Innovative sales and marketing technologies that enable better collaboration and seamless communication to drive inter team alignment will have an enduring impact on businesses long after the Covid-19 pandemic is gone; Brian Wool, Chief Revenue Officer at Stirista shares more on the lasting impact of Covid-19 on tech trends in sales in this latest chat with SalesTechStar, catch the complete conversation:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Brian? How has your journey in tech sales been so far – can you share your biggest moments?
My entire professional life has been in the information services space. At the onset of my career, I was very fortunate to land at Claritas during their heyday as clear thought leaders and innovators in the database marketing and consumer segmentation space. I was able to quickly gain exposure to many of the largest brands both globally and in the US and see how we helped them go to market, how to approach customer acquisition, segmentation, and campaign effectiveness using data, even back then. This was a defining moment in my career and one that I lean on and continue to leverage with new experiences. It’s interesting because while much of what Claritas was doing 25 years ago, although more sophisticated now, still holds true today in terms of customer acquisition, retention, cross sell and upsell and personalization. As a Chicago-area native, I have been lucky enough to partner with Chicago-based customers and organizations and watch them grow and thrive which has been very rewarding.
How has the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic changed how you and your team have redefined your sales process or outreach for the rest of the year?
The Stirista sales team’s communications and outreach approach has definitely evolved since the beginning of the pandemic. Initially, it was important to acknowledge and set an empathetic tone when we were prospecting. Once we hit June, it quickly reverted back to the pre-pandemic outreach where we found potential customers didn’t want to receive messages about COVID but wanted communication that illustrated we understood their business challenges and were able to solve them. As far as channels, the cold call has definitely taken a back seat with LinkedIn and email as the primary source to establish connections. We are constantly looking at our approach to prospecting in terms of both channels and messages to ensure we are communicating effectively.
As the effects of the pandemic still play out, what are some of the top you’d share with sales and revenue generation teams, for this time?
Regardless of the pandemic, I believe that a great sales organization needs to conduct the right due diligence efforts to understand prospects’ strategic initiatives for the next six to 12 months as well as for the long-term. Based on that knowledge, outreach should be modeled around how the business can have an impact. Using data and insights, it’s the approach of showing that you know them. This includes understanding the individual prospect’s goals, the functional and strategic goals of their department as well those of the entire organization.
When it comes to the choice of a balanced martech / salestech stack to help marketers create and run more wholesome multichannel campaigns, what are some of the thoughts you’d share with them, to help plan and align a more end-to-end strategy and an optimized stack while at it?
We’ve become very prescriptive in who we are selling to and offering personalized outreach – both the channels we use for prospecting as well as the messages we are delivering. It’s important for a successful sales organization to target customers that will benefit from your solutions rather than a blanket outreach to anyone and everyone. This can only be accomplished through gaining critical insights of the buyer persona. Tying the various marketing engines like CRM and CDPs to sales tools and processes enables us to effectively determine the most effective channels to run campaigns and leverage for outreach.
What are some of the ways in which you still see marketing and sales teams in tech not utilizing the full capability of their sales and marketing automation to target the right clients at the right time…how would you tell them to fix this?
Ultimately, it comes down to guiding and supporting your sales teams’ time and resources. Often, sales reps don’t know where they should focus their time. They need to have open and transparent access to all of the systems that will enable them to do their job more effectively and better understand the prospects needs. Investing in sales enablement tools which glean insights from customer interactions, including identifying predictive attributes and sharing across the sales and marketing teams, gives the entire organization a leg up against the competition.
While remote work is still largely in place due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic even though businesses and economies are slowly inching towards reopening, what are some of the thoughts you’d like to share for the global workforce in general?
Forward-thinking and innovative organizations will be pushing to get back to shared office space because they recognize this brings a competitive advantage to their sales organization. There is no question that face to face collaboration is where sales departments thrive. While it may not be possible right now, hybrid approaches to a more flexible environment will give highly motivated and driven sales reps the ability to flourish. As an example, the onboarding process is far more personalized and effective when it can be accomplished in person.
As a tech leader, in a challenging environment due to the Covid19 pandemic: what are some of the ways in which you are enabling a balanced remote work culture while maintaining motivation levels?!
It’s important for me as the sales leader to go out of my way to schedule more one-on-one calls with my team members. In a typical setting, a best practice is once a week with each of your sales reps but right now we need to double or triple that to ensure they are engaged and feel supported in their roles. In addition, we use Slack and Google Hangouts to bring the team together to collaborate for brainstorming and idea creation since we don’t have the spontaneous hallway conversations we are accustomed to.
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Brian oversees Stirista’s sales and marketing organization, driving the expansion of Stirista’s on-demand data services. A 20-year veteran of the data industry, Brian brings significant expertise in consumer identification, verification, and marketing solutions to the financial services, retail, automotive, and telecommunications industries. Brian has served as Executive VP of Sales for Infutor for four years and prior to that as Sales Director for Neustar.