Andy Hooper, VP Sales & General Manager EMEA at Ateliere Creative Technologies takes a moment to talk about the top sales strategies and processes that in his view work well for modern B2B sales teams:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Andy, tell us about yourself and your sales journey so far. We’d love to hear about your new role at Ateliere…
Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk with SalesTechStar. I’m a sales leader who has had a non-typical route towards a head of sales role – my professional background has not exclusively been progression through the sales ranks from SDR to account executive to sales manager to regional sales leader. Instead, I’ve enjoyed time in different technology roles such as project delivery, product leadership, solution sales, and sales engineering, starting out originally as a software engineer! Through all those roles, I have brought an understanding of how to marry the unique capabilities of the companies I work for, with the needs and wants of the customer’s business. Customer focus is at the core of what I do, and the variety of roles I’ve held helps me bring a wide range of viewpoints and experience to a sales leadership position.
At Ateliere I was recently appointed VP Sales and GM for EMEA. I’m responsible for delivering our obligations and growing within our existing customer base. Additionally, my role is to grow the business to new logos as fast as possible; to lead a capable team in their sales roles, and to support them in their own professional growth and development.
When it comes to driving regional expansion and growth for this sector: what have you seen works better than other strategies?
The media and entertainment sector has some unique characteristics which must be considered when agreeing to a scalable growth strategy. The sector has been slower than many others in transitioning to cloud based IT – in some ways, we are just at the beginning of the journey. The raw material of our industry is video – and video files and streams are big! This challenge has acted as an anchor that has slowed down companies moving to cloud technology, because customers have had reliability and plug and play interoperability from hardware-based video processing platforms, for a long time. A move to cloud and IP for video is a massive shift in both culture and mindset for the entertainment industry.
Ateliere, as a provider of cloud native systems to media and entertainment, must acknowledge this challenge, and our growth strategies need to ensure that they address the business and cultural change aspects, in addition to the technological changes. We must collaborate and partner with a variety of system integration and consulting partners and be well aligned with the timing of the shift to cloud technology in different parts of the market. It’s still quite a fragmented market with several smaller vendors and local services/solutions partners which requires careful consideration on ecosystem strategy and partnering.
Take us through some of the salestech processes and sales ops processes you rely on to drive impact and growth?
First and foremost, I’m a big believer in leading the conversation and providing value and differentiated perspectives to the market. Vendors must do some serious work to ensure that they are offering truly differentiated and unique products and service capabilities, and then have enabled their sales force to deliver those messages with a viewpoint of their own.
This was a big green light for me in joining Ateliere – the team has done a fantastic job of innovating in the media supply chain sector and creating capabilities such as our FrameDNA™ video-deduplication technology that can save media organizations a significant amount of storage expenditure.
I’m an advocate of consistency and simplicity in the processes and technology that we ask sales teams to adopt. Borrowing a phrase from the product management world, I think we should strive to identify the ‘Minimum Viable Process’ that helps support our growth and business goals without over-burdening front-line sales teams. Sales and corporate managers must be vigilant about this… managing to the metrics is crucial but making sure they are the right metrics is an ongoing process.
Can you talk about the five common mistakes sales leaders make today, especially when they take over a new team?
I’ve long been an adherent of the view that we are all fallible and are only more or less incorrect in our viewpoints and understanding of the world. I find this helps me remain grounded and provides a sound basis for the approach I take to sales, management, leadership, and to business and life in general. We should always be striving to solve the next problem and steer our viewpoints towards something ‘less incorrect’.
The main mistake I see sales or company leaders make is that of believing absolutely that they are ‘right’ and driving such conviction with ruthless certainty through an organization. This can leave teams, companies, and organizations in a brittle state and at risk of failure. My goal is to guide a team towards becoming a learning organization, which constantly seeks to uncover new viewpoints and perspectives that can help us meet our goals.
Beyond that, I think there are some common mistakes that I still see and work hard to avoid:
- Leaders jump in far too quickly to take ownership of sales when they should focus on coaching and acting as part of the deal team.
- Not working hard enough to learn how to control one’s emotions in the sales process.
- Not establishing an effective information flow. There are not enough listening posts, whether informal or formal, that can help us stay connected with where the market is headed.
- Taking the humanity out of the situation, whether that’s dealing with customers or team members… and expecting consistency where it doesn’t exist.
Read More: With AI, Sales is No Longer a Numbers Game
A few thoughts on the impact of AI and the future of Sales?
Following the rapid introduction of tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, there was an initial wave of predictions of decimation of entire industries, which is perhaps inevitable with all major technological breakthroughs. However, it seems clear that these technologies are not anywhere near the complexity of replacing human jobs. Complex B2B sales and business development, irrespective of methodology or process, is still fundamentally about establishing communication, trust, and relationships amongst people. In that sense, the impact of AI on established B2B sales professionals will not be as fast as has perhaps been feared in some quarters.
That said, the current crop of AI tools clearly has value for salespeople and will become an important part of our toolset. Learning how to leverage AI tools to increase productivity and effectiveness is important.
I have seen some concerns that I share in relation to more junior sales positions, that AI tools are being leveraged to replace more repetitive work tasks that in the past have been a development step on the way to a more established sales account management position. In our application of AI technology, we should all be conscious of the ongoing need to ensure career and personal development pathways for more junior staff and be careful not to ‘pull up the ladder’ behind us.
I think we are now seeing a more balanced assessment of how AI innovation will impact us, and we can also see more of the limitations. Overall, I am excited about the possibilities to leverage technology as part of our business, both to make ourselves more productive and to help our customers to solve their challenges more effectively.
Ateliere™ enables creative people and companies to produce and deliver great work everywhere media happens.
Digital asset managers, rights holders, and other media supply chain professionals need to store and process a high volume of content at scale—while reducing overall costs. In addition, visibility and control over libraries and workflows are more important than ever. Ateliere is a cloud-native media supply chain management system that meets those needs. Its modular architecture, industry-leading IMF support, and compatibility with other leading technology providers make Ateliere easy to implement, scale and manage.
Andy Hooper is VP Sales & General Manager EMEA at Ateliere Creative Technologies
Episode 184: Al and Its Influence on Marketing: with Adri Gil Miner, CMO of Iterable
Episode 183: B2B Technology Sales Dynamics with Jason Smith, Senior Sales Engineer at CallTrackingMetrics
Episode 182: Improving Technology Sales Renewal Processes: with Brian Fitzgerald, Chief Revenue Officer, Augury