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“Failure is part of the journey and to have that resiliency and along the way, like the growth and the revenue that I made up has tripled the initial loss.”- Karen Kelly

Karen Kelly shares her journey from wanting to be a doctor to becoming a successful sales professional. She emphasizes the importance of having a strong foundation, whether it’s through education or working in corporate America, to develop the skills needed for sales. Karen also highlights the significance of understanding the customer’s language and needs, building relationships, and providing after-sales support. She discusses the collaboration between sales and marketing departments and the need for a unified strategy. Karen encourages embracing failure as a learning opportunity and not being afraid to take risks.

Takeaways

  1. A strong foundation, whether through education or working in corporate America, is crucial for developing the skills needed for sales.
  2. Understanding the customer’s language and needs, building relationships, and providing after-sales support are key to success in sales.
  3. Collaboration between sales and marketing departments is essential for aligning strategies and meeting customer needs.
  4. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity and taking calculated risks can lead to personal and professional growth.
  5. Don’t play small in sales, leadership, or entrepreneurship. Take bold actions to achieve big results.

Chapters

To connect with Karen

LinkedIn- linkedin.com/in/karen-kelly-sales-trainer-

Website- k2perform.com (Company)

Email- karen@k2perform.com

Podcast- The k2 Sales podcast

{{connect-with-wesleyne}}

Transcript

Wesleyne (00:01.204)

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Transform Sales Podcast. Today I am so delighted to have Karen Kelly with me. How are you, Karen?

Karen Kelly (00:09.582)

I'm great Wesley, and how are you doing?

Wesleyne (00:12.02)

Fantastic. Let me tell you guys a bit about Karen. For 20 years, she has specialized in the art and science of sales. Her passion and experience are helping sales professionals become more confident and leverage their soft skills to align with their hard skills. All right, Karen, tell us, how did you start your career and how did you become so amazing at what you're doing today?

Karen Kelly (00:33.774)

thank you so much, Wesley. I started my career in customer service, but before that, I always wanted to be a doctor. So I studied pre -med and studied all no business courses, everything biochemistry, science, all the fun stuff. And then when I graduated, I actually was a flight attendant. So everything moving away. And after traveling and just experiencing life and fulfillment, I came to the realization that

I didn't want to become a doctor, but I did enjoy healthcare and want to be in that surrounding. And so once I came to that realization, I sought out for a sales role, but having no sales experience, my first goal was to get in with a really good company, start in an entry level role, such as customer service, which I did, and then move into a sales role, which I also did. So that catapulted my career almost 25 years ago.

Wesleyne (01:29.524)

Wow, I did not know that you were a science nerd like me. No wonder it's the art and the science. So when you were in school, you said you wanted to be a doctor. And then after you graduated, you're kind of like, let me try something a little bit different. How did becoming a flight attendant even show up on your radar?

Karen Kelly (01:33.774)

Hahaha!

Karen Kelly (01:53.998)

You know, I love to travel. Growing up, my mom and dad were from Ireland, so we would always go to Ireland for summers. And I remember just always feeling I was born in the wrong country in the wrong era. There was something about the UK that drew me in. And then I remember after school, I just wasn't ready to join corporate and I wanted to have a bit of fun. And I spoke French. So I said, what about a flight attend job where I can kind of marry the travel and make a little bit of money and just play?

Because after four years of school, I needed a break, I was poor, and I just wanted to have some fun. And so I thought, well, here's a way to do both. So I got into flying, had the best four years of my life, and then I kind of grew up and I was like, okay, I'm ready to use my schooling. But at the time, I just, I wanted to have a little bit of fun.

Wesleyne (02:44.532)

I love that. And my 15 year old, we often have this conversation about, you know, what he's going to do in college. And people are like, what do you want to major in? And all these things. And he's in this engineering high school, specialty high school. And he tells everyone exactly what I tell him.

You have to go to college to get a degree in something. College teaches you how to think. It teaches you how to plan. It teaches how to prepare. It gives you grit and tenacity, but you might not even use your degree, right?

