Deal of Fortune

Deal of Fortune – Kathleen Butler

Kathleen’s been riding and competing with horses for most of her life. She’s also freaky good at closing deals.‍..

May 13, 2021

When it comes to horses, do you know the difference between dressage and show jumping? Kathleen Butler does, and she’s freaking good at it (that’s her in the photo). She’s also freaky good at closing deals.

Kathleen’s been riding and competing with horses for most of her life. She also owns and manages multiple properties in California and attended Duke and Yale's executive education program (in the same year). And she's one of the best closers I know.

As Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships at ExecOnline, Kathleen's full-time job is doing whatever it takes to hit her seven-figure quota. Her company partners with top global business schools to deliver online leadership development programs in strategy, innovation, change, and execution. 

Setting and hitting million-dollar goals is a piece of cake in 2021 compared to the situation Kathleen found herself in when she embarked on her 10-year run with CEB. It was the Great Recession, and Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns both collapsed in six months. Unemployment would accelerate to double digits.

Her reward, no surprise as a new hire, was a challenging territory that included Western Canada. 

“They were not keen to work with American companies, but I found one Fortune 500 executive to give me a chance to present for one hour. I ditched the standard approach for something new – a custom presentation that amplified internal silos happening at the organization. I painted a compelling vision for how the product could break down those silos. It was risky.”

It was a high-risk, high-reward play. And it worked, but not in the way Kathleen expected.

The executive put more work on her plate by inviting a group of other Canadian companies to attend a half-day presentation that Butler and her team would lead. It was a packed house, and after rocking the presentation, Kathleen shared ninety percent of the group became customers within six months. 

This group format presentation became a new revenue generator for her and other sellers that led Butler to the Chairman’s Club six years in a row. This deal propelled her to three subsequent promotions at CEB, culminating in a "Managing Director" title before taking her talents to SAP.

To this day, the "secret sauce" is still the custom element of her presentation.

"I have one custom page dedicated to teaching the prospect what I learned about them in my research. It creates great dialogue, and I always find something really cool about them."

She also lists workflow automation (optimizing the tools in her sales tech stack), storytelling, and the ability to create urgency to close deals as her selling superpowers. If you're interested in learning more about Kathleen or ExecOnline for your company, connect with her on LinkedIn

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