The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 5 months ago

Ep 169: VP Growth at Pavilion w/ Laura Guerra

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Ep 169: VP Growth at Pavilion w/ Laura Guerra

Part of the TGIM (Thank God It's Monday!) series hosted by Tom Alaimo.

All right, welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. This is your host, Tom Alamo. Thank God, it's monday. Uh this is the show where revenue leaders come to learn the tips and the tricks, the tactics that they need to be successful in their roles as operators. Let's get into this thing. We're kicking off december here second week in december. Really excited. I actually had uh Laura Guerra, who is the VP of Growth at Pavilion on my podcast. I run a second podcast. My own show called Millennial Sales. It's all about helping young sales people in their careers. So if you're interested in that, definitely go check it out on Spotify and Apple and Youtube and everywhere. Um but I wanted to, I thought it would be a miss to not share our interview with you all, she did such a great job and I got to learn so much about her career. Uh we talked about how she came from D one cheerleading at colorado to uh to get into sales, talked about her mom, who's a badass that is still in sales to this day and has been for decades. Uh we talked about discipline and how discipline leads to mastery and uh we talked about Pavilion, we talked about a bunch of different things, it's got a great attitude. Um and like I said, has been super successful throughout her career. So I think there's a lot to learn from her and if you're a Pavilion member definitely hit her up uh if you have questions or want to connect or want to learn from her. So without further ado, let's get into my conversation here with LG All right, This episode of the Pavilion podcast is brought to you by Sandoz. So Sandoz. So the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey by connecting digital and physical strategies. Companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. Now, let's get into the show. All right now, on the millennial sales podcast, we have Laura LG Gara, the vice president of Growth over at Pavilion L. G. How you doing? What's going on tom It's going well, how are you? I'm doing well. I'm trying to stay sane amidst all of the Q four. Craziness going on. Absolutely, absolutely. I, I hear you there. I, uh, my sister's getting married on New Year's Eve and some telling everyone please, for the love of God have whatever contracts that we need, whatever timelines we need, how to do it. Before then. I don't want to be in between like dancing to shout and like emailing you about a procurement questions. So, uh, that's my fingers are crossed on that. That's smart, smart move. I talked to my team about linearity right? Like not waiting until the last day of the month, last day of the quarter. So yeah, Smart move. What's your, what's your tip? How do you, how do you coach on that? I'm curious. So I think it's integrating some of the, whether it be incentives or some of the stuff that's typically held for quarter end and even actually providing incentives for like a month one of that quarter, right? Versus waiting until the third month of the quarter. Um, so that's something that I've done in the past. Um, and also like creating some sort of compelling event, right? It could be a special onboarding, some sort of special launch, Um, not necessarily a discount, but some sort of additional offering or incentive on month one. And really just being transparent with the prospect. Like, Hey, like a big initiative for us is linearity. It's the first month of our quarter. And so like this aligns if this aligns with your timeline, let's figure out if we can make something happen this month. How I know that there's obvious reasons why that's important for the holidays and things can get pushed, but that is actually something that my Director of Sales talks a lot about is the linearity. How, how important is that for you? If...

...you're looking at two reps, they both close the same amount of money um, of revenue in the quarter one does it like pretty linearly, you know, maybe like 25%, the first month, 25 and then 50 or one person that closes nothing for two months and then lands it all the last week of the quarter. Like do you view them differently? No, transparently. No right? Like at the end of the day results are what matter? And um in terms of like viewing the rep and their overall performance that doesn't make an impact. However it's it's really just about eliminating risk right? Like if you're waiting until the last month of the quarter. Which is what like a lot of reps get comfortable like all right. Like you know I just off the last week of the month like jitters and anxiety and that push um and take a few weeks off to let the foot off the gas. Like that's when you should actually be going in head first so that you can go into the last month of the quarter thinking strategically. Um You know any deals that come in great but you're not waiting and like feeling that sense of anxiety the last month of the quarter. So totally that makes sense. Um So I want to get into your career a little bit. So I saw uh C. U. Boulder um D. One cheerleader. Is that right? It is. It is. And then first job out of school in scent like went straight into sales. Um So talk talk to me a little bit about that. Like how you got into sales and maybe how the competitive world of cheerleading which I imagine you've probably done your whole life up to that point. Um Kind of prepared you for that. Yeah. Absolutely. So I have a pretty I think rare career path in that, like I knew I wanted to be in sales since I was a kid, which, you know, my friends in school were like, I want to be an accountant, like I want to be in advertising, I was like, I want to get the sales, and they were like, okay, like loser, and I'm like, give me now right, Like it's a great career if you're doing well, like it's a big joke. But yeah, so my mom was actually in sales kind of in the like, process on prem software days and door to door sales, and she's like, this is a great career, you know, if you like helping people feel like making money, you like solving problems like this is the path to go down. Um And so, you know, just watching her and seeing her success in sales at a young age inspired me uh to get into the field. And so I would say with cheerleading, I was a gymnast for years and a cheerleader at University of Colorado go buffs. And I would say that that taught me a few different things, and I would say like the first being disciplined, right? And that's why a lot of hiring managers tend to hire athletes, but I think it's more than just athletes, right? Like it's whether you learn a new language, whether you have learned how to um play an instrument, it's really about mastery, right? Like does this person have the discipline to master something. Um, and so I think that's what, what cheerleading taught me at a competitive level and in addition to just like performing under high levels of stress and pressure, right? Because that's what sales is, its continuous levels of pressure and stress and being able to be resilient and overcome that. So that's, I think that is most importantly what the competitiveness of cheerleading taught me. I love that. So your mom, all of what you were growing up was in sales and you know, I feel like the common thread that we usually hear about sales people if we're not exposed to, that is like the used car salesman or the wolf of Wall street mentality or whatever it might be. Um, but you seem to have had like a very positive reflection of that at an early age, like, wow mom is kicking ass. She maybe she's making good money. She's doing really well. Like that was what, and you're like, I want to be like that when I grow up. Yeah, absolutely. Like I saw her like flying on planes, going to France to close deals, like flying...

