Intivenaut Thoughts: Paul Munro, VP of Sales

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Tune Into the Inside Scoop on Intiveo

Intiveo is delighted to introduce our new VP of Sales, Paul Munro, formerly of Clio. Interviewed here by our COO Richard Sharp, Paul discusses inspirations, lessons learned, and insights gleaned from his career – plus, exciting new opportunities on the Intiveo sales team!

Click below to watch the interview, ‘Intivenaut Thoughts: Paul Munro, VP of Sales’.

The Interview

Richard Sharp: Hi, Paul, good afternoon. Firstly, let me officially welcome you to Intiveo. You’re officially now one of the Intivenauts. 

Paul Munro (wearing dark blue Intiveo fleece): That’s true – I got my swag, so it’s official. 

RS: I guess the swag is legit now! We’re super excited to have you join Intiveo and be part of the team. 

PM: Cheers, thrilled to be here.

RS: I think it’s a really interesting time to join the business at the beginning of, pretty close to the beginning, of the year and what I think is going to be a stellar year for the business as well. 

PM: Yeah, I agree.

RS: Very excited to have you here. 

PM: Thank you.

RS: With you joining the team now, we just wanted to take this opportunity to give you the chance to introduce yourself to the Intiveo team and our customers – for them to get a chance to know you a little bit, and ask you to share some of your perspectives on building great companies, and also building great sales teams. I certainly got to ask you lots of questions during the process of you joining the business, and there are lots of interesting things I would love for you to share. So if you’re game, why don’t I jump in and ask you the first question? 

PM: Yeah, let’s do it. 

RS: All right, cool. So firstly, would you mind sharing a little bit of the story of your personal journey building your own career in sales so far? 

PM: Yeah, of course. Love to. Thank you for the warm welcome; I really appreciate it, and I’m very excited to be part of the Intiveo team. My career is pretty all over the place, to be honest.

RS laughs.

PM: I graduated University right when the Great Recession was starting to heat up, back in 2008. Like many people in the same position, the first goal was basically: find a job that’s going to keep your revenue positive, and obviously help pay the very expensive rent associated with living in downtown Toronto! I actually started off in staffing and recruiting, believe it or not, which is the worst place to be during a recession. That didn’t last very long, but I did end up leveraging my contacts through that staffing, career, and financial services to pivot into financial services, and spent a good chunk of my career there. Maybe counter-intuitively, that was actually a really good pivot for me at the time, despite the market crashing and most people actually pulling money out of the market. It actually offered opportunities to start working with young entrepreneurs that were opening their own businesses after being downsized at larger companies and corporations. 

So, I worked with them to establish their first startups, and ended up growing that into a pretty successful career, sort of following the general track –  SMB, commercial, mid-market, and then enterprise sales, and [I reached] the point where you take a step back and you look at what you’ve been able to accomplish and where you want to go, ultimately. And I could sort of see the next 30 years of my life unfolding in front of me, and, you know, questions of ‘is this really where I see myself’ and ‘is this something that really gets me going’, all of those things start to swirl around. And so, ultimately I decided that I wanted to pivot into a fast-paced, more cutting-edge vertical somewhere where I’m being challenged every single day, somewhere where I’m not the most talented person in the room – in fact, probably the least talented person in the room, surround myself with a bunch of Type A go-getters, and people that are going to pull me up to the mean. And that was ultimately Salesforce, at the time. So, I pivoted into SAS sales, and ended up taking a step back in my career. 

I went from Enterprise AE and Financial Services to Enterprise BDR in Salesforce, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made – met some of the most talented salespeople and friends that I still stay in touch with today. Salesforce is a great sales enablement program, so I kind of grew my career in sales with them, learned a lot, and then was ultimately presented with an offer to get into sales management, and move over to Clio to build their outbound sales team at the time. This was probably about three and a half, almost four years ago, and it was a fantastic company with fantastic leadership and I really enjoyed my time there. We were able to really scale and grow the sales department over there. And, ultimately, I made the tough decision to leave, but really looking forward to the opportunity at Intiveo. There’s a ton of similarities between the two companies, and there’s a lot of opportunity here that would be similar to what I saw at Clio as well – but I’m sure we’ll get into that on this call.

