Select your preferred player below to subscribe now:
About This Episode
Welcome to another Women in Revenue Wednesday session. We’re so excited to introduce you to TWO incredible women in tech who joined us on The Sales Engagement podcast for this week’s talk.
Kim Graves and Maggie Hott both work for the tech powerhouse Slack as managers of mid-market sales. Kim currently leads a team based out of Vancouver while Maggie runs the mid-market sales team in the San Francisco headquarters.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Slack is a communications platform that brings together people, data and applications. The best part is, it cuts down the amount of time you spend on email dramatically by giving you a platform to communicate with your team instantly and find important information quickly.
Both Maggie and Kim have a wealth of knowledge to share on what they’ve learned in the several years they’ve spent working and growing in the tech industry. Let’s get right to it!
What Would You Advise Your Younger Self?
One of the most important lessons Maggie has learned that she would advise her younger self is to pick and choose your battles. Her current manager taught her: You only get a few big asks per year and you really need to think through which is going to make the most impact.
She needed to learn this lesson because there were so many moments throughout her journey where she felt an urgency to fix everything around her that was broken. It can be really hard to keep yourself from jumping into every single problem with a solution, but if you do that you will exhaust yourself.
Additionally, the people around you won’t take your requests as seriously when you’re asking for something new every single day. She also learned that every time she had an ask to bring to the table, she should also bring data points and solutions to back up her reason for asking.
Finally, the last lesson she’s learned that she wished she’d known earlier is around preserving relationships when you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone.
Around the time that she was 23 or 24, she didn’t agree with the decision of another department. The problem was, she wasn’t handling it in the most professional way. Her CRO had to sit her down and tell her, “Maggie, I don’t care how good you are. If you can’t get along with other cross-functional departments, you won’t have a job here.”
Ouch. But this conversation really taught her something important: It’s fine to let someone know how you feel about a situation. But the minute things start to get contentious or there’s a disagreement, you should immediately move it to a face-to-face conversation, especially if you don’t have a strong relationship with that person.
At the end of the day, you’re all on one team, so preserving relationships within your organization is vital.
Kim’s advice to her younger self feels a bit contradictory to Maggies, but it’s not. She would want to encourage herself to be more vocal. When she started managing at Slack, she was young and felt self-conscious about giving her perspective or saying anything controversial in team meetings. She didn’t think she had the authority or experience to speak her mind openly.
As time went on, she realized that wasn’t the right way to think about it. She should have been speaking up more, contributing more value, and advocating for her team. She learned that everyone is making it up and learning as they go, so the more perspectives available the better.
When she shared this struggle with her manager at the time, her manager advised her to set a goal for herself to chime in during every meeting. She also pinpointed people who she thought presented their perspectives very effectively and learned to emulate them. One person in particular she admired was a woman who always had data points to support her perspective. That pushed Kim to do her homework before every meeting so that she would also be prepared to share the numbers behind her ideas.
This is invaluable advice no matter your career stage! Now let’s get to their tips for those trying to get their foot in the door or finally get that promotion.
Five Tips for Finding a Career You Love
(Maggie) Find the company, not the role.
Titles don’t mean as much as they used to. What really matters is your experience and what you do on a day-to-day. Optimize for learning and strong leadership. If you come in and do great work, you’re going to be noticed by your leaders.
(Kim) It’s up to you.
Take ownership of your career development and come with a learning mindset. Lead the conversation, don’t wait for your manager to do it. When it comes to career development, don’t just think about it in terms of how to get to the next level or title, but rather focus on what you want to learn next.
Kim has seen a lot of people around her be very open with sharing their career aspirations and where they have room to improve. That really helps your manager have clear conversations with you. But, at the end of the day, you should be the one who is proactive with those conversations.
(Kim) Be patient.
Just because you have a conversation about your career path with your manager doesn’t mean you’re going to be promoted next week or moved into a new role. Remember that these things always depend on what the business needs at that time and what the priorities are.
But you can be proactive by taking steps towards that goal so that you’re ready when the opportunity does open.
(Maggie) Don’t forget to grateful.
Show your appreciation for your cross-functional teams and leadership team. It doesn’t matter who it is who helps you out, from the executive to the receptionist, you should always show those who help you how much you appreciate them. Bonus points: Tell that person’s manager how much they mean to you and all that they do for you.
(Kim) Become a pro before you ask for more.
Before you take on any additional projects, learn how to do your current role really well. Figure it out what it takes to do great work. The truth is, people always want to work with others who work hard and produce great work. Show consistency over a long period of time and ask your manager for feedback so you know how you’re currently doing.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your career today. You have it in you to get to where you want to be, and these tips are sure to help you get there. What are you going to start working on this week?