SalesTechStar Interview with Joe Caprio, VP of Sales at Chorus.ai
Joe Caprio, Vice President of Sales at Chorus.ai shares some innovative sales tactics and interesting tips on integrating your martech/salestech stack in this QnA:
Can you tell us about your professional career in sales or SaaS?
While I’ve worked both in and out of the tech industry, I have been committed to sales. After graduating from Bentley University, I started my professional career at Priority Capitol which helped thousands of businesses across the country by financing their equipment and helping them maximize their earnings potential.
- Then, In 2005 I worked as a District Sales Manager for Crown Uniform, a family business started more than 90 years ago, and a leading provider of work uniforms and linen services in New England ever since.
- At InsightSquared, I started as a Sales Director and wrapped up my time as VP Inside Sales, which brought me to Chorus.ai.
Today I’m VP, Sales at Chorus, which is the #1 Conversation Intelligence Platform for high-growth sales team.
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
We’re a rapidly growing startup. I’m wearing multiple hats until I fill out my full staff, and capturing as much market share as I can while still building my company.
So, day-to-day is really pretty packed. I live by my google calendar, and it’s typically back to back 30 and 60 minute meetings.
I spend 1/3rd of my time engaging with customers. This is my favorite part of the job. I learn so much from customers, like what motivates them and how to better pitch and support, but I also learn what drives my market. For example, I can uncover the biggest and most important challenges my customers are working through. This allows me to ensure everything I build and produce is in line with my customers’ needs.
Another third of my time is direct interaction with my team; both my sellers and my peer group of other dept. heads. I spend a lot of my energy ensuring the entire team is fully up to speed and coached up on what we’re working to accomplish. This takes the form of 1:1s with sales team members, group meetings with dept. heads, and training sessions for the group.
The final third of my life is spent in excel, google sheets, and powerpoint. I’m working to build a business here, and blocking out enough ‘admin time’ to build and track progress against plans is very important.
What are some of the predictions you have for the B2B Sales/Sales Industry?
2020 is not the year of the robot. We’ve made so much progress since I first started in sales, and technology has been the biggest driver of that progress. And I know the rate of iteration increases forever, but we still have a long way to go before the average company would trust their brand and reputation to be fully automated.
Also, In 2020 I see less focus on the ‘cost’ of sales tech and more emphasis on the ROI or outcome. We’re starting to have more respect for the multiplier effect or efficiency gains you can get from these tools. So, the tech stack will continue to grow, rather than shrink as long as the efficiency follows.
Last, I know that some brand teams today are designing content and messaging specifically for the ‘new’ generation of technology buyers, but for me it’s more of an overall shift in the way we do business in the sales industry. I can’t imagine the older generations in my family doing business the way modern sales teams do now. The entire dynamic has changed, and I think that makes it really easy for us to fail to realize this messaging/tactics shift has already begun in earnest. If brands in 2020 don’t realize that this shift is necessary, they’ll surely fall behind.
While building/forming a Sales Team, what are some of the top points/tips that you’d suggest teams always keep in mind?
Two big tickets ideas for me –
First, your plan will break, often in the very first month or quarter after you publish it. Brace for this. You have to build in monitoring and tracking through the data. You have to stay on top of your actuals compared to your plan, so you can spot the moment it deviates and take corrective action.
Second, people matter. I love watching people grow into roles. This is one of the most rewarding things for me personally. However, you need to make sure you’re hiring enough experience from the start. You can’t build a winning team with all first timers. Make sure you’re recruiting enough seasoned veterans to help the rookies pick things up quickly.
Can you tell us about some innovative sales tactics you’ve run at Chorus.ai?
I sell sales execution to sales professionals ,so my target buyer is head of sales or sales enablement. That means that my team really has to perform.
Here’s the pressure point: if I can’t get my own sales team to execute properly, how can I expect my customers to trust us to improve their teams??
So at Chorus, we’ve built out a ton of really impactful ways to expose what it means to sell properly.
We deploy a very structured sales process here and we use technology to help ensure the humans follow the program. We have tight inspection loops with management.
But the secret? Well, it’s not a secret: We ultimately use our product. Our software records and analyzes every sales interaction. We get very clear insight into where and why the sales motion breaks and where it succeeds.
Can you share some best practices when it comes to choosing the right Sales Tech tool? what should teams keep in mind?
SaaS platforms typically see about 10% of their features get adopted. This means that when choosing a vendor, you have to plan for things to break. Who will be there when things go sideways? So my focuses include partnership and support are equally, and also reviewing roadmaps.
What are the top factors teams should keep in mind when it comes to integrating their Sales Tech tool with other marketing/sales products within the organization?
It’s really more than just features. You have a business problem and this should shape the required capabilities of your new tech.
But beyond capabilities and technical specifications, there are real human workflows and work routines that will need to change once you onboard your tool. Ensuring that the front line employees, their management, and the sales ops/tool teams are all aware, bought in, and ready to make these changes is extremely important.
What’s your smartest sales hack that you’d like to share with the audience?
If this is not the first time that we’ve met, I reference our previous engagement in the first 90 seconds.
I do this because buyers get frustrated when they’re not heard. I make a point to emphasize that I’m a seller that truly listens. I take notes from meetings and I review them before we meet again, and I actually shape my engagement around what you’ve told me.
Being explicit about this approach helps your customer learn to trust you. All sales reps should prioritize active listening.
Chorus.ai is a leading Conversation Intelligence platform for sales teams that helps unlock relevant insights to help your team close more deals and ramp reps faster.
Joe Caprio is VP, Sales at Chorus.ai and believes customer conversations are a company’s most underutilized asset. Successful businesses spend a significant amount of time engaging with their prospects and customers through online meetings. Every one of these conversations includes pivotal opportunities to improve those customer relationships and to capture best practices worth replicating in the future.