Get to know our Endeavor Mentor Mark Crofton, Global Head of Sales Enablement at SAP, in this mentor spotlight.
Why did you decide to join the Endeavor Network?
I was familiar with Endeavor from my time running a tech incubator in Buenos Aires many years ago. Endeavor’s launch in Miami was a big moment in our nascent technology ecosystem. We are an entrepreneurial community in Miami, but not always one that gets the same level of support as other North American cities. I’m happy to leverage my experience to help Endeavor to support Miami’s (and all of Florida’s, really) entrepreneurs.
Tell us about your background and why you decided to become a mentor.
My background is in enterprise (B2B) sales. I am the Global Head of Sales Enablement at SAP which means my team and I are responsible for training SAP’s quota-carrying sales executives. I have also been a sales executive, as well as led sales teams at SAP and other companies. Much of my sales experience is in Latin America, but I also have significant experience in North America and Europe. Prior to SAP, I was a consultant in the technology practice of McKinsey & Co.
When I moved to Miami (and back to my home state of Florida) in 2010 after living in the northeastern US (Boston, NYC) and overseas (Germany, Argentina), I noted that there were a lot of smart, hungry folks starting and building companies. However, many hadn’t had the opportunity to learn the basics of enterprise selling. My hypothesis is that it is a teachable set of skills and competencies. To the extent I can help increase the skill level of Miami entrepreneurs in the area of B2B selling, I’m all in.
What are the most important qualities and characteristics that mentors should have?
Active Listening – I mean listening to understand, not just to solve. Don’t assume you know what the real question is and rush to answer. Understand the issue that the person is trying to address.
Empathy – What entrepreneurs are doing is hard. Acknowledge that, appreciate it.
Coaching – Different from mentoring (which is based on your experience); coaching is about asking questions and helping the person generate their own solutions (and, for that matter, to come up with their own goals).
Any general advice for entrepreneurs?
When working with mentors/advisors, listen and take in what they tell you, but remember at the end of the day, it’s your business and you know it best. Incorporate feedback, but execute on what you believe to be the right path.
Think about the qualities and characteristics of the “ideal candidate” for a role before hiring. List them, rank them and then interview against them. Don’t wing your hiring; have a process, even if you’re a small company. This is doubly true for sales hires, where a misstep can cost you valuable time and money.
What are you reading?
I just finished “Dead Wake The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson (on my Kindle while on vacation). I’m currently listening to “Cuba: An American History” by Ada Ferrer (on Audible) and reading the book “Investing in the Era of Climate Change” by Bruce Usher (professor at my alma mater – Columbia Business School).
This response has been edited for grammar.