Our new Chief Revenue Officer Chris Jones aims to institute a “best is the standard” sales culture at BetterCloud. He’s excited about the market opportunity that BetterCloud has for the taking. “Do the right thing” is his North Star—so you can expect to see his decisions reflect this mantra. We’re excited for the enthusiasm and change that Chris has already brought and will continue to bring to the sales organization.
Chris has bachelor’s degrees in economics and sociology from the University of Richmond.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. I went south for college to the University of Richmond in Virginia where I met my wife, Kathy. We have been in the Atlanta area for the last 15 years and now live in Brookhaven, Georgia.
Can you describe what your role as chief revenue officer entails?
I serve as the leader of the following teams and functions: account development, direct sales, solutions engineers, alliances and channels, and sales enablement and operations. Together, it’s our responsibility to open new customer relationships and expand the use of BetterCloud within our customer base.
I’m very committed to my team’s success. It’s my job to make sure we have the best team on the bus and put the conditions in place so the team can do their very best work every day.
You’re joining us from BeyondTrust, which is much larger than BetterCloud. In fact, all of the companies that you have worked for are much larger than BetterCloud. Why have you decided to make the switch to a startup? Was there anything unique about BetterCloud that drew you here?
There was a combination of three things that really lit me up about BetterCloud: first, the market opportunity. The macro trend of companies leveraging more and more SaaS apps, moving more to the cloud, and the management and security challenges that result from cloud adoption are creating a gigantic market opportunity for a new category, SaaSOps.
Second, BetterCloud’s position in the SaaSOps space. We are a first mover and market leader with a significant capability advantage over the rest of the field.
Last but certainly not least, the people—David [Politis, CEO] is incredibly passionate about the mission. He had me speak with all my peers and direct reports during the hiring process. I felt a great connection of shared values around customers, people, and building something really special together.
Can you tell us about the modern sales organization? What does it take to be successful, specifically in the SaaSOps space?
As a sales team, we need to be at our very best evangelizing the fast emerging SaaSOps category and implications of SaaS sprawl. We need to be advising on the costly consequences of not proactively addressing it and the awesome business value of solving for it.
Today, customers are overloaded with a dizzying array of information and solutions. Experience and research shows that the sales reps and companies most likely to win are very prescriptive when helping their customers sort through this information overload to help them organize it, crystallize their thinking, and truly understand what best-in-class companies are doing.
The channel, too, is so critical to our success. Sales is hard; selling alone is harder. As you look at the most successful software companies, they have all gotten that way in significant part by developing a strong movement within a channel ecosystem, where other companies can build a strong business around their technology.
Where do you see BetterCloud at this time next year? Five years? 10 years? And what role do you see Sales playing in that?
Imagine a time when we are the de facto standard and dominant leader in a mature SaaSOps market, where tens of thousands of companies around the world rely on us to secure and manage their SaaS applications. Imagine a future when BetterCloud becomes a verb (aka Google) and you see BetterCloud advertisements during the Super Bowl! That’s what I envision.
You gotta think big to become big!
Our sales and channel partners will play the lead role in winning those tens of thousands of new customers and ensuring they realize the massive value our solution delivers.
Can you share your leadership philosophy with us?
I believe that being a positive, high energy, servant leader is the most effective approach. I have an extreme passion for winning and ensuring my teams relish the grind and preparation that is required to win consistently. I am dedicated to helping people more fully realize their potential.
My North Star is “do the right thing.” What I mean by that is to use that principle as my guide to all my decisions, balancing doing the right thing for the company, for my team, and for our customers. I always ask myself, “If the decision I am about to make would appear on Twitter, would I still make this decision?”
I find that the best way to lead a sales team is by leading from the front and spending lots of time in the field with customers and my team. To really make a big impact, it’s critical that I am with my team meeting lots of customers and partners, seeing what their business issues and leading practices are. Finally, I believe it’s really important to stay hungry and humble no matter how much success you enjoy, because in sales you have to earn it every month, quarter, and year all over again.
What qualities do you value in a sales rep?
I value reps who are relentless about winning, embrace a growth mindset, practice self-discipline, are team players, and have a desire to be truly extraordinary.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
It always goes back to the people that I have been able to impact in the leadership roles I have served in over the years. That is far and away the most satisfying of all—having positively impacted people and the success they earned.
If I were to pick one accomplishment, it would be my time at PROS. When I first joined as chief sales officer, the market cap was under $200m. I was able to to play a key leadership role in helping the company more than triple revenues, blow through a billion dollars in market cap, and go through an on-prem to cloud-first business model transition in record time. I am very proud of what we did there together.
What’s the best sales advice you’ve ever received?
Shift your focus from selling your products to listening to your customer and being the very best at solving their problems and helping them achieve their goals.
What do you do in your free time?
My wife, our two boys, and our dog spend as much of our free time as we can at Lake Oconee, Georgia and we have a family tradition to spend time on Isle of Palms, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. With our boys going to Clemson, we have spent quite a few weekends enjoying their national championship-winning football team.
On the personal side, I have completed four marathons. Although I don’t have any more currently planned, regularly exercising to stay fit is always energizing and a priority. I also regularly read and listen to podcasts about leadership, B2B sales, and business success.