Karen Kelly (03:14.094)

Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (03:14.804)

But you do need that foundation and that base. And so you had that foundation, you had the base. So you said, I'm going to be a flight attendant. And then you said, now I'm going to do something completely different. And again, because you had that degree, it made it easier for you to kind of chart your own path, even though it was completely different than what you set out to be.

Karen Kelly (03:35.022)

You know, I actually never thought about it that way, Wesley, and that's really great because it was just something in bred into us. We, I'm one of four girls and it was just, I remember growing up in high school, everyone got a car when they're 16. And my parents are like, we'll give you one all, all an education and that's it. No car after that. So that was just almost expected. And that was a path we took, but I never really placed, I guess, an emphasis on the freedom or my ability to pick and choose. I never drew a line back to my degree.

Wesleyne (04:04.404)

Yeah.

And I think that, you know, a lot of times people have different opinions on go to college, don't go to college. a college degree does this or doesn't do that. But when I see people in the workforce, those that have gone to college, it's not saying that they don't work well, that they're not doing amazing things in life. But I really do think that grit and that tenacity is studying for tests, preparing projects, writing those papers, right? Like that little drive it gives you. And I'm a kid.

chemist. I use probably, I don't know, 2 % of my degree, maybe that's generous, right, of what I use. But anyhow, I think that it really sets us up for life. So tell us about that first job in customer service. What were you doing? What kind of industry were you in? And how did that kind of propel you into sales?

Karen Kelly (04:37.902)

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (04:54.67)

Yeah, I was in the medical devices industry. So again, wanted to be in healthcare, wanted to be a doctor and then change my mind. So I thought, well, I want to be still around that and in that environment, helping patients. My mother was a nurse. So I feel like that firsthand gave me awareness and insight and empathy into, you know, what goes on in that environment. And so I remember being in my very early twenties, being like a bulldog in the interview saying, is there a direct path to sales here? Because if there's not, I'm not interested.

And I remember thinking people are afraid to ask what you want. I was like, there's no fear. I was like, if there's not, you need to let me know now because I need to move on. And so I'm actually surprised in retrospect that they hired me because I was so bold and brave. Because they do need some lifers there and then they do need some folks that are willing to move forward. But I knew it was a stepping stone, but what I didn't realize is how much I would learn about the holistic approach and the systems of an organization.

Wesleyne (05:24.774)

I love it.

Karen Kelly (05:52.974)

and even building the internal relations. And I kind of like my eyes were opened as I was going through the journey. And when a sales position came up, I remember competing with external candidates. And because I had forged these relationships with other departments and I could go on a first name basis and say, hey, how was your son's birthday? And how was your daughter's communion and all these things?

Wesleyne (05:52.98)

Hmm.

Karen Kelly (06:16.942)

A, I could move and turn, I could navigate the complexity of an internal environment quickly, but I knew everybody. So I was the first to get the job. And so I realized how much I learned about just, you know, when you think about being a consult, taking a consultative approach, I was able to do that because I knew all the different touch points, all the interactions and engagements that the customers would go through. I had appreciation for that. So I remember someone saying to me,

you become the next, you become an exposition before you're even in it. And I remember like picking up the phone and taking orders. But then I remember not even upselling, but just saying, well, what are you using that for? And, you know, have you ever thought about using something like this? And before I knew it, I was like, this is what sales is. So I had become that person completely unaware that that was my goal. It was almost through osmosis that I became that person based on my surroundings.

And I feel that desire or that true north that I was always striving for because I had that things around me were morphing and supporting me in that journey.

Wesleyne (07:20.788)

So I just, I love these building blocks because we talked about how college sets you up for life. Now let's talk about how corporate America sets you up for doing things in sales or entrepreneurship, right? Now when I'm talking to, you know, all of these Gen Z's that are coming out of school, they're like, I want to start my own business. I want to work for myself. I'm like, absolutely not. I need you to go work for somebody else first so you can see how the world works.

