If you missed episode 147, check it out here: Fred Mather’s Top Advice for Rising Leaders
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Show Agenda and Timestamps
- Show Introduction [00:10]
- About Kristin Twining and FireMon [2:03]
- Lessons from inside sales mid-pandemic [18:50]
- Kristin on the future of sales [23:04]
- How to succeed both at home and at work [26:32]
- Follow in Kristin’s footsteps [33:36]
- Sam’s Corner [37:25]
Show Introduction [00:10]
Sam Jacobs: This week, we’ve got another great episode for you with Kristin Twining, VP of business development and inside sales for FireMon. She spent most of her career at Hewlett Packard Enterprise where she started off as an individual contributor, then moving into leadership, and ultimately running the inside sales organization at FireMon. We talk about lessons field sales can learn from inside sales and about how to manage a career and a family.
Before we get there, we want to thank our sponsors. Our sponsor this week is Outreach, which has been a longtime sponsor of this podcast. They just launched a new way to learn how their team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how Outreach runs account-based plays and manages reps using their sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from Outreach processes and customer base. Head to outreach.io/onoutreach.
Now for some other great sales ideas in my conversation with Kristin Twining.
About Kristin Twining and FireMon [2:03]
Sam Jacobs: We’d like to start with your baseball card, really just getting a bit more detail on your background. Your title is VP of business development and inside sales. How is business development different from inside sales?
Kristin Twining: Everyone’s in inside sales right now, so we can put that on the table. But business development, in my opinion, is all about generating net new opportunities and fueling that pipeline for growth. Also, business development is a key part to the success of the sales organization that I lead, which is considered an inside sales organization.
Business development is critical to the success of not just what you typically refer to as a BDR (business development rep), but also across the entire sales kind of platform, right from the beginning to all the way through managing and building a new business for accounts.
Sam Jacobs: What is FireMon and what do you do?
Kristin Twining: We are a network security policy management company, which essentially means that we are a solution that helps customers maintain compliance and security posture through automating and enforcing policies that are related to both network security and firewall management.
We give our customers the ability to analyze, visualize and improve their existing network security policy management.
I lead a growing team of 16 people. Ten of them are BDRs who are focused on basically generating net new business and fueling the pipeline. I also lead a team of territory sales managers, which are responsible for covering accounts that have revenue of $2 billion and less, and they are responsible for managing the end-to-end sales cycle.
Sam Jacobs: Was there something in your background that led you to sales?
Kristin Twining: I was either late high school or early college. My grandfather had to undergo bypass surgery, and I’m sitting in the waiting room. This woman comes in. She’s dressed all nice, and she sits down and opens up her laptop.
I look at my dad and I said, “What do you think she does?” And my dad said, “Well, I don’t know, but she’s probably in sales.” I said, “Oh my God, I want to be her.”
Lessons from inside sales mid-pandemic [18:50]
Sam Jacobs: During the pandemic, all of us are in inside sales. What’s your perspective on this trend and what inside sales can teach us over the long term?
Kristin Twining: Over the past several years, you see a significant increase in inside sales. A few years ago, field sales was considered the dominant route to market in most large companies. But if you look at where we are, we seem to be growing almost 2%, if not more year over year from a shift from inside sales to field sales.
There’s a couple of things here. One, I think it’s a unique skill set to lead inside sales and what is now field sales becoming more inside.
And having the opportunity to really understand what you are doing to manage your time effectively. When you are in field sales, you are traveling a lot. You have to manage your time based on your travel.
But I would argue that you are more productive and have more time at your hands to be able to manage effectively when you’re sitting at home.
Kristin on the future of sales [23:04]
Sam Jacobs: What do you think the future holds? Do you think we’re going to go back to exactly the way that it was before?
Kristin Twining: I think it’s a trend that’s going to stick around for a while. And I really believe that we will move to a more hybrid approach. I don’t think things will ever be back to the way they are, but I’m not sure that that’s a bad thing, right? I think that we’ve found we can be a lot more productive. I think that we’ve found that we don’t have to travel as much.
People have developed a routine and a work-from-home strategy and are going to want to continue that in some fashion.
So it’s going to take some time to figure out that balance, but again, I think the world will be hybrid.
How to succeed both at home and at work [26:32]
Sam Jacobs: You’ve managed to both be an incredibly successful executive and have a home life and be building and running a family. How do you put it all together and make it work?
Kristin Twining: It’s hard. It takes practice, and it takes some soul searching. There are always sacrifices that have to be made.
I’m going to be really candid here. I was in a situation where the balance was just non-existent. It was 1000% work and just 0% life, and it wasn’t sustainable. The stress was taking a huge impact on me. And that’s when I made the decision that I’ve got to take a step back because I have to think.
I knew in the bottom of my heart that that step back didn’t mean that I had to give up my career aspirations. But I had the power to choose my own destiny.
I joke about my husband saying, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that you went back to work after only three months,” but he knew just as well as I knew that I still had career goals. I wanted to be a wife, and I wanted to be a mother of two children and two crazy dogs, and I was going to figure out a way to make it happen.
Don’t be fooled by thinking that the situation you’re in is the only situation that is available to you. There are companies and employers and bosses and leaders out there who want you to achieve not only your professional success, but your personal aspirations as well.
Follow in Kristin’s footsteps [33:36]
Sam Jacobs: Help us figure out the things that created Kristen Twining so that maybe we can follow in your footsteps.
Kristin Twining: My mom was my biggest coach, my biggest fan, my biggest mentor throughout my entire life. And she’s sadly no longer with us, but she shines through every day. And her motto was: Find the humor in every situation. She’s the first person I have to mention from a personal perspective.
From a professional perspective, there are so many people I can’t count them, But one was Tony. He believed in me, and he was someone who just kept pushing me to the point where he made me believe things were possible that I knew weren’t possible… He always gave me the chance to try and picked me up every single time I fell down and helped me understand why I fell and how we weren’t going to do that again.
From a book perspective, I’m not going to say a business book. The one that I love the most is You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom by Leslie Anne Bruce.
Sam Jacobs: If folks want to reach out, what’s the best way to connect with you?
Kristin Twining: Connect with me on LinkedIn, or feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com. I pride myself on getting back to people in a really good amount of time. So I’ll certainly get back to you, and I would very much welcome it.
Sam’s Corner [37:25]
Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam’s Corner. Really enjoyed that conversation with Kristin Twining. The two big things we talked about were the lessons that you can learn as a field sales organization from inside sales. (Because we’re all doing inside sales right now.) And managing your life as a woman in the workforce. A lot of it comes down to being intentional and working harder.
Don’t miss episode #149!
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Thanks, folks. I’ll talk to you next time.