Witad Awards 2021: Vendor professional of the year (business development)—Jennifer Theiss, IHS Markit

Jennifer Theiss, IHS Markit

Jennifer Theiss played a lot of sport as a kid, and still thinks like a coach. One of her greatest strengths, she says, is knowing who to fit onto a team, an asset she has leveraged to great effect in the decade-plus that she has held senior sales roles at IHS Markit.

As global head of private markets sales, Theiss achieved 22 percent revenue growth in the financial year 2019 to 2020, and won 78 new customers. In 2020, she was promoted to her current role, the most senior female salesperson in IHS Markit’s financial services division, responsible for a team of about 75 sales specialists and almost half a billion in revenue. At the time Theiss was promoted, these 75 specialists were grouped into four disparate sales teams organized by product.

“I realized that meant that you could have four salespeople going into the same account to pitch our solutions, which was not an ideal experience for the customer,” Theiss says. She managed the restructuring of the groups into one consolidated team across four customer segments, mapping the salespeople according to their skillsets to these segments: sell-side and agents, private equity, private debt, and limited partner and multi-asset.

“We also went through our thousands of customers and remapped them to those segments, because we wanted to provide more targeted marketing,” she says. “It was all about the customer experience and having better coverage for them, and ensuring that our sales specialists can go deep in discussing the capabilities in each of these segments.” 

Like any good coach, Theiss is passionate about mentoring. She has been a champion of women returning from maternity leave—communicating with them before, during and after their time away from the job, deciding who would take over their accounts while they were out, and, crucially, putting them on the promotion track when they returned to work. 

“The most critical aspect of dialogue is that I wanted to make sure that these women knew we were invested in them and their careers,” Theiss says. All the women she mentored were promoted within two years of returning to work, and not one has left the company.  

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