Ep. 140 – LineDrive Sales Establishment EVP, Anthony Crissie

Dec 21, 2020 | 0 comments

Our guest is COO Alliance Member Anthony Crissie, Sales Enablement EVP for LineDrive.

What does it take to get your company to grow? Anthony CrissieLineDrive’s Sales Establishment EVP, has the answer. In fact, Anthony has helped the company become an early adopter of systems and platforms geared towards increasing sales growth and effectiveness. In this episode, he joins Cameron Herold to share how LineDrive positions themselves to be the representatives of their manufacturing production partners. He also talks about the company’s growth in their industry and where they are heading in the next 20 years. On to their internal operations, Anthony then shares the tools and processes they are using to find the right culture fit, how they are shortening the sales cycle, and what allows companies, and even you, to get the best results by working with them.

LineDrive is a turnkey solution that assists in management and consultation as well as strategic marketing. Anthony is a husband, a girl dad, and a Pearl Jam enthusiast. When not working at LineDrive, his passions include cooking, playing golf, gardening, and playing with Isabella and Sienna. Anthony started his career focused on IT, sales, and management with CDW in Chicago before joining LineDrive in 2006.

For many years, he’s been part of building LineDrive’s nationwide success. Based out of the Chicagoland area, Anthony spent his early LineDrive years in field sales before moving to Philadelphia in 2010 to focus on national account sales, helping LineDrive expand geographically. As Regional Sales Manager for the East, he was responsible for hiring and building a team of nationwide solutions consultants that exist now at LineDrive.

After spending five years managing sales teams, his efforts shifted to addressing LineDrive’s vision in the areas of marketing, sales, operations, IT, and training. With a passion for technology, Anthony has helped LineDrive to be an early adopter of systems and platforms that are geared toward increasing sales growth and effectiveness. Anthony’s on LineDrive’s Leadership Team, as well as the Customer Advisory Board for PipelineDeals. Anthony, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Cameron.

Fourteen years with one firm is a long ride in 2020. That’s something from the ‘80s.

I get that a lot. Some people come up to me and they’re like, “I can’t believe you’re with LineDrive that long. You’ve been there almost since the beginning.” It’s definitely been worthwhile though.

What keeps you there?

In the early stages there, the idea that I could grow within the company and that the company wasn’t nationwide at the beginning was something that interests me. I was young and I was single. I had this opportunity to grow and thrive in a thriving company. Year-after-year, I kept moving up and moving out. I moved to Philly. That whole idea of continuing to move up and drive the company forward is what gets me going every year and that’s why I continue to be here still.

Growth is exciting. Tell us what LineDrive does.

You might have to help me with this one because sometimes, people don’t get it, but I know you do. LineDrive started in 2000 as a manufacturer’s rep firm for the industrial sales sector. We’re representing large manufacturers in industrial sales and selling them through distribution to companies like Grainger, Fastenal, Amazon, etc. Over the years, I’ve shied away from using that term because most people don’t understand what it means. Also, it carries some negative stigma to it. What I would say more than anything is we’re industrial consultants. We consult both at the distribution level, user level, and ultimately, at the end of the day, we’re helping manufacturers elevate their brands and we’ll help end-users be more productive and safe.

You’re going to have to walk me through why there would be any negative connotation to it. The reason I do understand it is my dad’s company was a manufacturer’s rep and my brother bought my dad’s company. They’re a manufacturer’s rep of industrial and automotive products up in Northern Ontario. It’s an awesome business and it does great. They do help the end-users. I didn’t know that there was a negative connotation. In what way?

LineDrive is a 60-person company nationwide. Typically, manufacturer’s rep firms are not that. Not to say that there are those types of companies out there. A lot of times here, the agencies that you see out there are 1 or 2-man shops or 10 people, etc. The number of product lines that they represent is typically varied. It becomes a question of credibility for some of how much do you know about that stuff? What do you represent? We’ve carved out a different niche by being transparent about the number of products that we represent.

I have nothing against your family. You can usually go to their website and see the product lines that they represent. We put it out there publicly so that people know what they’re getting. They’re well-known brands like DuPont, Motorola, and Fluke. We want to use that to our advantage. Not everybody has a negative connotation, but at some point in time, it comes across like a snake oil salesman to some people. “I got to deal with another salesperson. Can I just deal with the direct guy?” I’m like, “We are the direct guy. We’re here because this is the best path forward for that brand to be able to reach you.”

