SaleTechStar Interview with Maria Graham, Director of Sales, Nuspire

Should sales teams be capitalizing more on social media tools during this pandemic for better insights into their prospects key interests and buying behaviors? Maria Graham, Director of Sales, Nuspire chats about this and much more in this QnA with SalesTech Star:


Hi Maria, welcome to SalesTechStar! Tell us about your journey through the years…we’d love to hear about the Nuspire Platform? How has it grown over the years?

I started at Nuspire a little over nine years ago as an intern! I sat at the front desk, greeted guests, ran typical intern errands, set up client entertainment etc. At that time, Nuspire had roughly 30-40 employees and one office building. We all wore multiple hats in order to get the job done. As such, I honed my skills with the sales team while I was interning. It fascinated me how they became a bridge from the knowing to the unknowing and had the ability to explain rather complex cybersecurity technologies in layman’s terms.  I started doing what I do best – asking a lot of questions–how long does it take to make a sale? How many calls are you making a day? Have you looked at using this analogy? I remember the Director of Sales at the time laughing in response to these questions and saying “Whoa! Don’t put the carriage in front of the horse.” 

The next day I received an offer letter for my first official sales position at Nuspire. I remember closing my first deal and the sense of accomplishment that comes with helping clients find the right solutions to address their cybersecurity needs. From a technology perspective, Nuspire’s growth over the last nine years is night and day. We have always done a good job staying ahead of the technology curve, but the biggest shift we have seen is going from developing all aspects of our technology to figuring out what makes sense to build out in-house and where can lean on our solid technology partners to deliver a robust and customizable at scale solution. Nine years and astronomical growth later, Nuspire is still a fast paced and friendly environment with an amazing culture. We now have three office locations, two SOCs and a lex SOC, and our sales staff has tripled. My whole career feels like catching a ride on a rocket ship to the moon! 

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Take us through some of the biggest changes your sales team has had to undergo during this ongoing pandemic?

There are two types of challenges: personal and professional. At the professional level, it was difficult at the start of the pandemic because there was a lot of uncertainty. We had to think outside the box and reinvent our messaging and strategize on the industries that would be most in need of our services as a result of the shift to remote work. Companies were freezing budgets, so we got creative around our billing strategies. In our space, we used to packing a bag several times a month to go meet with and make connections with our prospects and customers face to face—that was no longer an option. So, we adapted, turning to video calls, focusing more on relationship building and ways we could get to know our prospects and customers on a human level.  

This inability to travel impacted our sales team on a personal level, as well. All of a sudden, we’re working a full-time job at home with our significant others, children, roommates and/or pets. Some of us, including myself, lost childcare creating more unique challenges. We leaned on each other more than ever before. We sat down together as a team, looked at the challenges and provided recommendations to our leadership on where we need to make some changes. I am confident we all came out stronger on the otherside. 

What are some of the go-to sales technologies you’ve used over the years (and those that you still swear by) that you feel sales teams can highly benefit from?

Social media is an incredibly useful sales tool. I spend a lot of time doing deep dives on prospects via their company social media profiles. We’ve had some success with standard sequencing technology. Our marketing team is using some cool technology to help with our top of the funnel growth and account-based marketing. In my opinion, the most important tool is structured note capturing—the most critical aspect of our job is listening to our clients and capturing them word for word to ensure we’re aligned on goals, priorities, expectations.  

Can you share a few thoughts on how you feel today’s sales leaders in tech (especially those driving revenue / customer facing strategies) need to align strategies to centralized tools to suit remote working needs and challenges better?

It hard to say when we’ll go back to an onsite sales experience, so it is vital that sales teams implement an integrated approach to sales and cloud-based systems and tools to provide customers with a mature and robust digital experience. Technology cannot introduce friction, technology must enable sales teams, providing ease of access and use from anywhere.

A few must-dos that every sales team should follow in 2021, as the pandemic and vaccine situation dominate a lot changes and upcoming trends?

When working with a prospect or current customer, it is important to diagnose before prescribing a solution. The reverse doesn’t work, it never has, but things are very different, pain points have changed in the client environment. Sales teams should approach each conversation with a fresh perspective and never assume you know how to can help.

Stay ahead of the curve – it’s up to us as technology sales professionals to educate ourselves on the technology landscape and share what we are hearing in the market with our teams. 

Remember to trust the sales process, introduce rigor in your process and to have fun! The best part of a sales career is the ability to create our own destiny, have every day be wildly different and embrace the challenge!

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Over twenty years ago, Nuspire was born out of the devotion to provide a new, fresh and inspiring approach in solving the security gaps that many businesses faced.

Maria Graham is the Director of Sales at Nuspire

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