Alumni Spotlight – Keith Hoffmann
memoryBlue recently sat down with a number of former employees to discuss how their careers have evolved following their time with us. The goal of these Q & A sessions was to uncover their viewpoints on everything from sales as a profession to their own personal career highlights. It is our pleasure to share their perspectives and valuable professional sales experiences here.
Role: Director, Enterprise Strategic Accounts
Company: ProcessMAP Corporation
Tell us about your current role at ProcessMAP.
I am the Director of Enterprise-level Strategic Accounts at ProcessMAP Corporation. As such, my responsibilities include everything from initial sales cold calls all the way through exploratory/discovery sales cycle stages where we’re evaluating what software the prospect is currently utilizing in order to determine the strength of the opportunity for a potential sale. Ultimately, when there’s a significant need and the sales cycle progresses, I’m involved in providing an initial demonstration, a deeper dive demonstration and the completion of an official RFP. Once I’m announced as the official selected vendor, the real fun begins with a Statement of Work, contractual negotiations, legal department sign-off and all of the other pieces that constitute the closing of a deal.
I’m involved in executing all stages of this sales process. At the outset, I’m working to determine if this is a key decision-maker with the highest level of authority and identify if there’s a compelling need that would drive a natural continuation into the actual procurement process. The software we offer is in the six to seven figure range from a cost standpoint and the sales cycle is anywhere from 12 to 36 months long, so these are significant decisions and a very complex sales process. As a result, I’m very cautious about who I bring into my pipeline because every opportunity needs a significant level of attention.
Once the deal is truly finalized, I remain involved in the handoff to the implementation team because what we sell (SaaS-oriented) is module-based. We offer about 25 different solutions (out of the box), and so if a customer has only selected a segmented portion of these solutions, my role continues as we work to upsell them on additional options and expand the business relationship in the future.
Tell us about your time at memoryBlue – how did you end up here?
I was brought in to memoryBlue through a recruiter, and she was initially trying to link me up with a few potential sales jobs with other external firms. They were trying to place me directly into one of those roles, but I wasn’t excited about the opportunities being presented. Eventually the recruiter mentioned the idea of working directly for memoryBlue. I ultimately met with Marc and took a job at mB as part of the lead generation (sales) team. I had no previous experience with Inside Sales, but I loved the concept of going to work for a company that placed an emphasis on young, highly motivated professionals operating in a great team atmosphere. Keep in mind memoryBlue only had six or seven employees in the whole company at that time, but I really enjoyed the meeting with Marc and liked his vision for the career path he had in mind for me.
What was the atmosphere like at the company back then?
Very fun and rewarding. It seemed like a melting pot for college grads and ex-college athletes eager to learn the art of sales and find their path into a professional career. It was highly competitive; we had a sales training boot camp regimen and people took it pretty seriously. However, we always had a mutual level of respect while also taking time to bust each other’s chops and build team chemistry. It was also a highly collaborative workplace; a perfect place to learn what sales was all about and practice evolving our craft.
I developed pretty fast, and got hired out within four or five months of being with mB. I represented two different clients and split spending half my time on each account. But I had noticed another SDR that was really hustling and had taken on additional work above and beyond their usual clients and “normal” business hours. This involved working for 60 hours a week versus the standard 40 hours, and taking on a bigger quota… but also resulted in a better financial package. Being hungry and motivated, I quickly told Marc I wanted to be on the same program, so I started working extra hours and really crushing it for both companies. Even with having 33% more of a workload and a high quota compared to everyone on the sales team, I still was able to earn the #1 spot on the monthly sales leaderboard.
One of the clients decided to make me an offer to hire me full time within about 100 days. However, when Marc let the other client know I’d be transitioning off their account (and out of mB), they said that they’d also like for me to join their company and to also make an offer. It then became a bidding war of sorts for my services. The comp structures for both jobs were strong and I went through a lengthy decision-making process. Ultimately, it came down to the people and team I felt most comfortable with, as well as where I was going to get the best mentor relationship (with the VP of Sales).
