What does it takes to drive success as a B2B CRO? Miles Kirkpatrick, Chief Revenue Officer at Productiv weighs in:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Miles, tell us more about your B2B tech journey through the years and more about your new role as CRO at Productiv…
Thank you for having me! I began my SaaS career as a seller at Salesforce in their commercial division and then as a Regional VP in their Financial Services division. After four years at SFDC, I went to Sprinklr where I led their central and Canadian sales division and also spent time at technology firms Microsoft and the Rubicon Project in my tech career.
I have a passion for reducing friction in organizations and believe that enterprises should be doing more to ensure that their employees have the tools they need to be successful. That is why I joined Productiv.
In my new role as chief revenue officer for Productiv, I am first and foremost a coach to my sales team to help them be the best sellers they can be. And as companies enter an economic climate with recessionary concerns, we are looking to help procurement, finance and IT executives cut waste and optimize existing resources. Most companies have more than 300 SaaS apps in use and many are duplicate tools with the same or very similar functions. We’re helping IT teams align with finance and procurement teams to better manage and get the most value out of their SaaS investments, by providing the most accurate and real-time data – like costs of contracts and renewals and detailed employee usage metrics.
As someone taking over to lead sales initiatives for the brand, we’d love to hear about some of your initial plans and thoughts on driving new business ROI…what do you feel new sales leaders should do when taking over new B2B sales teams?
Being a new leader I’m cautious to implement too much change at one time. It’s more important that I spend the first several weeks inspiring my team to believe in my vision, then I coach them on what “good” looks like and then we together inspect the work product. Unfortunately, too many leaders do this out of order, which creates tension amongst the team.
A partnership with my marketing peers is critical to making sure that we’re targeting accounts that have been warmed up or activated. There are fantastic tools available to sales teams, like ABM and attribution tools that help us to narrow our focus on where we spend our time.
Sales and marketing also needs to be experts in creating compelling POV’s that focus on the changing macroeconomic conditions and ladder up to corporate objectives. Now more than ever if we’re not aligning with corporate objectives we run the risk of not making it past the CFO’s desk.
For CROs in B2B today, what kind of salestech/revtech and processes do you feel they should be focusing on more to drive better team alignment and output?
One of the most important characteristics of elite sellers and teams is their ability to forecast their business accurately, especially when we’re dealing with large deal sizes. Preparing supporting business teams (success and implementation) for the increased workload of a new customer is critical, because nobody likes surprises one way or the other.
The tools that help us predict when deals will close (Clari and BoostUp) help us get ahead of red flags/risks so that we can better predict when our revenue will close.
A few thoughts on how you feel CROs in B2B need to revisit team hiring and development initiatives, given market trends and changing sales dynamics?
A few years ago I was selling CRM to financial services institutions and there was an arms race to provide financial advisors with the best digital tools in the market to help them do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Financial advisors were demanding it and institutions were trying to outdo each other because it was a competitive advantage when they were looking for talent. I feel the same way now for B2B sales teams – if we’re not providing the technology that elite AE’s require to do their jobs effectively, someone else will.
I have seen elite reps leave companies because of inefficient tech stacks and redundant processes. Therefore, my goal is to create the most efficient selling tech stack and to use that as one of our differentiators in the market.
Some thoughts on the future of salestech as a segment and how you feel this space will shape up?
There is a lot of noise and it’s easy to get distracted with every new shiny tool. The best tools in the world can’t overcome the fundamentals of building sales champions and finding the pain points in the sales process. I believe that there will be more coaching tools that give real-time feedback, while reps are in action or role playing. This allows sales leaders to scale more effectively and not have to be on every call or meeting.
Five things you’d say to anyone in B2B sales?
- Don’t forget the fundamentals of building champions and finding pain
- If you’re going to put your name on it make it excellent
- Don’t outsource your success to other people- take ownership
- Do your research and come up with a POV when you’re speaking with a prospect
- Be honest about what you can and more importantly what you can’t do
Productiv’s SaaS Intelligence™ platform provides companies with trusted data and insights about their SaaS portfolio, enabling teams to proactively govern and drive operational efficiency – while increasing employee application engagement across all of their SaaS applications. Through the power of Productiv’s platform, customers like iCiMS, Zendesk and ZiffDavis can be confident in the decisions they make and actions they take around their SaaS portfolios. Many Productiv customers have optimized their Opex achieving 24% higher ROI on their SaaS investments, have seen 90% higher IT efficiency in their SaaS Operations and improved app adoption across employees by 113%.
Miles Kirkpatrick is the Chief Revenue Officer at Productiv
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