Karen Kelly (07:49.518)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (07:49.844)

Before you go out because again, I see people who just started fresh as entrepreneurs And what they're missing is they don't understand how it works inside of corporate Structure, so if you're selling to another business and you don't actually know what they do internally Then you're doing yourself a disservice and then the other thing that you said that a lot of times we especially is women I like to say women and people of color

Karen Kelly (08:06.318)

Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (08:16.98)

do this often is they just put their head down and work. They don't build relationships. They don't form allyship and get mentors. So when it's time for another position, you don't have anybody on your side because you've just done good work.

Karen Kelly (08:20.078)

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (08:31.95)

Yeah, yeah, no, I love that. And I wasn't afraid to ask for help. I mean, I was very junior and I remember asking them what the path was to sales. And they said, well, nobody gets in before two years. And in my head, as soon as someone places a boundary on me, I'm like, well, just watch me smash that. And then it was almost this, well, there's very few women in there. And I'm like, another one, okay, two for two now. And so I remember, you know, if you think about just...

Wesleyne (08:47.636)

Mmm. Mmm!

Wesleyne (08:56.756)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (08:59.95)

stacking blocks and kind of continuing to build, I liaised and aligned myself with the sales force and I started creating projects for them to drive efficiencies. And it was to help them, but it was also to really understand for me, is this something you want to get into? And just really, again, learning the ropes. And so when it came time for a position to came up, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I was going to trade shows on the weekend already as a customer service rep, but I was getting the buy -in of them, of the sales team.

and an awareness of this is what I want. So then there became a real desire. And so I actually got in after 14 months and I'll tell you another story after that, but I'll just pause there. So I did get in before the two year timeframe.

Wesleyne (09:44.084)

Tell us the other story. Come on, you're on a roll.

Karen Kelly (09:45.762)

So the irony was when I finally got in there was a hiring freeze in the territory the region that I was in and they said okay so you've got it but we don't know if it's gonna be six months two years like we don't know but when it's lifted like it's yours and I remember going my god like what's the last time I'm supposed to learn here because I just did everything to get it and then they they pulled a carrot away from me.

But then the Western director of Canada phoned me up and he said, I heard there's a hiring freeze, but there's an entire province out West. Would you be interested in looking after that? And so I had never been to this province. It was double, triple the size and opportunity of where I was. And so I took it and I moved out there and I'd never been there. And I just thought when one door closes, another one opens. And I bet on myself, I had no sales experience. I had never been to this place.

I just bought a house and I just packed up and moved and it was the best decision I'd ever made.

Wesleyne (10:46.324)

Wow, taking risks. I just love that. Okay. So oftentimes when you're young, you're not married, you don't have kids.

That is the time. That is the time you take risk. And even if you're later in life and you're like, but I have a spouse and I have kids, you can still take risks. You can still say, hey, let's do this for our family. But in that risk that you took, you said some key things. It was double the size, double the responsibility in a race that you had nothing, you knew nothing about. So how did you learn sales? What did you do?

Karen Kelly (11:08.142)

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (11:21.902)

Mm -hmm.

I remember the first thing going out there in a customer service, your job is to answer the phone, right? Take orders. And I remember checking my voicemail a thousand times saying like, is it broken? Like my phone's not ringing. And I'm like, that's what sales in. You have to make it ring. Nobody told me that.

Wesleyne (11:43.028)

my goodness, that's so good.

Karen Kelly (11:45.998)

So I had no sales training. I had zero. And I remember getting every piece of equipment. So I sold medical devices to hospitals and I ordered every piece of equipment, again, in a place I'd never been and I learned it inside out. I had IV bags hooked up to bath tubs, looking at the difference when you lower it, the head height, path of least resistance. And then as I would get in front of customers, like what happens when this happens? I'm like, well, let me try that in my bathroom this evening and I'll get back to you.

