You won’t find Chris Doggett giving potential customers the hard sell or reciting long lists of product features and benefits. Instead, Doggett strives to gain an understanding of who the customer is, and what they're trying to achieve.
It's an approach that has served Doggett well as he as ascended through the ranks to sales and marketing leadership positions at companies like Sophos, Financial Recovery Technologies, and IT security company Kaspersky Lab, where he served as Chief Executive of the North American division before joining Carbonite as Senior VP of Global sales in late 2015.
I recently sat down with Chris to learn more about his experience at Carbonite thus far, his management philosophy, and what he looks for when hiring new employees into coveted sales positions.
How has the world of sales and marketing changed throughout your career?
Chris Doggett: The game of sales and marketing has changed a lot in the last 20 years. It's no longer possible or realistic to have a sales force that's out knocking of people's doors trying to sell them vacuum cleaners, or waiting outside someone's office building hoping to give them a 45-second sales pitch when they walk out the door. In our space, anywhere from 40-60% of the customers' decision making process happens without any interaction with the vendor. Customers are now much more well-educated about what they need – and what providers have to offer – before they ever engage. That research is done online, it's done through references, interactions with peers at conferences and all sorts of other things.
What does a salesperson need to do to be successful in that kind of environment?
Doggett: Whether you're selling a service or a product, the most successful sales techniques begin with gaining an understanding of your customer. Ask some questions so that you can get to know their specific needs, their environment and their business before you start recommending or selling a solution. What problems are they trying to solve? What are the needs they're trying to meet? Don’t just give them a long list of features and benefits your product or service offers because they've already learned about it and already developed thoughts about what they need and don't. The last thing they want is somebody coming in and telling them what they need and why they should buy a product in a hard sell. Instead, you need to be more of an advisor or consultant to the customer.
What approach do you take to managing Carbonite's sales and marketing teams?
Doggett: I'm a big believer in the idea that it's much better to have people follow you as a leader because they believe in what you stand for and they believe in the purpose that you're pursuing. It's important for employees to know your vision and to understand that they can be part of something that is bigger than themselves. And if they follow your guidance as a leader, it should be because they want to and believe in it – not because they're afraid of the implications of not doing so. The only caveat is that this is a longer-term approach toward management. You have to be committed to it and you have to stay the course.
What do you look for when interviewing job candidates?
Doggett: I really believe that you need to hire people for attitude and aptitude. They have to have a positive attitude. They have to want to be part of whatever it is that you're doing. For lack of a better description, they should be a glass-half-full type of person. They’re looking for new opportunities. They're looking for growth. Not that they're Pollyanna by any stretch, but their natural tendency is to be positive. That positive outlook is really important in sales and marketing because there are a zillion reasons why you could fail, and you can't focus on those or you won't be successful.
What do you look for in terms of aptitude?
Doggett: This is more about somebody's capacity to learn and willingness to grow. They don't necessarily need to have many years of experience doing something, but they need to have the capacity to learn and the ability to take on new roles and grow into new responsibilities. Because what I've found is that if you have a good attitude and strong aptitude for growth, then you can put people in positions where you give them opportunities and they take them up readily.
You joined Carbonite six months ago. What has it been like?
Doggett: It's really been great. There are a couple of things that I've learned about the company since I first arrived here. Number one, we have exceptional people, whether it's the senior executives or the folks out there on the sales floor or in any other department. Carbonite attracts great people. We have a great culture here and it's a fun place to work because people are very positive and they want to be here. Number two has to do with the fact that we're in a period of transformation as a company. We're moving fundamentally from being a consumer-only focused company to being a company that's pursing business customers and a whole new set of markets – and that means challenges. We have our fair share of really good, challenging work to do in order to make that transformation possible. But I also happen to find that extremely exciting. In my experience, that's the kind of work that gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment.
Want to learn more about what it's like to work at Carbonite? Read this interview with Norman Guadagno, Senior Vice President of Marketing.
Interested in career opportunities at Carbonite? Visit the Carbonite Career Center today!