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PODCAST 128: How to Unshackle Your Career Growth With a Mentor with Tom Martin

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Today on the show we’ve got Tom Martin, an incredible leader who started at the bottom in research and development at Hewlett Packard. Today, in addition to having worked at Nuance Communications, Tom is leading a $250 million business as the chief revenue officer at iCIMS. He and I talk about how you can get better at your career.

If you missed episode 127, check it out here: Leadership Lessons From 10 Years of Democratizing Youth Sports w/ Brian Litvack

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:04]
  2. Who is Tom Martin and what is iCIMS? [03:15]
  3. The evolution of business from the early 1990s to the present [12:44]
  4. Key elements of a growth plan [18:34]
  5. How Tom is managing through the pandemic [23:18]
  6. Advice for managing a 30-year career [30:47]
  7. Sam’s Corner [39:07]

Show Introduction [00:04]

Sam Jacobs: Today on the show we’ve got Tom Martin, an incredible leader who started at the bottom in research and development at Hewlett Packard. Today, in addition to having worked at Nuance Communications, Tom is leading a $250 million business as the chief revenue officer at iCIMS. He and I talk about how you can get better at your career.

Before we get to that conversation, we want to thank our two sponsors. The first sponsor is Sapper Consulting. Sales enablement is easy, right? All you have to do is create perfectly targeted content, stay informed on email, best practices, drive more engagement, quarter over quarter, spend less money. Oh, and do all of this with less time. Okay? It’s not that easy, but Sapper Consulting has built Regie to keep the promise of sales enablement alive and keep your team doing what they do best, which is winning. Regie uses artificial intelligence to create entire outbound, inbound and even follow up sales campaigns faster using over one billion rows of performance data across 75 industries. Regie uses your targeting to inform your campaigns, decreasing the time your team spends creating campaigns. And because the campaigns are structured on email best practices, your campaign warmup period will shrink the result. More sales meetings, that means more money. Start creating better sequences faster, visit go.regie.io.

Our second sponsor is Outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by shifting away from siloed conversations to a more streamlined and customer-centric journey. They got the next generation of AI already built into the platform and it allows you as a rep to deliver consistent, relevant and responsible communication every time you press that send button for each prospect, enabling personalization at scale, previously unthinkable.

If you haven’t joined the Revenue Collective yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that we are doing some incredible things. You’re listening to this in September, I think we just had our September offsite all and completely focused on explaining and exploring the diversity playbook, which I believe we just released.

We’re doing a million great things. We’ve got so many sub-communities. We’ve got over 3000 members and so far based on most of what people tell me, they’re incredibly happy. We’re helping them find their job, get better at their job, explore new career opportunities and plug in to a caring, compassionate, ethical, driven community that’s going to help you take your career where you want it to go.

Now, without further ado, let’s listen to this interview with Tom Martin.

Who is Tom Martin and what is iCIMS? [03:15]

Sam Jacobs: Today on the show we’re incredibly honored and excited to have Tom Martin, the CRO of iCIMS, which is hopefully a company that you know about in the human capital space. Tom has more than 25 years of experience in the technology hardware and software businesses. He has an extensive background overseeing large and small global teams in sales and operations, along with a proven track record of generating revenue growth. Prior to his CRO role at iCIMS, Tom held senior leadership positions at several companies, including Hewlett Packard, Symantec, Rackspace and Nuance Communications. He holds an MBA from the University of Oregon and a BA in business administration from Pacific University. He’s also served in the U.S. Navy. Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Martin: Thanks Sam, glad to be here.

Sam Jacobs: We’re excited to have you. So the first place we’d like to start is what we call your baseball card, where we contextualize your expertise and your insights. So we know your name, Tom Martin, we know your title. Tell us a little bit about iCIMS as a company.