RS: 100%. So the next question I had for you was, when we first met and we were chatting, one of the things that really struck me was how thoughtful you are about both building teams but also knowing your numbers. As an engineer, [that’s] very appealing to me. So, I wondered, would you mind sharing a little bit about your thoughts on some of the foundational components of building a great sales team? 

PM: Yeah, I think with building a sales team, a lot of it will feel sort of subjective. Just like hiring people in general, oftentimes candidates feel like the right fit, or they feel like they’re going to hit the ground running, or they’re going to be a plug-and-play option for your team. And I think for me, with a psychology background, I tend to look at things and sort of second guess my gut or my intuition a little bit because there’s usually quantifiable objective data behind those types of decisions. I borrow a lot from Mark Benioff, Simon Sinek, Mark Roberge, and look at three main factors. When you’re building a successful sales team, I look at the people first. If you look at Simon Sinek’s ‘Bull’s Eye’, he talks about the why, starting with the why. And to me, the people represent the why. Motivating them to join the team through the communication of the company’s vision and values, or the department’s vision and values, our mission – this is where you’re really trying to create something where people can be part of something that’s just bigger than themselves, bigger than the individual. It’s the compulsion and the motivation that makes them want to be part of this winning culture, and really put their best foot forward, and pull themselves or challenge themselves to be contributors to that culture.

After that, focusing on the process. So, this is typically where a lot of people hone in on track records of success, KPIs, all that kind of stuff. The process is the how. And so, for me, these are the methods, the obstacles, and the measures. You and I have spent a lot of time talking about this in terms of unit economics, but this really relies on a cohesive and rigorous training program to be able to get people off the ground. 

When you join a company, your first couple of weeks or your first couple of months are going to be pretty stressful. You’re in this panic mode of ‘everything is new’. You don’t really know anybody around you. You’re starting to build out friendships, figure out who to trust and where to put your energy and everything. You’re sort of looking for a feedback mechanism. And for me, if you have a rigorous process to help with the onboarding, for us in sales, it’s usually buyer journey qualification, formula, sales process. That’s a way to objectively measure your progress as you get through that onboarding program. And most of them have some sort of exam at the end where you can literally measure how much you’ve learned through the program. And this gives us an opportunity to really hold our people to account. The measures don’t lie. Statistics don’t lie. The dashboard doesn’t necessarily lie. And so, it allows us to create a culture of holding ourselves to account for this high degree of perfection and a high degree of attainment, and gives us an opportunity to grow and attain these lofty goals together as a team. And it allows us to really level the playing field. 

The goal is to provide the same amount of opportunity for every rep on the team. There shouldn’t be skewed lead volume for one rep versus another. There shouldn’t be skewed territories or anything like that. We really want to create sort of an objective parity across the team in terms of opportunity for growth and development and learning, but also for success, ultimately. And the last piece of that would be the product. So, in sales, our product is literally the results that we put up – and this is the ‘what’. Obviously what this means is scalable predictable revenue growth and that’s ultimately what we’re trying to achieve. 

RS: Fantastic. Thank you. One of the things that I see you already sharing quite a bit in the business [are] ideas for learning. One of Intiveo’s values is also continuous learning, which I know is something you’re passionate about. So as you think about continuous learning, and developing the craft of sales, would you mind sharing three of your top sales books that you think any sales professional should read, and why you’d recommend them? 

PM: It’s a really good question. It’s hard to narrow it down to three. You know me now – I’m definitely a voracious reader. The first ones that come to mind – which I wouldn’t count in my top three, but I would certainly add to a list that people should definitely pick up – obviously, 7 Habits [of Highly Effective People], Emotional Intelligence, Smart Calling, Fanatical Prospecting, On Selling, Spin Selling, and the classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. But I have, like I mentioned, a background in psychology, and so for me, when I think about sales, I think about people. And I think about what it means to sell, and ultimately what we’re trying to achieve as a group of individuals, trying to convince other individuals to part with some sort of resource, whether it’s time or money. And so for me, I think of Influence by Robert Cialdini. He’s one of the greats, and I’ve had the pleasure of having sat in on one of his lectures. Super, super valuable for all salespeople, and anybody in particular that’s interested in that stuff. Predictably Irrational would be another one, by Dan Arielle. Really hard to choose amongst the grandfathers of behavioral economics, so I’d really recommend anything within that genre, but that one in particular was really good. And then I’d say Everybody Lies by Seth Stevens-Davidowitz. He was a data scientist at Google, and just fascinating stuff that he talks about looking at big data and how most people are not exactly fully truthful when they’re communicating amongst our fellow humans. So in sales, obviously, all of these things are very relevant. 

