The Revenue Engine

Building a Winning Team with Stephanie Valenti, COO of Loftwall

June 2, 2021
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The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

What makes a great Sales Professional? How do you know that you are right for a role in sales? What are the key characteristics or personality traits that someone needs to be successful in sales?

In this episode, Rosalyn sits down with Stephanie Valenti, as she shares her journey from the restaurant business to sales, sales leadership, and then to her current role of Chief Operating Officer at Loftwall.

Stephanie shares tips for building a winning team, and keeping them motivated, aligned, and engaged.

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Thanks as usual to Sales IQ Global for powering the Revenue Engine!

Stephanie Valenti
Experienced executive leader and Mom of three who has a passion for building and transforming business to business organizations through operational excellence, processes, revenue growth strategy and the growth of people. With a focus on leading with transparency, humility, and a

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the revenue engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

How do you know that you are right for a role in sales? What are the key characteristics or personality traits that someone needs to be successful? Well, I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie Valenti, where she shared her journey from the restaurant business to sales, to sales leadership, and then to her current chief operating officer.

Stephanie shared her tips for building a winning team and keeping them motivated, aligned, and engaged. She also shares her lessons learned from working at a small startup and having to build everything from scratch and how operations plays a key role in helping the revenue team be successful. As a working mom, myself, I learned that Stephanie is also a working mom.

And we talked about the challenges of trying to find harmony between home family and career and offered some practical tips to help navigate. So please take a listen, and you'll probably be surprised to hear about some of the odd jobs that Stephanie had early in her career.

Well, super excited to be here today with Stephanie Valenti. Currently the chief operating officer at loft wall, as well as an executive member and coach chapter head at the revenue collective and founding member of the operations collective. Loft wall is the industry leading mobile room divider and private partition company, but they make more than room dividers and privacy partitions.

They make space work better, whether it's in the office at school or at home loft wall's mission is to create innovative and intuitive solutions for these environments where folks can do their best work. Welcome Stephanie, and thank you so much for joining.

Stephanie Valenti: Thank you so much for having me really excited to be here today.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you. So when thinking about the revenue engine podcast, I really wanted to not only feature leaders who have experience in driving revenue, but leaders who are making a difference elsewhere, right. And have an interesting story to share that can really help others. So I'm super excited to share your story and learn more about your journey.

Stephanie Valenti: Thank you very much.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: So let's go to, let's talk a little bit about the journey that actually led you into sales in the first place. So from what you've shared with me, you actually started out in the restaurant business. So can you share maybe a little bit about your journey? You know, some of the key milestones that actually led you into a role in sales?

Stephanie Valenti: Absolutely. Yeah. So, um, you know, my, my journey started out a little bit more, um, interesting than I'd say most of the people that I've met out there as peers. Um, I, uh, originally, you know, growing up wanted to be a doctor, right. So big audacious goals and, um, decided at the age of 19 in between, um, high school and college, then having a baby was a better idea.

Um, you know, life threw me a curve ball and, and so, um, you know, I decided school was still super important to me. And so, but I had to take a different turn, right? Like going away and, and jumping right into, um, the goal and audacious school of being a doctor kind of went by the wayside. And so, um, I went to school and worked three jobs and, you know, those jobs included restaurant.

Background for sure. Um, as well as, you know, working at a doctor's office, um, and then even being a karaoke DJ at night,

um, really hard work and. You know, I think one of the things that really stood out during that journey in that time is every job that I had, no matter what I was always looking to. Perfect. And go to the next thing. So like, when I think about, um, restaurant, for example, you know, I came in. I was a server. I wanted to be lead server.

Then I wanted to bartend. Then I wanted to go ahead and get into a management role. And then after a management role, I wanted to be on the corporate team and I did some corporate recruiting and, and really, it was the same trend, um, that happened at the medical offices as well. Right. Start at the front and coding then x-ray and so I always wanted to keep getting.

More experience and perfecting what I was doing. And, you know, I was talking to somebody and it was a mentor. And I just said, you know, I feel like I had gotten to that, um, you know, general manager, uh, position. And I was 25 years old and I was like, I just don't know what I'm gonna do next. Like I'm 25. And someone looks at me and is like, you've just climbed to get into sales.