Tom Martin: iCIMS is a company that’s about 20 years old and they’ve been in the HR space for quite a long time. I joined about a little over a year ago, but they’ve grown basically from zero to a $250 million company. And they’ve also gone through some transition where the original founder is now on the board, but no longer on the management team. And this company is really at the leading edge of how other companies find talent. So when you’re looking for people in the market and you’re trying to find the best candidate for your workforce, it’s iCIMS who leads the pack today. In fact, the organization is roughly the size of its top five competitors combined. So we’re in a very good space and it’s a very hot market even now in the middle of a pandemic, but it’s a great company to be out there. It really does help other companies right now do something that’s critically important and that’s hiring their talent and getting good people on board.

Sam Jacobs: Tell us about the size of your team and the functions within your team, because so many of our listeners I’m sure are going to be interested in what is the size and scope of a CRO for a $250 million business.

Tom Martin: It’s funny because I’m on the third CEO actually, since I got here. And so there’s always been some constant change, but what I would say is that when I started, I essentially had anybody that was touching a customer. So all of sales, all of service, all of operations, all of customer success. And since then, we’ve sort of broadened our leadership team and we brought in a COO. And so all of the service side of the business, as well as customer success has moved in under her and I have all of the sales and operations functions. It’s about roughly 300 people versus when I started, which was about 500 people, but it’s been a good move as we expand the leadership team so that we can get clear focus and I get to zero in on driving growth for the business. And our COO gets to really zero in on driving our customer success and they’re essentially getting the delivery of our promise.

Sam Jacobs: How’d you get into sales? What was the journey that led you to this point?

Tom Martin: In the early 90s, I started working for Hewlett Packard, which I’m sure everybody’s familiar with the brand and they actually taught me pretty much everything I know from a basics perspective. I was there for 23 years. I started in manufacturing and research and development, and then very quickly realized that, that was a lot harder and less fun than marketing organization. And so I found my way into the marketing organization a few years after I started there.

And from there on I did several marketing roles and then launched into sales, really did retail sales back then. So this was back before there was ever a Walmart or a Staples, big box retail didn’t really exist, but it was on the verge of becoming and so helped build that business and was reasonably successful in the sales roles.

I called on every one of the retailers you can think of at some point or another I spoke to, but that’s how I started my career in sales. I moved several years later into the B2B space and did quite a lot there and then was asked by the company to come back into the BU, the business unit and run the business unit for what you would consider are supplies organization or HP supplies organization. So think about cartridges, toner cartridges, ink cartridges in your printers. That’s what I did, it was a roughly $13 billion business. And I learned a lot about how to run a business and build a business, but it really wasn’t for me, it was a great experience for me for the couple of years that I did that, but I wanted to get back into the field and really run a region.

And so I moved to Europe and spent some time the last five years actually at HP in Europe, managing all of Europe, Middle East and Africa and all of their consumers in B2B business for the consumer product lines. Had a great time there, but at some point after 23 years, I decided the next move for me was really not at HP. And so I moved back to the US, I was living in Geneva, Switzerland at the time, moved back to the US and went to work for a company called Symantec. Symantec, as you know was in the security industry, learned a lot there, but I jumped really from sales into an operational function and ran global operations for them. And this was all about how you get 40 different companies that have been acquired under the Symantec umbrella and get them into one architecture so that you could ultimately get the synergies out of those acquisitions.

And what ended up happening was we built the data business and the security business and consolidated all the different 40 companies into those two pieces, and then spun off what you may recall as Veritas in a successful spin off from Symantec so they could go forward with security. And after that, I met a CEO at Rackspace down in San Antonio who was interested in doing some very different things around operations as well. And given the space that Rackspace was in, wanted to take the company from being a public company to a private company. So operationally we put together the plan and ultimately took the company private with the Polo Partners. And then I left there and did something similar over at Nuance Communications with a small division that really wasn’t a core piece of their voice technology, and then did that. We ultimately spun that off to Kofax, I don’t know, a couple of years ago now.

And then I was looking for the next thing and ran into iCIMS and for me, I wanted to get back into a high growth business. The last better part of the decade was all operational and really digging in and doing the hard work around what cost cutting should be done, what synergies should be gotten, et cetera. But that’s not really fun. You learn a lot, but it’s not nearly as fun as being in sales. So going back into a business with high growth, whether it was really a focus on growth and not OpEx control, was something I was looking for. And then secondly, I was really looking for a great leadership team and I ran into that. I think the team that is at iCIMS today is world-class, and we have a good time together and that matters, especially on an executive team. So that’s sort of the Reader’s Digest version. Sorry, if I was too long there, Sam.

