SalesTechStar Interview with Denis Murphy, Chief Revenue Officer at Couchbase
While the role of the typical B2B marketing and salesperson evolves to meet the changes of today’s market dynamics, there will also be a need to invest in the right processes and strategies as well as technologies to drive ROI. Denis Murphy, Chief Revenue Officer at Couchbase joins us in this chat to share a few thoughts:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Denis? We’d love to hear about your biggest sales hacks that have helped you in your journey through the years.
I am a Boston native with an undergrad degree in Engineering. During my junior year, I realized I wasn’t going to be an engineer and went into sales right out of college. In high school and college, I used to sell t-shirts at concerts and sporting events, and that’s when I learned that sales is really a numbers game — the more people talk to you, the more you sell. One of my biggest pieces of advice to someone starting out in sales is that it’s not rocket science. The key is to always put in the effort and be persistent.
What according to you are some of the biggest challenges tech sales teams face when prospecting and pitching their product or a new product launch / feature?
One of the biggest challenges is getting through to people. It’s difficult getting people to pay attention and stay engaged for more than 30 seconds. And now with no in-person interactions, it’s much harder. For me personally, when I finally reply to someone it’s on their third or fourth attempt, which is why persistence is so important.
In your time in sales and revenue generation: what according to you has been most instrumental in growing or shaping a person in a sales role, from sales rep to a mid-level role and then higher on?
I’m going to use golf and the Ryder Cup for comparison. Like in golf, in the beginning as a sales rep, it was all about me and my individual performance. Then as I went up the chain, the “me” became “we” in my first management job and I had to start thinking more of my team. Similar to the golfers in the Ryder Cup — it’s no longer an individual sport. As I continued to move up within the organization, it no longer was just about the team, but I also had to think about the overall company. It’s the hardest transition to make. What’s best for the rep isn’t always what’s best for the company.
How according to you should sales teams revisit their outreach and overall strategy in the light of the global pandemic: besides the usual inputs on being empathetic during this time, what other points should they factor in?
More so now than ever, sales teams always need to be empathetic — you’re trying to help customers be successful in their role. Essentially, you are a teacher. If you teach your customers about the value of your product – how it works, what business benefits it provides – you’re going to be successful. The pandemic doesn’t change that; if anything it emphasizes the need to show our value even more. Customers need to see how we can help them. At Couchbase, our goal is to help our customers with digital transformation. So the more customers we can get to see the value of Couchbase, the quicker we’ll be able to support business initiatives. So for us, outreach is even more critical right now.
What are some of your top predictions for tech sales?
Tech sales will always continue to be a very important part of making great products successful. Because, without someone to tell the product story, great products sit on the shelf or don’t have enough money to invest in engineering and get beaten by mediocre products. Right? Look at Microsoft Windows.
Also, some people worry that tech sales will go away. I don’t think it will ever go away because like the old cliché says – people will always buy from people.
That said, we’re being more data driven in tech sales, and we are leveraging our AI and data analytics more and more.
What according to you makes for the ideal sales tech stack?
Having a good database is the most important part of a solid tech stack. But what makes an ideal tech stack is it must be easy to use and that it allows you to make sure the data is clean. It’s also important to have a good customer list that you can market to. It’s imperative to understand where the customers’ interest is coming from, what makes them successful, and why they’re buying from you – then you can continue to effectively market to them.
On the back end, the sales tech stack must be easy to do quotes and simple for customers to buy from. It also needs to be able to do data analytics after the fact, so you can accurately forecast your business going forward on a quarterly basis(Couchbase).
While remote work is still largely in place due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic even though businesses and economies are slowly inching towards reopening, what are some of the thoughts you’d like to share for businesses (sales and marketing) teams in general?
Sales is sales and is still a numbers game. The key is to talk to as many people as you can. But once you get their attention, you must have a concise message of your value proposition to let people know the value that you can provide. For us, the pandemic has helped us refine our message to help people understand how we can help them.
How according to you will the role of marketing and sales evolve because of the ongoing pandemic in global markets?
As you know, the pandemic has pushed everything online and into a digital format, and I see this continuing as we move forward.
The role of marketing and sales will continue to become even more important. There is so much information out there that you have to find, qualify, and educate your customers. Virtual events this year have proven to produce troves of information that can be used to arm sales to connect with prospects. From registration information to several dozen presentations with end-user case studies, virtual events aren’t going away any time soon, even once in-person events resume.
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