The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 the revenue collected podcast. I have your host Brandon Barton and you're listening to is this a good time? The show where I asked revenue collective members some really basic questions. They have awesome answers. It's 15 minutes and we have a lot of fun shows come out Tuesdays and Thursdays. So hit subscribe so you don't miss anything. We've had some really great shows as of late, our guest today is Amanda Armstrong, director of revenue, consulting at gravity lab and we talk about how it's important to build up your skills, take opportunities and then get paid for them. Don't always be asking for the money folks. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers online sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with the business at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 35. Is this a good time? Alright, I'm so excited, we're here with Amanda Armstrong. She is the director of revenue consulting at gravity lab which is based in Auckland New Zealand. So literally coming to us from around the globe, thank you so much for being here. Hey, thanks friend and I'm really delighted to be asked. Yeah, I mean I I'm excited to jump into your story. You have a very amazing kind of past. I should also mention you are the co chapter head of the Revenue Collective New Zealand. So shout out to everyone in new Zealand who's fighting the good fight on the revenue side. So let's get to it. I'll meet no filler. Tell me about how you've gotten to where you are and what your role in job is today. Yeah, look, it was a really unusual path to sales actually. I did sports science degree at the university along with some economics, marketing and management papers. So I was consulting in health and fitness when we moved to Auckland where I live now and I landed my first sales job through...

...a friend selling to accountants and lawyers for CCH or now, I mean they're known as well as clear now my plan was to do that for a year and then I was going to get back into the fitness industry. However, after the first year I was the top salesperson in New Zealand, 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 target every month. And so like my motto was definitely work smart, not hard, I love being out and about and talking to smart people. And when I was asked to consider taking a leadership role, I was really reluctant because I didn't want to be stuck in an office all day. But they kept asking me and I finally thought, well I'm getting a bit bored and what I'm doing so might as well give it a go. And then from there like that time, the first role that I had. I lead sales, marketing, customer service, sales support and training. So it was all those customer facing roles and that gave me great experience across all customer facing channels. Yeah, I really loved it. I think I was fortunate to us that I had lots of flexibility and autonomy and I had fantastic, fantastic support from my leader. And after having a couple of years I had the top performing sales team in the Apec region and I ended up being put on a talent management program. And that ended up with a stretch assignment that in time ended up coming like a full time part of my role. And that assignment was what started off with leading a sales effectiveness program for a pack. And that's where I was working with country managers, sales leaders and teams and countries across china, Hong kong Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. And thinking back even now, you know, I love this, I loved working with people in other cultures and countries and it was 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 fairy tale stories of new Zealand. Right, The new Zealand startup scene, would that be accurate? Yeah. Look, and I think...

...even before that, you know, after I left Wolters Kluwer, I reached out to Roger who was ceo of Zero, which was a really fast growing sales company that was getting a lot of attention in new Zealand and it was to see if they had any roles going. So I sort of felt like after being in that accounting sphere, that accounting software might be an interesting gig to try and in the end, Rod hired me as country manager for New Zealand due to my experience at selling to two accountants, as it was a super important channel for them that then led to the end, you know, talking about then 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 zero ecosystem, so it's sort of a little bit like salesforce, where you have this fantastic at community of other kind of fledgling businesses that can actually develop off the back of that, so yeah, so, look, it was incredible, it was my first time in hyper growth tech and it definitely took a bit of adjusting, but I 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 and leading 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 I I love to hear about from people, you know, the moments in their career when they got lucky versus the moments when they really had to dig in and do the hard work. Clearly, uh you know, some of those hypergrowth times were probably filled with a bunch of hard work, anything from memory on either that side or on the luck side that you'd want to share. Yeah, I think there's two. I think that the hard work thing, you know, I am, it would be when I was running that sales effectiveness program around a pack and it was the days before videos. So it involved a lot of travel to each region and I'd be away for like one or two weeks at a time and I was still head of sales back in new Zealand. So you know, at the end of a long day, I had to check back in with new Zealand and answer emails and make sure that everything was back on track. 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 in my teams who had offered an opportunity that requires extra work or hours, but they only want to take it if they get paid for it. And my advice that have around that is that you know, see the opportunity for your growth and learning 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 proved the value that I could deliver and then asked for a meeting with the Ceo presented what I thought was a pretty good business case or case on why I deserved a a good pay increase and got it. So you know, that was, that was really instrumental in helping me do what I've done in later years. So that's probably the example of hard work that I use. I love that and I love the idea, look, there is certainly a difference of opinion that perhaps um folks who are maybe coming out of college right now, we'll have about this, which is fast and hard title and this and that. And I think we're, in some ways we're training a generation to go after title and pay without having jobs to do it. And I've had these candidates who have had director and VP jobs and they wouldn't even make it as an individual contributor with with some of the companies that I've worked at. Yeah, you know, that's a that's a that's something that I've noticed to working with lots of young people, which I have is that, you know, they come in in five minutes, they see the next step in their career is to be a manager. And yet they have not even mastered the role that they're in. And you know my advice again as always to you know let's actually just master the role you're in and become really good at that before you think about kind of stepping into a leadership role. So yeah, 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 that I don't believe too much in luck as most of my lucky breaks generally come after either hard work or some success. So I see it is kind of more taking advantage of opportunities that have...

