What makes Caroline happy?
Caroline enjoys her job, spending time with her kid, and taking time to herself.
How do you get 300% of your quota?
Caroline concentrates on a few major accounts and assists them in making the best use of the solution.
Why don't more people do that, and when did you realise that was the proper thing to do?
Early in her career, Caroline saw the value of concentrating on core clients. Others can value quantity above quality or lack the perseverance necessary for long-term success.
How frequently must you remind customers to use the value-added services?
Clients frequently need Caroline's encouragement to use the services, and she emphasizes the value of perseverance in fostering adoption.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome back to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today I'm genuinely delighted to have Carolaine Pino as my guest. He's a regional sales manager at Splunk, but has a fascinating backstory. Carolaine, welcome.
Carolaine Pino: Hi, Marcus. Thanks for having me.
Marcus Cauchi: It's my pleasure. You came incredibly highly recommended by people that I really ranked very highly. And so I was excited. But actually, your backstory says that you are a scrappy fighter, uh, who gives no quarter. So let me just set the scene. If you haven't seen a, a picture of Caroline, she's very elegant, very diminutive. Um, just wait for this story. Just buckle up.
Make sure you have, uh, your seatbelt on, your harness on, over to you Carolaine.
Tell us about yourself 60 to 90 seconds
Marcus Cauchi: Tell us about yourself 60 to 90 seconds.
Carolaine Pino: Well, thank you for that [00:01:00] introduction. I do like to feel like I, um, surprised people. I think at the end of the day, they're not expecting what they get. But yes, I am a regional sales manager at Splunk.
I've been there for a bit over a year. Great ride. I've been in the tech industry for almost 10 years now. Kind of fell into it because someone just took a chance on me and to build out a territory out in Florida, and it's been a wild ride ever since.
Tell us about the last 18 months
Marcus Cauchi: So tell us about the last 18 months.
Carolaine Pino: So let me tell you, I started working for Splunk last summer, not this past summer, the summer before. And I was at new hire training out in California. And um, I landed in the hospital, got a colon cancer diagnosis, surprisingly enough. Not exactly the, the way you wanna start a, any part of your life, let alone your career at, um, a great organization, right?
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely. [00:02:00]
Carolaine Pino: And, uh
Marcus Cauchi: What happened then?
Carolaine Pino: Marcus, I've had the best year in my career.
Marcus Cauchi: Go on. Fantastic.
Carolaine Pino: That's what happened.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. You should celebrate your successes. So let, let's all, uh, celebrate along with you. So you came in at what number at the end of the end of the year.
Carolaine Pino: So I, I still have a little bit to go towards the end of the year, but I'm, uh, over 300% at the moment.
Marcus Cauchi: Outstanding
Carolaine Pino: And not slowing down.
Marcus Cauchi: And not slowing down.
What was everybody telling you when you fell sick?
Marcus Cauchi: So let, let me ask you this. What was everybody telling you when, uh, you fell sick?
Carolaine Pino: Everyone told me to step back. Everyone told me to take care of my health, uh, which is, which is absolutely right, of course, but they also told me not to worry about work.
That, uh, a job would be there whenever I was ready and, uh, to just focus on me.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Being mildly stubborn, uh, by the sounds of things you ignored. At least a step back piece.
How were you able to balance your health, your family, and your work? What did you have to do to change your behavior so that you were able to handle all of that?
Marcus Cauchi: How were you able [00:03:00] to balance your health, your family, and your work? What did you have to do to change your behavior so that you were able to handle all of that?
Carolaine Pino: It's interesting when you go, so I, I mean, I got the diagnosis, I had too many surgeries to remember. I did 12 rounds of chemo, and you find that you have very, very little time. Right? Not only did I wanna focus on my career and what I could do at Splunk, but I also have a three-year-old daughter and I have a husband, and I have my own life.
I have all these things that you have to manage, and I had very small amounts of time to be able to make an impact. And I think what I learned from the experience is that we don't need so much time to make impact. You just need to be extremely focused on what is going to drive the best outcome for whatever you're focusing on, focusing on in that moment.
Marcus Cauchi: And th this is the key. The task [00:04:00] expands to the time allotted. If you give yourself an hour, a week, a month, or a year, that's how long it will take you.
How ruthless were you in saying no to non-core stuff so that you had the time to look after your health, that you had the family time, that you had the time?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this, how ruthless were you in saying no to non-core stuff so that you had the time to look after your health, that you had the family time, that you had the time?
Carolaine Pino: Extremely ruthless. There was, I could not waste a single minute in my day. So, and I would spend those minutes doing whatever was either good for my health, whatever was gonna drive my biggest deals and whatever was gonna bring me the most happiness with my family.
Marcus Cauchi: I love the fact that you've prioritized being happy to you.
What does bring Caroline happiness?
Marcus Cauchi: So what do, what does bring Caroline happiness?
