Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Dec. 20, 2021

#215 S2 Episode 84 - From Selling Office Equipment to Helping Sellers Go From Good to Elite with Alex Allyeyne

This episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Collin Mitchell features Alex Alleyne. He is currently the Regional Sales Manager, EMEA for Lacework. With him finding success in sales, he is now branching out to helping others achieve their own success goals as an elite sales mentor.

Alex is a big believer in earning your stripes as a salesperson through consistency and hard work. He talks about falling in love with the profession after realizing how much of it is performance-driven. He insists that even as you move up the corporate ladder, you should always be responsible for your own successes.

As an elite sales mentor, Alex preaches that those who work harder and smarter than everybody else will eventually achieve their goals, however, differing those goals may be.

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  • Sales is a meritocracy
  • Cold-calling is still the best way to build a pipeline
  • You're never above picking up the phone
  • Always be willing to put in the work
  • Shifting perspectives on the meaning of success


Alex: "Everything is earned, not given in sales. There's this mantra that there's sometimes territory, timing and luck. But the reality is, you know, nothing is really just given in this game. You've got to go out there, earn your stripes, show up on the field every day."

Collin: "You know, now we've got lots of fancy tools and unique ways to reach prospects and make the job a little bit easier. But there's still some things that are essential that will never change. You got to put in the work, you got to earn your stripes and consistency is key to success in any sales role.

Alex: "I think the moment that anyone feels that beyond anything, is the moment, in my view, your career is in trouble."

Alex: "When you are performance driven, you're going out there showing up, showing the right behaviors and delivering, you put yourself in a position where the spotlight's on you. You're going to get more recognition and get the rewards out the other end."

Collin: "I used to kind of chase the money. That was like the most important thing to me. Now I have three kids, a fourth on the way, like I'm trying to figure out how I can get to a place where I'm comfortable, where I don't have to work on Fridays. You know, that's success. Like that's what I'm chasing right now."

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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell. And this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation. I'm very excited to have for today's guest. I've got Alex Allen, uh, he's an award-winning software sales, professional, and mentor currently working as the regional sales manager at Lacework. Uh, Alex, thanks so much for coming on the show. How are you doing very, very well.

[00:00:44] Colin. Great to be here. Yeah, doing good, man. You're joining us all the way from London. So it's the, uh, tail end of your day and the beginning of my day. So thanks for making time to come on the show. Absolutely. Yeah. Flying the flag for team GB over here, but yeah, so let's, uh, let's kick it off here and just kinda tell us, like, where did your sales story start?

[00:01:07] Yeah, sure. Um, so started in sales formerly just over 10 years ago now, uh, right in the trend there's as a BDR, I think for some people it might be quite interesting that I originally had a full scholarship studying law. Uh, I guess what you guys call college or what we call university here. And I actually gave that up to, to go out in the city and start my sales career.

[00:01:30] So that's what I did. As I mentioned as a BDR, um, I was in a set to align to printers and photocopiers in a bit of a boiler room environment, making hundreds of calls per day. And, um, within a few months I really caught the bug for it. I won a best new starter award, got some tickets to see a football or soccer team here called Arsenault.

[00:01:53] And then I've spent the last 10 years building and, and grow my career, uh, to a pretty elite level. Now. Yeah. So tell me, what did you love? What did you, what did, what early on in that role? Um, what is it that made you kind of fall in love with. Yeah, I think it was one of those things where just that the hustle being performance led in the fact that my performance had a direct attribution on my ability to drive impact and how, how I was measured and of course, on earnings too.

[00:02:27] And it just made the whole thing, feel like a bit of a meritocracy, but also gave me that feeling of being another. Uh, cause I'd always been very entrepreneurial, always enjoyed, you know, constantly building things. And so it just of gave me that interception between the two. And once I just started getting out there, being able to make more calls, get more deals over the line, but more meetings and seeing the direct impact to that.

[00:02:53] I just got completely hooked to it and, um, never looked back. Yeah. So it sounds like you, you like a challenge and a, and a, and you like to be in a role where, you know, uh, your success can kind of determine your income, right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's, uh, I couldn't imagine now going back to a role with just the basic salary, and I know that's the case for a lot of people around the world, but after doing this for so long now, I couldn't imagine just kind of living on a flat rate.

