Episode Thumbnail
Episode 87  |  39:40 min

Building meaningful executive relationships with your clients

Episode 87  |  39:40 min  |  06.14.2021

Building meaningful executive relationships with your clients

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This is a podcast episode titled, Building meaningful executive relationships with your clients. The summary for this episode is: <p>Lasting relationships start by adding value. On this episode, we are joined by Mike Small, CEO of Sitel, to discuss how to build meaningful executive relationships that can last. Part of his philosophy is to build rapport with customers by aligning with their mindset. This starts with knowing how to identify the right stakeholders and deeply understanding their business. Get this right and you will have the tools to grow with your customers and continue to drive value along the way. Tune in to learn how you can build more impactful relationships with your customers.</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>6:02 - Listening and Understanding Your Customers</p><p>11:52 - Building Up Mentees to a Better Version Their Mentors</p><p>18:23 - Meaningful Exec and Customer Relationships</p><p>21:12 - Identifying Innovators and Disruptors to Build a Relationship With</p><p>25:12 - 3 Tips for Customer Engagement</p><p>27:21 - Data Breakout - Promoting Exec Relationships with Clients and Prospects</p><p>35:56 - Salespeople Get Told "No" Often</p><p>38:21 - This Week's Micro-Action</p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: <a href="https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/</a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/</a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/</a></p><p>Connect with Wendy Harris: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendyharrisirl/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendyharrisirl/</a></p>
Takeaway 1 | 01:11 MIN
Listening and Understanding Your Customers
Takeaway 2 | 00:46 MIN
Building Up Mentees to a Better Version Their Mentors
Takeaway 3 | 00:45 MIN
Meaningful Exec and Customer Relationships
Takeaway 4 | 00:44 MIN
Identifying Innovators and Disruptors to Build a Relationship With
Takeaway 5 | 02:08 MIN
3 Tips for Customer Engagement
Takeaway 6 | 01:13 MIN
Data Breakout - Promoting Exec Relationships with Clients and Prospects
Takeaway 7 | 01:25 MIN
Salespeople Get Told "No" Often
Takeaway 8 | 00:46 MIN
This Week's Micro-Action

Lasting relationships start by adding value. On this episode, we are joined by Mike Small, CEO of Sitel, to discuss how to build meaningful executive relationships that can last. Part of his philosophy is to build rapport with customers by aligning with their mindset. This starts with knowing how to identify the right stakeholders and deeply understanding their business. Get this right and you will have the tools to grow with your customers and continue to drive value along the way. Tune in to learn how you can build more impactful relationships with your customers.

Guest Thumbnail
Mike Small
CEO, Sitel
As CEO – Americas, Mike Small is responsible for all functional aspects of North America and Nearshore (Latin America) including Operations, Finance, HR, Sales & Solutions, Project Management, Workforce Management and Account Management.
Connect with Mike

Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed.

Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue Intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.

Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars. People intelligence, deal intelligence, and market intelligence, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week, we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.

Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight and execute their strategic initiatives, plus all the challenges that come along with it.

Devin Reed: So Sheena I've lost count, but I believe this is about episode 80 or so. So we've talked to about 80 or so different executives, leaders, sales experts. So I'm curious in your career, in your experience, were there any executive experiences that you've had in your past that have shaped how you lead today?

Sheena Badani: That is a great question. And one that requires a lot of thought. There is one example that really comes to mind, which was when I worked at LinkedIn, which was in the early days, we had about 350 employees at that time. Jeff Weiner had just joined as our CEO and he left a really strong impression on my mind in terms of the way that he led. He knew every single employee's name and he knew what every single employee was working on. So even for myself as a junior member of the business development team, he would come over and tap my shoulder and say," Hey, Sheena, how is so- and- so initiative or program going?" And at this point, we were actually larger than 350. And it just blew my mind that he knew who I was and what I was doing. And it was so personal for that stage and that scale and the way that we were growing. And that's something that I really try to bring that into my day- to- day life and the way that I engage with folks, here at Gong and beyond.

Devin Reed: That is a great story and very impressive. I have a couple people that live in my house and four that are on my team and I can barely keep track of all of them, let alone hundreds of employees and all of their individual goals or responsibilities.

