Mark Wayland, CRO of Box, On Hard Work and Grit
Hear about Mark Wayland’s early life, and it’s no surprise he ended up a respected sales leader. Raised by a single Dad who worked to make ends meet, Mark learned early to make his way and work hard for what he wanted.
“When I was 12, I sold peanuts at Cal Berkeley stadium to buy a skateboard,” he explains. He also bagged groceries in high school to buy a car, and waited tables to put himself through college. “I loved those jobs because I got to engage with people. My experience also made me realize I wanted to be financially secure.”
As he prepared to graduate from San Diego State with a degree in communications, Mark visited the career services department. “They said with my grades and degree, I could make $19,000 a year as a journalist. I was making more money waiting tables.”
It’s hard to create a growth company with a leaky bucket. Renewals are the new growth in SaaS and that’s where we’re focused.
Discouraged, Mark decided to buy a VW bus and drive cross-country to visit every ballpark in the US. Before hitting the road, he got a call from a friend who was making $60,000 a year selling for Nortel Networks. Mark signed on and called upon the grit that had served him to date.
“We were hunting for new business. The sales team sat in the bullpen, cold calling all day. The environment was brutal and the competition was intense. But it was the best sales training.”
That on-the-ground training paved the way for Mark to rise through the ranks, leading other sales reps to greatness at companies including Gartner, Salesforce – where he spent 10 years – and Tanium, where he landed his first Chief Revenue Officer role. Along the way, Mark has evolved his leadership approach to track with the evolution of sales.
“Back in the day, grit would get you far as a B2B sales rep. Now you need the business acumen of a management consultant, the tech acumen of a systems integrator, the relationship development skills of the world’s greatest executives, and the negotiating skills of a trial attorney.”
In 2019, Mark joined Box as its CRO, where he leads global sales as he helps the company capture the large market opportunity for Cloud Content Management. “It’s hard to create a growth company with a leaky bucket. Renewals are the new growth in SaaS and that’s where we’re focused.”
Mark’s other keys to success include:
- Focusing everyone on the people business. Mark knows the foundation for success is creating human connections built on trust.
- Testing for grit. A huge fan of Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, Mark asks sales candidates to explain how they’ve tackled their biggest challenges.
- Cultivating a winning culture. Mark builds environments where people treat each other with decency and assume good intent but are still driven to achieve results.