The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

The New Revenue-Focused CIO


The CIO role is changing.

COVID has accelerated that change, but the function has been transforming for years.

These days, the role is about more than technology — it’s much more focused on revenue and engagement.

Just ask Gamiel Gran, Strategic Business Development & Corporate Innovation Network — aka Mayfield Edge — at Mayfield Fund, whose career has led him to notice the massive transformation of the CIO role.

He joins me in this episode to discuss:

  • How COVID made CIOs the hero (and increased competition in the field)
  • Why CIOs are becoming more revenue-oriented (and how to help them get there)
  • Getting the CRO, CFO and CIO aligned and working together

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Sales Engagement in your favorite podcast player.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Had to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello and welcome back everyone to these sales engagement podcast. Thank you, as always, for hanging out with us for the next thirty minutes. I know there's four hundred and seventy eight billion things buying for your attention, so we don't take it lightly that you got us in your ear drums right now, whatever you're doing. So we will make this educational, we will make this actionable. I'm super excited for this. What I've been excited for it since we kind of started wrestling with the topic, but before we get there, I want to introduce my guests. I'm joined by Gamil Grant, who runs bed and corporate innovation over at Mayfield Fund Gimel. Welcome, thanks. Got Really, really pleased to be here and I know we're going to have fun. So kick us off. Let's do it. So I always like to start with a little bit of context for the for the listeners, and I usually frame it up like this. What is this superhero origin story of give meal? How did you get to where you're at today? That's great. Well, I really am pleased to be here today and share a little bit about my background. You know, I have this really fun job in the venture capital world that is somewhat of a unique role, which is I get to help our portfolio companies reach market adoption faster. I'm a real operator at heart. I California native. Grew up here, went to cal Berkeley right out of school, worked at IBM and went through one of the most extensive sales training strategy courses for a year and a half that IBM used to put on. I don't know if they still do, but it was something where I learned perhaps an algorithm that have I've applied throughout my entire business career, and that is you've got to listen really hard if you want to sell effectively. And the idea of consultative selling, strategic selling and partner based selling all representative fairly big view, bunch or strategic view of selling big deals by being a consultant, by being a thought provider, by bringing value to the equation. And to do that you had to really shut the heck up and listen. And I used to it when it I bem sales training. We would go to Atlanta for four weeks and then come home for four weeks and then go back. We did this over a year and a half and the sales training boot camps we were required to learn a particular product and at the time I be in a selling everything from copiers to mainframes right and I was assigned back home in Sacramento, to state of California, is as my first sales job, which was, you know, one of the worst sort of entry sales positions I think anybody could have given. Anybody which because the process was a three to four year URFP process before you ever want a deal. So if you wanted to win a deal quickly. You weren't going to see it at state of California anyway. Along of the whole thing was these sales coaching events, which I'd love to have salespeople do today, really forced us to one learn the product but more so learn the customer before we went in, and...