Carolaine Pino: Huh? Well, being a 300% sure does. It's a mixture to be honest. I definitely love my career. I love my job. I love what I do, but I also really love my daughter and I [00:05:00] also love being alone. I definitely learned that I thought I was an extrovert. I'm not. I'm definitely an introvert.
I love just kind of sitting around in silence.
Marcus Cauchi: I love that the best time of day is first thing in the morning when no one else is awake. And, uh, I love, I've thoroughly enjoyed being isolated. I didn't realize, I, I always knew I was a bit of a gremlin, but I didn't realize just how much I've won till the lockdown happened.
I've, this has been the absolute bliss as far as I was concerned. Obviously there's a human cost, which is uh, terrible, but for me, just being stuck in my little man cave in the conservatory, it's been heaven. Okay, so tell me this, how do you manage to kit 300% a quota? Cause there'll be a lot of people who are working full-time without the challenges that you had.
Who are tracking at 40% a quota at the end of the year.
What is it that you do differently every day, every week, every month, that other people don't?
Marcus Cauchi: What is it that you do differently every day, every week, every month, that other people don't?
Carolaine Pino: [00:06:00] So I don't have a very large account set. And within that account set, I have a very, even smaller number of current customers. And what I've found, not only in this role but in the other roles that I've had where I maybe I did have a large account set, I really just focused on the three to five accounts.
That had the biggest potential to grow. And when you looked at them, they weren't utilizing the solution the way that they should be or that they could be. And I bring in all the resources necessary to help them adopt. And that's what I go through first. Let's adopt with what you have because that will naturally help you grow.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. And if you can hear Caroline's percussing in the background there to drive the point home. So thi this is really interesting. I, I was having a conversation with my friend Paul Lloyd, and we were bemoaning the fact [00:07:00] that so few salespeople really do have focus. What they tend to do is they throw lots of mud at the wall and hope some of it sticks.
I was having a conversation yesterday with someone who wanted me to mentor them. And he was saying something that was really interesting as well. He's, it's go set up a telemarketing company and he's, uh, just bought something, I think it Cognism, he said. And he's got 20,000 verified names and email addresses and telephone numbers, and he does these blasts and he gets a two, uh, 1% response rate, then no business off the back of it.
Paul and I were discussing that, exactly that topic this morning, that what you need to do is you need to narrow the focus. What you say no to matters more than what you say yes to. And the other side, which you've touched on, which I think is really important, but most compensation schemes drive unwanted behavior, is that once we've got an account, make sure they're [00:08:00] utilizing what we sell them.
And I love that philosophy.
When did you realize that that was the right thing to do and why is it other people don't?
Marcus Cauchi: Where, where, first of all, when did you realize that that was the right thing to do and why is it other people don't?
Carolaine Pino: So it was definitely in my first role within tech. I was working for a boutique bar out in South Florida that had no accounts and we had to build it from nothing.
And I was on the bar side, so I wasn't even a, a manufacturer at the time. And I just got intel of who already owns. What I'm trying to sell them, because I was willing to bet it was still sitting in a box somewhere. And I just started pounding on those doors. And again, I still narrowed it down to three to five, pounding on those doors, telling them that we were gonna come in and make it work free, free of charge.
Like I just wanted to invest in their current success and they would end up switch over and purchase [00:09:00] even more from me and the team. That's when I first, first saw it. But don't get me, I mean, I, I go through cycles all of a sudden because it is a long game because it takes time and tremendous amount of effort.
It can be, you know, a couple months down the line you say, well, maybe this isn't working. I'm gonna throw those thousand emails and see what sticks. But that doesn't, that, that is not, that's not the way to go. The only way that has been successful for me is the ones where you invest the time to make things work for the customer.
Marcus Cauchi: I've found exactly the same thing when, when I had my training business. I found that having a handful of clients and charging a lot for it, so that it meant that I could spend time on them and I didn't have to spend it hammering the phones, dialing for dollars, uh, for the next 300 or 400 pounds to come in.
And, you know, getting 20,000 pounds per person per year [00:10:00] meant that I could give them all the time that they needed. I, I, I used to offer unlimited coaching. There was a reasonable use clause, which is, don't take the piss. And make sure you've done your preparation and if we've agreed a course of action implemented and then come and tell me why it didn't work.
But apart from that, they had unlimited coaching and it flabbergasted me how often I would have to chase people, uh, to get coaching.
How often do you find that you have to encourage them to actually use the service that is the value add when it's there but they're just not necessarily using it?
Marcus Cauchi: In your experience, when you are working that closely with accounts, how often do you find that you have to encourage them to actually use the service that is the value add when it's there, but they're just not, not necessarily using it?
Carolaine Pino: You have to encourage a lot. It's sometimes it, it feels like you're the parent trying to tell the child what is important and what's going to help them. And as salespeople, I think we tend to give up very quickly, but that getting [00:11:00] them to actually have the aha moment and start utilizing is where you will see more fruit later on.
But it's true. It's hard to get them to use it. We're being pulled in so many different directions.
Can you define for me how you see the role of a salesperson?
