Building Resilience in Sales w/ Jill Fratianne

#90: Listen as Jill Fratianne, Channel Account Manager at HubSpot, discusses building a resilient sales mindset and balancing the demands of sales with life. She and Tyler share personal experiences in work-life balance, handling major life events, and tips for being an effective sales manager and leader in unforeseen circumstances. 

Listen to the episode by clicking play below OR search “the sales lift” wherever you get podcasts.

Check out the full transcript of this episode below:

The Sales Lift Podcast
Episode #90
Building Resilience in Sales w/ Jill Fratianne
Hosted by: Tyler Lindley

===

[00:00:00] Tyler Lindley: Hey Sales Lift Nation, it's your host, Tyler Lindley. Today, I have Jill Fratianne and on the podcast. Hey Jill, how you doing? Doing great. Tyler. Fantastic. So excited to finally have you on, we finally got connected and Jill is a Channel Account Manager at HubSpot HubSpot veteran. Today. We're going to be talking about resilient sales teams, balancing sales, parenting, and sales.

Sales reps have lives, especially those that have kids like me. And you do. And I want to chat a little bit about that. What does that look like? What does balance look like in a sales role? Because it can be so

[00:00:37] Jill Fratianne: hard. Yeah, a lot of self-forgiveness that's all. I'll say the top performer. In any profession, but specifically sales, we all are wired a little bit differently for perfection and high standards are the norm.

And if you don't high standards have high standards, your sales manager will set it for you or your CEO, always high standards for sales. And sometimes. High standards can be to your detriment as your career progresses. And you have to learn that perfection sometimes is just getting

[00:01:15] Tyler Lindley: through. Yeah. That's so important.

When you talk about high standards, are you talking about quotas? Are you talking about just the standards that are set either intrinsically or like you said by your manager? You're CEO. What do you mean by high standards? In a sales

[00:01:29] Jill Fratianne: role? Gosh, high standards are set by everyone. So there are your personal standards and then there's the need to compare yourself to others.

And then it's reinforced by dashboards every five minutes that you shouldn't be comparing yourself to others. At all times. And if you're not, they'll send it again to make sure that you are, there's your own self standards, which can be your worst detriment, quite frankly. Then there's your CEO, then there's your sales manager.

Then there's a colleagues around you. Then there's your ego, the typical sales person, especially early in your career. It feels really good to be known as the top rep.

[00:02:08] Tyler Lindley: It feels, it feels to be at the top of that.

[00:02:11] Jill Fratianne: Oh man, you are riding high it's validation. You are Superman superwoman. You make it rain.

You're the most valuable. You're the MVP. So what happens when life hits or someone dies or you have a child or you're going through a divorce name, the things that adults have to manage and you're thrown off your game and you're at the bottom. That's where resilience comes in. Yep. I'm a huge Rocky Balboa fan.

Huge. Interesting. Yeah, huge. I quote them on my

[00:02:44] Tyler Lindley: website. So why are you a huge Rocky Balboa

[00:02:47] Jill Fratianne: fan? It's not about how many times you win. It is how many times you get back up. And get knocked down. Tom Brady has lost more Superbowls and he's won or championship games that led to a Superbowl. He's played more seasons, but he's not gotten to win a soccer ball, but what is.

Day after gets right the heck back up and goes right back in the gym. Bill Belicheck. We're on a Cincinnati. We're going, we're not stopping just because we lost

[00:03:13] Tyler Lindley: right. That's resilience and he can't get enough of it too. It's almost, you have to love it. You're talking about these folks. They love the chase, the competition, the game, the sport, all of that.

You have to love sales. You have to love

[00:03:26] Jill Fratianne: sales. Is it hard to love

[00:03:28] Tyler Lindley: sales though, Joe? Sometimes I feel like it's hard

[00:03:30] Jill Fratianne: to love sales. I love sales. I can truly say I love helping people solve big problems. I am addicted to that. I am addicted to the feeling when someone says to me on a call, Jill, I just appreciate your candor today.

