October 9, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
Mark DiBenedetto, Mindsight’s VP of Sales, sat down with Siobhan Climer, Mindsight’s Science and Technology Writer, to discuss his role in building a dynamic, interconnected team across the business. While relatively new to the Mindsight team, Mark offers the breadth and depth of interspection and introspection that makes Mindsight different.
Although the VP of Sales role is often seen as focused on driving sales and building revenue, Mark’s view of leadership centers more on mentorship, teamwork, and transformation preparation. This view is essential to creating the collaborative, cohesive business strategy that keeps Mindsight on target to provide the customer experience our clients rely on, day in and day out.
VP Of Sales: Role In Business Leadership
SC: The VP of Sales is a dynamic role. Can you describe how you see the role and its importance to Mindsight?
MD: As the VP of Sales, I am responsible for ensuring that we are driving new innovative solutions and technology to our customers to give them a competitive edge. It’s essential I have a good understanding of industry trends, and that applies not just to the direction and expectations our customers have for their technologies, but for their organization and business as well. Staying on top of the changing dynamics across industry, and how technology affects those changes, isn’t easy, but that’s how we help our customers grow, which is what safeguards the future of Mindsight.
SC: One of the primary responsibilities of a VP of Sales is to deliver the right revenues to the business. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t also responsible for team-building, supporting team members, collaborating with other departments, and providing leadership and sales strategy. What skills do you think are needed to be successful in your role and how do you balance these different responsibilities?
MD: To me revenue and driving sales are table stakes to the VP of Sales role. If you aren’t doing that, then you aren’t doing the job. I think the true purpose of my role is to be an advocate for the sales team, motivate them, and guide them as the industry changes. Additionally, a large portion of my role is working with the other department heads to ensure a cohesive strategy. This way we can ensure the expectations we are setting are something that pre-sales, sales and post-sales are prepared to produce, so we guarantee a positive customer experience. I think it is important to be patient, candid, facilitate open conversation and feedback, and remember; many members of the team may already have the answers to these challenges, we just need to listen. I think of it like a coach on a professional sports team. The players have the real talent, it is my job to help them realize their potential and execute.
Building A Leadership Voice
SC: You joined Mindsight in July of 2018. How have you transitioned into the role, developed a leadership voice, and created action to meet your goals and those of Mindsight? What work still needs to be done?
MD: The experience has been incredible. Mindsight is built on its many extremely talented individuals, and they have made the transition quite easy. When moving into any new leadership role it is important to have a clear understanding of vision, current directions, and overall organizational culture. I am a true believer that leadership is not given based on a title, but rather earned by creating value, leading by example, and becoming a resource the team can rely on to help get things done. As far as work to be done? There is always work to be done, both on myself as a leader and with the team. I have to constantly prove myself to the team, just like they do to me, and that is not a single point and time action; it’s ongoing.
SC: Effective communication is vital to leadership. What is your philosophy on communication? Has it evolved or changed based on your experiences?
MD: To me communication, or a lack thereof, is one of the biggest reasons issues escalate. I believe in an open-door policy, and I believe all ideas and suggestions should be evaluated. That’s key to our success and ability to grow, both as individuals and an organization. The only thing I ask is if you are bringing me a problem, you also bring a suggestion or idea as to how we can fix it. Every person I work with – whether on my team, in another department, or outside our organization – teaches me something new.
SC: The Sales department should interact with every other aspect of the business daily. How do you help interlock Sales with the various internal departments?
MD: This is an easy one … through communication across leadership. We have an amazing senior management team. Truly some of the best and well-known individuals in the industry. Working with such a strong team makes keeping lock-step an easy proposition. Since there is a mutual dedication to cross-functional communication, it’s pretty straightforward to keep the communications open across departments. And it is essential; every person at Mindsight is part of the solution we offer our customers.
Technology Industry Changes And Challenges
SC: There is a lot happening in the technology world: AI, cloud technology, blockchain, IoT. What market trends are the most critical today in your view?
MD: Each technology you mention will have a profound impact on the technology market. AI is going to be a game-changer, especially in the contact center and collaboration technologies. The customer experience is changing, and consumer technologies like smart phones, Alexa, and Google voice are going to be big drivers in the way our customers interact with their customers. AI will be at the forefront of that. Cloud technology is becoming more cost effective and as carrier services continue to provide more bandwidth, giving organizations LAN speeds over a WAN connection with redundancy and security like SD-WAN, we are only going to see more cloud migrations. In terms of IoT, we must adapt solutions for consumers, who want to continue to bring and utilize whatever device with which they are most comfortable. This trend will only increase as the millennial generation and generation z continue to enter the work force and take on more leadership roles. As for blockchain, I personally think we have some time before we see any real adoption in the mid-market and SMB; however, it is happening in enterprise and larger SaaS offerings now. Of course, technology, and the way it integrates and affects businesses, is often surprising, so you never know!
SC: What are the big changes facing businesses right now, and how does Mindsight help organizations ensure they are prepared for these transformative opportunities
MD: What a time to be involved in technology, huh? It’s exciting. And, as always, it’s an ever-changing market. Peter Diamandis is credited with saying it best: “The only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.” What we need to do is truly understand what our clients need, the expectations they have for their business, and ensure we are always reevaluating and reinventing ourselves to stay one step ahead of the competition.
The Mindsight Difference
SC: What is something people don’t know about you?
MD: I have been playing hockey consistently since I was 5 years old. I still play once or twice a week. My team just won their second championship. It’s important to stay active. Although it’s not quite a secret, I also cure meat. My grandfather was a butcher in Italy, but when they came over to the U.S., they found curing meat to be a big challenge because of the different climate. It’s been a lot of work, but with the help of my family, we created a temperature and humidity-controlled chamber where we are able to make really delicious salamis and pancetta.
SC: What keeps you excited at Mindsight?
MD: Honestly, the industry change – which is just constantly exciting – and the people. They are very motivated, smart, and capable, and their passion for growth and service delivery is what continues to make Mindsight such a great place to be. I look forward to many years of growth and continuing to solidify Mindsight’s position as a leader in the Midwest by providing unmatched service and support around all of our customer’s needs.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Mindsight’s Staff Technology Writer, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM education programs in the classroom and at The New England Aquarium in Boston, MA. Siobhan writes extensively about disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.