Ari Mellon joins us today for our Sales Expert roundtable interview. Ari Mellon is Director of Sales at Neopost, the global leader in digital communications, logistics and mail solutions. Neopost helps companies dramatically improve the way they manage interactions with their clients and partners. Located in 29 countries and more than 5,800 employees, Its products and services are sold in more than 90 countries. We recently met Ari, and are so impressed with his business acumen, we invited him to our Sales Expert Roundtable. We are delighted to welcome Ari Mellon to answer a few questions regarding what it means to be a Director of Sales at such an amazing company, and to help our readers learn more about what it takes to be a leader in the field.
Ari, as an introduction, could you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself, and how long you have been a professional in your field?
Good Morning and thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. I’m a bit of a late bloomer in my professional career, having started in B2B sales 20 years ago. For the first ten years of my twenties I spent my time raising my son, who this year graduated from college, while working in the food industry and after a division one track scholarship to the University of Miami, attempting to train and qualify for the national team in running. As a leader, that started when I was 5 years old, as a goalie for my youth soccer team, I was already the person directing people where to be and learning the value of positive reinforcement, and engagement while always keeping in mind the team goal. My voice is different today than when I was 5 but interestingly, many of the same fundamental traits still hold strong merit today.
Ari, your company’s products and solutions help a lot of the world’s leading companies. How do you approach your sales cycle? How do you know how to approach your clients in terms of which type of solution they need?
As a 90 year old company, Neopost has been leading innovation for clients for a long time. Times have certainly changed with the advent of the digital world and Neopost to helping our clients meet that change. Our approach focuses on three areas of expertise, mail, shipping and digital communications in four key areas of impact which are customer engagement, revenue growth, expense control and risk mitigation. As experts in these fields, we apply a consultative methodology to educate and motivate our clients.
Ari, in your experience, what is the number one reason why a large client chooses to do business with you versus a competitor, assuming the competitor has a similar offering?
I love this question because put another way, why do our employees work at Neopost? It’s our people, the passion we bring for our clients and again, the reliable expertise and resources to do what we say we are going to do.
Ari, you have a team of professionals that you are responsible for to make sure they are performing at the highest level. In the leadership role that you provide, can you tell our readers what type of mind set you need walking into the office everyday in order to lead successfully?
I recently read an article regarding emotional intelligence. The key takeaway for me was that people with high emotional IQ don’t let the little things distract them from the focus.
My role is to champion our people, to lead them with energy, passion, clear communications and empathy to the fact we work hard and at the end of the day we are all apart of humanity and life so its not that serious, so lets have the most fun through learning, development and winning that’s possible.
Ari, is there a difference in the way you approach a large client versus a small to mid sized client? How do you get to a decision maker that can actually sign off on the opportunity that you present?
Enterprise clients are different in some ways than a small to medium sized business in the scale and complexity but at the end of the day, many of the core business functions that support the core competency are similar. In our approach, understanding the focus of the customer in advance is critical to effective engagement. This approach is more complex the larger the organization but similar in approach. We are looking for business impact to our clients demonstrated in business outcomes that are quantifiable by any size organization regardless of industry although some industries need our expertise more like healthcare that’s highly regulated and compliance driven.
Ari, how do you go about learning about your customer’s needs ? How important is learning about your client’s needs so you can offer solutions to make their company better?
If there was a secret sauce that I could impart, it would be the planning. Knowing your customer, having a fundamental understanding of their company, it’s a game changer. We have research tools that allow us insight into their market strategies while cross referencing industry trends makes for a well-planned executed engagement.
Ari, for new sales people just starting out in their careers, what advice can you give them as they attempt to grow into your level?
As a sales person, have a plan, number one, stick to the plan, but adjust the plan until its both efficient, provides measurable outcomes and leads you to where you want to go. I learned early on that I could outpace any requirements of data entry into a CRM by making the CRM work for me. I never gave it much thought but Tony Robbins said that successful people aren’t the ones with more resources, they are the ones who are more resourceful. Be resourceful.
Ari, how do you organize your day, and how important are lists and goal setting to your profession?
My day starts early, but that early start isn’t about work its about me. It’s a time for me to relax, to think, to start the engine in a way that brings calm and consistency to my day. The day will become frantic if ou allow it in this day and age. I review my agenda for the day, outline the urgent versus non urgent items, I review my ongoing projects and I set out for the office, which can be in many different states with the same approach. I try to have a positive outlook on every day, “this day will be great because its today” and this day has never happened before nor will it again. The day awakens new opportunity to lead, no matter who you are, both in our society and out teams and to learn, to take small moments to listen and bring value without speaking. Sometimes the greatest moments I have with people is listening.
Again, thank you for the time and the interesting questions. I’ve been blessed to be taught by many people, lessons that were lost on me at the time but only through time did they resurface to have a poignant impact at a different time. I thankful to share some of those learnings with other and I wish your readers the best of everything in all they do.