SIA Blog

  • Simone McNichols-Thomas

5 minutes with our Chief Product Officer Alexandra Damgaard

Last month our ever-growing platform turned nine months old! 🎉 To celebrate, we blew out some virtual candles and stole five minutes with Alexandra-our Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder-to get a glimpse into her world and find out what’s in store for the future.

Q. What was the driving force for creating Sales impact Academy with Paul?

“ It really all came about after Paul’s discovery of a massive knowledge gap existing in the B2B business world. Whilst working at PWC on their scale-program, Paul learned that barely anyone in the program had heard of a Sales Development Reps (SDR). This realization was pretty mind-blowing!

We face a pretty bleak business failure rate in the UK with around 95% of tech start-ups closing down in the first year and we wanted to do something about it.

Our founding mission was to use our skills and experience to teach more businesses about taking their product to market, how to structure a sales team and do the role of an Outbound Prospector or SDR.

We had five companies join us for our eight week pilot course - Predictable Sales Machine - from June to July 2019. The course was a combination of our current Go-to-Market Fundamentals and Outbound Prospecting courses and the format was a mix of in-person and virtual workshops.

We received overwhelming positive feedback but saw there was far more ground that we could cover and a more efficient way to structure our classes. So, we expanded our parameters and evolved, creating Sales Impact Academy. Since then, we have moved our course format to be entirely online, always delivered live and with a commitment to fostering a high level of digital intimacy to every class.

We split the Predictable Sales Machine into two courses, Go-to-Market Fundamentals and Outbound Prospecting, to help members manage their time better. And, in October 2019 we officially launched the first Sales Impact Academy courses, including the brand new Demand Generation course with Nicola Anderson and Munya Hoto. By introducing shorter courses, members have more time to digest and retain the lessons as well as the ability to apply their learnings in real-time.

From there, our catalog has exploded! We have a rapidly expanding team of world-class coaches delivering across functions including sales, marketing, customer success, people and leadership!”

Q. As Chief Product Officer (CPO) what does your job entail?

“As CPO my role really does touch base with all aspects of the business. I have a strong focus on developing our course catalog and working with our world-class coaches. In order to do this, the product team needs to be deeply ingrained with our customers, marketing and our sales teams to make sure we develop in the right direction.

This is why a lot of my role is about cross-functional relationships with a strong emphasis on getting to the root of our members’ needs and goals. We really value member feedback during and post course completion to help us build better programs.

Of course, alongside my role as CPO I am also a Co-Founder and I’m passionate about maintaining our fantastic business culture as we scale. We are a fast-paced business and so it’s really important to me that all our employees feel supported.

We will never see culture as a tick box and I work with our leadership team on a weekly basis to ensure we are continually reaffirming and maintaining our commitment to our core values.”

Q. What sets our learning experience apart?

“To keep it short, our courses are a combination of lecture based learning with interactivity.

Our members are busy and actively practicing, therefore we eliminate the need for pre-reading and preparation by delivering the learnings via a structured syllabus.

Our coaches get to know the learners during classes, and can deliver immediate feedback, as well as live polling and in-class competitions. Learners are also required to complete a ‘Knowledge Check’ after each week to reaffirm key concepts and help members (and us!) identify where they may need more support.

These levels of involvement ensure learners stay focussed and enable them to execute in real-time which in turn reinforces knowledge retention.

We are really proud of the learning experience on our Sales Impact Academy courses, and feel we have reached a great level of digital intimacy. A member recently fed back that, “every time I join a class I feel like I’m joining a team meeting’.”

Q. What are some of the most exciting developments that we have coming up?

“We’ve got big things on the horizon, with the likes of Sir Clive Woodward, Laura Kightlinger, Shelley Lavery, Nils Fernando, Sam Nelson and Alex Van Klaveren joining our coaching team. We are currently developing their courses to deliver on topics such as Coaching, Customer Success, Hiring, and Prospecting Through Sequences. These courses are going beyond the sales and marketing functions to address many of the knowledge gaps that traditional education fails to cover!

We are continuously expanding our course catalog. We have world-class experts such as Marylou Tyler, author of Predictable Revenue, teaching the Blended Pipeline and Compel with Content™ courses. Plus, we’ve recently welcomed Mark Walker, who is taking our Go-to-Market Fundamentals course to new heights and the GTM Implementation course led by Gavin Sumner.

Other exciting introductions include the ‘Impact Score’ which is awarded on successful completion of the Impact Assessment at the end of each course. We’re also working on a new insights dashboards which will allow managers to get a deeper view on their team’s performance and progression on each individual course.”

Q. What’s one of the most interesting things you’ve learnt from one of our courses?

“It’s hard to choose, but I guess one of the things that resonated with me the most was from Marylou’s The Blended Pipeline course and it's something I have referenced in the Outbound Prospecting course quite a lot. She advised SDRs not to take rejection from a prospect personally, and instead take it as feedback within their large, ongoing experiment, testing what type of content resonates the best with their target audience.”

Well that’s all we have time for with our CPO (although we could have gone into so much more detail). You can learn more about Alexandra on our Meet the Team page or by taking a peek at our short coach intro with her…

© 2020 by Sales Impact Academy.

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