EPISODE 137:  Deltek Global Sales Chief Matt Strazza Encourages His Sales Leaders and Team Members to Take this Type of Entrepreneurial Approach to Their Business

Subscribe to the Podcast now on Apple Podcasts!

Key lessons from your first few sales jobs:
Name an impactful sales mentor:
Two biggest challenges you face today as a sales leader: 22:44
Most important tip: 34:09
How do you sharpen your saw and stay fresh: 40:01
Inspiring thought: 43:18

EPISODE 137:  Deltek Global Sales Chief Matt Strazza Encourages His Sales Leaders and Team Members to Take this Type of Entrepreneurial Approach to Their Business

MATT’S FINAL TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Figure out what jazzes you. Figure out what you’re chasing and don’t be afraid to expose some of those goals to your peers or friends or managers so that they become real and you get a little sweat on the brow when you’re trying to move through them. Do it because you want to do it. Do it because you love it.”

Matt Strazza is the Senior VP of Global Sales at Deltek.

Prior to coming over at Deltek, he held sales leadership positions at CA Technologies and Niku Software.

He also owned his own software company for 10 years as well.

Find Matt on LinkedIn!

Fred Diamond: Tell us a little bit about Deltek. Tell us what you sell today and give us a little bit of an insight into what excites you about that.

Matt Strazza: Deltek is a great company and our portfolio supports people that are in project based businesses. Think about people like architectural firms, engineering firms that have a very specific business model. The software that we provide helps those companies do what they do on a day to day basis and we do that in the government contractor space. We do it, as I just mentioned, in the professional services space, we do it here domestically in the US and we also do it internationally.

I have to say, in terms of what excites me about it, when I look at our portfolio, what our customers do is absolutely extraordinary. We have a customer that builds a mechanism that supplies the maintenance for the hooks. They’d catch fighter jets that land on the decks of aircraft carriers, that’s the sort of thing that our customers are doing and I’m very proud of the fact that we provide them with software and expertise and intelligence that allows them to run the business of their business.

Fred Diamond: Curiously, you mentioned all project types of businesses, project based businesses. Who do you sell to? Project managers, chief technology officers, what type of customers buy Deltek Software?

Matt Strazza: In a lot of cases, we’re dealing with people at the very senior levels of these organizations so if they’re smaller shops it’s the owners or the operators of those outfits.  As those companies grow, we often find ourselves dealing with and selling to chief operating officers, chief executives, chief financial officers. The software that we sell is typically instrumental in how these organizations run their business. There has certainly been an interesting shift in the marketplace in that we also sell suites of solutions to emerging businesses.

While the software we sell is incredibly important to the overall success of the business there are certainly cases also where these are grass roots efforts and our software is flexible and viable enough in those emerging business communities that we have a very robust business model that supports that level of business as well.

Fred Diamond: Again, you mentioned in the introduction that you worked in restaurants, you worked as a bartender, you worked in landscaping, now you’re heading a global sales organization. Take us back to your first official sales job, tell us about that. How did you first get into sales as a career?

Matt Strazza: I’m going to go into the way back machine for that one [laughs]. Wheeling my red wagon around Ridgewood Avenue in Bloomfield, New Jersey selling pumpkins around Halloween was the first thing that I can remember actually selling to people and getting gratitude from having talked about my wares and priced them accordingly. Had a good distribution system which was convincing my dad to fill up the back of our country squire station wagon with pumpkins and bring them to our house which we then would wheel around the street and sell to all of our neighbors. That was my first recollection of actually selling something as a human being.

As a professional, the first thing that I ever sold aside from selling drinks in bars was payrolls working for ADP. ADP is a very successful company, very good marketing in terms of singular purpose and I worked in New York City territories where we had two city blocks as our territory and went around knocking on doors. I don’t think anybody actually believes me when I say this anymore, but sitting down at a desk at my first job at ADP was a phone book and a phone and a filing cabinet. You’d call somebody and get rejected and take that piece of paper and put it in a file a few files down and call them a couple days from them, and you’d do that over and over all day long.

