Keynote | Owning Your Power: Expectations versus Reality

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Presales power is limited only by your understanding of influence with both internal and external stakeholders
Whether you are a presales leader or individual contributor, your presales power is directly tied to your ability to influence. In this session we will explore ways to step into your power to influence buyers throughout their journey and likewise influence internal stakeholders, from colleagues to C-Suite.

Lori Payne gives the opening keynote session for DEMOFEST 2023 on “Owning Your Power: Expectations versus Reality”. She emphasizes that all roles can benefit from the session as everyone has the ability to influence others, whether it’s buyers, internal stakeholders, or motivating teams. Payne talks about the relationship between influence and leadership, discussing how effective leaders can inspire others to take action towards achieving a common goal. She gives tips on how to influence successfully by assessing the situation, tailoring strategies, and building connections. Payne also discusses different skills and styles required for online versus in-person demos and leveraging pre-sales influence on other departments. Finally, she discusses the indicators of success within a role, such as program success and success in hiring new headcount.


  • 00:00:00 In this section, the CEO and founder of Consensus, Garin Hess, kicks off the fourth annual DEMOFEST event, which has grown to over 5,000 registered attendees and in-person events worldwide. Hess expresses gratitude for all the pre-sales professionals who take time out of their busy schedules to organize and present at the event, as well as the small army of people who work behind the scenes to make it all happen. He also emphasizes their philosophy of giving first and getting later, and invites attendees to access more thought leadership outside of DEMOFEST at The moderator, Crystal Burick, introduces Lori Payne for the opening keynote session on owning your power and expectations versus reality.
  • 00:05:00 Lori Payne introduces herself and encourages attendees to participate in polls and ask questions throughout the session. She also gives a shout out to the event sponsor and is excited to kick off the event with a session on owning pre-sales power. The speaker shares her background in software and how she started her career in pre-sales. She emphasizes how all levels of roles can benefit from the session and encourages attendees to use the chat to introduce themselves. The speaker also acknowledges the global audience and how everyone will gain new knowledge and information from the event.
  • 00:10:00 Lori Payne discusses her career journey and the importance of reflecting on individual progress to provide mentorship. She also emphasizes the value of being a transparent leader and balancing work with family life. Payne then introduces the concept of influence as the most critical aspect of professional and personal success and explains that it is not about hard tactics or control, but rather the ability to modify behavior and thinking through relationships and persuasion. Influence is the power to change someone’s mind and motivate them to take action.
  • 00:15:00 Lori Payne discusses the topic of influence and how powerful it can be in the pre-sales realm, even for individual contributors who may feel like they are just doing demos. She emphasizes that everyone has the ability to influence, whether it’s influencing buyers, internal stakeholders, or motivating teams. As an individual contributor, you have a unique ability to understand where the buyer is in their journey and their challenges without the pressure of asking for signatures, but the power is in your ability to connect with the buying audience through active listening to understand their pain points. By doing so, you can provide value throughout the sales cycle and be perceived as more understanding.
  • 00:20:00 Lori Payne talks about the importance of active listening and leveraging emotions through storytelling to build relationships with buyers, as well as influencing internal stakeholders. She highlights the strength of input as particularly powerful in sales, but notes that it can also be a fault when it comes to time management. She also mentions a study that found only 3% of people trust salespeople, making pre-sales professionals the trusted advisors to buyers and influential in the forecasting process internally.
  • 00:25:00 Lori Payne discusses the relationship between influence and leadership. She explains that while influence and leadership don’t always go together, they can be a powerful combination when they do. Leaders can influence others by changing behaviors within the organization and inspiring others to take action towards achieving a common goal. The speaker emphasizes the importance of building connections, communicating a vision, and understanding the audience for effective influence. Additionally, leaders should celebrate team accomplishments to build trust and increase the likelihood of a deeper connection, which can make it easier to enlist help in the future. Ultimately, leaders with higher standards who know how to influence others to adopt those standards can create lasting and impactful change.