Marcus Cauchi: So can you define for me how you see the role of a salesperson?
Carolaine Pino: Yes.
Keeping in mind that I personally like to sell very complex things. I feel like the more complicated it is, the stickier it is. So for that kind of salesperson, I think that we are, I wish I had a better word, but we're really a quarterback and like a master coordinator of helping.
Marcus Cauchi: Conductor of an orchestra
Carolaine Pino: E exactly. It's a conductor because as a salesperson, I'm not supposed to know everything. I shouldn't know everything. If I know everything something's wrong. Um, really? Um, [00:12:00] and, and I, and I say that in meetings all the time. Sorry, don't know that answer, but I'll find you the right person. Right? So we just need to know how to get a lot of people that aren't necessarily paid or incentivized to work with our customers to feel motivated enough to give it their all on our customers.
Marcus Cauchi: So this touches on another couple of really important points that you've alluded to, which is for a salesperson, I think the most important question you can learn how to ask is who, not why, how, or what. Um, it's who, who knows the answer. Uh, who can help? Uh, who, who's been through this before?
And learn to and thi this is why I think, um, salespeople who don't understand the importance of building their personal brand, building their network that goes well beyond, um, their direct prospect base, um, are significantly losing out. Um, because my, my network [00:13:00] has grown over the years and there's almost no one on the planet that I can't get access to.
Um, and if there's a topic that I need to cover, Um, I can readily, uh, go to someone who will know someone. Um, you know, I, I frequently post on LinkedIn and ask about something often for someone in my network and answers come back.
In terms of how you structure your calendar, talk me through your process for that
Marcus Cauchi: Um, so te tell me this, um, in terms of how you structure your calendar, talk me through your process for that.
Carolaine Pino: Oh, it's very rudimentary. To be honest, it's kind of all in my head a little bit. Um, but I sit down every morning and I just make a checklist of what I need to get done that day. And it's usually those big things like who do I need to talk to? Who do I need to get on board with a plan? Who do I need to get into, um, you know, an internal meeting to execute on what we're trying to do for the customer.
But I don't [00:14:00] have some big scheme. I mean, it's actually right here. Like, it's just a, a checklist of maybe 10 things that I wanna get done that day.
Do you keep adding to that checklist throughout the day or do you just focus on getting that stuff done?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. And do you keep adding to that checklist throughout the day or do you just focus on getting that stuff done?
Carolaine Pino: No, I just focus on getting that stuff done.
And if in the middle of the day I realize that I'm not gonna get something done, I'll, I'll move it out to the very next day. But I really, it, it, I stick to really just 10 things, max. I'm looking here quickly and it's about max 10 things.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. And so you sell complex enterprise high ticket solutions to complex problems.
What are the qualities that are required to be an expert cat herder in order to ensure that you get the movement and motion within your own organization and cut through the politics and the bullshit?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me, what are the qualities that are required to be an expert cat herder in order to ensure that you get the movement and motion within your own organization and cut through the politics and the bullshit?
Carolaine Pino: So I, I think you just said it just perfectly, you just need to cut through the politics and the BS.[00:15:00]
I feel as though I definitely make true relationships with people. I'm generally interested in who they are and what they do, and I think that creates sort of a bond between the team that you're trying to work with that keeps them happy to also want to work with your customers. I don't think that you wanna be the sales rep that people don't wanna work with. And I find that this may divert a little bit, but as a salesperson, sometimes you kind of only wanna get the recognition yourself, right? We always say that the salesperson is control freak and they want the win and they, they, they feed off that win when you're, selling solutions like this and you have such a big team behind you, I think that it also makes you successful if you know how to step back and be happy that everyone else is getting the recognition.
Because when other people on the team that don't usually [00:16:00] get recognition get recognized, it motivates them to continue to wanna work with you and the customers that you're trying to drive.
Marcus Cauchi: This touches on a crucially important factor, particularly in tough times. So in recessions, downturns, during this pandemic, um, a lot of people are very nervous, very scared.
They have uncertainty. And based on a meta study of 330 studies, mankind's greatest fear is the future because with it comes uncertainty. And I think what a great salesperson brings is that they're a safe pair of hands. Everybody knows what's expected of them. Everybody knows what is gonna happen next, and the the best salespeople I know are really contractual.
So they always agree precisely and specifically what someone is going to do, what the boundaries are, what's not gonna happen. They [00:17:00] coordinate and make sure everybody is prepared. Now, again, let's touch on this. I'm speaking to a number of prospects at the moment, and one of the common themes that I get is that their sales teams are packed with order takers who do not prepare, do not rehearse, they turn up, they wing it, and at best it's the flip of a coin in terms of whether a forecast deal will come in.
What is it that you are doing to create certainty in people's minds? Is there a rehearsal that's planned?
Marcus Cauchi: What is it that you are doing to create certainty, uh, in people's minds, to make sure that as the, as the conductor of the orchestra, um, the right people are having the right conversations at the right time, in the right way with the right people, and then there's a clear next step so that you are co, I mean, do you use some form of, uh, planning, framework when you are going into meter a prospect?
