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We sat down with Wizeline's SVP of Sales Trenton Truitt to chat about challenges and trends in digital transformation.

Watch the interview to learn Trenton's take on:

  • What areas to improve in order to increase customer engagement, and who is crushing the game (shoutout to Dollar Shave Club!)
  • Where Sales fits into a company's digital strategy
  • How CEOs of large enterprise companies can run their organizations like a startup—nimble and efficient

Full transcript:

Adam Sewall: Everyone, welcome to the program. I'm Adam. Today, we're going to be chatting with Trenton Truitt. He is the SVP of Sales and Customer Success at Wizeline. Trenton, how are you doing?

Trenton Truitt: I'm great.

Adam Sewall: Good. Thanks for sitting down.

Trenton Truitt: No, thank you for having me here. It's great to be with you.

Adam Sewall: Currently, your team is supporting some of the biggest brands in the world. When it comes to digital transformation, what are some of the common challenges you're hearing from the market today, and what are those problems that companies need solved?

Trenton Truitt: There are some common themes that we're seeing, for sure. The challenges that we see are a few things, Adam. First of all, everyone has to go digital, so what does that really mean?

Adam Sewall: Totally.

Trenton Truitt: It's vertical agnostic, so it's across all different verticals, and what they have to be able to do is, they have to be able to change fundamentally the way they communicate with their customers, the way they bring products to market, and they have to do it very, very quickly. We see a few things. One has to be, is speed. Two, they don't have enough resources to bring these solutions to bear. We've been asked all the time, "Trenton, we see things that fall below the Wizeline that we absolutely have to go develop. How do we go do that?" That's where you see our services team come into play. The two themes are speed, they don't have the resources, and a third one would be, you better be accurate.

Adam Sewall: Right. I think you're absolutely right. If you look at the timeline here, I think even three or four years ago a lot of the large enterprise businesses that had longstanding businesses, all of a sudden you have Gillette needing to scramble and figure out how to deal with Dollar Shave Club, how to deal with Harry's, how to compete with these new entrants that are digital first.

Trenton Truitt: It's funny how my grandfather and maybe even my great grandfather shaved with Gillette. I shaved with Gillette up until 90 days ago, and I just, I'm like, "I'm going to Harry's." The buying process was so simple. If you think about it, things haven't changed in the last 100 years of business, really. We've got to get to market faster, we have a better solution, we don't have enough resources. The challenge is that, in today's digital world, it happens instantaneously. If you think about ESPN, they compete with someone taking a video at a basketball game and posting that to YouTube. They have to be able to take a piece of content, label it ESPN, and get it on the web faster than a fan doing that on YouTube.

Adam Sewall: It requires digital technology. It requires rethinking how your business operates. It requires different human capital, probably.

Trenton Truitt: That's right.

Adam Sewall: What role do you see sales playing in this digital transformation process? What are the things that you're helping, you and your team are helping Wizeline understand about the things that we need to go do?

Trenton Truitt: Regardless of size of company, they're the tip of the spear when it comes to speaking with customers. Your salespeople are really trying to understand customer problems at a very, very minute level. The sales teams really understand where your product is strong, and where your product is deficient. Your sales teams have to be able to bring that data back to product managers in a way that is very clear and very concise. A salesperson just can't run in and go, "Oh, I have to have this one feature." That's just not going to work.

Adam Sewall: That never works.

Trenton Truitt: I'm guilty of that. I will admit I'm guilty of that. Because you have to dig into that feature, understand ...

Adam Sewall: How does it tie ... Is it on our strategy roadmap? Is it off?

Trenton Truitt: Should it be on? If we put it on, what are we going to take off? We only have so many resources to go do this. What we're seeing is, at Wizeline, we're empowering sales leaders and individual salespeople, customer success, professional services, all the different groups that touch customers, to capture that customer data. We have to be able to empower product leaders to understand what that data is, to help make better decisions, back to the digital age, of moving that much faster.

Salesperson goes and speaks to a customer, and they write an e-mail to the product team, "Oh, they've got to have this." Customer success team is speaking with customers, they might put a Google Doc together. Support team might put together a spreadsheet. Executives just, "Well, whatever they want."

Adam Sewall: Yell from the rooftops.

Trenton Truitt: Right, or they pound the table. What happens is, the product teams get this mish-mash of information. There's not a clear inventory or request. A clear inventory by which they can spot a trend.

Adam Sewall: The comprehensive, kind of standardized view of the universe, right?

Trenton Truitt: Well said. Right. Well brought home. Right. You're right, and that's one of the things that we help companies do, because we do believe that product teams don't build products. Sales teams don't build products, but companies build products. Companies themselves build products, from inputs, from all inputs from the marketplace, as well as your thought leadership build solid solutions.

Adam Sewall: As a sales leader, how does data inform how you operate, or how you have your team operate?

Trenton Truitt: Data is the cornerstone of a lot of your decisions, right? The data that I really listen for is, "What are our customers asking for from a product perspective?" Capturing that, and being able to work with the rest of E staff at Wizeline and make the right product decisions. That's the kind of data that I would look at.

Adam Sewall: You get to look at new trends and not say it's going to change everything, but have a more measured approach, which is humans plus technology always seem to be more powerful solutions. One more question. What advice would you have for a C-level executive who's looking to make this transition to a more digital first approach to how they're running their business?

Trenton Truitt: I hear a lot of CEOs, "Oh, we act like a startup company." Well, they don't act like a startup company. They don't.

Adam Sewall: They have free snacks.

Trenton Truitt: Well, I mean, it's interesting. "We act like a startup company." It takes them six weeks to get an NDA done. That's not a startup company. My advice to CEOs is, you've got to make a decision, and you've got to make some bets. You can make some nice size bets and measure those incrementally, and then start doubling down on those investments. You've got to get started. You can not win. You look at what's happening with bot technology right now, and the way you can interface with your clients via Facebook. What are you waiting for by not ... Why are you waiting?

CEOs, they just need to move. They need to move, and it doesn't have to be a huge directional shift, but they've got to start making the investments, and they've got to really empower their teams to go execute.

Adam Sewall: Perfect. Well, you heard it first here. CEOs, get moving. Trenton, thanks for coming by.

Trenton Truitt: Thanks, Adam.

Posted by on Thursday, October 6, 2016.


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