Sheena Badani: So true.

Devin Reed: And you would have thought that I prepped you with that story, but that is the perfect segue to who we hung out with today, which was Mike Small. And me and you were astonished. I remember after we hung up with Mike, we were like," Wow." The fact that a CEO, president of a company is so involved in the day- to- day operations and with pride, not in the I need to be micromanagy type of way, but the genuine I'm interested, I'm invested. And I want to be part of the day to day to make sure our clients are successful.

Sheena Badani: Exactly. It's so easy at that stage and that level to be disconnected and be in that glass suite and not engaging with the rest of the company, with prospects, with candidates, but that wasn't the case for him at all.

Devin Reed: Not at all, not at all. It was cool. He said one thing. He was talking about having a really flat organization and he kind of shrugged it off. He's like," It's not for everyone." You know what I mean? I really liked that because as listeners, as you hear the way that Mike shares, the way he operates, I think it's easy for people to be like," Well, this is how everyone should do it. Everyone should do it this way because it works for me." But he's kind of the opposite where he's like," I doubt this actually works for everybody." But I really liked it. I respected it. And I learned a lot too.

Sheena Badani: So true.

Devin Reed: Let's go hang out with Mike.

Sheena Badani: Let's do it.

Devin Reed: All right, Mike, thank you so much for joining Reveal. You've made our Friday much better, so we're happy to have you, how are you doing?

Mike Small: I'm doing great. I appreciate you. Hello Sheena. How you doing?

Sheena Badani: Very great to have you here. I'm well. Always well on a Friday.

Mike Small: Fridays are good.

Devin Reed: Fridays are good. We schedule these on Fridays specifically because people are just in the best mood. They're more relaxed. You've got a big smile on. We're vibing here.

Mike Small: Yeah. Yeah. I've got beach plans this weekend and I've got Mother's Day plans this weekend, I am already on weekend mode, so you're going to get laid back today.

Sheena Badani: Love it.

Devin Reed: I love that. And I hope that other people also refer to you as laid back, Mike, that know you.

Mike Small: It depends on the day.

Devin Reed: Yeah. Yeah. I imagine. Saturday and Sunday, probably. Monday, Tuesday, maybe not so much. Well, cool. I want to dive in a little bit about you Mike, before we get into our topic today. And I know that you started your career at Sitel as the Chief Customer Officer, before moving over to CEO. Can you walk us through? I'm sure it was a long journey, but maybe a shorthand version of what that trajectory was like at Sitel and what your new role looks like now?

Mike Small: Yeah. I've got to give all credit to our two founders Olivier Camino and Laurent Uberti. These two gentlemen, they just mirror so many of our stories, right? So not pretentious, they didn't grow up with a silver spoon. They started this business from an apartment in a flat in Europe and in Paris, France with not a check from mommy or daddy, they charted it to be cashflow positive and got into the call center business 25, 26 years ago. And today they've gone from humble beginnings to a$2.2 billion global company. And specifically as I joined them now four and a half years ago, they asked me to come in and they didn't define job. They didn't define really title. They didn't define scope. They said," We're changing culture. That's what we want you to do." That's what I started doing, starting with our customers, listening to our customers, understanding how we could best support and match their strategy as well as link to their ambition and their goals. And that starts with putting really dedicated team members across a series of accounts and industries. And that's what I did for the first two years. Then they came to me and said," Hey, listen, we want to promote you into our most important largest market, which is the Americas market." So$1. 2 billion P& L, and we believe in you. And I'll tell you right now that I'm an African- American young guy, no one in my career tapped me on the shoulder to say," Hey, listen, you're going to be CEO. Let's go." Right? These guys did. Because not just that they believed in what we were trying to accomplish and do, they don't see boundaries, they don't see limits. They just work with their teammates. And as long as you're willing to learn, as long as you're willing to adapt and grow, they're going to support you and be behind you. And that's really led to the progression. Today it's all about building teams, teams of leaders, building our culture around our values. And our leaders today, if I go back to our story four and a half years ago, when we made the purchase five years ago of Sitel, the organization culture was very different. It was very hierarchical. When we first came and listened to our clients, I heard things like," It takes sometimes you folks too long to make decisions and implement and execute, and your competitors are a lot more nimble." Today when I speak to my clients, they absolutely are telling a different story about our culture. They say," Your teams are empowered. You seem to be a pretty flat organization, a pretty dynamic organization. And what's very evident to customers and to our associates is we actually care about our associates. We're bottoms up. Our pyramid is reversed. The foundation of the many companies is our top of the pyramid, which is our associate experience. So if you start with that, you can find some phenomenal people in your organizations that in many cases are overlooked or buried under sometimes the bureaucracy. So the journey in Sitel is I'm here, I'm committed. I'm here to stay. This company is me. I mean, this company is our founders. This company allows us to be who we are, which is authentic individuals. And that's why it's so fun getting up every day to go to work.

