Fireside Friday with Matt Green
Sales Assembly: What's your current role and what does your company do?
Matt: I'm currently the SVP at Techweek. Our mission is to support tech entrepreneurship outside of Silicon Valley, and the primary way that we accomplish this is by organizing and executing a 5 day conference in 9 cities across the U.S. and Canada that brings together CEOs and Founders of private growth stage tech companies, investors and thought leaders.
Sales Assembly: Give us your quick background in sales
Matt: After spending close to a decade building and leading teams in the wealth management industry, I joined a small investment bank and was involved in raising money for early stage companies across the country. Occasionally acting as an interim Head of Sales, I eventually took the plunge and dove full time into building and leading sales teams for a hyper-growth startup in Chicago and have been working in the tech startup space since.
Sales Assembly: What's the biggest challenge facing a sales rep today, and how would you recommend they overcome it?
Matt: The very nature of the tech space has bred an environment where serious competition to your product can and does pop up overnight. Couple this with the fact that today's buyers are much more critical and well-informed, the challenge for a sales rep is finding a balance between highlighting the differentiators in your product (without risking analysis paralysis) and focusing on the relationship building component of a sale.
Sales Assembly: Do you have a mentor when it comes to sales, or have you ever? If so, who, and what did they teach you?
Matt: I think that sales leaders can often live in a sort of bubble, in that they tend to only seek feedback from other sales leaders. This is natural of course. I've personally found more value in working with mentors that are accomplished leaders in the finance and operational aspects of the business.
The mentor I value most right now is a CFO/COO that's had multiple exits, and I tend to run most of my ideas by him. Given his lack of experience on the sales side but wealth of experience in other critical areas, he challenges my ideas in a much different way than I'm used to yet it is a way that's critical to building a business as a whole. We may not always agree, but I don't think we've ever had a conversation where I didn't learn something or, at a minimum, look at what I was doing through a different filter than I'm used to.
That's the kind of stuff that gets me out of bed in the morning.
Sales Assembly: What's the best sales book you've ever read? What business/sales book are you reading now?
Matt: I'm in the middle of reading "Predictable Revenue" by Aaron Ross at the moment. My CEO, Amanda Signorelli, has been busting my chops over the past few months to dive into it. She was right to do so - it's great so far.
Sales Assembly: What's the best advice you'd give to someone just starting a career in sales?
Matt: This is a people business and relationships matter exponentially more than the rating of your product may be half a star lower than that of your competitors.
Sales Assembly: Do you see any interesting future trends as it pertains to sales?
Matt: As buyers become more intelligent and informed, new AI and data analytic solutions are being developed for sales reps to continue to give them an edge. I'd love to be able to fast-forward to 5 years from now just to get a glimpse of all of the sales enablement tools that would be at our disposal.
Sales Assembly: What qualities do you look for in a potential new hire?
Matt: It's become a cliche by now, but whether or not someone is going to be a great culture fit is what I value most. By and large, sales is sales and any decent sales leader can coach an AE or Account Manager on the skills and abilities he or she will need to succeed in that particular organization. I personally don't look for rockstar salespeople, rather I look for rockstar team members.