...we would listen then to clues and ask really provocative questions. And it was interesting that sales managers who would grade us, and I was always, of course, very competitive. I always wanted to win. Every day they would grate us on how effective we could close, and there were three of us who were assigned to each customer scenario and I said I always want to be the closer. I always want to be the closer, and the reason was that all the conversation that would ensue at the beginning was so much insight for me to be able to effectively say, Mr Customer, didn't you say you needed the following? Didn't you say these are the three priorities? Didn't you say that to make this work, the following things need to align? Let me propose the following that aligns to everything that you've just said. And they would they the prospective customer in these these demo sales events, would say wow, you nailed it and we'd close the deal and I be thrilled that I listened. Well, anyway, the long of the whole thing, my whole career has been about listening, listening really hard. And there I go on talking for three four minutes. So sorry, let me listen to you now. SOC now that was that was gold. And what popped into my head there was why do you think these programs fell by the wayside? You know it's that's you jump to that right away. When I asked about your background. Many folks that have been through like an IBM or a Rox, they look back extremely fondly and say it's some of the best training they they ever got. Where did we go wrong in Sass like what? Why did these go away? It became very expensive and a new guard of tech companies. You know, at the time we were competing against Sun Microsystems and Scott mcneely said I'll just hire a bunch of IBM guys are already trained, and he did. and Oracle did the same and in fact I left IBM and went to Oracle and Oracle didn't have the same sort of sales training thesis and long term thing. They had some workshops, but they didn't have the same process. I think it was just expensive and you could pick up the XPTC ZEROX IBM guy off the street. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, we could probably spend a full thirty minutes unpacking your your background, but I do want to get to this this topic, because I think it's wildly interesting. And so you're a listener, you're an observer by nature. One of the things that you brought up last time we were talking was a trend that you're seeing, a trend that you're seeing particularly with CIOS at larger, larger organizations. Do you want to talk a little bit about about that trend that you're seeing? Sure, sure, so, you know, having been in the industry for a number of years, being an operator, I've been selling to see IOS for a long time and I've watched sort of the evolution of the function. You know, many years ago it was considered, you know, sort of the House of maintenance, of the blue wire coming out of the wall and then and the storage devices and the printers and whatnot, you know, sort of the tech desk, if you will. Clearly, today competitiveness is made for companies at a business level based upon how they operate digitally. Were digital first and, you know, tech terms, cloud first sort of world, and that obviously brings more attention to the CIO's strategy. Their budget is important. What they're doing truly impacts the business. This last year with Covid, you know, I think that the CIOS function was sort of the MVP, if you will, on March eleven. Everybody, you know, that the gauntlet was dropped and said, so, guess what, everybody is working from home and ask the CIO for access to things like great. So the CIO, in matter of days and weeks, almost unceremoniously, was able to get entire organizations working remotely and not just up on zoom but on their collaboration environments, vpns, a dining room, tables, you know, being... to get get customer support teams a huge scale doing documents and notorization online, and tell a health and education, you know, every industry, amazing transformation because the technology teams were quite adept at making that happen. Like, Amen to you guys. You did an amazing job. But it also, I think, unleashed a level of competitiveness that maybe the cats out of the bag in a sense. You know, cloud first, digital first. Expectations for you and your peers is, you know, hey, I don't want to walk into a DMV, I want to do it on line. He had don't want to walk into a bank, I want to do it online. And if you're not, I'm going to go to the next guy, the next company. And so the business units are coming to the CIO and saying we need even more competitive differentiation here. We need to be faster, we need to be faster than our competition, we need to be more productive and we need your help in guiding us to the right product decision. Therefore, I think the cios function is much more business and revenue driven then technology driven. Of course, technologies of component, but I don't necessarily care how you do it. I need you to be impacting the business. So or sort of reflection of moving from tech to business or revenue impact, I think, is the big macro change. Yeah, it's almost like this new age the revenue minded or outcome driven CIO. And you drew a great comparison earlier to what what we saw happen in the CML roll about eight, eight years ago, which was very interesting. You want to talk through some of of thoughts on turn out? I thought it was a great comparison. Yeah, I mean that there's there's always been these, the sort of stories of the death of the CIO or the end of the CIO, and one of these these eras was about ten years ago when we saw the the role of the CMO begin to take even more authority in the organization, the board, the senior leadership, the CEO, basically asking the CMO to do a much bigger job, to carry more weight around, getting closer to customers and giving the CMO and even bigger budget. And what we watched was CMOS who were leading brand and brand strategy being asked to engage with customers in a much more number driven, quantitative driven sort of way. And of course what they needed was all sorts of tools, and the tools that they were acquiring were being acquired for campaign monitoring, social feeds, you know, add placement, etc. And there were dozens, if not hundreds of tools in this whole MARTEX stack that were being created by the entrepreneurial community, from the likes of Mayfield Marquetto was one of ours, and a number of others you know, it's just a fascinating time in history where the CMOS budget really swelled to a point where people said, wow, the CMO was more important than the CIO. Really was the quandary. I remember having an event where I had CMOS and CIO sit on a panel and describe how they thought about the business, and it was night and day. The CMO was so close to the business, so they're their vernacular, their narrative, their understanding of the problem, their understanding of the customer, and the CIO at the time was so internally focused and it was sort of a wakeup call. The CIO said, Geez, you really know the business better than I do, and I think this was a reflection, as I said, about ten years ago. And now, if we fast forward to today, digital transformation, cloud first, replacement of legacy...