So it was just, you know, how did I learn? You know, and there was, how I learned is kind of the functionality of the product versus the positioning and the personas. All that came later and nobody taught me that. It was just like when you look back to where I'm today, it was features and benefits, you know? And it kind of makes me sad. And I did yield a lot of success, but I think back in the day when I started so long ago, that's all there was, you know? And then we morphed into Challenger and into Consultative and become the trusted advisor.

But initially how I learned was the product. And then I just started voraciously reading books, joining associations, all on my own dime. We probably got sales training, I would say twice in my entire life in corporate. And so I was just always had this voracious appetite to be the best I could be, to really, because sales did have a bad rap. And it was like, you're in sales. And it's kind of this, let's use car sales. And I'm like, no, I'm not. I was like, I'm proud, I'm in sales.

because I took it so seriously and I really, really invested in myself on all fronts.

Wesleyne (13:16.756)

I feel like we're twins because what you said, that is literally how I learned. Like I literally, I was like, so I sold capital equipment into the petrochemical industry mainly. And so I had no idea what was going on. I'd used competitors instruments when I was a chemist in the lab. So I knew the science behind it.

Karen Kelly (13:18.51)

Hahaha

Karen Kelly (13:37.998)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (13:38.036)

But I went to my customers, I'm like, okay, how do you use this instrument? I would watch them run their samples and I would take notes and I would figure out what they were doing. And then I just reverse engineered and I'm like, if you're doing this at this company, these are your competitors. So now let me go try to talk to them. And literally that is what I did. And...

Karen Kelly (13:43.566)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (13:51.694)

Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (13:56.66)

Now, even when I'm working with sales teams, I'm like, you gotta speak the language to your customers. I feel like we have gotten so far away from that, right? We're so up here in the fluff that we're not speaking the language of our customers. And so it doesn't allow you, like if you don't understand what they're doing, how they're using your product, your service, whatever, it actually is a disservice to you.

Karen Kelly (14:05.902)

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (14:18.638)

Mm -hmm. Yeah. And I just think when I'm a consumer, if someone is, you know, if there's an understanding and an awareness or someone's coming to me and they're using language and lingo that's in my, my industry, like it compresses the sales cycle. It builds trust. I'm like, you get me, like you really get me. And it's just the next logical step is you must be able to help me. Right. And you just, you shrink it. And even if you're not in that industry, like go figure it out, go talk to.

Wesleyne (14:36.724)

you do.

Karen Kelly (14:45.646)

people who are learning their language because I remember in corporate we had a thousand acronyms we use this and I'm like hey guys our customers don't speak this language so if you want to sound cool and smart keep doing that but they're not gonna raise their hand and say can you tell me what that means I'm not really sure they're gonna go to the your competitors who are speaking at a grade 6 level they're gonna buy their stuff

Wesleyne (15:07.028)

Absolutely speak the language of your customers. I'm a chemist, but I always sold to engineers. You sold, it sounds like you sold to doctors and nurses and medical professionals, right? We speak their language. Our language doesn't matter.

Karen Kelly (15:09.422)

Mm hmm. Yeah.

Karen Kelly (15:15.57)

Yeah. Totally. Yeah.

Wesleyne (15:19.156)

Right? It's like when you're, I always say, if I'm in your country, it is my responsibility to speak your language. I don't expect you to speak English. Like I don't, I'm in your country. Right? And so if we take that and we really realize that the way for us to succeed in sales is to truly step into the customer's world and not have our agendas or the things that we care about on our mind, but really understand what do, what are the challenges that they have and how can we help them solve those problems?

Karen Kelly (15:22.926)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (15:47.47)

Mm -hmm. Yeah, and I think that's empathy too. Even, you know, if you have experienced those challenges firsthand, really understanding the impact it has on you and draw upon that emotion, like especially for nurses, like it's frustrating, it's tiring, it's exhausting. And when I was in the pediatric, you know, oncology units, like, my God, looking at those, like I was oozing empathy that it wasn't...

