The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 6 months 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, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well doesoutreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time aftervirtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runsaccount based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagementplatform. 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 salesengagement podcast. Thank you, as always, for hanging out with us for thenext thirty minutes. I know there's four hundred and seventy eight billion thingsbuying for your attention, so we don't take it lightly that you got usin your ear drums right now, whatever you're doing. So we will makethis educational, we will make this actionable. I'm super excited for this. WhatI'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'mjoined by Gamil Grant, who runs bed and corporate innovation over at Mayfield FundGimel. Welcome, thanks. Got Really, really pleased to be here and Iknow we're going to have fun. So kick us off. Let's doit. So I always like to start with a little bit of context forthe for the listeners, and I usually frame it up like this. Whatis this superhero origin story of give meal? How did you get to where you'reat today? That's great. Well, I really am pleased to be heretoday and share a little bit about my background. You know, Ihave this really fun job in the venture capital world that is somewhat of aunique role, which is I get to help our portfolio companies reach market adoptionfaster. I'm a real operator at heart. I California native. Grew up here, went to cal Berkeley right out of school, worked at IBM andwent through one of the most extensive sales training strategy courses for a year anda 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'veapplied throughout my entire business career, and that is you've got to listen reallyhard 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 strategicview 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 toreally shut the heck up and listen. And I used to it when itI bem sales training. We would go to Atlanta for four weeks and thencome home for four weeks and then go back. We did this over ayear and a half and the sales training boot camps we were required to learna particular product and at the time I be in a selling everything from copiersto mainframes right and I was assigned back home in Sacramento, to state ofCalifornia, is as my first sales job, which was, you know, oneof 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 beforeyou 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 ofthe whole thing was these sales coaching events, which I'd love to have salespeople dotoday, really forced us to one learn the product but more so learnthe customer before we went in, and...

...we would listen then to clues andask really provocative questions. And it was interesting that sales managers who would gradeus, and I was always, of course, very competitive. I alwayswanted to win. Every day they would grate us on how effective we couldclose, and there were three of us who were assigned to each customer scenarioand I said I always want to be the closer. I always want tobe the closer, and the reason was that all the conversation that would ensueat 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 saythese 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 toeverything that you've just said. And they would they the prospective customer in thesethese demo sales events, would say wow, you nailed it and we'd close thedeal and I be thrilled that I listened. Well, anyway, thelong of the whole thing, my whole career has been about listening, listeningreally hard. And there I go on talking for three four minutes. Sosorry, 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 theseprograms fell by the wayside? You know it's that's you jump to that rightaway. When I asked about your background. Many folks that have been through likean IBM or a Rox, they look back extremely fondly and say it'ssome of the best training they they ever got. Where did we go wrongin Sass like what? Why did these go away? It became very expensiveand a new guard of tech companies. You know, at the time wewere competing against Sun Microsystems and Scott mcneely said I'll just hire a bunch ofIBM guys are already trained, and he did. and Oracle did the sameand in fact I left IBM and went to Oracle and Oracle didn't have thesame 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 andyou could pick up the XPTC ZEROX IBM guy off the street. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, we could probably spend a full thirty minutesunpacking 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'rean observer by nature. One of the things that you brought up last timewe were talking was a trend that you're seeing, a trend that you're seeingparticularly with CIOS at larger, larger organizations. Do you want to talk a littlebit 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 andI've watched sort of the evolution of the function. You know, many yearsago 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 devicesand the printers and whatnot, you know, sort of the tech desk, ifyou will. Clearly, today competitiveness is made for companies at a businesslevel based upon how they operate digitally. Were digital first and, you know, tech terms, cloud first sort of world, and that obviously brings moreattention to the CIO's strategy. Their budget is important. What they're doing trulyimpacts the business. This last year with Covid, you know, I thinkthat the CIOS function was sort of the MVP, if you will, onMarch eleven. Everybody, you know, that the gauntlet was dropped and said, so, guess what, everybody is working from home and ask the CIOfor access to things like great. So the CIO, in matter of daysand weeks, almost unceremoniously, was able to get entire organizations working remotely andnot just up on zoom but on their collaboration environments, vpns, a diningroom, tables, you know, being... to get get customer support teamsa huge scale doing documents and notorization online, and tell a health and education,you know, every industry, amazing transformation because the technology teams were quiteadept at making that happen. Like, Amen to you guys. You didan amazing job. But it also, I think, unleashed a level ofcompetitiveness 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, Iwant to do it on line. He