...first class, like, you know, so watching her success gave me a totally different view of the field in general. And I think that's why I like so many of my friends who didn't have parents and sales right, had had, its kind of the joke of the, of the group, right? And so um certainly I think the environment that you, that you grew up in and that's why I like to this day, I'm like with some of my friends um but aren't sure what they want to do, I'm like, you've got to get into like at least try sales, right? Like I always, that's kind of like the other joke with our friend groups, like LG is always trying to get people who aren't in sales into sales um because there's 11,000 open sales, tech jobs right now, so tremendous opportunity for people in the craft, like even if you're not the most amazing at it, like you can still build and grow and be successful. Um So a huge advocate of just like the profession in general, what would you? Um and I know some friends that have transitioned different careers that they were in for five or 10 years into sales within the last few and have seen success and like, wow, I didn't even know this world existed. What what would you tell those people if you did, if they did transition over to sales from another job and they were just starting like, what would your advice be to them? Yeah, so the first thing, and this is, this would be my advice to, I guess not just even sales, but really any profession is, I don't know if you've read the talent Code by Daniel Coyle. It's a book that Katie had me read and it's one of my favorite just sales and business books in general, but it really talks about the fact that um like, well many people believe that talent is predestined, you know, you have a great deal of control over your success and over your ability to build your skills. And so I think often times and like I was one of those people, I was like, I was born to be a seller, like, no, I just always was around that growing up and I, you know, my first job out of college when I was 16 was selling clothes on For $4 an hour plus commission at 16. So I was just always surrounding myself and practicing the scale of learning people understand what they care about and then speaking to how I can help solve their their challenges. So it was something that was practiced over time, but that would be my advice to anybody looking to get into sales is just like a know that it's going to be hard, it's gonna suck, like, and even for a lot of Sdrs transitioning to their first eight year old for six months, building pipe learning the craft, it's going to be very, very difficult and um you know, so it's like anything else, it's just taking incredible amount of time to build those skills. Um so So you were at 16, that was your first job selling, where, where was that? What the buckle, like a local uh belt company or like it's like a midwest um Like you know, gosh, what are those like trucker hats, trucker hats and like e genes like very colorado. Yeah, I had some pretty cool outfits, maybe I'll rock in one of these days. But yeah, so so when you got into your first uh you know job post grad, was that human scale? It was, yep. So like you have this mentality about sales, you've learned indirectly from your mom, you're selling things at the buckle, like what was the first job experience like for you coming out of school? Yeah, so human scale is a global manufacturer of ergonomics equipment and consulting. So this $1000 ergonomic chair that I'm sitting in right now. We sold like height adjustable tables led lighting, So it was pretty old school industry with $500 million 400 sales reps. Where...

