Talent Acquisition and Culture Critical to Sales Success in 2018 and Beyond!

Becoming digitally savvy and putting the customer experience first will ultimately lead to better sales over time. If a brand can be successful online, it can be successful across all geographies, online.

Recently, Decibel Insight launched The Digital Experience Score (DXS). DXS is an important metric to measure customer experience online for better sales conversions. In an interview with Mike Tumalty, Global VP Inside Sales at Decibel Insight, we learn more about DXS, acquiring and retaining best talent, and the role of AI in sales technology landscape.

Tell us about your journey in sales and how you reached Decibel Insight.

I started my career in sales as a 10-year-old when I would sell my Marbles, Conkers or Soccer (Panini) stickers to my brothers, friends or school classmates. I’ve had the sales bug since a very early age and generating extra pennies and pounds was always a habit of mine.

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I started my official career in sales working at a small family heating company, booking appointments for our engineers, as well as selling heating boilers and parts. My first corporate sales role was working for Cable & Wireless Communications, the cable and telecoms company, where I progressed very quickly from inbound order taking through to leading the outbound sales team of more than 100 people, before taking on my true passion with a role in sales management.

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My love for working in technology began with a position at Sage Software, where I ran a sales team in Manchester, England and then in London. I moved then on to Equifax where I spent four years leading three business unit sales teams in the UK and Ireland. My career defining role was with ServiceNow, a company that was on a hypergrowth journey. There, I started off managing seven representatives before building the business both in EMEA, APJ, and the U.S.

After four years, I had grown my team to 110 people and built a $300 million demand and sales contribution. The next role I held was at Panaya, an Israeli testing and impact analysis company, where I built a team in the UK and the US.

With my position at Decibel now, I’m faced with another opportunity to build a second career-defining role. We have a phenomenal set of loyal and vocal customers, a very passionate employee base who are on this journey of growth with us and a product set unparalleled in the market.

If not in sales, where and which industry would you have most likely built your career?

In school, I wanted to be a professional soccer player but, like most aspiring athletes, I did not have the skill to take me to the big leagues. I always wanted to be a jet pilot but was afraid of flying. My passion for sports and English at school could have also led me to be a sports journalist, but I’m happy to be on the career path I’ve created for myself in sales.

What is Decibel Insight for Sales teams and how different is it from other Customer Intelligence platforms?

Decibel allows brands to have the most optimal digital experience, which enables sales teams to be confident in reaching their goals. If a sales team can’t rely on offering a good website that will lead the customer to make the purchase, then the sale could be lost altogether. With Decibel, sales teams can quickly identify the “why” behind a prospect’s digital behavior, allowing them to intervene in real time to ensure the sale can reach completion.

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Decibel’s DXS allows brands to benchmark against their success which enables sales teams to take note of when the improvement sales coincide with an improvement in online customer experiences. It has become more and more imperative that sales teams – B2B or B2C – understand user frustrations on their website, given the end goal will always be to make a sale, and the ability to do so when a user has a poor website experience associated with the brand is virtually impossible.

Is the Customer Intelligence for Sales ecosystem in the US different from its European counterpart?

In the US and the UK, the digital transformation gap is closing, with more businesses across all geographies understanding the importance of offering an impeccable online customer experience for all departments of an organization, including sales. A company must ensure digital maturity – benchmarking their progress over time – to enable an ultimate, digital-first business. Becoming digitally savvy and putting the customer experience first will ultimately lead to better sales over time. If a brand can be successful online, it can be successful across all geographies, online.

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What are the challenges to leading a successful high-return sales team in 2018?

The biggest challenges that sales leaders face is acquiring the right talent and producing an environment where that talent can not only be successful but thrive.

Getting the blend of talent is equally important, having a mix of raw and experienced talent are the ideal ingredients.

Having the best sales stack of tools to assist the sales teams is a must; brute force no longer works at scale. Sales leaders need to provide their teams with the tools to do the best possible job in an era where people have become most sensitive to sales calls.

Tell us about the core tenets of your sales management strategy? How does it empower your sales teams to deliver on the performance targets?

My strategy never changes, but the tactics in support of the strategy do. The strategy consists of three pillars: talent, pipeline and excellence. If brands feed their businesses with the right blend of talent and create the environment needed to be successful, they will invariably build a strong, consistent pipeline. With excellence, it’s important to recognize it when you see it and then repeat it.

How do you consume information on the latest technology news and sales updates?

Unlike most people, I have a four-hour commute every day, where I spend time listening to podcasts, reading tech collateral and following my own trusted sources on social media for insights and trends.

How do automation and intelligence tools help you and your team to drive sales?

My team uses many tools to help drive sales, including Salesforce and DiscoverOrg, a data tool but our key automation tool is Salesloft. This tool helps make our team more efficient and productive. Since implementation, the team activities levels have increased exponentially.

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How do they make your work easy?

The tools we use in our day-to-day efforts provide our team with structure, speed, and visibility. Nothing falls through the cracks with our lead follow-up and our prospecting activities. We have complete visibility into every (sales) activity, which enables me, as the sales leader, to run different plays to uncover even more pipeline and sales for the business.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a sales leader?

AI means different things to different people, so as a leader, I will read, listen and educate myself on the latest trends in the technology. Asking technology vendors for trials and POC’s of tools proclaiming AI capabilities can always be a helpful tool in understanding the latest AI-enabled technologies. Understanding what works best for the business helps to prepare for the future of this technology. Understand how the technology can boost your output whilst not disrupting the environment you have built.

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Which events and webinars do you most occasionally attend and why?

The events and webinars that I attend are on a reactive basis. When I see guest speakers or events that are of interest to me professionally or personally, I will register and attend. SaaStr is a great source of content and hosts events that I regularly attend.

Your advice to salespeople in the ad tech industry

Educate yourself on your customers, their objectives, problems, goals and understand how your solution can assist them. Know your customer’s intentions and the “why?” behind their behavior.

Thank you, Mike, for chatting with us on Sales Technology and your journey in the adtech industry!