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What are the qualities of revenue innovators? And are you one?

Revenue innovators are a new class of leaders who prioritize the most innovative sales technologies and make business decisions based on data rather than intuition. They can be any member of a revenue team who thinks strategically about applying technology in innovative ways.

In this episode, Mark Kosoglow, VP of Sales at Outreach, interviews Dr. Mary Shea, Global Innovation Evangelist at Outreach, about her most recent publication focusing on innovation in modern sales technology.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Mary’s evolution as an analyst (and her latest projects)
  • A 15-point evaluation of the modern sales or revenue leader
  • How revenue innovators apply technology
  • Creating a culture or environment that supports innovation


Mary’s evolution as an analyst (and her latest projects)

After six years as an analyst at Forrester, one of the best jobs in the world, Mary was ready to tackle a new challenge.

Her eagerness led to a job at Outreach where she’s been a leader for the last six months. Mary has spent that time talking to executives across the business, analysts, friends, and customers of Outreach.

Here’s what she learned…

Massive convergence is happening in the sales technology marketplace. In early 2021, Mary was the lead author of a study that looked at the 15 major sales tech categories. 


Surprises from the study

With all the challenges companies face, innovation is happening too. “It’s more exciting than anything I’ve seen happen in my lifetime,” Mary said. 

There’s the maturation of machine learning and AI that can start to provide business leaders with lots of different options for decision making. There’s automation that’s taking salespeople out of the data entry game. There’s even a new vehicle that’s designed to fly over the water from Boston to New York or Washington.

Yes, we face big challenges, but we also enjoy big opportunities.


Evaluating the modern sales or revenue leader

If you look at the overall sales tech stack, you’ll see hundreds or even thousands of point solutions out there. It’s confusing for business leaders to make sense of everything. 

Consolidation is one of the biggest trends that Mary has uncovered in her research. Leaders are moving away from a mashup of point solutions. Those made sense back in 2015 when sales tech innovation was just starting to bubble up. Now, we’ve got mature companies that are reaching tremendous milestones. Technology, too, is maturing.

At the end of the day, buyers don’t want to have 100 different apps. They want to bet on a few people who have a vision for the future and will work together to innovate from a product perspective. They want a platform where every member of the revenue team can gain value. They want workflows that match how they go to market on a daily basis.

Ultimately, buyers want a product that can extract rich data back up into the platform and provide continuous insights.

“I think that Outreach is leading the charge in the engagement intelligence space,” Mary said.


How revenue innovators apply technology

Revenue innovators arm themselves and their sellers with the most innovative sales technologies, ones that over index on data, rather than intuition to inform their business decisions. 

Data should be where your first and second line managers live. But the role of sales revenue leaders has changed. Today, you need different attributes and skills. It’s important to start thinking about what a revenue innovator really looks like. 

“I’ve defined six core features or attributes that each of these leaders, managers, and reps need to have in order to be successful in this modern selling and buying environment,” Mary said.


Creating a culture or environment that supports innovation

The world is shifting, and it has been shifting since before the pandemic hit. The pandemic simply hastened a lot of the trends we saw around digital sales transformation.

You have to move with the world. 

Some people don’t want to change. Others eagerly embrace it. But the reality is, if you want to be relevant and instrumental and impactful in this business world, you’re going to have to evolve and refine your skills to make sense for how buyers want to buy. 

Modern buyers have been trained by interacting with their favorite marketplaces, receiving instantaneous access to information, personalized advertisements, and pricing transparency. They expect that in the business world, too. 

Sales leaders, managers, and reps need to take a hard look at their skill set and continue to evolve and develop so that they can be highly successful not only today, but also 5-10 years from today.


Mary’s Key Takeaways

  1. If you want to be relevant and impactful in the business world, you’re going to have to evolve and refine your skills to align with how buyers want to buy.
  2. Innovation needs the right atmosphere if it’s to thrive.
  3. Take a hard look at your skill set.

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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