• LeanData Profile Series

    Sales and marketing professionals who are leading the way

Our secret sauce is making things actionable

Kirk Lacob

At the 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the Golden State Warriors were named the “Best Analytics Organization.” Not just in the NBA. Not just in American sports. But in the entire world of professional athletics.

Kirk Lacob was justifiably proud . . . and a little mystified.

It’s really exciting being in a role that’s so dynamic

Doug Pepper

Doug Pepper was an early believer in MarTech. In fact, one of the earliest.

In 2006, he was convinced that the marketing technology sector was poised for big things. Pepper sensed that marketers were ready to embrace emerging digital solutions as a new avenue for engaging customers.

But it was a contrarian opinion. There were at most 10 companies in MarTech — total — when he made the leap as the first venture capital investor in a small marketing automation startup called . . . Marketo.

Sales Ops can have a real impact on business

Dhiraj Singh

Dhiraj Singh is among the Sales Operations practitioners who believe in the importance of implementing strict rules when designing a selling process. Without structure, he said, trouble quickly can ensue.

“I’ve learned that there can be big consequences when you don’t pay attention to systems,” Singh added. “Without them, there’s a huge impact.”

I’m finding ways to do really creative things

Kristina Frost

Kristina Frost began playing the flute at age 8. But even as she devoted years to the instrument, Frost never was a musician who thrived on the flow and feel of a piece of music. She saw herself as more of a technical performer.

“I enjoyed the clarity, precision and the technical challenge,” Frost explained. “That spoke to me more than the emotional aspect of the music.”

My military career transferred easily to this world

Tom Pae

Helping close business deals is not the same thing as life-and-death situations in a war zone. But, yes, Tom Pae does see some similarities between his service as an Army officer and what he does now. And in hindsight, Pae is not surprised that he found his way to a career in sales enablement.

The roles, he said, have much in common. Both are about making everyone around you better.

I really enjoy the story of creating something

Hacer “Haja” Demiroers

Hacer “Haja” Demiroers was a little stressed. It was 2011, and she had almost completed her MBA degree. But she still wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do. So, she thought about trying sales.

That’s how she found herself on an interview with a tech company, sitting across from a sales leader named Nick Fasano.

“He quickly said, ‘Oh, you’re not a salesperson. You have the mindset of Sales Ops,’” Demiroers recalled. “I just told him, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ As he was explaining what the responsibilities would be, he suddenly stopped and said: ‘I can see excitement growing on your face.’ I told him it was because I never knew that this was an actual role.”

A career was born.

I had to learn how to sell the hard way

Pete Kazanjy

Founder of the Modern Sales Pros community for Sales Operations. Also an advisor and angel investor in sales, marketing and HR enterprise technologies.

Pete Kazanjy thought they had already accomplished the hard part. He and co-founder Jason Heidema launched a startup called TalentBin. It featured an innovative recruiting product that filled a growing market niche. Now all they had to do was sell it. Easy, right?

Uh, not quite.

It’s All About Communication

Chad T. Dyar

Director of Sales Operations at recruiting software company Greenhouse

Chad, 40, is a classically trained vocalist who has performed in musicals and operas as well as the author of the book “How to Talk to Humans.” He also is making an impression in business as the director of sales operations at Greenhouse.

We Just Knew He Would Be a Great Chief Executive

Bastiaan Janmaat

Co-Founder and CEO of DataFox

When four co-founders launched DataFox in 2013, it was obvious to each of them what roles they should play at their startup.

Mike Dorsey would be the product manager and run the business operations. Ben Trombley was the clear choice to oversee engineering. Alden Timme, with his background in machine learning and artificial intelligence, would serve as the chief data scientist.

And CEO? There wasn’t any doubt that it would be Bastiaan Janmaat.

The toolkit that helps reps at every step of their sales process

Chris Rothstein

Co-Founder and CEO of Groove

Today, he’s a long way from that upper Midwest farmland. But Rothstein is still doing heavy-lifting of a different sort helping build the San Francisco-based sales technology company Groove, which uses software to make sales teams more efficient.

It’s all about how sales wants to solve sales problems

Jason Paquette

Director of Sales Operations at MongoDB

Today, Jason Paquette finds himself on the cutting edge of B2B sales operations. But this sure wasn’t the career path that he had originally expected to take.

