SalesTechStar Interview with Brian Westnedge, Sr. Director, Global Channels at Valimail
Despite it being a challenging time for most businesses, sales quotas and targets are not going to go away during the Covid-19 era…but what businesses can do is be reasonable in the expectations they are setting shares Brian Westnedge, Sr. Director of Global Channels at Valimail in this interview. Catch the complete QnA where he shares his thoughts on B2B and Tech sales along with some proven tips:
Tell us a little about yourself Brian? What’s a typical day at work like for you at Valimail?
I’ve been working in email deliverability and security for the last 15 years, with a specific focus on email authentication and DMARC since 2012. My overarching goals are to drive revenue with and through our channel partners globally, and ensure that the partnership is a win-win for both parties.
A typical day for me starts with calls with partners and end users in EMEA, followed by internal meetings to discuss partner strategy and marketing, calls with US partners and end users, and typically ending with our daily cross-functional sales stand-up meeting.
In your time in technology sales roles, especially given your experience within the email automation niche: could you talk about some of your biggest learnings and highlights when it comes to expanding the business?
Since I’m a channel guy, I truly believe that partners have to be the force multiplier for your business and that you have to make it as easy for them to work with you as possible. The best partnerships are built on trust, but also on the value you can deliver to both the partner and the end user. We’ve had a lot of success with partners using our technologies themselves–once they see how it works and “drink their own champagne” so to speak, they are much better equipped to market and promote our products as true believers.
How have you seen the typical role of the B2B technology sales executive evolve over the years? We’d love your observations on how you’ve seen the impact of the changing salestech landscape play a role here.
Obviously, the days of seller-focused, interrupt-driven, top-down sales tactics are over. Sales execs that truly listen, focus on problem solving, and the needs of the buyer, rather than the needs of the seller, will outperform the pack. You have to assume that your prospect has done the research, and has at least a working knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses versus your competition. LinkedIn, when used judiciously, can be your greatest friend; if used unwisely, it can be your biggest enemy.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest business development wins and strategies from your journey so far, especially best practices that have worked well in achieving end goals and winning clients.
I’ve found that any history of being a practitioner immediately adds credibility to the sales process. Further, if you’ve had roles outside of sales (for me, product management and customer success have been a few) you can often relate better to the buyers you are speaking with. I’ve found that the old adage to treat others in the same manner in which you’d like to be treated rarely steers me wrong. Nobody likes to be sold to, but everyone wants to partner with a trusted advisor who can demonstrably solve a real problem for them.
Some of the most fulfilling wins of my career have been signing key strategic partners who had a meaningful outcome of the success of the company as a whole, lent credibility from a global perspective, and established long and lasting relationships.
What are the biggest takeaways you’d share with sales teams the world over (who are now forced to be remote) given the current world situation and related challenges?
Basic sales principles still apply, but with flexibility. Appreciate the fact that you or your meeting participants may look a little different than they would in a typical business setting, and have background noise and be joined by children, partners and animals at various points unexpectedly. Understand that the shift to and management of a remote workforce may be all-consuming for the average IT exec, and you need to be cognizant and realistic about the priority of your products within the org.
Most technology sales and marketing teams are focusing on developing business relations during this time, without actual selling – what are some of the ways you as a sales leader are making changes to business plans given current challenges?
Well, as much as we’d like them to, quotas and targets aren’t going away during the Covid-19 era! We are fortunate at Valimail that email security is still a top concern for most of the companies we are speaking with, and protecting the remote workforce is paramount. That said, as our target market adjusts to a new reality, we have to as well and be reasonable with the expectations that we are setting with our sales org and board.
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and sales leadership books you’d suggest everyone in Sales reads!
“Know What You Suck At & Suck Less [Than Your Competition]” – Brad Feld
Not Taught by Jim Keenan,
The One Minute Salesperson by Spencer Johnson,
The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
Valimail is a pioneering, identity-based, anti-phishing company that has been ensuring the global trustworthiness of digital communications since 2015. Valimail delivers the only complete, cloud-native platform for validating and authenticating sender identity to stop phishing, protect and amplify brands, and ensure compliance. Valimail has won more than a dozen prestigious cybersecurity technology awards and authenticates billions of messages a month for some of the world’s biggest companies and organizations, including Uber, Splunk, Yelp, Fannie Mae, Mercedes Benz USA, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Brian is the Senior Director of Global Channel Sales at Valimail