Sam Jacobs: It’s a fascinating and incredibly impressive career. And I guess I’m surprised that the supplies business, which is the toner cartridges and the accessories, I thought that was mainly the profit driver of HP and you were running that business if I’m not mistaken. I’m surprised it wasn’t fun for you or stimulating.

Tom Martin: Well, it was absolutely fun and I learned a lot, but it wasn’t sales or customer facing. And I started to get the charge off of talking with people that aren’t in my company every day. I love doing the deal, I love engaging the customer and really understanding the needs that they have and how we can help find a solution. Running the business unit isn’t really about that. It’s more about how are you going to make sure the manufacturing supply chain is in place? How are you going to make sure that future product marketing turns into current product marketing and that all gets delivered to the market via prototype and ultimately manufacturing release. It’s the whole product side of things when you’re in the BU and I love the customer side. So not that I didn’t learn a lot, not that I didn’t gain a lot and not that I didn’t like some aspects of it. I just think for me being in a customer facing role was really where it’s at.

The evolution of business from the early 1990s to the present [12:44]

Sam Jacobs: You’ve had so many different experiences and it struck me as you were commenting that your first kind of revenue role was in marketing and then a lot of sales experience, a lot of operational experience. You’ve really seen the entire sweep of revenue generating functions within a big organization. And you’ve also been doing it for long enough that you’ve seen some changes. What do you think are the key things that have changed?

Tom Martin: When I started to work for HP right out of college, I thought I’d work there forever and retire. And a lot of people thought that back then, and now you see people moving companies all the time. The market moves at a completely different pace. And I don’t think hardly anyone is counting on a company to take them from the beginning through to retirement anymore, so that’s one significant change. The other thing I would say is that technology has changed dramatically over the last 20 years and the speed at which we’re moving forward, especially in the software space is just unbelievable. If you’re not on it, you’re falling behind and it is a very different pace than what it was back in the early 90s.

Sam Jacobs: How do you make sure that you are up to speed as you move from senior leadership role to senior leadership role on the best ways to make the best use of technology to help your company go to market?

Tom Martin: Some of the biggest things that you can do is really stay focused on what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s pretty easy to get buried in the minutia, what’s been successful for me is you have to always have a mindset that you’re going to move fast, faster than anyone else, which also means that you’re going to take risk, calculated risk, but risks nonetheless. And then you’re going to get the right people first, before you go take those risks and move fast, make sure you have the right people in the seat, and then make sure that what you’re focusing on with those people are things that are going to move the needle.

I talk to people all the time that I’ve built relationships with over time and you hear them buried in the minutia. And if you step back from the conversation you have to ask yourself, is that really going to move the needle for them? And it’s really easy. I see it all the time, including in myself, where you fall into the trap, where you’re going down a road or a rat hole and getting wrapped around the axle on something that honestly, whatever is decided isn’t really going to be a needle mover. So moving fast, getting the right people and staying focused on the needle movers is really what I’ve learned.

Sam Jacobs: When you think about the big mistakes people make, particularly when it’s their first big role, what is that the biggest mistake you see early executives make as they take on a broader portfolio?

Tom Martin: I would say from an executive standpoint, the biggest mistake I’ve made and the biggest mistake I continue to see all the time from peers and friends alike is taking too long to get the right people or taking too long to change out the people, to the people that you need, that you just never do it fast enough. And in this environment it’s critical that you have the right people so that you can move fast. And I think in general, what I see is there’s a lot of slower movement on that. And honestly, if you get the right people, don’t make the right calls and you don’t have to worry about being in the minutiae, but when you find yourself without the right people, you always find yourself with way more things you have to be involved in than you really should be that drive the needle.

Sam Jacobs: Do you have a framework for evaluating at this point like who you think are the right people, I’m sure it’s role specific, but do you have some heuristics around qualities of character or aptitude that you think make exceptional colleagues?

