Sales Ops Leaders: Interview with Matt Cameron

Welcome to Sales Ops Leaders, an interview series featuring sales ops professionals in all industries, company sizes, and stages of their career.  We’re featuring leaders who work in all aspects of sales operations as a way to learn from each other, answer tough questions, and connect the sales ops community.

This week we’re featuring Matt Cameron, a leading voice in sales productivity. Matt is the founder of SaaSy Sales Mangement which provides training, mentorship, and community to sales professionals. He’s also a managing partner at SalesOps Central, advising high-growth companies on sales operations and strategy. His experience is backed by sales leadership roles at startup and high-growth companies in the Bay Area. Describe your career progression and how it has led you to where you are now as a sales coach.

Matt: I started out thinking I was going to be a Computer Hardware Engineer.  Back in the early nineties, we studied electrotechnology, assembler programming, and all the first principles behind circuit design at a time when it still made financial sense to remove integrated circuit chips from motherboards to repair them! The turning point for me was when I was at IBM working part-time as a technician to fund my studies, when my boss came over one day and said, “You know what, you are a pretty ordinary technician, and you talk a lot…you should go into marketing.” I took him at his word and studied management and marketing, which led to a paid internship at Hewlett-Packard in New Zealand, where I grew up. After spending time with the sales team and enjoying their fancy expense accounts and cool phones (Motorola bricks), I knew sales was for me. My jobs went like this: Hardware Distribution Account Manager (learned relationship selling), Systems integration Account Manager (learned complex account management and enterprise sales), and then to ‘Outsourcing’ new business sales for Electronic Data Systems where we chased $20M three year deals that had 12-18 month sales cycles! All of this by the age of 27, when I moved to Australia and did consulting for four years ahead of joining to help build their Enterprise Sales engine in Australia and New Zealand. In 2010, I moved to San Francisco and spent 6 years working with a variety of startups, including running global inside sales for Yammer, ahead of an acquisition by Microsoft. Something I learned very early on is that I love selling solutions to line of business or executive leaders and don’t have as much passion for selling tech to the tech buyer; you have to know what you like. The biggest impact for me along the way has been investment in the language of business – I did a 2-year Diploma in Finance, which has really helped with C-Suite credibility as we discuss project justifications. What are the key metrics you look for to demonstrate sales operations ROI?

Matt: It is VERY simple:

  • The Sales Velocity formula: (# of opportunities x Average deal size x Win ratio) / Sales cycle in days
  • The ‘sales component’ of CAC What are your ‘must have’ tools for running an effective sales operations team?

Matt: To run the team, I think the following are necessary:

  • A planning tool that allows for adjustments and scenario analysis; in the bad old days, this was simply a convoluted set of Excel workbooks
  • A project management tool
  • A business intelligence tool that is connected to core systems (CRM, CPQ, and Finance)
  • A communications tool that keeps key conversations in one place What’s a trend you see impacting the sales profession the most?

Matt: The commodification (through automation) of prospecting.  The concept of a trusted network will become increasingly important as people defend themselves from incoming contact requests due to the overload that has occurred through automation:  Auto-Dialers, Sales Engagement tools, Linkedin auto-requesters etcetera. Whenever a new channel/approach has been defined, technology has found a way to overwhelm it. ‘Inbound’ was the panacea a few years ago, but then content marketers jumped on it with what I call “The new spam:” content created for SEO by under-qualified, generic writers who produce dozens of pieces a day with limited value and usually a paraphrasing of something else that already exists on the internet.The way forward here will be private social networks and peer groups who provide a filter/screen for all this noise.  ‘In real life’ relationships will be increasingly important. This presents a huge challenge for the SMB space because we can’t invest in enough relationships and these buyers will become increasingly difficult to engage, which is why I think that ‘product led growth’ is really accelerating in leaps and bounds as a strategy.

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.

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