Transcript from REVstars interview with Matt Amundson
Speaker: Matt Amundson,
VP of Marketing at EverString
Interviewer: Aly Merritt, Head of Community at SalesLoft


[Intro, musical overlay]

Aly Merritt: Thank you for joining us today.

Matt Amundson: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Aly Merritt: Absolutely. I so appreciate it.

Matt Amundson: So I’m Matt Amundson. I’m the vice president of marketing at EverString. I look after all aspects of marketing, which also includes sales development in our organization.

Aly Merritt: Which is a little bit different, right?

Matt Amundson: It can be. When I first started my career in sales development, it was a part of the marketing organization and I feel most comfortable when it’s set up that way.

Aly Merritt: I find that really interesting because in most companies, sales and marketing have a, shall we say, adversarial relationship, but in your career you’ve done both as you mentioned. So talk to me about how you see bridging that gap.

Matt Amundson: Yeah, I mean I’m certainly not the first person to say this, but somebody who really believes it. As long as your metrics are aligned, generally speaking, you’re going to be a lot more aligned.

Matt Amundson: I’m a person who thinks about end results a little bit more than maybe the typical marketer. So I mean the metrics that I typically measure myself on are really pipeline, closed-wons sourced from pipeline, and renewals. And those are the three things that I think I can impact in my role and with the departments that I manage in the organization.

Matt Amundson: I do come from a sales background. And so, the way I manage people, the way I work with vendors, customers, my executives, is always the same. I always treat people the way I want to be treated. And I think salespeople, they want to be, they want to have a lot of meetings, they want those meetings to be high quality. They want those meetings to convert into real opportunities and they want those opportunities to convert into deals.

Matt Amundson: And so I try to put myself in their position and say, what would I want? And then I try to deliver to that.

Aly Merritt: So how big is the team that you manage right now?

Matt Amundson: Yeah. So between the marketing department and the sales development team, it’s about 15 people.

Aly Merritt: What is something that you were told as an example of advice in how to be a manager, and what’s something that you passed down to your team?

Matt Amundson: Oh wow. I mean, it’s a lot of golden rule type stuff, but I think, and that sort of goes without saying for me, I’m a very empathetic leader. I like people to think of me as a person with a lot of empathy.

Aly Merritt: We have heard that about you.

Matt Amundson: I really like to give people space to do their own work.

Aly Merritt: Have you ever given space to somebody you’re managing and then it turns out that that was the opposite of what they needed?

Matt Amundson: Sure. I mean I think generally speaking, what I’ve observed from people is everybody says they don’t like to be micromanaged.

Aly Merritt: Sure.

Matt Amundson: And the truth of the matter is there’s plenty of people that do. And I think it’s very difficult to manage someone appropriately by saying, hey, you like to be micromanaged, right? Because nobody likes to think that about themselves.

Aly Merritt: What do they actually mean when they say, “I don’t like to be micromanaged,” but they actually do?

Matt Amundson: I think what they mean is they want more direction than what’s been given. Maybe they’re not — maybe they’re a great executioner, but they’re not super creative. And so what they need is someone to help them with a creative idea, someone to help them with, okay, what’s the right thing to say? Once I know the right thing to say, I’ll go and say it. What should I put in this email? It’s something like this. Okay, great. That’s a better starting off point.

Matt Amundson: Sometimes for me, I can be a little obtuse and just say, hey, this is what I want you to get done. These are all the tools that you’ll need to get it done, and some people just want a lot more direction than that.

Aly Merritt: Are any of these lessons ones that you also apply with your kids?

Matt Amundson: Yes, so I’ve got two children. I’ve got a 7-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. My 7-year-old son is very athletic and I come from a sports background. So a lot of lessons I try to teach him about leadership and about leading with empathy. That’s a big deal, right? You can get the most out of people if you can sort of get on their level and understand them a little bit more. My daughter is, she’s kind of our bull in a china shop, right. So I’m teaching her a lot about patience and working with others.

Aly Merritt: And she’s how old?

Matt Amundson: She’s three.

Aly Merritt: Okay.

Matt Amundson: So she’s a little bit of a lone wolf.

Aly Merritt: But she’s right at that point where you’re learning it.

Matt Amundson: She’s always right at that point. [laughs]

Aly Merritt: It only gets worse. Give it another 10 years then it’ll be definitely right at that point.

Matt Amundson: Yes, I’m sure. Looking forward to it actually.

Aly Merritt: What is one thing you hope to accomplish after you retire?

Matt Amundson: Oh, wow. So there’s a whole part of me that I don’t get to engage with all that much anymore. It’s the old sports part of me. And for those of you who don’t know, and I know you’re aware, but you know, I was a prep football player and I played football at UCLA, which was an amazing experience. And I’d love to do more in the sports community and I don’t. I don’t mind if I turn a profit for it or not. In fact, I’d rather not. I’d just rather be just working with kids, both pre-college and after college.

Aly Merritt: You know we were going to talk about the watches…

Matt Amundson: Oh sure.

Aly Merritt: Let’s see the watch that you got. Tell me about this one because you’re a watch collector, right?

Matt Amundson: I am a watch collector. This is a very special watch. It’s the 30th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.

Aly Merritt: Wow.

Matt Amundson: So this watch came out in 1999. In the nineties, I never could have dreamed that I’d be in a position where I’d be able to actually purchase a watch like this. So that’s why this specific year was very meaningful to me. And I like to mark achievements in my life by the watches that I purchase. And so this, I don’t want to exactly go into why I purchased this one, it’s kind of left for off camera., but …

Aly Merritt: We’ll have a drink and we’ll talk about it later. [laughs]

Matt Amundson: That’s it. This was a very special and meaningful watch to me. So I picked one up when Marketo went public. I picked one up when TIBCO was acquired by Vista. I picked one up when I became a vice president for the first time. And I picked this one up for something a little bit different in life.

Aly Merritt: Which one is your favorite one?

Matt Amundson: So I picked up a watch a number of years ago, the year that my first born son  — well my only son, but my firstborn child — was born.

Matt Amundson: And so having a watch from a specific brand, from your birth year is a big deal in watch collecting. So I’ve ensured he will have a birth year watch from this very specific brand and I’ll give it to him for a college graduation.

Aly Merritt: Oh, I love that.

Aly Merritt: Thank you so much for coming out today and doing this with us. I really appreciate it.

Matt Amundson: Thank you guys for having me. You know, I love your brand.

Aly Merritt: We love yours too, and we’re always here for you!