  • 00:30:00  Lori Payne discusses how genuine connections can be highly influential in positively transforming relationships in the workplace. She emphasizes the importance of using soft tactics to influence, such as appealing to people’s head (logical appeals), heart (emotional appeals), and hands (cooperative appeals). A genuine connection that extends beyond work-related matters can foster collaboration and teamwork, leading to achieving mutual goals that benefit the greater good of the organization. By finding out what drives individuals and appealing to their emotions and beliefs, one can influence effectively and make lasting, impactful changes.
  • 00:35:00 Lori Payne discusses how to effectively influence others by using different tactics and appeals depending on the situation, audience, and individual abilities. To be successful in influencing others, individuals must assess the situation, understand what is important to them, know their audience, and tailor their strategy to the specific person or group they are trying to influence. It is also essential to be transparent and honest with oneself about abilities and to seek feedback and brainstorm ideas with others. By mastering the art of influence and creating a culture of collaboration and innovation, individuals can create value for others and have a significant impact. The keynote encourages attendees to take advantage of the curated content and expertise offered throughout the day to develop their skills and achieve their goals.
  • 00:40:00 Lori Payne discusses the various sessions that DEMOFEST 2023 has to offer for attendees to improve their influence and become master influencers. She mentions sessions such as “Clear not Clever” with Lydia Vasiliva, “Elevate Your Influence with Virtual Executive Presence” with Julie Hansen, “The Art of Selling Without Showing” with Sarah Jones, “Negotiation” with John Care, and “Rise Above the Noise” with Ron Whitson. Lori emphasizes that all the skills and concepts taught in these sessions are interwoven and essential for becoming even more effective in one’s role. She urges attendees to embrace their power of influence and to work on building their skill in becoming a master influencer. Additionally, Payne advises individuals who want to move into leadership roles to ensure that developing careers and helping people around them rise up fulfills them as a leader.
  • 00:45:00 Lori Payne discusses the different skills and styles required for online versus in-person demos. She highly recommends attending Julie Hansen’s session on connecting in a virtual environment and engaging your audience through a camera. Payne believes that making assumptions is the most common weakness among SCS, as they believe their audience understands what they’re selling. She recommends having a growth mindset and continuously learning to gain influence within both your organization and industry, especially in a niche industry. Knowledge is power, but understanding how to disperse that information is key. Payne also recommends Julie’s book, Look Me in the Eye, for improving your virtual presence and influencing others in a virtual environment.
  • 00:50:00 ILori Payne discusses how to leverage pre-sales influence on other departments such as marketing, product, and customer success by understanding their priorities and framing requests in a way that matters to them. She emphasizes the importance of having industry and product knowledge and the art of pre-sales, along with soft skills such as improving presentation skills and being comfortable with inquisitive nature. Additionally, she shares her personal experience of the challenges she faced in becoming a Global VP as a female leader in a male-dominated industry but highlights the importance of hard work and proving oneself to succeed.
  • 00:55:00 Lori Payne discusses indicators of success within a role, such as program success, successive investment, and success in hiring new headcount. She also notes that it can be challenging to measure impact from a metric perspective, but there are metrics within individual programs that can be measured to determine success. When it comes to the transferability of skills, Payne states that product knowledge is transferable, and a person’s soft skills can be taken anywhere, even outside of pre-sales. Industry expertise may be more challenging to acquire, but the most important skill to look for in a candidate is their hunger and willingness to learn.


About the Presenter

Lori Payne

Presales Executive

Lori Payne is currently a Presales Executive. Lori has been in the software industry for 25 years, leading teams for over 10 years. For Lori, none of the roles she’s held in her software career hold a light to her love of Presales. Lori is an open, transparent leader with a passion for increasing growth mindsets of those around her, advocating for her Team and encouraging more Women in Tech to pursue their goals.

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