SalesTechStar Interview with Jake Sorofman, President at MetaCX
Lean into customer retention and expansion activities, knowing that this is where a lot of your growth is going to come from as you face significant and lasting headwinds on the acquisition side during the Covid-19 pandemic suggests Jake Sorofman, President at MetaCX in this interview as he shares more thoughts and tips. Catch the complete story:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Jake? What are you most looking forward to in your new role as president at MetaCX?
I’ve spent most of my career as a marketing leader with progressive levels of responsibility inside venture-backed software companies. A decade and a half into my career, I took a break from startups to try something entirely different. I became a Gartner analyst. Those five years were some of the most formative in my career, and it set up my next move. I became CMO of a company called Pendo, which was a bit of a rocket ship ride and an experience I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to have been a part of. That experience led to my current role as president of MetaCX, where I’m responsible for customer-facing and revenue-generating functions. It’s an amazing group of people with a big, bold vision, and I’m really enjoying the broader responsibility of the role. As a marketing leader, I certainly had a revenue mandate. But the difference reminds me of the chicken and the pig in the bacon-and-eggs fable. Marketing is the chicken, and sales is the pig. One is involved, but the other is committed!
When it comes to leading a startup, especially during a crisis such as the current one being experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what top tips would you share?
The most obvious and universal challenge everyone is facing right now is the fact that every team is distributed. Of course, we all have some experience collaborating across distributed teams but never at this level. It requires a different way of communicating and collaborating — one that is more intentional, inclusive and sensitive to different personalities and work styles. As someone who actually prefers this style of work, I need to remind myself that it’s a real struggle for many others. It’s important to have empathy and to pay attention to these stylistic differences, knowing that many people are really struggling with the adjustment.
Tell us a little bit about MetaCX and the top challenges it serves to solve for customers..
MetaCX has built a software platform that transforms how suppliers and buyers collaborate and win together. Suppliers and buyers have long been misaligned on the outcomes buyers are looking to achieve and, even more so, on measurable proof that the product or service has actually delivered on that promise. We think this sort of transparency between suppliers and buyers is more crucial than ever before. By creating shared spaces that allow suppliers and buyers to define and measure target outcomes, MetaCX helps align sales, success and delivery teams around measurable value that customers can actually see. This leads to better trust and transparency in the relationship, which translates into higher win rates, larger deals, and longer, more profitable customer relationships.
In your time in sales / marketing, how have you seen the role of the tech salesperson evolve? How do you feel that the impact of salestech has inspired this change in the way sales teams now approach their role?
I think the average sales rep has reached best-ever status in performance and effectiveness. That’s not to say that there aren’t still plenty of sales reps who have lots of room for improvement, but the only way to sustain a career in sales today is to be fairly buttoned up in preparation and execution. Customers are smarter and better informed than ever, and they demand that you show up with your A game. Part of this preparation is taking advantage of many of the purpose-built tools that help sellers better understand their buyer, more effectively execute their deals, and hone their craft through continuous improvement.
How have you witnessed companies redefine their marketing and sales strategies during this challenging time? Can you tell us a little about the top changes you’ll have had to undertake at MetaCX?
It’s crucial that you revisit your messaging. Chances are the messaging that worked well for you before this crisis isn’t going to perform. Your value proposition needs to be hyper-relevant to the most urgent priorities on the mind of buyers. It’s also crucial that you lean into customer retention and expansion, knowing that this is where a lot of your growth is going to come from as you face what are likely fairly significant and lasting headwinds on the acquisition side.
Given that the current economic conditions push sales and marketing leaders to be more customer-centric in their approach with the aim of enhancing overall CX and not just focusing on selling, in what ways would you suggest teams measure overall CX during this time?
We see opportunity through this crisis as companies accelerate their own digital transformations and lean into the supplier/buyer relationship as an area that needs to be improved. Creating more trust and transparency between buyers and sellers will unlock liquidity in the relationship even when budgets are tight because buyers will be able to see the value in a measurable way. Post-COVID-19, we suspect this will be, to use the cliché, the new normal.
As a tech sales leader, in a challenging environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what are some of the ways in which you are enabling a balanced remote work culture while maintaining motivation levels?!
As a company, we need to find ways to re-create the lighter moments that come with physically co-located workspaces to keep the culture active and vibrant and to ensure people have the opportunity to connect on a human level. We have a biweekly happy hour, and we engage in fun activities like a 100-mile exercise challenge we organized for the month of May. I made it — but just barely. We also have, on average, more meetings than we would otherwise to ensure that everyone feels engaged, involved and connected.
What are the top five things you would tell sales teams in new / young companies to do to ensure they are able to lift results?
Be hyper-relevant – This isn’t the time to be steadfast about messaging that worked so well in another economy. It’s probably not going to work. You need to revisit your messaging with an entirely different lens.
- Show up to win – Make a positive impression by showing you are thoughtful, prepared, and that you run a tight and professional sales process. Listen — actively. Overprepare. Do the necessary research, and put in the hours to demonstrate a faithful commitment to partnership.
- Focus on outcomes – By focusing on outcomes, you tell a story of a better future that inspires your prospect to take action, and you position your solution for maximum relevance.
- Build trust by putting some skin in the game – In this economy, revenue organizations that document, organize around, and hold themselves accountable to measurable outcomes are the ones that will close deals and renew customers disproportionately.
- Get way ahead of the renewal – This is perhaps more relevant to customer success and account management roles, but in today’s economy, renewals won’t happen by virtue of persistence or charm. A customer’s willingness to renew will be based on coldhearted proof of performance.
Any last few thoughts to share before wrapping up (on leadership / a favorite quote / top sales books to read, etc.)
I’m not a huge fan of most business books because I find them to be repetitive and reductive, but there are a small handful that have really shaped my thinking. “Crossing the Chasm” is still one I go back to all the time. I also loved “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” “The Tipping Point,” “Made to Stick,” “Hooked” and “Start With Why.”
MetaCX transforms how businesses manage their customers and how customers manage their vendors. MetaCX is building a digital success layer that brings suppliers and buyers of enterprise software together for better collaboration and outcome management, offering real-time visibility into customer success.
Jake is the president of MetaCX, where he is responsible for customer-facing and revenue-generating functions.