Mastering Leadership: Navigating Modern Sales Trends
Smarter GTM 10.05.2023

Mastering Leadership: Navigating Modern Sales Trends

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Devan Cohen interviews Neda Huda, a seasoned sales professional with expertise in data management and strategic leadership. Neda shares insights into his career journey, emphasizing the importance of understanding the “why” behind customer decisions and the evolving role of buyers in today’s market. He discusses the challenges of transitioning from individual contributor to a leadership role and highlights the significance of collaboration and aligning with other teams within an organization. Neda also touches on current trends in buyer journeys, emphasizing the need for sellers to deliver value and understand customers’ business goals.

About the Guest

Neda started his sales career right after university, boots on the ground knocking on doors, managing accounts to ultimately selling to enterprise organizations. Throughout his journey, he was truly focused on understanding buyer paths, as well as how to navigate large portfolios to bring the most value to customers.  When he’s done making deals at work, he is at home making deals with his daughters.

Connect with Neda Huda

Key Takeaways

  • Transitioning into a leadership role involves a deep understanding of the “why” at various levels—territories, industries, and departments. 
  • Effective leadership entails threading this understanding into conversations and gaining buy-in for strategic initiatives.
  • Collaboration across teams requires sharing a compelling vision and fostering trust. Building relationships by investing time and supporting colleagues’ efforts before asking for cooperation is essential for achieving common goals.
  • Modern customer journeys involve extensive pre-engagement research. 
  • Sales professionals must speak the customer’s language and emphasize the business value of their offerings to effectively navigate this landscape.
  • With professionals changing jobs more frequently, knowledge sharing and movement significantly influence technology choices. 
  • Leadership involves understanding the “why” on a larger scale.
  • Fostering collaboration across teams requires sharing the vision and building trust.
  • Buyers are more informed and conduct extensive research before engaging with sales professionals.
  • Successful sales now depend on speaking the customer’s language and delivering business value.


“You don’t just ask, you don’t just take, you give before you ask… creating that trust and creating that collaborative approach, I find is the key to make sure that a large organization gets involved and advises your success.” – Neda Huda

Highlights from the Episode

Can you describe your transition from media to marketing to sales, and how your expertise in data management influenced the industries you’ve worked in?

Neda began his career post-university in 2010, gravitating towards roles that involved technology or the internet. He initially worked for a company that transitioned a physical directory of manufacturing companies to an online format. Neda managed existing accounts and the online catalog of these companies. Due to his success in maintaining client accounts and expanding the company’s reach, the CEO persuaded him to venture into net new sales. Despite initial reservations, he found success in sales and decided to make it his career focus. Eventually, he moved to Oracle where he sold technology to larger organizations.

How did you adapt and enhance your skills in market analysis, strategic thinking, and account management as you shifted into a leadership role?

Neda confessed that transitioning from managing accounts to being an individual contributor posed significant challenges for him. As a sales professional, he likened it to running a business in a franchise manner. Crucially, he learned the importance of deeply understanding his customers’ motivations and needs. He emphasized the significance of understanding the “why” – why customers might want to adopt a new business method or why they might resist change. In his leadership role, this “why” becomes more extensive, from understanding the reasons at an industry level to individual departments within a company. Grasping and communicating this “why” is essential for both successful sales and leadership, as it guides the narrative, facilitates buy-in, and drives business growth.

What sort of strategies or approaches have you found most effective to foster collaboration and synergy across various teams?

Neda emphasized the importance of obtaining buy-in from larger teams and peripheral teams within an organization. He pointed out that it’s essential to promote and sell a vision internally, especially when it concerns areas of the business that may not be generating immediate revenue but are crucial for long-term gains. To gain this buy-in, it’s important to share the vision, explain its significance, and help others understand the eventual payoff. Neda also highlighted the importance of starting collaboration from the outset, suggesting that one should give before asking. As an example, he mentioned that one shouldn’t expect the marketing team to create a go-to-market plan without previously supporting their initiatives. Building trust and fostering a collaborative mindset is key to ensuring the entire organization supports and works towards a common goal.

What trends have you observed in buyer journeys for procurement technology, and what are customers prioritizing when evaluating such a solution?

Neda stated that Ataccama is a market leader in the data management and data governance space and has a strong relationship with industry analysts. These analysts offer insights into technological advancements and relay customer concerns. Neda observed that in recent years, buyers have become more informed and savvy. Before engaging vendors, they conduct extensive research and have a basic understanding of the market landscape. This is different from the past when vendors could sell based on their product features alone. Now, the sales process focuses on understanding and speaking in the customer’s language to demonstrate the business value of Ataccama’s tool in their specific environment.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?



Trent Dressel – Tech Sales Instructor at CourseCareers 

Brian G. Burns – Host of The Brutal Truth about Sales Podcast

Vin Mantano – Senior Account Executive at Demandbase


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