When I think about that, of course now in the modern era of selling, I think it gives me a great appreciation for the tools that we have at our disposal to do what we do because if you understand foundationally and functionally what we’re trying to accomplish, having what we have at our fingertips I think is just absolutely incredible. It also can be daunting at times, but I think it’s incredible what we have available to us.

Fred Diamond: You spent a good part of your career at two companies with tremendous sales culture and history, of course ADP and CA Technologies. What are some of the things that you’ve transferred from those places to now leading Deltek? You lead an international sales organization as well at Deltek?

Matt Strazza: Yes, we’re international. A couple things, I tell you, from ADP I’m very fond although it’s in some ways treacherous of a practice that they did when I was there called role call where every single week you had to stand up in front of a room and tell everybody in the room what you sold. If you sold something, everybody would clap and if you didn’t sell anything then you would just have to go up on the stage and say, “Pass.”

Everyone in the entire room – which in the sales force that I worked on was about 150 people in New York – they’d say absolutely nothing and you’d just walk off the stage. I remember being in there my first week saying, “I am never going to pass, I’m not going to do that” and to this day, it does make me think. Software businesses have evolved to very much in leadership, an end of month or end of quarter’s business, there’s a big hockey stick that happens in the transactions at that time. I want people to contribute every day and contribute doesn’t necessarily mean sell something, but it means move something forward. Do something today that could have been tomorrow, do something this morning instead of this afternoon, get people moving faster. This game that we’re in, the selling profession is so much about speed and flexibility and the ability to get places sooner rather than later.

Fred Diamond: Curiously, on that roll call exercise, obviously you don’t want to say pass in front of 150 of your peers. Would you do that today, would you implement that in places where you’ve worked today?

Matt Strazza: I wouldn’t do it now as I’m not a huge fan of public humiliation, but what I do ask for is analysis of data in terms of looking at activity like did someone contribute adding a new opportunity to sales force in a given week? That I can a ton about, and that I do ask a lot of questions about because regardless of whether you’re a senior person or whether you’re new to the shop, I think everybody has something to contribute. Might be making phone calls, making connections, improving our contact database which improves our ability to market, the more we get our message out there of course the better opportunity we have to sell. While it’s not necessarily public in terms of what the ultimate sale was, I do think that we as managers have to keep our eye on the ball in terms of what people are doing every day to move us all forward collectively.

Fred Diamond: One quick thing, I mentioned in the introduction that you also ran a software company, your own company for 10 years. What were some of the lessons you took away from that being an entrepreneur and that you’ve transferred now to what you’re doing?

Matt Strazza: I’m glad you asked that because I view every role I’m in as entrepreneurial. I think it helps to keep me based, I feel like it gives me perspective especially if I’m dealing with our partners. I ran what I did and my business was a partner organization, we were at the time partners with companies like Mercury Interactive and Sybase and Powersoft that got bought up by Sybase as a value added reseller. Our model was selling software and then making most of our money on the consulting services and education services that were associated with the software. You learn how to be scrappy, you learn the value of hard work.

I don’t know an entrepreneur that doesn’t put in lots of time and lots of effort, but you do it because you know that your involvement influences the outcome and that you have a direct influence over that. The early days are difficult and fun, then you reach a point where that transitions into a larger business. My business ultimately ended up being about 250 employees across 4 offices, about a $25 million dollar business.

Another big learning experience for me in that endeavor was we had great times up to that point and then we had some very difficult times. When you’ve only experienced positive times, you really see what you’re made of when things get a little harder and you have to start talking to people about downsizing offices, changing people’s functions, asking people to perform different roles and that’s where I can recall really gaining what I felt like was an ability to be a more responsible manager dealing with more difficult circumstances. I took that and hopefully added some capability and emotional intelligence and humility into future roles learning from those times then.

Fred Diamond: I have a question for you, we’re going to ask you for your tips later on as we get into the podcast but you used the word “entrepreneurial.” You said you’ve always felt yourself being entrepreneurial as a sales professional. Matt, we have Sales Game Changers listening around the globe, a lot of people who are in the early stages of their career. Talk about that for a second, what does that mean? When you’re talking to a young sales professional and you encourage them to be entrepreneurial, what are some things that looks like?

