Peter Kazanjy and the Modern Face of Sales

Published December 16, 2019

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Kazanjy, the founder of Atrium Sales Analytics and the Modern Sales Pros community, on The Sales Development Podcast.  

As sales professionals, we all have a part in advancing the science of sales, with innovations and new technology coming along all the time. 

For Peter it’s exciting, fun, and intellectually challenging to be at the forefront of this movement, both from a product development standpoint at Atrium and with the community at Modern Sales Pros. 

We spoke about how sales is changing, why the MSP community is so important, and how Peter made it the success it is today.

The rise of the “Sales Nerd”

When Salesforce came along, it introduced a shared database where sales organizations could store prospect information—from lead to close. This was huge. Clever entrepreneurs started pulling data from the CRM and picking out different use cases, creating an opportunity for people to piece together a thoughtful sales stack. 

That required Sales Nerds. 

There’s a positive feedback loop where, as you add more high leverage technologies into your sales motion, you need more sales nerds to implement them. Then, because there are more sales nerds, creative entrepreneurs can make use of even more technologies.

We’re all riding this wave together, figuring it out as we as we go along. Sales has changed from some kind of voodoo magic into a more scientific, repeatable, and scalable process. This has created an opportunity for thoughtful, analytical and sales nerdy types to get in the weeds and find success. That’s what Modern Sales Pros (MSP) is all about.

The need for a modern sales community

Having transitioned from running his own business to leading new sales at Monster, Peter wanted to spend more time hanging out with thoughtful, creative, and intelligent modern sales leaders. Fortunately, it turned out that those people were also looking for a place to hang out. 

MSP started with some offline events in San Francisco in 2015. These salons covered the meaty topics we’re all banging our heads against on a daily basis. Other people were also banging their heads against the very same topics, had figured them out, and were happy to share what they’d learned. As a result, we could all bang our heads against the wall a little less. 

MSP now runs these salons in a dozen different cities across the country. There’s beer, wine, and good food, but the point of the events is high octane, high intensity, pure education in a real-time synchronous environment. People are grouped together based on the size of their sales organization, their average selling price, and so on, meaning they’re all speaking the same language. By the end of it, people may be looking forward to happy hour, but they’ve also met a ton of amazing people and learned a bunch of tactics they can start implementing the next day.

There’s also now an online component where people can ask and answer questions, with high-quality conversation focused on solving people’s problems. With north of 10,000 members, it’s the white-hot center of people who care about advancing the practice of modern sales.

A place to learn and teach

It’s important that people feel free to ask their questions without worrying about being lit up with over-enthusiastic sales pitches. That’s why MSP has a strict policy against self-promotion, which makes it a great place for learning. By getting 10,000 eyes on your question, you get to see how powerful an aggregation of really thoughtful practitioners can be if they’re if their attention is focused on helping share their expertise

There are two ways of creating a reputation as a ‘thought leader.’ One way is doing a selfie video where you’re jumping up and down and talking about closing the quarter strong or whatever. Then there’s the other way, where you thoughtfully demonstrate your expertise and contribute to the industries’ knowledge. That’s where MSP excels. People can flex and get recognized for their expertise in a way that’s different from all the ‘thought leadership’ noise out there.

Conclusion

It’s an exciting time for sales. With the latest technology, it’s less guesswork and more of a scientific, improved process, which has brought more opportunities. By making use of communities such as MSP, you can learn from the experts and grow your reputation. 

 

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