[00:03:27] I think that variable aspects and knowing that your input can have a direct, uh, impact on your output. Um, it definitely. Yeah. And what are some things that you learned early on in your role that, you know, helped the, you be successful? Yeah. I think that, you know, everything is earned, not given right in, in sales that there's this mantra that there's some times territory, timing and luck.

[00:03:53] Right. But the reality is, is, you know, nothing is really just given in, in this game. You've got to go out there, earn your stripes, show up on the field every day. And really it's only by driving a significant level of impact showing up every day, being consistent. In your operating rhythm that you're going to get the results.

[00:04:13] Right. And so I think for me, that's made a massive, massive difference. Yeah. Yeah. I think there's, uh, some people that may be need to hear that, you know, um, uh, there's just, I mean, a lot of. Uh, salespeople are a little spoiled in comparing to when I got into sales. I mean, we had a phone and a list of names and it was like, that's it, here's your script.

[00:04:39] Like, go, go make something happen. You know, now we've got lots of fancy tools and, um, lots of, you know, unique ways to reach prospects and, and, and, and make the job a little bit easier. But there's still some things that are essential that will never change. And, you know, it was kind of what you mentioned is, you know, you have to.

[00:04:59] Um, you got to put in the work, you got to earn your stripes and consistency is key to success in any sales role. Yeah, I think it's one uncle and it kind of opens up a wider discussion, which, um, so you, you see a lot of where, you know, people are talking really now about. The phone, right? How important that still is in this area?

[00:05:19] Because it sounds out we share that synergy and the phone probably being the number one tool or almost the only tool, uh, when I started and definitely the focal point of any pipeline generation. Whereas now, you know, some people argue that there's an era that are much more focused on sales, engagement platforms and, and sending emails or some people describe it, hiding behind the keyboard.

[00:05:43] So be interesting to hear your perspective on that, that topic and whether you feel we're a little bit lost in this generation, in that. Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's funny. I went on a podcast yesterday. I was guesting. Um, and the gentlemen, you know, was kind of anti phone and, and, uh, and you know, based on, you know, some of these huge U S financial firms, or they're no longer using the phone to prospect and I'm like, why?

[00:06:11] And it's crazy because. I actually do a LinkedIn live where we cold call for an hour. And last week we, you know, we, we cold called for an hour and we booked three meetings, you know, in 60 minutes, you know? And so if you don't pick up, if you don't use the phone consistently, or you're not using those like other channels to warm up the phone calls, right.

[00:06:34] Or you. You know, periodically, just, you know, okay, I'm going to do a call blitz today and you haven't done one in a long time and you don't get good results, then it's easy to say, yeah, the phone doesn't work anymore or get frustrated. Right. But you have to, you know, it goes back to what you said. If you have a consistent, you know, strategy in using the phone to build pipeline, it works.

[00:06:57] And it works extremely well. Um, and in some industries, it's, it's really easy to kind of. Rely on social and email to, you know, especially with younger generation, which, you know, they have more comfortable with sending text messages and DNS and things like that. Right. Um, I, I think that a lot of meetings still actually happen over the phone and it's actually extremely powerful because there's so many people that are not using it as much.

[00:07:27] It's true. Yeah, no, I think you're spot on with that Colin, and think another strand on that, that it's, it's important for salespeople who are maybe a little bit earlier in their career as. Is the power that it can play as they go on to advance their career. Right? So if we think of, you know, BDRs and SDRs today that are, you know, super centered around email, for example, a lot of those people in those roles want to move towards being an a, and there may be a sales leader and then continuing to go beyond.

[00:07:58] In those roles, you need to be able to be a great communicator, right? You need to be able to have great conversations, ask fantastic questions, move past the objections. You can't do all that behind the computer screen. And so I also say to those people, you know, what career do you want to have a nine times out of 10?

[00:08:17] They'll want to step forward into a role that will need them to ask great questions, be a great communicator. So I say, why not start now? In the trenches in a way that might be as hard as it's ever going to get for you. Right. Doing it, just making cold calls out there. And then as your career progresses, um, a lot of things might start to feel a lot easier, uh, for you actually.

[00:08:40] So it's just something else for people to think about. Hmm. Yeah. I mean, and it's, it's funny because you see these, uh, you know, uh, LinkedIn polls, like should a. Prospect or cold call or should, should AEs have to cold call. And I love seeing the different opinions on this, you know? Um, and, and, and, and it's, it's just to me, it's, uh, it's, it's a funny concept.