Matt Strazza: I think it starts with a mindset which is while you may rely on other people and you may interact with other people – and certainly I’m encouraging people to be collaborative with others, but at the end of the day you have to take responsibility for your own actions. I tell people all the time, I can’t make you make that one more call. Like I said, I can look at activity and I can see directionally what people are doing but this works much better when you’re self-drive. The lights are going off if you don’t make that sale, that lease payment’s coming up, the heat’s going off and you have that looming pressure on you and I always think about that pressure no matter what size business I’m running.

We’re fortunate enough to be in a larger business at scale, but all of us could benefit from thinking and acting like entrepreneurs where we care about every customer at every level. I think that’s something that at Deltek we do really well, is that there are no barriers across the organization to access to people and communicating with people. I’m maybe getting off topic here a little bit, but we don’t have any offices, people can communicate with people at any level in the company whenever they need at any time and I think it grounds us as people that are all working together in the same end.

To that extent, I think we are very entrepreneurial, we are collaborating on ideas and how to service our clients and how to help each other. At the end of the day, I think that people thinking, “I’m the one who’s got to get this done, I feel responsibility for this, I’m going to make sure that this meeting goes well. I’m going to make sure this customer understands our value proposition and we follow up accordingly like we said we were going to” like you see great entrepreneurs do. Everybody loves dealing with somebody that has great expertise and depth of knowledge and who cares about what they do at a really visceral and deep level. I think that’s what I’m looking for from our team and I tell new sales professionals that all the time.

Fred Diamond: Speaking of expertise, why don’t you tell us a little more about you? Again, we’re talking today with Matt Strazza, senior VP of global sales at Deltek on the Sales Game Changers podcast. Matt, what are you an expert in? Tell us a little more about your specific area of brilliance.

Matt Strazza: I think this is a really interesting question. For me, personally as I feel fortunate to have greater responsibility in organizations, you start to hear the term “general manager” and “SVP”, you’re spending a lot of time moving or spinning lots of plates keeping a lot of things moving and it’s difficult to maintain a level of depth that a lot of us have had as individual contributors and doing things on a more precise level.

For me, things I do well, I feel like I can communicate well over complexity meaning making acquisition or we’ll change a policy or we’ll change a strategy and it’s my job to figure out how to communicate that to our team so that they understand it. You mentioned earlier, do we do work internationally? We do, so having a conversation with someone in Belgium about a policy that’s emanating from the US might be very different in how I have that conversation. Having a conversation in the govcon space might be very different than how I have that conversation in the professional services space, so thinking about the audience and how we communicate is really important and something that I care a lot about and I feel like I do pretty well.

Another thing is it energizes me to develop people and develop teams and I think it’s a badge of honor to promote somebody. I love hiring really smart people, my hope is that everyone around me is smarter than I [laughs]. I like that that’s going to build the future of our organization. Those are a couple things that I think I do pretty well, but I’ve got a lot to work on, too.

Fred Diamond: Speaking of being a great leader, again you’ve worked for some great companies. You’ve worked for ADP, you’ve worked for CA Technologies, Niku Software. You must have had some great mentors along the way, some people that have guided you and provided some great insight to guide you. Why don’t you tell us a little more about an impactful sales career mentor or two and how they impacted your career?

Matt Strazza: I’ll start with my very first inspiration as a seller and that was my dad who passed away a couple years ago. My dad sold cash registers pretty much his whole life, worked for NCR Corporation and started in the days where they were just metal machines and you went around selling them. One of the jobs I didn’t mention, by the way, earlier was for some reason a van that had no air conditioning driving around to the entire northeast dropping off cash registers to various supermarkets around the tri state area. My dad always liked the simplicity of selling and he used to always tell me, even when I was selling things that were more complicated, he always used to say, “Sell what’s in your garage. Sell what you have.”

I just always laugh about it because a lot of what we do in software is we talk about futures, we talk about the next versions but at the end of the day, you’re going to do really well by selling to your customer something that works, something that is proven, something that is practical, that’s referenceable. All of those things are important, I think about my dad a lot in terms of learning about selling and my dad was always very classic in terms of, “Make sure you send a follow up note” at the time, a hand-written follow up note and, “Make sure you do what you say you were going to do. Follow through on what you said you were going to do and you’ll have a great career in sales. He was very happy when I went to work for ADP, loved the sales culture, big company, working for a big sales organization.