You know, you talk about not being salesy. I was genuinely there to help. And I'm like, I know what it's like to have this one -on -one treatment. And when you have these alarms going off and it pulls you away and you can't give this little four -year -old its undivided attention, like what is the impact to you? Like there's zero sales. I'm like, I genuinely want to know. Like, cause if that, if we can save you one minute that allows you to go back there and still get your break and still manage everything else, would that be helpful? Like even the tonality is that of a, and I wasn't a mom at the time. It's just like,

Wesleyne (16:31.796)

Yeah.

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (16:39.598)

my God, you know, even if it's not our equipment, it's can we help somehow?

Wesleyne (16:44.18)

Yes, having that really let servant heart, right? Like I love to say serve before you sell. Like what is the challenge that the person is having and the challenge they're having could honestly not be something, a solution that you can offer them today, but give them what they need in that moment.

Karen Kelly (16:50.574)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (17:02.036)

And then they will remember that forever. And you literally have a customer for life, even before you sold them anything, because stepping out of our world and into that person's world. And I really think that in these type of sales that we're talking about, these more complex sales where, you know, there's, it's a capital purchase and people have to think about, okay, am I going to spend a hundred thousand dollars with you or a hundred thousand dollars with another person? Right? Do I want to, they are investing in that relation. They are investing in the.

Karen Kelly (17:07.374)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (17:26.254)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (17:30.74)

person that you are to be able to provide that after sales support to give them what they need when they need it.

Karen Kelly (17:36.078)

Mm -hmm. And I think that's a key word there was there's after sales support because a lot of our competitors would talk the talk and It's when things go wrong and I and I would be very upfront and I would say look We're all saying the same thing But it's when things go wrong on a Saturday or Friday at four o 'clock and everyone's gone Who's gonna respond to your call who's gonna come and like look at the track record? We've had like a lot of people that were the income it said, you know for the next contract We'll do it. It's like well for the last five years. Where were you? You didn't do it. So all of a sudden you're gonna you know, I

Wesleyne (18:02.516)

What did you do?

Karen Kelly (18:05.23)

change your stripes?" I'm like, I don't think so. So I think it's what happens when things go wrong. And so even, you know, in demos and they're like, what happens? I'm like, well, let's try it. Let's figure it out. And I just wasn't afraid to hide behind everything. I was just completely transparent and saying, look, I'm here, I'm on your side. So let's figure it out. And if this is going to be a problem, maybe this isn't the best solution for you. Like I had Todd Capone on my shoulder before I knew who he was.

Wesleyne (18:30.132)

Yes. And I think about when I moved to a different company, I actually had my own demo equipment and I would load that sucker up in the back of my car and I was going to a customer sites and my competitors were running their bass samples, right? Like, you know, the things that come in the kit. I'm like, no, pull your samples out. Come on. I'll run my, we'll run my bass lines to make sure the instrument's working. But let me give me one good one bad. And it's like, what?

Karen Kelly (18:54.99)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Wesleyne (18:56.82)

You're just going to, I'm like, I'm not scared of it. And I'm going to tell you what the data means. So again, it's stepping into their world, understanding how to actually use the things that you're selling, like what touch it, feel it and do it. Right. And any sales managers that are listening to this podcast, I encourage you, like when we build out onboarding plans, I'm like, make them get in the field, like make them go in the back of the warehouse and pack boxes. I don't like whatever it is. Salespeople need to touch stuff to become.

Karen Kelly (19:08.75)

Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (19:26.292)

really good at selling it.

Karen Kelly (19:28.782)

Well, it makes me think of the stat, 56 % of B2B purchases ended in decision and the ultimate underlying emotion is fear. And so how, if you're doing things like that, you're teaching them, you're saying, no, put your reagents in, like, let's really work your test, not these baseline or these things that are pre -programmed. That starts lifting up the fear because they're seeing, they're test driving it and going, this is what it's going to be like, okay.