Thank you for being real with me. Thank you for helping me. And sometimes those are the deals that quote unquote don't buy. I've got referrals on my LinkedIn page from a couple people who never bought from me. Why

[00:04:01] Tyler Lindley: do you think that they gave you a referral? Even though they didn't buy? Because I was

[00:04:04] Jill Fratianne: real with them.

I'm not here to put people in a position that's not good for themselves. And today's sales person is a person who is helpful because anyone can shop you out on the internet. By the time they get to you. They know they're going to be talking to someone. Who's going to ask him for an order. And they want to know what's behind all of the marketing jargon.

Where are the gotchas? Where's this project going to go sideways? Where did I forget to ask the right question? An integration doesn't work because the sales person didn't disclose well, that's in beta or that's coming later or no, you're going to want that. And we know the other guys do it better, but I'm just not going to tell you.

Yeah. People want to avoid that. I want to be the first. That helps them open their eyes and do the right thing. And sometimes Tyler, I don't get the deal, but it's

[00:04:55] Tyler Lindley: not always about getting the deal.

[00:04:57] Jill Fratianne: No, it's not about always

[00:04:58] Tyler Lindley: it can't, you've been bringing up candor, helping people, being selfless,

[00:05:03] Jill Fratianne: doing the right thing, being able to sleep with yourself at night, being good to your fellow colleagues,

[00:05:09] Tyler Lindley: which goes counter to how some people, I think envisioned sales, which is.

Dog eat dog world to win at all costs. Do whatever it takes, work harder, work longer, just work more, just do more, do better. It

[00:05:21] Jill Fratianne: works that can work for a short period of time. Right? When we're talking about the longevity of a sales career, that is a very short-lived existence. And if it isn't a short-lived existence, it'll be a short limbic existence at wherever you work.

Eventually you're going to burn out where they're going to find out that you're. If your company has any form of culture and you're gonna get fired and you can go try and go do it again somewhere else. But it's a short lift. My 13 years at HubSpot, I'm pretty darn proud of 13 years in selling at the same tech company is something that doesn't really happen a lot.

It's damn impressive. It doesn't happen a lot. And you know what, Tyler, I haven't always been number one. I've had some bad years.

[00:06:04] Tyler Lindley: It's interesting. You say bad years, not just bad months, we all have bad weeks bad. You said bad years. How have you pushed through that though? This

[00:06:11] Jill Fratianne: is the self forgiveness. A bad year for me is 80% high standards, high standards.

This is a problem I had to get to a point. I literally had to have a mantra to myself that 80% was okay, so that I didn't self destruct. Yep. That's resilience. The winning is in the comeback. It's not the setback and I can't describe it. Tyler, in any other form, other than experience a sales career is riddled with ups and downs and, and laughs.

And if anyone says that it's not, they're lying, that's not true any successful person and it doesn't have to be money. Tyler. They're going to tell you, at some point they fell right on their face and they got right the heck back up and they went back at it and that is resilience. And in the consistency of not giving up, that is the key.

When I became a mom, I've taken all of my HubSpot winnings, lived very humbly and invested it in real. Um, 15 years later, we woke up to a nice little empire nest egg that we're all of that has gone. I just, I look at this life. It's so much of it as just keep going. You have to just keep going. You just have one child.

Yes. Where I was going with that. Cause they lost my train of thought because you know what? I'm a mom and mom brain is real. Okay. Let me start it on that.

[00:07:37] Tyler Lindley: Tell us about you're in sales. You've got these high standards now you're a mom. You're throwing another huge responsibility into the mix. Yeah.

[00:07:44] Jill Fratianne: And that was the wrench.

Tyler. That was the thing that brought

[00:07:47] Tyler Lindley: me to my new. Being a mother and trying to balance being a new

[00:07:51] Jill Fratianne: mom. That was it. I could manage multiple contractors and real estate contracts and still be number one at sales or number two or whatever that number one was. There's so many sales reps at HubSpot, whatever top, top of the game, when I was a mom.

