Interview by BRADY EVAN WALKER
Working in Enterprise Business Development what are your responsibilities?
In my position, I introduce enterprise organizations to Persado and sell into the organization.
This process requires three things:
The first is educating any stakeholder that could be involved with this technology. Whether someone is a copywriter or P&L owner, the whole team needs to understand what Persado does.
Second, I need to show the value that Persado brings to an organization. I have to make a case for our technology to the economic buyer, whose main responsibility is to expand the margin of return for their line of business through marketing and technology.
Last, as we go through the proof-of-value process, the third part is to be the account representative through the entire process. So I’m leading that project internally and externally until the deal closes. We are the face of the company from the start of when we engage in any relationship.
What brought you to Persado?
A good friend of mine who worked at Bain introduced me to Lawrence Whittle, our former CRO.
What did you do before Persado?
I worked for a small tech company called Database International Group which provided SaaS to big building companies, stadiums/arenas, and portfolio-building management companies.
Before DIG, I created a ski product that allowed skiers to more easily get into their ski boots. The product is called EazyOn. For two years I drove around the country selling into ski stores. The product did well, but it was a product, not a business. I ended up selling the formula and distribution rights to a German ski distribution company.
Are you a big skier?
Yes. I went to a boarding school in Vermont to ski race. It’s a winter sports academy, so basically if you were an Alpine ski racer, a snowboarder, or a Nordic skier, you go there, ski in the morning and go to school at night.
Did you go to college up there?
I went to Babson College, which has been ranked #1 for entrepreneurship in the country for 24 consecutive years! I was passionate about skiing and dedicated half my life to the sport. When I considered a skiing career, I thought it would be fun but I would be broke. I didn’t like that idea much. I was already interested in understanding how businesses work, how business models change, how one might start a business from scratch. That was what inspired me to go to Babson. My Father being an entrepreneur probably influenced me in that direction as well.
So entering the workforce from an early career as an entrepreneur, was that primarily one for self-education purposes or was it a financial security thing?
One-hundred percent self-education. I created a product and business plan from scratch pretty easily. I think the hardest thing that any business has to face is the execution. So the “What now?” When you invest all your money into a product that looks like a bunch of brown boxes, how do you go out and sell it? That was unnatural to me. When I looked at the skills that I wanted to develop, the ones required to sell effectively, to convey value, are some of the more important ones if I wanted to build a business again.
How did you get started with BUILD.org?
A friend of mine introduced me to it. BUILD.org teaches high school students entrepreneurial skills. It’s like Babson’s first-year curriculum, but for high school students and a bit lower level. It seemed like a natural fit, and I wanted to see how I could help. The kids have to develop a product or prototype, pitch it, request funding, and create a detailed business plan. It’s just the coolest organization. These 14-year-olds pitch their business ideas, and it’s mind blowing. Some of them are so talented already, it just blows me away.
What are some of the most memorable pitches you’ve seen from these kids?
This one girl pitched a glow-in-the-dark bomber jacket. I’m ordering one for my cousin. Her pitch was that kids have a problem. Their curfew is when the streetlights come on. But if you have a glow-in-the-dark jacket, maybe your mom will let you stay out later. So she created this jacket.
What was most interesting was when I asked, “So what’s next?” And she goes off, “Oh, I’m creating hats next. Then I’m gonna do t-shirts. I’m gonna take this money, sell all the bomber jackets, and grow into a glow-in-the-dark enterprise.” Just seeing this little girl’s practical but cool idea felt incredible.
What do you thinks makes a salesperson particularly good at their job?
Telling a good story, building a great business case for their business, developing business acumen, being positive and supportive of the team you are trying to sell, and SMILING A LOT. 🙂
Favorite album of the moment?
I’ll plug my roommate’s fantastic band, Satellite Mode, instead.
Favorite TV show?
Congratulations, by the way. You were just awarded as a Rising Star by Marketing EDGE! Feel good?
I’m incredibly humbled by the team that selected me. The idea of winning the award was presented to me by a current client. Really, I was just the person who introduced them to our company to help him and his organization. I believe this vote is a vote of confidence for our technology (more so than me), the results it drives, and the value it creates. Some of our clients were also on the selection committee, so they get it. They know that Persado is changing marketing. I think that’s why I won more than anything — because we’re doing big things.