We’re excited to introduce Trenton Truitt as Wizeline’s new SVP of Sales and Customer Success.
It’s worth noting that Trenton has a deep appreciation for — and firsthand experience of — the challenges we’re working to solve here at Wizeline. Namely: how can an organization determine the right product plan to increase customer happiness and engagement — or achieve other business goals, such as reducing churn or growing market share? In Trenton’s mind, it starts with listening and genuine empathy for the customer.
In our three-part interview series, Matt Pasienski gets Trenton to expand on these and other topics, including:
- How Trenton went from sailing boats to sales
- His hands-on experience in learning how technology solves business problems at PTC
- How to ask the right questions and figure out how to shorten the time to revenue
- Why “the sales team is the tip of the spear” for Product & Development teams
- The importance of being able to efficiently gather data across teams, communicate next steps, and calculate the tradeoff in building new features and products
Trenton has already hit the ground running and we’re thrilled to have him as part of the Wizeline team. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter — he’s one of the friendliest guys we know, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Matt Pasienski: Trent, it's great to have you with us. This is Trenton Truitt. He's actually the SVP of sales at Wizeline, just joined. I'm really excited to talk to you today because you have had a ... I wouldn't say winding. It seems like it's a pretty directed course, but it's a interesting unique course through life. When you say, "Charting a course," and you started as a sailor. Now you're SVP of sales at a start-up doing product. How do you start as a sailor and then move. What was the path?
Trenton Truitt: What was the path? Well, the path started out at the California Maritime Academy and I had a great four-year run there. Learned a lot about teamwork, a lot about leadership, I had different leadership positions at the academy, and learned that the details matter. You can't just jump on a ship and decide where you're going to go, "Oh, maybe we'll go to Hawaii, maybe we'll go to Hong Kong, maybe we'll go to Mexico." You have to know how much fuel, how much food, what are you carrying.
There is a lot of planning that goes into this and there is so many similarities between planning for trips like that and building a company because the details absolutely matter.
Matt Pasienski: You said something I heard you say once before, "Everybody needs to be going the same place." I imagine that's really important when you're sailing a ship, that everyone knows where we want to point the boat at the end of the day.
Trenton Truitt: Right. We're going north. This is where we're going, this is why we're going there, and that's another good point, right? Quite frankly it's communication. Why are we on the course that we're on? Why is that important for a ship as a whole and what our organization wants to go do? Also in companies, what is the direction, how are you communicating that, how do you get everyone bought into row the boat in the same direction.
Matt Pasienski: I want to use that as a segue because we now are going to use- I like that as a metaphor for what you did next. You worked at a company called PTC. Can you tell us a little about what PTC did because I think it would be more interesting to hear?
Trenton Truitt: Sure. PTC stands for Parametric Technology Corporation, Waltham, Massachusetts based, great company. At one point, they were actually growing faster than Microsoft and they were in the CAD/CAM, Computer-Aided Design, Computer-Aided Manufacturing space. They later went into the PLM space or Product Lifecycle Management space. It was a great run.
My first sales, technology sales position, "Trenton, welcome to the team in the San Jose office. We're going to go put you in Fresno, in the central valley. That's your territory." Started as a sales guy carrying a bag, carrying a quota. I had the whole territory and then I got promoted to named accounts and then from named accounts to a smaller territory, to then you had two or three large accounts.
What a great run in terms of really understanding how technology solves business problems. Companies want to build products better, faster, cheaper so to speak, right?
Matt Pasienski: I definitely heard PLM before, but it's not maybe something that a lot of people have heard of, Product Lifecycle Management. What are doing when ... What are you going in and selling there? What is this problem you're solving and what was it like back in 1997 before PTC had made this revolution? What was the change that you guys brought?
Trenton Truitt: Well, the big change we brought was ... The first job, your real question about what was our job to go in there and do? Our first job was to listen. Our first job was to really understand the business challenges our customers and prospects had with delivering their products to market. Whether it be semi-conductors, whether it be a tennis shoe manufacturer, it didn't matter. How do you shorten that process and essentially shorten the time to revenue of a new product? That's what we did.
We went in and we asked a lot of questions. I asked the same question over and over again. I'd say, "What do you do with this one step?" "Well, we do x, y, and z." "Okay, and then what?" They tell me and I go, "Then what," and really trying to what we call formally was a process review or a process audit, but really trying to understand a customer's business.
I found the best reps knew the customer and knew the customer's problems better than the company did because they were navigating the hallways, and really trying to understand how one department was affected by another, and understanding how technology could bridge the gap and reduce that cycle problem.