Tom Martin: From a colleague’s perspective it’s really: Do they have the experience that they need to do the job? That’s a simple one, but more importantly, especially at an executive leadership team, do you have chemistry and do you trust each other? Are you willing to invest in the relationship or so that you can trust each other? More often than not, you find that there are a few people on a leadership team that really don’t trust each other, and that’s just a recipe for disaster. So if you’re going to go into an executive leadership team or you’re hiring someone to join your executive leadership team, it’s more about, can I get along with this person and can I build a relationship of trust where we’re going to count on each other and have each other’s backs? You assume at the ELT level that they’re going to be experienced and they’ve got the pedigree and they’ve done sort of the rounds, but at the end of the day, it’s having a tight leadership team that makes companies successful.

Key elements of a growth plan [18:34]

Sam Jacobs: If you’re entrenched or immersed in the startup world and you hear 250 million, that might be the arrival. That might be the destination that you’re trying to get to. When you think about being asked to deliver whatever growth you’re being asked to deliver, what are the key elements of that plan?

Tom Martin: Before you take the job, make sure you know what the objectives are and make sure you’re clear from an outsider looking in without any sort of insight or knowledge that it makes sense that those objectives can be delivered. I look for, when I’m looking for a role or when I’m looking at any company, especially in the M&A space, is the market they’re in, one that’s got longevity. Are they in a position in that market of one or two? And when they drive forward with their customers, are their customers in a good position? Are they happy? Have they had them a long time? Are they sticking with them? Are they renewing multiple times? If you have clarity on the market and you have clarity on the customers, the rest is a little bit easier.

You also need to understand what new customers you want to go after. So am I trying to go after a customer that we haven’t proven our ability to do, or am I trying to go after a different kind of customer? And if it’s something I know how to do, it’s something I’ve done before, then that gives you a little bit more confidence. Not to say that companies don’t have to pivot and do things differently, they absolutely do. And you got to grow new muscle every single day. But when you’re looking at the thing you have to accomplish, does the market support what you’re trying to drive from a growth and profitability perspective? Do you have the people that can execute on that market? And do you have the products that are going to deliver against the competition, wherever it is you want to play.

Sam Jacobs: Are you saying, let me make sure I talk to this many customers, let me make sure, maybe I talk to this many churned customers, let me get a sense for the market. Is that a level of due diligence that you’re making sure that you do before you join a situation like this one?

Tom Martin: I wish that was possible. Right? But that’s not generally something that a company is going to say, “Yeah, I’ll just talk to my customers.” But it’s not hard to figure out when you’re going to a company what kind of customers they have and then in the iCIMS space you can actually go to a customer’s website and really begin to see who they’re using. So you can go to an enterprise customer and know what applicant tracking system they’re using, so I could easily figure out who the big customers were. And you can take a look at that implementation and determine based on the experience you’re seeing on their site, whether they’re a long term customer and they’ve done well. I mean, this stuff grows over time. They get better and better at it.

So that’s kind of how I did my research, but it’s certainly not as easy as saying, “Hey, Mr. CEO, will you let me talk to your customers?” That’s a little bit silly, but in the end you can do quite a bit more research than you might think. The internet gives us a lot of capability today.

Sam Jacobs: When you mentioned being aligned on the objectives, does that mean, are you, this is something we talk about amongst me and my colleagues in this organization I’m a part of called Revenue Collective. But as part of the objectives that they hand you their financial plan, their revenue plan for the next six, 12, 18, 24 months, or is it, this is generally where we want to go, but we expect you to partner with the CFO so that you can feel bought into these specific financial targets?

Tom Martin: Generally for a CRO job, you’re going to talk to the CFO in the interview process. So there are a lot of questions you can ask and get direct answers, but at the end of the day, you do need to understand what it is they are expecting. I mean, at iCIMS for example, they were looking for someone to come in and double their business in a specific period of time. That’s very clear. Now the question is, does my research or the research that I did line up to being able to do double. And if I ask the right questions in the interview process, is there any history over the last several years that suggest that this would just be a continued trajectory or we’d be radically increasing the trajectory to make this target? And those were the kinds of things that I asked in the process.

