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Most Powerful Salespeople 2019: IT Depot Online's Shea Phelan

Shea Phelan moved up from sales director to CEO of IT Depot Online in just two years


The Most Powerful Salespeople is an annual list from ColoradoBiz highlighting the outstanding performance of nine salespeople around Colorado. The 2019 sales standouts were selected by our editorial board from nominations submitted over several months on Coloradobiz.com, based on sales performance, persistence demonstrated in achieving or surpassing sales goals, and factors such as challenges surmounted or indications of exceptional effort to get deals done.

Shea Phelan, 30

CEO, IT Depot Online

In his first 18 months with IT Depot Online, Shea Phelan increased company revenues 59 percent. By year three, he had more than doubled profits for the telecommunications service provider. Company owner Patrick Watriss took notice and began grooming Phelan for the role of CEO, which still involves considerable selling.

Phelan finds much to appreciate about sales, especially connecting with people.

“It’s a science, it’s an art, it’s goal-oriented, it’s growth-oriented,” he says. “More than anything, though, I love people. I love meeting them, getting to know them, understanding what they’re doing, and where they’re trying to go. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve our processes to make it even easier for businesses to choose us. That’s fun for me.”

Favorite sales book:

“Gary Vaynerchuk’s ‘Crush It.’ He promotes the importance of both passion and authenticity in business. I don't think his message receives enough acknowledgment. Passion is important, because if it’s present, work becomes effortless. I remember running 80-90 miles a week back in college as part of the Colorado State track and field team, but I loved it, every step. Because I loved it, it didn’t seem like a big obstacle or burden. The same is true in business. If you find a component or two of your job that you’re truly passionate about, you don’t mind putting in the hours and energy. Authenticity in business is crucial because I’ve found that customers can see right through BS. Authenticity is the key to becoming trustworthy, and is a major factor in the foundation of any worthy customer relationship.”

Are salespeople born or made?

“Salespeople are a mixture of nature and nurture. I find that some folks naturally have some skill sets and tendencies that get them up and running more quickly than others. For others, getting to a point where they can sell effectively just takes a little longer. If it’s going to take longer, it’s important that they find some passion in regard to their product, their company, or their customer (if not all three) to keep them motivated. 

“There’s not just one ideal personality type that makes a good salesperson. It’s more important that you become genuinely curious about your customers, your customers' problems, and the value you can offer.”

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Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor is the editor of ColoradoBiz magazine. Email him at mtaylor@cobizmag.com.

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