Is there, uh, a rehearsal that's planned? You have red teams, white teams, pre-mortem Inc. A deal that, uh, in order to [00:18:00] eliminate the probability of losing it all that kind of stuff.
Carolaine Pino: The planning is, is twofold, right? So with the internal team, we tend to have, uh, a meeting before going into a big meeting to discuss the background that I have on the customer areas where I think they should avoid talking about, areas where I think they need to hone in on. And then afterwards we tend to have a debrief where we decide on next steps internally that each person is responsible for. But I also do that with the customer themselves. What I've started doing, and I've found that is really helpful is I tend to prep them on what we're gonna be talking about, just to make sure we're on the same page.
And I've started treating the customer as a partner versus, um, someone I'm trying to sell to so that there's this give [00:19:00] and get in the relationship. Actually, I'm working out, my engineer's doing it because he's way better at this stuff. But, um, we're working out an entire kind of like, uh, Excel plan where we document, we gave this, and the customer gave us this. And if we start seeing that there's a skew where we're doing too much, we back off or we confront the customer on it. Because again, these are complex solutions. We're trying to solve big problems. If they're not as interested as we are, we have a big problem.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. I, I can't even begin to tell you how happy that makes me, uh, feel hearing that.
Um, I, I have a fundamental belief that um, salespeople will only succeed in the future through their ability to collaborate and partner with their customers, with their partners, with other people in their own organization, and also potentially with the competition. Because most technology solutions are just one [00:20:00] big moving part, or small moving part in the customer's overall IT strategy, which is in turn is a moving part in their business strategy. And if we are not getting the customer to step out of the goal mouth, so it's us and the entire team kicking a into the customer's goal, uh, against their problem into an open goal, then we will find ourselves constantly being doubted, distrusted and justifiably so.
And the, the whole concept of partnership, the way I defined it in the book I wrote, Making Channel Sales Work, is that partners help each other get better. And that whole piece around accountability, making sure that there is equal homework and that the effort is matched on both sides is really important.
What I'm seeing in the companies that I'm working with, um, as the CRO is as we start to build that culture and [00:21:00] we focus on building lifetime customers. When we prospect we're not prospecting for this month or this quarter, we're prospecting for five years down the road. Um, our objective is to get lifetime customers on board who are delighted because an unhappy customer will always be looking for an alternative.
A satisfied customer knows that things could be better. So there are competitors', best prospects. And a delighted customer, they're probably not gonna bother changing cuz they're delighted. So even if someone comes up with something that's a little bit different, it's not gonna be enough to leverage to get us outta the account.
The salespeople, in fact, the entire team on the vendor side should be highly engaged because we know that what you get with highly engaged employees is massive discretionary effort. And that's something that you seem to be really good at generating because those people don't necessarily get paid or recognized even.
So tell me this, [00:22:00] if you had a magic wand and you could modify compensation schemes so that everybody who contributed was paid. What advice, uh, or hints would you give someone? Because that's the, I I'm after a little bit of, uh, free advice here cuz I'm just at that point now where we're designing the comp plan and that's the kind of comp plan I wanna des uh, design.
How would you design a compensation scheme to drive that behavior so people were recognized and rewarded as a matter of routine, and it's the culture, this is the way we do things around here?
Marcus Cauchi: So I'm curious, so you, you've been on the sharp end for a while now. How would you design a compensation scheme to drive that behavior so people were recognized and rewarded as a matter of routine, and it's the culture, this is the way we do things around here?
Carolaine Pino: Great question, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure I have the answer for you and you've actually taught me something.
I have never really taken a step back to look at what the compensation plan is for all of those people around me, and that should be one of those things that I actually look at to see what drives them. Is it [00:23:00] money, is it relationship? Is it just recognition? That's something I literally just learned this second, that it's something I'm not, I'm not looking at.
Marcus Cauchi: We can have a chat about that off on then.
Carolaine Pino: Yeah, no, but it, it's fair because I've, I've definitely asked the questions of ISRs or business development reps because I wanna see how they're motivated to help me build pipeline that's outside of the pipeline that I'm building myself. But what about that extended team?
It's definitely a valid point.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I, I remember interviewing Victor Antonio and he was pre-sales for sales rep who took him out for a great steak lunch when they won this deal. And when he came back he said, I've just been out for this fabulous lunch. And one of the other guys burst his bubble and said, well, $50 steak.
Yeah. Okay. How much do you think the rep got, uh, in commission and at which point he was felt slightly flattened and that's, there was a catalyst for him to move into [00:24:00] sales. I recognize that money isn't, uh, what drives many people. In fact, for me, money is actually not a big driver. I make enough so that I need for nothing.
So getting more is just a benchmark of how much other people value what I do, but doing important, meaningful work, being challenged, seeing other people thrive and succeed is incredibly satisfying. And having my clients come back to me and I've had a client from a couple of years back contact me recently and on about a 25,000 pound investment he's made just shy of 800,000 pounds back.
