Bill Portin

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am a global sales leader. My teams span the globe supporting our sales initiatives and programs for all geography. I have been in the sales for over 30 years and executive management for over 20. My organizations have sold over $10 Billion in technology products and software during my career. My biggest focus as a sales leader is in team development and driving sales execution.

Global technology sales leader with extensive experience spanning both Fortune 500 and pre revenue software startups. Proven track record in building high volume sales and business operations on bootstrap budgets and landing high performance partners and new clients. Expertise in SAAS, Virtualization, Cloud, Education Technology, Global Channel Business Development, OEM development, Amazon and E-Commerce store development, and Global Management.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

I have found that the most critical success factor of an organization is getting the right people on the bus. Every person has God given skills and abilities that we need to help identify and evolve. Certain people excel at certain type of work. The genius is to find what type of work you like to do and do it. It is rarely tied to just an industry segment. As you learn more about a segment, you will grow faster and build more value for the companies that you work for.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

The biggest mistakes have been driven by my impatience to achieve, drive and grow. I left companies before all my learnings were completed so had to “Relearn” lessons. I was the top sales rep in a multi billion dollar company and was recognized as the top performer. If I had stayed, I would likely have grown into their executive program but left early for a better paying role out of state. I learned a lot but it was a step back that took me 5 years to make up before reaching the next rung of my career growth ladder.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

In technology 10 years is a lifetime. 13 years ago, the iPhone launched (I was there!) and now Covid has changed the way we work with much being done with remote staff. I do not bet on 10 years out for technology as I will lose. I do think about how we must embrace change and evolution every year to find ways to solve problems that we face today. I think the biggest trend to address is remote schooling experience and how you can leverage technology to improve the student experience AND drive better learning.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Sales people are bing replaced by AI and online work. Truth is that people buy from people. The reality is that skills must evolve to the new opportunities. If you can find a way to impact the people around you in the work you do, you will live a great life. If sales is the direction that you go, your skills will be best honed about teaching people HOW they can benefit from your products and services and teach customers how to be effective at using them.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

That is not really my thinking. I think the question is about what problems do we need to solve and how will we do that. I stay focussed on where we are going and how we can evolve. I say yes to what is most important and prioritize that first. Also, I do not let family demands get in the way of my workday. Family is nights and weekends, Work is 7 to 5.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

Good to Great is the best business book I have ever read. It is critical to understand the good kills great. Strive to be the absolute best at what you do and perfect that! Clear on vision, clear on people, and clear on most important metric to judge how the business is performing. Always have to recommend book #2 as 7 Habits of highly effective people. It is the foundation of a good successful career.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

Best Advice-Get started! Do not spend too much time thinking through the details on your first job. Get started and begin learning. You will find things you like, want, hate, love, and reject. If you do not start, you will struggle with learning. There are no great learnings on XBox…get busy and do something!

Don’t go and try to “Change the World.” Frankly, if you cant keep your own room clean, how can you fix the mess of this world! Spend your time learning how to get along in a business with all the different departments and people. Let your ambition be to be recognized for your high potential so they will invest in your future.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Go and Do!