People.ai

In every organization, there are unspoken heroes. The men and women that fuel the engine of the enterprise – sales leaders. This series is an attempt to share written portraits of these amazing humans that bring together a passion for moving the business forward with data, technology, and a few other ingredients that might surprise you.

Emilio is the Senior Regional Director for IoT and AR Sales at PTC. He’s been part of the PTC family for over 12 years now. When he and I meet for this interview (virtually, of course), I quickly get a sense of both his humility and devotion to his team. When he talks about the opportunity in front of PTC and his division, he lights up. His excitement is contagious and his story might not be one you would expect.  

Emilio and I start chatting and quickly realize we have something in common. We both studied physics. In his twenties, Emilio wasn’t sure what career path he wanted to follow, but knew that math and science were his strengths. Typically someone with his proclivity would opt to become a teacher or engineer – but neither of those appealed to him.  

His mom was in banking and dad in real estate, so the kitchen table conversions inspired him mid-way through his degree to do a double major in marketing. It was then he decided he will be a “unicorn” he says with a twinkle in his eyes. His first job out of college led him to an innovative fuel cell startup. It was there that he discovered how he can combine his scientific mind and knowledge with working to create a market for a technology – as their first sales engineer. He loved being a part of building innovative tech, a part of a mission-based company (their goal was to eliminate CO2 emissions), and talking to customers. The startup was acquired and because of his strong relationships with one of the resellers, he found his next gig, and that finally led him to PTC.

I ask Emilio how he and his team are coping with the pandemic and loss of the ability to meet with customers face-to-face. His response summarizes his sales philosophy and is likely a tribute to his success: “The most challenging part for us as sales people is that we are keenly focused on relationship-building, face to face with customers and partners, and understanding is hard to replicate with technology – that interaction aspect, so much that goes on in addition to the work meeting… breaking bread with a customer, having a coffee, and getting to know them personally. People buy from people they trust.”

Yet, PTC and Emilio’s team are showing steady growth. He talks about how it’s interesting to see how productive you can be virtually especially when everyone is locked in their home offices and prioritizing where to spend their time. His words of wisdom to anyone in sales are “if they are engaging – you are relevant and important”. He’s had a remote team for most of his career, but it’s the time of uncertainty that makes the difference. He’s now having touch points more regularly.

I ask him about how People.ai fits in with his daily work day. I get a bashful, modest response “I’m a believer and I’m learning how to use it”. He talks about how the CRM is continuously improving, customers’ contacts are being captured by People.ai, and the company is on its journey to be even more data-driven. My favorite picture Emilio paints is that of “the utopia when all these tools are used by sales reps”. He talks about using the data from a sales management perspective – used appropriately to gauge the right level of activity on accounts, where reps are spending their time, what is the level of engagement. A lot of insights that the team is starting to leverage in their journey to grow the business from $1.3 billion to $2 billion. 

You can tell he’s a seasoned sales leader because when he talks about the activity data for a rep he’s “not interested if you found a new opportunity today, but have you scheduled net new meetings with new customers or net new people in an account. People.ai helps you uncover that.” Emilio talks about activity based metrics being important on a daily, weekly, monthly basis — as leading indicators of pipeline health.

Finally, I asked Emilio to tell me how he hopes to look back at this year. He continues to inspire me: “I would highlight the success we have had in a challenging economy. It’s important to recognize it was a challenge and to celebrate the success that we did have. I would take stock of how we performed against the original plan and look at the results as a testament to the sales organization’s fortitude. We were able to pursue and break through the market – this is why we are at PTC – we are finding ways to win and solve customer problems.”