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How to Develop Top-Performing Salespeople with Four-time CRO & Six-time COO, Steven Birdsall

This week on the Revenue Insights Podcast, we’re joined by four-time CRO and six-time COO, Steven Birdsall

In this episode, Steven delves into the core fundamentals of building a sales team; how both sales and operations can function together as a cohesive unit; how successful people think about life and business; and the most important, key qualities of a top performer. He also explains the true value of mentoring and how to use it to ensure your team’s success.

Steven Birdsall is an impressive and passionate man, having been a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) four times over, and a Chief Operating Officer (COO) six. His most recent role was as the Executive Vice President of Global Sales Qlik, and prior to that he was the Head of HCM Cloud Application Sales at Oracle; CRO at Anaplan; and the Executive Vice President and CRO at Radial Inc. 

Steven Birdsall on LinkedIn

Time Stamps:

  • 00:46 – Who is Steven Birdsall?
  • 11:06 – The fundamentals of building a sales team
  • 17:10 – How sales and operations function together 
  • 23:31 – Most successful people find ways to be successful wherever they go
  • 28:47 – What are the key qualities of top performers?
  • 39:24 – The value of mentoring
  • 21:59 – Finding ways to ensure your team’s success


Key Qualities of Top Performers

One of the most important things we all need is a positive outlook. It may sound cliche, but you’d be surprised just how much it can change the outcome of the things you do in a business. Even in a business that’s declining, it’s absolutely vital. Steven talks about the way we think about our business and how we approach opportunities will manifest itself in results, and that, ultimately, is what makes a top performer in a company. He says, ‘The mindset that successful people have is one of capitalizing on opportunity. Not focusing on the negative things or woe is me’. 

It all starts off with how you’re approaching things and what your outlook is!

The Value of Mentoring

It doesn’t matter what role you’re in; every single person who is looking for a mentor is ultimately looking for a way to develop their career. They want to figure out what their career roadmap looks like. When it comes to being a mentor, Steven says that the first two or three months are figuring out what you want to do and getting introspective about it. In fact, even though most people say they know what they want to do, if you were to ask them what their career looks like, they’d likely struggle to give you a cohesive answer. The job of a mentor, then, is to help them figure out what their career looks like and manifest it through their experience.

Finding Ways to Ensure Your Team’s Success

If you’re in a leadership role, it’s impossible to be successful unless your team is also successful. Therefore, it’s the job of the leader to foster their success, to ensure you’re doing everything you can as a leader to make sure they’re figuring out how to grow. If you have the potential to succeed, and you combine that with a positive mindset, then success is a guaranteed result. 

You will get the most happiness out of helping people, and if you’re a leader of a team, it’s never been more true.

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