RS: I feel like I’ve got a lot of readings to catch up on. 

PM: Yeah, exactly. 

RS: That’s awesome. Thank you. So a little bit of a different question here. I have a teenage son who is 14 years old, and probably like a lot of parents with kids around this age. I’m wondering what nursing is going to do to become a productive member of society in the future. So my question to you is, as he thinks about maybe a career in sales or becoming a social influencer [or] streamer, how would you sell him on a career in sales? Why sales as a career?

PM: I see what you did there in the question, selling him on a career in sales! But in all seriousness, I think one way of thinking about it is that social influencers are in sales as well. It reminds me of another book, To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink. Essentially, what he’s trying to communicate is that there’s this rise right now of non-sales selling roles in society, which I would lump social influencers into. But as I mentioned before, essentially what we’re trying to do in sales or in business is to convince a group of people to part with resources of some sort, whether it’s their time, their energy, or money, ultimately. And so, for me, sales isn’t necessarily just a vocation or an advocation. I think it’s really life around us. We’re all doing some form of social influence or selling in our daily lives, whether we’re arguing with our significant others over how we spend the monthly paychecks, or with our children trying to get them to do their homework, and hopefully reduce their screen time, and all that kind of stuff. 

So, I think I would challenge your son to think about sales from a different lens, from maybe traditionally what we think of when we think of salespeople – which might be, to our parents’ generation, Fuller Brush salespeople, or to some of the younger generations Wolf of Wall Street or Boiler Room or something like that. Sales is really just about people. And if you like people, and you like having conversations with people, and being curious and learning about people’s lives, then I would encourage everybody to think about a career in sales. 

RS: Well, what it’s worth, I think he’d be great in sales.

PM: Well, we’re hiring!

RS: And, currently, [he’d be] very cheap! 

PM (laughing): Yeah, exactly. 

RS: Cool. Thank you. So as you know, we’re planning on growing the Intiveo team quite significantly, and specifically the sales team in 2022. You’ve obviously already built some large sales teams. So I’d like to ask you to share, if you would, some of the things that you look for when you’re interviewing and what makes a really successful account executive. If there are any candidates that end up reading this or listening to this, it’ll give them a little bit of an inside track on how you evaluate them. 

PM: I guess that will be one of the key ways to evaluate them, too, in terms of doing their homework. For me, I think the top five things, actually, that I would look for consistently would be coachability, curiosity, work ethic, intelligence, and prior success. Depending on the role, the two latter ones are maybe less relevant, if it’s a more junior role. For example, prior success may not necessarily mean track record of top dials on the team or most amount of deals done or something like that. It may be their academic success, or their track record of being on a championship football team or something like that. So, depends on the role. But certainly the top three, coachability, curiosity, and work ethic would be ubiquitous across all the different positions that we’re looking for. And typically most quality candidates that come in and are top performers will exhibit high attributes or high scores within those three categories. 

And when we’re hiring – we’re all human. And so we’re all subject to confirmation bias. And I think one of the most important things we can do as hiring managers is to consciously try and counteract any sort of bias that we’re bringing in. We’ve done a lot of training around systemic bias and countering bias, but also in terms of objectively measuring those type of traits, whether it’s a scoring grid that you have, or having multiple people in the interview simultaneously, so that you get different reference points and different points of view. 

As a hiring manager, you’re essentially the gatekeeper or the guardian of the culture. And I think a lot of companies overlook the importance of this stuff. It’s hard. It takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of energy and resources in order to hire properly. But it can also cost the company a ton of money and a ton of time and a ton of energy and resources in order to recoup from having made the wrong type of hire. And so, I think if you can objectively measure those five key characteristics, especially those top three, you’ll find yourself finding a much greater track record of success. 

RS: That’s fantastic. I love the way, wth hiring, you have such an immediate opportunity to go and start shaping the culture in the business, right? 

