SalesTech Star Interview With Jeff Friedman, VP of Sales at Phunware
Jeff Friedman, Vice President of Sales at Phunware Inc. a pioneer of Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS), fully integrated enterprise cloud platform for mobile joins us in this SalesTech interview to talk about his experience building and training high-performing Sales teams while also sharing his biggest experiences from his time in B2B/Tech Sales.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Jeff and a little about your professional journey so far.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I went to college in Arizona and knew that I had a passion for marketing, but with the growing interest in the internet, I also followed my other passion into tech. This led to my degree(s) in Computer Information Systems, Marketing and a minor in psychology. At the time, I felt that having a diverse background would allow me to do more once I graduated.
You’ve spent a lot of time in Sales! What have been some of your biggest (top 5!) sales takeaways over the years?
- Helping transform the media industry from Traditional (Radio, TV, Print) to Non-Traditional (Digital). I was tasked with helping Cox Media increase advertising spend with local and national customers into a new digital product. The industry as a whole was against digital media and most of the folks selling traditional media did not believe in its value. After several years, I was able to drive over 100M in new revenue (locally) and help train 29 other newspaper properties to sell the new platform. This led to an opportunity within Cox Enterprises to go national and educate all radio / TV platforms to invest in digital.
- Leading a digital recruitment team to a top 5 national ranking. When I first arrived at the Statesman the recruitment division was an inbound sales group for job listings. When I took over the group, I re-trained the team to focus on an outbound strategy and to meet with their customers direct. This led to a top 5 ranking against 200+ US markets for 5 of the 7 years I was at the Statesman.
- Creating a new sales team that was originally focused on account management vs going direct. The success of this team was based on mentorship, 1:1 coaching, sales development, creating tools and programs based on customer focus groups, customer driven conferences, increased efficiencies within sales support, and an outbound sales strategy. In the end we were able to increase revenue by $700M in two years.
- Rolling up my sleeves and selling direct personally. When I first got out of college, I started working for a small tech company in Los Angeles, that was committed to creating the first websites for the retail industry. With the internet growing in the 90’s, I knew that selling product through a catalogue was not going to be the industries future. I started out by first creating a value proposition for the SMB space, then I focused on major brands; that you would find in a traditional mall or had a stand-alone location (i.e. Home Depot, Cabela’s). After committing myself to this endeavor, I was able to land 700 accounts and 37 of the top 50 retail companies in my first year.
- Seeing all the talent over the years that I have managed or worked with, advance in their careers. This one is one the things that I am most proud about, because my biggest highlights don’t always come from when people make the most money within their role, but what they have gained in new skill sets that can be used in a future role. Many of the folks that I have been fortunate to work with have gone on to greater success in management and in their careers. I don’t see myself as really an expert, but someone who focuses on personal development and success. Too many times over my career, I have seen horrible bosses try to lead, but their biggest mistake is that they don’t see the human side of the business; which can be your greatest asset. It does not matter how big or small the company/team I have led over the years, my commitment is the same and the results continue to speak for themselves.
In the tech marketing and sales environment, what are some of the common challenges you’ve observed and what are the innovative steps you’ve taken to overcome them?
One of the biggest mistakes that I have found over the years came from the companies that I worked for, were not willing to change or evolve with the times. My favorite comments that I have heard have been: “this is way we have always done it” or “change will be too difficult to implement.” This reminds me what the retail industry is going through now. Its sad to watch the traditional side of the business fail, since they were either too late to the game or not willing to change at all. On the other side for me, I look at that as an opportunity for me to come in help. I love challenges and love when people tell me no or this cant be done. It just makes me want to work harder.
For BDRs and SDRs: what are some of the top tips or prospecting/cold calling advice you’d share?
- Never settle for the bare minimum.
- Commit to a daily schedule, never change your routine. In running, we use to always say, “if you missed 1 day of training, it was like missing two,” which means you can lose your momentum and now you have to play catch up, which can affect your short/long term goals.
- Don’t focus on the awards, focus on yourself and the rest will come in time.
- Think outside the box when prospecting and not just the standard: call, email, call, email…
What SalesTech tools do you use or what would you advice B2B/Tech Sales teams to use more to help achieve core goals?
- Salesforce (CRM)
- Slack (Internal Communication)
- Hoopla (Performance Management Tool)
- Whiteboards (Great for Brainstorming Sessions!)
What according to you are the top 5 things that B2B/Tech Sales leaders should always keep in mind when planning a Sales Strategy/Campaign for the launch of a new Tech tool/new Tech Product?
- Is there a want v/s a need?
- What is the addressable market in which you are looking to target?
- Who are your competitors and how do you stack up against their price, value, products, process, and people (talent is something people forget about)?
- Do you focus on inside or outside to meet your goals?
- What budgets do you have in place to hire talent, promote your product, drive leads, and reach new customers?
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
- Mark Cuban
- Kevin O’Leary
- Daymond John
- Robert Herjavec
- Barbara Corcoran
- Elon Musk
- Lori Greiner
- Marcus Lemonis
- Phil Knight
- Warren Buffett
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote
- “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” -Vince Lombardi
- “High expectations are the key to everything.” -Sam Walton
- “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein
- “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” -Vince Lombardi
- “Accept failure as part of the process.” -Unknown
Phunware, Inc. (NASDAQ: PHUN), is the pioneer of Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS), an award-winning, fully integrated enterprise cloud platform for mobile that provides companies the products, solutions, data and services necessary to engage, manage and monetize their mobile application portfolios and audiences globally at scale. Phunware’s Software Development Kits (SDKs) include location-based services, mobile engagement, content management, messaging, advertising, loyalty (PhunCoin & Phun) and analytics, as well as a mobile application framework of pre-integrated iOS and Android software modules for building in-house or channel-based mobile application and vertical solutions. Phunware helps the world’s most respected brands create category-defining mobile experiences, with more than one billion active devices touching its platform each month.
Jeff is a senior-level Sales executive with extensive experience leading sales operations and generating millions of dollars in growth for small / medium size start-ups to Fortune 500 firms.