I like the strategy and seeing the big picture

Craig Rosenberg

Co-founder and chief analyst of research and advisory firm TOPO and editor of The Funnelholic website

There’s a good chance that you know Rosenberg more by that moniker than his real name. The Funnelholic has become synonymous with everything pertaining to sales and marketing.

I just love building inside sales teams

Lars Nilsson

Vice President of Field Operations at Cloudera Inc.

When Lars Nilsson started college, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. But a family friend who was a successful businessman pulled Nilsson aside with a suggestion: Learn how to sell.

Everyone wants to understand what all of this really means

Scott Brinker

Editor of the Chief Marketing Technology blog at chiefmartec.com.

It began as a modest project. Scott Brinker counted up the vendors who made software tools that help marketers do their jobs better. Then he squeezed those 150 logos onto a single slide and called it the Marketing Technology Landscape.

There’s a real creativity that comes with being a marketer.

Masha Finkelstein

Demand Generation Lead at BetterWorks

As a demand generation lead at the goal-setting software company BetterWorks, Finkelstein is part of a new wave of marketers who are bringing together technology acumen and the human element of building relationships.

Data is nothing unless you tell a story with it.

Nani Jansen

Senior Manager of Marketing Operations at Demandbase

Growing up, she was encouraged to just go outside and play. Summers were spent on long camping adventures. Her chosen sports of running and rowing could take Jansen into the heart of nature. At the University of Pennsylvania, she majored in environmental studies. She even came close to joining the Peace Corps.

Sense a pattern?

“My big fear always was being inside,” Jansen recalled. “I wanted to stay away from desks and offices. For some reason, that actually was scary to me.”

I want to put marketing in the center of the universe.

David Lewis

Founder and CEO at DemandGen

David just understands modern marketing,” said social selling expert Jill Rowley. “He really is a visionary. But he won’t tell you that because he’s not big on self-promotion. Instead he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t want to hear himself speak. He would much rather listen so he can understand you.

In fact, any conversation with Lewis centers on how DemandGen clients have grown their businesses and won industry awards thanks to their adoption of technology.

People often overestimate the value of talent and underestimate the idea of hard work

Jin Daikoku

Director of Inside Sales at Netskope

“People often overestimate the value of talent and underestimate the idea of hard work,” said Daikoku, the director of inside sales at Netskope, which has become one of the hottest startup companies in the cloud app security space. “I learned that if you combine theory and practice, then you can really become good at something.”

Daikoku has never forgotten that lesson – applying the same ethic of going the extra mile in a successful sales and operations administration career with Silicon Valley technology companies. Once, his life was ruled by the stopwatch. Today, he lives by the clock as he searches for ways to help his sales team become more productive.

My Passion Is Helping Companies Grow

Kenny Lee

Vice President of Marketing at Revinate

Not much dust gathers on Kenny Lee’s passport. By his count, he has visited nearly 60 countries. And when Lee travels, he isn’t your typical tourist. For instance, he has hiked up 18,000 feet to the Mount Everest Base Camp.

The Account-Based Marketing Evangelist

Sangram Vajre

Co-founder and CMO at Terminus

If you’re paying attention to the emerging Account-Based Marketing sector, you’ve heard this energetic greeting. That’s how the relentlessly upbeat Sangram Vajre often begins his videos, webinars and blog posts.

I am a total technology geek, and I’m very proud of that fact

Melissa Davies

Formerly of Druva, is vice president of enablement at A Pink Buffalo

Melissa Davies was on a plane once when a fellow passenger asked what she did for a living. Instead of just saying she works in marketing technology, Davies decided to get creative.

Technology is changing the world so fast, and I always wanted to be part of it.

Patrick Chen

Formerly of Kahuna, is a senior manager of demand generation at LinkedIn

When Patrick Chen was growing up, his father would point out the Chinese restaurant each time they were driving along El Camino Real. And he would repeat the story.

How he came to the United States from Taiwan, alone, knowing only basic English and just $200 in his pocket. Having to work as a busboy and waiter despite his college education. Later bringing his wife over from their homeland, earning a San Jose State graduate degree and becoming a successful Silicon Valley civil engineer.

That classic immigrant’s tale of striving for a better life left a profound impression on his son.