How Tom is managing through the pandemic [23:18]

Sam Jacobs: You mentioned you’ve been there about a year, and we’re six months into a unique circumstance. What’s it been like for you? And also you mentioned that in the time that you’ve been there, you’re on your third CEO, right?

Tom Martin: The founder was here when I joined, and there was a transition to a new CEO and our president sort of was acting, and then we got the new CEO right before the pandemic actually. And so here we are, but it’s been an interesting journey from a management perspective, but I don’t think in the 30 years or so of my career I’ve ever seen anything like this pandemic. What I will say is that the leadership team got together and said, immediately when we saw that this was going to impact us, we needed to make a plan. And we did, we basically sat down and figured out what were the key things we had to get done and how could we position ourselves to weather the storm and weather the storm for a long time, right? It’s not like we’re going to have a vaccine tomorrow.

And I think that sort of speed with which the leadership team got together, made those hard decisions and built that plan, and then executed on is what’s put us in the position we’re in today. And I think we’re very healthy. I mean, we continue to grow at a double digit year to date. There are not very many companies in the current environment that can say that, and we continue to drive success in our selling and service organizations.

Sam Jacobs: How have you changed your messaging? How have you changed your go to market strategy? How has the team, your specific team, how have you evolved them to make sure that you’re driving continued growth?

Tom Martin: We looked at some industry data, and we lined up our existing customers against that data and said, “Who are sort of the high medium and low risk to COVID customers that we have in our installed base and who are the high, medium and low risk in our prospect customer lists that we’re trying to go after? And recognizing on the customer base, those customers were already customers, but knowing they were about to go through a difficult time, we doubled down on our coverage with our existing customers. And our focus on existing customer growth was really around those customers where we knew that there was growth still to be had. I mean, good examples are large companies that are in the entertainment space, television, those kinds of things.

Those customers are thriving right now, customers that are in the communication space are thriving. And we zeroed in on them for our customer growth, but we added, we doubled down on our resources on that customer side of our business to actually the detriment of our hunter side of the business, the prospect side. We knew that it was going to be harder for people to sign deals right now because there’s just so much influx and pick a new partner. So let’s put those people on our existing customers and make sure we take care of them really well in the short term, until we can get through this and have a better line of sight. And then on the prospect side, we really focused in with the sales organization on those industries where we thought there was growth because of this pandemic. I mean, every economic issue has winners and there’s no exception here. There are plenty of places that are doing really fantastic right now and those are the places we’ve really focused and that’s how we’ve aligned our team.

So it required us to make a little bit of a change on our coverage model and that’s always disruptive as you know, in a sales org. It also required us to change people’s target accounts, which is always disruptive when you’ve got a prospect six to eight or nine months selling cycle, but those are the right things to do. And we had to bite the bullet on it. And I’m glad we did, because I think we’re starting to see the fruits of that. And we’ll be able to weather this storm for however long it lasts.

Sam Jacobs: Have there been internal enhancements, changes, as everybody moves to work from home? Have you changed your communication policy? Are you doing fewer of this type of meeting and more of that type of meeting? How are you helping the team as they navigate? I think this is a particularly sensitive time because so many parents of young children are thinking about what they’re going to do in a couple of weeks when school is supposed to start back up. How have you managed the internal challenges of keeping people engaged and motivated through all of this?

Tom Martin: A couple of key things. The first thing that we decided as an executive leadership team is that we were not going to put our people at risk at all. In fact, we were one of the first companies to send people home and be out of the office. And it makes zero sense for us to risk employee health. But coming with that is a challenge, right? We essentially have a situation where you got a big inside sales organization, you have a big BDR or SDR organization. And I, for one was very concerned about that. It’s like, these are people that are on the floor. You typically have the sort of comradery, you build out energy off of each other. How’s that going to work if everybody’s at home working from home and then add to that, the fact that not everyone worked at home, so people didn’t necessarily have PCs to take home, didn’t have connectivity.