[00:09:07] Like, should they cold call and I, I don't know what you think, but. I think absolutely. They should, like, you know, as a seller, like, you know, I think a lot of STR BDRs want to get to AEC so that they don't have to use the phone as much. And then they're kind of surprised that like, you still need to use the phone quite a bit.

[00:09:25] Like you can't fully rely on marketing or, you know, STRs or BDRs to, you know, help you hit quota. Yes. Not as spot on. I think the moment that anyone feels that beyond anything. Is the moment in my view, your career is in trouble. So the moment you feel, you go from SDR to AE. So now that means the SDR component is redundant in your mind.

[00:09:52] You're going to have a hard time because as your career continues to move forward, you change companies. You changed. You know, having that mindset of being willing, not only to get on the phone, right. But to go out there and generate interest in something, generate demand, be able to cultivate that and move it along the cycle or a.

[00:10:12] Those are fundamental sales skills period. So even me, you know, 10, 11 plus years on, I still see myself as the exact same Alex that I was in that particular regard. 10, 11 years ago, I'm still a BDR. I'm still an SDR. It's still a part of my DNA. And I'm proud to say that, right? That's not a, a tag that should in any way.

[00:10:36] Uh, carry negative connotation. So I'd encourage people to wear it as a badge of honor and embody it as a part of who they are as a sales professional. Yeah. I love that, man. That's the right type of attitude to have. I mean, I think that, you know, it, the only thing I would say is like, okay, you know, there's, there's a, there's a place for sellers where it's, it is a little bit more.

[00:11:00] You know, activity driven, you know, like higher quantity of calls where, you know, once you get to maybe an, a role, you can focus a little bit more on quality, right? Like maybe you don't need to make a hundred plus calls a day. You can make 20. You know, really targeted, very personalized, customized calls, where you go in with a lot of information.

[00:11:22] It's not as cold. You you've done your research prior to the call. Like you can, you can use the phone in a different way. It doesn't have to be, um, you know, the same way that like an SDR BDR or say that you're above, you know, doing that type of work. Um, but I think it's hilarious that people are. Talking about this.

[00:11:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, totally. It's, you know, all of these things are tools, right? Uh, Collin, ultimately, and as reps, leaders, managers, whatever the case is, you've got to take complete extreme ownership around your successes or your failures. Right. And so the reality is, is let's say you have a number to me, five meetings per week, right?

[00:12:05] Whether you're the leader, whether you're the rep or otherwise. How you get the people are probably less concerned about, but you need to own the fact that you're responsible for getting that say A's that rely on their SDRs to say, well, my SDR needs to get me to the five is the complete wrong mentality.

[00:12:23] You're responsible for getting yourself to the five and create an environment right where you've got an SDR or you've got marketing, or you've got other teams in divisions who contributing to your vision, but you've got to own your own success. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I mean, I think that there's some people that need to hear that.

[00:12:50] I'll just leave it at that. Um, all right. So, so walk me through like a little bit. Yeah, let's kind of fast forward a little bit. Um, we focused a little bit on your early kind of sales career where you cut your teeth and then, um, you know, has there been any roles that have roles or even, you know, uh, leaders that have really made a big impact in yourself?

[00:13:12] Yeah. I mean, there's, there's been several people that have played different roles. I think one thing I'd say is that I've always had a focus on having, uh, both mentors or people who have maybe given me a bit more external validation and, and challenge me, but then also our internal career sponsors. Right?

[00:13:30] So people. Within the organizations I've worked for that have really helped champion who I am and, and, and help drive a little bit more self-development so I've had a lot of experiences as I'm sure it isn't a surprise and, and some great feedback. Um, you know, one of those things, uh, one of my former leaders always said to me is, Hey, Alex numbers cure rule, and school times.

[00:13:52] I liked that as just a real simple statement, but it's impactful. Um, no matter what you're thinking about or focused. You got to find a way to your number, right? You've got to find a way to be performance driven and center. A lot of everything else that you, you try and do in your career around that. So, uh, you know, sometimes people are looking companies at the top reps and they say, you know, why is this person getting away with these things?

[00:14:19] Or the reality is, is when you are performance driven, you're going out there showing up, showing the right behaviors and deliver. Um, you put yourself in a position where the spotlight's on you. You're going to get more recognition and get the rewards out the other end. So again, it's just a bit of encouragement tool reps to, to be performance driven in what you do.

