Laura Moniz de Aragao SVP Sales – Whats the best role for you? – Smartup.io – Sales Confidence

Hi everyone, my name is Laura and actually similar to Chris I’m only three weeks into my new role as SVP of sales, at a notion capital backed tech company, called Smart Up. For the last four months I have been on gardening leave which has been delightful, basking myself in the great British summer of 2018. Which now I’ll be honest feels like a distant memory, as I am thrown right into the deep end of scaling a very early-stage start-up; so, if I look tired that’s why. When James asked me, “what should I speak about today?”, I thought well it needs to be something that’s fresh in mind. I thought about my personal journey in terms of my step up, and the confidence I needed to step up, search and land a sales leadership role. What was interesting for me and bear with me on this, it’s going towards a theme; is that on that search for my new role, one of my good friends was actually also on the search for a new man in her life. Of course, we’d be talking over a glass of wine and we found there was quite a similarity in terms of the search for a new job and the search for a new lover, both are very personal in terms of the decision. There is alot of personal influences that make that decision happen and basically every man, woman, and their dog wants to give an opinion on what you should be doing.

By no means what I’m going to say in the next few minutes is gospel, you know, it’s my personal story take from it what you will. Hopefully, there’ll be a couple of things that you can relate to or remember when you are potentially looking for the new role or indeed in my friends case landing the new lover.

In classic sales style I’m going to take you through my top three tips, power of three. Tip number one: make sure you have real clarity in terms of what it is you’re looking for. Now, that sounds really obvious right but believe you me as soon as word gets out that you’re on the market you’ll be wooed left, right, and center with opportunities. It’s at that point where you need real clarity of thought, to use a tinder analogy of when to swipe left and when to swipe right.

In terms of my tip for that, it really follows what Chris was saying. I created my own scoring matrix, to really be able to have that clarity and qualify all of the different opportunities that I went for or were laid out in front of me; to qualify whether they were in or out and should I pursue them further, just like all of you would in any good sales process right now. The other thing I would say as part of that is in that scoring criteria, as someone that was searching for a job, actually put the interview process in your scoring criteria. For me it was amazing interviewing through a variety of different shaped sizes of companies, that process gives you a real early indication of what that company is going to be like to work for.

And by all means grab me later and I’ll talk you through the good the bad and the ugly of what I experienced there so that’s tip number one follows on from what Chris said reinforcing the message of if you are looking at a career change, remember why you’ve left your existing organization, capture it at that point and then really document what’s important to you and score each opportunity against that.

Tip number two: Don’t be afraid to swipe left/ don’t be afraid to say no, again that sounds really easy to do in principle, but personally for me this was probably the toughest part for me making the decision of what is the right role. If you were to ask my mother she would say, “Oh Laura it’s because you’re such a people pleaser, you can never say no”, but I think as salespeople that’s quite an inherent trait in all of us. We do find it quite difficult at times to say no and particularly with networks these days and if opportunities are coming from within your network. These are people that you know, and you trust. It’s difficult sometimes with those to actually turn an opportunity down and I made the personal mistake in my search over the last few months of leading myself and others down a garden path, when I knew deep down the opportunity wasn’t right for me. The one thing I’ve learned is that a scoring matrix is a foundational element, because it enables you to apply logic rationale as to why you’re turning the opportunity down and it removes emotion from the equation. It’s a really fundamental thing for me, the other part of that was networks. In itself you know it’s fantastic having a great professional network but be mindful that when you are in a job search for the next right role, it can really cloud your judgment. Everyone will have a professional opinion of what your right role should be and a lot of those times it’s a conflicting opinion. At times it may be for that person’s you know own benefit, rather than weighted to your own benefit, so just be mindful of how much professional opinion you gather when trying to search for the next role.

My second tip here is that once you’ve used your scoring matrix to get it down to what two or three potential opportunities that you want to land. Go outside of your professional network by going to those people that know and love you, they know you inside out, and back to front. To give you my personal example, I was on my gardening leave having a holiday in Ibiza with my best friend Lucy. Whilst doing lots of other things we were sat by the pool, and she was asking me about what potential jobs I am looking for and I told her about them. I asked her “Lucy which one do you think I should go for now”, as context Lucy’s a professional ballet dancer, so if I were to say to her “I do SAS software sales”, it would go over her head, no clue but she was the best person to ask. She said “well you should obviously go for Smart Up”, I said “why Lucy” in which she responded “well it’s the one that your eyes lit up at, it’s the one that you’re talking most enthusiastically about”. She knew where my heart lay before I even did, so that would be my second piece of advice.

The third thing on my journey, is don’t sell yourself short and what I mean by that is, I’d come from a start-up, it got acquired by a big company called Mercer. A big fortune 250 company culturally misaligned. I wanted to make sure I was joining an early stage start-up again and I wanted a sales leadership role, but I had some principles that I wasn’t going to budge on; I was not going to take a lesser role for financial gain, contrast, to that is I wasn’t going to take a big role for a financial cut. All too often, from using the network in terms of how I got this role through notion capital. I knew I wanted to start up, I leveraged that connection with Notion they were really kind to put me in front of a number of their portfolio companies, but patience is a virtue here. That’s tip three, to be patient with it. I probably sat in front of ten to fifteen of their portfolio companies, you know often it was you know don’t look at the salary and the commission look at the golden pot at the end of the rainbow in terms of the equity. Now my personal opinion on early-stage start-ups is no one, not even the founder knows what that equity is worth, so it’s quite dangerous to be lured purely by equity. Now of course if you can afford to brilliant but I was not in that personal circumstance to do so, so I waited it out. I interviewed for lots and lots of other companies and finally I found the balance with Smart Up of being able to have a fantastic organization that’s growing fast with equity but balance with the financial needs that I have today. This is my personal journey, hopefully there’s a few tip bits in there but yeah that’s me.

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