The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

Ep 88: Grow Skills First, Earn Later w/ Amanda Armstrong

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 88: Grow Skills First, Earn Later w/ Amanda Armstrong

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

Hello everyone and welcome back to therevenue collected podcast. I have your host Brandon Barton and you'relistening to is this a good time? The show where I asked revenue collectivemembers some really basic questions. They have awesome answers. It's 15minutes and we have a lot of fun shows come out Tuesdays and Thursdays. So hitsubscribe so you don't miss anything. We've had some really great shows as oflate, our guest today is Amanda Armstrong, director of revenue,consulting at gravity lab and we talk about how it's important to build upyour skills, take opportunities and then get paid for them. Don't always beasking for the money folks. This episode was brought to you by drift.More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customerlifetime value faster drift, helps their customers online sales andmarketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experiencewhere people are free to have a conversation with the business at anytime on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do thisepisode 35. Is this a good time? Alright, I'm so excited, we're herewith Amanda Armstrong. She is the director of revenue consulting atgravity lab which is based in Auckland New Zealand. So literally coming to usfrom around the globe, thank you so much for being here. Hey, thanks friendand I'm really delighted to be asked. Yeah, I mean I I'm excited to jump intoyour story. You have a very amazing kind of past. I should also mention youare the co chapter head of the Revenue Collective New Zealand. So shout out toeveryone in new Zealand who's fighting the good fight on the revenue side. Solet's get to it. I'll meet no filler. Tell me about how you've gotten towhere you are and what your role in job is today. Yeah, look, it was a reallyunusual path to sales actually. I did sports science degree at the universityalong with some economics, marketing and management papers. So I wasconsulting in health and fitness when we moved to Auckland where I live nowand I landed my first sales job through...

...a friend selling to accountants andlawyers for CCH or now, I mean they're known as well as clear now my plan wasto do that for a year and then I was going to get back into the fitnessindustry. However, after the first year I was the top salesperson in NewZealand, I worked at it. She was pretty good at it. The perfect lifestyle job.I work from home, set my day up as I pleased and pretty much made targetevery month. And so like my motto was definitely work smart, not hard, I lovebeing out and about and talking to smart people. And when I was asked toconsider taking a leadership role, I was really reluctant because I didn'twant to be stuck in an office all day. But they kept asking me and I finallythought, well I'm getting a bit bored and what I'm doing so might as wellgive it a go. And then from there like that time, the first role that I had. Ilead sales, marketing, customer service, sales support and training. So it wasall those customer facing roles and that gave me great experience acrossall customer facing channels. Yeah, I really loved it. I think I wasfortunate to us that I had lots of flexibility and autonomy and I hadfantastic, fantastic support from my leader. And after having a couple ofyears I had the top performing sales team in the Apec region and I ended upbeing put on a talent management program. And that ended up with astretch assignment that in time ended up coming like a full time part of myrole. And that assignment was what started off with leading a saleseffectiveness program for a pack. And that's where I was working with countrymanagers, sales leaders and teams and countries across china, Hong kongMalaysia, Singapore and Australia. And thinking back even now, you know, Ilove this, I loved working with people in other cultures and countries and itwas really formative and what I've ended up doing later, wow, incredible.And then, I mean you worked for I mean Ben has to be one of the the the fairytale stories of new Zealand. Right, The new Zealand startup scene, would thatbe accurate? Yeah. Look, and I think...

...even before that, you know, after Ileft Wolters Kluwer, I reached out to Roger who was ceo of Zero, which was areally fast growing sales company that was getting a lot of attention in newZealand and it was to see if they had any roles going. So I sort of felt likeafter being in that accounting sphere, that accounting software might be aninteresting gig to try and in the end, Rod hired me as country manager for NewZealand due to my experience at selling to two accountants, as it was a superimportant channel for them that then led to the end, you know, talking aboutthen has been, you know, just acquired by Lightspeed from Canada and yeah,that was that was one of the companies that really emerged out of the zeroecosystem, so it's sort of a little bit like salesforce, where you have thisfantastic at community of other kind of fledgling businesses that can actuallydevelop off the back of that, so yeah, so, look, it was incredible, it was myfirst time in hyper growth tech and it definitely took a bit of adjusting, butI learned so much and and both of those roles and then kind of due to that work,you know, that I've done, I've sort of gone on to kind of global roles and andleading teams all over the world, which I feel really lucky at doing. Well.Look, I'm glad that you said that the L word luck, um this is something that II love to hear about from people, you know, the moments in their career whenthey got lucky versus the moments when they really had to dig in and do thehard work. Clearly, uh you know, some of those hypergrowth times wereprobably filled with a bunch of hard work, anything from memory on eitherthat side or on the luck side that you'd want to share. Yeah, I thinkthere's two. I think that the hard work thing, you know, I am, it would be whenI was running that sales effectiveness program around a pack and it was thedays before videos. So it involved a lot of travel to each region and I'd beaway for like one or two weeks at a time and I was still head of sales backin new Zealand. So you know, at the end of a long day, I had to check back inwith new Zealand and answer emails and make sure that everything was back ontrack. And I did all of that with no...