[00:14:38] And you'll start to find that more luck quote, unquote comes your way. Yeah. Yeah. That's a, that's a hard pill to swallow, I think for a lot of people, right. Because, uh, But, but it's, it's, it's just true, you know, and, and, and I think that the sooner you can just, uh, be okay with that, then, then, then the better you are, because if not, then you get in this place of like poor me or, you know, kind of being a victim or, you know, coming up with excuses and all that negativity, all that does.

[00:15:09] Fuel you not hitting your number, you know? Um, but th then there's another, there's another side to it too, right. Is like, you know, I think sellers often struggle with like tying their own self worth to their number, you know? Um, and that can be really stressful and very challenging for a lot of reps.

[00:15:28] What's your perspective on that? I think you got to choose who you want to be, not only in your role, but in life. And, you know, I look at. Football talent such as Christiana Renarda right. The great football or the greatest or football or soccer player in the world. Right? You look at Colby, Bryan, you know, rest in peace, but you know, one of the best ever to do it in basketball.

[00:15:53] And the reality is is you look at the hard yards that these people have put into their careers to achieve greatness. And it didn't come overnight, but. It's tough. And in sales, you've got a 1%, you know, draw a li and then you've got 99%. Now that doesn't mean there's a right or wrong, but you've got to make a decision on who do you want to be and what are you willing to do?

[00:16:20] In order to get that. Now I don't want to sound like I'm encouraging people to run themselves into the ground and all of those kinds of things. You've got to find your operating rhythm. You've got to find a way to work smart and hard. And you've got to put yourself in a position where you've earned your stripes.

[00:16:38] But with all of that said, I don't feel we should kid ourselves that it's easy to become the best. If you want to become the best and you want to become a. It's not easy. Right. And do I start my day super early and often finish them very late? Yes, I do. Have I gone to the, the end of the earth early in my career to, to put myself in a position where I've had a lot of success at this point in my career I have, and I'm not going to hide away from that.

[00:17:05] So you've got to choose who do you want to be? What legacy do you want to leave? And what are you willing to do in order to chase your own version of great. Yeah, I think, I mean, that's a, that's a good point, right? Is, is I think a lot of people think they want to be the best, but they don't want to do what it takes to be the best.

[00:17:23] And if, and if you don't want to, and I think that. If you don't want to put it in the work to be the best or to be an elite seller. That's okay. That's totally okay. But just be real with yourself about that. Right? If you're, if you're content with, you know, not always hitting quota, because I mean, the majority of people are not consistently hitting quota.

[00:17:47] Yeah. I mean, it's like 60% plus do not hit quota on a regular basis. Right. And if you're okay with that, Then be okay with that, but don't, you know, basically, you know, stress yourself out and, and, and. Create, you know, all of this negativity around, you know, thinking and, or telling yourself this lie that you want to be the best or you want to be elite, but not being, being willing to put in the work to get there.

[00:18:17] Exactly, exactly. That, you know, I think if you go into a room right, with, with 10 sellers and you say, who here wants to win, who wants to be successful? I guarantee all 10 will say. Oh, right. They're all say that they want it. And I can almost guarantee that, you know, nine out of 10 or 10 of the 11, I, the, in what I describe is you kind of want it, right?

[00:18:47] You, you, you, you want it because that's the thing. But if I then said, okay, cool. Where to go and now get all of the things you want. Here's what you're going to have to do, not over the next 30 days, but over the next 10 years to unlock what you need to 10 of the 11 are going to run a million miles, right.

[00:19:05] That they're not actually conditioned to go and run that race. So to your point, um, prominent is that level of acceptance is a level of comfort, right? Again, there's no right or wrong. What you want for your life is unique to each and every one of us. So you've got to make that decision and be Constable with it.

[00:19:23] Yeah. And, and, and that's the key, right? Is it's an individual thing. Um, and I think a lot of sellers easily get caught up in letting other people's definition of success, determine what they think there should be. Yeah. It's exactly. What's, what's your answer to your own question. Yeah. I mean, it's changed over time, right?

[00:19:46] I used to kind of chase the money. That was like the most important thing to me. Now I have three kids, a fourth on the way, like I'm trying to figure out how I can get to a place where I'm comfortable, where I don't have to work on Fridays. You know, that's success. Like that's what I'm chasing right now.

