SalesTechStar Interview with Chris Polishuk, CRO at Lucidworks
Enterprise sales is evolving at a rapid pace, making it more crucial for sales teams to start driving sales journeys through the entire sales funnel. Chris Polishuk, CRO at Lucidworks joins us for a chat to share his thoughts:
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear about your journey in sales and revenue generation through the years…what are you looking forward to in your new role as CRO at Lucidworks?
I’ve worked with several growth-stage organizations over the years, from startups to large software enterprises. Most recently I was with Datorama, a marketing intelligence platform provider, which Salesforce acquired in 2018.
I’m most looking forward to building off of the foundation the team has created and leading a more connected go-to-market organization. Lucidworks is at a really important moment as we continue the ongoing transition to the cloud and drive market adoption of Lucidworks Connected Experience Cloud (CXC). The company has taken on and overcome significant challenges over the past few years, including the transition from open-source to commercial. Lucidworks has overcome hurdles that many companies never make it past. I’m excited to be a part of a high-performing team, a customer base filled with premier brands, extreme product differentiation, and a vision that resonates with the market—that’s a dream come true for me as CRO.
Take us through some of your biggest sales learnings from your time in tech: a few biggest moments that drove key sales learnings during the pandemic as well?
One of the common misconceptions around sales is that we’re convincing people of something, or getting customers to buy something they don’t need. When a sales organization is doing their best work, transparency and alignment between prospects and sellers are two of the most important tools. To get the best results for everyone involved, we need to do a thorough discovery to understand where we can help and then set clear expectations on our plan to deliver. Sales isn’t about convincing people into buying; it’s about identifying needs and figuring out how to solve them.
During the pandemic we saw how difficult it can be to create net-new relationships. The type of transparent, aligned relationships that I mentioned before that were already established before the pandemic were able to weather virtual-only interactions much more easily. That being said, it was exciting to see the enterprise tech sales industry find creative ways to connect with new prospects. For example, we hosted a few virtual events like wine tasting and cooking classes and they were an innovative way to get to know people when in-person wasn’t an option. Pandemic or no, nurturing relationships on-screen or in-person remains one of the most important parts of our work.
How do you feel today’s sales leaders need to revisit their sales processes and revtech / revenue generation tactics and choice of salestech to empower their teams to fulfill more ROI?
Last year Lucidworks announced the Connected Experience Cloud as a way to collect insights across all channels for our customers and automatically apply them everywhere to create better digital experiences. What we’ve learned through CXC is that the best work happens when everything is connected. That’s true for our customers, and it’s true for our organization. Sales leaders need to create that connective tissue for their unique organizations so that the valuable insights from global sales, customer excellence, marketing and business development compound as they are passed through the organization.
As sales leaders we should understand that the role of enterprise software sellers is evolving. What used to be a “close the deal, keep it moving” style of selling has transformed to salespeople owning the full funnel. This is a different skill set than what we traditionally associate with sellers. And it’s really better for the customer because the seller has a stake in the downstream success of their client. Leaders have to equip their teams for this evolution to hold onto long-term success.
Can you talk about some of the top sales technologies that have helped you drive better business outcomes?
One of the coolest new categories to emerge over the past few years is the ability to record sales conversations and interactions and apply analytics to find opportunities for growth. We work with a revenue intelligence tool that analyzes recorded conversations so we can quickly understand what works in conversations with prospects and where to make improvements.
Our CEO, Will Hayes, always says that AI stands for augmented intelligence. With these types of AI-driven tools we can learn faster and achieve more as a sales org.
How according to you will the role of the CRO in the tech and B2B marketplace evolve in the near-term?
The CRO’s ownership of the entire customer lifecycle is a big shift in the tech marketplace. It requires leaders who come from traditional sales backgrounds to consider marketing, customer success, and professional services —and to understand that a rising tide lifts all boats across the company. In order to win in this market, companies need to offer a holistic experience from identifying and acquiring accounts, making them successful on the platform, and retaining them as loyal customers. This is how you succeed in software today.
Over the next few years, I expect this shift could make room for leaders with backgrounds in marketing and customer success to assume the role of CRO. Traditionally it’s been those from sales backgrounds, but as people see the impact of connecting insights across the organization we could see the role continue to evolve.
A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales and revenue leaders need to do to motivate, train and uplift their teams to optimize business and sales performance, and the sales technologies you feel sales teams should have more of?
Be real with each other. Full stop!
The pandemic collapsed the wall between work and life, and we need to see our team members as individuals. By making room for real life we can take some of the stress off of our colleagues so they feel supported to do their best work.
As far as tech goes, there’s no shortage of tools that have been released to help people sell, market, and make customers successful. For a long time, the tools that were put in place didn’t actually make our lives easier, it just allowed the company to record what we were doing. It’s exciting to see startups forming around this very specific segment to support sellers, marketers, and customer success teams in becoming more efficient and effective. Also, as an organization that already knows the value of AI-driven tools, it’s exciting to see how AI and deep learning continue to play a bigger role in emerging revenue technologies.
Lucidworks offers the Connected Experience Cloud (CXC) that captures user signals from every action and applies them to digital experiences everywhere. CXC combines the power of search and machine learning to personalize experiences that meet employees’ and customers’ unique intent. The world’s largest brands, including Lenovo, Red Hat, Reddit and Cisco Systems rely on Lucidworks’ suite of products to power product discovery, customer service, and knowledge management applications that delight customers and empower employees. Lucidworks’ investors include Francisco Partners, Sixth Street Partners, Top Tier Capital Partners, Shasta Ventures, Granite Ventures, and Walden International
Chris Polishuk is the CRO at Lucidworks