I was so driven that the year that I got pregnant, I was literally four or five deals away from what we call it, HubSpot founders club. And this is something that at a time, one other person had gotten ever. And I was there heading into Q4 and I had to give birth. And I remember sitting at my. Crying. I was like, oh my God, this is the first time in my life.

I'm giving up something for my career for motherhood. How am I going to do it? There was a huge commission check that I was just going away and that baby came and everyone told me, and I didn't care. I didn't. Care, my whole world became, how do I keep this little thing alive? And when it was time to come back into the office, I couldn't believe it.

I didn't want to go. I just wanted to make sure that my child was breathing. Anyone who has a new baby. You you'll understand, you stare at them to breathe. When someone told me when I would go out on maternity leave that I wouldn't have time to take a shower. I'm like, do you know who I am? Do you know how much?

I mean, Yeah, and I didn't even have time to take.

[00:09:10] Tyler Lindley: It sounds like that was a difficult transition for you because you're used to having that flexibility to be at the top of the boards. And now you've got this huge responsibility in addition to all the other things you're trying to balance, but this is a different type of responsibility.

I know there's a lot of folks out there that are in sales and our parents, and they try to find this balance. But those first few years, it's a tough transition. It's a very tough transition. Let's not sugar coat it. It's not easy. No,

[00:09:36] Jill Fratianne: and you know what? No one talks about it. And you know what happens, apparent

[00:09:40] Tyler Lindley: think that most parents end up quitting sales because one

[00:09:43] Jill Fratianne: quits someone quits the mom quits the dad.

My mom's dad. Dad's whatever the parent is. Sometimes they just exit stage. Right. And I'll never forget. Before I went on a maternity leave, I was like, oh, you just put the kid in daycare to be fine. Went and shop daycare. She came a quarter of my paycheck, went to a personal nanny. So the child would be home.

I didn't care what it costs. I wanted her home with me and I paid for it almost quarter to half of my paycheck, went to childcare. And these are things that before I was a parent, you don't know until you're know and no one walks you through it. I read Sheryl Sandberg's lean in which I'm really grateful I did before I got married.

You

[00:10:22] Tyler Lindley: read that right before you had your daughter

[00:10:24] Jill Fratianne: right before we had a kid. Yes. Or before we got married, because we got married, decided that we wanted to start a family and that's a whole nother story, but. It not to bring God up on that. You learn very quickly that you don't have a lot of control trolling these things.

Oh, I want to have a kid now. Yeah, that doesn't mean you're going to have one, but that's a whole nother thing. And then you got to deal with your work life while you're dealing with all of that. That's a whole another situation that no one talks about at work. Why do you

[00:10:48] Tyler Lindley: think people don't talk about these things at work?

We're talking about it here together. And some folks will probably listen to this, but you're in the minority talking about the minority you're in the minority because a lot of people I think are very scared, especially in a sales culture, which is performance driven and show up and I'm here and I'm pushing hard and it's end of month and doing this, I'm doing that.

I'm making. Top of the dashboard, but there's life outside of that. There's life outside of that dashboard. A lot of times I think that we're nervous to bring up some of these things because it feels like we're not all in, it feels like we're not doing God

[00:11:23] Jill Fratianne: forbid. God forbid your manager thinks your eye isn't on the prize and it's terrifying.

And you at all times at all costs. And if you get the wrong manager,

[00:11:34] Tyler Lindley: This is why the sales manager role is so important because I think a lot of sales reps, their experience at their company lives and dies by who they report to. It's not the VP, the director, the CEO, it's your manager, it's your manager, the relationship between your sales manager and the sales.

Is one that can nurture and be comforting and be there through the good and the bad and help to really enable, or they

[00:11:57] Jill Fratianne: are your mental detriment. Yes.