[00:20:02] Know, we just recently started a new company, um, or like 18 months in we're we're doing extremely well. We've had, you know, kind of three record months in a row. Um, but uh, now it's, you know, there's definitely revenue goals. Like those are definitely something, but the more important thing to me is like, how do I get the team to a place where.

[00:20:21] We don't have to work on Fridays. Yeah. That, and that's awesome. And I think that's a great example of exactly what we're speaking about. Success is not a static thing or a generally defined thing. It's completely individual. And I think your example here is a great example of how that can also evolve over time.

[00:20:41] Right? Your circumstances of. The point you became a father. It sounds like things shifted a little bit again, no right or wrong, but things do evolve change and you've got comfort and acceptance with that. Yeah. And I think people need to like check in with themselves on a regular basis of like, you know, has that goalpost changed?

[00:21:00] Has, you know what, I want my definition of success to be still the same as it was a month ago, a quarter ago or a year ago. Yeah, exactly. All right. So now I'm curious to know your, what your, uh, definition of success or what goals you have that you're, you're chasing. Yeah. To, to your point. Um, kinda thing.

[00:21:25] Things have evolved to me over time, because I think back to early in my career, and I remember I had. Uh, vision board and the vision board had three things on it. It had an RDR RA, it had a luxury apartment and it had a dream holiday destination. And then, you know, a couple of years ago, uh, all of those things became a reality for me.

[00:21:47] And I thought, man, you know, this was kind of what I dreamed about for my whole entire life. And now I'm. And it didn't quite feel the way I thought it would feel, because I think I'd put so much emphasis and importance. I went out there and crushed it and did it. And so I spent a lot of time thinking bigger, actually.

[00:22:06] How am I going to define what my life could, should and would look like? So I, I really broke out into two broad areas. One is fulfillment and the second one is legacy. And I spent a lot of time on what I want those two things to look like. And so, um, without going into crazy detail, you know, the legacy aspect really comes from how I build an architect, uh, my career, so that I can drive as much impact as possible.

[00:22:34] For others. And so something that people will see that I do is a lot of mentorship and coaching and talks because it allows me to scale my ability to drive impact and help other people go from good to elite in their own career. So that's a massive part of that side. And then the fulfillment aspect is really multithreaded right.

[00:22:54] There's there's personal goals. Financial goals, there's lifestyle goals and family goals. Right? All of those types of things that form a part of that fulfillment bucket. But the, the key strand for both is that they aren't end states any longer that. Open-ended roads that everyday I take another stride forward.

[00:23:15] And it means that you don't kind of get to this place where it's like, I've got these assets now lives over there. Just continue things that continue roads that I, I take a step forward on each. Yeah. Yeah. That can, I love that. And, and, and there can sometimes be a little challenge in there. Right? Cause you forget when to celebrate.

[00:23:37] Uh, I think, you know, for any driven person, it's a common, you know, um, Take you as a very driven person. Uh it's it's and I struggle with it. Myself is it's very common to like, forget when to celebrate. It's just like, okay, this is hit now. What's next. Or it could have been here now let's go here. Right. And we got to actually celebrate and, you know, pat ourselves on the back a little bit, or, you know, um, reflect on what's been accomplished.

[00:24:05] I it's funny, I think in a certain way, we're conditioning. To be that way a bit in terms of people know the mantras out there, like you're only as good as your last month and that's a common, a common term, right? So we're just constantly in this rotation cycle of trying to do more. But I always say to say, On that last day of the month or when they strike the big deal, just really enjoyed this moment because we don't do it enough, as you just said.

[00:24:33] And you're spot on. We do need to take that time to sit back, reflect and be humbled and grateful for the achievements. Yeah, absolutely. Alex, thanks so much for coming on today. Uh, any final thoughts? Where can people get into your world in terms of final thoughts? Just keep going out there, making it happen.

[00:24:52] Um, you can contact me or connect with me predominantly on LinkedIn. If you search my name, Alex Alleyne AWL, E Y N a and also visit Alex I'm more than happy to connect with as many as you as possible, but aside from that, thanks so much for having me on and I hope it's been okay. Awesome. We will drop those links in the show notes for you.

[00:25:13] So you can connect with Alex. Um, if you enjoyed today's episode, please write us a review. It really helps us out. Share the show with your friends, and then we're also listening for your feedback. You can go to sales,, drop me a voice DM, and I will get back to you. Hey, you stopped. That tells me you're serious about your own sales transformation.

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