This week, the Sales Operations Institute Speaker Spotlight is highlighting Mr. Sam Abdelnour, VP, Sales, North America with Whirlpool, and presenter at this year’s Sales Operations Institute, speaking to “Managing Multiple Sales Channels.” We had a chance to catch up with Sam this week and ask him a few more personal questions about his work at Whirlpool and the role of a leading Sales Leader today.
This is what he shared with us:
What attributes or personal characteristics do you believe are integral to your role?
Business and financial acumen are critical
● Knowing your industry and marketplace. You must be an authority on your brands and products and those of your competition.
● Understanding how your team drives and delivers value creation for the company while providing the same value-creating opportunity for our customer. It’s win-win.
You must, as a leader, have great combination of head and heart
● Head to lead, have good judgment and the ability for data-driven decision making on the fly, but heart to know the needs of your team and your customers.
● This balance is key to the ability to drive results through the organization.
The ability to build and enable the best possible sales team
● It’s important to be able to inspire a large remote organization to deliver everyday.
● Being able to identify the right talent to deliver results is key.
● A great sales team is one that is diverse and inclusive. Diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, physical ability, or thinking always leads to best results for your consumers.
Values are core to everything we do
● This means doing the “right thing” everyday - with integrity and respect.
What is your advice to someone who is moving up the ranks in the field and wants to pursue an executive career?
Work hard every day
● Realize that there are no entitlements, only rewards for a job done well.
● Continuously challenge yourself and those you work with.
● Be a student and always be open to learning. You will gain a solid foundation in your career by having as many different experiences as you can.
Do what’s good for the enterprise
● Think about how you can add value beyond your daily responsibilities.
● Be an advocate for the company and all its brands and products.
Deliver… deliver… deliver
● Always do what you say you will do, both for your team and your customer. No one has time for “I tried or gave it my best.” You should expect to be rewarded on results not effort. “Although I appreciate effort, I pay on results”
● Spend very little time thinking about your next promotion… your results will determine your future success.
What advice would you give to the next generation of professionals aspiring to become a Sales Operations Leader?
Gain a thorough understanding of the business
● Fully understand the total business and all its functions and build a strong network across the company.
● Take every opportunity to work in commercial roles first, and then operations roles. This will help you establish a foundation of company knowledge on which to build your Sales Operations career path and future success.
Have a continuous improvement mindset
● Understand data and facts, and know how to measure yourself and your team everyday on how well you are delivering what you promised. Results are critical!
● The most effective Sales Operations leaders are the first to identify the need for improvements. Know that business changes today 10x faster than just 5-10 years ago - continuous improvement is critical to staying ahead.
Know how to stay close to the business, from day one
● The higher you go in the organization, the less you know, so develop relationships early and stay close to the business and the people you know along the way.
● Listen more than you talk. Really listening to employees, colleagues and customers is the best path to becoming a good leader.