...we were selling through distributors, the same thing as a car dealership. We would sell to dealers as well as directly into companies. So we would call for example, you know, the global head of real estate and facilities at Uber and say, hey I see you're opening a new building. We should, we should talk about standardizing your equipment with our product. So like again not sass super old school, like out of field sales, right? Field sales, we didn't have any sales tech. Um We had Cornette like generic Crm and lead lists and it was a good old cold call days and you know what I really how I got into that was just through uh through a connection and I interned for them in college and just learned like an incredible amount of like the traditional skills that you need to be successful in sales. The first being like presentation skills in public speaking. So that was something that's not often taught in in Inside sales today. So that was a really big focus at the time. And I also learned that, you know, People like to talk about two things themselves and their work, which is why I love being on this on this podcast today, but, but like, again, you know, so often like reps get caught up in like my products are features, you know, me, me, me and so that was like a really a big lesson from that company. So yeah, definitely interesting to see how my career has evolved since then, you know, dramatically different than the role that I had after that that will, So, so I want to talk about Pavilion for a few minutes because everyone that knows me knows I'm a huge advocate for it. It's one of the best career decisions I feel like I've made in the last, I made it about, you know, almost two years ago. Um first of all VP of growth, is that just a different name for VP of sales or do you have other responsibilities that you're in charge of? Two? It's it's really just a different name. When I joined Pavilion we will only be two C. Right? So anyone listening to this podcast could go online and fill out an application to join the community. Now we are selling corporate memberships. So um it's yeah so really common phrase for Btc. Kind of growth hackers but really the same thing as a VP of sales. Got it. So what's the what has been the biggest difference for you and selling you know going working other places and selling like a physical product versus at pavilion it's a membership. It's you know there's like all this opportunity that someone has and there's these schools and events and networking opportunities and knowledge that you can gain but it's hard to like really you can't just like show someone so they can't touch it and feel it really like you can with another type of product. Um How have you all gone about that? Like maybe in a different way or maybe it's the same thing. Yeah. Yeah it's interesting because I've sold physical products like chairs to mindfulness and emotional intelligence software to food tech like literal lunch programs and a membership to a community. So the interesting thing about that is you know the methodology is all the same. Right? And I like I think people people have different sales methodologies but my personal opinion is like they're really all the same around like this value based selling, you know, what is the current state, What are they currently doing? What what are the problems? Can we quantify the problem? What is an ideal solution look like? And what is the benefit of change? So whether that's, you know, a city chair, um and and that's causing back pain and that could cause a worker's comp claim and here's what $1000 chair can do for you and your productivity versus, you know, Spending 1000 bucks to invest in your career, in your development, to learn...

...new skills to meet executives at the fastest-growing companies in the world. You know, it's the same approach even though it's dramatically different products. Mm What may be just as like a very high level for folks that aren't familiar with pavilion, like maybe you can just they might not even know it as its name now, they might know it as the revenue collected too. So maybe you could just give like a quick kind of like 32nd run down for the audience to for sure. So, Pavilion is a career enablement platform really designed to help our members get to the next level of their career. So whether you're an SDR whether you're an executive, a C R O C M O We have various programs around peer to peer learning. So grouping you, if you're in any with other 80s? If you want to become a manager will network you with managers with other executives to learn from. So we've got different topics of channels around sales development, sales, enablement of enterprise best practices, prospecting, you name it where you can ask questions and get feedback. We also have a variety of courses and certification programs where you can take sales development school, sales school, frontline manager school if your goal is from manager, we also have a rising executive program if your goal is to become a director or eventually get into the VP role. Oftentimes these skills aren't taught, Even though I knew I wanted to be in sales, like I didn't study sales in school, I just kind of had to learn as I learn on the fly as most people in revenue roles do. And so that's really what we're providing along with a number of kind of career enablement services to helping you find a job, helping you negotiate the best offer every anything you might need to level two become better in your current role or get that next role that you're looking for. You can find within the community. That's a hell of a pitch right there. At least I'm doing something right. That's great. Um I'd love to hit you with a few um, rapid fire style questions for the next few minutes as we're, as we're gearing towards the end here. Um, so first I want to get too, we're big learners on this podcast, big readers, you mentioned the talent code earlier. I'm curious if there's any other books that have either made a big impact in your career. Um any of that you've really liked even just reading this year, it doesn't have to be necessarily sales related. It could be really anything, but just curious if anything comes to mind. Yeah, so the qualified sales leader by john McMahon was a great man and definitely not just for, for sales leaders. Um, another one is uh, oh gosh, uh, First Break All the rules, which was my first management read and also, um, just, yeah, one of the most eye opening books that I can still remember years ago. Um, so, and then retention point is the most recent one that I read all around specifically membership growth and really the importance of, of retention as a growth strategy, which is a very popular topic right now as a result of covid. So those are some recent months on the topic of the first book you read as a manager. Um, I feel like a lot of people in the audience are either aspiring to be a bit a manager or our first time manager is a tough role. Any tips that you give to your former self, like the first time that you lead a team. So I would say this is all first share a piece of advice that I got. That was my north Star for getting the role that I but I want at any given point in my career, which is my mom always told me like act it and you will be it. If you want to be a manager, you act like a leader on the team. You've got to be a leader first. It's not like, well I'm an A. E. So like once I get promoted to manager, then I will step into a leadership role in the management. All right. If you are a E and you want to get into management, you are going out of your way to help onboard new reps without your manager asking you to your...

