Episode 22: Unprecedented Uncertainty

Featuring: Stephanie Dismore, Managing Director of HP North America

Key Takeaways

In this episode, Managing Director of HP North America, Stephanie Dismore, discusses with Ecosystems’ CEO and Voice of Value podcast host, Chad Quinn, the unprecedented uncertainty going into 2022 and the need to ensure you have the right systems, tools, and processes that allow you the flexibility for the unknown. Tune in to learn about Stephanie’s experiences with aligning to the customer through an outcome selling framework and what the coming year for sales leadership looks like.

[0:40] – How Stephanie got to where she is today as Managing Director of HP’s largest region, North America, and the scope of her current responsibilities.

  • (1) Stephanie had a line of sight and a strong vision of where she wanted to go early on in her career being able to be intentional with her journey. (2) “Hard work is second to none.” (3) Some of it is being at the right place at the right time. Being ready and prepared for opportunities that have come her way. The combination of those three things is what Stephanie attributes to why she got to where she is today.

[3:33] – What was inside Stephanie to know that ‘Hey, I want to be that person up there leading this whole initiative, that’s me in a few years.’ Where did that come from?

  • “I believe that we all are gifted from birth where we have natural strengths and we have a passion for things, and every person is different in terms of what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what their passion is.” Stephanie had a lot of guidance and support from her father who constantly taught her to focus on her strengths while having a deep understanding of her weaknesses. Stay true to what you’re passionate about and find the intersection of where your strengths are.

[4:56] – What does 2022 look like for us in sales leadership? What do you see on the horizon?

  • What Stephanie has learned is number one, flexibility. Through the impacts of COVID, learning to be people-first, understanding the basics of the conversation. and learning what’s important to the customer, how we can help solve problems together, but also, having the flexibility to pivot. Make sure you have the right systems, tools, and processes that allow you the flexibility for the unknown. A huge lesson is how to be resilient and continue to be flexible in areas we don’t even know.

[6:52] – Tell us a little bit about the outcome selling framework that you and HP leadership are evolving to implement and how that will get deployed in the coming year.

  • The outcome selling framework is a massive change for how HP goes to market. Prior to outcome selling, HP led with a transactional sales model. If they continued down that path of transactional selling, that would lead to a very commodity-driven outcome. Over the last several years, the organization has pivoted to a solutions and outcome-based company, shifting conversations away from pricing, speeds, and specifications, and moving towards enabling sales teams to have outcome-focused conversations. This sets a framework and foundation for the organization to grow over long term and has leveraged Ecosystems’ platform to do so.

[10:43] – How have you taken something like sustainability and made it a market message that is driving over a billion dollars in sales for the organization and offering customers that next level of commitment?

  • As a purpose-driven company, HP has taken a look at its role in sustainability and published its first sustainability impact report over 20 years ago. HP’s sustainable impact strategy has been a long journey with initiatives including deforestation, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing diversity. In recent years, the organization has focused on bringing these initiatives into the business function, into the DNA of how every team works. Sustainability impact has been embedded into everything from their annual strategy to customer reports to showcase impacts back to customers. Stephanie also shares an example of how HP won a major RFP with a Fortune 100 by deeply understanding the customer’s goals, challenges, objectives, and how HP could help along with showcasing and aligning on sustainability and diversity impacts.

[15:12] – How do you create that mindset at the sales team level to appreciate that the wider you go, the better off you can align and be more intimate with the customer, when they have the quarterly realities of trying to close or the short-term thinking of focusing on cost. How do you fight that?

  • “In order to get your teams to lean in, to understanding, not only the value but the critical nature of having this conversation is to be able to show your sales organization.” If you don’t have the right solution at the right price point for that customer with the right speed to market hitting that objective, your customer isn’t really going to want to engage on any other layer. Work with your sales organization on having the right products and solutions at the right price for your customers. If you check that box, then it’s about understanding what’s important to your customer. Implementing knowledge, training, and empowering your sales organization to truly understand what it’s all about, why it helps you win business and why it helps you win business is the next step.

[20:12] – What I know about Stephanie is you do have a commitment to equity with the workforce, you do have a commitment to diversity, inclusion, as a leader you’re role modeling the very elements that your team is then bringing to their inner conversations with customers. Tell me about how the personal Stephanie and your leadership style is actually amplifying the professional Stephanie and the team as you guys go to market?

  • Stephanie shares a personal story of wanting to give back to the community with her children but never “had the time to do it.” One year, she was at the Forbes Women Summit and had the opportunity to listen to an inspiring, young, 12-year-old girl –a pivotal moment for Stephanie that moved her to finally take action and not make any more excuses as to why she didn’t have the time to give back. At her next staff meeting, she made the time to combine her personal and professional lives by organizing a day of giving back and teaching STEM classes at a Boys and Girls Club in Austin, Texas. To this day, her team still talks about that day of camaraderie and team-building and how impactful it was from that one session. As a result, Stephanie continues to give back as the Chair of the Boys and Girls Club in Austin. As a result of the pandemic, there has been a bigger mix between personal and professional lives and Stephanie believes that this mix is not going away. Personal and professional values are being blended together with customers and it should lead to how you manage your business and engage with customers. “There’s one life. There’s not your professional life, there’s not your personal life, it’s effectively one life. And that’s how you have to think about selling, working, and building those relationships.”

[25:45] – What is something that you once believed that you no longer believe?

  • “The flexibility in your plans. I think years ago, I thought success meant following your plan.” Stephanie believes that you still need a plan to be successful but instead, having the flexibility of pivoting your plans and understanding and letting go will lead you to success.

[27:19] – What do you see as your unique voice and value? What has been the theme that has come out both personally and professionally?

  • Stephanie believes her unique voice is the fact that she encourages and lives a lifestyle of determination and perseverance. “Working together, stay true to your goals (even though those goals may change), but stick to determination and perseverance.”


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