Carole Mahoney on the Power of Buyer First Sales

Ed Marsh | Apr 23, 2024

Overweight, Fighting Cancer, Single Mom, Standing in Line to Buy Groceries Not Sure Her Card Would Work


Carole wasn't exactly lining things up and knocking them down.

She was struggling. 

Then she got laid off, started her own business, and floundered.

She wasn't selling, and her idea that inbound marketing would do her selling for her was quickly fading.

So, she blew up her digital marketing business and founded a sales training business built on the lessons she learned about how to sell.

Boil it all down, and Carole's point is simple. As long as you see sales as something you do TO someone, you'll struggle. When you understand it's something you do WITH someone, then you've got the basis to begin to experiment, learn, and practice.

Carole has gone on to run a thriving coaching and training business. She's recently published her book Buyer First Selling, she leads the Boston Chapter of Emblaze (formerly AA-ISP) for inside sales folks, and she speaks often on sales.

Carole Mahoney is a huge advocate for women in sales and a fierce supporter of sales managers - on whom we agree much of sales success depends.

Connect with Carole for her insights into how to shape an effective sales team.

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Sales is something we should do WITH people, not TO them! - Carole Mahoney on Industrial Growth Insitute Episode 6


Episode Transcript

Episode Recap


In this episode, Ed Marsh interviews Carol Mahoney, a sales trainer and coach, about her journey through personal and business frustrations, the critical role of B2B Sales Managers, and the importance of mindset in sales success.

Carol shares her personal background growing up in a family of entrepreneurs and her initial belief that marketing would eliminate the need for sales. However, after facing challenges in her own business, she realized the importance of sales and the need to change her mindset.

Carol digs deep into evolving B2B Sales:

  • emphasizing the need to challenge buyers' thinking and build trust by asking tough questions
  • coexistence of sales and marketing and the importance of aligning the sales process with the buyer's journey
  • the launch of her book and the buzz surrounding it
  • importance of relevance to different audiences
  • need for salespeople to understand the current state of sales and the importance of collaborative selling
  • impact of technology on the buyer experience and how it can be used to enhance or hinder the sales process
  • insights on selling to buying teams and managing change
  • importance of sales managers in driving behavioral change and supporting their teams
  • role of coaching and role-playing in sales training and the ideal span of control for sales managers
    involvement in sales communities and her mission to increase the representation of women in sales
  • origin of her company, Unbound Growth


  • The transition from marketing to sales requires a mindset shift and a willingness to challenge buyers' thinking.
  • Self-limiting beliefs, such as the need for approval, can hinder sales success. It is important to replace these beliefs with positive and empowering ones.
  • Sales and marketing should collaborate and align their efforts to effectively engage buyers throughout the buying journey.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) for industrial companies include click-through rates, sales-qualified leads, velocity in the sales pipeline, average order rates, and involvement of key stakeholders in deals.
  • Sales enablement content should address buyers' concerns and objections to lower the likelihood of no decision due to fear of making the wrong decision. Sales managers play a crucial role in driving behavioral change and supporting their teams.
  • Coaching and role-playing are essential for effective sales training.
  • Sales communities provide valuable opportunities for collaboration and learning.
  • Increasing the representation of women in sales can lead to diverse perspectives and improved outcomes.
  • Continuous learning and personal development are key to success in sales.


00:00 Introduction and Background
01:08 Early Entrepreneurial Spirit
03:21 Impact of the 2007 Financial Crisis
04:30 Struggles with Sales Training
05:23 Challenges with Closing Deals
06:25 The Need for Mindset Change
07:11 Replacing Self-Limiting Beliefs
08:07 The Importance of Mindset in Sales
09:45 The Need for Tough Questions
10:37 The Impact of Negative Sales Mindsets
11:58 The Influence of Leadership Mindsets
12:19 The Importance of Buyer Perspective
13:31 Replacing Self-Limiting Beliefs
15:10 The Role of Sales and Marketing
18:29 Putting Buyers First
20:21 Aligning Sales Process with Buying Journey
21:33 Contrasting Sales and Marketing
22:11 The Importance of Sales in Revenue Growth
24:15 Key KPIs for Industrial Companies
27:16 Translating Buyer Decisions in Sales
28:09 Importance of Sales Enablement Content
28:51 Launch of Carol's Book
28:55 Book Launch and Buzz
30:02 Relevance to Different Audiences
31:16 Sales Savviness and Understanding
33:05 Title and Purpose of the Book
33:59From Doing to Collaborating
36:11 Consultative Sales and Asking Questions
39:20 Technology and the Buyer Experience
45:14 Buying Teams and Change Management
50:36 Personal Interests and Growth
55:00 What Makes Carole Tick
56:30 Pink Floyd and Music
57:52 Carole's Background in Music and Sales
59:06 The Importance of Sales Managers
01:00:08 Coaching and Role-Playing in Sales
01:02:09 The Ideal Span of Control for Sales Managers
01:07:21 The Importance of Sales Communities
01:11:18 Women in Sales
01:16:01 The Origin of Unbound Growth
01:18:45 Recommended Resources for Learning about Sales
01:23:19 Carole's Concerns about Climate Change
01:25:04 How to Connect with Carole
01:26:00 Final Advice


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