...checking in with them. You're asking your manager, Hey, can I mentor this person? I noticed they need some help in these areas. Uh Hey, you know, I've really, I've learned a lot of new techniques and prospecting. Like would you want me to lead a weekly prospecting session on these things? Like it's not my job, but I'm going to go above and beyond to help you out. Right. If you help your manager and make them look good, they will help accelerate your career because they don't want to lose you. So, I would say that's like a piece of advice that I've always embraced. Um that's helped me get various roles and then um I guess advice to myself in terms of what ah what I would tell myself as a first time manager is and this is a common mistake that most first time managers make, which is like we want to be liked because I've stepped into a role where I was managing my peers, so just having a transparent conversation of, you know, and really just even and this is where you know, plug here, front line manager school, right? I guess I didn't really have any management training. So I really just wanted my team to like me and I felt like that's what would have, that's what would motivate them versus really thinking about accountability metrics and a sort of operating cadence that would make an impact to have that level of like separation because you can still be, you know, and energizing and motivating and inspiring leader while not trying to be liked all the time. Mm I love that. Also your mom just sounds like a badass. Can we just put that out there? We got to get her on the podcast. Really is All right. What's next question? What's bumping in the L. G. Spotify or apple music or wherever you listen to music? Like what's, what's going in the headphones nowadays. Okay, so the first thing is drink any and all drake is like my number one artist of the year for probably the past few years. Um Justin Bieber I mean just it is what it is. I'm a believer and like I would say the playlist is like chill R and B is kind of like my, you know, late night on the laptop, looking at the forecast, like, you know, chill or old school hip hop as well are kind of like the two stations on Spotify that um, that are my go to, I love it. We're right, we're on the same page on, on all of those. Um, I got two more for you. Um, anyone that you've been following recently could be like a linked in follow, it could be good podcasts that you listen to, it could be youtube channel or whatever it is that however you kind of like learn and take it in for information, but anyone that stands out or shows that stand out are blogs that you've been tuning into recently, I think. So where I personally have been learning the most hasn't been from uh from linkedin or blogs or things like that. It's been through my executive mentors in pavilion. I actually, just before this podcast got off with um Russ Makowski, he's one of our consultants in the community, so I'm personally grateful that I am also a member of civilians still. However, with that being said, I would say I still do learn a lot from, from linkedin Kyle Coleman is fantastic. I follow him, Kevin Dorsey is great. Follow him. Um and so those are the uh, I'm blanking his name Floren. He's an SDR leader with some really, really great tactical pieces of advice for either SDRs or SDR leaders Floren. Um I'm blanking his and blanking his name. Um but yeah, those would be kind of the main the main players. Got you. All...

...right. Last question, who should come on the millennial sales podcast next that you know who um who should come on the millennial sales podcasts? Let me think about this. I know lots of great people, I would say. Uh uh and this is, I'm saying this not because he's my little brother, but Stephen Dara, if you if you do like family editions, uh that would be kind of fun, kind of cool, but he's don't tell him I said this, hopefully he doesn't listen to this, but he is an absolute rock star and he be smarter than me. Um uh but he's an SDR leader right now and he's built SGR program from the ground up, he's pretty successful for where he's at in his career and I've learned a lot from him as far as breaking into enterprise accounts and just really kind of tactical um you know, sales development techniques. So I think he would be kind of a cool guest. And the other person I would say would be um I guess what, who would you be looking for? Like a like a leader or an individual contributor or uh either one I've had, I've had anyone from an SDR two Ceo, you know, all all on here. Let's get sam Jacobs, he I had him on, I'll get him back. Let's get him back on though. Yeah, let's get him, let's get him back on. And then the other person I think would be, um, I think uh, Caitlin over at charge be, um uh, she's the head of global enablement, she would be a really good person to have on as well as uh let me think here, let me think of a strong female leader. Um, look at these referrals, everyone, this is how you get them at the end of a call. Yes, absolutely, yes. This is how you do referrals. Um, Katie Ivi would be great. Uh as well as um, as well as jen Spencer who was actually recently promoted to president at Smart book. Um, she was actually promoted for a few in a few different executive level roles. Smart bug. Also a member of Pavilion, but I think it's pretty rare that you find a female in that in that position and she's just fantastic. So hopefully that gives you a few people. That's great. And I've never had the family, I've never had, like a sibling duo of podcast guests in my years of doing it, so that's fun too. Um, so I'll be going for steven, L g I know we're at our time here, I appreciate you coming on. Uh, maybe just before you go, let us know where is the best place for folks to hit you up if they have questions or want to connect linkedin or in Pavilion slack, That's it. That's it. I appreciate you coming on. Thank you. Bye Tom if you see something. All right. Thanks for checking out that episode. Again. This was brought to you by Sandoz. So they deliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make your outreach more personal. I'll be back next monday with another episode until then hit me up on linkedin and get after it. Peace. Mhm.

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