SalesTech Interview With Steven Baker, President and Chief Revenue Officer at Brandfolder
Tell us about your journey in sales. What attracted you to be a part of Brandfolder?
My interest in sales started and is firmly rooted in sports. While winning Wimbledon didn’t work out, a sales career gave me the competition, goal chasing, and adversity that I was used to as a college athlete. Discovering the compensation plans of high achieving sales people didn’t hurt either. My interest in Brandfolder, first as an investor, was in 2011 and based purely on the people.
Luke Beatty and Chris Glode had me at “we have this new thing.” I was very aware of their record as Denver tech celebrities and I was eager to be in on their next windfall. My interest in joining the day to day came three years later when I recognized the gigantic opportunity in Digital Asset Management (DAM). I was working in Australia at the time and made the decision to go ‘all in’ on the concept, joining as CEO in February 2014.
What is Brandfolder and how could fast-growing sales companies leverage the platform better?
Brandfolder is the hot topic in the DAM space. Our cloud based platform is now helping over 4,000 brands store, distribute, and analyze digital brand assets of all flavors. For sales professionals, the use case is simple and yet dire. We need real-time access to ready-to-use sales collateral, decks, case studies, and other resources in a variety of formats.
Brandfolder allows sales people to self-serve marketing approved assets from one location from any browser on any device.
If not in the Sales industry, which other role would our readers have found you –
I always thought of Sales as the front line army in any given organization. That organization could be in any industry.
Back to the question – A pro tennis player.
How is Brandfolder different from other DAM platforms? How different is your Sales and Revenue management strategy?
Brandfolder is very different from other platforms. We manage digital files on a giant scale and our customers trust us to traffic their most precious creative. Therefore, our platform is extremely simple to use AND it’s the most visually elegant DAM.
Remember, we serve marketers and creatives, the most discerning bunch when it comes to picking software. We put a ton of resources into user experience both in the platform and in our onboarding process, which is very white glove.
Tell us about the core tenets of your sales management strategy. How does it empower your sales teams to deliver on the performance targets?
As a sales leader, the metric that I care most about is Rep Attrition. Sales people don’t hit their earning and contribution summit until their third year (at the earliest). It’s important to create an environment where reps want to stay. Comp plan design is a key factor and it needs to be simple, breakable, and aligned with company stage. Simple because reps need to know exactly where they stand in any given month, quarter, or year. Breakable means that the comp plan allows for a windfall pay out in any given commission cycle. And, Stage Alignment refers to aligning commissions with the near term goals of the company.
How should businesses accelerate their revenue? To what extent could sales technologies help maximize revenue?
The magic question.
It’s my belief that empowered, motivated sales reps are the key to any revenue growth strategy. The empowerment comes from technology and processes that allow goal achievement. Sales technologies now allow a level of empowerment that I never had in my young sales career. We’ve come a long way from a ‘site-seller’ bag and a stack of cards. Our sales people enjoy a wealth of tools that provide lead access, prospect information, industry triggers, and way more.
Which sales tech automation and tools do you use? How do they make your work easy?
Quite a long list here. Salesforce anchors our customer and prospect tech stack that includes DiscoverOrg, Ambition, Outreach, Hubspot, LinkedIn, DocuSign, and probably a few that I should cancel (now that I really look at the list).
What are the major pain points for sales-driven companies in leveraging automation and sales reporting tools?
- App Sprawl – It’s easy to approve a tool here and a tool there for specific use cases but over time you find yourself with an unmanageable number of apps.
- Bad data. Process drives the data. If all of your reps are using automation tools like CRM differently, your data is junk. Standardizing process is crucial to getting clean data.
- Onboarding new Reps – Onboarding can be extended if they have to learn a number of sophisticated sales tools.
What are your predictions and observations on the “Role of Chatbots and AI Conversations” influencing sales journeys?
My thoughts on this are extremely positive in the short term and rather grim in the long term. In the short term, these tools are awesome. Thanks to a chat bot, visitors to our website can be (mildy) qualified and routed to the correct rep with zero human interaction. This is extremely cost effective if you have high traffic to your site and reps are spending high percentages of their time in the logistics of scheduling meetings.
Long term, a bot is going to be a more effective sales person than any one of us can hope to achieve. Think of the digital rep of the future: unlimited outreach potential, round the clock prospecting, and precise data driven responses to objections. This thing would be a closer to say the least. The good news is we sales people still have a few years of touch-free geographic lead routing before we all lose our jobs to Siri.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a sales leader?
As I’ve mentioned, I’m bracing for it. I’m in constant awe of our data science team and what they are able to accomplish with AI and Machine learning in the Brandfolder Platform. As leaders we need to be readers. This is happening now and I want to be part of it rather than reading about it in a few years. We embrace AI in our platform as well as in our sales empowerment tools.
Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?
We sell to marketers and creatives so you’ll find me at MarTech events of all flavors. We love the Digital Summit Series and the always exciting Henry Stewart DAM conferences.
Your advice to salespeople in the AdTech/MarTech industry—
You’re lucky because you’re participating in the MarTech golden age. Digital strategies are getting more attention than ever and it’s your software and services that will decide many companies’ outcomes. Earning potential is high as companies continue to spend more on MarTech, specifically in the areas of AI, ML, and Data.
My advice is to stay and thrive at your existing org for over three years to open up new and larger opportunities in your sales career.
Tag a person whose answers to these questions would like to read from the industry?
Thank You, Steven, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.
Brandfolder is the world’s most powerfully simple digital asset management platform for storing, sharing, and showcasing assets. Organizations like Slack, Shazam, Denver Broncos, and HealthONE rely on Brandfolder to deliver consistent, organized, and efficient brand experiences.
A self-proclaimed startup junkie, Steve’s expertise is in selling technology. His previous role was with Denver startup NewsGator, where he expanded their enterprise business to the Australia and New Zealand markets. His focus at Brandfolder for the past two and a half years has been creating the Source of Truth for Brands all over the world. Outside of work, Steve is a “closet gamer,” runner (Steve completed the New York City Marathon in 2011), backpacker, and sports aficionado. He’ll also tell you where to find the best burritos in Denver.