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Ben started working in logistics and supply chain. He then landed his first sales position ever at Mintel. They gave him the territory of the south-east US, their worst-performing region.
After turning Mintel’s worst-performing region into their best-performing region, Ben got asked to manage their Account Management group. In 2012, he got sent over to London. There, he had three excellent years running sales for CPG with a team of twelve nationalities, speaking sixteen different languages. After that, he got sent back to Mintel in Chicago, where he is currently, to manage a business unit and the broader part of the Americas commercially.
Ben had amazing teams! He learned from them quickly. Then he got them to work well with one another to drive growth.
Ben looks at building cohesive teams and then getting them to work well together as one of his skills.
Ben is hungry to learn all the time – from absolutely anybody with whom he comes in contact.
After spending so much time helping his customers understand the market, Ben’s top distinctions are:
- Ben works with organizations with open innovation teams. Open innovation teams are looking ten years into the future. Within Mintel, they have a team that focuses just on the future and on trends.
- At the executive level, when you get into the C-Suite and above, fuzzy ideas work best. Executives feel comfortable working in abstract and fuzziness.
- Mintel has subscription models and databases, which make things much more prescriptive. That works well for their entry-level employees.
Everyone should have a vision for the future and a career plan. If you have those, you need to dial in and get even more specific. You need to know where your opportunities lie down the road. Think about what you always wanted to do that you have never done. And what you would do, after you have managed to make more money than you will ever need. Then, consider the impact that would have on your family and your career.
There is a gap between wanting to be a manager and wanting to step into a leadership role. That gap goes from being an excellent manager to setting a vision. Or alternatively, pushing and helping your teams set visions and then stepping out of the way to let them develop those visions.
The people around you will ultimately let you know if they want to follow you and call you a leader.
Ben defines leadership by looking at the people he would aspire to be, historically. Two of those are President Lincoln and Coach Wooden. They both had confidence yet remained humble. And they surrounded themselves with excellent people.
A side-effect of those qualities in sales leaders is revenue growth. Ben’s team is always looking for what they can do to get themselves to where they want to go.
A positive energy element is necessary for building a cohesive team. For Ben, the Ted Lasso show epitomizes much of what he loves in terms of that energy element.
Ben has a group selling single-copy reports. They have traditionally done it in a specific way for a long time. Now they have two individuals working on it who have a growth mindset, coupled with the humility to go out and learn from others. Their new ideas that they are breaking what they were doing in the past. Their net goal is to double the revenue that they were doing. Now, single-copy reports are becoming a funnel-generator. Something that was pretty unexciting before is now one of the most exciting and important aspects of the business. Because two leaders refused to continue doing things in the way they were getting done in the past.
Links and resources:
Book mentioned: Disrupt You by Jay Samit
Ben Dietz on