Women in Sales – The XX Factor with Jenna Cronin of VorsightBP

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Women in Sales

One day while speaking with our good friend Steve Richard of VorsightBP on the concept of the perfect SDR to AE handoff for inside sales and field sales teams, we mentioned our series about Women in Sales – The XX Factor. Knowing Steve’s passion for sales and quality sales people we asked him if knew anyone that would be a good fit for our Women in Sales series. Steve was kind enough to introduce us to Jenna Cronin.

Jenna is newer in her sales career than many of the women we have already profiled. However as you read you will most likely come to the conclusion we have, which is that she is wise beyond her years. Jenna currently works for VorsightBP as a Sales Consultant. She’s personally made over 30,000 (not a typo) cold calls that yielded over 1,500 conversations!

If ever there is someone who could write a book about the top of the funnel it would most definitely be Jenna. In the meantime, Jenna, welcome to The XX Factor.

Q: How many years have you been in sales?
A: 5

Q: Can you please describe the “aha” moment when you decided you wanted to be in sales?
A: It wasn’t so much an “aha” moment as an idea that I allowed to grow on me… begrudgingly I might add. My parents and grandparents were sales people and entrepreneurs. My father’s family had a milk farm and my mother’s family had a bakery. In fact, that’s how they met. Eventually they ended up opening a chocolate shop and that is where I spent my summers working and learning about running a business.

Like others who feel the need to “rebel” against their parents I wanted to break the mold, so I went off to college to study Architecture and then French Literature! Over time I grew a little frustrated about architecture and academics.  I could not understand how people could get so caught up in the art, but did not understand difference between practical and beautiful. I often found myself in my architecture class reviews thinking: these renderings look breathtaking, but are they really functional? Would business people invest in them actually getting built?

Then came 2008. The “Great Recession” certainly weighed heavily on me as I am sure it did others. It was all hands on deck in the family business and I had student loans that needed to be addressed. Based on the work ethic instilled by my family I had to make some important decisions.

It was at this time that I realized I could no longer deny my roots and I adopted a philosophy called: “It’s great to have hobbies, but do the thing that makes you money.”

Embracing my sales mind was the best decision I’ve ever made and I have no regrets.

Q: What can you tell us about the single biggest sale you ever closed ($, sales cycle, company/ industry, etc.)
A: The single biggest sale I ever closed was surprising in a number of ways!

  1. The sales cycle was about three months (but it felt like it was at least double that).
  2. The company fell outside of the typical industries to which my clients belong (it was a roofing manufacturer).
  3. The company had never bought sales training or consulting service like ours before (which made creating a business case that much tougher).

Selling a service like sales training is a little more unique than other products and services. In many ways our clients are buying “hope”. We can share our clients’ experiences, our track record and the awards we’ve won, but the factor that makes our clients trust us is our ability to address that lingering question: “yes, but will it work for me?”

This particular deal confirmed for us the real value of planning, process, diligence, and how a little creativity can be more effective than relying on the instant credibility of direct experience.

A lot of time and energy was spent on helping the client feel confident in not only what they were purchasing, but the outcomes that they would realize. By the time it came to signing the deal it surprisingly fell right into place.

Q: Which women in sales do you admire most?
A: I’ve had the honor of working with a number of inspirational women in sales. Some of my favorites include:

Liz Cain – Sr. Director, WW Business Development of NetSuite – Liz is not only one of the most ambitious and driven people I’ve met, but I noticed right away that she connects will all levels of management/tenure and has her entire organization’s respect.

Georgie Donahue VP of Sirius Decisions – I admire Georgie’s ability to strike the balance between work and family. Her colleagues appreciate it too – the last time I was on site, her younger (male) colleagues were telling me stories about her dedication to work and motherhood as if she were a legend.

Jill Ulvestad Founding & Managing Partner of VorsightBP – No coach has had a larger impact on my career than Jill, both in leading by example and getting me to discover things about myself. She’s taught me that you don’t have to have a “shark” personality to become a world class seller and that it’s more powerful to embrace your own strengths, even if they don’t align with the stereotypes of a powerful business woman.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Clara Shih, CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social, and Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook; they’ve had an immeasurable impact on how I’ve reflected on my own career path and development.

Q: If you could go back and give your early career minded self, advice about a career in sales, what would that be?
A: I think this is always applicable but, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good! For example, in the process of proposal writing, connecting a client’s situation and challenges to our offerings is a delicate process. I would often agonize over creating a mind-blowingly insightful analysis when instead, asking the client for help with it would have saved me time and a lot of creative energy. Beyond that, it’s important to consider the complexity of the engagement when allocating time to different projects. Long story short: do not try to come out of the gate with a brilliant assessment on your own. It should be collaborative with the client.

Also, I would remind myself to speak up, knowing that every idea might not hit the mark. It’s better to say something or try something and have to tweak it rather than hold off until you’re sure it’s flawless.

Q: What advantages do you think women have in sales over men?
A: Having undoubtedly been the overlooked parties in the room at one time or another, I think women are more sensitive to the different (and perhaps more reserved) perspectives in a consensus-based decision.