Whereas the other guys and people that are kind of doing a proof of concept, and I understand that to an extent, but when you're saying, let's fully try this on, you immediately de -risk it. People are not afraid to put their name on the doc you signed that's gonna be visible to everybody because you've helped them see around the corner. And I think that's what's missing from sales today is just saying, not only for me, it starts when you signed the PO. Now let's like fast forward three to six months and say, how are we gonna work together? What does that roadmap look like?

And that all starts by how transparent you are and your willingness to think out of the box. And I always say dance in the moment, like don't be afraid to dance in the moment with them. And if you stumble, that's okay, learn from it.

Wesleyne (20:34.676)

good. It's the de -risking, right? Like we all have fear and you know that propensity to change. It's all about the change curve. Nobody wants to try something different and they would rather stick with their solution. And I say that there is a competition of doing nothing. Doing nothing is competition too. They rather stay in their hole of doing nothing around and around and around than actually try your salute because you haven't removed the fear.

Karen Kelly (20:41.422)

Mm -hmm.

Karen Kelly (20:50.67)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (21:01.524)

Right? And so it's the fear of the change is the fear of being the finger pointed at if something goes wrong. So again, how can we as salespeople, how can we really help our prospects, our customers remove that from themselves?

Karen Kelly (21:18.158)

You know, I think when you look at the buyers, you know, almost 80 % of the way they engage us, almost 80 % of the way along the journey. And so in their mind, they've already come out further commoditized this. You guys are the green, you guys are the blue. And so I feel a way to really help de -risk it and build trust is to show up authentically and say like, this is how we're different. Like how can you use storytelling? How can you lean into your emotion and activate the part of the brain that has no concept?

for language and just feeling like that whole Maya Angelou, like I don't really know what they said there, but like Wesleyan just made me feel something. Like I liked what she said and I know she's a little bit more expensive, but I just felt different. And so I think when you're looking to separate yourself is how can you build trust? And a lot of that is leading with emotion and showing up as your authentic self and just telling your story. Cause immediately that disarms them, de -risks the situation and they start opening up.

After that, it's up to you to ask really insightful questions and get to the root cause of things and the impact. But I think that first step is really demonstrating that you are genuinely there to serve. You're disarming yourself and you're detaching from the outcome. And you're just thinking like, if this doesn't work, that's okay. But my goal right now is to leave you better off than you were before we got on this call.

Wesleyne (22:38.338)

So you've shared a lot of this art and the science of sales that you teach. You talked about this feature, this benefits, understanding the products that you're selling, the services that you're selling and how it applies to the specific buyer. And then you talked about, you know, having that empathy, right? Being able to pivot and ask the right questions. So when you're working with organizations, how do you really get them from where they are to, I like to call it, so the promised land.

Karen Kelly (23:09.71)

I mean, it's a journey, right? And I think a lot of it is looking where they are because a lot of times they'll come to me and they'll say, we are having a problem in this area and it's never that area or it's a symptom. And so you just take a step back and you look at what they're doing. And most often it's they're following their sales process. And so I always say, okay, that's good that you have a process, but how aware are you of the way in which your buyers buy? Because...

most likely it's changed since the pandemic. And so how do you align yourself to the stages they're at, the emotions, the behaviors, the intent? And a lot of it is, are you working closely with your marketing department and really removing the silos so that you're aligning with the right ICP? Your content is reaching them where they're at. Because again, when they come to you as a salesperson, it's 17 % of the time that they're spending with you. The other almost 80 is content.

And so how are you meeting them where they're at? And there's so many ways, but a lot of it is, you know, working with your marketing department. If you're an entrepreneur, you have to become that mini marketer and really ensure that your content that you're sharing is like we said, the voice of the customer, buyer centric and meeting them where they're at. So you have that first step is the awareness. Are they aware and how do they acknowledge that they have a problem in the first place?

Wesleyne (24:28.852)

So when you, because you talked about working with the marketing department and it can either be peanut butter and jelly or oil and water depending on you know what side of the aisle you're working on. So if you and your marketing department are more like oil and water or you feel like their activities are not beneficial or you guys are always at odds, what is a way to build that bridge?