Like you, like, you've got too much drive. You've got all this personality. You move super, super fast. Go explore sales. And so that was a really just pivotable point, um, in my career journey that just exposed, like I might have this trait or this bug, um, for the sales industry thing.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's amazing. I didn't know about the karaoke DJ thing.

I'd definitely need to see some of that in action. That's amazing. So you touched on this a little bit, but you know, what are some of the characteristics or personality. That you think have really helped you to be, I guess, successful in sales, you know, I think some of it drove you into the field and a natural fit, but what are some of the things that you think have really helped you be successful?

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. You know, I think the first thing is you heard it, right? Like had a baby early, worked all those jobs. Um, I gained grit really early and I don't think grit is something that you're born with or grit is something that's easily displayed. It's just something that you gain because of an experience, right.

That you have gone through. That's definitely helped me throughout my career and, and be a successful sales person, sales leader. Uh, I wouldn't say positive attitude. Right? So when you go through things that are more challenging, you learn to appreciate, um, and have a positive outlook on things that are a little bit more simplistic or, um, less.

Right. And so, um, I think my positive attitude has definitely helped me throughout my career. I'll also say, you know, one of the things I look for in salespeople, but also I think is something that I, um, would, I'd say that I am strong in is just wanting to be super coach. Right. Like, I want to learn, I want to grow.

I want feedback. Even the hard stuff, even the stuff that could bring tears to your eyes. Right. But I want that feedback and I have had some coaches throughout my career that did give me hard, no nonsense feedback. Um, so my beliefs, some was, was, you know, maybe not so much, but, but you apply what you need to and, and just that always learning, um, mentality has definitely helped me.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. Yeah. I love that. Always learning and just being coachable because I think a lot of times, you know, no matter how many years experience you have or how many times you've done something, there's always ways to, you know, do things better, do things more efficiently, more effectively, and just continue to learn and always be challenged.

I love it. Yeah, for sure. So let's talk a little bit about the sales teams. Cause you talked a little bit about kind of what you were looking for in a team. You know, you've had a unique opportunity to really build a sales team from scratch, right? Building winning teams is really tough, especially in sales, right?

Not only because it's, it's really hard to find the right talent. But keeping those teams motivated, aligned, and enabled, you know, certainly isn't easy. So what have you found, you know, how have you been successful, I guess in finding the right talent, you know, to build a winning team, but also how do you keep that team engaged and enable them to be successful?

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. Um, you know, I think one of the tips I learned really, really early on is to always be interviewing, um, you know, I, for awhile and early on in my career, you know, if I didn't have any spots open, I, I would not be searching. I would not be interviewing others until that open requisition was open. And I learned pretty quickly.

Always need to look for top talent, whether you're hiring or not. Right. Go on alleged and ask permission to go one over. If you have somebody that's, you know, maybe on their way out. And so, um, I stand true to that today. Just always, always be looking for great candidates. Um, and then, then keeping your pipeline.

Um, I'd say, secondly, you know, when I'm interviewing and I'm looking at talent and they're coming in the door, you know, I'm looking for things that you can't teach. I think experience is important, especially as you start to grow up of that, um, that leadership. You know, um, uh, staircase, right. But in the beginning, when you were hiring talent for that SDR tape role or that entry-level inbound sales role, um, I am looking for a lot of the things that I told you, I felt like made me successful, right.

That, that drive that want to succeed and learn, um, is that desire to. To just get after it and, and achieve goals. And so, um, in addition, I think positive attitude is something that I talked about with myself, but I definitely look for through a lot of different, um, interview type questions, um, and then work ethic, right?

Like. I seen a salesperson be really successful if they're not willing to put in the work. And so those are things that I, that I really look for is there's just key and natural things. You can't teach people those things, they just have them. And so those things are important. I would also say, as you start to look for.

Um, sales leaders and, um, you know, that art side of the business, um, where, you know, you're teaching, uh, cadence and, and, um, ability to close, like, or the ability to have hard conversations and are they comfortable with hard conversations? And those are a lot of the things that I start to look for in the interview process as well.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's great. What about when you actually have the team on board? What are some of the things that you've found to be really successful and, you know, keeping the team motivated, keeping them engaged?

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. So I am a a hundred percent of people first, a first approach to anything and everything that I do.