...infrastructure with a digital first sort of customer engagement and environment is now on the shoulders of the CIO because it's complicated. There's a lot of data, there's a lot of security, there's a lot of architecture, there's a lot of transformation of legacy things and the CMO says, you know, I'm not here to design architecture, which is trying to fulfill a campaign strategy or get closed. So please, let's partner you me, you the CIO and me, the CMO, into an engagement that allows us to do this for the long term. We need data science strategy to this. We need we need to be able to protect through privacy the data and how it's being used. We need real technology support. So ceio's have stepped up to be the the architect, let's say, of this future digital first world. So the CMO baton is passed back to the CIO and I think the sail will continue to win the day when they bring themselves closer to the business, just as the CMO did a few years back. It's so interesting and something that we're we're seeing at at outreach as well. Right we're typically talking to Cros. The CIO traditionally wasn't overly involved in in the decision, but we've seen this evolution as well play out over the last I would say twelve to eighteen months. We had a I won't name them, but a very large, wellknown bank, and we initially went through the traditional path and we were talking to the you know, sales leadership in the CRO and very, very quickly. They brought in that the CIO to manage it from from start to finish, and what it felt like was exactly what you just said, was that the complexity of the systems they now had in place, the complexity of the data and insights that they were trying to derive from all of this was kind of just beyond their capabilities. Right they're reckoning leader. They know a certain skill set and we're seeing this this kind of now merge. I guess that's a another question that I would love your your thoughts on. What is your feedback or advice for CEL AND CRO Partnership? How do you think they can get more more aligned? In the end, that the business unit should be really clear on what success looks like, what the business needs are, and the CIO should then be able to provide an advanced architecture and strategy to deploy it as scale with high level of productivity and reduce risk and ensure the lights are really on. So I think it's a perfect partnership. When the CIO says, look, I serve at the behest of the business, but the business has got to be clear what a success look like, then I to cio need to be able to structure, not a house of no, Hey, I can't approve that, oh, unless it meets this security requirements. They need to come at it with a business minded okay, there's some security risks here. This is how we're going to work through that, because we've got the team that can do that. or where's the data going to reside against all this other data that we need to collect the make this meaningful our how's it going to integrate with these other very important other systems in our organization that finance or operations or whoever else needs the data as well? So it's not single minded but very comprehensive, with the idea that the Crro says, Oh, I hadn't thought about that, but I'm glad I've got you as a partner to help me think through those things so that this isn't just a niche solution but it really can becomes a policy standard across the organization. So to go big, the two of those roles need to come together very, very strategically and offer a bigger thesis and I think that's maybe the offer for a company like...

