Minimizing churn is just as critical as new customer acquisition. In order to do this well, it is imperative for teams to improve the level of connection and information shared with prospects and customers. Kevin Baumgart, VP of Sales at Hologram shares more in this latest chat with SalesTechStar while throwing light on the impact of IoT in the industry today.
Tell us a little about yourself Kevin, what’s a typical day like in the working life of the sales team at Hologram?
I’ve been in sales my entire career, working mainly with early stage and entrepreneurial tech companies.
The working life of the sales team at Hologram is really fast paced and ever changing. Like life at most startups, we move fast and thrive in ambiguity and the unknown. The cellular industry can be challenging at times, so it keeps us on our toes. Overall everything that we do day to day is focused around providing great solutions for our IoT customers.
How have your sales strategies and plans evolved in 2020 to meet the standards of the new normal?
Our sales strategies really haven’t changed all that much over the crazy year that we’ve all had. We have tightened up some internal process and are focusing on doing everything that we can remove friction from the sales process. Not being able to meet with people face to face has been challenging and we are continuously working on building strong partnerships via web meetings.
We’d love to hear about Hologram’s journey and growth story during this time despite challenges related to Covid-19 and the global downtime.
We have always been a remote first and work from home friendly organization. I believe that this helped us transition to 100% remote and maintain the level of productivity and effectiveness we were used to. Thankfully, many of the industries that we support saw accelerated growth due to Covid-19. Micromobility is one example of this. As cities open back up, more folks are seeking out other means of transportation like renting scooters and ebikes. Another industry that has been impacted positively is healthcare. We work with a number of remote patient monitoring companies. Many patients would rather send personal health information to their practitioners from their homes vs going into their offices.
Because of these booming industries, and the fast growth in IoT to begin with, we’re moving to a hyper growth phase and adding dozens of new hires to the team. We’re positioned to double the employee count of our business in the next couple quarters.
Can you share your thoughts on the future and impact of IoT across industries, as it evolves, what are the key trends and changes to watch out for?
As always, IoT will continue to play in so many industries and overall make our lives easier, better, more efficient etc.
As we all know, everything is connected today; from your toothbrush to your doorbell, to even your toaster. I think we will continue to see more and more products become connected and even a larger subset of the fortune 1K start to connect current products or roll-out new connected devices.
On the connectivity side of IoT there’s been a lot of talk on how dramatically 5G will change the industry. We have yet to see any significant changes in the infrastructure and believe that it’s going to be quite some time before telecommunication companies reliably provide this service.
Another key trend to watch has been the introduction of eUICC SIM cards. These SIM cards will allow you to change the service provider or coverage over the air. Many IoT devices have 10 year or greater shelf life, with this over the air profile swap, this SIM is helping to future proof IoT device hardware.
What are some of the sales technologies your team relies on at Hologram and in general as you’ve moved through Sales, what technologies have you prioritized as must-haves in sales?
SalesLoft: Email automation tools have progressed a ton in the last few years. There are a lot of options available. Sales Loft has been a great tool for us and has helped our team manage the arduous email campaign process with ease.
Showpad: We’ve started to use Showpad for seamless distribution and tracking of sales enablement material. It gives you a leg up to see when a prospect opens a document, where they focus, who they forward to, etc.
CRM: This is obviously the backbone of a sales tech stack. I’ve seen companies that don’t invest heavily in this long term and think about how a CRM will impact their business at scale. My recommendation is to invest in this tool more than any other.
Integrations: We are starting to see connections to most tools in our sales stack as well. For example we recently linked Zendesk (our technical ticketing system) to Salesforce.com. This provided our team the transparency needed to fully understand what was happening in an account from the one source of truth (our CRM.)
What are the top 3 tips you’d advise sales leaders to keep in mind as they shape their teams and structure their plans for 2021?
Focus on development/improvement. We’ve been running call reviews each month where the team gets together and listens to one another’s customer calls. We then debrief and provide immediate feedback.
Focus on engagement and staying connected. It’s never been harder to get teams engaged and continue to drive positive culture. We’ve done some virtual team events but are also being conscious of not forcing them. We’ve found it critical to make sure the team “shuts down” as it’s easy to mix work with life when it’s all happening in the same place.
Dial in your QBR process. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time the last 2 quarters, honing in our quarterly business review process with our customers. We have focused on highlighting key stats that we are accomplishing together.
We’d love to hear about your most memorable marketing / sales moment or biggest takeaways from your journey as a parting thought!
Some of the best advice that I received early in my career and that has really stuck with me is to always focus on value. In every sales conversation you have, step into the customer shoes and respond based on what’s important to them. For example when demoing a product or reviewing a service, tie back the value of what you provide to what challenges they mentioned in the discovery process.
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Kevin Baumgart is the VP of Sales at Hologram