Maybe it’s the French connection. But adtech innovator Smart, headquartered in Paris with offices in New York and around the globe, exudes a rare joie de vivre.
The New York sales team alone includes a world traveler, several foodies and at least one ambitious home chef. There’s an ongoing conversation about the best spots to eat and drink, while salespeople swap as many travel stories as they do best practices for sales.
The company’s unique perks also support employees’ global literacy. A Backpackers Program lets Smarties, as employees are known, work in one of the company’s offices in another country for a period. And new staffers are invited to Paris for onboarding.
Which is not to say it’s all baguettes in the park. The team is solving complex adtech problems for clients. As a provider of ad serving and programmatic monetization, Smart helps customers manage and optimize their revenue potential on all screens and formats — display, rich media and native.
“We can all be very competitive and serious when we need to be, but there’s always a balance,” said Judy Chiu, key account manager.
We asked four sales Smarties to tell us more.
EMPLOYEES: 18 in New York (223 worldwide)
THE COMPANY: Smart helps publishers manage and optimize the revenue potential of their advertising through ad serving and programmatic monetization. It provides customers with a full-stack ad management solution for their websites across all screens and ad formats.
THE TEAM: This New York-based team of salespeople is tasked with continuing to build Smart's presence in the U.S.
TO SUCCEED HERE: Have a natural instinct to help clients solve problems, rather than just close deals. Sales at Smart is highly consultative.
Joe Lospalluto, General Manager for the U.S.
Lospalluto oversees all U.S. operations. His job is to create and drive U.S. strategy so publishers adopt Smart's full stack technology platform.
BEYOND WORK: Joe is remodeling his 100-year-old house from top to bottom.
Describe what your team is tasked with doing.
Lospalluto: Our team is continuing to build Smart's presence in the U.S. by garnering the adoption of our holistic ad technology platform. Our mission is to provide a fully transparent stack that empowers publishers to build a solid foundation for their advertising architecture.
By nature of our industry and the speed in which it changes, the team is out in market developing strong relationships with major publishers. We lend our expertise to consult and guide publishers toward a solution that enables them to grow their future.
Once a deal is closed, the account management team oversees the day-to-day strategic roadmap that a publisher desires to achieve. This allows us to consistently improve and scale our partners business.
I truly believe the best thing I can do for my team is to train, educate, set the mission — and then get out of their way."
How do you go about performance management?
Lospalluto: First, I hold weekly one-on-one meetings with each team member. I explain that each person’s one-on-one meeting is solely theirs. They set the agenda. It is a great way to help them through obstacles they see ahead of them. We also hold team meetings. Having regular check-ins enables us to continually review pipeline activity and performance — so we don’t get to the end of a quarter and find surprises.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Lospalluto: I like to think of my management style as empowering. I truly believe the best thing I can do for my team is to train, educate, set the mission — and then get out of their way.
What kind of face time do your salespeople have with clients?
Lospalluto: Due to our sell being highly consultative, there is only so much they can do via email. Face time is the main factor in closing deals and strengthening client relationships. I encourage my team to meet with clients on a regular basis as they deem fit for the sales stage they are in.
If an employee came to you and said they were burnt out, what would you do?
Lospalluto: The first component would be to understand what led them to burn out in the first place. Depending on the situation, I would work to uncover whether this person had other areas of professional interest and, if possible, restructure things so they got to do more of that, in conjunction to their day-to-day functions.
If they wanted to head into a different direction, we might discuss that, too. One of the unique things about Smart is that, after a year, employees can apply for a job opening of interest in a different department. We are very focused on enabling our team members to continually grow.
You’ve been here a short time. What reputation would you like to build for this team under your leadership?
Lospalluto: I want our reputation in the company to be that we’re innovators — an incubation group with new ideas that can be spread to other regions in which the company operates.
What kind of candidate makes a good “culture fit” for this team?
Lospalluto: Someone who is driven and has true grit, not only from a work perspective but personally, too. When interviewing, I will often provoke a question regarding times of defeat or failure. It’s extremely telling. To answer it honestly showcases humility.
What’s the team culture like?
Lospalluto: Our team is a set of natural explorers of food and travel, and our office is comprised of folks from many different cultures. There’s always a healthy debate over which place makes the best of something to eat or drink, and we’re always sharing travel stories and tips.
Molly Reisner, Sr. Business Development Manager
A two-year Smartie, Reisner sources and identifies potential partners who have challenges Smart can solve.
BEYOND WORK: A passionate traveler, Reisner has visited most of Western Europe and the U.S., with her sights now set on Asia.
Every day is different but, to the extent that you can, describe how your day breaks up.
Reisner: Most of my time is spent communicating with prospective clients, either via email, videoconferencing, face-to-face or phone call. I am constantly in touch — leading meetings and demos, or doing follow up emails. In between meetings or conferences, I spend time prospecting and identifying new companies that would benefit from our services.
What’s a common objection you receive? How do you overcome it?
Reisner: One objection is: We already have or do not need another ad server. Through a consultative approach, we can typically find holes in a prospect’s technology stack, and point out where Smart can help the publisher have more control.
Each and every member can mold and shape where we go next."
How would you describe the team dynamics?
Reisner: We are establishing an extremely collaborative culture. Our aim is to lean on one another for advice and industry insights to provide solutions to clients’ challenges. In addition, everyone is immersed in the strategy for our company's evolution. Each and every member can mold and shape where we go next.
Judy Chiu, Key Account Manager
Recently celebrating two years with Smart, Chiu manages and maintains relationships with top customers as their day-to-day liaison.
BEYOND WORK: She’s an adventurous chef who loves to try new recipes.
How would you describe the team dynamics and personality?
Chiu: Everyone is fun and laid back. We can all be very competitive and serious when we need to be but there’s always a balance.
Describe how the team’s day breaks up.
Chiu: Typically, my day is lined up with meetings — weekly check-ins, calls or in-person with customers — and internal catch ups with my team members or other teams. During the week, there are weekly internal trainings for us as well.
What tools does the sales team currently use?
Chiu: I typically live and breathe in Metamarkets, Salesforce, Fuze, Google Hangouts, Skype and JIRA.
I typically live and breathe in Metamarkets, Salesforce, Fuze, Gchat [Google Hangouts], Skype and JIRA."
Name the qualities that make someone successful on this team.
Chiu: You have to be driven, organized, communicative and, most importantly, a team player.
Addy Atienza, Business Development Manager — North America
A new-to-the-team Smartie, Atienza helps publishers solve their problems by providing solutions from Smart’s platform.
BEYOND WORK: He’s training for his second NYC marathon, his fourth overall.
What is unique about selling at Smart? What do you like about it?
Atienza: I come originally from an ad ops background. So I love that I can relate to some of the issues my clients face and provide them with real solutions. With Smart being a full-stack platform, we can help customers through an array of solutions both on the ad serving and programmatic side of the business.
I love that I can relate to some of the issues my clients face and provide them with real solutions."
What processes are in place to make new Smart salespeople successful?
Atienza: I was able to hit the ground running from day one. I spent my first days with different team members to understand their roles and responsibilities, while also learning about Smart’s offering from different perspectives.
Who do new salespeople report to?
Atienza: From what I’ve gotten to know of Joe Lospalluto, he’s a great leader who works alongside you and never above you. He and I have already gotten into a few in-depth discussions regarding the industry, which is what I enjoy most about him. He’s definitely a great thought leader in this space.