Sheena Badani: So today, Mike, we're going to talk a lot about building relationships. And there are many people who are listening, who aspire to be in your shoes. They want to be the CEO of a billion dollar organization. I'm curious if there's any specific relationships from your personal experience that really helped contribute to get where you are today.

Mike Small: That's a great question. Oh boy. Yeah. There's one. And it's my grandmother. Okay. So first off, I am 100% a middle child. So I suffer from middle child syndrome. All right. And for those middle children out there, there's six brothers and sisters in our family. I'm number three. So for those of you that are in the middle, I got all the empathy and love brothers and sisters, because it can be a lonely, lonely existence there when you're right in the middle. So jokes aside, my grandmother was very instrumental informing me. So when I think about my grandmother, I think of a brilliantly strong woman who was the backbone of our family. She grew up in the Midwest, moved to the big city, got married. When my grandfather came back from the war was not at all fit for purpose when he came back and ended up leaving. And she was a single mom with my mother, an only child. And she grew up, very hard, very fast, in that type of situation and environment, and she then basically rose up and actually became the director of nursing at a private hospital. And was patented with a technique around... They've mastered hernia operations and flew the world doing this technique. And I remember at her retirement party, there were people through multiple decades of her life that got up and spoke and spoke about her. And the one thing that my grandmother would be, because she was very successful. You would never know it. She is the most humble individual I've ever met and grounded in her faith and grounded in just actually try your best, do what's right, help the next person. And that relationship formed me. I'll tell you that when I lost her, it was a difficult time in my life because when it's so foundational and that's your rock, you got to try to move on. So when I think about what I try to be as whether it's CEO or chief cheerleader is what I call myself is always be grounded in what would grandma do. And for me, that's help the next person. Because here's the best thing about see whoever. I've got five or six mentees that I had spent a lot of time with inaudible because I know they're going to be bigger, better, stronger, wiser, just better Mike Smalls. Right. They're going to beat me. And that's why I come to work. Because when those folks actually rise up to that level, I want to be at their retirement party. And that's where I'm going to be,"I remember when." And celebrate their successes.

Sheena Badani: I love that. We got to get some stickers made WWGD. And remember this line from Mike.

Mike Small: There you go.

Devin Reed: I love that. Very inspiring.

Sheena Badani: I have a question kind of diving into that culture side of things. Was it a surprise to leadership what you ended up hearing from your customers on how they perceived your own culture? Or was there a sense of that? Did you have information or data or perspectives that there was some gap there?

