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Sales Lesson: Perspective And The Three Buckets of Control

By

Chief Revenue Officer

We do all we can to be inclusive and transparent at Dyn, but objects in the rear view mirror are certainly greater than they appear.

A crew of us were recently in the car cruising home. I was sitting shotgun, (former) CTO Tom Daly was behind the wheel and one of our hard-working sales reps John D’Amato (now Director of Partner Sales) sat in the back. We were on our way back up to New Hampshire from another one of those game-altering sales pitches with an Internet giant in Massachusetts, so we were all geared up.

The car ride conversation turned to our vast company growth and rapid sales team scaling. Dyn has hired 30 new employees so far in 2011 — a 50% increase from the close of 2010 and 100% jump from one year ago. The sales team has grown from only four reps at this time last year to 20+ today.

While I was away this week in Utah for client and prospect meetings, seven new people started, mostly in our new Manchester-based headquarters. (We’re also in the open stages of establishing our San Francisco office as you read this.)

The growth is fun and scary and intense and real – all at the same time. (Yes, we’re still hiring!)

CEO Jeremy Hitchcock recently said, “Technology companies either grow or die”. I couldn’t agree more. We’re growing by choice and necessity. We’re creating a ton of jobs in our community. It was great that he shared this quote in one of his monthly CEO email updates and for more great insight, check out his blogs.

Three Buckets Of Control - Dyn Sales

From the back seat, John brought up something I talked about at our mid-year all-hands sales meeting that really stuck with him – PERSPECTIVE.

I told the story of my recruitment to Dyn when Jeremy told me he’d “let me know within a week” after my quasi-interview for a job and role that was undefined. I had been interested in the company to that point, but didn’t know there was a real job opportunity on the table. When I knew that “winning” or “the close” was on the line, my desire to hear from him escalated to almost unbearable heights.

I followed up assertively and persistently like any great sales guy would. It took him the full week to finally present me with an offer. My inbox dinged at 3 AM EST on a Friday night in the fall of 2008.

What I didn’t realize then was that even though getting an offer from Dyn was the only thing consuming my life, it was just one of many very important things the CEO of the company was working on and evaluating.

Sure, I was important, but it wasn’t just about me. It never was and it never will be.

Individual sales reps helping our company scale don’t necessarily have the perspective of executives or senior management. They view the things that affect their current day sanity and wallets: pipeline, forecast, quota position and customer happiness. They are only as good as the current month revenue figures and this singular focus is what makes them successful.

But that also can lead to them having a lot of questions about what is going on at the company around them. The same is true for developers, support, operations and the rest of a company’s talent.

The goal of any all-hands meeting is to get everyone on the same page. One thing I had been realizing was that it was not always clear why company leadership was making the decisions we were making. We as leaders need to go out of our way to make sure our staff knows that all decisions have the big picture in mind and no decision is made lightly. Again, we were growing by choice and necessity, but that wasn’t proactively communicated.

John then opened our eyes to a really unique lesson he learned early in his career and decided to share it with us. The pupil was becoming the teacher. After all, we’re all just learning on the fly and a big shout-out to John for the following thread of info.

The Three Buckets Of Control and what they mean in the life of a sales rep:

1. The first bucket includes the things you can control: networking, prospecting, cold calling, follow-up, sales process, emailing, social outreach, etc.

2. The second bucket includes the things you can influence: pricing, contract terms, negotiation, budgets, events, training, timelines, etc.

3. The third bucket includes the things you can’t control: technology bugs or gaps, compensation plans, inbound leads, lead assignments, cold opps, corporate structuring, etc.

My thoughts on the three buckets:

Bucket one: I mean, really, obsessively control bucket one without question. Don’t leave anything up to chance.

Bucket two: Try to turn bucket two of influence into bucket one of total control, every single day. How good is your influence? Make it count.

Bucket three: Do all you can to move the uncontrollable in bucket three to the influenced in bucket two. Don’t settle. Or just ignore this bucket altogether.

I guess it just comes down to never being complacent, satisfied or content. But also don’t fret and do your best to focus on bucket one first, bucket two second and bucket three third. That is why they are numbered. John couldn’t believe how many people focus on bucket three, especially at a place like Dyn where freedom reigns.

I think my thoughts on this matter are rooted in what my late grandfather always said: “You can’t stress over what you can’t control. So try your best to control everything.”

Thanks again for the lesson, John. I’m glad we could learn from one another. Perspective and Control: two key themes rumbling through the halls of Dyn.

Kyle York is the Chief Revenue Officer for Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance company that helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kyork20 and @Dyn.

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