The GTM podcast
The GTM Podcast

Rick Smolen

January 24, 2023
43 min

Episode Description

Sales are an essential component of any successful companies. As such, it is important for companies to invest in developing strong leaders who can lead their sales team to success. 

In this episode, we are joined by Rick Smolen. Rick is the current Head of Sales at Loopio. He is a results-focused revenue leader with over 20 years of experience in tech and enterprise software sales. 

Rick used to be the Head of Sales at Greenhouse Software, where he oversaw the company's annual recurring revenue tripling to over $65 million in less than three years. Prior to that, he spent over a decade at Interlinks in sales, sales leadership, and international roles, and helped the company grow to over $300 million in annual sales.

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. How to transition from a great salesperson to an effective people leader
  2. Three sales methodologies, when to use them, and how to teach them
  3. How to sell in a different global market



(1:25) Rick’s background

(4:13) Rick’s first management role and career journey

(8:08) His opinion on promoting your top sales rep to leadership

(11:00) How to foster people management skills 

(11:20) The value of mentorship in developing leadership skills

(14:20) Why transparency is key in team and leadership building

(16:40) How to deliver/receive tough feedback constructively

(18:18) Three different sales methodologies, when to use them, and how to teach them

(25:40) Rick’s learnings from spending 12½ years at a company

(29:40) Rick’s experience and learnings from selling in Asia

(33:52) Comparing doing business in North America and Asia

(37:37) Strategies to keep your team motivated through tough times in 2023

(41:28) One actionable strategy Rick has used to increase revenue



The reason I got into management wasn't because I was some great people leader; it was because I was great at sales.
When you have people on your team that can help you recognize blind spots when they happen, it's a prerequisite so that you can make sure things don't go off the rails.
If you're an effective leader, you have more than one person on your team that has enough vulnerability-based trust that we can just get past all the BS and just be real with each other. I don't think a leader needs to have an entire team with that one-to-one type of relationship, but it's probably good to have one or more of those relationships on the team.
If you think about a career in sales, your first year in a role is really trying to get your feet under you. The second year, maybe you start to kind of thrive. By year three, you're like an expert in that company.
If you're going to go into a new geography, don't dip your toe in. You got to either go big or serve it from some other place.


The GTM Podcast

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