...pay, no extra pay, no pay, no extra pay,um, definitely pay. So and I often use this example when I've seen people inmy teams who had offered an opportunity that requires extra work or hours, butthey only want to take it if they get paid for it. And my advice that havearound that is that you know, see the opportunity for your growth andlearning first and then prove your value and later worry about the money,which is what I did. I mean I, you know, I did that for a year, really provedthe value that I could deliver and then asked for a meeting with the Ceopresented what I thought was a pretty good business case or case on why Ideserved a a good pay increase and got it. So you know, that was, that wasreally instrumental in helping me do what I've done in later years. Sothat's probably the example of hard work that I use. I love that and I lovethe idea, look, there is certainly a difference of opinion that perhaps umfolks who are maybe coming out of college right now, we'll have aboutthis, which is fast and hard title and this and that. And I think we're, insome ways we're training a generation to go after title and pay withouthaving jobs to do it. And I've had these candidates who have had directorand VP jobs and they wouldn't even make it as an individual contributor withwith some of the companies that I've worked at. Yeah, you know, that's athat's a that's something that I've noticed to working with lots of youngpeople, which I have is that, you know, they come in in five minutes, they seethe next step in their career is to be a manager. And yet they have not evenmastered the role that they're in. And you know my advice again as always toyou know let's actually just master the role you're in and become really goodat that before you think about kind of stepping into a leadership role. Soyeah, I totally agree with you and then join me to talk about the luck as well.Yeah, I want to hear it. Okay, so look I mean there's a little bit of me thatI don't believe too much in luck as most of my lucky breaks generally comeafter either hard work or some success. So I see it is kind of more takingadvantage of opportunities that have...

...crossed my path. I've never really hada plan which some people would be horrified with but I said yes, I meaneven when it scared me, I've said yes and you know kind of have this thissaying is that growth is uncomfortable and you know share that with my team isthat they just have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. But you know Isuppose perhaps perhaps an example was when I was working with it was back inin Wolters Kluwer days and the Global vice president of sales and Marketingoffered to be my mentor and he remained so even when he moved into the U. S.Ceo. Role in you know I felt really privileged to be mentored by him and Ilearned so much and I think his mentoring definitely had a big impacton my leadership capability for sure right. And and he came to you with thatopportunity to mental way Look I mean I'm sure he did because of all the hardwork but there's something like one day that said you know I I really wouldlove to have Amanda and help shape her career. So we'll call that a stroke ofat least. I love what you just said though. You know the idea to getcomfortable with the uncomfortable, there's a you're in sports science,this was a mantra in essentially getting physically fit. I was a collegeathlete and stuff like that, but you needed to feel the uncomfortable ofdoing an extra suicide or doing an extra bench press or whatever it wasand love it and embrace that. And I love that this is very simple, you know,getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. It's such a, such a nicelesson. Yeah. And I think, you know, it's what I've realized myself is thatwhen I get too comfortable then I start to get bored anyway, so it's just kindof getting comfortable in that uncomfortable space, which is going towhere where I thrive. So yeah, I more recently have started to ask thequestion, are you uh to myself, of...

...course, are am I addicted to theuncomfortable nous shouldn't be more happy when it gets comfortable. Uh ButI guess anyone working in startups does like the uncertainty side of things.Right? It's all right. Well, give us give us a tactic that maybe has beenhelpful over the years for you that that people can kind of try to use intheir daily deals, you know, in life today? Yeah. Look, and there's lots ofones that I could have that I could have chosen to talk to you about. But Ithink the one that I that I've seen over the years so much as, you know,I've kind of developed into a bit of a saying is go slow at the start to speedup at the end. And that sort of really as a result of too many reps that I'veseen show up and throw up so they don't do a proper discovery and they get soexcited that they can help, but they don't really take the time tounderstand the customer. They're paying, you know, getting into reasons for painand impact of pain and that's really important to do that work up frontbecause it helps you tie value back to this when you come to position your,your company's capability to solve. And often as well, if if the customer isslowing down and procrastinating at the end, that's a sure sign that you justhaven't taken enough time at the start to really, really understand kind ofwhat's going on for them. So that's, that's the one that I wanted to share.I love that. And it's almost too late at that point to realize that youdidn't you didn't do enough discovery or uncovering of digging into that pain.Yeah. That's certainly it's certainly one that I think everyone can learnfrom. Yeah. And look even today with a lot of the people that I've worked with,just the rushing the early part, you know, and look and I know speed andresponsiveness is everything in today's market, but you still got to do thatthat work up front. That really solid discovery upfront. Love it. Alright.We're in the speed round any key positions that you're hiring for. Yes,I'm hiring for another revenue consultant to work with me as we'regrowing out our team. Cool. So does...

