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Interview with a Head of Sales: Roles and Responsibilities

Discover the world of sales leadership through the eyes of our very own Lumiform Head of Sales Chris. We interview him as he reveals the keys to motivating a dynamic team, dealing with rejection, and achieving predictive forecasting in this enlightening interview.

Sales, to anyone on the outside, can be a terrifiying profession: calls all day, rejection after rejection after rejection. But what is it really like to run and oversee a sales team? We have spoken to Christian, Lumiform's very own Head of Sales, to answer the most common questions about the roles and responsibilities in the profession.


Christian shares his insights, strategies, and the secrets to motivating a dynamic sales team. Together we will explore the inner workings of a successful sales operation, from the intricacies of team management to the art of handling rejection.


What are the highs and lows, the challenges and triumphs, and the data-driven approach that fuels Lumiforms sales strategy? Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just embarking on your sales journey, this interview offers a unique perspective that will inspire, inform, and energize your sales endeavors.


Content


1. Get to know Christian


2. Head of Sales Roles and Responsibilities


3. A typical day for a Head of Sales


4. Sales team structure


5. Team motivation


6. Hiring process


7. Measure success in sales


8. Inter-company communication


9. How to deal with rejection in sales


A young man sits on a sofa infront of a sign that reads "Lumiform" and looks to the side

How did you get started in the world of sales?


My penchant for sales actually started at a young age, like it maybe does for many kids. Selling cakes or newspapers – typical lemonade stand things. During my studies, I worked in consultancy and that is where I had my first opportunity to dive into the sales aspects of things since there I took over the part of relationship management and international relationship creation.


After completing my Masters, I took my first official sales job at a startup in Berlin specializing in HR. I began as a Sales Development Representative (SDR) and gradually worked my way up. It was there that I honed my skills and was eventually offered a position at Lumiform as an Account Executive (AE) two years ago.


As the sole Account Executive at that time, I had the opportunity to apply everything I had learned in my previous roles at Lumiform. This was quite challenging at first but it was rewarding to work with a pretty young product that was still seeking its market fit.


Now, as the Head of Sales at Lumiform, could you explain the role's responsibilities and your day-to-day priorities?


As the Head of Sales at Lumiform, my role has evolved over the years, especially with the company's growth. Currently, it encompasses a combination of team management, leadership, visionary work, goal setting, and hands-on sales. Notably, I continue to represent Lumiform in our enterprise business endeavors.


On a daily basis, my foremost priority as Head of Sales is not to be the "hero", but rather to be the "hero maker." What this means is that I focus on understanding each member of my team individually, motivating them, and helping them reach their personal best.


We have a dynamic and motivated team that thrives on challenges and personal growth, so my role is to facilitate and guide them in achieving their best potential.

We are a growing startup. And with the growth of a startup new challenges arise every single day. So you have to rise to your challenge as a single individual, as well as as a team and also as a whole startup.

Christian L., Lumiform Head of Sales

Can you walk us through a typical day in your role as the Head of Sales?


My daily routine doesn't adhere to a strict schedule. Instead, I focus on various key activities and meetings that keep our sales operations running smoothly. We have a global presence, so my team is divided into regions, including LATAM and EMEA, and I also oversee some aspects of the Asia-Pacific market. I ensure that I have regular syncs with each team, which helps us track our activities, lead numbers, conversion rates, and booked demos.


Our SDRs play a crucial role in generating new opportunities, so I have regular meetings with them to review our pipeline and opportunities created. Additionally, I meet with our Account Executives to assess the progress of ongoing deals, identify potential blockers, and determine where we are close to sealing the deal.

Beyond the traditional sales process, I'm involved in post-sales activities, helping our customers succeed with Lumiform. This involves guiding them in using our product effectively to achieve their desired outcomes.


Another essential aspect of my day is being available to my team members, providing guidance, answering questions, and helping them overcome challenges. I also still manage my own leads and accounts, which keeps me connected to the sales process on the ground.


