Greetings, my name is Tom Banton - I am the newest member of the growing team here at PreSales Collective. I will be heading up an exciting new leadership training program called Leader Elevate. Here is a brief overview of what it is and why I am excited to be in this role.
Why I joined the PreSales Collective team
I firmly believe in the mission of the PreSales Collective. In fact, five years ago I created a similar company called Precision PreSales. It was going to be a network of PreSales professionals with a training component. As we were building our company, my business partner and I both received offers from 2 exciting startups and we put our newly formed company on hold. In that time, James and Yuji started and built the PreSales Collective.
Joining is a chance for me to go back to something that I tried to start five years ago and see it through. (James calls it the Tom Banton redemption program.) It is my passion, and how often in life do we get an actual second chance?
Although I love building teams, I am excited for the opportunity to coach and mentor people in PreSales across different companies and industries.
What I will be doing at PSC
I will be responsible for building and operating our new leadership enablement program, Leader Elevate. I will be working with many many of the great leaders I know and inside PreSales Collective to teach new and aspiring PreSales managers how to succeed.
There is a need for this program because there are great classes out there on how to get into PreSales and how to be a leader and manager in general - but there are no classes for how to be a PreSales manager specifically.
And since PreSales is a unique field, there are a lot of things new managers need to learn. When you’re an individual contributor in PreSales, there’s nothing more exciting than closing that big deal or getting a shoutout for nailing your latest demo. When you become a manager, suddenly it’s not about you anymore - it’s about the team, and you need to put them first.
What Leader Elevate will teach you
One of the things I’m most excited about is that Leader Elevate will present our managers with situations pulled from the real-life experiences other PreSales leaders and I have faced.
For example, most managers tend to automatically go to the people who need the most support on their team. But you cannot neglect your rockstars, and you also can’t forget about the people in the middle who could be rockstars with the right guidance. Learning how to balance all these levels inside your team will enable you and your team to become more successful.
Another topic we’ll cover is managing people through their careers. When I started my career thirty years ago, we were just PreSales - that was my first title. Now we have all of these options like solutions consultant, sales engineer, and many, many more. Learning how to understand those nuances and guide your team through the right career path for them is essential.
Also, not everyone needs - or is meant - to become a manager. If we can find Individual Contributors (ICs) who are thinking about becoming managers and help them make the right choice, that’s a win. The world needs lots of successful ICs as well as managers, and if you turn all your rockstars into managers you’ll lose too much of your best talent.
Vision for PreSales
In my mind, being able to impact someone’s career is the best thing about being a leader - right up there with winning a big deal. Until James and Yuji came along, we didn’t have a program to connect PreSales leaders with other leaders, and rockstars with other rockstars, across companies.
The PreSales Collective as a whole, and the Leader Elevate program specifically, gives people a chance to be successful as PreSales managers from day one. We will help coach people on management skills so they can be confident in the decisions they are making, while continuing to focus on customers and closing deals.
How to get involved
This is a new program, so right now, first line managers will need to go to their leaders and say, “Hey, I want to do this program - please let me so I can better understand PreSales management.” For upper-level managers, you can send people to the class who seem like they could be managers to see if it’s right for them.
If you have any questions about the program, reach out to me through any social media channel or the PSC Slack. I’ll also be doing a listening tour for managers, asking what you wish someone had taught you when you started. I will always be looking for ideas and guest instructors too and hope to hear from a variety of leaders.
Thanks for your time - if you’re interested, you can register here!