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Jane Betschel On Her Sales Career And Pivoting In Times Of Disruption

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Women Love Tech recently interviewed Jane Betschel, Head of SME Direct Australia MYOB, to talk about her career in sales, what her current role involves, and her path leading up to it.

Jane Betschel, sales, career
Jane Betschel, Head of SME Australia MYOB

Tell us about your journey in sales and how you kick-started a career in sales

I moved into sales after roles in Product and Marketing. I’d always worked closely with sales, but wanted to get closer to customers and expand my operational leadership capabilities.  I’d dabbled in running niche sales teams at Sensis, but my kick start opportunity came with MYOB five years ago when I took on a team of 40 inbound and outbound telephone sales agents. 

Describe your current role

In my role as Head of Channel Marketing and Direct Sales, I lead a team that introduces new customers to MYOB.

How has your company pivoted during this current period of disruption to ensure you continue to grow your pipeline and revenue?

When we built our plans for 2020 we didn’t plan on the Australian Bushfire crisis followed by the global COVID-19 crisis. I’d probably break into three areas:

  1. Making sure our teams are set up for success in working from home and they feel supported by their manager and MYOB. My team are used to working from home a few days a week and we have good team practices in place. Things like checking in, letting people know if you are not available and keeping up the social chat. Now we need to make sure we have regular engagement to replace those face to face celebrations, team meetings and one on one conversations with managers. 
  2. Supporting our customers with immediate practical help. Our immediate focus has been on communicating to our customers how we will support them, like holding all price increases, extending credit terms and creating a dedicated team to manage hardship cases.
  3. Adjusting our digital marketing and approach to leads. We want to be there for businesses now, help them survive and sales opportunity will come later.
grocer
Harris Farm Supermarket

What motivates you to sell? What does your company do to bring value to the customer? 

I’m deeply engaged in our purpose of helping businesses start, survive and succeed. I’ve been working with small business for more than 20 years, first helping them drive leads into their business through advertising products and now at MYOB helping them understand their business financials. We help small businesses manage their cash flow, save them admin time and keep them compliant.

What do you think companies could be done better when it comes to sales? 

Focus on the long-term value of a customer. Making sure a customer is getting real value from your product will keep them with you longer and provide more revenue for the business. From my teams’ point of view that means selling to customers that will get the most value from our products and making sure their experience with the product is great. 

What is your leadership superpower? What are you most proud of or career-high?

I’m not sure if it would get me into the Avengers, but I think through my leadership I can get people to do more than they thought possible.

 When I see people I’ve managed, and pushed outside their comfort zone thriving in business in Australia and overseas, I’m really pleased and excited for them.   

Jane Betschel, Head of SME Australia MYOB

Who was your most inspiring boss and what lessons did you learn from them?

Early on, I had a mentor who was the first senior woman I’d ever seen in business. She told me leaders don’t get bad days, meaning we need to be consistent in the way we work with our teams and create environments where they feel free to share good and bad news. Twenty years later, Google calls it psychological safety. It’s something I try to practice in my leadership approach.

What is the most difficult piece of feedback you have ever received? How has that shaped your approach as a sales leader? 

 You need to figure out what’s useful feedback and what is just someone’s personal view on how they think it should be. The hardest feedback is when you think you have an amazing idea and it’s going to be accepted and supported, then you get told “No, it’s not great.” Where I had gone wrong was not with the idea, but I had failed to “sell it in” to the stakeholders and the people who controlled the internal investment. It’s so important to take people on the journey with you. Give them the big picture vision as well as the detailed plan. That’s true of big projects, but also leading sales teams.

What’s the best advice you’ve had from a mentor? Or, learnings received from a mentee?

During my early career, I worked in events, running Leadership Development Programs for Executives. I picked up a lot from the amazing speakers I hired for the events, especially the after-dinner chat, and that really built the foundation of my leadership philosophy. Things like leading by example, leading through change.

Have you had a career pivot? 

I was working in digital product management for a long time but wanted to expand my marketing career.  Now in my role at MYOB, I’m focussed on marketing communication and sales.

What are the obstacles you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

The obvious one I could call out is being female. I’ve seen men with less experience and capability promoted above me a number of times. Thankfully that’s not as common now, but it’s still a challenge. The main way to overcome gender bias is just to be great, do a good job, get results and most of all let people know that you are capable and desire to do more. 

What are the highlights of your career so far?

A few highlights were getting my first management role, I was so excited to be a leader.  I led a team of three product managers and I finally got to practice everything I had learned and read! 

How would you approach a short sales cycle differently than a long sales cycle?

Someone in a longer sales cycle, usually means it’s a bigger purchase, with more complexity involved.

What was the last book or podcast you listened to? How did it inspire you?

"The Advantage" by Patrick Lencioni

I can’t go past a Patrick Lencioni book, check out The Advantage or his podcast At the Table with Patrick Lencioni. He is a constant inspiration.

You can connect with Jane Betschel on LinkedIn here.

Robyn Foyster

Written by Robyn Foyster

Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn is the owner and founder of a tech business called AR tech, where she helped create the world's first AR community shopping app called Sweep and her team produced the 2018 Vivid app. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.

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