Two male hands shake

Could you shed some light on the structure of your sales team at Lumiform?


The structure of our sales team has evolved alongside Lumiform's growth. Initially, we had a small team consisting of one Sales Development Representative, one Account Executive, and myself. However, as the company expanded, we were able to create new positions and opportunities for our team members.


We've introduced roles such as Country Leads, Continent Leads, SDR Team Leads, and Account Executive Team Leads. This allows our team members to take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles as they gain experience and expertise.


Building and motivating a sales team can be quite demanding. How do you keep yourself and your team motivated?


Sales people are always a little bit crazy. (He laughs) No, but sales is unique in that it requires a particular mindset. Salespeople are known for their resilience and determination. It all, of course, depends on in which part of the sales process a person is engaged.


You can be the hunter, for example, the one who is closing new leads, or you can be the farmer: the account manager trying to grow the account, if that makes sense.


Sales, if you will, is always a bit of a game that revolves around understanding the needs of our clients and their psychology. We understand that not every lead will be a perfect fit for our product. The fact that matters is the knowledge that my tool is good and that what I'm doing is good. And that just the lead or the person I was talking to was not the right one to actually be in contact with.


When hiring new team members, what qualities do you prioritize to ensure they are a good fit for your sales team?


Since I was lucky enough to grow my team personally, I like to be on the lookout for a certain type of energy.


The people I am looking for are honest, have positive energy and they are extroverted and comfortable with initiating conversations. In every other way I don’t care if they have different hobbies or different worldviews, I actually prefer that. More diverse teams make companies more successful. I'm 100% sure about that.


Could you share how you measure the success of your sales team at Lumiform?


Sales is a data driven profession. For every action we take, we get some kind of data: from calls and emails to sent links and videos. This data-driven approach allows us to make informed decisions and improvements at every stage of the sales process.


We of course monitor our activity levels, such as the number of calls made and emails sent, to ensure we maintain a healthy pipeline. However, I strongly believe that success goes beyond quantity, which is why I like to focus on conversion rates that reflect the quality of our interactions and the effectiveness of our strategies.


At the end of the day, sales is about making revenue and the “Champions League”, as I like to call it, is actually predictive forecasting. That is the main and ultimate goal for any sales team, as it allows us to anticipate revenue and make strategic decisions accordingly. It's one of the most significant challenges we face, and we are continually working to enhance our forecasting capabilities.

People that I want to join the team can have different hobbies, characteristics or points of views and that's absolutely fine. It's actually even better, because more diverse teams make companies more successful.

Christian L., Lumiform Head of Sales

How do you foster effective communication and alignment between your sales team and other departments within the company, such as marketing, tech, and product?


Our communication methods have evolved to accommodate our growth and increasing team sizes. In the beginning smaller teams allowed for direct communication with responsible individuals within the company, but now our expanding headcount made it necessary to refine our approach.


We now we try to bundle our questions or requests to avoid unnecessary redundancy and schedule regular syncs with the other teams.


And of course, collaboration with tech and product is crucial for us. Sales and Customer Success teams serve as valuable sources of feedback, ideas, and even bug reports from our clients.


Our interactions with clients provide insights that directly influence product development and feature enhancements.


Could you share your insights on how you and your team deal with rejection, which is a common aspect of sales?


I like to approach every sale as a challenge that involves understanding the client's needs and psychology. While rejection is part of the game, we view it as an opportunity to learn and grow, as cliché as that may sound.


We motivate ourselves and our team by recognizing that each rejection is not a personal failure but rather a situational mismatch. It's about understanding that people have different needs and preferences. Our focus is on finding the right match between our product and the client's requirements.


Overall, it all comes down to believing in our product's value and its ability to make a positive impact. With this mindset, I always try to turn rejection into motivation, knowing that persistence ultimately leads to success.


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