Mike Small: We absolutely saw that there was a gap just in terms of financial performance compared to the market. So when we first came in, obviously we were firstly into the details of all of our publicly available information, competitors, clients, industries that are growing, et cetera. And you can take a look at is your revenue growing? Where are you in terms of your financial performance against your peers? And most importantly, where are you with your people? And we spent most of the time in our sites, working with our people, listening to our people and you can start stitching the story together in terms of what our customers are saying, what are people are saying and then your market performance. So we had some understanding that culture change was required. We put a very aggressive transformation program and plan in place in order to accomplish that transformation and surprise, no hard work. Heavy lifting? Absolutely. There's folks that when you go through any type of transformation or cultural change, there's going to be early adopters. And you think about our best accomplishments as leaders. And I'll just use their first name first so that they don't get poached from me. Shawn, Lindsey, Christian, Sateesh, Ravi. These are leaders that were in very different jobs when we first came to Sitel and they're leading some of our most important geographies, our most important markets at Bordeaux and Nanda. Some of these leaders are leaders that in any other company, I don't know if they would be given the opportunity and I can speak for myself like myself included. So if you are allowing leaders to be authentic, and if you're allowing leaders to truly embrace what you're trying to accomplish, you get early adopters. And then you also get folks that are kind of in the middle. And the folks that are in the middle are the most difficult. You want to give them every opportunity to try to make that curve, make that transition, make that turn, but we've got to continue to move forward. And then you have the inaudible that are going to either opt out or just kind of sit back and say," Ah, I'm not too sure about this guy. I'm going to just let this guy kind of walk into it. And maybe it'll be gone in a couple of years." But hey, listen, that's the change curve. And in terms of the change curve at Sitel we're past that. I mean, we were all full steam ahead going past, where are we going to be in the next three to five years? And that focus and that rigor and that discipline in our business is all around our customers.

Sheena Badani: I love that. Speaking of early adopters and innovators, I think you have a philosophy really around building some executive relationships specifically with innovators and those early adopters. And I'm sure that played a role in this cultural transformation at Sitel. Can you tell us a little bit more about that specific approach that you have on building relationships with innovators?

Mike Small: Yeah. When I first came into Sitel, we had a large segment of our business was traditional retail and brick and mortar retail, and many of those companies, they're inaudible. So we use that as a catalyst to say, listen, if we are not going to help our customers transform they... The industry is not waiting. Their industries are not waiting that's point one and point two, we've also got to get ourselves aligned to the disruptors that are transforming those industries, not just waiting for with some of our existing customers to either be bought or transformed through just not being able to survive. So we put a program in place, we call the inaudible. And when you think about striking a match, right? I think of disruptors is they are not going to sit still. There is going to be friction. They are here to disrupt. So when we think about striking that match, that spark initially is explosive. And once they come out of the gate, the trajectory is a rocket ship. It's not like a linear growth curve that when you can wake up every morning and say," This is just steady state, normal business as usual." It's not. So do you have the right talent to go after the mindset of disruptors? And I think of one of our leaders, Jeff Clement, who's one of our chief CX leaders. He has that mindset. His first conversation with me was," Dude, you're not cool enough for my customers." I agree. Because when you see Jeff, he's in his hoodie, he's in his sneakers and he just thinks differently. And that's the beauty of what some of our company biggest strength is we allow everybody to be authentic. So Jeff has no issue telling whatever. We don't care about title CEO, kind of associate, we don't care, exactly what's on his mind. So he helped form our strategy around spark. And it was like he is going to go after brands and his mindset around growth is not 500 FTE deals and incorporating robotics and automation day one. His philosophy is how do I get completely aligned with my customer's mindset around their product, around what days do they view the earth, their world, their sphere, so that I can best build a team of associates that mirror their culture that are locked and stuck with their strategy and their approach. And whether it's inaudible, Zendesk partnering with CallMiner or HelloFresh, a firm. These are some of the brands that we start with maybe two, maybe five, but maybe 15, maybe 20 associates with some technology. But we are able to ensure that we're aligned with them in terms of their rocket ship trajectory and having the team that supports those disruptive brands, not be completely aligned to say legacy retail as an organization or industry was what we did very, I think, well. 15% of my revenues today come from disruptive inaudible I want to double it to 30. If I look at best- in- class in my industry around 28. So we have a plan. We start with talent. We start with ensuring that talent is fully empowered. Go.

Devin Reed: Mike, I'm a little surprised, honestly, that you said that you weren't cool enough. You're wearing a really cool green and blue blazer today. You seem like a pretty lax guy. So it kind of goes to my next question, which is aside from finding someone with a hoodie, how do you identify innovators and disruptors that you want to grow a relationship with?

