Phil Pergola

“At CloudHealth over 50% of our business was being driven by existing customers so the Customer Success team was accountable for making sure the customer is always in buying mode. The more you take care of your customers, you minimize the churn, you maximize the expansion, and when that’s working in conjunction with new business, that’s when you see the maximum amount of growth.”  – Phil Pergola

In the Presales Edition of The 33 CXOs we explore the crucial role of the presales organisation in what is regarded as the greatest success story in software sales.

When John McMahon took over as the Head of Sales within BladeLogic, he had a clear vision to create a sales and presales organisation that was in complete unison. What transpired became a sales rhythm which remains the golden standard for best practice within the most successful technology companies in the world.

The effects of a value-driven, technical sales function transcended the boundaries of presales. The playbook has helped trailblaze best practice within Customer Success, Value Engineering, Professional Services and even Product Management.

We uncover the stories and playbooks of the most talented technical sales leaders in the industry who are driving the technology companies of the future.

Episode 4 features Phil Pergola, Global Customer Success Leader for Success 360 at VMWare. Phil started his career as a Senior Consultant at Accenture and was originally introduced to some of the future leaders of BladeLogic when he moved to become Director and Solutions Architect at Eggrock Partners in 1999. Proving himself in this role, he stood out as a key player who could assist and add value to a pioneering SaaS start-up and was approached to join the team at BladeLogic in 2002 as Director of Client Services. From there began Phil’s upward career trajectory of strategic transitions and professional advancements that have led him to become the accomplished enterprise software leader that he is today.

“At the end of the day, what I’ve found in my career is that diversity of experience is huge because every role that I go to, I’m even better because of the diverse experience that I’ve had and the perspective that I can bring to those roles.”

With a process-centric mindset and a background in enterprise SaaS, Phil already had many of the foundational skills he needed to tackle challenges and solve problems whilst simultaneously building Professional Services and Support divisions at a start-up experiencing huge growth. However, a new era of innovation within the software space transpired as a result of the thought leaders at BladeLogic. In order to succeed in his role there, Phil needed to develop new skills. Under the leadership of Steve Strachan and John McMahon, Phil learnt and mastered the sales playbook. He was not only taught how to sell and scale a global organisation, but also how to incorporate this methodology into his practice areas, enabling him to take his professional development to a new level.

“It’s one thing to read a book on methodologies but it’s another thing to experience it and really learn how to apply it. You don’t learn how to drive a car by reading a manual. You learn to drive a car through hours of experience and making mistakes, and I think the experience of working with those leaders was profound in my ability to not only apply that, but also refine my craft.”

In this vodcast you will discover:

  • How MEDDIC methodologies can enhance your career in Professional Services or Customer Success
  • How Phil is defining the Customer Success playbook for the next generation
  • Phil’s role at VMWare and the importance of Customer Success to subscription and SaaS business
  • The role of diversity in delivering a positive experience for customers

Phil Pergola understands exactly how to drive positive business outcomes across the entire customer lifecycle. His diverse background of engagement with the expansion and development of systems and processes in world-class SaaS organisations is a testament to his versatility and readiness to constantly adapt. We discuss the pillars of Phil’s playbook, what advice he would give to anyone considering a role in Customer Success and find out which technology or area of innovation he thinks is going to have the biggest impact on business in the next decade. This in-depth discussion is essential listening for those with an interest in sales strategy, as well as anyone with a passion for making customers successful with technology.

Feedback on the vodcast. Overall looks great:

  • A few times throughout there is an echo or weird background noise. For example, but not limited to around 4:55, 25:22, 27:32, etc. I know you mentioned that there was still some production work happening and have no idea how hard or easy this would be to improve the audio. Certainly, use your judgement here.
  • As you introduce the words on the LAER model around 29:40 you could just say LAER (no periods) and the words on the screen could be Land, Adopt, Expand, Retain.
  • On MEDDPICC around 34:26, instead of “Paper Trace”, I would use “Paper Process”.
  • Otherwise just remove about 50 of my “you knows” and “rights” and it would be great ;).


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