I mean, you had all of those challenges that every company did, but we made it a priority that we were going to make it work. And what’s interesting is that we saw productivity rates on inside sales and on our BDR, SDR organization improve to the extent that over several weeks, we started to worry that my gosh, people are putting in ridiculous amounts of hours. So we started thinking about how to alleviate that. How do we create downtime for the organization? We were continuing to communicate, we might’ve even over communicated if you talk to some people in the organization. But we speak to our team every week, it’s just a priority because we’re not in the office. So we have scheduled calls that make that happen, update people on where things are headed. And we continue that.

But as we saw the amount of work people were doing from home and the amount of hours they were putting in, we also started thinking about how we make sure people can get downtime. How do we make sure people can get some rest? So what we’ve done is we’ve actually taken a lot more days and call them holidays, just like everyone’s off on Friday this week and we created extra holidays so that we can create that downtime for people knowing that everybody’s really on, because you’re literally steps from your office in every case.

Advice for managing a 30-year career [30:47]

Sam Jacobs: That’s admirable and I think you’re right. There’ve been a bunch of studies that have said people are working significantly more than they were previously. Just because the work environment is three steps away from wherever they are at any point.

Tom, there are many folks that want to follow in your footsteps and want to achieve what you’ve achieved. What’s your advice? What’s your advice to the point, to the young SDR, BDR, the person just starting in their career, trying to figure out how they stitch together a 20, 30 year career, that’s going to be as fulfilling and as interesting and take them all over the world as yours has done? What’s your biggest piece of, or your two biggest pieces of advice to those folks out there as they embark on the journey that you’ve already taken?

Tom Martin: I have to admit that as much as I believe I’ve worked super hard in my career, there’s also some luck to it, right? But part of that, what comes to you, if you’re doing what you love. So if you’re trying to get to a certain place in your career and you don’t really like what you’re doing, then you might think about that and maybe a different choice of career, because I think it starts with loving what you do. If you love getting out in front of customers and you want to be in a sales career, great. If you’re really uncomfortable talking to strangers, if you’re uncomfortable getting into an engagement or have a back and forth negotiation, sales probably isn’t for you as an example. But you’ve got to love what you do. If you do love it, you’ll go far, no matter what it is.

And the other piece I would say is to be your authentic self, try not to be someone you’re not because you won’t always be right. You just need to be who you are and if you try to be something that you’re not, people are going to notice, and that’s also going to limit your longevity in whatever career you’re in or whatever role you’re in, in my opinion. And then the last thing which sort of goes without saying is work damn hard, harder than anyone else. If you do those three things, I think you’ll find success no matter where you are.

Sam Jacobs: If you’re someone listening and you hear this conversation about being your authentic self. What if they say, “I don’t know who my authentic self is yet.” Any advice for how to discover that?

Tom Martin: That’s an interesting question. As I think about my life and my career, it’s funny at 18 your kind of one person, at 21 you’re completely different. By 25, you’re different. And then the year gaps get a little bigger. You don’t really change significantly till you’re 30 and most of your 30s you’re the same. What I would say to people is roll with it. If it feels like that’s who you are, then that’s who you are. It’s often, don’t misconstrue being your authentic self with finding the right career. There are different things, right? Being who you are and acting as you feel comfortable acting and allowing the diversity that you bring to the table to play out for wherever you’re working and with whatever teams you’re engaged with is critical.

As I think about building teams, the more diverse they are, the better. So be yourself, don’t try to be the other guy or girl, or don’t think that you have to be more like this person or that person. Certainly think about delivering more and better results like other people may be hard, but don’t try to be someone that you’re not.

Sam Jacobs: I love it. Tom, the last part of our conversation is where we like to pay it forward a little bit. We like to hear who’s influenced you.

Tom Martin: A book everyone should read, especially if you’re in sales is Death by Meeting. It’s actually a pretty good read. It’s a fable kind of story, but it’s written by Patrick Lencioni. And I would recommend everyone read that because today more than ever, we are in the world of Death by Meeting. And this gives a good angle on it. And I think it’s worth the read if you’re interested in being in sales or you already are in sales. And then I would say, in terms of how you develop yourself going forward, make sure you pick the people that you really look up to and build a relationship with them. It doesn’t always work, but pick somebody that you say, geez, I’d really like to be like them, or I’d like to be in the job they’re in. Not becoming that person, you still got to be your authentic self, but that’s kind of a role I’d like to be in.

