Leaderboard – Billy Brown

Billy Brown shares a career pivot, his rise in sales leadership, and advice for aspiring leaders...

September 4, 2021

Leaderboard – Billy Brown

Billy Brown believes in the power of positivity, and he's always had a big heart. He's a philanthropist, board member, volunteer, husband, and father of three. But before all those things, he toiled in the nonprofit world for six years, putting others' needs above his own.

He aspired to be a college professor, completing his Master's degree in Sociology. Then Billy wasn't accepted into a Ph.D. program for Public Administration. Down but not out, he continued his nonprofit and volunteer work.

According to PayScale, sales professionals can expect to make 50% more than nonprofit workers for entry-level positions. That percentage balloons to 300-400%, even looking at salaries for nonprofit CEOs or executive directors, if you consider high-performing account executives crushing their quota or sales leaders moving up the ranks.  

Billy was making around $40,000 a year at his nonprofit gig. He loved that job but needed more economic mobility. At a fundraising event, a fellow volunteer of an organization called Denver Active 20-30 told him, "you'd be perfect in medical device sales."

At the time, Billy recalled not knowing what that was and countered with "how much do they make? Moments later, he said, "keep talking."

Though Brown had ten years of work experience, he started at the bottom within a division at Abbott. Wasting no time, he exceeded quota in his first quarter and was a top sales reps for that division just eighteen months later. From there, he moved onto Stryker in a similar role but found even more success. In the first year, Billy took his sales patch from zero to half a million and won the coveted Stryker Quota Achiever award in 2010.

He ended his near three-year run at Stryker as a top 5 sales rep for the entire western region in the US. Brown found similar success at Globus Medical, crushing any quota that came his way and earning more recognition. Eventually, he was named a sales trainer for the company.

Now working the last seven years for Medtronic, the largest medical device tech company globally with over 91,000 employees, Brown is a sales leader overseeing a team of 10 reps in the western United States. His team's quota is in the eight figures. Billy earned this more prominent promotion almost five years ago when he turned around a bottom-performing territory growing sales from $1 million to $3 million in under two years.


For aspiring sales leaders, this common thread of turning around under-performing territories reflects Billy's career trajectory: finding the positive, believing in yourself (and others), and relentlessly working toward achieving goals. Do those things, and success and leadership opportunities will find you.

Billy is the rare breed who made the pivot from nonprofit to sales, but it's been worth it.
He's now making exponentially more money allowing him to become a significant nonprofit donor. His upward mobility has also presented opportunities to invest in startups and become a legitimate real estate investor. Connect with him on LinkedIn!

The Weekly Pitch: Who's another rising leader you find inspiring?

Billy: Geoff Martha, Medtronic's CEO. He's assertive in the importance of the medical tech space and inspires others in our company to follow his lead. Equally critical, he's leading the push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He's genuinely embracing DE&I as a way to improve company results.

The Weekly Pitch: Rumor has it, you might like a podcast or two?  

Billy: So many!! Passionate Pioneers with Mike Biselli if you want to learn more about healthcare and innovation. Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly is great for marketplace news, and they break down happenings in tech, economy, and culture. So Money with Farnoosh Torabi is all about money strategies from the top business minds. My escape podcasts are Is This Legal, Business Wars, and Crime Junkie. Duh.


The Weekly Pitch: For music, what's on heavy rotation at the moment?

Billy: Hamilton - You'll Be Back by Jonathan Groff, Nothin' But The Cavi Hit by Mack 10, and Black Cow by Steely Dan.

The Weekly Pitch: What's a sales tactic that's working for your team?

Billy: A focus on customer engagement. Taking advantage of Medtronic resources and partner ecosystem allows us greater access to our surgeon and hospital customers.

The Weekly Pitch: Any other advice to share?

Billy: Working out at least six days a week and eating right has been life-changing for me! It works. Who knew?! It is a fantastic way for me to decompress and get my mind off of worrying about everything I can't control. Try to replace half the time spent on social media with working out and meal planning.

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