I never saw that at all. All of my brother’s products are on their website. They represent brands like Bosch and Karcher and they were selling to big, huge mining companies that were underground. The US companies couldn’t afford to send people up into Northern Ontario and the end-users were buying a ton of stuff. They know the product line. My brother knows too much about starters, alternators, and rotors that it used to bug me that I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. They knew their product lines better than the company’s making them probably knew them.

It’s interesting you say Bosch, too, because that’s one of our newer clients that we’re making headway with. There are people on our team that have that well technical knowledge and there’s certainly our manufacturers do as well. I always like to say, “If these manufacturer’s good at doing everything, including making the product and selling a product, they probably wouldn’t need us.” That’s the reality. There’s typically pain. We’re not getting hired by companies because they’re killing it in all facets of their business.

Think about any retail store that exists. If you go into Home Depot, they don’t make all the products that they sell, or if you go into a grocery store, they don’t make all the products that they sell. Those are big manufacturer’s reps.

I would look at them as distributors because we’re not taking a PO for anything and we’re not stocking any product. We were solely sales and consultancy. You think of us as an extension of the manufacturer.

You’re an outsourced sales organization in lots of ways then.

Very much so.

One of my dad’s little secrets years ago was he used to say that if the answer is yes, what are you buying? It was like, “If you need to buy it, I’ll get you a great deal for Northern Ontario,” and then he would go to the manufacturers. He needs to line up the rights for Ontario or the rights for Canada or the rights for Northern Ontario. Do you do that as well? Do you listen to your customers, and then try to source? Do you have the specific products that you are marketing more?

We have specific products that we are marketing. Not to say that we wouldn’t go out and source something if we saw the demand. 2020 is interesting in the way things have gone down. We identified gaps in our portfolio, where we’re like, “In order for us to play in the season of COVID, these are some of the things that people are looking for that we’re going to need to make sure that we can provide viable solutions to. Whether it be masks or sanitizer or plexiglass shields that go up in workspaces to be able to keep people distance.” In that way, we have intentionally sourced things, but for us to go out and work at a Tyson Foods plant, as an example, and identify somebody who comes up with something that’s maybe unique to food processing. Would we go around and turn around and figure out how to get responsibility for selling that? Maybe but typically not. We definitely keep our portfolio at a certain level so that we can make sure that we are not over-promising and under-delivering.

Why do you think your organization grew past what typical companies in your space grew then? Most of them are in the 1, 2, 3, or the 10-person? How did you get to 60 and why?

That was the goal from the get-go. The company was started by six guys that worked for one of those types of companies. They, in a way, hit the ceiling and said, “We don’t want to be doing this. It feels too much like we’re shucking and jiving. We don’t like the way that it feels and we want to have our own thing.” In 2000, six guys left one agency and started their own agency. Each put it right. Each is taking a risk.

The company that lost six people screwed something up there.

SIC 140 | Line Drive

Line Drive: Have the mentality of saying no to certain things that might be easy and quickly profitable. Be patient about the things that are going to help us be more sustainable over time.

 

They’re the last six good people. These fine gentlemen started their own business in 2000. Each throwing in $50,000 and taking no salary for six months. They’re taking a small business loan to get the company off the ground. Let’s say it’s ten people at that point. Over the next 5, 10, 15 years, we would double our business not only in people but in revenue and sales every five years. Even through some of the hardest times in 2000, 2008, 2009, we tripled. Essentially, what it was about was there’s this gap in our industry where most manufacturer reps at that point in time we’re solely focused on the channel and the distributor. Get the product on the shelves, load it at the distributor, and move on. It’s all program-based.

They identified before they left their other agency, “We got to do that. We’re good at that, but we also have to get the end-user and the end game for this. This is who uses the product. That’s where the biggest customer base is. That’s where we need to get to.” They looked at it and said, “In order for us to be successful, we need to be nationwide and we have to have a field team that spans nationwide. We also have to have a headquarters or a program team that is able to service that channel from the program standpoint.” You have one team pushing things in and the other pulling things out.

