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Inside Sales (Sep 10th, 2019)

Hello Inside Sales subscribers,

As part of a regular feature for Inside Sales, we'll be conducting interviews with industry sales leaders to gain insight, invaluable advice and motivation. Our latest installment is a Q&A with Jerry Brooner, CRO at Scout RFP. The San Francisco-based company offers an automated sourcing and supplier engagement platform to build full-fledged RFPs, RFQs, and RFIs. Hit reply to this email and let us know what you think, or if you have a suggestion for a future installment for this feature.

Also, please follow me on Twiter for more content and sales advice from industry pros! 

Thank you,

William 

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Q: Jerry, you've had an impressive and dynamic career so far. How did you find yourself at a C-Level position in revenue?

For some background, I studied economics and began my career as an investment banker at Smith Barney — pretty far from sales. When I made the career shift to start doing telesales for a software company after earning my MBA, I got a lot of crazy looks from my family and friends because I was supposed to be an investment banker, and had offers to become a venture capitalist. But I’m an avid reader, and at the time I was reading books and autobiographies of some of the top leaders whom I admired — Jack Welch, Larry Ellison, Peter Drucker, Henry Ford — and I quickly noticed a trend: they were all constantly learning new skill sets. I set a goal to achieve a new skill every year or two, with the objective of running a major business unit. 

Q: Do you miss having a direct sales position, and if so, why? 

Our number one value at Scout is “Obsess over the Customer.” I live that value every single day so I don't actually feel like I have left direct sales. Additionally, I make it a point to stay very involved in so many of our customer and prospect interactions to ensure I stay very close to all interactions. 

Q: What does Scout RFP do?

In its simplest form, Scout RFP’s helps companies buy goods and services.  Every company buys things so our target addressable market is basically every single company. 

Technically, Scout is a cloud-based automated sourcing and supplier engagement platform that allows procurement teams to move past outdated processes by streamlining sourcing, managing a unified pipeline of projects, and collaborating with stakeholders and suppliers to make a greater impact on the business as a whole.

Q: What sets Scout apart an increasingly competitive market?

Our values, specifically obsessing over our customers, and the talent of our team is really what sets us apart. Sourcing has never had a champion like Scout before now. We’ve really listened to our customers’ pain points, their ambitions, and structured our platform and our business around them. Scout has always been an early and vocal supporter of the importance of an intuitive and simple user experience. In a market where most competitors are trying to build out laundry lists of capabilities, we are focusing on how sourcing, suppliers, and stakeholders actually use technology so we can make it easier for them to get their work done.

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Q: How did your sales team win over your company's clients? 

We are dedicated to the success of all our customers, large and small. Our product is industry-agnostic – after all, every company needs to buy goods and services to run their businesses.  We are equally positioned to help companies within any industry and any sizes, in all verticals, to achieve sourcing innovation and success.

Q: What kind of sales culture does Scout have and how could it improve (if there is indeed room)?

At Scout, we focus on the success of our customers, team, and company.  Each of us may have our quotas and assigned accounts, but at the end of the day, we are all measured against the success of our customers. Our sales team is made of A-players. In a fast-growing company like Scout, it’s absolutely critical for our team members to feel that they can trust each other and have the resources needed to be successful.  We instill a sense of ownership and responsibility so we hire people with values in line with our culture.

Q: How do your leaders gather sales talent in a fiercely competitive SF market? 

As a fast-growing technology company with a strong product, virtually unlimited addressable market, and a very generously structured compensation program, it’s actually not hard at all to attract ambitious and talented salespeople to our team. We are building the sales team very quickly, and not just in San Francisco. We are actively hiring across the US and Canada, especially in Chicago, New York, and Toronto. It’s both rewarding and inspiring to see so many smart and highly capable individuals bring their unique strengths to the team as we continue to grow.

Q: What tools (say sales enablement) does your revenue team rely on and what seems to really propel them?

We use tools that increase the ability to better serve our customers while increasing visibility and collaboration within our organization. Some of our key features include team chats, knowledge repositories, customer relationship management software, and customer and industry-specific programs. 

Q: Finally -- what is your favorite sales movie and why?

It’s hard to pick, so here are my two favorite sales movies. First, "The Pursuit of Happyness" is an inspiring story about prioritizing family first, the importance of determination, and a strong focus on success. The next movie on my list is "Moneyball." It’s so important to understand what works best for you and your team, set a high bar for yourself, and remember to not follow the crowd. 

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William Wallace is a sales veteran and journalist with years of experience in such diverse realms as High-Performance Computing, Big Data, education software and SaaS products. When not hunting for the next sales/business opportunity, he is a self-professed foodie and published writer with an abiding passion for all forms of expression.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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