Interview: Lisa Dillon, Microsoft

09 Oct 2017 | 10.47 am

Interview: Lisa Dillon, Microsoft

Understanding the customer's business is crucial in sales

09 Oct 2017 | 10.47 am

Lisa Dillon, MD of EMEA Inside Sales at Microsoft, was presented recently with the overall WMB Businesswoman Award 2017. Dillon is a board member of Enterprise Ireland, the European Executive Council of the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and the Inside Sales Directors Network of Ireland. She tells Conor Morris of the Sales Institute of Ireland that sales is both an art and a science


What has been your most memorable job?

That would have to be my current role. In February, we announced plans to locate the centre in Dublin and started the recruitment for 500 new roles. I would always choose a career in a growing team in a growing company and a growing sector. To be honest, it is hard to beat being in the technology sector for that.

What do you enjoy about sales?

To succeed at sales, you must be open to new experiences. Every single day is about learning and exposing myself to something new. In inside sales, we are building the next generation of selling which supports the evolution of how we interact with customers and partners. It is enabling highly trained sellers to meet the needs of our customers through technology, tools and analytics.

What makes a good high-performance salesperson?

Sales is both an art and a science and you need to be good at both. The science is the ‘what has to be done’ and the art is the ‘how well does it get done’. You also need to have drive and motivation to keep pushing yourself forward, and it is important that a salesperson focuses on the customer’s business pains. Starting with business conversations, versus your company’s products, achieves the best results.

What impact is technology having on sales process and performance?

Technology has revolutionised how we sell and what we sell. Our customers’ needs are changing and we realise that the methods through which we reach those customers must evolve too. Through the EMEA Inside Sales Centre, we are enabling our sales force to leverage rich data analytics and insights. This allows us meet and exceed the needs of customers and partners, engaging them at the right time in their digital journey to help drive business success.

How do you teach your team how to sell?

Selling for us is all about helping our customers to achieve more. We teach our sales teams to partner with our customers to deeply understand their business or organisation and bring industry insights into the conversation. We strive to ensure our solutions support Digital Transformation for our customers to enable them achieve their business objectives. We immerse our teams in deep sales training where they learn how to understand value from a customer’s point of view.

What makes a good sales leader?

A good listener often makes a good sales leader. If you can show empathy, that goes a long way to building trust. You also need to give your team the independence and authority to drive their own strategies and plans, but be available for support, counsel or advice.

What advice do you have for other sales leaders?

Our profession is changing at a lightning pace. Inside sales, in particular, is being reshaped to keep up with shifting customer demands. The only advice is to embrace this change. The tools we are developing today are revolutionising the customer experience.



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