Originally, they were going to do it in five years. It’s funny the CEO will tell that story all the time. “We thought we were going to be nationwide in five years.” It took him fifteen years, not to take a ton of credit or anything. His why is it’s good to get passionate people like me who were excited about how the business was growing and took chances to help expand that business. When I moved to Philly, that was our entree into getting into the East Coast. By me, moving to Philly, we took on more responsibility. There was that upfront with some of our manufacturers. “If you go there and you put a person there, we’ll give you more responsibility.” We definitely did that over the course of three years on the East Coast and eventually, nationwide,

I love that they’re following the people that want to stay with the organization, too. How much have you influenced the growth of the organization?

I don’t even know how to fully answer that. The influences that I could think of is pushing them to step outside the norms of what such an agency was in their past. I’m getting them to invest in technology and getting them to invest in people that were a little bit different than maybe what they thought that we needed. They have an interesting model, too. Having come from a family business, their desire was not to have a family business, so they set that carrot out at the beginning. Whereas you could earn partnership and ownership within the company after a set amount of time, which I did in two ways.

My first was back around 2012, I became a C-share member within the company, which essentially opened me up to profit sharing and more inside work. In 2020, I moved up to B-share, which means I’m fully vested in the company. I made a financial investment and took part in growing and making more business decisions for the company. Stuff like that has influenced how the people that are at the company because they see, “Here’s this guy who’s been there almost fifteen years. He must be doing something right or he must see something that is worth sticking around.”

Are the six founders still there?

There are only four. Two have since retired and succeeded out.

Did you buy them out?

Me personally, no, but the business, yes. The other founders, yes.

The profit-sharing with you, and then the equity in the business, do you think that was their way of not handcuffing you to the company for the next 5 to 10 years? Was it rewarding or both?

It’s both. It was a good challenging conversation for both of us because truthfully, it’s the first time that they’ve done that with somebody at my level. Other than the six guys that they started the business with, they haven’t brought anybody else closer to the fold, so that was rewarding. There were certainly financial rewards that came with it, but the challenge also became down though. You get to the nitty-gritty where you’re negotiating your divorce before it happens in a way when you’re going through the legal aspects of what the operating agreement looks like. You’re asking questions and challenging things that are built into an operating agreement for good reason.

This has never come up on the show yet and it’s interesting that you bring it up because it is similar to negotiating a prenup in a marriage, which is messed up. I did one once and it’s messed up that you’re supposed to be massively in love with this person and yet, you’re negotiating your divorce. It seems awkward and odd. How did you go through that? What were you thinking? What were you feeling? How did you get through it in a good way?

It definitely was awkward and challenging. The question that I kept posing back to them was, “Would you do this if you were me?” There were certain things that they said yes and there are certain things that they said no, and it was honest back and forth. At the end of the day, I’m not one of the founding partners and I’m not an A-share member. A-share meaning, founding partner. I knew I wasn’t going to get everything that I wanted, but I knew I was going to at least make some headway on things so that it was a worthwhile investment for me. Also, so they understood what my intentions were to help build this company beyond the next twenty years or so. I’ve said to them and I’ve said to others inside and outside of our business, “What got us here is not going to be what gets us to the next one.”

What is going to get you to the next one?

Challenging the norm and definitely stepping outside of what our comfort zone is. We make money primarily one way today, which is being paid based on sales for the products that we represent. We’re doing many different services and things for our clients and others that we have to look at as an option as far as how we serve and how we earn money differently to our customer base. We seamlessly transitioned to working virtually through 2020 because we were set well with the tech stack and everything that we have. There’s definitely something there to us being more efficient and being able to use the data better. We’re often credited to skating where the puck is going, even by our distributors or manufacturer clients. It’s that mentality of saying no to certain things that might be easy and quickly profitable, but not long term profitable, and being patient about the things that are going to help us be more sustainable over time.

What things do you tend to say no to? I had a mentor years ago who said that true leadership is about saying no more often than we say yes.

I like that guy, whoever said that. I wish that some of the people in our company did that more often. In the past, what we’ve said no to are expansions. We rent in Canada. We have been approached before about going to Canada and taking the LineDrive model and replicating it outside of the states. It’s complicated. It’s not something that after doing our due diligence would have been profitable when we looked at it. The same thing with Mexico. The things that we’re open to listening to, so we’ve said no to that. We’ve said no to representing clients who are not a fit because either they had poor financials and we were concerned about them being able to pay us or they weren’t a good fit culturally. We’ve certainly worked with our fair share of people that were good and have a good synergy with. Bosch would be a great example of that. Our culture is similar. When it’s not similar, they’re the hammer and you’re the nail that doesn’t last long.