What piece of advice would you give someone that is brand new to sales and just walking in the door to memoryBlue for day 1?
Starting your career with mB allows an entry-level person to develop the underlying foundation and tools necessary to become a business minded salesperson. The experiences during your time at mB will help instill the fundamental basics of what it takes to become a true sales professional. Having exposure to memoryBlue’s “Inside Sales Culture” will help you adopt a very powerful skillset that’ll stay with you throughout your entire career. Leverage your time here to make mistakes, learn what you don’t know and be a sponge so that you can open your mind to the world of Tech Sales.
The good news is that Technology/SaaS/IT organizations will always be in the highest demand for strong sales talent and will help you begin a lucrative career in an industry that is still in its infancy stages. Unlike other business segments and/or sales roles that run the risk of becoming obsolete one day, technology is a space that will forever be evolving. And these companies are dependent on ambitious, hardworking people to drive revenue and growth through sales. Additionally, having exposure to various kinds of technology, adapting your mind to understanding how tech companies operate and learning how to get people interested in an organization’s product/service is a very powerful thing to incorporate into your professional background.
Some of the most valuable character traits that have led to my success in sales came from adopting the “Inside Sales Methodology” at mB; most importantly, learning how to source deals through the power of the cold call. The archaic thought of “outside sales,” or the dependency of doing business in the presence of your prospects, is dying. Being able to learn how to research an organization, pique their interest through a phone call and then engage in a sales process is a unique skill not many people own. Understanding how to build a healthy pipeline through outbound cold calling is not something you can just adopt and learn later in your career…it’s something you need to learn early on. I’ve found that the skills I developed at mB have allowed me to consistently be #1 on every sales team I’ve ever been a part of. There’s one reason for this fact that stands out from the rest: most sales professionals rely on business development, lead generation and/or inbound sales from marketing to help them build their pipeline. When you master the art of inside sales and can advance the skills adopted at mB even further over time, you’ll become someone who is irreplaceable and will consistently close more business than your peers (and make more money). Being able to build your own book of business without relying on inbound leads, marketing or being at the mercy of anyone needing to assist you is an invaluable asset.
Given your experience and knowledge of sales at this stage, what makes it a great profession?
Sales is the best profession in the world, because you’re your own boss and in complete control of your own destiny. There are not many career paths that allow you to have unlimited earning potential, and the freedom to dictate what lies ahead in your future. Also, it’s fun to travel, meet new people and see the world.
A career in sales teaches you an array of life skills, even outside of your professional lifestyle. Integrity, discipline, hard work, teamwork and learning how to set and accomplish goals are all traits I’ve honed on the job that I’ve found have helped me grow personally, as well. Learning the science behind human interaction and how to communicate with people is beneficial in all aspects of life.
Do you keep in contact with former colleagues from mB?
To this day I still keep in contact with all my old peers from mB. Though I live down in Miami and everyone is still up north, I still keep in touch with everyone. Additionally, Marc and Chris have remained good friends and I often hear from them despite my being half way across the country.
What’s the highlight of your career to date?
My work this past year (2016) on behalf of the ProcessMAP Corporation — which includes making our distinguished “Presidents Club” on the strength of achieving more than four full quarters of 100%+ sales goal attainment ($5.8mm in total sales – 188% of annual goal).
Keith Hoffmann joined memoryBlue in 2007 and his sales work was so strong, it touched off a bidding war for his services by the end of his tenure. Following his time here, Keith has enjoyed an extremely successful career working with numerous technology-focused companies. To learn more about Keith and view his full professional background, visit his LinkedIn profile online.
Kevin Harris is the Director of Marketing at memoryBlue. A seasoned professional with over 19 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content management, Kevin oversees all major internal and external communications programs for the firm. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from James Madison University.