[00:11:59] Tyler Lindley: Or they can be the exact opposite. And in that case, that balance that we're talking about, it becomes very difficult because they have probably different expectations.

Then you, and you're trying to make it work and it's just hard.

[00:12:11] Jill Fratianne: I will give and forever give he's going to blush for the rest of his life. I worked with Brian when I was a new mom, he was my sales manager and I will forever give him credit for allowing me to stay in sales because I could be open with him.

We spent time redoing my calendar. To make sure that I had enough office hours when I was winning Tyler fun fact, too. I'm openly talk about now that I'm adult highly dyslexic. I didn't find this out until I was an adult. Really. I won my whole life between being concert feel as principals, the orchestra, full ride, full tuition, scholarships, music school.

Because I worked everyone. It was harder for me than everybody else. I had to outwork everybody. And that's what I did in sales. I outworked everyone. I worked on Saturdays. I worked on

[00:13:03] Tyler Lindley: Sundays and we won and stayed on top. Is you just, you outworked everybody at work outward,

[00:13:09] Jill Fratianne: outward, extra or extra hour, extra focus, extra focus, extra focus, cue motherhood.

I didn't have those hours anymore.

[00:13:15] Tyler Lindley: What happened to my sales? Did it take a nose dive because you couldn't

[00:13:18] Jill Fratianne: run or while it was great for a while, my adrenaline was able to maintain when my daughter hit six months old, then it was like, my God, I hit the exhaustion.

[00:13:30] Tyler Lindley: There's only so many hours in the day and use only so many hours.

At some point you have

[00:13:35] Jill Fratianne: to sleep

at least on zoom.

[00:13:43] Tyler Lindley: When you're getting on a zoom meeting, when the video is being recorded, you'd take a shirt.

[00:13:48] Jill Fratianne: They can smell

[00:13:49] Tyler Lindley: you. Everybody can smell through zoom. It doesn't everybody know this. It's interesting. Brian hired me. We worked together on the same day. And I felt the same way. I was a parent and I felt like Brian did a good job of incorporating everything that he knew that I was managing everything that was you.

Yes, exactly. Which was my kids. And for you, it's your daughter, our kids are us. They become a huge part of your life. And either as a manager, you've accept that. And you incorporate that into the way in which you're treating that frontline sales rep, or if you don't and just ignore it and expect them to.

Pick it up and figure it out. It becomes this toxic relationship toxic. It becomes hard. And I agree. It's like that level of empathy I would call it. I think that he had a very strong high. And high empathy, high empathy. Yeah. That's what you want out of a sales manager. And

[00:14:44] Jill Fratianne: you can trust him to give you a kick if you need it.

Oh yeah. Plenty of times. And that is empathy, right? That is being kind. That is calling out your blind spots if you need help. But there is a level of trust. Trust is the word trust. If this person has your back, they get you as a human being. They understand your personal goal. And they also know you want to, when you're not in it, because you don't want to win who goes into sales because they don't want to win the sales, not wanting sales

[00:15:11] Tyler Lindley: bonuses.

If you don't want to win. And you're in sales, you probably are in the wrong career

[00:15:16] Jill Fratianne: going to customer service, like the paycheck. And I still excite you a little. Exactly. Or you run the other way. God, I'm not going to live with a quota. Well, didn't

[00:15:30] Tyler Lindley: do that. I think it's important though, for those reps out there, you've got to develop that trust with your manager and for those managers that.

You've got to develop the trust with the reps to two way relationship. And like we said, I think that relationship becomes extremely important. If folks are going to find this level of balance self-forgiveness and empathy and resilience to maintain a sales career, like you said, you can fake it for a few months.

You can fake it for a few years, maybe, but eventually that catches up with you.

[00:16:00] Jill Fratianne: Eventually the candle. The flame just dissolves.

