In this episode, I talked with Christine Zmuda about Turning Relationships Into Revenue. Great topic and in fact, in my recent interview with Debbie Dunnam, we talked about how buyers – more than ever before – don’t want to be sold. They want to work with salespeople who they can trust and trust is developed when you make a point to focus on building relationships and doing for others first. Here I’ve summarized some of the nuggets of gold from the interview. Listen to it in full on iTunes or here on the blog.
Christine is a Sr. Sales Director in the Emerging Solutions Group at Microsoft. She got started in sales because she was looking for more options in her career. She started in marketing at Microsoft and eventually advanced into a sales role. The common thread for Christine was in taking on positions that were new businesses giving her the opportunity start something from scratch and build it from there.
In Christine’s current role in the emerging solutions group and their charter is to land new business acquisitions or launch first-party solutions from Microsoft. They test solutions to see what works, focus on how to scale and the team stays close to the customer experience.
Right now, Christine is almost exclusively focused on the Dynamics/LinkedIn partnership. In the first-year post-acquisition, performance is quite strong. Customer acquisition, renewal and customer experience has done well.
We talked about the importance of relationships in selling and Microsoft’s Relationship Sales solution that provides an integrated experience with LinkedIn, Office and CRM. The problems that LinkedIn and Microsoft wanted to solve for customers with this offering is to help sellers surface new connections, engage and nurture relationships with business insights and scale their sales outreach in a more personalized way. The other problem they wanted to help solve for sellers is to more easily broaden their reach inside an organization. The strategy of only calling “high” are less effective given the various stakeholders typically involved in buying decisions these days. One executive typically isn’t making the buying decision.
How do you know if you are hitting the mark on relationship sales? Listen to the interview to hear about some best practices that Christine shared.
And finally, we closed out the interview with Christine sharing her career advice for Women in Sales listeners.
Christine’s passion and professional satisfaction come from identifying market opportunities before they are mainstream. Her most rewarding roles and accomplishments have centered around developing sales and market strategy for emerging businesses and scaling new acquisitions. She is always open to learning more about technology and happy to share her own experiences of leading sales, marketing, and channel teams if it’s helpful.
On a personal note, she enjoys golf, tennis, spending time with my family and embracing new experiences. Her new found love is abstract painting, the bigger the canvas the better.
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