And so if I think about a playbook for any type of leadership role, but specifically sales, uh, it's a lot of of time spent, right. And, um, I look at the weekly one-on-ones, um, I look at teen weekly meetings. I like to get to know the person as a person, understand their background. What made them get into sales in the first place, especially.

Yeah. Wiring a team. And then, and then what they want to do, right? Like this is just a job to them. And so how can you help them get to the next step in their career or gain a new skillset and perform in their current role? One of the best, um, you know, practices I've found, especially at that sales management level, um, for one-on-one.

To truly start dividing your one-on-ones out in a biweekly cadence to your one one-on-one is performance-based right. So you're talking about that scorecard. You're talking about metrics, you're talking about deals. You're you're getting into the nitty-gritty this stuff that's required of a sales manager.

Whereas that following week is really professional development. And, and key just people development and relationship building. And so that's something that I found really works, but as a best practice that I waited, you know, um, adviser or encourage people to give a try at their, if they're at that sales management level today.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. I love that. Yeah. I think that's so important. Right? You touched on it just getting to know them as a person. Right? What drives them? What, what are the things they really value? Like why did they get into sales in the first place? So you kind of where they want to go. That's great. I love that. Um, so you were the senior P of sales at Varidesk and the company is really small, right around 150 employees.

And I remember that with me, that this is the role where you probably had the greatest challenges, but also the greatest impact and also where you learned the most. So can you talk to us a little bit about that journey? You know, some of those challenges and maybe accomplishments, or maybe some of those lessons learned.

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. Yeah. So, um, you are right. I came in to Varidesk when we were just about 150 people. Uh, the sales organization at the time was bout 40, right. It had, um, inbound people who were answering a phone, um, to client demand and really Varidesk at the time was the company that had the desk that went on top of a desk.

Right. I'm sat on top of the table. And so there was all of this crazy demands. Um, and I was brought in and tasked with really creating a B2B out of an organization out of a marketing run organization. Um, where, you know, I, I always say when I got there, it was marketing was responsible for revenue generation, um, and really, um, Oh like revenue in general and sales was just a facilitator.

And so the phone placed the order ghetto. Um, it was more call center mentality. And so I think the most exciting thing, um, and the biggest impact, uh, that I had the opportunity to have is really bringing all of my B2B, um, expertise and background into a company that didn't understand B2B. Right. And so, um, you know, had the opportunity to come in and year one, we grew up the staff and created segmentations from an inside sales standpoint at this time from business development for the first time, um, books of business based on enterprise and different segmentations.

Local education. Right. Um, and then, uh, additional head count growth goals. Um, you know, you had utilization of a CRM for the first time, which was really an ERP, but it was makeshift, right. A lot of tools. Like it was really having that opportunity to craft everything from scratch and really just sit up in my, and I was in a hotel room cause I relocated.

Until two o'clock in the morning, every day, taking all of this information and just building and building in the background so that during the day I can have individual one-on-ones with every single person in the org hiring decisions for every single person, elevating people into management roles, it was an absolute whirlwind.

So I'd say at the end of year one, we truly, um, Equals the revenue responsibility. So although marketing was still bringing in quite a bit of inbound interest, we also on the other side, sales began to be not just the generator, um, not just the facilitator, but the generator. Right. Really was kind of an equal playing field.

Um, I also had the opportunity to, to Institute a sales process for the first time. Right. So for everything from, from metrics to accountability, to, um, you know, implementing a sales methodology to, um, how do we track quotas to building comp plans? Like you name it? Um, I had the opportunity to do it. And then I was like, like, you know, Virtus changed the time, right?

So they went from heavy e-com to B2B, but still very product centric to solution selling. And so in year two, it was an entire new strategy. Again, they were getting into project business, we needed outside sales and field sales. We needed to deploy locations across the country. And so, um, we implemented Salesforce.

I won the battle. It's a real CRM. And so, um, you know, we, we did that and, and so it was tons of every year, reorg restructure, additional implementations of processes, and then you go again and you run and then you do it again. And so people always say like, he stepped and he looks to startup experience.

And I say, well, not on paper, but kinda that's all. All right.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Everything you're saying, that's completely as start-up, as you can get.

Stephanie Valenti: The weird thing though, is they're like, okay, well, you know, how much was the company worth when you came on? And I'm like hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions of product interests.

