Hunters + Unicorns: The Presales Edition – Tim Fessenden #010

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 10 features Tim Fessenden, President at Propertybase. Tim has over 20 years of SaaS and enterprise software experience and a proven track record of effective leadership at fast-moving, global SaaS-based software companies. Prior to joining Propertybase, Tim was Vice President of Products at Yottaa, a SaaS-eCommerce acceleration platform, and previously held senior positions including General Manager at BMC Software, and Director of Sales Engineering & Product Management at BladeLogic. Tim originally joined the founders of BladeLogic in 2001 to grow a services practice but quickly transitioned to become a key player in the development of their initial product and customer base. His professional achievements and career progression have led him to become the versatile leader that he is today, driving the next stage of development at the world’s leading real estate software platform.  

I never thought of myself as a technologist. I thought of myself as an intelligent businessperson looking at large macroeconomic shifts and figuring out who were going to be the winners and who were going to be the losers. I saw technology as a clear tailwind in the market, so I said, how do I get there? I never had any training in technology, I just identified that that was the place I wanted to live and breathe. 

With an innate ability to look at situations through a macroscopic lens, as well always engaging with the customer experience, Tim was already practicing some of the key principles of John Kaplan’s value framework even before being introduced to a physical playbook.  Therefore, when the extensive training and methodologies were implemented at BladeLogic, Tim naturally stepped into a leadership position. Owning the roadmap and being able to communicate the WHY behind what was being built allowed Tim to train, enable and strategically position sales engineers to execute the product strategy and generate revenue faster than ever before. He understood the importance of technical depth through the sales process and became a translation engine, bridging communication gaps between all functions and building the foundations for his future career.  

A lot of people have a myopic view of just the part that impacts them, but we all know that it’s a continuum – if you push in one area, it’s going to pop in the other. It’s all interconnected. A discussion around pain ultimately needs to translate to something actionable on the back end and vice versa, if something is innovative on the backend, you need to make sure that that message gets out on the front end. That translation engine is the number one thing I hang my hat on and the most important thing that’s attributed to my success. 

In this vodcast you will discover: 

  • Building BladeLogic from the ground up – Tim’s experiences in the early days of product development 
  • The key personality traits that enable transition from presales into management and leadership  
  • The transformative effect of the playbook and how this propelled Tim’s career into leadership 
  • How to scale an organisation by leading with the WHY 

Fluent in the language of value, Tim Fessenden is a strategic leader who knows from experience what it takes to build a sales machine to grow revenue. With a mindset attuned to innovation, Tim has learnt the value of customer engagement and his playbook reflects his primary focus on the WHY – what are we doing here and why will people buy? We discuss his journey through the ranks from Software Consultant to President at Propertybase and find out which area of innovation he thinks will have the biggest impact on business over the next decade. A wide-ranging discussion steeped in valuable advice, this episode is essential listening for those with an interest in sales strategy, as well as anyone with a passion for the technology space. 



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