...that, that works directly for you. UhIt will be in under my team. That's right and working with mainly withinthe tech sector, who's got a pretty probably a background as a head ofsales or, you know, run sales teams, has worked pretty closely withmarketing, who can actually work right across the whole, the whole funnel.Yeah. Is that uh in New Zealand or? Yeah, well, but yeah, we'll need to bein New Zealand because at the moment, most available, all of our clients fromNew Zealand. I like that. And maybe people are listening and saying, hey,maybe I want to go live in new Zealand, who knows its place at the moment. Itreally is, it really end up and give some shadows who are people thatinspire you in terms of the content, they put out the message that they putout. Yeah, look, I mean I I read heaps of books and listen to podcasts all thetime, but I've got a really broad range of people that I follow. But if I thinkabout the ones related to sales and marketing that have been inspiring tome, it's a little while ago now that Aaron ross with predictable revenue andeven now with his blogs and and content that he produces, I still really lovethat stuff. Michael Boesch was instrumental in kind of helping andthat startup fades with his sales acceleration, formula, Jason link inall things success. I love his sister daily subscribed to that and get itevery day and every, every couple of days it might come in my email. I alsolove anything by Brown, A Brown and her dare to lead book and podcast isfantastic. And then one of the others is um, tim Ferriss tools of titans book.I'm kind of always fascinated by elite performers and their habits and thingsthat they do. And then one long for sales people I think is um, amP Up yoursales, which is a really great read by a guy called Andy paul. And I hadn'theard of him until I was listening to a podcast a few years ago and just afantastic book for anyone who is actually in the sales role now, wow,that's a big last day, You know, I've done a lot of year, but hey, maybethat's where you are, how you've gotten to where you are, That's incredible.And then any, any up and comers, we...

...should know about. Any people that youfeel like are the rising stars of the new Zealand sales world. How about that?Yeah. Look, I mean, I've been fortunate to work with kind of a lot of youngpeople over the last few years and well, the level of capability and strategicthinking blows our mind because I'm sure I wasn't like that at 25-26 but toshout outs that I want to um making ones too fell in savory. She actuallyworks with me now and she was my VP Global VP of Ops it then she's doneeverything, she has led teams, she's run Global Ops, she's been ceo, ohshe's worked in enterprise as well as then type product. She's just gotincredible capability of building out the whole system sales operating modelfor companies. So that's one. And then a guy called scott Freeman who starteda business here called a pronto and his mission is to lift sales capability ofnew Zealand. And that's really important because sales here is still alittle bit of a dirty word and Scott's aim is to lift its profile and helptrain and place young people into sales and C. S. Rolls. Uh huh. Very cool. Andtell me about that. Why is it cultural? Tell me why is it a little bit of adirty word? Yeah. I think it's still this feeling it's like a used carsalesman is the example of a salesperson and so yeah that's and itstill sticks around a little bit. So really um because I suppose there's notraining, there's no qualification or there hasn't been to date. So you knowit is changing, it's changing slowly. But I think you know people like scottare going to really help help lift its profile and and show that it's actuallyyou know a pretty exciting um and fun career. I like that. All right cool.And maybe even as the revenue collective ads courses and things likethat certifications. These things become international standards on.Absolutely. On a professional track. Yeah on there to brand. And we've gotlike one of the highest percentages of the people on some of the risingexecutives in the C. R. O. School. So...

...yeah. Really great to see peoplereaching out and grabbing those with with two arms because yeah, that'sgoing to help lift the capability as well. Cool, Very cool. All right nowI'm going to give you the responsibility of an entire countryhere. What's really? I have never been to New Zealand. I can't wait to go. Itcan be in Auckland, it can be anywhere you want. It can be a wine country ifyou want it to be go to Marlborough, whatever. Where should we go eat? Uhlook at it as I said, it's a pretty hard choice. But if I think about justrecently for me, I think Waiheke Island deserved 45 minute boat ride fromAuckland. You feel like you're in another world and the restaurant is twothere that I that I'd recommend. But I'm gonna say casita miro, which islike a spanish tapas restaurant. They also, it's in a vineyard, they havelike great wine, fantastic food and not only that like the owner is um, doesall of these gowdy inspired mosaic, art, walls and sculptures. So, I mean youfeel like you're in a little slice of Barcelona or you know somewhere in, insome other countries, so just been there recently and highly recommend it.I love it. I can't wait to seek this out and go there whenever I get down tonew Zealand Amanda, thank you so much. So great to have you on and lookingforward to following everything that you do is as we continue to grow therevenue collective in all sorts of all corners of the world. Thanks so much.Brand and it's been great to be on here. Yeah. All right, that's our show. Thankyou so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review in theApple podcasts. Spotify sentences, friends and make sure you smash thatsubscribe button. I can see the people that listen and don't send it tofriends who do that reminder. This episode was brought to you by drift thenew way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get theconversation started at drip dot com. All right. Have fun. Hope you did too.Now go cross your numbers.

Say something. Mhm.

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