And that was really incredibly satisfying.
What are the things that you're interested in? What are you looking for so that those people know that you care?
Marcus Cauchi: So whe when you spend time talking to these people, being curious about them, what are the kind of things that you are learning? I mean, I'm not expecting you to share any confidences, but you know [00:25:00] what, what are the things that you're interested in? What are you looking for so that those people know that you care?
Carolaine Pino: I personally am just generally interested in their personal lives. You know, what's happening mentally, what's happening with the family? Where are the hardships that people might be comfortable sharing and that we can talk through and maybe brainstorm how to fix them? Because I've gone through a lot of hardships in a very short amount of time, so I get it, and if I can lend a an ear or a recommendation, I'm happy to do it.
Marcus Cauchi: It's really interesting cuz I, I think so many people go into business thinking that we are here to do a job, but we forget that actually we're dealing with human beings. Our customers are not organic ATM machines. They have lives too, and they have hopes and fears, and the decisions that they're making at the level that you sell at [00:26:00] can literally be career ending if they get those wrong.
And hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people can be massively affected if they make the wrong decision.
From the customer side, how do you go about making sure that they know that this is not just a transaction for you?
Marcus Cauchi: So again, from the customer side, how do you go about making sure that they know that this is not just a transaction for you?
Carolaine Pino: I think it's more about showing versus talking. I'm thinking about a customer right now that I remember.
He, the particular person, completely blew me off as a regular salesperson. The first time that we met. He made it very clear that, you know, he knows the sales game, but we've been working with him for several months now and I'm pretty convinced that his perspective has changed because again, we are in there on a regular basis.
We are helping, uh, the team grow. And that's just not one customer. It's many customers that we're doing this, we're doing this with. So I think that customers are [00:27:00] tired of hearing salespeople say, we're here to help, we're here to partner, and then they disappear. I think it's all about the action more than what you're saying.
And once they see it, you know, over the course of a few months, they get it. They understand that you have their best interests at heart.
Marcus Cauchi: So you're known by the promises you keep, not the ones you make.
Carolaine Pino: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, you operate in a complex high ticket environment where there's a lot of pressure from above to achieve results.
What advice would you give to someone who is new into an enterprise role about managing upwards?
Marcus Cauchi: What advice would you give to someone who is new into an enterprise role about managing upwards?
Carolaine Pino: Hide all your pipeline. Don't tell anyone what you're doing until you have a deal.
Hey, that's a great question because it is, it's a very, it's definitely in any organization of this size, right, you have the pressure to, to [00:28:00] succeed and do well. I personally am, I'm quite honest.
Marcus Cauchi: Only quite honest.
Carolaine Pino: Only quite honest. No, I, I, I think, and this could be a flaw, so I don't know if I'm giving good advice or not, but I'm pretty transparent in what's going on, what's real, what's not real.
The idea of managing upwards to me, it just doesn't, it, it doesn't fit in my DNA because I'm not gonna put in pipeline that I don't think is real. I'm not gonna put a deal as a commit if I don't think it's real, and even if I'm challenged on it, I'm gonna come back and say, no, we're not, we're not there yet. We're not ready.
That has worked for me just because that's the way I feel comfortable doing my job. Just being fully transparent in what's happening. If there's something bad that's about to happen, if there is a risk, I'm going to make sure that everyone knows about it. Actually, that reminds me, uh, [00:29:00] in very large deals, one of the things that I've started doing is, is literally every single person on the team from the ISR, even though they haven't engaged in months, because we're close to closure, to, uh, legal, to best practices, to whoever it is. I will send notes out almost very, very regularly saying, Hey, what do you see from your perspective that can go wrong?
What do you see that I'm missing and, and get that feedback. So again, I'm not sure if that's the best way to manage up, because you always kind of wanna look positive, but like, I'd rather show me the nitty gritty and dirty, because what I fully hear about is the deal closing at the end of the day.
Marcus Cauchi: Clarification.
Carolaine Pino: Not sure if that answered your question.
Marcus Cauchi: It does, pretty decent extent. What, what does ISR mean? Cuz that's maybe unfamiliar to people outside of Splunk.
Carolaine Pino: [00:30:00] Inside Sales Rep.
Marcus Cauchi: So for those of you who aren't familiar with the ISR term, it's the equivalent of an SDR Sales Development Rep. So their job is to fill the pipeline and secure meetings with qualified prospects.
If you look back over your career, what were the qualities of the best managers that you've ever worked with?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this, if you look back over your career, what were the qualities of the best managers that you've ever worked with?
Carolaine Pino: Well, I guess since we're talking about managing up, it's the ones that can help manage up for me. The best managers that I've had are the ones that I've felt I could tell everything to.
What about their involvement in terms of coaching, training, ride alongs?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. And what about their involvement in terms of coaching, training, ride alongs?