Culture is critical when you’ve got that supplier relationship or that partner relationship. I remember years ago, this is going to go back to 1987, my dad won a trip to Germany. That was two weeks, all expenses paid trip to Germany with Bosch. I ended up going because he didn’t want to go and his business was going through some crazy times. I went with my mom with all these other distributors for Bosch and we had a two-week amazing tour through Germany on Bosch. It was awesome. It was great. We went to some cool cities and I fell in love with the country. You talked about your tech stack and the data. I’m curious how you use technology for business because your industry could be stuck in the 1980s.

What do you think the most commonly used CRM is for industrial reps?

My brothers would use a stack of business cards.

Most people like Microsoft Excel. There’s that piece and that translates. What we’ve found over the years is when we’ve invested in technology, it’s made us better plain and simple. We were early adopters to Salesforce, but we don’t use them now. We’ve been early adopters of marketing automation. I say that in our industry because certainly none of that stuff is bells and whistles, most other places. I was on a call with somebody and he said, “You don’t have a tech stack.” I said, “We use PipelineDeals, AWS, Showpad, and ActiveCampaign.” He’s like, “You do have a tech stack.” He’s like, “What are you using AWS for?”

All of it is in the vein of more efficiency and helping us to make our team smarter, more nimble, and being able to present solutions to the customers faster. The biggest decision we made was to part ways with Salesforce and Pardot. We were paying well over $125,000 for that relationship. It’s overkill. What it did was it opened cashflow for me to use in other places that have been phenomenally successful. I know we’re going to talk about it at some COO Alliance one day probably. Showpad has been an absolute game-changer for us.

What’s Showpad?

SIC 140 | Line Drive

Line Drive: Landing an enterprise customer is a long and detailed process. In a way, you’re getting married. You’re making a large investment for them typically and a time commitment.

 

Showpad is the system that delivers training content and coaching. It’s got a built-in LMS and it’s got a content management system that allows you to set these experiences up. Our back end to it is all SharePoint. What happens is we load all this content in by our manufacturers or by different vertical themes, etc. We tag all the information and it easily populates into this clean, nice looking, customer-facing tool that our team uses on their phone, computer, or iPads. Not only does it allow them to share information cleanly, but it changes the conversation from, “Send me that. Call me that,” to set up a demo because they’re sharing video, PDF, and presentations.

Not only that. They’re sharing it out of the system and when they’re sharing it onto the system, there’s marketing automation built into that. They know when their people are reading it, downloading it, and forwarding it. It’s simple automation. Whereas if you’ve used any system from Pardot to Active Campaign, or whatever, we only have a few people in our company that is doing that for us. We don’t have our sales guys using that stuff. We’re doing it for them. The coaching element, that changed altogether because you’re not in person, and then you’re also realizing that people are learning different ways.

What I mean by that is I got a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old, so by the time they go to bed, I might stick my air pods in and listen to a training or listen to a podcast to wind down and it’s 8:30 at night. You might be able to do it in the middle of the day. You got older kids and you might block out time in your schedule during the day or something like that. I’m rushing to the finish line during the day. It allowed us to offer on-demand training and not have to get 25 to 60 people on a webinar and say, “Any questions?” It has changed that aspect, and then it gives us scoring. We know how they’re doing. It’s got a system in there called Pitch IQ, which allows people to record. They learn about something, and then they record how it sounds while I’m talking about it. If it’s been to validate stuff, they got it and they understood it.

It’s like a coaching and a sales enablement tool, but it’s simplified. It’s sad that people get sucked into these big tools that are usually A, overkill for what we need, and then B, you spend so much time trying to get them to work that you’re not using them properly. You get all the internal resources and time that you’re turning on it. Simple can work quite well.

We found that out the hard way for sure on trying to implement Pardot. We did more with ActiveCampaign in three months than we did over a year with Pardot. It was the ease of use and effectiveness.

If you ever need a good ActiveCampaign guy to help do any freelance stuff, I’ve got a good one who does it all remotely. He can come in and set up funnels, manage stuff, and teach teams. He’s cheaper because he’s Canadian. You’re paying him $0.80 on the dollar, which is nice. How many salespeople have you got out in the field?

We have 27 that are out on our field team, out in the territory of seeing end-users at the factory level, and then we’ve got another twenty that are one tier up and a key account manager and a strategic account manager level, which are calling on distributors primarily. They’re doing some business development for end-users.