And what was it when I left? Well, it was hundreds of millions, right? So, but it was the shit and it was the constant shift and it was just, it was, um, it was. Remarkable in that I had the opportunity to learn anything and everything I could ever need to know and building a B2B sales organization. Um, I think on the flip side of that, you asked me, you know, what was challenging.

I'll say, um, I definitely felt all alone, right. For the first time. Um, I, as I mentioned in the very beginning, there was no one else in the organization at the time that, um, had B2B experience. Right. And so, although my job as an executive leader was to educate, um, it became challenging at times, right? Like if, if no one else knows.

Um, where you're coming from from your point of view, um, it can become, um, challenging and frustrating to continually have to kind of fight that battle on your own. Um, also say I was a first time executive, um, and I didn't have a revenue collective like I did today, so I didn't have a lot of people to talk to.

Um, I didn't know when a lot of other VPs, I didn't have a lot of mentors where I felt like I could. Guidance, um, from, and so it was a lot of trial and error. Um, and I would say the other really difficult thing. If I look back like what could've made me, um, all that more successful, confident, um, it would have been really understanding and having the ability to, um, and you're going to love this, but to sell, um, that, that revenue operation.

Um, I, I tried and I don't think that I had truly enough understanding to get the words out correctly, um, to be able to tell the value of that. And so it continued to get put in technology or finance, and I, I had to do that on my own. And lead the, um, organization, which when I left was 180 salespeople with two VP.

Right. And, and a strategic was three VPs actually. And so it was a lot that I was doing that revenue operations side, um, on my own, which really is a full-time gig, especially if you want. Right. So I would say, you know, those were my challenges. Um, and then, and then I, I, you know, I'll say cherry on the top is I feel very confident in this now, but sitting at an executive table, um, you know, for the first time.

As a people focused leader as a first time leader at that level, I'm responsible for that much head count. I really, um, learned a ton about how you need to tell your story in a different way, um, depending on the individual executive leader and how they need to hear it. And that was an interesting, um, an interesting on-site education.

Wow.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Wow. I can't even imagine that's like a lifetime of experience in one role. I mean, it really is. I mean, you touched on also many different areas of the revenue process, so much building so much communication. Just it's amazing. I mean, I hear it and I'm like, oh, that's so startup. I feel so scrappy building from scratch.

I mean, literally that is building from scratch. I love that. Um, so I want to touch on the operations piece a little bit, and then I want to talk about loft wall specifically, but you know, as you know, and you touched on this a little, but you know, I've been on my soap box, right? Promoting revenue operations, talking about the function, the people.

And I always think of rev ops is sort of. Powerful secret weapon, right. For the revenue team. So, you know, having been a revenue leader now, as well as now being a COO, and you touched on this a little bit, but what are your thoughts on, you know, how an organization can really best leverage the operations function?

To help enable and optimize the revenue team. Like, are there things, you know, having your experience at Varidesk and coming into loft wall, are there some, you know, any kind of those must do's or absolutely don't do that. You've brought to life.

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. I, um, loft was a little bit different, right? So I'm running a manufacturing facility and, and so when I think about.

Um, operations. And initially I, I went back to my silo thoughts, right? I went back to like, I'm responsible for anything after the sale and we're going to execute, uh, operational excellence in my bubble and Hey, sales and marketing, bring in the money and I'll make it happen on the backend. And after being here for a couple of months, you know, those like blinders came off and I finally settled into my role and I thought to myself, like what a, what a foolish statement, like what a foolish blinder, right.

To have on when I can help so much more on the front end from operational efficiency. And so I think, you know, to answer your question, the number one no-no. Hey, everyone's responsible for everything, right. And it is operations is phenomenal at, you know, process-oriented thinking and building in efficiencies.

Why wouldn't we do that for the sales team? Why wouldn't we do that in for the marketing team? Why wouldn't we look in and analyze like what the current methodology is for lead generation are, if we, if we have the brain to think that way. Right. And so. Um, that's the, that's the number one first thing that I wanted to make sure that, that I, um, that I brought on is that we're all responsible for everything.

And we even did a core value flip this year, and I'm one of those core value flips was we win together and lose together. And I think a big piece of that is. Operational, like, let, let operations into your business. They definitely can help. Right. So, um, I think that's a big one. I would also say, um, if I think more to, you know, Varidesk, which is now very, I, um, you know, I talked about this.

