At Pursuit, we get the opportunity to work with some of the top sales leaders and top sales talent across the country. We have hundreds of conversations each week with these sales leaders that bring us so much insight and value into the sales world, we wanted to bring these industry leader conversations to you.
Working at the same organization for 13 years is really rare these days - especially within the sales world, it’s mostly unheard of. Our guest on this episode is Kristen Baker, the Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Millennium Health (who also happens to be Pursuit’s very first client!). With over 13 years of tenure at the company, Kristen has held five different roles within the organization, starting as a sales rep in 2010. Now, she leads a team of over 100 reps, driving the company's sales and marketing strategies. She’s learned a ton from staying with an organization through the good or bad as well as holding every position from entry level to VP. Keep reading or listen to the full conversation here to learn more.
Kristen's journey at Millennium began back in 2010, when Millennium was a small company with no established customer base or team. She started as a sales rep in a brand-new territory and had to really embody what it means to 'grind' in a sales role. 13 years and 5 roles later, Kristen has worked her way up to VP - moving her family across the country in the process.
Over the years, Kristen has come to understand the importance of long-term tenure at one company; mainly how it creates a level of expertise that is irreplaceable. Below are some of our main takeaways from our conversation with Kristen.
In today's fast-paced world, many individuals are easily enticed by instant gratification and the allure of success tied to titles. Adversity is something that every company is going to go through at one point or another and individuals have the option of either meeting it head-on and learning through it, or jumping ship to the next best thing. Going through adversity produces the professional development that everyone seeks. Kristen contends that walking away during challenging moments restricts opportunities to discover one's true potential and limits personal growth.
Adversity and fear can be catalysts for breakthroughs and professional development. While many might shy away from organizations facing tough times, adversity is often the catalyst for breakthroughs.
Because Kristen started as a sales rep, she has a unique perspective as a sales leader. She knows what their day-to-day life is like firsthand, what metrics actually matter, and the tools that they need to be successful.
Many organizations create metrics that don’t actually move the needle forward, letting reps think they’re winning if they’re hitting metrics when really they’re just checking a box. Each metric should have a meaning behind it. Tailoring metrics to individual sales reps, acknowledging their unique strengths and abilities, and setting them up for attainable metrics will set your sales team up for success. Metrics should provide direction, but not stifle creativity or hinder the freedom for sales reps to run their territories like their own businesses.
“I would much rather someone go and see someone once a month for 45 minutes and have a really meaningful clinical conversation than to go in there for ten minutes every other day.”
By creating meaningful metrics, sales leaders can help their reps identify areas for improvement, while also recognizing their achievements. Focusing on the right actions and goals, rather than solely on meeting metrics, ultimately leads to success.
13 years is a long time to stick with the same company, it requires drive and a ‘why’ that is bigger than yourself to continue motivating you day after day. Kristen has a great example of a motivation that is beyond herself. Her driving force is her desire to help others, whether it's serving customers, physicians, or her own sales team.
“Seeing other people hit their goals is more exciting than me hitting my own.”
Understanding your "why" is crucial in staying motivated and passionate about your work. Your "why" may evolve as circumstances and goals change, but it serves as a compass to guide you. Having a servant mentality and being quick to respond and available are vital traits for success in any business setting.
When you move from SDR to VP - you have to learn how to create high-performing sales teams which is a vastly different role than being an individual contributor. Recognizing intangible qualities like drive, hunger for success, strong communication skills, and emotional intelligence are crucial to hiring sales teams. These qualities cannot be taught, and they play a significant role in achieving success in a challenging environment.
Specifically, Kristen has developed 3 main things she looks for throughout the interview process; drive, ability to adapt, and EQ - everything else she says, can be taught. She has developed a hiring process that helps them vet out those three things to ensure they’re getting the right players on their team!
“I balanced it by knowing there is no such thing as work-life balance “
When it comes to work-life balance, everyone has a different opinion of what that means. Each individual must define and prioritize their own version of what work-life balance looks like for them. However, she emphasizes the importance of quality time with family and being present in the moment to achieve this balance.
Kristen’s tenure at Millennium is a testament to the ways passion, resilience, and personal growth can grow throughout your career. Going through so many different role transitions is tough to navigate, but also gives you an irreplaceable perspective once you are leading a team of your own.
No matter where you are on your sales journey, there's valuable takeaways for everyone in this conversation about Kristen's career. Whether it's sticking with a company through tough times, learning how to lead successful teams, or finding our own work-life balance, Kristen's insights remind us to stay committed to our purpose, continuously grow, and serve others with passion and dedication.