I recently had the privilege of speaking on a panel hosted by Revenue Collective about the skills needed to advance to the C-Suite of your company. It was such an amazing experience to hear from some incredible female execs and learn how they made it to the top and the skills they believe are critical to succeed in the role.
I've been Conversocial's Chief Revenue Officer since April 2019, and strangely it wasn't necessarily a position I always wanted. I never thought sales was something I wanted to do. Looking back, that was likely an opinion I had formed due to an insecurity I had from my previous experience being mostly in customer success and not sales. I’m fortunate our CEO believed in me and convinced me that I was already selling, and that there are different approaches and ways to sell. I learned that it's all about authenticity and ensuring you can make the role your own.
My fellow panel members, Jen Dimas, Nichole Jordan and moderator Barbara Mighdoll shared some fascinating insights into their journey to the C-Suite and I encourage everyone reading this to take some time to watch the panel, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts from the discussion.
1. Understand Your Exec Team
One of the key things I have learned is to know who you're working with. Not just their personalities, but their styles of working. If I’m not understanding someone correctly, I might ask them to put their ideas or thoughts in a doc so I can go away, digest it and come back the next day with questions. If there's a mutual understanding of how people learn and communicate, you will function much better as an exec team.
2. You Can't Get What You Don't Ask For
You have to be vocal about what you want, even if it makes you uncomfortable and scared. It's how we grow and develop. If you experience rejection, the most important thing is your reaction. Don't view it as a rejection - view it as an opportunity to understand what you need to do to make sure you don't miss out next time. You can reframe any challenge into an opportunity. Doing this makes you more resilient, which is vital, because you hear no a lot more than you hear yes, even when you become a CRO!
3. You Don't Always Need To Be In Charge
Knowing when to lead and when to follow is a big part of how I lead, but you can't just do that based on blind faith. You need to do some digging to understand other people's roles and skills before you can work out when it's ok to sit back and let someone else take over. Without understanding everyone's strengths and weaknesses, including your own, you'll never be comfortable handing over the reins.
4. Learning to Cope With Covid
I think one thing the pandemic has done is give coworkers an insight into our home lives that they would have never seen before. Checking out what's in everyone's bookcases or kids invading Zoom calls has been the norm for all meetings. I don't think this is a bad thing either. We're all adapting and have become more understanding and empathetic around the pressures on people at the moment. It’s helped me become more vulnerable and more open to asking for help, for sharing more about me (both personally and professionally), and I think there's a trust that has developed between my team that might not have been there without Covid happening.
5. Encouraging a Work/Life Balance
I'm incredibly grateful that I work for a company where taking mental health days is not a problem, and actually encouraged. It's sadly not the case at every workplace.
Over the past 9 months I've worked hard to not let my job be impacted by the craziness the pandemic has brought, which hasn’t been easy. Working crazy hours, sending my kids to stay with my family, doing distance learning while working - the list goes on. It’s been exhausting and I know this feeling is shared by many. I’ve taken a handful of mental health days throughout the pandemic to just unplug recharge. I encourage our team to do the same whenever they’re feeling like they need to tap out.
If you're interested in working for Conversocial, we have some openings in our UK and US teams, you can check them out on our careers page.