Mike Small: Our two founders are entrepreneurs. And that entrepreneurial mindset, I like to look at myself as an entrepreneur, but I'm soft guys. I didn't wake up at a college and be like," Yo, I'm going to start a business out of my garage or my basement." That takes guts. Let's just face it. Entrepreneurs have guts, right? They have conviction, they have guts, they have a point of view. And they're not afraid to fail. I think about what it must have been like when it's like," Am I going to be able to make payroll for my 50 FTE or my 50 associates?" And how much sacrifice those leaders made back in the early days when nothing was certain. So I think about entrepreneurs, that's what I look for in an organization. Because if you're entrepreneurial number one, you're going to be aligned with our founders which is big. Number two, you're going to have the DNA that is about taking balanced risks, but not afraid to fail. And that's the biggest thing I get it, man. Fear of failure is a big deal. No one wants to fail. But the truth of the matter in disruptive brands and, or disrupting an industry, many of them fail. So we got to be okay with that. We got to embrace failure and we got to learn from it. We've got to apply those learnings and dust ourselves off and get onto the next one. And that's what we're trying to build into the fabric of Sitel, which is," Listen, guys, it's okay to fail." I've taken a few punches in the last four years. I got punched now and then, it's not fun. But it's how you work together. How you get up and recover from that and support each other. If it's about finger pointing or it's about this person or that person, that's not how we roll. Just what did you learn from it? Okay. You got your inaudible great. Let's go. Next.

Devin Reed: I like that a lot. We call it on my team, big swings. You're either swinging for the fences and sometimes you strike out you're with, but when you go into these big swings, these big projects, innovation, disruptive, whatever it may be, you go into it before we even start, it's like, be very aware of what will happen if you win and be very aware of what will happen if it doesn't work. And it's okay. Both are fine. Because you're going to either win or you're going to learn. And sometimes both.

Mike Small: Exactly. Right. I agree.

Sheena Badani: So kind of coming back to building the executive relationships, I'm curious if you could point to a couple of examples of the impact of developing relationships with some of these executives at your clients, if you could touch on some of the impact your business, that'd be great.

Mike Small: Yeah, listen. So first off we are very flat. I've had a couple of my industry colleagues say," You guys are too flat." And it's like,"It's because we're not for everybody." We absolutely are an organization that's connected to the more layers between us and the associate take us further away from what's happening on the ground with our clients. So specifically to executive relationships, I'm connected with all of our relationships. And it starts with simplicity around an organization model. We use the word or the term small towns. We don't like 15, 10, 5 people in an attempt. When we think about that, that's not very comfortable and it doesn't smell great after a little while. So I'm down to 1, 2, 3 people. If we have a account leader, we have a operations leader and we have an executive sponsor. Okay. Well, I can't be executive sponsor for all 400 plus my clients. We have lots of executives in the firm. You choose your executive sponsor. The executive sponsor should be able to know where we're at with every KPI of that program should be able to pick up the phone and pulse the client. How's my team doing? Any concerns? Anything that I need to be aware of? Any changes that you need from us? But the operations leader needs to be very grounded in terms of their team, very grounded in terms of their performance and KPIs and very grounded in terms of continuous improvement. And then the account leader is the leader that we want to ensure is fully aware of where we stand to the network, where we stand to that customer, where we stand in terms of being able to take on growth, because that's what fundamentally we want. We want to grow with our customers and support them. Last small tent is our philosophy around how we go about building relationships with our customers. What I like to hear from our customers is really two or three things. Question one, who's your go- to partner? And if it's not Sitel, what do I need to do to change in order for in 12 months, six months, three months when I ask you that question, it's Sitel? Okay. Number two. Tell me about your business model. Tell me about your business. What's working. What's not. And this is where we really, truly need to have two ears and one mouth. And listen attentively to what we're being told in terms of our customer's needs and demands. And then number three, be present. We're not one of those teams that drop an executive sponsor when things are broken or red and then you don't see that individual for the next year or two. We're actively engaged. So cadence with purpose. Meaning that I'm going to have, whether it's a monthly, quarterly, semi- annually, annual touchpoint, I'm going to be prepared for it. We're doers. So I do all of my own preparation for those meetings. I work with my team obviously, but we're not too big on teammates briefing on PowerPoint. I had an executive that said, if you live off PowerPoint, no offense to Microsoft, I love them dearly, but you lack power and sometimes don't make your point. So for us, it's like pen and paper. And in its way, okay with a pen and a paper, and just tell me, write down your story, write down where you're at. Doesn't have to be fancy to understand that you know your business and you know where your customers met. So preparation's key cadence, key visibility being actually on the ground with the team and the client is what leads to meaningful executive relationships with your customers.

