Sales Leaders Series: My Interview with Steve Blum of Autodesk

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

In my first interview in a series focused on sales and marketing leaders, Steve Blum, Senior VP, reveals Autodesk's strategies for success.

When it comes to sales and marketing success, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but that doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel, either.

Taking cues from thought leaders and organizations who have implemented streamlined, impactful sales methodologies and fine-tuned their strategies to achieve incredible success is one of the most effective ways to learn the cutting-edge approaches that can cultivate tremendous growth within your organization.

This interview with Steve Blum, Senior VP at Autodesk, Inc., is the first in a series of interviews I’ll be conducting with sales and marketing leaders from the world’s most prominent sales organizations.

I’ve reached out to select thought leaders to gain valuable insights on how the most successful organizations manage their sales processes and strategies they rely on to get results, providing key takeaways and tips that you can put to use to modify your company’s sales and marketing tactics to reach new heights.

Read on to learn about the strengths of Autodesk’s sales team and sales processes, top goals for 2016 regarding sales outcomes, and insights on marketing-sales collaboration.

Related Article: To the Rescue: Strategic Imperatives to Reinvent Sales Leadership

1. What Are the Biggest Strengths of Your Sales Team or Sales Process?

At Autodesk, our biggest strength starts with our people and their ability to help solve our customers’ business problems.  After that, we have a defined, documented, common sales process which includes a repeatable sales methodology for pipeline management, opportunity management, and account management along with automation to support the implementation. This ensures everyone is on the same page and has real-time access to the latest information about our customers’ needs.

2. What’s Your Top Goal for 2016 in Improving Your Company’s Sales Processes and Outcomes? What Improvements Do You Anticipate That Will Enable You to Achieve These Goals?

We are moving from a perpetual/maintenance model to a subscription/consumption business model.  Retraining our team and our partners on selling the values and benefits of our offerings and addressing any customer questions, concerns, or objections regarding term-based business models is our top focus for this year. 

We continue to reinforce our common sales methodology and are working on refinements to that model to set particular “standards” as opposed to having generic and multiple “expectations” for the implementation of that process.

3. Do Your Marketing and Sales Teams Interact Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Less Frequently? if You Had to Name One Key Focal Area in Which Greater Marketing-Sales Collaboration Would Benefit Your Bottom-Line Results, What Would It Be?

Our sales and marketing teams interact regularly.  Depending upon the type of role, the interaction frequency can vary between daily to monthly.  As we roll out the new business models, tight collaboration is required between sales and marketing to ensure all customer, partner, and sales questions and issues are addressed in a timely matter. 

Related Article: How 5 Influential Leaders Keep Their Sales Forecasts Laser-Accurate

Developing the “benefits statements” of the new models and communicating them broadly is also critical.  We continue to focus on selling on value, and we have an overall theme of “the future of making things” which all folks in sales need to communicate to all customers. 

Sales and marketing work closely on capturing the “stories” used to deliver the future of making things message, sales takes the lead in communicating it in a 1:1 or 1: few approach in person while marketing takes the lead in a 1:many approach via the web and social technologies.

4. Who Is Responsible for Producing Sales Content Within Your Organization (Sales, Marketing, Dedicated Content Team) and Why Is It Structured That Way?

We have a shared model.  Marketing takes the lead in product and industry content development and leads in the mass communications of that content via the web and social.  Sales takes the lead in communicating that content to the worldwide sales teams and partners and owns the training and certification processes associated with the rollout of critical content. Sales works in collaboration with marketing throughout much of the content development process.

5. Is the Importance of Content in Sales and Marketing Increasing, Decreasing, or Remaining Relatively Stagnant Within Your Company, and Why Do You Think This Is the Case?

Strong, impactful, and targeted content continues to be critical and increasing in importance.  Messaging the “future of making things” is a critical success factor for Autodesk in reshaping the company as a thought leader in the industries we serve. 

The content and customer success “stories” that demonstrate how the changes in the means of production, the nature of demand, and the characteristics of products are impacting our customers, and how they need to evolve to turn those disruptions in the market into opportunities they can benefit from is an absolute must-do for Autodesk.

Related Article: The 5 Types of Sales Beasts & How to Spot Them in the Wild

More About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Services at Autodesk, Inc. In this role, he is responsible for driving sales worldwide of Autodesk solutions into the AEC, Engineering, Natural Resources and Infrastructure, Manufacturing, and Media and Entertainment industries as well as to customers within Emerging Markets. He also oversees the company’s consulting, premium support, named account, subscription, emerging market and channel programs around the world.

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