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ML Achiever – Joanne Strobert, Sr. Sales Development Specialist and Executive Interviewer

From the Cambridge Dictionary: Genuine – adjective. If something is genuine, it is real and exactly what it appears to be. Our latest ML Achiever is exactly that. There is no pretense with Joanne. Her husband marvels at the conversations she has with people she barely knows. This characteristic (along with her warmth and sense of humor) puts you at ease and makes you want to spend time with Joanne. What you see is what you get. 

Congratulations on being named an ML Achiever, Joanne. Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

Thank you so much. I’m a bit uncomfortable talking about myself. I’m usually on the other end of a conversation, asking people about themselves! I live in Harrisburg, PA, with my husband and four dogs.  They are our little furry blood pressure pills. We also have two children and one grandson with whom we spend as much time as possible. 

My favorite colors are red and purple. I love almost every living thing, especially dogs, ladybugs, and flamingoes. I come from a long line of strong women. My mother was a massive influence on me. She was a homemaker, but before she got married, she had strong career aspirations before it was the norm: quite ahead of her time. She turned those aspirations into being an incredibly interesting and dedicated wife and mother. I’m very much a homebody and value hard work but also simplicity. All of these I attribute to my mom. I got my love of animals from my maternal grandmother. I am deeply indebted to them both. 

From a career standpoint, I’ve worked remotely for over 35 years, almost 20 of them with ML! It provides me the time and flexibility to volunteer in my community. I have been helping with Meals on Wheels for over 25 years. I also support CATRA (Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association) as often as I can. 

Let’s talk about your career with ML. You have been with us almost since inception.

Yes, I started in 2004 when ML was in its third year. I graduated from Robert Morris University with a degree in marketing. I then spent three years in advertising before becoming traffic manager at a company that produced auto shows. Once I started my family, I wanted to be home with them. A former employer said he could put me to work if I got a PC at home, so I did. I became a remote worker at a time when there was no name for it yet. My former employer’s company provided me with desktop publishing projects for 12 years! I’m very grateful for his support and the opportunity it provided for me to learn this emerging technology while staying home. 

That particular experience largely influenced me by helping me understand the importance of change and this may be why I adapt well to it. Life is about change and reacting appropriately. Having adapted well to remote work, I decided I wanted to get back into marketing and began a job search.  

When I began looking for a remote marketing position, I had a choice of two firms. I chose ML because of the flexibility they offered. I hit the ground running and was given opportunities to learn new skills, including sales. I was hired as a Sales Specialist but have worn many hats, most recently as a Senior Sales Development Specialist and Executive Interviewer. ML is incredibly good at matching team member’s strengths to client needs. They are brilliant with providing us with projects that are in our best interests for growth, as well as for ML and the client.  

ML’s culture and flexible work environment allow me to continue to enjoy personal interests that are deeply important to one’s well-being. Being part of Lara’s baby in its infancy was so fun! And in twenty years I have never been bored with my work!  

Joanne has greatly influenced ML’s culture over the years. She is dedicated to consistently achieving her goals while at the same time offering constant reminders of how important it is to have fun at work. I am grateful for her unwavering support over the past two decades. I think every founder needs at least one ‘Joanne’ in their corner.
Lara Triozzi, CEO

Let’s dive into your role as an Executive Interviewer. You’ve been especially impactful for ML and our clients in that regard. 

Conducting interviews is something I really enjoy. When I first started, I learned quite quickly that I loved talking to people, which is one trait that makes me a good interviewer.  

I have worked with one long-time client since I started. We have evolved our approach and services for them several times over the years as their company grew. One interview I conducted for them early on is particularly memorable. I was speaking with a CEO based in New York, and we clicked. There was real warmth and rapport. That’s when I learned that I had an aptitude for interviewing people and that I really enjoyed it. 

Many clients I have worked with provide products or services that make a difference in people's lives, from life-changing medical devices to protection from cyber threats. It’s fascinating to learn about how our clients improve people’s lives.  

"Beyond the science that you apply to sales, there are just some personalities out there that people like to buy from. As an example, we worked with Joanne, and I could tell that people just like talking to her. And that's huge."
Elliot Miller, Senior Creative Partnerships Manager, SketchDeck;
Senior Partner, Bracken

What advice would you give to Executive Interviewers just starting out?

Here is my top five list. First and foremost, I am very mindful that I am speaking with our client’s client and want to make sure it is a positive experience. I find these simple steps build trust and rapport that makes people comfortable sharing.  

  1. Get comfortable with the questions and the goals of the interview project before you begin. In ML’s case, understanding our client and their offerings before I start making calls is imperative!  
  2. Set expectations from the very beginning and stick to them. Your interviewee is busy, so be respectful of that. I always say how long the interview will likely last but suggest it could go longer depending on their answers. 
  3. Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth. My brother-in-law loved to say this, and it is great food for thought. Let the interviewee do the talking! Take cues and signals from them, but don’t be afraid to veer off if the conversation takes you down a different path if the information they share is relevant.
  4. Be conversational. I use this technique to speak with the interviewee and write up post-interview reports for our clients. I know shorthand, which helps me take copious notes.
  5. Share your notes verbatim. My clients have said that my verbatim notes make it seem like they are hearing the voice of the individual. This sets ML apart from less effective, impersonal electronic surveys.

joanne 2

As a neutral third party, we have an advantage in engaging executives. My role is to encourage the interviewee to give productive feedback (the bad and the good) that allows our client to understand what their customer is truly thinking. It's been my experience that clients are more willing to offer constructive criticism when they realize they are talking to an objective 3rd party.

It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Do you have any last advice or comments? 

Thank you! It was interesting being the interviewee for a change! I’d just like to share a belief of mine that serves me well in my personal as well as my business life. 

Embrace all beliefs. Be compassionate and accepting of the unique differences we all have. I’m an admirer of Ben Franklin. He said many things that resonate with me and guide all that I do.  

“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.” 
“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” 
“Well done is better than well said.” 
“A right heart exceeds all.” 
“What you seem to be, be really.” 

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MarketLauncher Team
MarketLauncher Team
Our vision is to be the first choice of CEOs looking to build a predictable growth model. We’ve got the know-how to strategically apply a consultative approach to lead prospecting that accelerates growth for B2B companies even as buyer behavior changes.

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