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Our new VP of Revenue, Greg Collins, recently sat down with Mari Parker, President and COO at Boldr, to talk about the many facets of Sales and how client impact can drive Boldr's Revenue team into the future. His wealth of experience in Sales, Success, and Support has assisted clients in capturing, growing, and retaining recurring revenues. He is also passionate about defining, organizing, and driving strategic enterprise transformations while helping sales teams to succeed.

The following transcript has been edited for clarity and ease of publication:

MARI: Welcome to Merida and to Boldr. Greg Collins joined us as a VP of Revenue five days ago, right?

GREG: Yes.

MARI: We're going to talk a little bit today to get to know you better so that the team, our partners, and our community can get to know our leaders. Thank you for being here.

GREG: An honor of mine. Thank you.

MARI: How would you describe yourself personally or professionally in three words, or what three words would you use to describe your personal story?

GREG: I think the first word I'd use is Grace. I have been shown grace throughout my entire life. The idea of being given something you cannot earn out of generosity and kindness. Grace would be the first word. My life has been full of grace. The second is Laughter. I grew up in a house that was very silly. A lot of fun, dinners had games. There was a game night. There were a lot of cards. A lot of books were read together. Third, I would have to say is Lucky. Many times, much like this wonderful opportunity to serve at Boldr. There's an element of luck that I met you, that I met David, that I met Deborah, and through all my experiences in life. So grace, silly laughter, and lucky.

MARI: Other than coming here to Merida, what is one of the most interesting places you've traveled to and what did you learn from that experience?

GREG: I've been blessed to travel for work and pleasure. There was a two-parter that was interesting and learned. If it was just straight-up interesting, Marrakesh. Marrakesh was very interesting and a culture shock for a midwestern boy. But I would say the most interesting would be Venice. My partner, Laurie, and I went to Venice, and she taught me something wonderful, which is when we travel abroad, she will set up and hire someone with an art history background to do a walking tour of the city. So we stayed in Santa Croce, which is not in the touristy part, but part of the residential part. And then we just walked with someone who grew up a second generation and then taught us about the city. To be immersed in the history and culture and art of the city just changes it dramatically.

MARI: So what is something about yourself that most people are surprised to learn?

GREG: I'm an introvert. Most people are surprised to learn that, given that I have extrovert skills and my occupation has always been in extrovert roles. But when I need to recharge, when my battery is low, I need to pull away, read a book, find a quiet place. I enjoy people. At the end of the day, I got to charge back up.

MARI: You mentioned reading books is one of the ways you recharge. What are you currently reading or listening to?

GREG: I have been plowing my way through a series. They're called The Mental Models by Farnam Street, and his name will lose me at this moment. He's, in essence, taking the best of what others have learned in their craft and breaking it down into frameworks and mental models that you can apply to problems and decisions. Fascinating books, but those are a little more heavy. I just finished two great books, one by Suneel Gupta, Everyday Dharma, which is interesting. Talk about life's purpose and work. He makes an interesting parallel between the difference of role and goal. Or excellence and success. My role will be as VP of Revenue serving at Boldr. My goal is the things I need to achieve. And he talks about success being achieving the goal, but it's the experience and applying excellence to your role that drives satisfaction. That was an interesting book. And my wife put me on to a really interesting book called Unreasonable Hospitality. You’ve read that book? Phenomenal.

MARI: So what is a hobby or a passion for you outside of work? Other than reading.

GREG: I don't have any consistent hobbies. I get curious, I play with things, I get bored, and I go to something else. I just finished my origami phase.

MARI: Did you bring a Crane?

GREG: I just love making little boxes and containers and then giving them as gifts. I did that for one of my daughters, but that's just fun. I cannot draw in any form or fashion. I’m pretty good at stick figures, but I do a little bit of that and separate myself from the results and just enjoy the drawing. One of my favorite things, that relieves stress or brings joy, I love baking and enjoy cooking. I'm not good at either, but I'm good enough that the results I'll eat.

MARI: Is there a quote or a mantra that is important to you in your life that you live your life by?

GREG: It's by an author named Viktor Frankl. The book, A Search for Man's Meaning. I can't quote it, but the concept was “Pursue versus Ensue”. Are you familiar with that?

MARI: I know the book and the story, but not the quote specifically.

GREG: I'm reticent to paraphrase it just because it's such a phenomenal concept and work. The idea is that you can't pursue wonderful things, they have to ensue. A simple example would be love. You can't pursue love, but you pursue the things that lead to love. I think it's such an interesting model. Maybe gets back to talking about the book of Everyday Dharma, where we talk about those concepts. But the role versus the goal is the focus. I often think about that concept even though you asked for a quote.

MARI: I feel very connected to our Filipino community who enjoy singing and karaoke. If you were to pick a song or a soundtrack to your life, what would it be and why?

GREG: There is a song that if it plays, I don't care what's going on, it will make me happy. The lyrics are funny, yet inspirational. It's got a good groove. It's Lee Dorsey, Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky.

MARI: What was your first job?

GREG: My first job, fist plant, like cleaning up landscaping, because a carpet company could never manage to get their carpet into the large dumpster, so it inevitably would rain. Wet carpet, that’s fun to move. Fist plant, odd jobs, you know, lawn care, restaurant work. I bartended once. I shouldn't do that, but I did not get fired. They had low bar standards. Just a lot of everyday kind of normal jobs.

