Name the first Beatle that comes to your head, I’m confident the most common answers will be:
👌 Paul McCartney
✌️ John Lennon
😤 Who cares? Beatles suuuuuck!
Ringo Starr’s name is more likely to come up before George Harrison’s. Which brings us to my whacky “salesiverse” thought for today…
Due to his strong guitar chops. George was 15 when 18-year old John Lennon let him join what would become the Beatles.
John and Paul quickly developed into a collaborative songwriting machine. Their songs became hits that launched the Beatles into international superstardom, but George didn’t have the melodies and lyrics pouring out of him the way the other two did. When their years of hard work turned into Beatlemania (1963-4), George was only was 21 (John was 24 and Paul was 22).
Not long after their rise, George had begun to take a crack at songwriting. The vast majority of singles and album tracks were credited to Lennon/McCartney, but a song or two of his (maximum) would end up on most Beatles albums. Because of his lack of songwriting chops and him being the youngest, he the primary songwriters viewed him as the band’s “junior member”.
The band went on to constantly push new boundaries, evolve their sound, and maintain their place as the most influential band in the world. Their music matured and so did the band members’ world views. George’s newfound spirituality became an artistic inspiration for him.
In 1969 (when the sessions for what became Let It Be) were being recorded, George was 26. He’d developed greatly as a songwriter and had even become fairly prolific – he was still viewed by John & Paul as a “lesser contributor”. In “Get Back”, we see George introducing new beautiful songs to the others, who sloughed them off. This frustrated him, and he even quit the group during these sessions (he came back). Abbey Road’s “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something” from their final album were among the biggest Beatles songs ever.
When the Beatles broke up a year later, the dam burst. He released a TRIPLE album (All Things Must Pass) which some consider to the best solo album from any ex-Beatle. He wrote 22 songs as a Beatle, had 5 top 10 hits, and 15 top-100 singles.
George didn’t have an inclination to write songs when he joined the Beatles yet became a tremendous songwriter. This wasn’t just due to hard work or talent. He worked alongside two of the greatest songwriting geniuses in history. He clearly learned a LOT from their craftsmanship and from being around them and was about to put his learnings into practice as he matured and had ambitions for himself within the Beatles and beyond.
Which brings me to my point:
Being a less experienced “junior member” in a sales org isn’t the uncool endeavour it may appear to be.
So many starting out in sales make the mistake of jumping from one failing venture-funded company to another, thinking “THESE guys have their shit together. This will work out”.
But so few young companies are equipped to help sellers develop. They want quick results (or worse – metrics), and often don’t have an enablement program in place. There’s no record of team success or company culture (around performance). Leaders may never have actually led. Bad habits are brought in from all over. Everyone on the team’s pretty disposable.
I understand the idea of getting in on the ground floor and being part of a so-called rocketship…
…but those bad habits are hard to shake once they take root.
Seems like some could really benefit from a structured environment of a larger organization with a well-established product-market fit, identity, and sales culture that values ongoing training and development. It all may seem and feel boring as it’s happening – kind of like college classes – but real-world learning happens because they invest in you.
They’re playing a longer game. They instill best practices. Your longer-tenured teammates become mentors. Senior reps they bring in from the outside have a similar background and pedigree. You learn from incredibly competent people, and while the stress exists, it’s a more rational and manageable. There isn’t constant change jerking your emotions (and comp) around.
If you’re not happy in your young-ish sales career but still like the prospect of a career in sales, try to land a role with an established player. Your title may get downgraded in the short-term, but it won’t matter.
Once you download their culture and good habits, you’ll be in a better position to grow and succeed. You can always bring that experience and savvy to a startup who will value it.
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