In a sales meeting where the seller is seeking to understand the vision of a group of buyers, typically 1-2 buyers run the show. It’s critical to be equally observant of the people who are NOT participating as openly and be sure to engage them. Often these buyers that sit quietly and process things before speaking will share the most valuable insight!

Women also tend to express empathy more innately, which has been shown to be a key attribute of a good listener and consultative salesperson.

Q: What advice would you give to men about working with women in sales?A: There are a few things I would mention here.

  1. “Bringing in” actions are a great way to balance different perspectives, as long as you’re not putting anyone on the spot. If you know your colleague Mary has some great ideas that are relevant to a group discussion but she hasn’t shared them, a simple “Mary, what are your thoughts?” once in a while can go a long way.
  2. I would remind men that women tend to listen first and speak second. Silence does not equal agreement. Too often, conversations move so quickly that the real opinions surface after the discussion is over.
  3. If you invite us to conversation please be sure to let us join the conversation. I have been invited to meetings where folks thought I had something valuable to add. However as the conversation ensued, they couldn’t stop talking to let me get a word in edge wise. Stop to take a breath and maybe you’ll learn something!

Wow Jenna, this is amazing and tremendously insightful. Thank you for sharing! Oh, and when you write the book let us know, we are all very eager to learn more from you.

Additional Resources:
Connect with Jenna on LinkedIn: HERE
Follow us on Twitter: rharis415 and @saasselling

Related Posts

Prospects Hate Your BANTs on Demo Requests

When you fill out a demo request and you get a rep playing 20 questions before you see the demo, how annoyed are you? Do you then expect your own prospects to be equally happy when your sales process does the same thing? Shame on you. If someone fills out a demo request and then has to be BANTED, are you really surprised they are angry? Really?  You just lied to them straight up. Just like the fake LinkedIn requests. Just like the “Re:” in the subject line of a cold email.  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  Own it. You lied to them, accept it, change your message, or stop being “shocked”. Here’s the first

Read More »

The President’s Club in 2021

The President’s Club, the much sought after trip for top sales professionals to relax and revel in their success. In 2020, that idea looked a lot different. And now that 2020 is dragging on into 2021, it’s time to start planning what President’s Club looks like in 2021. Timing Delaying all trips until Sept 2021, often taking advantage of the Labor Day week, can be slower. Yes, they are still planning for January/February 2022 for the 2021 President’s Club to incentivize the end of the year. Incentives The idea of a salesperson, and their significant other, getting 2 trips in 4 months is very incentivizing. More companies are allowing SDRs/BDRs to go on President’s Club

Read More »

2021: The Year of the Sales Reset

2021 will be the year of the sales reset. It will be based on the following: employee retention, hiring, current pipeline, desired pipeline, conversions, and 2021 goals. Let’s dig deeper into each one: Employee Retention Everyone understands that organizations had to go through resets on headcount. What will matter most is how the folks who made the cut were treated. If organizations tried to move forward with business as usual, high pressure, not reducing goals, or other “old school” methods, the people who made the cut will probably be the first to leave for better culture elsewhere. Yup, you kept them, then treated them like crap, and now you want them to stay? The only

Read More »

Why you need a Revenue Operations Team

Last week, Scott Leese and I were working on this blog post and then had the opportunity of speaking with two revenue operations aficionados from Salesforce, Greg Gsell and William Jager for our Surf and Sales podcast.  You can find the episode link at the bottom of this post. If you are really looking to understand and execute a revenue operations team in 2021, this post and that podcast will provide critical insights into all the things you want to understand. If we’ve learned one thing in 2020, it’s a deeper understanding of the Darwinian thoughts around, “Adapt or Die”. In many cases, the evolution begins long before the primary pain really rears its ugly

Read More »

John Barrows and Harris Consulting Group Team Up to Deliver N.E.A.T Selling™ via OnDemand Platform

N.E.A.T Selling™ training, used by companies like Zoom and Google, will now be available to subscribers to the JB Sales’ “Netflix for Sales” OnDemand platform. NOVEMBER 9 2020 — JB Sales JB Sales announced today that they will be adding N.E.A.T Selling™ sales training, developed by the Harris Consulting Group, to the library of sales courses available on the training video subscription service, OnDemand. The agreement between these two companies was reached after CEOs John Barrows (JB Sales) and Richard Harris (Harris Consulting) agreed on the essential nature of ongoing sales training, particularly in light of this year’s events. “Sales professionals have to confront two different realities,” says Harris. “First, work-from-home business means reps and

Read More »

Living WFH Through The Holidays

Working from home can be a challenge any time of year, but as the holidays are approaching, Richard Harris and Scott Leese joined forces for a Surf & Sales Bonfire Sessions with Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Predictable Revenue, Aaron Ross, to discuss how we can support our employees and how we can support ourselves and our families. They discussed: Executives who are parents (both sides of life duty) Managing employees who are parents Being a working parent Coping with stress, family, and mental health Watch the recording here: Proud sponsors of this Bonfire Session include: Predictable Revenue Findem Lead411 Gong.io Perception Predict Need help navigating working from home through the holidays (or anytime)? Let’s talk!

Read More »