Steve Terp, Chief Revenue Officer at Appspace chats about the evolving priorities of modern-day sales leaders:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Steve, tell us about yourself and more about your role at Appspace…what inspires you about being in Sales/Revenue roles?
First, thank you for the opportunity to discuss my background and my role. I have been in tech sales longer than I would like to admit, so I have a lot to share. I hope your readers gain some insights from my experience! I started selling IT services, products, software, and cloud solutions in 1987 and jumped into a leadership role, about 10 years later, in 1996. I’ve been blessed to work with visionary leaders and hardworking teams. Our collective success allowed me to raise three great kids with my wife of 30 years.
When Appspace (along with our customers) moved to a more hybrid work environment, I also moved to a more virtual environment, leading the global team from the Appspace office in Tampa and my home base. When I have spare time, I enjoy fishing in Florida and exploring the mountains of North Carolina.
I’m a competitor by nature, which likely led me to a sales career. I love sports and being a chief revenue officer allows me to bring aspects of sports to my role. I view leading teams as analogous to coaching and closing deals is all about competing. In another life, I likely wouldn’t be taking Bill Belichick or Nick Saban’s coaching jobs. However, I would want to create sales strategies, build a team to beat out the competition, help customers and partners thrive, and motivate team members to flourish. This is my everyday Super Bowl. When we are successful as a company, it does not feel like work, it feels like winning.
How do you see the role of the typical B2B CRO evolve today; what are some of the things that CRO’s need to do more of now that they probably didn’t a decade ago?
Over the past decade, the CRO role has changed significantly. For me, the three biggest changes centered on technology, metrics, and an increased focus on human relations, which was not a sales leader’s priority historically. Today, technology gives us the opportunity and tools to learn quickly what messaging and marketing efforts are resonating with prospects and what we need to change to drive efficiency and reach our numbers (metrics).
In the end, meeting and exceeding your revenue goals comes back to adjusting to today’s workforce. Rule #1 for CROs today is building teams with whom you love working and winning. The people component always has been crucial, but the last few years have shone a brighter spotlight on the importance of workplace engagement for all employees, from frontline workers to sales teams. With this new reality, CROs today should emphasize people and professional growth as they do on pure sales numbers, with the understanding that success in the former will generate the latter.
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How can revenue leaders/sales leaders today do things differently to help their teams and businesses drive more brand ROI despite current market dynamics / challenges?
Since I mentioned the 1980s, I’ll use a line from the original “Top Gun” movie. When it comes to driving more ROI today, I feel the need…the need for speed. Sales leaders and their teams must learn and move faster than ever. For Appspace, as our customers and prospects returned to some form of normalcy this year, we took a “be everywhere” approach, which allowed us to see where to focus our time and effort.
Revenue and sales leaders should constantly look at their brands through the eyes of customers, prospects, and partners. This is especially meaningful in marketing.
Appspace recently held our Customer Advisory Council meeting for the Americas and will do the same for Europe soon. This feedback helps us stay on top of their workplace experience needs as they zig and zag with new hybrid, remote, and in-person workplace environments.
What are some of the core revtech/salestech tools or features that you feel CROs and their teams need to use more of to optimize their processes and strategies?
Like most modern SaaS companies, Appspace spends a lot of time and budget refining the tech we use. I’ve seen too many leaders get enamored with the “coolness” factor and not focus enough on how the sales, marketing, and partner teams can use technology to be successful. Start with your internal customers’ goals and determine how technology can support their efforts. Metrics for metrics-sake is just more numbers. We need to have strong, actionable analytics that lead to great decision-making and leverage investments in a way that results in the right actions.
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Can you share a few top of mind predictions you have for the B2B tech market in 2023?
The new ways of working will continue to shape B2B technology in 2023. We will see ongoing conversations and purchasing decisions centered on “the future of work.” At the same time, companies will be more careful in their IT spending as macroeconomic market conditions continue to change. Demonstrating ROI in their technology purchases will be incredibly important for large, publicly-held corporations. This will lead our customers to consolidate their technology solutions vs. rely on numerous point solutions that are harder and more expensive to manage. Fortunately, Appspace meets this workplace experience need with a unified platform that helps organizations connect their people, places, and spaces.
I touched on this earlier, but my other major prediction is that organizations will continue to prioritize their teams. I realize this is not just a B2B technology prediction, but any company in any vertical market that wants to remain competitive. Appspace is fortunate to have a profitable company that believes in investing in our teams. I hear folks say, “the good news about tougher times is the employment market will be easier to navigate.” This is shortsighted thinking in my viewpoint. Serve the heck out of your teams is a much better mantra and approach to creating a high-performance culture.
And lastly, a few best practices that you feel every CRO needs to implement as part of their daily activity to drive overall growth goals and keep their teams on their toes…
I can lean on the sports world for best practices here, specifically Vince Lombardi. The legendary football coach is credited with saying, “you don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” I firmly believe in applying this thinking to how we treat customers, prospects, and our sales teams every day. This leads to winning outcomes.
And always, listen, listen, listen to customers, prospects, and the field. That is one of the evergreen best practices that should be at the top of the list.
Appspace provides a workplace experience platform to Fortune 500 companies and other organizations.
Steve Terp is Chief Revenue Officer at Appspace, he is an experienced C-level executive with more than 30 years of experience growing revenue and generating profits. He has held various leadership roles in technology sales, marketing, channel, and alliance experience. Throughout his career, Steve also has built positive work cultures in which he was able to attract and retain “A” players in the competitive technology services market.
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