I’ve always been a ‘builder’ and have been hired on more than one occasion to be the ‘guinea pig’ to create an enterprise sales function. I absolutely LOVE taking a ball of clay and creating a masterpiece where the business is booming, and my customers are delighted. This is what my dreams are made of and what gets my blood pumping.
True story, I was the first enterprise salesperson hired at an early-stage startup to create the entire function from scratch. Nothing was in place beyond vision and hope, and all eyes were on me to take that and do my “thing” to validate the market. Of course, I negotiated equity upfront as part of my compensation package.
Fast forward, and it was time to grow. I worked my tail feather off to build a solid foundation, and revenue exceeded our expectations. The business was growing across the board and I brought in an old colleague that was offered a lesser job with thousands of more shares than I had.
Umm, what?! Insert the needle on the record!
If I’m being honest, I felt betrayed, slighted, and frustrated. Most people told me to suck it up and use my negotiating skills to ask for more equity later, but that didn’t sit right with me.
I tabled my emotions, busted out my journal to reflect on my negotiation skills, and did my research. As I talked to my mentors and experts on the topic, they challenged me to think about my position, what I was asking for, and why I was asking for it, and provided guidance to build a case to create a win-win situation.
Sadly, many women don’t ask for what they want.
One of the best lessons I learned growing up was that our feelings aren’t wrong or right; it’s what we do with them that matters the most and how we use our voice along the way. This has absolutely made me a better negotiator.
The truth of the matter is I had already brought in more new logos and revenue than they expected to make a big impact on the bottom line.
My enterprise sales pipeline was rock solid, filled with A+ opportunities for the near and long term. And I was helping them build the entire enterprise sales function while bringing incredible people into the company.