Like if, if we would have truly had more, um, operational influence into the sales organization early on, I can see nothing but additional revenue growth that would have come from that. And so as at the end of the day, You know, profitability is what's important to an organization and revenue and top line growth.

Um, and you know, operations can help make that, um, help your sales organization or your revenue organization more efficient. There's no, there's no harm putting that in. Even to the point where I had said I will give up, um, two of my plant manufacturing heads for us to bring in. A, um, a revenue operations had even as small of an organization that I'm in today.

Um, because I know that it would make up for the efficiencies that I need out in the place.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's Amazing. I love that. Love that. Definitely. So let's talk a little bit more about loft wall, right? Cause if there's sort of an interesting space, right. But when we look at, you know, when we first started recording, we talked a little bit about, you know, the current situation and how now we're in 2021 and, and all of the things that have sort of transpired over the last, maybe 14, 15 months.

But I mean, we've all been. Impacted by COVID, you know, in the global pandemic. Right? Both from a business perspective, as well as from a personal perspective. But loft was a sort of an interesting space, right? Given the changes in remote working, but also as folks start to return to the office, right. With different requirements now, and perspectives of sort of how we work together.

And a common space. Like how has the, how has the pandemic impacted your business? And are there any lessons learned there or maybe things the company is now doing a little bit differently in their approach to acquiring or maintaining revenue? Absolutely.

Stephanie Valenti: So it has been a whirlwind. And so if we think about like just the history of loft wall, um, they've been around for 12 years.

The, uh, for about 10 of those 12 years were really a lifestyle business. The founder had had an architectural and design and product design background and they did well, right. They were really small, you know, they, they, um, but they were happy to maintain. They didn't necessarily want to grow. Um, they were just good at being a small business and they, uh, two years ago had brought on, um, the CEO who is the CEO today.

And he is very grateful. And I had a passion for growth and innovation and brand. And so came onto the organization and first year was good. Right. And then second year pandemic happened. And second year of pandemic, um, you know, the first month January, everyone was really, um, you know, 2020 was starting to hear about this thing.

And, and so Q1 started off really weird, um, and, and quite slow for the organization. Um, Then we started getting word, you know, towards the end of Q1, like, Hey, this is a thing the country is shut down. And the one thing I can say for our CEO is a super crazy fast, and it would be just really likes to think outside the box and is really an unbelievable marketer.

And so. He said, you know what? We make privacy and, and, um, that's what we do. And we're not going to go outside of our privacy, but we are going to serve the community and the products that we get out there into the marketplace for things that people need. And so, so that's what he did. Right. He went out there and he created, like, I think it was like, 15 new products or something overnight, probably put racy strain on operations.

I was not there at that time. Um, but you know what it worked. And so what had happened is this small, you know, five to $7 million company. Overnight became a company that was on track to do 400% growth. What happens when that happens so fast and is unprecedented, is you throw people at problems, right?

That is 100% what I walked into. You know, I had come in in August, um, of, of during the pandemic and I walked in and we had, you know, 80 people in the plant, um, you know, 50, at least 50%, if not more were. Um, we're all temporary employees. So no alignment to core values or skillset or training involved.

Right. We had tons of people in the office from all different sorts of roles yet. Again, no process, not a lot of training and no fault to any existing leaders, but when you're at 400% growth, your goal is to get the order out the door. Right. Like that's it. And so, um, you know, the, um, the reason that Bryce brought me in was to really come in and help you elevate the organization from, um, structure, process, um, uh, health.

Well, and, and strategy. And so, um, that's what I've had the opportunity to do. And so if we look at, um, fast forward from August to December, um, that, that staff of, I think we were about 130, um, we were able to now in the plant do the same amount of business, um, with a plant staff. 30, um, and a total staff of 50, and that is all from simply implementing enhanced processes.

Um, making sure that we're hiring two core values, um, being able to put an organizational structure that makes sense, um, doing strategic meetings and focusing on organizational health. And so, you know, really across the board, All about, um, taking this business and, and, you know, continuing to be able to sustain growth with, um, with more like just aligned processes and not people.

