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Shahid Nizami

Shahid Nizami

APAC Vice President of Sales, Braze

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Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
LIke most professions, you can not lead a team well if you haven't done the job yourself. Must Haves : * You should have been a quota carrying sales rep for at least 3 to 5 years before you can transition into sales leadership. * Have a good understanding of the product. You don't want to be in a meeting with your sales rep where you are not able to answer the use cases and functionalities of your profuct to the customer without any hesitation * Good understanding of the market you operate in * Ability to motivate the team and shield any unnecessary pressure from top management * Good analytical skiils would always help you to identify trends in the market place as well as your own internal metrics * Listening skills : They are both important as a sales rep as well as a sales leader. * Focus on Culture :Though some people might put this under "Nice to Haves", I strongly feel that being focussed on culture and building a strong team culture helps a sales leader a lot. Nice to Haves * Some experience around areas of business development and customer success is always helpful * Project management skills can come in handy as you go up the hierarchy and need to work across cross-functional teams
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2552 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
My mantra on career advanement has been always around doing the role before you get the title. I have always asked my manager that apart from delivering on my targets what more can I do for him/her. Specifically around a sales manager moving to a sales director, the biggest difference is from moving to managing ICs to managing managers. It is a very different trait when you are leading 2 or more layers of sales people under you. The shift focuses a lot more from showing the reps how to run the deals to coaching your managers on how to run the business. It is a transition from being too much in the business to moving to being on the business. My biggest learning there is to build more on your Emotional Quotient and leadership skills as you strive for Director+ roles. Having said that, never move away from the customers. Always try to stay connected to the customers to understand the pulse of the market even if you are at a VP or above level. This way you will always stay relevant to the business and also able to make better GTM decisions
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2134 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
The biggest reality of sales is that you are as good as your current quarter. No matter how well you may have done in the previous quarter, the meter comes back to zero at the beginning of the new quarter/new year. I have been in sales for more than 2 decades and have seen numerous quarter ends/month ends. The trick to avoid burnout is to ensure that you disconnect from work every now and then. I try to take 5 days off every quarter to re-energize myself and get back on the grind. I also keep on taking up a new hobby which also is a great way to destress yourself without having to go on a week long holiday. At present, I am learning how to play the guitar :) 
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2088 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
I stronly believe that sales people are one of the most likely people to get to the highest position in any business right upto the role of a CEO. In fact, many CEOs in global companies either come from either sales or product background. * A sales person would start their sales career somewhere as a SDR/BDR. * And then move into an account executive quota carrying role. * From there, they would either branch into management or continue to be a senior Individual Contributor (think about a Key Account Director) * I have seen successful sales people eventually getting into GM, CRO or even CEO roles
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1864 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
In today's world it is relatively quite easy to make a very well informed decision when assessing a new role in a different company. These are some of the things I look at and advise my mentees to do too : * If it's a public listed company, look at their financials to figure out their year on year growth. * Check out websites like RepVue which give you a very good understanding about how sales reps in that company are doing * On LinkedIn, check out the trend on their headcount,especially in sales, is it increasing consistently or not. * Check out analyst reports and websites like g2.com to see how the product is rated by their customers. * Check websites like Glassdoor to understand about the culture of the company you are considering * If possible speak with a few customers and partners of the company as well. 
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1648 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
My favorite sales interview question is meant to figure out if a sales rep has really run complex deals regularly. * I ask them to name their top 3 large and complex deals they've closed. * Then I ask them to tell me in more detail about a large & complex deal which is not in the top 3 list they shared. Most sales reps would prepare for an intierview with details about their top 2-3 deals but if a sales rep has truly run multiple complex sales cycles, they should be able to answer this question quite comfortably and in equal detail. The depth of the answer is a good indicator of how well tenured this person is in running complex deals. 
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1613 Views
Shahid Nizami
Shahid Nizami
Braze APAC Vice President of SalesJanuary 10
I am a firm believer of meritocracy. So when it comes to pay raise especially in sales roles it should be very black and white for a sales rep to determine when would they qualify for a pay raise. It should be very easy for sales people to chart out their salary hikes based on their performance. The more consistent you are in delivering and over achieving your targets, the faster you should get to your pay raise. Needless to say, that there is no compromise when it comes to ethics and integrity when you are achieveing your targets.
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Credentials & Highlights
APAC Vice President of Sales at Braze
Top Sales Mentor List
Sales AMA Contributor
Top 10 Sales Contributor
Knows About Influencing the C-Suite, Developing Your Sales Career, Enterprise Sales, Scaling a Sa...more
Work At Braze
Director, Product Marketing, Orchestration and Platform
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