Karen Kelly (24:36.238)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (24:51.854)

Yeah, good question. The reason this is coming up is I am actually part of a three part series on how sales and marketing can work together. So it's timely. But the stat that we shared is 90, 95 % of B2B buying decisions are directly influenced by content. So when you look at that stat and you look at sales folks and what they're motivated by a lot of it's money, right? And it's like, you know, the definitely is we have to help our customers, but we still want to make some money at the same time. And so knowing that such a high percentage of success and closure relates on content.

It's almost an invitation to say, you know, what do we have to lose here? Let's work together and look big picture and say, do we have a strategy in place that we're both aligning to that same true north? The metrics underneath that are going to be different for sales and marketing, but at least it allows you to speak the same language. We're talking about language. If you internally are not speaking the same language, you're confusing your audience.

Wesleyne (25:43.38)

Hmm.

Karen Kelly (25:43.95)

And so it's just about having a strategy because I know when I was in corporate, I didn't work with marketing and I would run to them and be like, we need this, we need that. Or when they would give me something, I'm like, that's so out of date, that's not what's actually going on. But if you just took time and met quarterly to answer your question, if you set up quarterly meetings to really have strategic sessions and then have a content path and say, you know, this month it's going to be this either stages or themes that help you.

And so you have a buyer behavior, you have data, you have analytics that say, okay, this is working. When you get to this point, we're getting traction, we're getting more click through rates, whatever it is that you're measuring. So sometimes salespeople, we need to see it. We need to see a bit of a proof. So could you take a subset, a small segment, a division, an industry, and just do a use case and say like, this is where we're starting, this is what we're doing. We...

we meet marketing and sales infrequently. So it's not a lot of time on our end, but look at what we're yielding. And so I feel like it's almost like you have to do a little bit of product like growth and show them, and then you might increase the likelihood of buy -in.

Wesleyne (26:55.028)

Yeah, and I think one of the biggest things that I took away from what you shared is don't treat your marketing department like they're your do people, right? Your do boys, your do girls, like I need you to do this. I'm going to a trade show, give me some brochures, right? Treat them like you wanna be treated. So treat them as a trusted advisor for the salespeople, right? Have those strategic conversations and I really think this comes from up top.

Karen Kelly (27:07.63)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (27:20.788)

If the leads, the VPs, the directors of sales and marketing are collaborating and they're on the same page, then it folds down to their team, right? So their team's like, okay, my sales director said the marketing director wants XYZ or gave us these inputs.

Karen Kelly (27:21.71)

Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (27:38.388)

Be transparent because I think that that is really what helps to organizations that move faster, farther, because I can see them online, right? I can see the organizations whose marketing department is putting their all into it and they have zero salespeople commenting on their posts, right? You can't blame marketing when they're doing what they need to do and you're not supporting. And then you see the ones who every time marketing posts, their salespeople are there and then they see their customers are coming there too. What?

Karen Kelly (27:53.838)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.

Karen Kelly (27:59.118)

Mm -hmm.

Wesleyne (28:06.676)

What's magic? Right?

Karen Kelly (28:07.694)

Yeah, yeah. And I think to add to that is just that feedback of saying what's working, what's not, and just have that continuously. So you're iterating, you're not waiting to, you know, for the lagging indicators, you're capturing the leading and say, hey, let's course correct here, guys, because we're going to tweak a few things. But that's how working together and understanding the nuances, the personalities.

you do work together and you start seeing, look who's coming along after us. It's the prospects, but they want to see a union between you two first, right?

Wesleyne (28:38.548)

Yes, absolutely. It's like they want to see that you don't have drama internally, right? And you mentioned that. We can't put a united front to the world if we are a whole hot mess on the inside, right? It's our insides and our outsides must, must match. So Karen, share with us an experience in your career that has really changed the way that you show up in LEAD.