Carolaine Pino: Great question. Looking back, it's, it's a mixture of letting me do what I need to do and being available when I have problems. Or the ones that when I'm blocked and I think that they're, and I don't see a way out, are the [00:31:00] ones that kind of probe me, not necessarily give me the answers, but kind of probe me and push me until I say, ah, actually I can do, you know, I have this option that I can go to keep going forward.
So it, it's not so much this open obvious coaching, it's this kind of like, where I don't even realize they're doing it.
Marcus Cauchi: Right. Okay. Okay. So help me understand this then. I think managers have five functions. Hire the best people, get the best out of them, and that's through onboarding properly, training properly clear requirements, so clear communication, accountability, regular training, coaching, mentoring, and also confronting where necessary. Helping them clear the path, make sure that they clear roadblocks. And protect them from act of idiocy from above.
Make sure they have [00:32:00] the tools and resources they need to do their best work every day and are very inclusive so your opinion matters.
Talk to me about the best teams that you have been in and the kind of culture that was created around those teams so that everybody could achieve their full potential
Marcus Cauchi: Um, so again, talk to me about the best teams that you have been in and the kind of culture that was created around those teams so that everybody could achieve their full potential.
Carolaine Pino: This is a hard one, Marcus, because as a salesperson sometimes you do feel like you're your lone ranger out there.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Carolaine Pino: Making your calls caring about your customers, but we also talked about creating this team feeling that kind of those external resources that rally around your customers. I think the environment first needs to be one of the things that you mentioned, it's the people that you hire. I look around Splunk and I am like dumbfounded by how smart people are and there is this DNA of [00:33:00] people are very smart, but they're also very interesting. They're also very fun people. So at the rudiment, like at the very center of whatever atmosphere you're trying to to build, it really comes from the people that are on your team.
And then the rest sort of flows naturally. So having a lot of resources, yes. But also knowing when you know you just gotta be creative and go a little bit, follow your own gut instinct.
Talk to me about Constructive Conflict in the environment that you operate in
Marcus Cauchi: Constructive conflict. Talk to me about that in the environment that you operate in.
Carolaine Pino: This is fantastic, especially great question, especially during times of Covid where you don't get to see someone face to face and whatnot. I definitely feel like having a culture where you can press the pause button and let someone know, Hey, this went really well in the meeting. This did not go so well in the meeting, can we work on that, is key. And that's something that I've generated [00:34:00] within my teams that we do.
It was a lot more often early on at my time at Splunk. Now, I guess because we've learned from each other and learned the best way to work, it's a lot less. But definitely, you know, at the end of, you know, that, um, recap meeting that I talked about after you, we have a customer meeting, having that moment of, Hey, is there anything I could do?
To be better and we kind of go around the room, the virtual room, so to speak, of what could be improved. And I, I think that's really important. So it's not so much conflict, it's that everyone has that growth mindset really, of being open to hearing criticism so that they can improve in the future.
Do you see that as part of the recruitment DNA?
Marcus Cauchi: In order to do that, people need to be comfortable being uncomfortable and be ready to be vulnerable. Do you see that as part of the recruitment DNA?
Carolaine Pino: Those are the, I mean, you're speaking my love language. Uncomfortable being like [00:35:00] comfortable being uncomfortable and vulnerability are part of like the two biggest things in my personality I think, as I sit back and kind of explore my, my past. And if I have to think of the five people right now within my team set, they have that too.
Marcus Cauchi: As a salesperson, what I've found over the years is that people who don't have that tend to be very brittle and they're also not willing to take one for the customer.
Can you give me an example of where you've had to take a bullet for the customer?
Marcus Cauchi: Can you give me an example of where you've had to take a bullet for the customer?
Carolaine Pino: So I feel like that happens every single day, to be honest.
Um, again, complex enterprise solutions. They're not plug and play. Sometimes they may say that on the sheet, but it's not really like that. And
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, but that's marketing bullshit, you know that you not trust any of that.
Carolaine Pino: Exactly. So you know, a customer, for example, promises [00:36:00] to purchase by X date and they're having internal political issues and it's not gonna happen.
So you have to take the bullet and manage that appropriately. A customer has professional services that you know, they should have started using six months ago, and they're expiring and they need extensions and you know that you can't make it happen, but you make it happen anyways. You, you take the bullet.
So that's part of, you know, that partnership that we talked about. And that give and take from the customer. It's a journey. It's not a sale and you walk away. It's really a long-term relationship, so you're always gonna be taking bullets for the customer, literally all the time.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Help me understand this then.
What are you doing in terms of planning with the customer about what the sequence of events is going to look like in terms of onboarding them, optimizing and maximizing utilization across sales, the upsells, having conversations about their strategy and seeing where you fit and how you can get ahead of their problem?
Marcus Cauchi: You've managed to build the trust. You've managed to get that initial deal over the line. What are you doing in terms of planning with the customer about what the sequence of events is going to [00:37:00] look like in terms of onboarding them, optimizing and maximizing utilization across sales, the upsells, having conversations about their strategy and seeing where you fit and how you can get ahead of their pro, uh, their problem?