...crossed my path. I've never really had a plan which some people would be horrified with but I said yes, I mean even when it scared me, I've said yes and you know kind of have this this saying is that growth is uncomfortable and you know share that with my team is that they just have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. But you know I suppose perhaps perhaps an example was when I was working with it was back in in Wolters Kluwer days and the Global vice president of sales and Marketing offered 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 I learned so much and I think his mentoring definitely had a big impact on my leadership capability for sure right. And and he came to you with that opportunity to mental way Look I mean I'm sure he did because of all the hard work but there's something like one day that said you know I I really would love to have Amanda and help shape her career. So we'll call that a stroke of at least. I love what you just said though. You know the idea to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, there's a you're in sports science, this was a mantra in essentially getting physically fit. I was a college athlete and stuff like that, but you needed to feel the uncomfortable of doing an extra suicide or doing an extra bench press or whatever it was and 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 nice lesson. Yeah. And I think, you know, it's what I've realized myself is that when I get too comfortable then I start to get bored anyway, so it's just kind of getting comfortable in that uncomfortable space, which is going to where where I thrive. So yeah, I more recently have started to ask the question, are you uh to myself, of...

...course, are am I addicted to the uncomfortable nous shouldn't be more happy when it gets comfortable. Uh But I 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 been helpful over the years for you that that people can kind of try to use in their daily deals, you know, in life today? Yeah. Look, and there's lots of ones that I could have that I could have chosen to talk to you about. But I think 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 speed up at the end. And that sort of really as a result of too many reps that I've seen show up and throw up so they don't do a proper discovery and they get so excited that they can help, but they don't really take the time to understand the customer. They're paying, you know, getting into reasons for pain and impact of pain and that's really important to do that work up front because 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 is slowing down and procrastinating at the end, that's a sure sign that you just haven't taken enough time at the start to really, really understand kind of what'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 you didn'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 learn from. 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 and responsiveness is everything in today's market, but you still got to do that that 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're growing out our team. Cool. So does...

...that, that works directly for you. Uh It will be in under my team. That's right and working with mainly within the tech sector, who's got a pretty probably a background as a head of sales or, you know, run sales teams, has worked pretty closely with marketing, 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 be in New Zealand because at the moment, most available, all of our clients from New 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. It really is, it really end up and give some shadows who are people that inspire you in terms of the content, they put out the message that they put out. Yeah, look, I mean I I read heaps of books and listen to podcasts all the time, but I've got a really broad range of people that I follow. But if I think about the ones related to sales and marketing that have been inspiring to me, it's a little while ago now that Aaron ross with predictable revenue and even now with his blogs and and content that he produces, I still really love that stuff. Michael Boesch was instrumental in kind of helping and that startup fades with his sales acceleration, formula, Jason link in all things success. I love his sister daily subscribed to that and get it every day and every, every couple of days it might come in my email. I also love anything by Brown, A Brown and her dare to lead book and podcast is fantastic. 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 things that they do. And then one long for sales people I think is um, amP Up your sales, which is a really great read by a guy called Andy paul. And I hadn't heard of him until I was listening to a podcast a few years ago and just a fantastic 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, maybe that'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 you feel 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 young people over the last few years and well, the level of capability and strategic thinking blows our mind because I'm sure I wasn't like that at 25-26 but to shout outs that I want to um making ones too fell in savory. She actually works with me now and she was my VP Global VP of Ops it then she's done everything, she has led teams, she's run Global Ops, she's been ceo, oh she's worked in enterprise as well as then type product. She's just got incredible capability of building out the whole system sales operating model for companies. So that's one. And then a guy called scott Freeman who started a business here called a pronto and his mission is to lift sales capability of new Zealand. And that's really important because sales here is still a little bit of a dirty word and Scott's aim is to lift its profile and help train and place young people into sales and C. S. Rolls. Uh huh. Very cool. And tell me about that. Why is it cultural? Tell me why is it a little bit of a dirty word? Yeah. I think it's still this feeling it's like a used car salesman is the example of a salesperson and so yeah that's and it still sticks around a little bit. So really um because I suppose there's no training, there's no qualification or there hasn't been to date. So you know it is changing, it's changing slowly. But I think you know people like scott are going to really help help lift its profile and and show that it's actually you 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 like that certifications. These things become international standards on. Absolutely. On a professional track. Yeah on there to brand. And we've got like one of the highest percentages of the people on some of the rising executives in the C. R. O. School. So...

...yeah. Really great to see people reaching out and grabbing those with with two arms because yeah, that's going to help lift the capability as well. Cool, Very cool. All right now I'm going to give you the responsibility of an entire country here. What's really? I have never been to New Zealand. I can't wait to go. It can be in Auckland, it can be anywhere you want. It can be a wine country if you want it to be go to Marlborough, whatever. Where should we go eat? Uh look at it as I said, it's a pretty hard choice. But if I think about just recently for me, I think Waiheke Island deserved 45 minute boat ride from Auckland. You feel like you're in another world and the restaurant is two there that I that I'd recommend. But I'm gonna say casita miro, which is like a spanish tapas restaurant. They also, it's in a vineyard, they have like great wine, fantastic food and not only that like the owner is um, does all of these gowdy inspired mosaic, art, walls and sculptures. So, I mean you feel like you're in a little slice of Barcelona or you know somewhere in, in some 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 to new Zealand Amanda, thank you so much. So great to have you on and looking forward to following everything that you do is as we continue to grow the revenue 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. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review in the Apple podcasts. Spotify sentences, friends and make sure you smash that subscribe button. I can see the people that listen and don't send it to friends who do that reminder. This episode was brought to you by drift the new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more and get the conversation 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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