It’s crazy for me to think that I’ve been at my career for 23 years. Shit, when I started in ’95, I first had to educate marketers on what the internet was, let alone the value they’d get from having a website. Crazy.
Through it all, I’ve gained so much to be grateful for…so many people and so many experiences along the way that paved the path to making this day possible. Before bringing InStereo to market, I took some time to reflect on what got me here, and what has mattered most to me throughout my career.
Back in the late 90s, I was working at a fast-growing digital agency in a client services role. One day, armed a bit of frustration about our operations and a few ideas to fix it, I walked into one of the founder’s office, sat down, and commanded, “I can run this company as well as you.”
Why would I do this? Well, I wanted my ideas to be taken seriously and felt I needed a bold entry (which I now know would never have been an issue for this open-minded and inspirational entrepreneur.)
The result? A promotion. (And a now 20-year relationship growing businesses together with these guys.)
So what’s my point of this story? It was that experience that made it clear to me that I wanted to run my own consulting firm one day. In 2004, I tossed around a couple of ideas, (one of which was to start a UX-focused consultancy, which were very few at the time. Dang.) But I wasn’t sure I was ready and took another job.
In 2008, ready for a change, I had the opportunity to join Magnet360 as a founding employee, which became the largest regional Salesforce partner, and is now a global powerhouse. Back then, it felt like I was starting my own thing, but there’s a reality…I wasn’t a founder.
But that didn’t matter. I started at Magnet360 as a quota-carrying rep, was promoted to a regional VP of sales, and soon took over as North America EVP of sales and gained a seat at the leadership table. I had a blast helping to grow that business over 8 years.
But I have to admit, a thought occurred to me at some point and I questioned why a guy like me was in this sales leadership role. I started feeling a bit of imposter syndrome.
Let me paint the picture a bit: Here I was, a digital agency guy. I spoke the language of creatives, user experience designers, and web technologists. But here I was working for a fast-growing Salesforce partner. My counterparts at Salesforce were career-long sales professionals, working for the #1 sales platform on the planet, true leaders in their roles. How could I stack up to that?? I didn’t look like them, talk like them, or lead sales teams like them. Or so my thinking would go.
Sometime after leaving Magnet360, something else occurred to me:
I F*N LOVE SALES!
I realized that I, too, was a career-long sales professional. I also realized that my approach often was different than those I’d meet in the field. But instead of questioning that difference, as if it made me less of a sales leader, I realized that it was mine to embrace and own.
Which brings us back to the present moment. After leaving my sales leadership post two years ago, and spending 18 months in between working with a SaaS startup, helping to build and market a product for inside sales teams, my love of sales was clear to me.
I reflected on what it meant to build winning sales teams, to set aggressive growth goals (and beat them), and to approach selling in a truly authentic way.
And that’s what inspired InStereo.
I have the opportunity to bring what I’ve learned over the past 23 years to other sales and marketing teams. A foundation of client service, user experience, digital marketing, and authentic selling.
All of which is precisely what InStereo stands for: We help our clients create richer buyer experiences as the path to revenue. We help sales and marketing teams reframe their approach to be authentic, helpful, and most importantly, empathetic. In the end, buyers, users, and customers are people, and when sales and marketing professionals connect with their prospects as people, great things can happen.
We’ve been fortunate with our timing, too. In August, we became one of the first SalesLoft certified implementation partners, and the partnership couldn’t be more strategic to our vision. To authentically connect with people is core to SalesLoft’s position, and their customers are placing a bet that this approach will give them a competitive advantage.
So what does all this mean? Well, I’ve known since the early days of my career that I was destined to run my own shop, but it had to be the right thing. And now I’ve found it. I’m grateful to those who have mentored me along the way, and to those who are putting their trust in what our team can do. We’re ready to have a blast growing this new venture and to pave the path for an entirely new experience.