Right. Wow.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Wow. I love that. So let's um, so thank you for sharing that. I think that's, that's very helpful and I think we'll give, uh, definitely a lens to some of our listeners. Um, so let's just do a completely different topic, right. One that is near and dear to my heart. And it's not rev rev ops. Um, one of the topics, you know, you and I were chatting a little bit about is, you know, one of the things that I get asked probably, you know, almost as often as around revenue operations is related to, you know, being a working mom, And the challenges of juggling home and family and career.

And as you know, you know, I've been a working mom now for 25 years and it sounds like you've been for 20 years as well. So, you know, I still haven't necessarily found, you know, that silver bullet, right. That solves all of the challenges of really trying to find harmony between all of the different pieces.

So as a, as a working mom yourself, like, do you have any tips for other women? No horror trying to find that balance between work and family and, you know, sort of what has worked, you know, maybe wealth.

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. I I'll, I think I'll, you know, mimic your statement upfront. Like I don't have the silver bullet either.

Um, there are times when I refer to it, like as a Seesaw, right. Where one side of this Lisa is my family and my children. Personal life and even personal health. Um, and, and the other side is work and I can feel when it gets out of whack. Um, one of the best practices that I've I've taken is on a weekly basis.

Every Sunday I have it on my calendar. Um, I will sit and all do. A self-reflection of, you know, what was my Cecil looking like this week? Like, did I give my kids and my husband and myself, um, the time that I deserve or was my Seesaw all work. And so, um, I think, you know, what I've started to realize is, um, it is sometimes it goes all work.

Um, what it rarely goes is all family, um, very, very, um, often the Seesaw doesn't turn on the other, um, go the other way. Right. Um, and so that's something to think about, like that's something to reflect on. Um, I would say that Sunday thing is a great best practice. I would also say is I really look at that.

Work-life people say balance. I like the integration word a little bit better. Um, you know, my. My youngest is the one that I feel is oftentimes the most impacted cause my others are a little bit older. Um, and so if there are times like I'm working from home or, um, I have to take a call on a weekend or I need to work on a project, I set her up next to me on the desk.

Right. Kind of do it together and I show her that it's okay to be a, you know, a strong woman that works hard and that, um, is successful. And I let her ask me questions about what I'm doing and I make sure I put the hat on that it's okay to be interrupted. And I'm teaching her at the same time that I'm getting this work done and yeah.

Three times Walker, she's going to interrupt me and it's going to drive me a little bit crazy, but we need to put my patients on. And so I would say that's the other thing is I haven't found a bullet. I D I do like the integration piece and a lot of self-reflection. Yeah.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I love that. Yeah. I think the balance is sort of a myth.

Um, I don't think that there is a real balance, but like integration, you know, the harmony is just trying to keep things, you know, sort of in harmony and in sync. Um, But yeah, definitely don't know that there is any necessary balance, but I do like the self-reflection piece. Um, the other question, I guess I have for you is, you know, being a woman in a C-level, you know, executive role, like what advice do you have for other women who are looking to elevate their career and, you know, just continue to move up the ladder.

Stephanie Valenti: Yeah. You know, um, I, I've always been a huge believer in taking risks and, um, that's been throughout my entire life, my career. I think it's naturally who I am. And I understand that it's not natural. Who everybody is. Right, right. And so, um, you know, I once struggled, um, and during my time in the executive role at very, um, let some of my confidence, um, slide a little, and I, you know, I was standing at the table.

Big presentation to do. And, and, um, you know, I thought to myself and I actually got this advice from the CFO, um, at, at Varidesk he had said to me stuff like at the end of the day, if you can live with the worst thing that could happen. Um, then why wouldn't you do it? And so to me, it always stuck with me.

So I'll think like, okay, am I going to raise my hand and apply for this job? Am I going to, you know, come up with an idea and present it to a board? Am I going to, um, you know, raise my hand in the middle of a meeting going only being the only female there. And I think to myself, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Would they laugh at me? Maybe can I live with that? Am I going to die? No, I'll be fine. Right. Or am I going to get rejected? Maybe? Um, what's the worst thing that can happen. I have a bad day. I can live with one bad day for the opportunity for, uh, you know, possible growth and, and so. Any time I am fearful or I lose confidence or I, um, you know, I second guess myself in, in a growth direction.