As I got into companies like Computer Associates, there was a guy named Adam Elster who actually just took a new job as a CEO, was the president of CA while I was there. He and I worked very well in different functions over many years and had a mutual respect for each other. One of the things I learned from Adam was that ideas can always be improved upon, if you’re walking into a review of some sort with your receptors closed and you’re thinking that your idea is the best idea ever, Adam was one of those guys that could say, “It’s a pretty good idea, but maybe you should try this and that and that would improve it.”

I learned from him about having a cadre of smart people around you that you can bounce ideas off of, still make decisions quickly and efficiently but take the time to get some input. He’s also somebody that was a big fan of completely switching your function in order to gain expertise and also perspective. He’s one of the reasons why inside the same company I ran operations and I ran professionals services as a salesperson having done those things, and then coming back into sales again knowing what professional services organizations deal with I know makes me a better seller. It makes me understand the total cost of ownership and what our professionals in the consulting business go through to help us sell what we sell.

I know how hard it is to run the operations of a business and things that we take for granted in a modern software company like the Salesforce platform or our LinkedIn platform or our compensation plans or our territory planning. That is hard work and going through and understanding all of that I think has really helped round out the way I look at sales teams and the way I managed sales teams. Those two people come to mind as being very influential in my day to day.

Fred Diamond: There have been a couple episodes that we’ve done on the Sales Game Changers podcast, Mark Weber’s episode comes to mind, where he also talked about his father and the role that his father played. You mentioned in the beginning of the interview that your father would drive you around when you were selling those pumpkins. How did you sell in February, any luck selling in February?

Matt Strazza: It was a seasonal business, it was mostly the lead up to the fall time period when we did most of our pumpkin selling [laughs]. Aside from that, you didn’t have much product or much need in the marketplace.

Fred Diamond: Not a very big June fruit, the pumpkin. Matt, you manage a lot of people across the world who work at Deltek, you obviously observe what’s going on in the marketplace. What are the two biggest challenges you face today as a sales leader?

Matt Strazza: One challenge I would say is it is a gift to have people in organizations that have great amount of experience. As you’re growing companies, it’s also very difficult to make sure that you’re maintaining a network of successors. It’s one of the things that as we grow and we look at as we acquire firms, we grow organically, is to keep our eye on the ball and balance that accordingly because I absolutely love having people in roles that are really experienced and really know what they’re doing.

Some of the hardest decisions we make as managers is to go to somebody and say, kind of what I was saying before, “Adam, I’d like you to do something else. I need some help over here.” Whenever you look at, if it’s sports teams or companies, I think they do this really well, this ability to be selfless and do something else, do something different to grow, get out of your comfort zone a little bit and that’s something I think about quite a bit.

Another thing I think about and I mentioned earlier is harnessing the technology that we have available to us in order to sell. I sometimes think we get handcuffed by it, you could sit down at your desk and say, “Should I be looking at RainKing stuff today? Should I be looking at LinkedIn, should I be looking in my Salesforce? Should I be looking at some other contact list?” There was a beauty in the model that I talked about before, the simplicity of opening up the phone book and just banging through it because there was nothing else to do.

Now you could really get caught up in, “Do I email, do I text? Do I get on social media, do I call?” I’m probably not going to get somebody on the other end of that call the first bunch of times. I’m jazzed by and interested in all the tools that we have at our disposal, it also is a big worry for me on a constant basis. Do we have the right set of tools for our sellers to be most effective in the marketplace?

Fred Diamond: I’m just going to go back to the beginning part of your career. You said you had a two block territory in New York City, you’re working for ADP selling payroll related services, if you will. I’m just curious, you talked about the use of technology today and Salesforce and LinkedIn and RainKing and all those types of things. When you were going through the phone book making your prospecting calls, today we spend a lot of time with when should you call, the right time to call, those things. When you had the yellow pages or the white pages in front of you – for the people listening on the Sales Game Changers podcast, that’s what we call the phone book, either white pages or yellow pages – did you think about when you were calling or was it pretty much, “I’m going to get through the B’s today”? Just curiously, take us back to those days.