I’d like to know and have the kind of knowledge that that person has and engage them to help you in a mentorship. I would say in my career, I’ve had three or four people that I still stay connected with even after 20 years. And they make a big difference to where you are in the moment, because they’re people you can talk to that don’t have skin in the game in your current company, and they don’t really know what’s going on, they’re only there to support you. And you’ve got to build that network of people that you can work with, that aren’t buried in the minutia of what you do in your current company every day and foster those relationships over time.

I’ve had a couple of them in my career and I continue to stay engaged. When something I’m struggling with personally or professionally, I call them and I talk to them about it and it gives me a sounding board and a safe place for me to talk about a serious issue that I might be dealing with and not feel comfortable talking with someone else on the team at iCIMS, for example. But building those relationships and fostering those relationships so you hear what they’re thinking, what they’re seeing, what they’re dealing with, and you can share the same thing on your side is critical. Plus it keeps you in touch outside of your company. Building that network outside of your company is critical. Often we find ourselves only knowing people in our company and our network outside our company has gotten slim or none. Too many people I’ve talked to have said that, and fostering that external network is pretty critical in my mind.

Sam’s Corner [39:07]

Sam Jacobs: Hi, everybody. Sam’s Corner. Sam Jacobs talking to a pro there with Tom Martin. That’s a man that’s done some big things. Running massive regions for Hewlett Packard, helping that company grow over a 23-year career, helping Symantec grow, moving all around the world and now being CRO of iCIMS, one of the best applicant tracking systems and the leading applicant tracking system out there with over 250 million of ARR, so that man knows what he’s talking about.

Some of the things that really stuck with me are: making sure that you are following your authentic self, that you really understand. How do you discover your authentic self? That’s something that I think bears some consideration.

And I think one of the things that you might consider doing is getting a coach. That’s something that changed my personal life. I was leaving The Muse when I hired my first coach and this guy, Jim Rosen just really helped me think through why am I here? What do I stand for? And I’d always thought that what I stood for was just making more money and I just want to be rich and that’s not enough. That’s not sufficient. Money is the output of you doing something that you love, which again, Tom talks about. You’ve got to find your passion and you’ve got to think in multifaceted ways about your passion. We don’t just mean your passion is writing poetry or being in a band or making funny videos. If that can help you earn a living, then maybe that is your passion. But there are ways of finding passion within the context of serving other people, which is working at a company using the regulated capitalism that we celebrate here in the United States.

So the point is you can find your passion working at a company, working in sales, working in marketing, working in a traditional function, but you’ve got to be thinking about it coherently and clearly, and maybe it bears using a coach to do that. The other part of Tom’s advice is really listen, make sure that you’re building your mentors, make sure that you’re nurturing those relationships over time and making sure that you are talking to people outside the company that can be a trusted space for you to go to, to get authentic non-conflicted advice.

Don’t miss episode #127

Everybody needs a place to go where they can think, talk, share, and get support. We’ve productized that idea through Revenue Collective, where we help people manage and navigate their careers by providing ongoing and recurring access to experts and the insights that experts produce such as benchmarking data, content, webinars, events, and things like that. Finding your tribe is something I feel very passionately about and that Tom also encouraged. Creating a system for discovering your passion is also something to take from this conversation with somebody that’s been there, done that in roles across marketing, operations, revenue — the whole bit.

Thanks for listening. Before we go, we want to make sure that if you want to see the show notes, see upcoming guests, and play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit saleshacker.com. Head to the podcast tab. Please give us five stars on iTunes if you haven’t already and maybe write a nice review. Big shout out to our sponsors for this episode, Sapper Consulting, companies use Regie to fully realize the promise of sales engagement faster. Go to go.regie.io and Outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. With that, we’ll see you next time.

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