[00:16:05] Tyler Lindley: And then you go from the top of the leaderboard to the middle, to the bottom, and then,

[00:16:11] Jill Fratianne: and then you have yourself, a midlife crisis, then

[00:16:13] Tyler Lindley: imposter syndrome kicks in and you're just starting to question everybody.

I go,

[00:16:16] Jill Fratianne: I'm a loser then the negative. And then everything I ever thought was true and I am the worst. They're right. They should get rid of me. All of that stuff. It's terrible. It's so sad

[00:16:26] Tyler Lindley: because so many smart. Talented great professional sales reps have that doubt when they start to try to balance these other things, kids being one of them.

But like you said, there's other life events. Someone died. Yeah. Someone dying in the family, things changing with their personal situation. Just priorities. Shifting

[00:16:45] Jill Fratianne: a significant number. Yeah. There's a sick parent, Q COVID. There's so many things that people have to deal with. And the resilience is you have to take the time to grieve.

Sheryl Sandberg wrote about grief, or it will destroy you and your personal life and your career. And you have to give your employees space. If you hear someone died your job as a sales manager to go shut down the computer. Right? I want you out of here. I don't want you talking to your partners or your customers this week.

I know you're going to be off, not allowing them to come back to work unless they tell you I need to work. I need something so that I can get this off my

[00:17:32] Tyler Lindley: mind. Even if they say that, I still think there should be shut it down. There should be a level of, maybe they say that, but we should keep close tabs on the situation.

Again, it comes back to that level of trust where I think you have to have open and honest dialogue. And I think that's, what's missing a lot of time in sales cultures is that there's not a lot of open and honest because there's no trust. We have to build a foundation of trust in our sales organizations that everyone feels like they can come to you.

When these situations happen, there will be a level of empathy and understand.

[00:18:04] Jill Fratianne: No. Right. And the worst thing a manager can tell you is that you're giving excuses. When you actually vulnerably, like something happened. I was thrown off my game and then for them to tell you, it's just excuses. It's just, oh my gosh,

[00:18:18] Tyler Lindley: that's just a sign of the culture.

Because at the end of the day, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about culture on a sales floor and within a sales organization. And then there's also that intrinsic. Kind of culture as well. When you're talking about those high standards, that self-forgiveness the resilience, there's got to be both.

And you want to try to find that sales organization that fosters you to be all of those things, fostered you to give yourself that self-forgiveness to be okay with 80. When life dictates 80% is as good as you can do right now. Not the

[00:18:47] Jill Fratianne: best ear, but you know what we're going to do. We're going to get back on the horse.

We're going to do it again.

[00:18:51] Tyler Lindley: Exactly because the worst you could do is hit 60, 70, 80% put someone on a PIP and lose them because you just had short-sighted they're not performing right. They've lost it. They've lost their edge. Factor in the situation, did they lose their edge? I think it

[00:19:06] Jill Fratianne: was the cost of replacing that person.

So instead of take a top, these are the things that blow my mind. I get very passionate about this. You take someone who's been a top producer for, let's say, five years. This person has proved themselves. Let's say even three years, this person's proved themselves. They're a new parent. Someone dies divorce.

I don't know. There's so many personal things, sick parent, whatever. And you just see a. And, you know, something personal is going on. Why is it our culture just to fire him? Why isn't it? You know what, take two months, take some time, come back and be better. Instead of going out and spending a hundred thousand dollars on a recruiter and a new person, and then training them for six months and all of this stuff.

And

[00:19:49] Tyler Lindley: then not even knowing if that new person is going to be any good, it's going to be any good. Give me the person who's been through comes back exactly that shown the ability to cover. From losses from being down. Cause that sales rep is actually gonna long-term way out perform and have, like you said, the resilience,

[00:20:07] Jill Fratianne: they will be the most loyal employee you've ever had.

[00:20:13] Tyler Lindley: You're a prime example of this. This is why you're still at HubSpot spot in the game. You're in the game. Here. You're still on the dashboards. I know we could go on. We're going to have to do a part two here, I think, but Jill, great conversation. The folks want to find out more about you online. How can they do so she'll Friday

[00:20:32] Jill Fratianne: on he.com.