PM: Absolutely. 

RS: Each [additional person] is making an incremental change to the overall culture – and a big responsibility at the same time. 

PM: Totally. Yeah, absolutely. 

RS: The next question I have for you is a little bit of an interview type question. What are you most proud of professionally in your career so far? Also, if you’re willing to share, what’s your greatest learning that humbled you? 

PM: Yeah, we’re going deep here.

Richard laughs.

PM: I think as a people manager, I mentioned sort of at the top of the interview, that the key is to always put the people first. At Clio, we used to refer to it as ‘human and high performing’, and intentionally in that order. I think that’s very true of most of the successful teams that I’ve been a part of. As a leader, getting to see your individual contributors grow, develop, and find success is ultimately the best reward for any leader in the business. And so, I guess to answer the first part of that question, I’m certainly very proud of the hard-working and very successful group of professionals that I’ve had the privilege to mentor and to coach over the years. A lot of them were sending me personalized messages of congratulations when I posted on LinkedIn about starting at Intiveo. These are friends and lifelong partnerships that I’ll keep and certainly look back on and cherish. 

In terms of the second part of the question – so, from a pretty young age, we’re told that you really can’t put a foot wrong or else your whole life is going to be ruined. There’s a lot of pressure on young kids, particularly when you look at education and all of the things that you need to do in order to set yourself up properly in life. I’m sure a lot of these conversations you’ve had with your son. And, I think what I would advocate – sort of looking back on the younger version of myself – it would be letting myself off the hook a little bit. Like, we’re all human at the end of the day. We’re allowed to make mistakes. We can put a foot wrong sometimes, and don’t be afraid to take a step back. I kind of alluded to this with my first answer to the first question you asked me, about my career. A lot of people would look at taking a step back in your career as something that would raise eyebrows on your résumé or potentially prevent you from getting jobs in the future. 

But what I’ve found is that as long as you can control the narrative of your professional path, or your professional development, and sort of the narrative of what your resume dictates, a lot of employers will actually look back on that with admiration and [with] the sense that you’re not afraid to take this humbling step. You’re not afraid to kind of move back, and do things that maybe you might perceive as being beneath you, in some ways. And, I think it also gives you the opportunity to really learn and develop, and catch up on some of the things that you might have missed the first time that you had to go around. And so I think, for me, that’s the biggest learning that I’ve had, having gone through that myself professionally, and it having been ultimately the best decision I’ve ever made in my career and the opportunities that it’s opened up for me. So, I’d say don’t be afraid to go against the grain, don’t be afraid to be a rebel sometimes. And I think, if properly executed, and if you can control that narrative, then future employers will look favorably on that. 

RS: Yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that. So, hopefully this has come across before, but I think Intivio is super lucky to have been able to get you to join the team and to join the next phase in our journey. I think there’s no shortage of SAS companies that would love to have you running sales. Clearly I’m biased – I love what Intiveo’s building. But, I’d like to ask you to share a little bit about what it was that really got you fired up about the opportunity for you, personally? Because that’s probably going to be similar to what gets other people fired up, that are thinking about joining. 

PM: I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but my first step of the interview process was actually meeting with Josh [DeVries, CEO] one on one. And for me, when I’m looking at a potential employer or a new opportunity, it’s definitely the people first, again. I keep coming back to this. But, meeting with Josh, it was very clear what the vision and values and the mission of the company were, and that there are people that are brought into this company and they’re all swimming in the same direction. We’re all moving towards the same North Star. Everybody’s very collaborative, and everybody’s bought into the vision, values, and the mission that Josh clearly articulated from that first call that we had together. After that, I’m focusing on, like I said, the process and the product. And here, there’s massive amounts of competitive advantages. We have a great product market fit. The scalability of our solution is huge. And so for me, it just checked all the right boxes from sort of a process and a product standpoint. 

And then, I’m personally a big fan of the TV show Billions, which I know is somewhat controversial, and I’m just a huge fan of Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis. [Lewis’] character, Bobby Axelrod, talks about the key aspects of building a business or building a successful business in the show. He talks about being the best in the world at something. He talks about the novelty or the uniqueness of the solution or the user experience, which is ideally patentable, identifying an isolated market segment, and having a branded concept. And to me, Intiveo has all of those things, and right now we’re just currently scaling out a team of extremely talented professionals to help us share this with our customers in the healthcare space. And that was, obviously, massively attractive. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here right now. Doesn’t that sound like a phenomenal opportunity to you, and why wouldn’t you want to be a part of this. 

