Mohnish Prasad is the Head of Growth at VendorPanel, a platform which provides preferred supplier & vendor management and procurement collaboration tools.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I’ve been in sales for 19 years, I fell into it after studying marketing and I was lucky enough to land at a company that had a solid brand and great sales training.
My first manager, he said to me after my interview that he found me engaging, and he liked that I had clear goals that I was working towards, so despite the lack of sales experience he took a chance on me. That’s how my career started. I learned a lot in my first role, the building blocks for my future roles were laid here.
I was able to progress from sales into sales leadership on the back of some great performances within a few short years and that gave me a great sense of achievement and pride, but something was missing I’ve since worked at large corporates like Sensis and Seek but my passion has been in helping startups scale and become profitable businesses.
I’ve worked at LivingSocial (when it was a startup), logistics disrupter Sendle and now in my current role as Head of Growth with VendorPanel where we are tackling a range of issues from local economic development to value for money in decentralised procurement and using technology to solve those problems.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
The great thing about my role is I’m working with people all the time. I lead the growth team at VendorPanel so a lot of my focus is on helping my team deliver to our goals and objectives. I also have the opportunity to spend time with customers and really understand the problems they are facing and how VendorPanel can help them.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Every day is different for me and that’s what I really enjoy about sales, no two days are exactly alike.
A typical day would be looking at different ways to solve a problem, an example could be:
- helping come up with commercial terms for a contract
- looking at new revenue streams and markets we could tap into
- coaching the team
- spending time with potential clients to really understand the opportunity they want us to address
- forecasting and all the other fun sales things like targets, commission plans, etc.
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?
If it’s not in my calendar it won’t happen. My first step is to look at what I think next week looks like and book in placeholders for me to work through projects or any goals.
It’s important to be flexible because in my role things constantly need to reordered or reprioritised based on the needs of my team, the business and customers, so I have to try and be flexible but also make sure we are achieving our goals.
Other tips are to make use of your time efficiently, an Uber ride to the airport is a good time to look at some reports and finish some emails. Waiting to board my flight – great time to put the finishing touches to sales presentation or review any training material.
5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
This is one of the challenges I’m facing right now, I’ve started a new role and that means I am spending a lot more time traveling and learning new skills. I try and get work done by 5pm when I’m not travelling so I can spend time with my family.
Being aware of when work starts and ends is important. I want to give work 100% when I’m working and I want to be there for family when I’m spending time with them.
6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
I love to play music so that’s not only a great way to recharge but also a way to challenge your brain. My son is into football and Transformers (perfect for me because I also love those!), so we watch Melbourne Storm games and Transformers Prime together.
There is also a lot of play fighting at my house, Zane is the fearless leader of the Autobots and I’m the commander of the evil Decepticons. One shall rise, one shall fall, etc. The battle continues (my wife has decided to stay out of this one)
7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
A couple of things come to mind
Ask questions, there is always someone who knows more than you – if you don’t know something or want to improve just ask someone who does it better than you. Also don’t overcomplicate things, being the technical expert isn’t my job – my team knows more than me about our software and all the wonderful things it can do.
My role is to understand my team as individuals, their goals and how I can help them achieve those and what problems our customers are facing and how we can help solve those.
Review each week and don’t make the same mistakes again, be direct with feedback but not unkind.
8) Are there any books you’ve read that have helped you with work-life balance?
There were some nice books on work-life balance on Cybertron but they were all destroyed in the great war, seriously, I’m not a huge reader in my personal life, workwise I read but for me, it’s just about doing something you enjoy each day/week like playing guitar, watching football catching up with family and friends, riding my motorcycle.
9) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
I like to have an end goal I’m working towards – travel (for a holiday) is a big passion so that keeps me on track to get shit done so I can have that downtime to enjoy with my wife and son.
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