SalesTechStar Interview with Niels Fogt, Director of Automation Solutions at

Niels Fogt, Director of Automation Solutions at chats about the importance of tightening operational issues to drive better business and sales effectiveness:


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Niels, tell us about yourself and more about – how has it evolved over the years?

I spent my early career in this formative role as a digital strategist at a boutique design firm servicing the startup world. We worked at a breakneck pace, so I was exposed to all these amazing startups in a really short period of time. Eventually that burns you out, but it really helped me see how the sausage was made inside these companies and I was hooked, I wanted in.

I joined New Relic just before their IPO as their head of web strategy and my role grew into one which was focused on servicing their self-service user base. We built a data team over there to make that work and that’s where I found

We were doing reverse ETL before it was cool—all on the back of—and I was just blown away by what this platform could do. As a technologist, I found gave me these super powers where I could create these solutions on our existing revenue stack which would have previously been relegated to custom engineering or procuring some purpose-built solution. I was hooked, I wanted in—you know the drill.

I joined because of a deep belief in the product and have been building RevOps automations here for the last four years. Our mission at is to create a world where anyone—regardless of their technical skills—can solve the business challenges in their day-to-day operations, eliminating the constraints of poorly adapted technology. is a low-code, cloud-first approach to automation that is delivered on a scalable, resilient and secure platform. Both line-of-business and technical users can take advantage of the power and flexibility of the platform to connect systems and build automations that provide a faster and more efficient way to do their jobs and achieve business results. By placing the power to develop automated workflows and integrations into the hands of everyday users, businesses can unleash a torrent of productivity and creativity within their organizations.

Anyone solving business departmental process challenges like streamlining Revenue Operations, fast-tracking HR onboarding, transforming finance order to cash, or automating IT user provisioning no longer have to rely on developers to do this work or deal with the back-end complexity of integrations—such as testing, error-handling, logging, resiliency, cost and security. Instead, they can focus on taming complex business logic and delivering impactful outcomes.

When it comes to enhancing the typical B2B lead lifecycle and journey, what do you think B2B sales teams need to be doing more of?

Sales teams should be focused on personalization and responsiveness. The market is undergoing a rapid evolution in customer expectations—B2B buyers increasingly expect a personalized, B2C-style experience from every vendor interaction. However, today’s bloated tech stacks, manual lead lifecycle management processes and suboptimal workarounds have become a burden on sales teams—negatively impacting sales efficiency and the customer experience.

We recently completed a study that found over 95% of companies report revenue loss due to operational issues related to lead lifecycle management. This revenue loss is primarily due to inefficiencies in the many steps involved in delivering leads through the sales cycle from initial capture to the point of sale. In my experience, monolithic platforms and outdated approaches to lead lifecycle management exacerbate these issues and often lead to a disjointed buyer experience. By combining low-code automation with best-in-class martech, sales teams can maximize the efficiency of their tech stack and ultimately enhance the customer journey.

There are two specific areas teams can focus on to improve the lead lifecycle process and customer journey. The first is automating lead-to-account matching and focusing heavily on engaging with their highest-value leads. With an automation solution in place, leads are routed to sales more efficiently and sales can easily sort leads by revenue potential. Less valuable leads can receive slightly less, but still high-quality, engagement, carried out via automated messages and supplemented with calls as needed. By automating less valuable interactions, sales team resources are freed up to deliver personalized and timely experiences to potential high-paying customers.

Second, teams should automate lead routing to reduce breakages and delays in the lead lifecycle. Any momentum gained during the early stages of the lead lifecycle can quickly be erased by lead routing inefficiencies or errors, and breakages during this critical stage make it seven times less likely that a sales team will speak to decision-makers. Teams should lean on their automation tools to minimize the time sales reps spend waiting idly for a new lead and to reduce the likelihood of human error.

By removing these two frequent pain points from the sales process, companies can drastically reduce their risk of breakages and delays and increase their chances of successful sales.

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Can you talk about some of the most commonly missed best practices when it comes to lead lifecycle management?

There are three best practices companies should implement to combat inefficiencies in their lead lifecycle management processes and remain competitive in today’s market:

  1. Prioritize B2C-style buyer experiences: As I stated previously, today’s B2B consumers expect the same frictionless experience when buying business tools as they do when making purchases in their personal lives. B2B organizations are under more pressure than ever to keep up—the customer experience, which has traditionally been represented by a funnel, is becoming more of a cyclical, “merry-go-round” journey that marketing and sales teams must always keep running, but companies are struggling to keep up. Pervasive issues in their lead lifecycle management process continue to impede companies from providing the speed and customization that today’s consumers demand.

To keep up with this rapidly evolving B2B buying journey, sales teams must embrace automation to gain the necessary visibility into each customer’s place within the customer journey. Automation’s role is to drive the choreography of specific sets of activities that can deliver a highly personalized, highly relevant customer experience, ultimately delivering the prized and elusive “excellent customer experience.”

  1. Think about scale, customization, and ease of use when vetting integration and automation solutions. While out-of-the-box automation solutions typically require smaller initial investments, these products often lack customization capabilities, struggle to handle complex automation tasks, and cannot scale in the long run. Alternatively, monolithic legacy iPaaS products are often expensive, code-intensive and require developer-only SDKs, which significantly hinders development velocity. Similarly, developing in-house solutions tends to be equally inefficient, requiring teams to spend excessive time building and maintaining integrations and automations, while oftentimes struggling with a lack of engineering resources.