What's that type of planning look like in your mind?
Carolaine Pino: It's not as pretty as I would like it to be. Because, uh, at the end of the day, a lot of customers, you know, when we talk about strategy and, you know, the roadmaps and where we wanna be in six months or a year, a lot of customers want to be at that point to look back and plan so aggressively, but most of them aren't.
Most of them are just trying to get to tomorrow without having knowledge. And without showing up on the news. And so a lot of that is sometimes planning that I do internally [00:38:00] so that we know where we think the customer needs to be in X amount of time and kind of doing that in the background without too much, uh, paperwork in, in front of the customer space.
Kinda like how we talked about the manager, the manager who probes and coaches you without you really realizing it. That's the same sort of thing that I think that we work on on our end.
Marcus Cauchi: Right? So in internally you have these regular customer strategic reviews so that you are using what you know in terms of market research.
What's the process that you're going through?
Marcus Cauchi: Insights that are coming through their quarterly reporting, their annual reports, from the conversations that the network is having within the account, what's the process that you're going through?
Carolaine Pino: Yep. So I, I tend to have account plans on those three to five accounts. And yes, those are updated every six [00:39:00] months or so where I sit down and properly update them.
But on a regular basis with the core team of the account, we are looking at how are things going now, and we are discussing what other people found as they were in the account, right? Because we do have professional services in the accounts. What did they see that I didn't see? Um, and we're sharing that information.
Actually, just this morning, I, I had one of those internal calls and professional services opened this shared tons of information that completely is going to shift my strategy with the account just because of the, the cadence that they've had over the last two weeks, the different people that they've been working with, and yeah, so that long-term vision, I kind of have it for myself because the customers are very busy.
So, I mean, I would love to be able to have executive briefings with my customers on a monthly basis and [00:40:00] really, you know, sit down and, and plan long-term visions. But that's really hard because they're being pulled in so many different directions. So the approach that I've taken with the team is that we make sure to have that vision for them.
We understand their business, we understand what's going on, and we kind of plan long term what seeds we want to plant along the way so that when the time comes, they're ready for whether it's an upgrade or it's an expansion across sale and things like that.
Marcus Cauchi: It's really interesting. My good pal mentor, Brian Sullivan, taught me a couple of very useful tactics.
One is to build those quarterly value reviews into the deal as part of our compensation, so make it a condition and agree that you'll meet quarterly. And the objective is to hold one another to account. So there are very specific performance indicators that [00:41:00] define successful in terms of supplying them with the service and the outcomes that they want.
Equally, you have success factors that you need from them, and you hold each other to account on a quarterly basis. And those are agreed at the, out at the outset of an a project. And then throughout every three months you can reset those factors. You can hold each other's feet to the fire. You can say what worked, what didn't work, and then it creates the pipeline for the next three months because it identifies where you can be of value to them.
Um, another useful tactic is a fortnightly call to these key accounts, uh, which is called a recon call. And it stands for, remember, or remind me. So, Caroline, remind me what we agreed to do between now and the last time we spoke.
Carolaine Pino: Hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: I'm interested in the bad, not the good. So where have we failed you? [00:42:00] Have we made any, uh, promises we haven't kept? Any expectations we haven't met? Yeah. Anything you're disappointed by? That's the E of the recon- evaluate. What's changed? What's changed for the better as a result of what we've done and now they're selling to us. Then where are the opportunities for us to work more effectively, more closely with you over the next 90, 180 days?
And what are the next steps? So you always have an action on both sides as to what happens next.
Carolaine Pino: Marcus, I'm taking down notes. This is fabulous. And something else that I've, that I'm taking away from our little chat today. This is great.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. I'm glad I can add the tiny bit of value. You've done so much already.
Have you ever found yourself being trapped by a blind spot? And what lesson did you learn from it?
Marcus Cauchi: I'm really curious, have you ever found yourself being trapped by a blind spot? And what lesson did you learn from it?
Carolaine Pino: That is why I do those, uh, text [00:43:00] messages or reach outs to everyone on the team to tell me what's wrong. Because sometimes, and it, it's, we see it happen to other salespeople, right? Where you keep hearing someone talk about this incredible deal and you know that like, that sounds like it's definitely not gonna happen.
And, and so yes, that's happened to me before where, you know, I think that I have this great relationship and maybe I do, and that, that that relationship is gonna take me to the next, you know, take me to the, the order. But I'm blinded by, call it honeymoon phase, whatever you want, with the fact that like, you know, this person didn't necessarily disclose that they are having to work on a, put together a business case to present to their manager.
I thought that that person had more power or more authority than what, uh, was portrayed to me. And it, it slips or it moves. So that's why now. I [00:44:00] like to get feedback from a lot of people from what they see happening in these meetings because we are definitely biased to see what we wanna see, but others, you know, are a little bit more pessimistic or more optimistic and, and getting those, that feedback lets you know that you're not crazy.