Matt Strazza: I’m a methodical cat, and I almost always went alphabetical but one of the things I always did to make it a little more fun for myself was I would walk around my territory and I would write down names and sketch out little stories about why I thought someone was going to buy from me. If it was a place that made products for pizzerias or ovens or whatever, I’d say, “Mr. San Antonio is going to buy this because he needs to make 600 pizzas.” It had absolutely nothing to do perhaps with whatever this company even did.

thing, because there was no Google, there was no way to look up what the heck those people did so I would make up these narratives about why I would think it would be fun to sell to them. Sometimes, I’d use that in the conversation that I would have with the person. I’d say, “Fred, this is funny because I thought you made water tanks and as it turns out you make tires.”

We’d get a laugh about it and it would move us on and they’d ask, “Why did you think that?” and I would tell them that story. I’d say, “I’m a seller, I’m trying to keep myself entertained” so I would walk around in my territory and draw pictures of my prospect’s businesses and then make up little stories about what I thought they did and then try to validate whether I was right or wrong.

Fred Diamond: That’s interesting, I want to follow up on that before we ask you about your greatest sales success or win from your career. Your father said, “Sell what’s in the garage” and you told me just a second ago that you were making up these stories. There’s so much information that’s at our disposal, you have a lot of young people who work in your sales organization. What do you do when you see someone who’s just petrified because there’s so much information? First of all, do you see that? Second of all, what do you do, what do you tell them?

Matt Strazza: I worked with a guy for a long time, he used to call it “the 8,000 lb. phone syndrome” and he’d say, “You just have to get over picking up the phone the first time. I haven’t come across the person yet who absolutely loves prospecting the people that they’ve never met before and who are probably going to say no to them, but there are a lot of things you can do to make it a little bit more fun and a little bit more interesting. I always tell people, “Buddy up wherever you can. I do like where you were going a minute ago, try and do things at different times and keep track of your successes. Try to keep it light, be fun about it.”

I do think it’s a great gift to have the power of technology. If I was making up stories in the past, you don’t have to do that anymore. You can actually find out what they do and you can actually find out who they’re connected to and be a lot smarter about warming up that pursuit. At the end of the day, there is just that moment where you have to get going and do it. It’s like exercising, you’ve got to start. Once you start, it sure seems a heck of a lot easier and you feel great when you’re done. I think it’s very similar here.

Fred Diamond:  You must have had some great successes along the way, take us back to the #1 sale success or win from your career that you’re most proud of.

Matt Strazza: In my early days at ADP, I had a sale that I remember so specifically. I remember everything about the room, the temperature, at the time of course I was wearing a full suit and tie which was mandatory as part of the sales force, a pair of what I’m sure were the most inexpensive wing tip shoes that money could buy at the time because I couldn’t afford anything else. I sold to what was the Mecca of the best possible company you could sell payrolls to which was a parking garage company in New York City.

The reason why they were the best people to sell to was because they had individual corporate ID’s and every individual ID required its own payroll. It would be like selling to 25 businesses at a time and I came across this, prospected it, found it, sold it, ended up selling 28 payrolls in one day in what ended up catapulting me into the President’s Club Awards at ADP 8 months into my career. I sold it on a Tuesday which was the roll call day and I, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, ran back across 34th Street to our office, walked right into the roll call room right before it was my time to go up on stage and talk and deliver the news about the deals that I just sold.

Essentially 28 deals in one day and it just gave me that elation that I think about all the time, and why I love sales, I love that feeling of having done something that has an immediate impact on your business. I think there’s some fun in the recognition of it as well and have been of use to the company on that particular day. Then at ADP the clock would just to the next week and you had to go do something else [laughs].

Fred Diamond: Where are the next 28? Roll call’s coming up again.

Matt Strazza: Right, I should have saved one for the following week, don’t do that.

