Episode 324: Where New Revenue Leaders Should Focus Their Energy with George Eliopoulos

GUEST: George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

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Revenue growth is a key priority for organizations.

Now, let's say you're taking over a revenue team.

Where do you start?

Or, in other words...

How should a new revenue leader inheriting an existing team with predefined goals determine what that revenue engine should look like, from hiring to structure and processes?

To help us with this today, we have George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co. George is an ambitious business executive with a proven track record of building and leading high-performing teams that achieve strong financial and operational results. Previously, he was Head of Sales at Pagaya, Chief Revenue Officer at Onbe, Head of Large Enterprise Sales at PayPal, and Head of Enterprise and SMB Sales at Braintree.

How Can You Make the Most of Your “New Leader” Status?

When taking over a new team, remember you're only new for a short time, so make the most of it. Absorb all the information and opinions from your job descriptions, the recruiter, board members, or CEO. But importantly, form your own opinion. Stay neutral initially, think critically, and be prepared to adapt and refine the plan. They hired you for your experience and insights, so use this fresh perspective to make the role truly yours.

“They brought you in because you're experienced. You know what you're doing. They trust you and they expect you to have some modification or revision of the plan.”

George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

Evaluate and Strategize for Success in 90 Days

When stepping into a new role, begin by thoroughly evaluating the team, structure, and processes over the first three months before making changes. Take a long-term perspective, balancing immediate revenue needs with strategic goals like exploring new market segments or reinforcing current strengths. Communicate transparently with your team and stakeholders, showing patience and willingness to learn. Prioritize understanding the business dynamics, existing customer relationships, and potential revenue opportunities, and only then plan actionable steps.

“Your goal is different now. Your job is different. You're thinking long-term. So that requires a patient evaluation of what we need to do to hit those longer-term goals.”

George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

Unleash Team Strengths by Embracing Vulnerability

Assessing your team's talents starts by fostering an open environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their strengths and areas for improvement. Encourage honest discussions by admitting your own vulnerabilities first. By showing that you're willing to learn and adapt, you create a space where your team can openly express what they enjoy doing, what they're good at, and where they need support.

“Change won't always be assimilated by everybody quite the same way. And it won't always be beneficial. But it's gonna happen. It is inequitable. In fact, you represent change. Often, if you're new to the role, you're literally the embodiment of it. It can be scary for folks. So how do you take down those barriers?”

George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

Boost Sales by Polishing, Not Overhauling

Instead of overhauling your sales process, consider refining it by building on what your team already does well. Highlight consistency and align your sales methodology with existing practices for better traction. Engage your sales, marketing, and product teams to adopt the same language and concepts, turning this alignment into a company-wide competency.

“If you have the chance to bring in a sales methodology and you have the chance to bring in, for example, your product and your marketing folks and maybe other teams, well, now you have a chance for the whole org to speak the same language, use the same terminology.”

George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

The Crucial Role of Leadership Commitment

A-level players embrace new ideas and drive success by staying open and confident. Usually, the C and D players resist change due to fear of exposure and criticism. When leaders actively participate and champion growth, it makes a night-and-day difference. Their presence signals commitment and earns respect, crucial for any initiative to succeed, whether it's a new sales process or training program. Contrarily, when managers are hesitant or resistant, especially those in C and D player mindsets, it creates significant barriers.

“If you're the manager above, you need to make sure you're involved and make it as much part of the process.”

George Eliopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer at Zip Co

Now that you know where to focus your energy as a new revenue leader, discover the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.

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