75% of your organization is sales?

Probably 80% if I count the inside sales team. We got people out of the Chicagoland area inside on the phones as well.

What works in hiring salespeople? How do you find great salespeople? How do you hire them? I know that there’s not a single salesperson who ever gets through an HR screening process because HR people hate salespeople because they’re completely different. How do you recruit and hire them?

It goes back to what we were talking about as well in saying no. We certainly have found good people that get through the process like, “I like this person, but something doesn’t quite line up.” We’ve learned that the hard way over time. Our process is using our friends and colleagues that we know through the industry as our first line of defense. Referrals are a big piece of that. We definitely hire a lot from within the industry because it allows us to shore up that industry knowledge. That’s one piece of it. When you look at the tools that we use to make sure we’re finding the right caliber person, we’re using DISC tests. We’re also using OutMatch tests and we used Devine in the past.

What that does is it’s not the end-all-be-all as you know by all those tests for us, but it gives us some good indicators of what people are going to be able to develop on and what they’re not. There’s a couple out there that are deal breakers for us. If we’re hiring an outside salesperson and they somehow trend low as travel-willingness on their test score or adaptability is low or vitality is low, those are not coachable things in our mind. Those are things that are probably going to rear their ugly head at some point. If it says somebody who’s not a good listener or has challenges with addressing conflict, we can help on that and we can move that clay.

You’ve looked for what true behavioral traits can be. They can adapt and which ones are truly that. The leopard doesn’t change its spots. They’re always going to be the same.

You’re familiar with the DISC test, right?

Of course. I’m 98 D, which is ridiculous.

I took it and I’m a D, I, and C. My wife likes to remind me what that is. I’m more an I, but I’m a heavy DI. The thing is to your point as a person who’s 98% D, nobody could ever get mad at you for that or shouldn’t be surprised by that if they know that about you.

It’s what makes me, me.

That’s a gut check for us. That’s the right person for us in certain roles for the business development guy who is, by all means, a mercenary who we need to go out there and kill. That’s a good skillset. That’s a good profile. For the sales enablement person on my team that I need to sit in front of a computer all day, crank out stuff, work on spreadsheets, work on content, and whatever, we probably don’t want a D.

You said that you’ve got a couple of people inside that are doing support for the salespeople. It sounds like you’re taking some of the marketing and the drip campaigns off the salespeople because they’re not good at it. Is that right? What do you take off their plates to assist them in sales to allow them to sell?

In main, we don’t technically have a support team, but we certainly have people that are supporting the business in different roles. We’ve got a finance department and those finance people are building all of the salespeople’s sales reports. We definitely use AWS for the new portal that we launched. There’s a lot of that that is being done for the salespeople to make it easy for them to be able to understand their numbers. My group, the sales enablement group, is doing all the marketing, operations, IT, and training. Those four elements result in a lot of resources and tools and things that the team uses to make their job easier.

That inside sales team is making outbound calls. They’re truly salespeople opening and closing business, but they are taking some of the smaller deals and some of the more tactical, transactional stuff off the outside salespeople’s plate as well to be able to close it quickly. They’re in front of their screens. Let the guys and the gals in the field move on to the bigger things. There’s that piece. As far as the marketing automation, that’s just me being a control freak, Cameron. When everybody in my company reads this, it’s me and my team wanting to control the output there and not break the system.

It’s funny I’ve taken control of the marketing automation with ActiveCampaign for our sales process, too. It’s less because I’m a control freak and it’s more because I don’t think my sales guys are naturally good at it. Neither of them is. They’re both entrepreneurial in their head but they don’t necessarily articulate it clearly and because they’re trying to do it also fast, the stuff that comes out is random. If we can have a copywriter and a marketer write what we push out, and then they can be on calls with people over Zoom or in-person closing deals, it seems to work well for them, too.

I went with control freak first, but I’m going to tell you definitely there’s not some lost copywriter or marketer in our sales staff that hasn’t done that.

I can’t find a good copywriter who can sell. Copywriters don’t know how to build a relationship and sell. If a prospect says no, the copywriter runs away and says, “Don’t call them.” Meanwhile, a sales guy is like, “I know they’re at their desk. I can call them in a week,” and they’ll say yes. They’re different beasts. A guy is not a hairy version of a female. We’re different. Men and women are different. Tell me about enterprise sales. What’s the trick to doing? Are there a couple of tips for landing the bigger clients or getting in on those enterprise deals?

