- SiriusStars is an exclusive community of high-performing and highly influential clients that have been hand-picked for their exceptional work
- In this edition we feature Roxanne Tashjian, senior vice president, global sales effectiveness and optimization at Monster
- We chatted with Roxanne about her award-winning work launching and measuring a sales activity study, what inspires her, and her current favorite read
SiriusStars is an exclusive community of high-performing and highly influential clients selected for their exceptional work leveraging and implementing SiriusDecisions research and advice. The SiriusStars blog series is designed to share the personal and professional world of your B2B peers. In this post, we spoke with Roxanne Tashjian, senior vice president, global sales effectiveness and optimization at Monster.
SiriusDecisions: If you weren’t a senior sales effectiveness leader, what would be your dream job?
Roxanne: My dream job would have been a fashion designer. I don’t have a background in art, so I gave it up early in my career. However, I carried that passion with me, as I’m known for my sense of style within the office!
Roxanne: Apply! When I went to my first SiriusDecisions Summit, I was watching one of the award winners and I said to my team afterward, “We’re going to be up there next year.” They looked at me like I was crazy, given we had just started working with SiriusDecisions and it was our first conference.
So, my advice is twofold. First, apply. Next, think about the great things you have done in your organization that are cross-functional — things that you might think are day-to-day, but with which others are struggling. Not everyone has the same level of experience and understands what it takes to go through a transformation and its nuances.
When you win, however, you have to get up on the main stage! Speaking in front of that many people took me out of my comfort zone. Public speaking has always been a fear of mine, but when you’re doing it, you get into a zone. It was a very surreal experience and being able to share it with the audience was a highlight of my career to date. It’s easy to tell someone to get out of their comfort zone, but doing it yourself is something else. After presenting to the 3,000 people in the audience, I am no longer concerned with large audiences. It’s all about preparation!
SD: What triggered you to undertake a sales activity study?
Roxanne: Everyone kept telling me we had a productivity issue. Everyone knew there was a problem, but no one could tell me where. The study gave us the detail we needed that wasn’t focused on just a few sales reps. Once we get those details, we asked ourselves, “How do we fix them?”
SD: What was the most significant outcome of the study?
Roxanne: The biggest outcome was determining we needed a new CPQ tool — and we couldn’t simply upgrade the tool we previously had. Secondly, because we had 3,000 enhancements on our Salesforce list, we knew we’d eventually have to start over, and the study gave us data to convince our C-suite that we’d need to start from scratch.
SD: What are three tips you can give to obtain executive buy-in for a sales study?
Roxanne: First, I would work with sales leaders to make sure they understand the benefit of the study to the sales organization. Make sure they know what you will do with the data and how you will communicate the results to them. I also needed buy-in at the executive level for any funding asks to address the issues found.
I thought we’d be able to fix everything with our team — I didn’t think we’d be incurring multi-million dollars’ worth of investment. When I found out the magnitude of the results and the scope of the work we would need to undertake, that’s when we had to seek out the approval of our CFO, CCO and our new CEO. We were able to do that with the data the SiriusDecisions Sales Activity Study provides. With that information, we could say, “Here are the five areas that were proven to not work for us, here are the ones we can fix through technology and organizational changes, and here the ones we can fix by changing our business process.” Once you have those clear definitions, you can answer the important questions of, “What is the problem? What is your action? How you are going to fix it? Who you are going to work with for each area with a concise plan?” At that point, it’s much harder for them to say no.
Finally, sharing the results of the study with sales is critical. It keeps the communication going and enables them to participate again. We’re doing another activity study in Europe in October, and in 2020, we’ll have North America and Europe do it together. Companies have to continue doing them to continue to learn — I learned that from Tony Jaros. He challenged me at Summit and said, “When are you going to do it again?“
SD: What recommendations would you give to new SiriusDecisions clients to ensure they get the most out of their relationship?
Roxanne: Stay close to your SiriusDecisions sales rep and customer success rep. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with great account teams. Don’t try to spend hours trying to find something in the beginning. If you go into the client portal and can’t find what you are looking for, reach out to the account team and they will help you. The benefit is that you see the value of the material. Also, have biweekly meetings with the team so they know what you’re working on and treat them as an extension of your team. If you’re building out new programs, send them over for review and ask them for their input. For example, when I was rolling out a new sales development rep team, I was fairly sure I knew what the right components were. However, I asked one of the analysts to take a look beforehand, and their feedback confirmed that I was good to go.
SD: From a career perspective, who has influenced you?
Roxanne: My father. He has had the biggest impact on my career. I grew up as the youngest of three and only daughter in the family and as a result, I was raised to be very strong. My father traveled internationally because he ran the Patriot missile program. He’d often meet with diplomats and CEOs at our home, so I became comfortable with all levels of people at a young age. He influenced my work ethic and taught me to never be intimidated by anyone, as well as to treat everyone with a level of respect.
SD: What TV shows, music or books are you currently enjoying?
Roxanne: I am a huge Netflix fan! I have been watching a subtitled Turkish drama show called Love Is in the Air. On a more professional basis, I’ve just read WorkInspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work by Aron Ain – it is a must-read. I’m now reading Lift as I Climb: An Immigrant Girl’s Journey Through Corporate America by Jackie Glenn.
SD: What differentiates SiriusDecisions from other companies you have worked with?
Roxanne: The relationships SiriusDecisions has formed at Monster are defined by the individuals with whom I have been lucky enough to work. They are compassionate and have a passion for what they do. They are driven to support the customer. I’ve always been impressed with how they turned us around to where we are today — it’s remarkable. The level of expertise that they have, and the value they have provided, is helping organizations around the world.