Fred Diamond: Again, we’re talking to Matt Strazza, he’s the senior VP of global sales at Deltek. Matt, before we take a short break and listen to one of our sponsors, did you ever question being in sales? Again, you were selling pumpkins when you were 10 years old leading up to fall – of course you didn’t do it in the middle of winter or summer – but did you ever question, did you ever think to yourself, “This is too hard, it’s just not for me”?

Matt Strazza: Do you mean today have I questioned that? [Laughs]

Fred Diamond: Today it’s a rainy day here in Northern Virginia.

Matt Strazza: Of course I have. I’m always balancing what I think the right thing for me to do is. I love what I do and I’ve had a lot of success doing it, I feel very fortunate for it. The things I yearn for are impact on the world, making an impact on my community and the very nice balance that I found as a sales professional is I get access to all those things whether it’s through the efforts of our company doing things that we do with the community – and Deltek does a number of great things with the community – or with clients that we support and the things I mentioned earlier about what those companies are doing for the world.

I think I’m in the right spot, I like doing what I do, I’ve had success doing it, it puts me in a position where I get to interact with very smart people and intelligent people inside of our organization but also the expanded universe of whom we can interact with is endless. I have a reason to talk to anybody, I can go to any company anywhere and the likelihood that they’re going to require some piece of software from our portfolio is pretty darn high. That gives me an opportunity to learn about their business and it’s one of my favorite things to do. Whether it was thinking about those companies in the early days and what they did or actually getting to go in the door and learn about them now, I feel like I’m in the right spot. Do I question it from time to time? Of course, but the very high percentage of the time I’m really happy with what I’m doing.

Fred Diamond: Matt, you’ve been giving us great insights all along but what’s the most important thing you want to get across to the selling professionals listening around the globe to help them take their careers to the next level?

Matt Strazza: I think when I answer here I’m going to be talking mostly about people that are relatively new to entering sales and I’m going to say you can’t fake credibility. If you have it and you do have industry expertise and you have had a lot of experience then of course, talk about that and utilize that. If you don’t, you just can’t pretend that you do and it really works against you when you do that.

What I would prefer those sales professionals do is just be honest and say, “I may not have years of experience in this industry, what I can do is outwork everybody. I can get you answers really quickly, I can bring people to the table that can answer questions and while I’m learning I promise that I’ll go above and beyond and go out of my way to help you get done what you need to get done.” Be prepared for the fact that that may not be OK with them, they might not sign up for that and then you go onto the next one. What you might do is if you don’t get that sale, go back and say, “What did I need to learn here? What did I need to learn more about?” and then drive yourself to build that expertise and be prepared for next time.

Each time, you’re just layering it on, you’re learning more, you’re getting more credibility and each time you become more valuable to the organization you serve. Nobody wants to talk to someone who has very surface level information who’s reading off of a script pretending to know more than they do. Don’t fake it, go natural, go with what you have and you’ll learn a lot from it.

Fred Diamond: What are some things you do today to sharpen your saw and stay fresh?

Matt Strazza: With our portfolio, that’s tough. There’s a guy named Mike Bourgeois who’s head of one of our SE businesses here, our Sales Engineering teams. Mike and I have a weekly meeting where we talk shop. On topics that I’m interested in that he doesn’t have expertise in he’ll bring someone else in and we’ll talk. The way I learn is I like to learn a little bit about technology and then start asking a bunch of questions and how to apply it practically because most of the conversations that I have with clients are about the practical application of our technology.

I don’t get into a lot of anymore questions about the underlying, what the code is written in, anything about the database or data integrity or security. Most of what I’m talking about is referenceability, capability, scalability, enablement, our company’s trajectory, that sort of thing. I love to know about the technology that we have and I’m fortunate enough to have people on my team that will spend some time with me. Things I would recommend in that regard would be almost every company has lots of things posted online, lots of information available, LinkedIn Learning is a great external resource for people that want to get into some depth on some certain things.

I do that and the other thing of course is I love to consume the written word, I love reading things about what’s going on in business and how companies are doing, interesting and innovative things and then weaving them into conversations that I have with our clients and our prospective clients and testing whether they care about those things or not. Then inevitably I’ll learn something from them as well which is always fun and helpful for the next time you go to sell to somebody.