MARI: What has been the pivotal moment in your career?

GREG: My first sales job. I started in nonprofit business administration. I was working there and had a friend who was in sales. A large company that had thousands of sales reps. You're just one of the number. Very strict and whatnot. Easy to get fired if you didn't hit specific numbers. But it was a great training program and they did a lot of education on how to do sales. He kind of talked me into it, though I didn't want to go into sales, because I like myself. Why would I want to be one of those salespeople? I found I was good at it. It came to me naturally. Working with people, solving challenges and whatnot, but it was forced upon me, had all these different tactics and techniques of how you sell. And I didn't like it.

I wasn't proud when people would ask me what I did or where I worked, even though I was successful financially. I had my Jerry Maguire moment at that. I didn't stand up and quit, but I had all these different certifications and plaques and binders and materials. I got frustrated with how hollow I felt. I took it off my desk and I threw it in the trash and I'm like, I’m done with this. I'm done with the tactics and the tricks and the strategies. If I can help you, Great. If not, I'll send you to someone who can. I didn't care if they're a competitor. Can I be of service?

It doesn't sound nearly as dramatic to talk about it as it felt in the moment, but it was a pivotal moment decades ago. Early into my sales career I realized there's great honor in sales when its intention and purpose is to serve and solve problems versus hidden numbers. A lot of times the perception people have and unfortunately there's a cohort of salespeople that are worried about the number, but there's a lot of people who just want to be able to help and solve problems. That was kind of a pivotal moment for me, which then led me into coaching others, which is really what I love about being in sales leadership. It's about helping others on your team be susceptible as a group versus yourself.

MARI: What advice would you give to people who are interested in joining a sales organization, revenue organization, or business development? 

GREG: I think there are so many different strategies. Sales is a multifaceted discipline. It requires continuous education and study in a lot of facets. The overarching thing that would be important to remember if you wanted to go into sales is that it's not about you. I always had connotations of salespeople as being type A, super competitive, coin-operated. Give them a quota and they make commission. They're coin-operated, type A, go, go, go.

While there are people like that, like any profession, I think it's an unfair stereotype. Those people can be very successful. You can be like me, I'm not like that, and be successful. The advice we give someone who is considering sales is: ask if you enjoy collaborative environments where your job is to be of service to solve a problem. It's problem decomposition, it's collaboration, it's a lot of hours. If your desired output is simply income, I think you'll find it to be a miserable occupation. If I had to put a little bow on it, I would say if you like collaborating with others and being of service to solve complicated problems, you like puzzles in a team environment, then yes, sales is a lot of fun and very rewarding.

MARI: What inspired you to join Boldr?

GREG: When I started looking for my next opportunity, I wasn't pursuing a particular industry, a particular title or remit or role responsibility. I was pursuing an environment. I think I found my people, I found my tribe, I found my home. I love Venn diagrams. This is a Venn diagram of kindness and gratitude. I've been going back and forth between this Pursue and Ensue, where it’s this concept of success and excellence, role versus goal. What I found in Boldr from every person I've talked to, it's not a brand, it's an ethos. It exists and I'm excited to be part of it. It’s this Venn diagram of creating client and social impact. How do you not get excited about that?

MARI: Now that you are here what are you most excited about in terms of leading the revenue team in Boldr? What are you looking forward to here?

GREG: Sales is a team sport and this is a collaborative environment. I don't believe a leader’s role is to have the answer. It's to help facilitate and execute that. That's one thing I'm excited about this team. Another thing about sales is I don't believe that sales generate revenue. I believe client impact generates revenue. It is by providing continuous reoccurring positive client impact that generates awareness and excitement to work with you. Hey, we can help solve problems consistently in a great way. A sales organization is responsible to help capture that revenue by serving others. Talk about raving fans. They're not just cool case studies on the website. Boldr clients are fired up to be partners and that is something special.

As a revenue leader, it's hard to find a company whose clients are like, “I love working with Boldr.” We don't sell widgets. We don’t sell another mousetrap. We're providing client impact, social impact, we're connecting opportunity. Earlier you asked me to describe myself in three words and one was Lucky. I'm aware of how lucky I am to be born where I was, to the family I was, and the community I was, the educational opportunity I have. I was given a fantastic head start. So this idea of spending my hours working with others to connect opportunity to others, what a blessing to be part of something like that.

MARI: In the interview process you asked many good questions. One of the questions I wanted to dig into in terms of context is, you were pretty curious about whether we have outside investors in Boldr and I noticed you even followed up to make sure and get proof of who's on the cap table and who's invested in this company. Can you talk to why that's important to you?

GREG: I wanted to understand who is influencing us when something is hard.

MARI: I think that’s well described. There was a meme or a video on social media about "choose your hard". It was within personal context, but it makes me think of that. It's like being married is hard, being divorced is hard. Choose your hard, right? It's kind of like that. I think self-funded is hard. Working with an outside investor could be hard. Choose your hard. Thank you for adding that layer of depth of visibility of why that is meaningful and how it influences decisions that get made in the business. Thank you so much. This was a lot of fun. We’re so happy to have you here. 

GREG: Honored and blessed. Thank you.