As VP of Sales, Laura helps us create and execute sales strategies while developing our sales team. What does Laura enjoy when she's not meeting and exceeding sales goals? Get to know Laura.
What personal characteristics help you to be successful in your position?
Adaptability, humility, empathy, and a sense of humor.
Especially in the last year, being adaptable to lead a team through ups and downs confidently — even when I don't have all the answers — really sets the tone and the groundwork for success.
I've hired truly sharp people, and to not lean on their expertise and ideas would be a mistake. We have an excellent open dialogue that allows us to share ideas and challenge one another, so setting ego at the door and being open to letting others take the lead helps us grow.
I'm a firm believer that empathy is essential in any leadership role. Empathy when talking with our districts helps us understand their challenges and goals better and ultimately make us better salespeople and marketers. Leading a team with compassion is similarly critical — life happens, and giving them the benefit of the doubt and being transparent has helped build a strong team culture.
Finally, a sense of humor on this team is a must. If you've ever been on one of our webinars or presentations, you know we're a group that loves puns and keeping things light. Plus, it can be a high — stress role, so keeping a healthy dose of humor and fun in the mix reduces stress.
A VP of sales has many responsibilities that include business and market development, strategic direction for marketing and advertising, sales growth, and customer satisfaction. How do you manage your time with all these responsibilities?
I want to say that I'm on the ball between my planner and calendars, but the real answer is that I rely on my team and delegate. I'm not a one — woman show, so I leverage the expertise, ideas, and processes we've built here to ensure we're doing this work efficiently. And like many people, working fully remote has caused me to rework my days a bit to strike the right balance of productivity and flexibility to be available to my team as needed. (But I really do love my planner :) )
How important is communication for you and your sales/marketing team at Allovue? How do you juggle staying abreast of everyone on your team to ensure that goals and outcomes are aligned?
Communication is everything in Sales Marketing! We're a pretty social team and have a lot of fun together — even as we're 100% remote. We use a dedicated team Slack channel to talk through full— team topics and share individual priorities for the week to discuss new ideas or make decisions during our team meetings instead of running through our to — do lists. Change is constant at this stage, so adapting for growth, making adjustments, and communicating those through several channels to ensure the team is connected in the same vision is critical to our success.
As Allovue expands and develops, how do you think sales strategies and operations will evolve?
One of my favorite parts about my role is the ability to look at my team from both an in — the — weeds view and pull back and take a bird's eye view. Our strategies are becoming even more nuanced and our operations more refined, which is a cool mix of creative and operational thinking for me to employ. Even in the four years that I've been with Allovue, Sales Marketing has evolved so much, and being able to see where we are and where we need to be in the future is a fun problem to solve.
How does Allovue's sales culture differ from industry sales stereotypes?
Sales culture gets such a bad reputation, doesn't it? Even in this role, I still get the slimy emails and non — stop calls, so I get it. I've had the opportunity to work in several different sales environments, and they've all been formative to how I view my own sales philosophy. It always surprises me to see organizations talk about a consultative approach and have teams calling 100 people a day. That doesn't sound consultative or effective, and I'm pretty sure folks don't like to be on the receiving end of that. That's definitely not the Allovue style.
Allovue's approach has always been through a lens of genuine interest, empathy, and curiosity to the unique situations each district faces. I'd rather have my team spend time researching a single district and ensure it's a great fit versus cold calling 20 people and hoping one works out! This team is built from a non — traditional sales background, and I think it shows in the best of ways. We've had former educators, budget directors, non — profit administrators, theatre professionals, and more within our team. I'm proud that we have a collaborative, supportive, and fun team culture!
What experiences and interactions have you had as the VP of Sales have made you better at your position?
The best advice I've received in my career has been not to shy away from the tough conversations. Following that guidance has made me a better leader. Things won't always go perfectly, but I firmly believe that how it's handled makes all of the difference. I may not always get it right, so being genuinely open to feedback from my team (and making sure I've created a space where they feel it's possible to do so!) helps me grow and adjust how I operate. Providing clear feedback and approaching problems alongside my team has helped us grow and do better work.
How do you see Allovue changing in the next five years, specifically in your department?
Not having a crystal ball makes it hard to lay out specifics, but overall: growth! There are so many exciting things happening at Allovue now! With new partnerships and such feature — rich products, I see all departments expanding to meet the demand that we're seeing. We are fortunate to have such an innovative product to market and sell, so it's exciting to get these tools in front of district administrators to see the wheels turn about how it can positively impact the work they're doing. Our team is always working out unique ways to bring our products to market, so I see evolving and expanding over time.
What's something you accomplished in the last ten months?
I have officially watched all 11 of the Star Wars movies for the first time ever, something my husband has been trying to make happen for the last 14 years. I'll admit I should have watched sooner, but I will say it was extra fun to watch them with our five — year — old daughter, so I maintain that putting this off until now was a great choice on my part!
What's a hidden talent that we would be surprised to know you have?
Before joining Allovue, I was a wedding and family photographer with a studio on the Eastern Shore in Maryland! It was a blast to capture so many precious moments in people's lives, and I still love breaking out the "real" camera to take photos for family and friends.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.