SalesTechStar Interview with Tom Addis, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Kinetica
Tom Addis, Chief Revenue Officer at Kinetica joins us in this SalesTechStar interview to share his most successful sales and revenue generation tactics while also talking about creative ways for sales teams to optimize their strategies.
Catch the excerpts:
Tell us a little about yourself Tom, including your hobbies! You’ve just recently taken over as CRO at Kinetica, what are you most looking forward to in your new role here?
I live at the beach, so I enjoy most sports involving the ocean, or other outdoor activities. I also enjoy traveling and experiencing different cultures.
I joined Kinetica because it is a truly disruptive company, so being a leader with a phenomenal solution to sell allows me to grow an already amazing team into an even larger group that is focused on building the next great software company.
Given your years/expertise in the Tech Sales industry, we’d love to know about some of your most successful Sales/Revenue Generation Strategies.
The two most critical areas for a tech CEO are innovation and revenue growth. Innovation is the lifeblood of any tech company, and as it relates to revenue growth, there are only 5 areas you can leverage: New customer logo acquisition, expansion and upsell, geographic market expansion, new product introduction, and inorganic growth (acquisition). The first three areas a sales leader should look to optimize, and in the last two areas, you should be an active participant on your leadership team as you discuss the best option. If your company decides to grow revenue through new products or acquisition, be willing to increase the revenue expectation of your team(s).
What are some of the challenges you see in technology sales today, when it comes to how Sales initiates prospecting and sales conversations?
The biggest challenge we face today remains the same as it was when I started my career 30 years ago: time. Specifically, where do you decide to invest your time?
If I were a sales rep, I would spend more time researching my customers. We have more data available than ever before; thus we need to leverage that data to make the right decisions about when, where, and how to engage our customers and prospects. Today’s buyer expects you to know how your technology will help solve their company’s problems. If you don’t know the answer, keep working until you do.
Half of a salesperson’s battle is won with the right messaging and context: can you talk about some creative ways for technology sales professionals to optimize use of their salestech stack to achieve this?
Leverage technologies that offer a complete view of your customer; don’t focus solely on an individual’s title and place in the company org chart. Glassdoor offers great insight to a company’s culture and challenges. I also like DataBook, a company with a unique solution that offers context to the applicability of your tech at a prospect’s account.
If you could change 5 (mundane) things about enterprise sales in the B2B/technology sales marketplace, what would they be?
I love the promise of disruptive digital technology, as our solutions should offer our customers a competitive advantage.
How have you seen the role of the typical B2B/tech salesperson evolve over the years? What are some of the traits/skills you feel more of today’s sales teams should imbibe given market dynamics and the changing salestech landscape?
Today’s technology stack is much more integrated than ever before. Customers value interoperability, and they expect technologies they purchase to openly and securely share data. The integrated stack requires us to understand a wider breadth of technologies and how they interact with our solutions.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
George Hu, COO of Twilio
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and sales/leaderships books you’d suggest every B2B salesperson reads.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing a great book about leading in difficult times. Every manager will have a time in their career where the path forward will be difficult. I look back to the start of the “Great Recession,” when I was working at salesforce.com, and it became clear that the next year would be very difficult for us and our customers. At our core leadership offsite, Marc Benioff asked us to come up with our strategy moving forward. We all shared our thoughts on how to weather the storm, and Marc listened to our feedback, categorized our thoughts, and calmly explained how we would move forward. Although I appreciated the strategy, it was how Marc led the company and executed on the plan moving forward that made a lasting impression. A few years later, the company I was working for was going through severe competitive pressures, and I was struggling to keep our team together. I found Shackelton’s journey to be incredibly poignant.
Tell us about some of the top sales/salestech other events that you’ll be participating in (as a speaker or guest!) in 2020!
I have already participated in a CRO roundtable at Threshold Ventures, and I am looking forward to the Gartner conferences in London and Texas.
The Kinetica Active Analytics Platform combines streaming and historical data with location intelligence and machine learning-powered analytics. Organizations across automotive, energy, telecommunications, retail, healthcare, financial services, and beyond leverage Kinetica’s GPU-accelerated computing power to build custom analytical applications that deliver immediate, dynamic insight. Kinetica has a rich partner ecosystem, including NVIDIA, Dell, HP, and IBM, and is privately held, backed by leading global venture capital firms Canvas Ventures, Citi Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures, and Meritech Capital Partners.
Tom has spent 30 years successfully developing and expanding business across the tech sector, most recently as the senior vice president and general manager of field operations at Box. During his time at Box, Tom led operations and expansion of the company’s enterprise sales organization in North America, taking their revenue from $20 million to $700 million. Prior to joining Box, he was vice president at Salesforce.com and held leadership roles at Siebel Systems (Oracle) and IBM.