Sheena Badani: For Mike and his philosophy on building executive relationships, bringing in innovative leaders that fit Sitel's values is important to drive a strong sales culture. That sales culture in turn promotes the formation of executive relationships with clients and prospects. This helps clients and prospects see your organization as dynamic and most importantly, motivated to help solve business problems. This reminds me of a stat taken from Glassdoor, where they reported that organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience see a 70% increase in quality of hires. This tells me that, like Mike said, building strong executive relationships and bringing future employee innovators through a quality candidate process will help companies generate more revenue over time. In turn, you see a more quality team that aligns with your company values and that show clients that you are the organization to choose to solve their critical business problem. While this may not sound like the most sales oriented stat upfront, if you think about it, focus on bringing in the right company executive or rep that aligns with your values and mission will make them happier to be there and work harder. That work is what's going to help you close more and drive more revenue. I love your approach on the small tent and your background in customer success. And that customer experience comes through so clearly. I'm curious a little bit more on the executive sponsor. Are those executives that are designated to accounts coming from across the organization? So you may have a product exec or a marketing exec or a sales exec, or are they specifically coming from whatever your notion of customer success team is?

Mike Small: Listen, we are in customer experience. So back 25 years ago, call a call center that's not what we do today. We do CX experiences across any channel you want. And fundamentally that requires a tremendous amount of integration now with technology. So when I think about our business, if you're truly a professional in CX roll up your sleeves, right? So a great example of this in terms of culture and DNA, when we have what we call a CX expert event, which is where we do either email review session technology, we'll call listening sessions, or design process mapping sessions with our operations teams. We bring in audit, finance, office managers, CEOs, CFOs, COO, anybody that has a badge that says, Sitel, we expect you to be actually in our C experts event. Because that's fundamentally where we recognize the best associates that we listened to where we evaluate interactions. Value in conversations is a big factor of our purpose. So everyone's expected to do that. So when you set that foundation or that culture expectation day one, everyone does it. Regardless of your role. The second element of that is regardless of your role, you're expected to know our core business. And our core business is very data centric is very much in the details of KPIs. So as an executive sponsor, what we're not is like cigar smoking, let's go out and play golf once a year and shake hands. Executive sponsor for us is with their teams. So I just conducted a review of my global operations for one of our large healthcare clients. It's a monthly call where every operations' manager of that team is on the call with me and they're walking me through the global integrated playbook across five sites. They're walking me through how they're going to actually ramp a domestic U. S. site for seasonal volume. They're going to walk me through how they're going to be prepared to do the same in one of our Philippine centers, they're going to walk me through how our nearshore centers are going to be number one. And number two, in terms of their global network, that cadence as an executive sponsor happens monthly for me, clients, not on that. So when I have the client call inaudible is whether it's quarterly, whether it's an interaction that just is infrequent, just because I like checking in, I know where I'm at. I know where my teams are at. I know what their challenges are and what their ask of help is from me and the client. So that's what an executive sponsor is to us, roll up your sleeves, get into the details and support the team.

Devin Reed: Earlier you had mentioned," I'm too flat." Some of my exact friends think I'm too close. I was going to say or ask," How do you get to that point?" Because I think we've heard folks say they are a flat organization, but there's room to grow into that or they're trying to be more flat. To me, Mike, it sounds like accessibility rather it's access or just, like you said, rolling up your sleeves and getting involved. Is that kind of the key to you and your philosophy of remaining a flat organization? Or is there something else maybe I'm still missing?