SIC 140 | Line Drive

Line Drive: It’s about showing them the pain that they don’t know that they have and what they’re missing.

 

I’m going to answer it in two ways. In a way, we have more than one customer. When you look at landing an enterprise customer, somebody like a DuPont or a Bosch, somebody that’s going to pay us to be their outsourced sales company, it’s a long process. It’s a detailed process because, in a way, you’re getting married. You’re making a large investment for them typically and a time commitment for us. What we’ve learned over the years is there’s typically criteria that those people go through and it’s not just as willy-nilly as like, “I need to hire salespeople in these random states and I heard these guys are good.” It’s a dance typically to be able to talk through it and have to justify what we’re going to have to do.

Keep in mind that in that circumstance, we’re not typically being hired because sales are through the roof. To land that, you have to tell the bigger picture and articulate great. You got 60 people. What are all the different things that make it up? The culture part has been a huge part of us being able to land deals. We’ve heard that from Bosh, Werner Co., and DuPont. We sound like we’re on the same team when we talk to those people because they look at things the same way. They believe in investing in personal development, which is a huge one for us. We don’t have all the answers. We have to continue to feed ourselves.

Also, from landing bigger customers at the user level, let’s say because we’ve had success where you provide a solution to one, and then blow it up to multiple more locations. Take a food processing example or a large manufacturing example. It takes our one sales team, but the two different parts of it working together because from the top-down, you’re not providing a solution to a large food processing customer who’s got 50 locations or even 500 locations with one sales guy out of one location. You’re bringing everybody together to be able to deliver those solutions and you’re bringing those headquarter people in to make sure that those solutions are stocked, priced right, and available to be able to meet the demand. That’s where we differentiate ourselves. Not to say that other companies don’t have that. Our secret sauce is we know how to do it better than most.

How do you shorten the sales cycle with an enterprise-level client? Sometimes, it’s a long sales cycle. That’s always felt like an excuse to me.

You got to make them see their pain faster. It depends on the pain. It’s why you buy stuff.

It’s the Xerox SPIN sell, Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff. You show them the pain. That’s interesting.

Think about why you buy things. You buy things because you want them or you like them. I like toys, so if I see something that I like, a new speaker, new music, a guitar, or whatever and I can afford it, I’m going to get it.

It’s that simple, but huge. The enterprise-level clients, when you show them the pain, that’s going to get them to make their decision and move their process faster. That’s interesting. It’s not about trying to make the process faster. It’s about creating more urgency for them.

For us, it’s about showing them the pain that they don’t know that they have and what they’re missing.

If there’s a company reading that wants to work with an independent sales organization or with a manufacturer’s rep, what allows companies to get the best results through teams like you? If you’ve got a Bosch or whatever company that you’re selling for them, what gets you selling more of their stuff? How do they get the best results? The more you sell is good for them. It’s a Jerry Maguire question. How do they help you to help them?

They got to treat us like we’re their own. The people that were succeeding the most with are those we are sharing the most and we are acting like we are on the same team. The people in the past maybe where we’ve had difficulties, we’re kept at an arm’s length where it’s like, “You work for me. You go do what you do and we’re going to do what we do.” That might sound a little brash, but the reality is we’ve come so far in the past with making sure that we’re one team and we’re driving towards that same goal. We get there faster with higher results.

When we start doing the whole, “You versus me. You didn’t do this,” etc., it doesn’t work. It’s tough because sometimes, people’s egos get bruised. To your point, we are an outsourced function. Some people expect that we should be able to turn it on. I would also say that once you identify the pain and what’s realistic, it’s having the right expectation set upfront. You can’t get hired and guarantee that you’re going to grow the business 20% overnight. That would be nice, but I don’t know that we would sign up for that.

I want to go back to you as the COO or as the VP. You’ve been there for more than fifteen years. Clearly, you’re not the same guy you were years ago. You’ve had to work on your skills. Some of it has come from being there, but some you’ve worked at. What do you think you’ve worked at the most in terms of your skillsets as a leader?

For me, it’s been emotional composure. It’s been tonality. I’m fiery and I’m going to tell you like it is. I like to win. I’m highly rated in negotiating too much to some extent that I might only be able to see it my way. Those are the things that I’ve worked on particularly the most. As it goes throughout anything, you’re trying to listen more and choose how you respond.

