The Story Exchange features Jenny Vance on Starting LeadJen
Jenny Vance: LeadJen – Sales Company that Values Leadership and Cooperation
via the Story ExchangeYour Name: Jenny Vance Business Name: LeadJen Type of Business: Other — BtoB Sales Lead Generation Company Business Location: United States U.S. State: Indiana
Reason for starting
Just like Starbucks took a plain cup of coffee and turned it into a successful industry, LeadJen took traditional outbound calling and turned it into a robust part of the sales cycle for businesses looking to grow. I founded LeadJen in 2004 on the belief that inside sales is a measurable process that can scale, deliver predictable results for the sales funnel and generate boardroom ready information about the market, the buying cycle and competitors. The company has grown to nearly 100 employees, branched out into other markets, and received numerous awards at both the state and national level. Prospecting for many companies is an afterthought; something to be checked off the list. However, by bringing a personal touch and measurement tools to the process, we showed how LeadJen can yield valuable information for marketers. When done strategically, lead generation can be a leading indicator of new opportunities for revenue. This mindset set is a departure from the rest of the lead generation industry. LeadJen has set a new bar for lead generation by positioning it as a means of providing important boardroom-ready information.
How do you define success?
Success is always something that is yet to be achieved.
LeadJen invests heavily in growing our team and consistently allowing them to develop leadership skills. For example, each quarter a team member recommends a volunteer project and the entire staff votes on which effort they will support. The person who suggests the winning project then earns the right to manage the entire experience, including staffing, logistics, timing, preparation, etc. This is an opportunity to develop leadership skills without the burden of profit/loss. Because of this focus on building leadership inside the company, I am confident the team can move forward on LeadJen projects without micromanagement. This has given me the time to launch a new company, PlanSoon, a new social network that helps people try new things and meet new people without the obligation of dating.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
One of the greatest challenges is leading other leaders. To address this challenge, I rely on the lessons learned from when I was first uncomfortable with public speaking. Rather than avoiding public speaking, I sought out low-risk opportunities, like speaking in church, where I could gain more practice and learn to control my nerves. In a similar vein, I seek out opportunities to work with other entrepreneurs, such as at Venture Camp, Entrepreneur’s Organization and American Association of Inside Sales Professionals. This gives me the opportunity to take those leadership experiences back to the team to further their growth.
Who is your most important role model?
My parents are my primary role models. Despite different career paths, they set a strong moral and ethical tone, demonstrating both how to treat people and how to resolve conflicts; both key life skills. My goal is to make them proud.