had don't want to walk into abank, I want to do it online. And if you're not, I'm goingto go to the next guy, the next company. And so thebusiness units are coming to the CIO and saying we need even more competitive differentiationhere. We need to be faster, we need to be faster than ourcompetition, we need to be more productive and we need your help in guidingus to the right product decision. Therefore, I think the cios function is muchmore business and revenue driven then technology driven. Of course, technologies ofcomponent, but I don't necessarily care how you do it. I need youto be impacting the business. So or sort of reflection of moving from techto 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 inthe CML roll about eight, eight years ago, which was very interesting.You want to talk through some of of thoughts on turn out? I thoughtit was a great comparison. Yeah, I mean that there's there's always beenthese, the sort of stories of the death of the CIO or the endof the CIO, and one of these these eras was about ten years agowhen we saw the the role of the CMO begin to take even more authorityin the organization, the board, the senior leadership, the CEO, basicallyasking 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. Andwhat we watched was CMOS who were leading brand and brand strategy being asked toengage 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 thetools that they were acquiring were being acquired for campaign monitoring, social feeds,you know, add placement, etc. And there were dozens, if nothundreds of tools in this whole MARTEX stack that were being created by the entrepreneurialcommunity, from the likes of Mayfield Marquetto was one of ours, and anumber of others you know, it's just a fascinating time in history where theCMOS budget really swelled to a point where people said, wow, the CMOwas more important than the CIO. Really was the quandary. I remember havingan event where I had CMOS and CIO sit on a panel and describe howthey thought about the business, and it was night and day. The CMOwas so close to the business, so they're their vernacular, their narrative,their understanding of the problem, their understanding of the customer, and the CIOat 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 Ido, and I think this was a reflection, as I said, aboutten years ago. And now, if we fast forward to today, digitaltransformation, cloud first, replacement of legacy...

...infrastructure with a digital first sort ofcustomer 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 alot of architecture, there's a lot of transformation of legacy things and the CMOsays, you know, I'm not here to design architecture, which is tryingto fulfill a campaign strategy or get closed. So please, let's partner you me, you the CIO and me, the CMO, into an engagement thatallows us to do this for the long term. We need data science strategyto this. We need we need to be able to protect through privacy thedata and how it's being used. We need real technology support. So ceio'shave stepped up to be the the architect, let's say, of this future digitalfirst world. So the CMO baton is passed back to the CIO andI think the sail will continue to win the day when they bring themselves closerto the business, just as the CMO did a few years back. It'sso interesting and something that we're we're seeing at at outreach as well. Rightwe're typically talking to Cros. The CIO traditionally wasn't overly involved in in thedecision, but we've seen this evolution as well play out over the last Iwould 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 traditionalpath and we were talking to the you know, sales leadership in the CROand very, very quickly. They brought in that the CIO to manage itfrom from start to finish, and what it felt like was exactly what youjust 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 fromall 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 nowmerge. I guess that's a another question that I would love your your thoughtson. What is your feedback or advice for CEL AND CRO Partnership? Howdo you think they can get more more aligned? In the end, thatthe business unit should be really clear on what success looks like, what thebusiness needs are, and the CIO should then be able to provide an advancedarchitecture and strategy to deploy it as scale with high level of productivity and reducerisk 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 thebusiness, but the business has got to be clear what a success looklike, then I to cio need to be able to structure, not ahouse of no, Hey, I can't approve that, oh, unless itmeets this security requirements. They need to come at it with a business mindedokay, there's some security risks here. This is how we're going to workthrough that, because we've got the team that can do that. or where'sthe data going to reside against all this other data that we need to collectthe make this meaningful our how's it going to integrate with these other very importantother systems in our organization that finance or operations or whoever else needs the dataas well? So it's not single minded but very comprehensive, with the ideathat the Crro says, Oh, I hadn't thought about that, but I'mglad I've got you as a partner to help me think through those things sothat this isn't just a niche solution but it really can becomes a policy standardacross the organization. So to go big, the two of those roles need tocome together very, very strategically and offer a bigger thesis and I thinkthat'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 thensecond step with this combined strategic sale, let's say, with the CIO andthe Cerro coming together to talk about how do we make this an enterprise wideplatform? I mean that would be such an incredible future state where where theexecutives go to the CIO, not to you know, please, just wegot to get this done, just push us through. But the CEIO couldtake a step back, see the full Lens and not just act as anoperator who gets things done, but look at it strategically and say, Hey, okay, we've got this, but we also have dad a living overhere and customer success and and over here, and this is what reb ups doingand kind of tie it tie it all together. would be incredible.It almost feels like coming full circle. Maybe we need to get the CEEIOsome sales training so that they can listen and fully comprehend and then, youknow, act as that consultative partner. Yeah, I mean I think that'sexactly right and