SalesTech Interview with Brandon Atkinson, Chief Operating Officer at Monetate
Tell us about your journey into technology. What made you join Monetate?
I’ve been in technology for the majority of my career. From my first job with The New York City Department of Technology to joining my first startup during the dot-com boom of the 90s, Monetate is now the fifth startup I’ve been a part of. I come from a legacy of small businesses that have grown and scaled during my tenure, such as ACS now owned and operated by Zerox, as well as Opsware, which was acquired by HP for $1.6 billion.
This means building out teams of successful people, that go on to drive successful business outcomes, is something I’m deeply passionate about. Monetate CEO Stephen Collins was the first of one of many exciting new hire decisions made by the company, which immediately caught my attention. With more senior executives due to join the Monetate team, this was clearly a place I wanted to be.
Whilst you can never underestimate the importance of a strong team to drive successful business outcomes, the business model must be equally ambitious and forward-thinking. With the rise of big data and AI, one-to-one personalization will soon shift into a hyper-growth phase in the same way AdTech has done in recent years, and that’s a space I want to be in.
How is your role at Monetate different from the ones you had earlier in other companies?
My role at Monetate is really a combination of the various roles I’ve played across several startups. I’m now responsible for the Customer Success Group, as well as the Product Management and people groups. Here, I get to truly leverage the things I love to do, which is to think creatively about how to forge vibrant, high-performing organizations.
How do you leverage various people functions with Sales Technology and intelligence?
Organizations that are most successful are those that realize success starts with human beings. Directly or indirectly, work that involves all employees and allows them to reach their fullest potential garners the best results. Whether it’s in Sales or Services or Engineering, creating an environment where people can be their most authentic selves, is something I continually strive for. This is the foundation from which all good products and outcomes are born. A bottom-up mentality is crucial for maintaining high performance, and it all starts with the individual.
How do you differentiate Customer Success and Customer Service? How have these changed in the past 5 years with better tools for personalization and conversation?
A Customer Services Group is focused on giving the customer what they want, whereas Success Groups are about deciphering how to equip customers with what they need, which is fundamentally different. With Success Groups, every action is tied to ultimately, driving success at the business level, and meeting a company’s overall objectives.
What must be common among these two functions, is hiring people that truly want to see customers be successful and a willing mindset to tackle the problems standing in the way of this.
What is the sales culture that you represent? Why is it important to build a sales-focused culture for any business?
The only reason to sell is because you believe you’ll create business value for customers. This means that the culture must start with selling for the right reasons and people must not be afraid to walk away if they don’t see value in the long term. At Monetate, we have a long-term commitment to Customer Success.
What are your predictions and observations on the “Role of Chatbots and AI Conversations” influencing sales journeys?
For businesses that have a transactional sales cycle, this can be a really effective way to engage customers and I’ve witnessed businesses be extremely successful in this space. For Monetate, as a B2B enterprise software, chatbots are a less effective tool, given the complex nature of our solution.
My Sales Magnifier
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Customer Success leader?
The Monetate platform is powered by AI and it is this technology that enables the platform to most effectively personalize customer experience for brands on their websites. This means that all my employees on the Customer Success side, must understand and be equipped with the analytic tool kit needed to ensure success. An inherently analytically driven role, it’s crucial our Customer Success leaders understand this tool in order to best represent it.
Your advice to Customer Success executives and salespeople in the ad tech industry?
With regards to both the AdTech and personalization space, I would say that a common thread among the companies that are successful is their desire and ability to hire outside of their chosen industry. Taking the programmatic space as one example, the majority of people previously working in the field didn’t necessarily have the deeply analytical quantitative mindset needed to secure more customers.
The methodology needs to be focused on DNA hiring, which I classify as identifying the core characteristics needed to drive success for the business, irrespective of where they went to school, or what industry they’re originally from. Being bold with your hiring decisions in this way, will ultimately, help your business get to where it wants to be, at the fastest pace.
Thank You, Brandon. We hope to see you again, soon.
Monetate, the global leader in personalization software for consumer-facing brands, enables marketers to create truly individual experiences that surprise and delight every customer, increasing engagement and improving performance. Founded in 2008, with offices in the U.S. and Europe, Monetate is used by leading brands around the world and influences billions of dollars in revenue every year for QVC, Newegg, Timberland, Carnival, The North Face, and hundreds of other market leaders.
Chief Operating Officer at Monetate, Inc, Brandon is a senior executive with broad global business leadership experience in start-ups and public companies. He is known as a talent developer with a passion for building high-performing teams with powerful cultures.