In a unique crossover episode, Elyse Archer welcomes Christina Brady, host of “Taking the Lead,” to “She Sells Radio.” Christina, with a background in music and improv, brings a fresh perspective to sales and leadership in the SaaS industry.
Christina discusses her transition from an artistic career to B2B sales, emphasizing the importance of authentic human connections and listening in sales processes. She shares insights from her journey, highlighting the crucial role of intent and customer understanding in successful sales. Her approach combines creativity with a strategic mindset, demonstrating how sales are about more than just closing deals; they’re about building genuine relationships and understanding customer needs.
The episode is a deep dive into how soft skills, honed in non-traditional backgrounds, can significantly enhance sales techniques, making it a valuable listen for anyone in sales or customer-facing roles.
Name: Christina Brady
What she does: Host of Taking The Lead
Noteworthy: Christina Brady: Musician and artist turned seasoned revenue leader and podcast host.
Overcoming Fear in Leadership
Christina discusses the detrimental impact of fear-based tactics in leadership. She explains that operating under fear hinders learning and thriving, as it directly threatens psychological safety. This approach, she argues, actually handicaps team members’ potential for success. Christina emphasizes that motivating people through fear is counterproductive, especially in high-pressure performance scenarios. Instead, she suggests that understanding and addressing the root causes of underperformance are more effective than simply demanding more work or threatening job security.
The Art of Listening in Building Relationships
Drawing on her experience as an improv performer, Christina highlights listening and understanding as crucial skills for building relationships. She notes that on stage, being attuned to every detail is vital for effective reaction and interaction. This skill, she asserts, is directly transferable to sales and leadership, where actively listening and understanding others is essential for fostering strong connections. Christina underlines that the failure to listen and understand is the quickest way to damage relationships, emphasizing the importance of these skills in professional and personal contexts.
Navigating the Sales Process with Informed Buyers
Christina addresses the sophistication of modern buyers, acknowledging their awareness of the sales process. She notes that most buyers understand the stages of a sale, such as discovery and demos, and are wary of being manipulated. Christina stresses the importance of sincerity and transparency throughout the sales process. She advises against using manipulative tactics, as they erode trust and undermine the sales relationship. Building trust with buyers, she implies, requires patience and authenticity, emphasizing the need for sales professionals to genuinely align their actions with their intentions.
Artistic Roots to B2B Sales
Christina shared her journey from an artistic family background to a career in B2B sales. Growing up in a family immersed in arts and culture, she explained how engagement in the arts during one’s early life aids in developing scientific and mathematical abilities. Christina credits her artistic upbringing for her ability to function effectively in her professional life.
“I grew up first in a family full of artists. My dad was a world-renowned opera singer. My mom was the pianist of the Chicago Symphony. […] It’s been shown that in your young life if you engage in the arts, it actually helps to develop your scientific and your mathematic brain.”
Understanding the Buyer’s Decision-Making Process
Christina outlined the four-step decision-making process of a buyer: recognizing a problem, deciding to solve it, choosing to solve it now, and finally, deciding to solve it with a particular solution or vendor. She highlighted the tendency of salespeople to rush this process under performance pressure, which often leads to missing essential steps in understanding the buyer’s needs and timeline.
“Like any decision is made in four ways. […] And what so many salespeople do because of the pressure to perform is somebody acknowledges, ‘I have a problem to solve.’ And they say, ‘Well then, boy, do I have a SaaSy product for you.'”
The Stress of Scarcity Selling
Elyse discussed the intense pressure and stress of scarcity selling, where the focus is solely on closing deals. She recalled her experiences in high-pressure sales environments and the physical and mental health issues that arose from it.
“I come from a background having been in those high-pressure environments. […] I literally developed health issues in that type of environment. […] I’ve got to be grounded in something outside of this.”
Sales Performance and External Factors
Christina talked about the various factors that can affect sales performance. Sometimes, it’s external factors like market conditions or the product itself. Christina advised against blaming sales teams for broader issues and encouraged leaders to introspect and address the actual root causes.
“It’s either fixing a skill issue, a will issue, a behavioral issue, or a fit for the role issue. […] Sometimes your product isn’t as amazing as you think it is. […] The one thing you shouldn’t do about it is look at the people who are spending every single day at work building your vision and tell them that if they don’t do it more, they’re going to lose their job.”