This week’s ROTW is Tom Maguire, a Senior Account Executive on the Northeast Mid-Commercial team at Salesforce. Tom was nominated by his Regional Vice President, Rich Lind.
In Rich’s words – “Tom Maguire is the type of salesperson that you want to build a team around – he works incredibly hard, he’s a selfless teammate, he knows how to challenge the status quo, and he can close with the best of them. He is the true definition of a Quota Killer.”
We had the opportunity to chat with Tom and are happy to share his story!
Quotakillers: What would you say separates you from other great salespeople?
Tom Maguire: Competitiveness. When I first got into sales, I actually thought it was for the money. Then, I thought it was for career growth. Over time though, it’s really become clear to me that I’m in sales because I love to win and it’s a great competitive outlet. I want to be the best at everything I do – even if playing board games. I really don’t do anything to come in second. I love the competitive culture in a sales office. If one person starts trying to throw a ping pong ball into a trash can across the room, it quickly develops into a ten-person challenge. I truly believe that if you aren’t driven to be the best, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful in a sales career.
QK: How do you deal with failure?
TM: I try not to dwell on it. I’d like to think I’m very self-aware and accountable for everything I do. I try not to look to others or place blame on outside factors I have no control over. Failure in sales is frequent – but that’s not a bad thing. It gives us many opportunities to go back and make improvements based on what we’ve learned. I’m not necessarily naturally gifted – I’ve gotten good at my job due to hard work and learning from my mistakes. Even when playing sports as a kid, I wasn’t the most athletic but my work ethic made up for my lack of natural talent.
QK: Where do you envision your career heading in the future?
TM: This is actually a difficult question to answer. I’ve always wanted to get into management, but there’s a lot to consider when choosing whether to pursue that route in my current segment or up-segment movement as an individual contributor. For me, who I’d be working for plays a big part in decisions of this nature. I love working with my current boss, and I learn a lot from him. If he got promoted, I might be more likely to follow him up the proverbial ladder than to move up-segment without him. One day, I aspire to be the CEO of a company – perhaps even my own company. When considering my career path, I try to make decisions that are logical next steps towards my end goal. From that perspective, it may make sense to consider what selling into companies of all sizes and industries is like before moving into management.
QK: What tools help you to be great at your job?
TM: This is a bit of a loaded question, but there’s a reason why so many sales organizations use our products. I loved using Salesforce at my previous company – this is one of the reasons I wanted to sell the product. In my opinion, Salesforce Inbox is the single most impactful tool we offer. As a rep, I spend a ton of time on email – this product connects SFDC to my email inbox so I don’t have to work in two separate systems – and it gives me a ton of great analytics that make life as a salesperson a lot easier. I’m also a disciple of Chatter. We use it so frequently that it’s become second nature. No one at Salesforce uses email at all for internal communications. Chatter is much easier to search and there are easily accessible records of everything we do. It makes passing the baton to different departments as seamless as can be.
QK: What was the most memorable deal you’ve ever signed?
TM: Last year, on the very last day of our fiscal year, I began the morning at 50% of my annual number. It was a weird year for me – after a very hot start, the last five months were unusually slow – in terms of signatures anyway. I had the pipeline to hit my goal, but deals kept pushing. With only one day left in the year you eventually start coming to the realization that “this might not happen” despite having a path to get to the promised land. By the end of that evening however, I was at 110% to my annual number and had secured President’s Club status – something that’s always a tremendously important goal for me. My performance included an incredibly rewarding $390k deal where the POC had turned over mid-sales cycle and I needed to establish a new relationship and start from scratch – emphasizing an entirely different value proposition.
QK: What advice would you have for an SDR/BDR looking to become an Account Executive?
TM: Don’t get discouraged – work hard no matter what. You are in the most difficult role in all of sales. This is where dues are paid. It can be very easy to feel like you aren’t good at your job and you may even have thoughts of quitting. This is natural in your role! Power through it – you will thank yourself later! Also, I think it’s very important to remove jealously from your “suite of feelings” as you see people around you start getting promoted and as you see the AEs you support making boatloads of cash off the deals you’re opening for them. You’ll get there, just keep a positive mindset and differentiate yourself through hard work.
QK: What were your first three jobs?
TM: I was a counter guy at a local deli, worked at a soccer store, and was a cashier at Pathmark.
QK: Do you have a mentor?
TM: I don’t really have a “formal” mentor, but I’m lucky to have a great boss. Automatically assuming that your boss is your mentor isn’t the best idea as far as I’m concerned, though. I’m very lucky that this isn’t the case for me (as are a lot of folks at Salesforce), but there are certainly situations where your sales leader may hold you back because they want to keep you as a resource, or they don’t want you to be as successful as they are. I think the concept of mentorship is incredibly important however, and I enjoy playing that role for some of our less-experienced reps. I believe that having a more senior mentor at a different company allows a certain level of perspective and unbiased honesty that can be difficult to come by with a same-company mentor. I’ll add that chasing down constructive criticism from folks that play this role in your career is just as important as soliciting advice!
QK: What traits do you believe inspire followership?
TM: I’m a big believer in the “first in, last out” philosophy. If you’re in a higher position than me, I think you should lead by example by putting in even more effort than I am. Don’t ask me to do anything you wouldn’t do or haven’t done yourself. Show me where I should be stepping up. I appreciate leaders who are trustworthy. How someone delivers bad news can say a lot about them as a leader. Do they point fingers or roll up their sleeves while getting in the trenches with you to help fix an issue? Beyond that, success is inspiring – no one wants to work for a loser.
QK: Are you superstitious?
TM: Nothing too crazy. I don’t like to “count my chickens before they hatch.” I’ll never accept congrats on a deal until it’s officially closed.
QK: Three dinner guests?
TM: Eric Clapton. He led such an interesting life and was involved in music from the time that blues began its transformation into rock. He also traveled down quite a troubled path but it didn’t stop him from having an epic career and becoming a legend.
Mark Benioff. His story is quite inspiring. Mark didn’t come from a lot but has made so much of his life. In college, he interned at Apple under Steve Jobs, and he had also built video games earlier in his youth. (He later sold his video game company). Mark went on to become the youngest SVP in Oracle history at just twenty-seven years old. He told Larry Ellison he wanted to start his own company and he obviously never went back to Oracle. Salesforce is such an amazing company – it has really created its own economy.
Tiger Woods. I’m a huge golfer, and I firmly believe that Tiger is the greatest of all time. I think he and I share a similar competitive nature and I’d love to discuss that with him. His life hasn’t been perfect – he was untouchable at one point and then everything came crashing down. I’d love to get his perspective on his rise and fall from grace.
QK: Away from the office, what are your favorite hobbies?
TM: Golf and cooking. I’m a thirteen handicap and am always looking to improve. I love golf because it allows you to disconnect for a few hours and mastering the game really is a never-ending journey. My mom is Italian and taught me how to cook – I know a lot more Italian recipes than most guys with the last name Maguire!
QK: What is your favorite TV show?
QK: If you could have one final meal, what would it be?
TM: Pizza. From no particular place, really – as long as it’s good NEW YORK pizza 🙂
Please like/share/comment to congratulate Tom on his success! If you are a sales leader who’d like to nominate one of your staff for a future installment of Quotakillers’ Rep Of The Week feature, you may do so here: http://quotakillers.com/blog/nominate-sales-rep/
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