SalesTechStar Interview with Adi Gelvan, CRO at SQream
The expectations from salespeople over the past decade, is now more about understanding the ecosystem and the challenges of their customers’ ecosystem, rather than knowing their own product or technology believes Adi Gelvan, Chief Revenue Officer of tech startup SQream in this interview.
Catch the full story to uncover some interesting sales tactics and strategies that can help you enable better sales conversations and plans.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Adi? What has your tech journey as an entrepreneur/investor been like so far, what are some of the biggest trends/changes you’ve seen in your time in tech sales?
I started my career in IT management and then decided to move over to business. I had a couple of roles in sales management with two US tech vendors, and then made the decision to move to the startup world. I joined an Israeli startup in the early stage that was acquired by IBM, where I ran the storage division of IBM for 4 years, and then decided to go on my next journey at a US early stage startup. I led sales in Europe and then, I joined another early stage Israeli startup, which is today a unicorn in the storage field. There I ran the worldwide business. In 2017, I moved on and opened my own consulting company. I was involved in some early stage angel investment startups, and in the past year, I decided to join SQream as CRO and take on the challenge of making it a unicorn.
In my time in tech sales, I have seen that the major challenge is not to develop the right technology, but to find a way to harness the right technology to solve the right business problem. You can see that most tech startups are more focused on the technology, than on actually solving a real prevalent business problem and they realize this when they reach the phase where the company must start selling. That’s also a challenge for early stage investors – when they have to spot a company that has a very solid route to market, rather than a really cool technology.
I believe that the expectations from technology companies, and especially from salespeople in the past decade, is understanding more about the ecosystem and the challenges of their customers’ ecosystem, rather than knowing their own product or technology. Instead of being able to articulate or present their own product, it’s all about solving the customer pain. The bigger the company is, the more the solution must fit their ecosystem and the pain that they have in the business. So the expectations that customers have from sales tech today is to really understand the customer business and pain, and to support them in solving it.
Could you tell us a little about some of your most successful sales strategies/campaigns?
Forget about the fact that you are trying to sell something and try to understand the real pain behind your customers’ requests. If you really understand both the business pain and the individual customer pain, you will be better equipped to provide them with the solution they want and need. Customers don’t really care about your product, they care about your ability to present them with a real answer to their problem. If you can overcome the basic need to present your product and you focus on understanding the pain of your customers, you will be able to solve your customers’ pains and hence, sell a valuable solution.
An example from my experience was a one-hundred million dollar worth RFI in a big international telco that subsequently became an RFP that my product did not comply with. I went with my team to the RFP committee and proposed the following: ‘Tell me about the challenges that you are trying to solve. Forget about the RFP technicalities, and let’s focus on the problem.’ We spent a half day understanding the real challenge that led to the RFP. Afterwards, when I presented my answers to the RFP (which as I said did not comply with many of the items they had in the RFP) they actually ignored them. We won the RFP for one-hundred million dollars.
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges technology marketing teams and sales teams face everyday? What would your top tips be for them to overcome these challenges using a smart selection of sales tech / martech products?
The biggest challenge is the need to decide between going very, very wide with product messaging that is less focused and getting more leads; or going with something less wide and more narrowed to get more focused leads. This is the ultimate challenge in tech marketing in my view.
My top tip would be to utilize products that actually combine between pipeline management, lead management and sales CRM, which will give better visibility of what happens to the leads A-Z and will help you learn from the process more effectively.
Read More: How to Stop Leaving RFP Revenue On The Table
How according to you will the typical role of tomorrow’s B2B/Tech marketing or sales person evolve, given the dynamics and innovations in martech / salestech according to you?
I think that the tech era has influenced the roles of salestech and martech because there are smarter tools and smarter systems to manage the process – from the pipeline, deal management, to customer analytics – people today are much more technical. They are using those systems to their advantage. So, if a tech sales guy used to invest more time on the face-to-face and personal relationship, today he needs to leverage the new platforms and the new technologies to manage the sales and to deal with the customers. Also, the process is much more sales-supportive today, giving you the advantage. So as a sales tech, you need to be much more qualified today than in the past.
And what should today’s marketer/salesperson do to prepare for the future role of tomorrow?
Adapting to the new technology of sales management and marketing management, being aware of how these technologies can help him. So he is actually learning much more technology, but it is not the technology that he is selling, it is the tools he is using.
What would you say are the five things that are critical to any sales / revenue generation strategy?
1 – Customer obsession – be obsessed with your customer
2 – Focus on problem solving and not product selling
3 – Make everything you do a part of a process
4 – Always have a plan B, especially with customers, because life has a tendency to change the rules during the game.
5 – Always push the business forward. Always be in the push position, always advance.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the sales tech /martech industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read
Chris Degnan – CRO at SnowFlake
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and sales leadership books you’d suggest everyone in Sales reads:
‘If your customer is not talking to you, he is talking to someone else.’
Tell us about some of the top sales/salestech/fintech/ other events that you’ll be participating in (as a speaker or guest, virtually!) in 2020!
I would rather meet my customers, go have a one-on-one meeting with one of my customers, understand their challenges, rather than go to a conference!
We’d love to know a little about your future plans!
I want to continue pushing SQream forward towards becoming a big, profitable business.
Also Catch: Our SalesStar Podcast Episode where we had a chat with Ami Gal, CEO and Founder at SQream:
SQream has broken the data analytics size and speed barriers, enabling enterprises to make use of and benefit from their rapidly growing data stores. While many organizations struggle with analyzing their large volumes of data, SQream DB, a SQL data analytics platform that harnesses the power of GPU, enables the fast, flexible, and cost-efficient analysis of data, from terabytes to petabytes.
Adi is a business leader, entrepreneur and an investor with 16-years of experience in spearheading global businesses of various software and hardware technology companies. Adi has led the business growth of companies like XIV, Infinidat and Spotinst from start to global presence. Adi’s previous experience in senior technology management gives him a wealth of skill and knowledge in technology management, leadership and customer needs.
At SQream, Adi is responsible for the company’s global business growth, leading the company sales organization. Adi holds a B.sc in Mathematics and Computer Science.