Marcus Cauchi: Uh, I, I think it's really important that we invite that criticism and feedback because, uh, all too often. We go into an opportunity, uh, with happy ears and pinks colored spectacles, and that's inevitably going to get you into trouble. I think far too often what we tend to do is go in and get emotionally attached as salespeople and emotional attachment to the outcome.
I've found nothing fruitful. And it puts you into a position where you start to need the deal [00:45:00] rather than just want it.
Carolaine Pino: Yep.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's really very, very dangerous.
How do you work your relationships with the customer to get insight and competitive intelligence on the competition?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Tell me this, undoubtedly, you are going into opportunities where there are competitors. So how do you work your relationships with the customer to get insight and competitive intelligence on the competition so that you can protect and ring fence your existing accounts and, uh, keep them, uh, out of the, when you are making, when you're following a pursuit?
Carolaine Pino: Yep. I'm pretty transparent as I think I've, we've talked a little bit about, I just asked the question, you know, what is it about the solution that you're looking at that you like?
What do you not like? Because I wanna show you how we can differentiate ourselves. I think in my opinion, I, I don't think we need to be like skeevy and, you know, secretive on our objective. It's [00:46:00] obvious we want to win the business. We wanna make sure we're not displaced. So let's be clear about that. Let's put that on the table.
I wanna make sure I don't lose your business. I wanna make sure that, you know, my competition doesn't step here. What is it that you like more about them or not so much about us, and vice versa. What is it that you like about us, you know, that maybe the, the competitor didn't, didn't present well enough so we can make sure to hone in on that aspect as well.
So when you are working on competitive bids, what are you doing in order to ensure that you're not just going to pursue something that you can't win or you shouldn't win? Do you have some sort of approach there? In order to get a coach or a sponsor go through your draft. We talked earlier about being comfortable in the uncomfortable, right?
I think that when you have tremendous success, you can tiptoe on a line of [00:47:00] starting to get comfortable because everyone's really happy. You're doing really great. And I think right now I'm really kind of teetering this mind of making sure that I stay uncomfortable and that I remember that, you know, in a month, the next month is starting, you know, in two, in three months the new year is starting and we're back at zero.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, that's good advice. Just keep remembering you're only as good as your last quarter and that you need to keep ahead of the problems.
You've got a golden ticket and you can go back and you can advise the idiot, Caroline, age 23 on one twist bit of advice that you know, she would ignore, but it would be good, useful to her. What, what would your advice be to her?
Marcus Cauchi: So, Caroline, you've got a golden ticket and you can go back and you can advise the idiot, Caroline, age 23 on one twist bit of advice that you know, she would ignore, but it would be good, useful to her. What, what would your advice be to her?
Carolaine Pino: I would say pull in a team sooner. I may have [00:48:00] had success early on in my career, but I could have probably doubled it if I would've leveraged resources more effectively. I was that salesperson that wanted to have the win on their own.
I wanted it to be my name. I wanted to get the recognition myself, and I've learned now that that is, that's not the way to go. So pull in other people sooner.
What kind of numbers were you billing then?
Marcus Cauchi: What kind of numbers were you billing then?
Carolaine Pino: I mean, I was still, I was still at over a hundred percent, but definitely not 300%.
Marcus Cauchi: So the, I mean the, the point being that you get a lot further by collaborating and sharing the recognition and the victory.
Carolaine Pino: Yes. You need more minds than just your own when you're talking to large enterprises that need complex solutions. Period. You need to position yourself as wanting to get smarter people in the room there with you.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent.
What are you being influenced by?
Marcus Cauchi: What, what are you being influenced by? What are you reading, watching, listening to that you [00:49:00] rate and you reckon other people should pay heed to?
Carolaine Pino: Listen, right now I'm reading all about how not to get cancer again. That, that's kind of where my focus is. I'll be totally, totally honest.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So what would you recommend, uh, that people read on that topic? Cause one and three of us are gonna get it.
Carolaine Pino: It's pretty intense actually. I'll make it easier for everyone.
There is a, a documentary on Amazon called the C Word, and it's very easy to watch and it's very enlightening for sure.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: So Caroline, how can people get hold of you?
Carolaine Pino: Well, fancy me. Um, LinkedIn is perfect.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, excellent. So contact Caroline and, uh, just for clarification, name is spelled C A R O L A I N E and Pino, P [00:50:00] I N O. So it'll be on the blurb and you should be able to get a hold of it, but I'll put the link into, uh, the, uh, the blurb about the conversation. Caroline, this has been really wonderful and very inspirational as well.
I do hope that you'll come back.
Carolaine Pino: Thank you so much for having me again. I have a page of notes from everything I learned from you today, so this was really fun.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay, Caroline Pino. Thank you. This is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the Inquisitor Podcast. If you've been inspired or you've found the conversation challenging, then please get in touch.
You can email me at marcus at laughs, L A U G H S hyphen last L A S T.com and you can contact me on LinkedIn. If you think you know or you would be a good guest, then please get in touch or connect us on LinkedIn and I'd love to explore whether those people would be a guest as well. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling.