Before you close a deal, close some gaps
- Posted on February 13, 2023
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
Succeeding in sales means helping a customer or client fill a gap with something they perceive as valuable to them. It means understanding their expectations and needs and offering the right product, solution or service.
As a senior search professional focusing on sales, I see my job as very similar. I am looking to close a couple of gaps—providing Avanade with motivated and effective salespeople and giving people the opportunity to achieve their career goals in an organization that is unmatched at delivering value to clients using the Microsoft platform.
The qualities of high-performing Avanade sellers are ones that you see in almost everyone here. Listening. Creating an emotional connection to the work we do. A focus on solutions and creating value. Exceptional people skills and a willingness to put ourselves in the shoes of the client, their customer, and/or our colleagues.
What Avanade offers in return is the chance to be part of a global company that continues to grow its leadership role in the Microsoft space. And to work in an environment that emphasizes creativity, collaboration and celebrating all individuals’ unique abilities and contributions.
Avanade’s inclusion & diversity vision is to strive to be recognized as one of the most inclusive organizations in the world. Closing gaps around acceptance and opportunity is something I am proud to be a part of.
My experience in executive search and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been full of rewarding opportunities and growth and some challenges too. I am conscious of the value gap in collaborating with candidates and stakeholders as a black professional. The value gap is the idea that society values the ideas, presence, and contributions of white people over those of Black people. As a result, I focus on consistently demonstrating my strong experience and competence while being careful not to project overconfidence. This is a challenge as part of my role is to develop a diverse candidate pipeline.
Early in my career, I was hesitant and disinclined to engage around race, at the risk of being put in a “black box”. The evolution of society and DEI supports increased acceptance when speaking about implicit bias, systemic racism, and individual acts of bigotry and violence. I see freedom on tough issues, such as asking white people to hold themselves accountable vis-à-vis white privilege.
I have watched the evolution of DEI and its impact on recruiting strategies on past employers, and currently Avanade. Social justice initiatives have challenged companies to think critically about their role in society. Corporate values and social responsibility have increased because of the pandemic. Accordingly, hiring for diversity roles has been a focus and the hybrid workplace has impacted policies and positions.
Doing well at DEI ensures all talent feels a sense of belonging and well-being. Gen Z is driving prioritization of values and urgency. The future workforce will be more diverse than ever. The best employers ensure underrepresented groups have awareness and equal access to opportunities. Successfully engaging around DEI leads to outperforming the competition through innovation, profitability, and financial growth.
That idea of outperforming competition through innovation brings me back to Avanade. There are huge technology advances that are upon us and already changing how we work and live. AI, the metaverse, gene editing. Each of these technologies has enormous potential to be forces for good in the world, and each also carries risk of misuse. Avanade is all about doing what matters, which means channeling innovation to make a positive human impact. It’s a message I am happy to share with sales professionals considering Avanade to close the gap between what they are currently doing and where they would like to be. We are clear on what we are here to do, and we have the skills to do it. If you would like to be a part of helping us find new opportunities to do what matters, I would welcome the chance to start a conversation.
Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Frank Johnson is a senior search professional, speaker, and entrepreneur. He is key member of the global sales talent acquisition team at Avanade.