Respond versus react. I’m bad at that.

We all have our moments. I would disagree with that in the short time that I’ve got to know you, but I understand what you mean.

I take any criticism extraordinarily personally. I feel like I’m working so hard that it always feels like a massive attack until I realize later, it’s just feedback. I’m a 98 D and 74 I. I’m like a perpetual motion machine, so I don’t slow down to ask a question. I’m like a ping pong ball. Let’s go back to the 21 or 22-year-old Anthony Crissie. He’s graduating college and he’s getting ready to start off in his career. What advice would you give yourself back then that now you know to be true, but you wish you’d known when you were 21 or 22?

I would have thought about what I was going to do more in life at that point. I probably would have put more effort into making my decisions of what I was going to do right after college because I had such a passion for music. I was in bands and I was running a record label. I was doing all sorts of music stuff that I jumped right into the entertainment business in college and right out of college. While it has afforded me many good stories and experiences, it also delivered some of the harshest lessons I’ve had in my life. At that point in time, if I would have been a little bit more focused on the longer-term of what I wanted in life, which I knew at that point. I come from a big family. I knew I wanted to get married and I wanted to have kids. I knew I wanted all this stuff. I was a little bit too laser-focused on the rock star fantasy at that point. No regrets, but it’s slowed me down out of the gates a bit. It could have given me a leg up if I would have got into the business a little bit sooner.

Maybe you get to keep your music as your passion and you haven’t ruined it by getting into the business, too though.

Back in the day, when I was working in that, I was all numbers, ticket sales, and record sales, etc. I wasn’t going to music and enjoying it. Now I just spin records and play guitar and get to go to concerts someday again and enjoy them.

I’ve been obsessed with this artist for the last couple of years. Have you seen the movie Searching for Sugar Man?

Yes, absolutely.

It’s so good. Rodriguez is the artist. It’s a strong movie and he’s a strong artist. I love his stuff. It’s awesome.

It’s credible that stuff like that even happens, too, and the following that he had overseas and stuff like that. That movie blew my mind.

I bought a couple of albums of his stuff. They’re repressed but it’s cool to be able to play his music off of an album versus off my eyes. It feels better.

I got a record player and people think I’m crazy sometimes but it’s a big deal. It makes a difference.

Anthony Crissie, the sales enablement EVP for LineDrive. Thanks for sharing with us on the show. I appreciate it.

Thank you, Cameron.

Important Links:

About Anthony Crissie

SIC 140 | Line DriveLine Drive is a turnkey solution that assists in management and consultation as well as strategic marketing.  

Anthony is a husband, a girl dad and a Pearl Jam enthusiast. When not working at LineDrive, his passions include: cooking, playing golf, gardening, and playing with Isabella (5) and Sienna (4). 

Anthony started his career focused on IT, sales, and management with CDW in Chicago before joining LineDrive in 2006. For the past 14 years he has been a part of building LineDrive’s nationwide success.

Based out of the Chicagoland area, Athony spent his early LineDrive years in field sales before moving to Philadelphia in 2010 to focus on national account sales helping LineDrive expand geographically. 

As a Regional Sales Manager for the East, he was responsible for hiring and building the team of nationwide solutions consultants that exist today at LineDrive.  

After spending 5 years managing sales teams, his efforts shifted to addressing LineDrive’s vision in the areas of Marketing, Sales Operations, IT, and Training.  With a passion for technology, Anthony has helped LineDrive to be an early adopter to systems and platforms that are geared towards increasing sales growth and effectiveness. Anthony is on LineDrive’s leadership team, as well as the customer advisory board for PipelineDeals.

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Written By Cameron Herold

Written By Cameron Herold

Cameron Herold is known around the world as THE CEO WHISPERER. He is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth. Cameron’s built a dynamic consultancy: his current clients include a “Big 4” wireless carrier and a monarchy. What do his clients say they like most about him? He isn’t a theory guy—they like that Cameron speaks only from experience. He earned his reputation as the CEO Whisperer by guiding his clients to double their profit and double their revenue in just three years or less. Cameron is a top-rated international speaker and has been paid to speak in 26 countries. He is also the top-rated lecturer at EO/MIT’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program and a powerful and effective speaker at Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer leadership events around the world.