SalesTechStar Interview with Scott Lasica, Chief Sales Officer at Stream
Continuously understanding what your customers need and redefining your product or service roadmap to suit those criteria are key elements in meeting expectations and ensuring steady business growth. Scott Lasica, Chief Sales Officer at Stream joins SalesTechStar for a casual chat on his experience navigating sales through Covid-19 while sharing a few top tips that can help boost sales and marketing performance during this global downtime.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Scott? What’s a day at work at Stream like?
A day in the life of Stream is constantly changing. Less than a year ago, I was the only seller, and now I have a team of four, plus a team of seven outbound sales. With fast growth comes fast change, which is why I love working for startups so much. My days now are spent mentoring salespeople, helping with big opportunities, assisting marketing with campaigns, and in general, constantly nudging the ship back on course.
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How are you remodeling your sales plans for 2021 given the dynamics of this year; what are some of the top tips you’d share with marketing and sales who are still finding ways to adapt to the challenges brought on by Covid-19?
COVID changed the landscape of the world in many ways. For our market, it forced companies to rapidly innovate, coming up with ways to do conferences, concerts, homeschooling, events, and more in a virtual way. Our chat product has been a lifesaver for these companies, as they could get to market with these new capabilities in a very short amount of time and create virtual experiences that allow people to still interact, conduct business, or have fun together remotely. We continue to innovate and gather feedback from our customers so we can navigate this new world together and support one another as we learn and grow.
How have you seen sales leaders rethink their sales processes and how they use technology to drive efforts during the last months as the Covid-19 pandemic progressed globally?
In general, our process hasn’t changed. We have always been a remote-first company, doing Zoom meetings, emails, and the like versus flying places for meetings, sales dinners, and the other things that were common in my earlier sales days. What has changed are things like sponsorships and events. With everything going virtual, you don’t have booths at trade shows, you have virtual booths online. Being a technology-first company, I feel lucky that we were already operating in a way that worked well in the pandemic.
Seeing that virtual events will be the go-to format for B2B events for the near-future, in what ways would you advise marketing and sales teams to capitalize on virtual events for their lead activities?
They should incorporate Stream Chat in all of their virtual experiences. Don’t be surprised – I’m in sales and had to throw in a pitch, haha!
Virtual events don’t need to try to simulate the real-world situation. Instead, they need to understand this is a new world and new experience. Innovative UI/UX, break-out sessions, virtual proximity technology, and other innovations are going to drive this sector. However, just like in the past, you need to find where your audience is going, find ways to get in front of them, and create a compelling story taking the current climate into account. We’ve just started experimenting with sponsoring and attending virtual events, so I’ll have more experience on this topic soon.
What are some of the biggest takeaways from your time in Sales and your use of salestech especially a top few that you’d like to share with us today?
I have always started simple and moved to complex only when required. Stream is a great example of this. In our early days, we used Hubspot for pretty much everything – marketing automation, outbound sequencing, support ticketing, customer success chat, and sales CRM. It was perfect for our size and needs, but as we grew our needs outgrew the ancillary capabilities of HubSpot. We still use them for marketing automation (and it’s amazing for that), but we have adopted Salesforce, Zendesk, and Outreach to give us capabilities that we couldn’t get otherwise. My main advice would be to always keep your ear to the ground. I get outbounded a lot, and I read most of them, especially when it’s a tech company with an innovative way to do something I care about. If you can find the next unicorn tech early and ride the wave, you’ll have a huge advantage. I’m probably giving away a secret here, but we recently adopted Demoflow, a game-changer in online sales meeting technology. They are super early, but very advanced, and they’ve already made my team more efficient, helped enforce best practices, and given me visibility into my team’s ability to present and guide a conversation.
When implementing new sales processes or campaigns, what are the top challenges you still see seasoned leaders in tech make?
I’ve done sales training in many processes, and the general takeaway is that they’re like a Venn diagram with a lot of overlap. They each have their differentiator, but for the most part, all cover the basics of best practices. Campaigns are harder. To do a campaign well you need to align several departments, which I think is the biggest challenge. You need content for both SEO and outbound sales. You need custom landing pages with CTAs that entice your audience. You need intelligent outbound sequences that speak to what that market cares about. You need to align paid to target intelligent keyword and phrases to drive traffic to your custom landing pages and credible content. Pulling all of that together has been – and will continue to be – the largest challenge in pulling off successful campaigns.
Some parting thoughts you’d like to share on the state of marketing and sales in 2021 and beyond…
This is old advice and is obvious when you hear it, but when you’re in the thick of it is often overlooked. If what you’re doing is working, do more. If it’s not, pivot. There’s a balance between giving something enough time to play out to see if it’s effective, versus spotting a failure and changing course quickly. Don’t get into analysis paralysis – get 80% of the way and make a decision. Startups know how to make decisions quickly, adapt, and change quickly or they fail. That same mentality of urgency can be applied everywhere and light a fire under people to find a way to succeed.
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Stream is the best-in-class chat and activity feed provider that serves over a billion end-users. Stream’s robust SDKs for iOS, Android, and Flutter, scalable and secure APIs, beautiful UI kit, and React and React Native components enable app product teams across industries to go to market in hours, not weeks, and experience unparalleled user engagement and retention. Headquartered in Boulder, Colo. and Amsterdam, Stream recently closed a $15 million Series A round led by GGV Capital.
Scott Lasica is Chief Sales Officer at Stream, where he manages and oversees all inbound and outbound sales activity. He has a breadth of experience in technology, climbing the ranks at Rogue Wave Software from Field Sales Engineer to Vice President of Field Technical Services, before joining Quick Left, where he would ultimately be named Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, Lasica was Head of Sales Operations for Cognizant Digital Business. Overall, Lasica has been involved in most departments, including sales, technical sales, marketing, product management, professional services, business development, research and development, and technical support; he has managed teams in many of these roles, as well as overseen all departments as COO. As a student at the University of Colorado Boulder, Lasica even worked on NASA-funded projects at LASP, writing code for interplanetary spacecraft such as Pioneer Venus, Galileo and Cassini. He has experience in a wide range of industries, and he’s comfortable in both startup and Fortune 500 environments. In addition to leading sales at Stream, Lasica is a Certified Yoga Instructor, and he teaches at a local yoga studio at least once per week.