Mike Small: I actually an hour ago had a interview with a colleague that's applying for a role with us and the candidate didn't have any questions, but he said to me," I just have never had the CEO interview." He's a vice- president at a central position so I interviewed all of our VPs and many of our senior directors. And one of the reasons that I do that is because what I want for them as a candidate is for them to have a good experience. And even if it's going to be, listen, we're not the right fit for either Sitel or for the candidate. I want them to leave that interaction with a positive feeling of Sitel. And I also want them to leave that interaction, hopefully learning something. And for us, you have to be a doer. I want to be very clear with leaders that are coming in here. If you're a pontificator, if you're a great speaker, right? If you're great from on top kind of top down, we're not the place for you. And that's just being very candid through lots of trials and experiments. We have to be true to ourselves. Who we are as a company is we're doers and that means different things to different people. So by storytelling and giving very specific examples of listen, I just came off a call where I reviewed my workforce management files and where I'm having pressure points in five global locations. And by account where I may not be at with a fill rate. And if that freaks people out that the CEO does that and again, maybe not the company for you. So I think, to your point, knowing and being true to who you are as an organization and setting those expectations very clearly is where I've learned. Because what I've tried to do in the past is sometimes say," I can coach anybody up." They've got the skills, they've got the foundation, they've got a lot to offer. But what it can't change is our culture. Our culture is everything to us. So by being authentic, being honest, being very open about who and what we are and why we are the way we are, is critical to onboarding and bringing on board leaders that actually share that philosophy.

Devin Reed: Absolutely. And I know that it takes discipline to pass on top talent, knowing it's not the right talent for your team and your culture. Yeah. Mike, we asked the same question to all of our guests to wrap up and I don't put it on the prep doc, because I like to put you on the spot a little bit. You don't seem like anyone who really cares if you're on the hot seat, you're pretty calm and collected here. So easy question. How would you describe sales in one word?

Mike Small: Fun.

Devin Reed: There you go. Now you can elaborate if you'd like, you don't have to. I think I kind of got the picture from talking to you for a little bit, but feel free to elaborate if you'd like.

Mike Small: I view it as fun. You get to meet new people, you compete. I said this to our sales leaders, we have a weekly call with them. You got the toughest job in your organization. Because how many times a week are you told no? And I got to tell you, it's a special individual that wakes up every morning. And is maniacally focused on getting told no. And keeping on, keeping on and those are the leaders that... Listen in our industry, in my business if you're not growing, you're dying and we've gone from 1. 6 billion to around directory 2. 3. M& A coming and a lot of other growth initiatives, but I still wake up every day. I'm like, here's all the lead in the industry that I don't have right now that I want, and we call it, our must have must win list. And in order for that to materialize into a relationship that matters, it starts with a sales professional and the sales professional is that we attract and retain and develop. They're fun. We've got a session coming up in a week where now we can fly in for those who have been vaccinated. And we have this usually quarterly where we're going to have fun. We're going to recognize, our sales talent and treasure that have helped us grow and helped us succeed. And I think sales is fun. And if you don't think sales is fun, maybe do what I did initially, before I got into sales, I was a finance guy. So we need auditors. We need controllers. And I'm not saying that finance auditors and controllers aren't fun to, our CFO is pretty fun, but I think it's a criteria to be a really effective sales individual. You've got to be able to embrace the job and have fun.

Sheena Badani: That's amazing. Well, cheers to that. Cheers to sales being fun. Thanks so much for joining us on Reveal Mike. We had a blast getting to know you.

Mike Small: And you. Take care Devin, appreciate you.

Devin Reed: Thanks Mike.

Sheena Badani: Every week we bring you a microaction. Something to think about or an action you can put into play today. Mike emphasized that clients get a glimpse of your company's culture and that it influences their decision to partner with you. He said it best," Being on the ground with the team and the client is what leads to meaningful executive relationships." This week, get together with your team and talk through how you embody your company culture in every cold call or every deal cycle. Are you showing prospects and clients that you're willing to match their strategy, ambition and company goals? Do you seem dynamic and motivated? Is your team willing to go the extra mile to seal an executive relationship that can last for years?

Devin Reed: Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.

Sheena Badani: And if you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews, go a long way to help get the word out there.

Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.

Sheena Badani: And if you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us at revealatgong. io.

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