During our search for a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Deloitte named SalesLoft the 7th fastest growing technology in North America due to our more than 13,000% revenue growth over the past few years. You might think this rate of growth might intimidate CRO candidates, but for Sean Murray, growing revenue even faster is exactly the type of challenge he was looking for.
Sean Murray officially joined SalesLoft as its first CRO last month, and we recently had a chance to sit down with Sean and share this post to officially introduce him to our community and welcome him to the SalesLoft family.
1. Welcome to the SalesLoft family, Sean. Let’s start with the most obvious question, “Why SalesLoft?”
I first learned about SalesLoft from my wife who also works in sales and uses the software at her company. I later became a customer at my previous employer, where we implemented SalesLoft for our fast-growing, global sales team. I was immediately impressed by the SalesLoft Platform, but even more impressed by the company’s vision and mission for advancing the profession of sales.
As the leader of a global sales organization in my last role, I experienced first hand the benefits of using the platform – specifically growing our pipeline by 35 percent while maintaining our conversion rates. We were able to add volume while maintaining quality – which had a lot to do with our improved ability to personalize our interactions with customers using the SalesLoft Platform. It really helped us differentiate ourselves from all the noise a lot of buyers experience and really impressed me.
For me, SalesLoft was a platform that enabled our sales team to blend the human element of selling, with advanced technology and data to assist us with those efforts. It was really my experience using the software and working with the SalesLoft team that got me excited about the company and potentially joining the team in a leadership role.
2. What is your background in sales – or more specifically, how long have you worked in sales?
I’ve been around sales my entire life. My father was a salesman who rose from the entry level ranks to executive status of a $2 billion company, and naturally, I learned many of my first sales lessons from him. I also learned the value of hard work, watching my father outwork his peers and continue to advance in his career.
While my father introduced me to sales, I was hooked long before I took my first sales job and consider myself a lifelong student of sales. I’ve studied sales for almost 20 years now and enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others.
Earlier in my career, I worked for CEB and had the opportunity to launch and teach the best companies in the world about the “Challenger Sale.” It was an amazing opportunity, and I still believe and implement these behaviors today. I consider Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson “rock stars,” and also good friends.
3. You’ve been a student of sales a long time – is there one book you consider to be the best sales book of all time?
It’s hard to pick favorites in this category, as there are so many great ones. If I had to pick one, it would be “The Little Engine That Could,” by Watty Piper. While it’s obviously not a sales book in the traditional definition, and perhaps silly, I believe a positive attitude and a sound belief system is critical. “I think I can” message is valuable for salespeople of all levels. If I could pick a second, it would be “The Challenger Sale,” by Matt and Brent – as I mentioned earlier.
4. How has sales changed over the course of your career? What’s different today?
The sales craft is changing and companies need to adapt their approach. Tomorrow’s sales reps will focus on teaching buyers more about their business – they need to be teachers. I’m dedicated to helping both our sales professionals, as well as our customers’ sales professions, how to become the smartest people in the room and become more valuable for the customers they are serving.
Salespeople need to be enablers of information in order to be perceived as the smartest people in the room. While salespeople must be a little ‘crazy’ to take a role with such high rejection rates, they need to stay grounded with a bigger picture in mind – serving customers and solving their problems – in order to thrive and win.
SalesLoft is framing tomorrow’s sales function – a combination of authentic, human selling and leveraging intelligent data to drive engagement – and I couldn’t be more excited to continue bringing this message to the marketplace for the company.
5. SalesLoft is growing faster than most technology companies today, how will you adjust to the pace in your new role?
I’m no stranger to growing revenue quickly – it’s where I’m most comfortable. In my most recent role as an executive at Xactly, I helped the company go public and ultimately get acquired by Vista Equity, one of the most successful private equity firms in the world. This experience is wildly relevant, as I’m no stranger to hiring 50 people at once or growing the sales team by 3x.
6. What would you like SalesLoft customers to know about you?
First and foremost, I love numbers + analytics. You can learn a tremendous amount by looking at the numbers – specifically in areas around effort and outcomes, two of the most important performance metrics for sales.
If there’s one thing I would like our customers to know, it’s how the buying process has changed for the customers they are trying to engage today. For example, I know from my CEB research and consulting experience that buyers are 55 percent through the buying process before contacting a rep and also that 53 percent of customer loyalty is measured by a reps ability to deliver a commercial insight through their sales experience.
As a result of these realities, organizations need to change the sales function in order to be more successful. Reps must be able to deliver commercial insights and better position themselves as experts that can help solve customer challenges.
SalesLoft’s blend of human and machine activities to engage the market at scale directly addresses these challenges. It’s our purpose to activate the authentic seller in all of us and I’m looking forward to helping our customers do this.
7. This message is pretty inspiring for SalesLoft customers – on the topic of inspiration, who is your biggest inspiration?
Beyond my father, who I mentioned earlier, my biggest inspiration is the love of my wife Tara and daughter, Charlotte. On the journey towards the peak you realize we’re all smart yet the fire, drive, and purpose is what matters in business. I’m a lucky guy! Across the past 20 years I’ve had the opportunity to work for Paul Ironside, Mike Archer, Steve De Marco, and Chris Cabrera. These individuals influenced my overall belief system and I’m very grateful.
8. We’d like to help the SalesLoft audience learn a little more about you – what is one thing most people might be surprised to learn about you?
What surprises most people is that I spent the majority of my childhood outside the U.S. I’ve lived in Canada, Hong Kong, and Japan (despite my Boston meets New Jersey accent). This early experience gives me an advantage in understanding the potential needs of our customers outside of the U.S., something I’m looking forward to exploring further in my role as SalesLoft’s CRO. Professionally I’ve covered EMEA, LatAM, and APAC for over a decade and look forward to expanding our global footprint.
9. Beyond growing revenue, what do you do for fun?
When I’m not growing revenue, I enjoy spending time with my wife Tara and daughter Charlotte – I just wish they enjoyed playing golf. As a group, our favorite activity is finding new restaurants and eating all of their food.
10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“There are only two things you have to do in life – everything else you get to do.” There is no room for excuses when you realize you are in control of every decision you make – and to this point, I’ve made the decision to do the best I possibly can in all areas of my life.
11. Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our blog readers, or up and coming sales professionals?
Yes, I’d like to share a favorite proverb that’s been with me throughout my career:
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion also wakes up, and knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.
And with that, we have to run. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Sean Murray better. Want to get to know Sean in person? Plan to join us at Rainmaker 2018, March 5-7 in Atlanta.