...outreach to think about. Okay, how do we do first step with our cro as our sponsor. And then second step with this combined strategic sale, let's say, with the CIO and the Cerro coming together to talk about how do we make this an enterprise wide platform? I mean that would be such an incredible future state where where the executives go to the CIO, not to you know, please, just we got to get this done, just push us through. But the CEIO could take a step back, see the full Lens and not just act as an operator who gets things done, but look at it strategically and say, Hey, okay, we've got this, but we also have dad a living over here and customer success and and over here, and this is what reb ups doing and kind of tie it tie it all together. would be incredible. It almost feels like coming full circle. Maybe we need to get the CEEIO some sales training so that they can listen and fully comprehend and then, you know, act as that consultative partner. Yeah, I mean I think that's exactly right and I think in some ways the CIO wants to be a value add to the business Tunis, in this case to sales, and if they're not equipped with the language or the needs, then maybe they don't know how to approach it. So, yeah, if you're educating a cio to be more, let's say, sales savvy, what are the trends that a sales leader is facing? What are the issues to become even more competitive, more productive, more more effective at generating revenue from a top line and fulfillment standpoint? And how does the crow think? Well, does a C CEIO have all that language? Well, ideally they do, because they're partnering with their Crero in an effective way. But yeah, if you were to provide a primmer, so to speak, you know. So they were fast tracking that conversation and helping to finish the sentence along with the with the crow, they actually were singing Kumbaya, so to speak. Together, then I think things move a lot faster because an effective cio wants to be our needs to be valuable to the business to sustain their own career. If they're just two house of no, if they're just the blocker based on technology and policy alone, that is obscure sort of sort of reason or rationale to the business, then the business will go around them and then you have the sort of rogue environment where things actually don't take hold and things don't go big, and I think that's a issue that the entrepreneur you outreach have to face, which is, if we don't Garner their attention, sooner than we're going to have to face this battle down the road. Yeah, so I think there's two two listeners that are going to really find what we're talking about interesting right now and I want to get some questions that are specifically for them. And one is we have sales leadership, cros be piece of sales that listen to this. For those folks, what is step one in bridging a relationship with your your CIO? I mean, and of course you're going to have some semblance of a relationship, but it's not overly in most organizations I've been a part of like a business forward relationship where you're you're actually partnering on things. What do you think step one is to bridge that gap a little bit. Yeah, I think you have to be able to be appreciative of how the CIO's current stack looks, what their current environment is. You know, this listening part, I think, really matters and I think you can ask some probing questions around how how the needs of their business units are being met, how they're currently approaching things and then offer, to the point you made a few minutes ago, some advice on the kind of pain and I would turn the whole thing around and bring bring a Brownie, so... speak. You're a gift, if you will, to the CIO, which is here's how you can promote something to Your Business Unit, your cro in an effective way. Here's what your peers are doing, here's how other CIOS have gone about enabling this transition or this this communication and high impact impact to sales. And who isn't going to want to hear that story? Your CEO's going to want to hear it, your boards going to want to hear it and clearly your cro that you support is going to want to hear it. And here's how they're going about the process. So bring them insight about what one listen about their their business problems, how they're thinking about things. They could be overwhelmed with large legacy, you know, infrastructure and really can't get through it. They could be overwhelmed with trying to get closer to the sales team, but there they'll be inspired to learn from their peers excellent, excellent advice. And then the second demographic who's probably ears are perking, at least mine would be, as I'm listening to this. Are Those individual contributors that are are listening to this podcast that maybe perhaps sell into CIOS and they're like, oh, this is a this is a trend, that I should probably switch up some of my messaging. And how would you coach folks that are trying to get the attention of a a cio to do that today, now that there's this kind of shift happening? Yeah, and it's a little bit of the same same message, which is, if I was selling to an organization and I had good relationship with, you know, sales leadership, but no relationship with the CIO, how would I go about that? I would try to find peers, again, the reference names of other cios in our network, others that are are either indirectly or directly users that might connect and befriend that way within the industry, within the market, and it and again it has this listening thesis to it, which is I understand where you're coming from, I understand how you think about it. You're going to need to make sure that this has a level of enterprise scale to it. You're going to need to understand the level of integrations and how integrations are actually managed and what that technology looks like. You're going to want to understand how things are supported and what what it infrastructure are needed to make this happen. You're also going to underto going to want to understand what level of security and compliance to security standards are already in place. This is a little bit of motherhood and Apple Pie stuff. It's probably part of a standard presentation deck that you have at outreach, but if you offer it in a way that suggestive that you have spent time to learn from other cios about what are the most critical things and am I missing anything, and offer it in a very, I guess, Egalitarian sort of way, which is we're thoughtful to this. We know at some point we wanted to get to you in advance rather than behind, and I want to just bring you up to speed on the kind of homework we've done with other CIOS to make sure our platform is CIO ready. That's excellent. This future state that that we're moving into, that you're kind of painting for us, obviously really excites outreach. We want to be the platform that drives business outcome, so seeing CIO's adopt a revenue or outcome driven mindset is is music to our ears and of course, thank you for help and surface this and and sharing it with our with our listeners. I'm always shocked up fast time goes when you're having a good conversation. But as we sort of wrap up, there was a lot there. Obvious it's a media topic. I always ask the same question at the end. You know, if people forget the last thirty minutes, you know they were working out,...

...they were multitask and doing all sorts of things and they only remember three things from this discussion. What would you want those to be? Always approach a relationship as if you need to bring value. Expect that of yourself before you start asking. To bring something, and do so in the form of a lasting, long term, multigenerational partnership. Everybody you meet in the business world will probably be a friend for life if you approached in that way. And then the axiom you've got two ears and one mouth, apply that Algorith of them shut up half of the time or listen twice as much, or a little of both of that, and in doing so you will present in a way that's so much more thoughtful and refreshing generally to people who have always been screamed at by yet another demo or presentation or power point or point to be made. Stop being selfish and be more egalitarian and things really open up. Fantastic advice. Bring value every single time. You show up, optimized for lasting, long term multigenerational relationships. I love that. One two years, one month, optimized accordingly. That is gold. Give me. I'm thank you again. Really appreciate it. I had a lot of fun and for all those listeners, thanks hanging out with us and we'll see you next episode. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach, that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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