Karen Kelly (28:44.078)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (28:51.438)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (28:55.822)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (29:06.478)

Goodness. I would say, you know, I talk a lot about failures and people are so afraid of them. And, you know, back in the day I, I would have been as well. And to be honest, I've had not a lucky life, but like, I haven't had a lot of ups and downs. It was pretty even key. A lot of, a lot of great corporate success. And as an entrepreneur, I've made mistakes. I've invested money into equipment, you know, 50 to a hundred thousand here and there. And sometimes it's,

It's worked against me, right? And so I guess one of the big lessons that I see it now in reflection is that that was meant for me because to get out of that, it forced me to play big and bet on myself even more. And so while I opened by sharing a story of how I bet on myself, you know, that was in my early twenties when I was just a little firecracker. And as you go through life and you know, you go on your own and now you're selling a service, which is you.

you become a little bit perhaps less risky. And so some of the failures I've had have actually been my biggest successes when I realized that if I was part of the failure or the mistake or the learning, whatever you want to call it, then I therefore must be part of the solution. And so it forced me to kind of put on my big girl pants and say, you need to get yourself out of this. But it also prevented me from shying away. I was like, I'm not gonna like, yeah, I lost, but I learned.

and I will be better next time, I'll be smarter, but I also can share with others that failure is part of the journey and to have that resiliency and along the way, like the growth and the revenue that I made up has tripled the initial loss, you know? So it's just stepping outside of that. And sometimes we're so emotionally connected and we're licking our wounds and we can't see, you know, the trees through the forest. And now I'm like,

Wesleyne (30:45.748)

Hmm, yeah.

Karen Kelly (30:56.718)

Thank God they were there because I got burned, but man, I came out so much stronger.

Wesleyne (31:00.788)

Mm, that's so good. It's the difference of the risk in your early years versus a little later in life. You're like, I have more to lose now. I'm not sure I wanna do that. I have to pay my own salary and if I don't pay my salary, then I can't pay my mortgage, right? But you're right. I feel like many times when we are so risk averse, we block the...

Karen Kelly (31:12.59)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (31:17.902)

Yep.

Wesleyne (31:27.092)

doors that need to be open. We won't even try. And so in the not trying, what happens is it blocks us from that bigger, better 2X, 3X that we can tap into. That's awesome.

Karen Kelly (31:38.35)

Mm -hmm. One word there is for me is block and I'm all about energy and we are energy and so when we block it or even if we're in limbo we're preventing any new ideas or any movement from happening and so that's what happened to me. Initially I was paralyzed and I was blocking flow and new beginnings and new ideas coming through me and the minute I took control back and pushed it away you could just feel there was a breakthrough. So I feel like we have to be mindful of what's blocking us.

Wesleyne (32:00.628)

Yeah.

Wesleyne (32:06.388)

Yeah.

Karen Kelly (32:06.51)

and step forward it like go towards it and what do they say what you resist persists move in move into it and see what the hell is going on here and is it something that I'm doing sometimes it's us am I standing on my own way here do I need to move aside because I'm blocking something and I'm playing small.

Wesleyne (32:09.46)

Mm -hmm.

yeah.

Wesleyne (32:24.82)

Yeah, I love that. Don't play small in anything that you're doing in sales and leadership and entrepreneurship. Do not play small because if you play small, you're going to get small results. So Karen, tell us what is the one best way for people to get in contact with you if they want to.

Karen Kelly (32:35.758)

Yes.

Karen Kelly (32:44.013)

say this is going to be a typical answer but linkedin you can find me on linkedin you can go my website k2 perform or karen at k2 perform .com i also have a podcast you can check me out there the k2 sales podcast so any of those be happy to answer any questions or just connect with you would be great

Wesleyne (33:04.02)

Awesome, well thank you so much for a lively discussion on the art and the science of sales. This was a great time and thank you so much for sharing with the audience.

Karen Kelly (33:13.454)

My pleasure. Thank you for having me, Wesley.

Wesleyne (33:16.212)

And that was another episode of the Transform Sales Podcast. Remember, in all that you do, transform your sales. Until next time.

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