. But I will tell you that if you're ever in Johannesburg, one of myfavorite restaurants in South Africa is called marble Restaurant and it's inthe Rose Rosewood area of the city and it is just to die for. So I make apoint of going there every time I'm in Johannesburg. So I love it. We gotsomething someplace and it's real, real south of the, the globe here in thereal real north. So exactly right. Polar opposites, my friend. Perfect,perfect George. So happy to have you and have this conversation with you.It's fun to hear your energy and I can hear the action in the background andthe, you know, the bell going off because deals are closed and it's justreally cool man. Really looking forward to keeping in touch and watching as youcontinue to grow. Very nice meeting you. And I appreciate the invite. And I'llsee you when I see you, my friend. Great. All right, That's our show.Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and reviewin the Apple podcast and Spotify have send it to some friends and it to allyour friends. It's the best gift you can give them and then smashed thesubscriber. And just for fun reminder, this episode was brought to you byquarter power. What a path is the first radically transparent and to endcompensation solution from sales to... Get started for free at quotapath dot com slash revenue dash collective. I had a lot of fun today. Ihope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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