That's the question that I, I propose. Um, and it is, it has helped me a ton. So. My number one thing that if we go back to it is just take a risk. You don't have to know everything. Um, I'm, I'm an, was a member of, and a thought leader and mentor of girls club, which is another group, um, that, um, is pretty popular out there that just promotes like females in sales and really getting them to raise their hand.

Big piece of what they talk about all the time is just that resume, right? Where, or that job description, where if like men will apply, if they have 50% of the new only do it, if they have all of them. And so that's just goes back to that. Risk-taking like, just do it, just raise your hand to do it. If you can live with the worst, uh, the worst one.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. I love that. And I think I'm kind of more in your camp as well. It's more of a risk taker. I think, you know, when I I've read a lot of those studies too, that talk about the job description and it was really sort of eye-opening for me the first time I read it, because I think about a lot of the jobs that I've taken there, jobs that, you know, I don't know, everything.

About the job. Right. And that's the why it's interesting to me is because there's an opportunity for growth, right? Why would I take a job where all I'm going to do is do what I do today? Right. So I think I kind of, my perspective is a little bit different, um, just around, because was, you know, as we were talking about just always looking for something to challenge yourself right.

And take that risk. And I do that as well, sometimes right before, you know, maybe it's an event or a webinar or something that. I take a couple of deep breaths and just, you know, just go for it, just do it. You know, it's not that you don't have fear or you might not be nervous, but you know, you just have to, it's just how you deal with it.

So I love that. So, you know, as I think about the revenue engine and this podcast, That others will be able to learn something about how to accelerate revenue growth and really power the revenue engine. So, I mean, you have done so many things, you know, we've covered some of them, but I think there's, there's so many accomplishments, um, that you've achieved already in your career, but are there things that, you know, maybe if there's something that you wish you knew earlier, or maybe something that you might do different.

If you had to do it all over again? Um, yes,

Stephanie Valenti: I would a hundred percent become far more versed in, uh, storytelling in data. Um, that is something that I like if even if I think about education, like I always think back of, Hey, I'm amazing in communications in English and that side of the brain. Um, Not so much.

And, and I just kind of like put that label on and was fine with it. And then I got to the opportunity where, um, where I shared, like I was revenue operations, and I was head of sales all in one. And, and that would have been really useful if I could talk to that CEO, CFO in his language. So, um, that's something I encourage.

All sales leaders, like don't just rely on the people around you to truly understand financial data, like get well-versed. And so, um, I'd say, you know, the other piece is if I could do it all over again, I would have looked for a community, um, a lot earlier. And so, um, you know, I have that now with, with revenue collective, but man, it's really nice when you have people to talk about your specific problems with.

Going through like problems. And so, um, I would also just anyone that's going to be in any type of VP role within an organization, um, on the revenue or operation side, like there's, it doesn't matter what group, um, but you've gotta be part of a community. Cause you did, you do get quite lonely yet.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yep.

Definitely. Um, so thank you so much for joining me, Stephanie, but as we wrap up and before I let you go, and I always love to ask two things. So one, what is the one thing about Stephanie that others would be really surprised to learn? I mean, the karaoke deejaying already surprised me, but is there something else?

And then, you know, what is the one thing that you really want everyone to know about? Oh,

Stephanie Valenti: surprise. So, um, Geez. I would say I, um, I'm totally all about trying something now and very spontaneous. And so, um, you know, throughout my life, like I have a. I have a list of things that I want to try and do throughout my life.

And I keep it keeps growing. So if anyone has like really crazy obscure things, please tell me because I'd love to Adam. Um, I would say, you know, the one thing I want everybody to know, um, You probably can tell in this podcast, but I am exceptionally, um, high energy. And I think in an organization like your energy is infectious, no matter.

What you do if you're a leader and so, um, own who you are. And, um, you know, I think authenticity and humility and, um, being oneself is just so incredibly important. And so, um, I was like that with you. Today. And, um, I would just encourage everybody to continue to be like that as we grow, um, in, you know, corporate culture, it's becoming more and more acceptable to not put your business hat on and simply be you.

Um, and so that's probably something that I would feel comfortable sharing. I'm excited to share.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. Yep. I love that. Definitely. Um, so thank you again for joining me, Stephanie, it was such a pleasure, right? To chat with you. I'm just, I'm so incredibly grateful for your time and for sharing your story and perspective with us.

So thank you.

Stephanie Valenti: Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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