Fred Diamond: Why don’t you tell us about a major initiative you’re working on today to ensure your continued success?

Matt Strazza: When I think about that, I’m thinking about our team and we have a group in our sales organization that we call SDR or Sales Development Representatives and this group of people do hard work for the company. They’re some of the people that in a coordinated effort with our marketing team are often some of the first people that our clients or prospective clients talk to and they gave us feedback.

This is interesting from your last question because they gave us feedback that we need more structured education, we need more structured enablement so we built a 4-part program that in each stage has requirements for their own development and learning. They graduate literally from stage to stage until ultimately they have opportunities to a career path where they are or we open up the aperture to other parts of the organization where they can go to direct sales or indirect sales and other parts of the organization.

It is one of the life bloods of our company now because we need that group really functioning at a very efficient level not only for what they do in building pipeline and building opportunities for us, but also people development and the future as we grow the business of people that will help us to grow our sales profile and get to more market share in the markets we serve.

Fred Diamond: Again, you’re leading a global sales organization here, you’ve worked for some of the best sales organizations in the history of technology for that matter. Why have you continued? What is it about sales as a career that has kept you going?

Matt Strazza: I love that sales evolves. Even that very stark distinction about where we started this conversation with the phone book and as to where it is now, how we sell, whom we sell to. Look at just even the advent of how when we always would sell perpetual software and lifetime software to now SaaS and the tectonic shift that that caused in the marketplace where departments that we never even spoke to in the past can now consume their own software.

They don’t need to talk to anybody because they’re not housing the componentry for the software, they’re just buying a service. You end up selling to strategy departments, you’re selling to individual initiatives, there’s opportunity to open up and sell to different people. I think how we sell and what we sell and how sales organizations are set up absolutely fascinates me. I think it’s fun that there’s not really a right way, one right way anymore. If you can get sales done through self-serve and chat online, do it and that’s obviously no disservice to anybody including myself who is a lifelong sales professional.

I think all of us understand that there’s always value in having great people who understand the sales process and who are going to engage with prospects and clients, but there are some sales that certainly can be done in different and more efficient ways and also can lead to different types of lifestyles that people want to lead. Every sales professional doesn’t have to be traveling all around, you can be very effective, depending on what you’re selling and how you sell it, as an inside sales person selling something using technology, doing demonstrations that way, talking over the phone, people are more accustomed to that.

There are some things we’re going to obviously have to keep going out in front of and selling to people directly. There’s ways to sell things from different countries into these markets. I think the sophistication of what we do has grown and that excites me, it’s really cool how we can continue to evolve and continue to find our place inside of organizations that we serve. I think sales didn’t always historically have – it had a seat at the table, but I don’t know it was always as respected and now I think it’s become much more respected element of just about every organization.

People that I’ve known and certainly here, I think we’ve done a nice job of collaborating with other departments that there used to be some confrontation in. I’ve worked in plenty of organizations where there was confrontation between sales and marketing and sales and finance and you just can’t be effective if you’re doing that. You have to have that collaboration, I think that’s fun.

Fred Diamond: Matt, why don’t you give us one final thought to inspire our listeners around the globe today?

Matt Strazza: I would ask people who are listening to figure out what inspires you. I tell people all the time, I’m not a mind reader. I can help if you tell me what’s going on, so if you tell me you have a problem, I can try to help you out. Figure out what jazzes you. For me, along the way I figured out that I wasn’t necessarily a purist in terms of loving technology, I love what technology does. I love that being successful in selling technology has afforded me more time with my family and doing things that I like to do outside of work, doing things for my community where I live.

I happen to live in an urban area and I also live in a very rural area. The ability to have that juxtaposition in my life is something I feel very fortunate for and that I’ve gotten that opportunity because of sales. Figure out what you’re chasing, don’t be afraid to expose some of those goals to your peers or friends or managers so that they become real and you get a little sweat on the brow when you’re trying to move through them. I’ll finish where I started, I think nothing beats hard work and feeling and working like an entrepreneur, and do it because you want to do it, do it because you love it.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo
Produced by Rosario Suarez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *