Harry Ault, CRO, DataStax
As part of Aviso's Revenue Navigators Series, we spoke with Harry Ault, CRO at DataStax. Harry has more than 20 years of Silicon Valley-based sales leadership experience. He has established a track record of developing successful go-to-market strategies and has managed multiple $1B+ enterprise revenue engines to growth, repeatability, and scale.
This post is the first of two segments breaking down Harry’s interview with Aviso. In this segment, Harry shares his insights on how he manages growth in an ever-changing environment, his approach to customer and data prioritization, and the inflection points that have shaped his leadership style.
Read on to gain valuable insights from one of the industry's most experienced and respected revenue leaders.
Aviso: Can you share some inflection points that have shaped your leadership style on your journey to working as a CRO at DataStax?
Harry Ault: I believe that there were three key factors that helped shape my leadership style during my journey to becoming the CRO at DataStax. Firstly, I learned the importance of flexibility when it comes to choosing career paths. Initially, I had no plans of entering sales or revenue leadership, but after working in investment banking for a while, I realized that the tech industry offered a more dynamic environment that suited my interests. This led me to transition to a corp dev role, which eventually led me to the revenue side of the business.
Secondly, I attribute a large part of my success to the people I surround myself with. During those inflection points, I always sought out individuals who were committed to driving transformation and challenging the status quo. This allowed me to keep up with new technologies and helped me to stay motivated throughout my career.
Lastly, I believe that being data-driven is crucial when it comes to making the right decisions. It's important to have a dashboard that provides visibility and allows you to back up your decisions with solid data. This is not just for your own benefit but for your team as well. Having access to data helps you navigate the opportunities that arise during those inflection points and make informed decisions that drive your organization forward.
Aviso: How are you managing the incredible growth at DataStax in this new environment?
Harry Ault: As the Chief Revenue Officer at DataStax, managing growth is at the forefront of my mind. Our team is passionate about what we do, and we take pride in building a sustainable business that has much more to come. Part of our success is making sure we enjoy what we do.
In this new environment, the days of "growth at all costs" are over. We've had to make internal changes, such as working closely with the CFO and CEO to determine our new revenue plan and P&L model and being more disciplined in our approach.
As we navigate this new environment, we recognize that many of our customers are also experiencing similar challenges. They are scrutinizing costs and looking for reasons to say no. To manage this, we have shifted our sales approach to become more sophisticated and multifaceted. This means that we have evolved from a classic enterprise software sales model to a cloud-based model that includes a managed cloud service, similar to a SaaS offering.
As a result, we have had to adapt our go-to-market strategies to engage with buyers through different channels, such as self-service and digital interactions. We have also had to make difficult decisions about entering new markets, delaying entry until we are better equipped to execute in areas where we already have resources.
In short, managing growth in this new environment requires a more thoughtful and strategic approach, and we are committed to doing so in a way that is both sustainable and exciting for our team and our customers.
Aviso: How do you prioritize and engage with both external customer interaction data and internal data in your sales process?
Harry Ault: Our focus is primarily on engaging with our customers directly and prioritizing their needs. We have a strong culture of external focus where we believe that facts are out and opinions are in. Our sales process is centered around efficiency, which means that we leverage customer-driven data and real-time analytics from customer interactions to make customer-focused decisions.
In today's world, customer feedback through digital channels and AI is far more valuable than static dashboards of Salesforce records that we used to rely on in the past. Balancing customer interaction and feedback with internal data enables us to make informed decisions that are rooted in facts, not opinions. This approach allows us to prioritize and engage with both external customer interactions and internal data in our sales process and make decisions that we couldn't have made five or six years ago.
To manage growth in this new environment, sales and revenue leaders need to be agile and adaptable, leveraging technology, and empowering their teams to take ownership of their work. Along with fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement within their teams, revenue leaders must also revisit their go-to-market strategies. They need to invest in customer-centric strategies, leveraging data analytics to identify customer needs and preferences.
Aviso's AI provides revenue teams with real-time insights and predictions, enabling them to make data-driven decisions, optimize their sales process, and identify opportunities for growth.
To know more, book a demo with Aviso now. You can also read other customers' success stories here.