When buying an integration and automation solution, companies should look for one that is cloud-first and offers the flexibility and scalability needed to create complex workflows and handle large volumes of leads, while also being accessible to line-of-business and technical users alike.

The right low-code tool allows teams to streamline the processes and workflows in their lead lifecycle, enhancing everything from the speed at which they can route leads to the accuracy of lead data.

  1. Delegating too many of your key lifecycle processes across point solutions and sources of truth. The lead lifecycle is deceptively complex. There’s a lot going on between the point of lead capture through the remainder of the buying journey. There are marketing ops teams managing part of the lifecycle via marketing automation platforms (MAPs) and sales ops teams managing the remainder through CRMs, with all sorts of point solutions tacked onto the side to handle things in between. You end up creating this complex network of processes that you’re trying to choreograph “from behind”—meaning you’re trying to orchestrate these processes in multiple systems in an asynchronous manner. Your automation platform should be an abstraction layer to your revenue systems, putting you “in front” of the process—dictating exactly what happens across these systems. We have a very large multi-national B2B customer that’s taken this approach with an 80k lead/month business—getting 99% of their leads from inbound to the sales floor in less than three minutes, that’s an amazing achievement in my opinion. recently released a new low-code solution to enable the above, can you share a few highlights?  

Absolutely—’s new solution addresses the operational challenges and process complexities teams face during the lead lifecycle management process to fix leaky lead funnels and recapture lost revenue. With’s new Lead Lifecycle Management features, RevOps teams can tap into the power of low-code automation and integration to break down interdepartmental silos, gain full visibility into the buyer journey, deliver personalized experiences to leads and unlock revenue.

The new features available on the Tray Platform allow teams to focus on their core competencies and building engaging and personalized experiences for buyers while ensuring timely follow-up with leads. These features include:

  • Seamless connectivity across best-of-breed tech stacks that allows users to easily integrate each tool used in their sales and marketing processes to create cohesive and efficient RevOps workflows.
  • Eighty plug-and-play, standardized templates that offer the flexibility to accurately capture leads from virtually any source—including Excel, LinkedIn and Google Sheets—and record them in CRMs and Marketing Automation Platforms, despite each lead’s unique, source-created properties. The low-code nature of these templates allows for rapid workflow creation across many lead sources into a single destination, all while ensuring data integrity.
  • Purpose-built connectors for key marketing, sales and revenue tools to connect, integrate and automate more of RevOps processes across the tech stack through deeper and broader support for AdRoll, Gong, Showpad, Iterable, Amplitude, Salesforce, HubSpot, Shopify, NetSuite and more.
  • Streaming log data for error handling and greater transparency into process bottlenecks. Now, teams can programmatically stream log data at the step and automation level to quickly diagnose issues—without having to triage each individual application—and gain real-time updates, enabling quick and efficient problem solving.

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A few thoughts on the biggest tech trends within B2B sales and marketing today?

Digital transformation, accelerated by the pandemic, has resulted in unintended consequences across organizations. Specialized SaaS applications intended to bring products to market faster, increase revenue, manage costs and reduce risk have led to teams spending inordinate amounts of time trying to reconcile conflicting data from different apps and settling for business processes that work the way software vendors believe employees should work, instead of how employees want or need to work to be efficient.

At a time when cost saving and operational efficiency are top of mind, we’re seeing companies turn to the power of low-code automation and integration to align their sales funnels, increase sales productivity and sell more efficiently, and ultimately improve customer retention.

By adopting a low-code approach to streamlining lead lifecycle management, sales, marketing, customer success and RevOps teams—who already have extensive knowledge of their unique tech stack needs—can design and deploy their own powerful integrations and automated workflows that fit their unique process requirements.

There’s this movement I call “the great abstraction”—where vendors like, those in the CDP (customer data platform) space, the cloud data warehouse world, etc., have all created these amazing tools that help companies deal with this influx of customer data. Historically, we’ve had these monolithic systems that try to do it all—then we have best-in-breed tools trying to tap into those monoliths via native integration, but the whole thing simply becomes this slow moving beast that inevitably falls short given the pace of change. What we’re all trying to figure out is how to make the best use of it all. This is where “the great abstraction” comes in—this new class of data abstraction tooling is allowing us to delegate the movement and choreography of our customer data, agnostic of the systems of record, and engage faster than ever before, in the way we need it to work. Your process automation can sit above it all—not down in the CRM or the MAP or whatever other system whose job should be more narrowly defined. RevOps teams need to prioritize having the skills to manage these tools, just like they hired CRM administrators. is low-code automation that can easily turn unique business processes into repeatable and scalable workflows that evolve whenever business needs change.’s flexible, self-service platform makes it simple to build integrations using any API and connect enterprise applications at scale without incremental costs. The Tray Platform empowers both non-technical and technical users to create sophisticated workflow automations that streamline data movement and actions across multiple applications. Freed from tedious and repetitive tasks, product leaders and IT are able to up-level their skill sets with automation to unlock their full potential.

The last 15 years of Niels’s career has been focused on mid- to late-stage startups, where he has found a niche helping organizations marry their customer data and revenue systems in support of their go-to-market strategy. Both as a customer, and now employee, of, Niels has leveraged its low-code automation platform in this pursuit. As the Director of Automation Solutions, Niels has built an automation center of excellence inside and now leads the company’s Builder Experience team, whose mission is to help customers and prospects realize the many benefits that come with running automation at scale inside their organizations.

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