Learning Out Loud with Brian LaManna

February 23, 2024
Content Marketing | Marketing Strategy | Rep Matters

Episode Summary

In this episode of Rep Matters, hosts Zoya Segelbacher and Caroline Jones chat with Brian LaManna from Gong. Brian shares his journey in sales, starting from his college days to becoming a top performer at Gong. 

He emphasizes the importance of resilience, learning from every experience, and the value of direct, honest communication in sales. The episode dives into Brian’s approach to sales, including his multi-channel prospecting strategy and the significance of writing skills in the sales process. 

Brian also discusses his side project, “Closed Won,” aiming to help sellers enhance their skills, showcasing his dual passion for sales and personal growth.

Featured Guest

Name: Brian LaManna
What he does: Sr. Account Executive
Company: Gong

Noteworthy: Brian LaManna, a distinguished Gong AE, achieved President’s Club status five times by age 27.

Key Insights

Multi-Channel Prospecting Strategy

Brian LaManna highlights the effectiveness of a multi-channel approach in prospecting. He shares a memorable interaction with Gong’s CRO, Shane Evans, who noted that he only responds to gifts sent via mail, despite having thousands of unread emails and never answering calls from unknown numbers. This anecdote underscores the importance of understanding and adapting to the unique preferences of each prospect. Brian emphasizes the need to not rely solely on one method, such as cold calling or emailing, but to engage prospects across various channels to increase the likelihood of a response.

The Art of Discovery in Sales

Brian LaManna discusses the critical role of discovery in sales, describing it as the most important skill across sales roles. He focuses on constantly refining his approach to asking questions, conducting pre-call research, and framing discussions to unearth the prospect’s needs effectively. Brian’s method involves not just understanding what to ask but how to ask, highlighting the impact of phrasing and the importance of coming from a well-informed point of view. This process allows for deeper engagement with prospects and a more tailored sales approach, ultimately leading to successful outcomes.

Embracing Failures and Learning from Them

Reflecting on his career, Brian openly shares his experiences with failure, particularly highlighting a month where he closed no deals despite high expectations. This moment of vulnerability and honesty sheds light on the inevitability of ups and downs in sales. Brian uses these experiences as learning opportunities, analyzing what went wrong and how he could improve. His willingness to share these lows alongside his highs on platforms like LinkedIn not only humanizes the sales process but also serves as an invaluable teaching tool for others in the industry, encouraging a culture of continuous learning and resilience.

Episode Highlights

The Path to Sales Excellence

Brian LaManna shares his unique journey into the world of sales, starting with a change from a marketing major to sales due to a fraternity friend’s influence. He highlights the importance of foundational sales skills learned outside of technology sales specifics, like CRM use or cold calling. His story underscores the value of exploring interests and seizing opportunities, like attending a career fair that led to his first role at BrightEdge.

“So I’m one of the very rare folks that actually graduated with a degree in sales […] It was more relational, more foundational related topics, more like outside sales, as most people would describe it.”

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Growth

Brian discusses the early challenges and the intense learning phase of his career, including dealing with rejection and the importance of resilience. He shares a personal anecdote about his father gauging his success based on his mood, highlighting the emotional highs and lows of sales. This part of the discussion emphasizes not just the skills needed in sales but also the mental and emotional fortitude required to excel.

“My dad liked to play a game every time I came home because he could just tell from my face and my attitude and mood whether I booked one opportunity that day, two opportunities, or zero.”

The Importance of Writing Skills in Sales

In a profession dominated by verbal communication, Brian LaManna points out the underappreciated role of writing in sales. He challenges listeners to engage in writing, emphasizing its value in structuring thoughts and conveying ideas effectively. This insight is a reminder of the multifaceted skills required in sales, extending beyond the typical focus on verbal pitch and negotiation tactics.

“There’s a lot of writing involved in sales, and it’s like a really undertaught and under enabled, per se, skill […] Building that in as a weekly practice I think has really helped me.”

Future Aspirations: Balancing Roles

Brian LaManna shares his vision for the future, expressing a desire to balance roles between working for a company and pursuing his own ventures. His aspiration to maintain dual careers reflects a broader trend among professionals to diversify their careers and not be confined to traditional employment paths.

“I see a lot of other creators out there have aspirations to move away from their full-time job… I almost see myself as having like two full-time jobs.”

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