I think in some ways the CIO wants to be a valueadd to the business Tunis, in this case to sales, and if they'renot equipped with the language or the needs, then maybe they don't know how toapproach it. So, yeah, if you're educating a cio to bemore, let's say, sales savvy, what are the trends that a salesleader is facing? What are the issues to become even more competitive, moreproductive, more more effective at generating revenue from a top line and fulfillment standpoint? And how does the crow think? Well, does a C CEIO haveall that language? Well, ideally they do, because they're partnering with theirCrero in an effective way. But yeah, if you were to provide a primmer, so to speak, you know. So they were fast tracking that conversationand helping to finish the sentence along with the with the crow, theyactually were singing Kumbaya, so to speak. Together, then I think things movea lot faster because an effective cio wants to be our needs to bevaluable to the business to sustain their own career. If they're just two houseof 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, thenthe business will go around them and then you have the sort of rogue environmentwhere things actually don't take hold and things don't go big, and I thinkthat'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 facethis battle down the road. Yeah, so I think there's two two listenersthat are going to really find what we're talking about interesting right now and Iwant to get some questions that are specifically for them. And one is wehave sales leadership, cros be piece of sales that listen to this. Forthose 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 arelationship, but it's not overly in most organizations I've been a part of likea business forward relationship where you're you're actually partnering on things. What do youthink step one is to bridge that gap a little bit. Yeah, Ithink you have to be able to be appreciative of how the CIO's current stacklooks, what their current environment is. You know, this listening part,I think, really matters and I think you can ask some probing questions aroundhow how the needs of their business units are being met, how they're currentlyapproaching 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 thingaround and bring bring a Brownie, so... speak. You're a gift,if you will, to the CIO, which is here's how you can promotesomething to Your Business Unit, your cro in an effective way. Here's whatyour peers are doing, here's how other CIOS have gone about enabling this transitionor this this communication and high impact impact to sales. And who isn't goingto 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 yousupport is going to want to hear it. And here's how they're going about theprocess. So bring them insight about what one listen about their their businessproblems, 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 beoverwhelmed with trying to get closer to the sales team, but there they'll beinspired to learn from their peers excellent, excellent advice. And then the seconddemographic who's probably ears are perking, at least mine would be, as I'mlistening to this. Are Those individual contributors that are are listening to this podcastthat maybe perhaps sell into CIOS and they're like, oh, this is athis 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 ofa a cio to do that today, now that there's this kind of shifthappening? 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 relationshipwith, 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 areeither 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 toit, which is I understand where you're coming from, I understand how youthink about it. You're going to need to make sure that this has alevel of enterprise scale to it. You're going to need to understand the levelof 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 infrastructureare needed to make this happen. You're also going to underto going to wantto 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 probablypart of a standard presentation deck that you have at outreach, but if youoffer it in a way that suggestive that you have spent time to learn fromother 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 toget to you in advance rather than behind, and I want to just bring youup to speed on the kind of homework we've done with other CIOS tomake sure our platform is CIO ready. That's excellent. This future state thatthat we're moving into, that you're kind of painting for us, obviously reallyexcites outreach. We want to be the platform that drives business outcome, soseeing CIO's adopt a revenue or outcome driven mindset is is music to our earsand of course, thank you for help and surface this and and sharing itwith our with our listeners. I'm always shocked up fast time goes when you'rehaving a good conversation. But as we sort of wrap up, there wasa lot there. Obvious it's a media topic. I always ask the samequestion at the end. You know, if people forget the last thirty minutes, you know they were working out,...

...they were multitask and doing all sortsof things and they only remember three things from this discussion. What would youwant those to be? Always approach a relationship as if you need to bringvalue. 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 lifeif you approached in that way. And then the axiom you've got two earsand one mouth, apply that Algorith of them shut up half of the timeor listen twice as much, or a little of both of that, andin doing so you will present in a way that's so much more thoughtful andrefreshing generally to people who have always been screamed at by yet another demo orpresentation or power point or point to be made. Stop being selfish and bemore egalitarian and things really open up. Fantastic advice. Bring value every singletime. You show up, optimized for lasting, long term multigenerational relationships.I love that. One two years, one month, optimized accordingly. Thatis gold. Give me. I'm thank you again. Really appreciate it.I had a lot of fun and for all those listeners, thanks hanging outwith us and we'll see you next episode. This was another episode of the salesengagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcomfor new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the mostout of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach, thatioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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