I'm also on Instagram and Tik TOK at Jilly frat. I'll Jill when I'm in trouble. When people know me, I don't know why they just start calling me jelly. I don't know if that's just part of my personality or what, and then also LinkedIn, I do live on social media. Perfect. So I'm easy

[00:20:49] Tyler Lindley: to find. Awesome. We'll link to all those in the show notes.

And then we'll do a part two at some other point to continue the conversation. Best of luck, balancing everything. Was she well hoped to see.

Thank you so much for listening to today's show, you can find all the links discussed and the show notes@thesaleslift.com. That's the T H E sales S a L E S. Lift L I F t.com have questions for me. Email me@tyleratthesaleslift.com. We look forward to seeing you back here next week, and we hope today's show brings you the sales lift.

Your business needs. Remember ideas. Plus action equals. And you've got new ideas. Now it's time to take action and the results will fall. See you next time. .

Don’t feel like listening? Read the Episode Cliff Notes instead below:

Intro (0:00)

Top performers in any profession, especially sales, are all wired differently for perfection. But unfortunately, high standards are the norm, and they can be detrimental as your career progresses. 

So what happens when life and you’re thrown off your game? You’re at the bottom, and that’s where resilience comes in.

Today’s salesperson is a person who is helpful because anyone can shop you out on the internet. 

By the time a customer gets to you, they know they will be talking to someone. And they want to know what’s behind all of the marketing jargon.

Work-Life Balance (5:35)

Eventually, you’re going to burn out. If your company has any form of a culture where you’re going to get fired, you can try and do it again elsewhere. But it’s a short lift.

A sales career is riddled with ups and downs. If anyone says that it’s not, they’re lying,

Jill was four or five deals away from achieving “founders club” HubSpot. She was heading into Q4 when she had to give birth, and she remembers sitting at her desk crying.

It was a difficult transition for her because she was used to having the flexibility she needed to be at the top of the boards. Now she had this huge responsibility and all the other things she was trying to balance. But this was a different type of responsibility.

Often we’re nervous about bringing up life outside the dashboard because it feels like we’re not “all in.” And God forbid your manager thinks your eye isn’t on the prize. It’s terrifying.

This is why the sales manager role is so important. Many sales reps’ experience at a company lives and dies by who they report to. It’s not the VP, the director, or the CEO. It’s their manager and the relationship between the sales manager and the sales.

Jill’s adrenaline held out until her daughter turned six months old. Then she hit exhaustion. 

Sales Management and Leadership (13:50) 

Our kids are us. They become a huge part of our lives, and either a manager accepts that and incorporates it into the way they treat the frontline sales rep or ignores it.

There is a level of trust. If this manager has your back, they get you as a human being. They understand your personal goals. 

You’ve got to develop trust with the reps to have a two-way relationship. And that relationship becomes significant. 

If folks are going to find this level of balance of self-forgiveness, empathy, and resilience to maintain a sales career. You can fake it for a few years, but eventually, that catches up with you.

Grief can also destroy a personal life and career, so you have to give your employees space. If you hear someone die, your job as a sales manager is to shut down the computer.

The worst thing a manager can tell you is that you’re giving excuses when you are actually vulnerable.

Jill Fratianne’s Bio:

Jill Fratianne a.k.a “JillyFrat” has been a top-performing sales rep at HubSpot for going on 13yrs after switching careers from a concert violist and can still be seen on state with the Portland Symphony. She’s held various sales roles at HubSpot and is currently in Channel Sales. Her passion lies in helping cultivate resilient sales cultures as well as coaching and uplifting business leaders to be their best. She also has a significant stake in real estate, is a mother, and wife of a hot sauce entrepreneur. Fun fact, er Great Danes have been seen on Animal Planet

Important Links:

Jill’s Website

Jill’s LinkedIn Profile