RS: That’s awesome. Yeah. Very similar to me as well. Definitely the start of my journey, joining Intiveo, was meeting Josh for coffee and just getting the enthusiasm and the energy about what he and the team are building. That’s pretty exciting. Okay, so penultimate question here. What’s one bit of advice that you wish somebody had shared with the 20-year-old version of Paul Munro? Doesn’t have to be career related, if you don’t want!

PM: Yeah, that’s fair. I’m just trying to think of an appropriate answer. 20-year-old Paul was definitely a bit of a rebel. But in all seriousness, I think I sort of alluded to it earlier, but – don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Don’t be afraid to put a foot wrong. And ultimately, I think, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s not career-ending if you take a step back sometimes, and let yourself off the hook, and focus on what’s important at the end of the day, really, as long as it’s something that motivates you, makes you happy, and doesn’t come at the expense of others around you – then I think that’s all part of pursuing your passion. And so, I’d like to think I did a lot of that, that ended up getting me to where I am now. But I don’t know if I was thinking about that when I was 20 years old. 

RS: Definitely. For me, with the benefit of hindsight, you sort of realize that the things that you do that don’t succeed, you actually learn a bunch from as well. Sometimes those failures actually are part of what helped to find you. 

PM: Yeah, I fully agree with that. 

RS: And then the last thing I wanted to give the opportunity to mention was, we talked about the fact that we have a bunch of open roles at the moment on the sales team. So I thought I’d give you the opportunity to just say a few words about the roles, sort of the types of roles we have open, and wrap up there. 

PM: I think I’ll start by explaining what we’re looking to build within the Sales Department, specifically, at Intiveo. And ultimately, I want the sales team at Intiveo to be the best, most talented, qualified sales team, the most professional sales team in the business. And in order to do that, we’re really focusing on, as I mentioned: the people, the process, and ultimately, our product. 

And so, with the openings, obviously getting the right people in is going to be massively important. We already have some very talented, successful individuals on the team, but we’re looking to grow pretty substantially this year. The first step is making sure that we’re bringing the right candidates in. If you’re a top talented sales individual and you’re looking for more of a challenge, maybe you’re sick of being the top of the leaderboard and you want some competition around you, these are the types of individuals that I’m looking to speak with. And I think it’s going back to those five characteristics, particularly individuals who are open to coaching, people who are curious on calls, people who are curious about their prospects and their customers, and ultimately somebody that’s not afraid of hard work. Those are really the characteristics that we’re looking to hire. 

And then in terms of process, we’re really looking to build out the most thorough onboarding sales enablement program in the business. Part of Intiveo’s values are about continued learning and continued development. And I think that’s true across the entire business, and especially in sales. So, we’re going to be focusing on everything from customer journey from start to finish, sales process and sales foundations, methodologies, ultimately qualification, best practices, all those types of things. And so, all of those combined, our goal is to obviously produce the end product, which again, is scalable, predictable revenue growth. If you’re interested in exploring that further, or if you’re somebody that meets those qualifications, certainly don’t hesitate to reach out to me over LinkedIn or shoot me an email. 

RS: Fantastic. Well, Paul, thank you so much for doing this Q&A with me. It was a super fun way to introduce you, and start learning a bit more about the way you think. Super excited to watch as we build the team. 

PM: My pleasure. Thanks very much, Richard. 

Paul’s Book Recommendations for Success in Sales

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
  • Smart Calling – Art Cobczak
  • Fanatical Prospecting – Jeb Blount
  • On Selling – Mark McCormack
  • Spin Selling – Neil Rackham
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  • Influence – Robert Cialdini
  • Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
  • Everybody Lies – Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink
  • Rebel Talent – Francesca Gino

Thanks for Reading!

Thank you so much to Richard and Paul for sitting down to discuss the finer points of sales culture and hopes for Intiveo’s future!

If you are interested in an account executive position at Intiveo, check out our careers page to learn more!