In 2008 I was lucky enough to join a rocketship company, Rackspace Hosting.  I left an uninspiring job in the city to pursue my passion, a sales career with a top tech firm. Interviewing with dozens of businesses and turning down many offers in the process,  I spent 11 months committed to finding a company who shares my values.  When I joined Rackspace, they had just IPO’d, and their share prices had taken a big dip.  Besides this setback, all other signs suggested cloud computing was going to be massive, and Rackspace was positioned to dominate.  

The four years I spent at Rackspace was the best four corporate years of my life providing me with the opportunity to launch my first startup BuyerDeck.  The only regret I have is not joining the company 18 months prior because I would have made life changing money in shares…

Eight years on a lot has changed in the technology sales, and sales people are spoilt for choice with lots of great companies to choose from.   I wondered  If I was still in sales who would be on my list of 12 Top B2B tech companies to sell for?  

I considered three pillars that represented my values to help me decide this?   Firstly was the each company’s Culture, then the potential size of the Industry/Market and finally the potential financial reward.   I spoke to employees, leaders and researched content on places like Glassdoor Medium and Linkedin to assess growth rate fund raising, etc. 

Culture  – A company’s way of life!  What are the core ideas, customs, and social behaviour of the employees and leadership in the business?  I value freedom of choosing where, when and how I work so the opportunity to travel and engage in non-work activities with my colleagues creates a culture I would thrive in.

Industry Size and Market Timing –  Like Rackspace, I am looking for the big revolutionary ideas that are just crossing the adoption lifecycle chasm.   Timing is everything.  Too late and you miss the unique culture.

B2B sales

Show me the money!  – – From basic salary,  commission structure, perks, and the life changing shares. While culture and opportunity a market presents is highly rewarding, financial compensation is has to be important too.

B2B sales

My Top Tech Companies

My list – Not in any particular order!

Slack  – Slack is the company Skype could have been, a product that could’ve killed the dreaded email.   According to CrunchBase slack has raised $539.95M at a valuation of $5Bn. They have almost a cult like following in Silicon Valley with global user base growing 5% a week for 70 weeks in a row almost entirely by word of mouth.  With that said, much of its success would be contingent on their sales and whether it can convince enterprises around the world to switch services.  

B2B sales

Google Cloud  – Last week Google offered me a free notebook if I would jump on a 15min phone call to discuss moving BuyerDeck cloud from Rackspace.  Unprecedented investment in marketing shows they believe they have a superior product. Their executive VP of GCE Diane Greene recently announced why Evernote will be moving its 200 million users from its private cloud to Google — a huge win for the company.  Evernote is choosing Google over incumbents like AWS, Microsoft and Rackspace to take advantage of its machine learning algorithms to process data in ways that weren’t possible on its current system.  Wins like this explain why Google Cloud growth is outpacing the company’s core ad business.  I’d put half the house on this company getting humongous.

Splunk  – A leader in the big-data analytics space and named “Best Places to Work” for ten consecutive years. They grew revenues by 42% to $950.0M last year.  Splunks culture seems very extraordinary. Their “Fun Council” is apparently very serious about celebrating diverse holidays, organising festivities around events like Oktoberfest, Diwali and even National Corn Dog Day. With one of the best cultures in my list, I am not surprised the CEO has an 80% approval rating on Glassdoor. 

Cloudera – “If information is the oil of the 21st century and analytics is the combustion engine then Cloudera might be the contender to become the Ford of this era”.  Although their share price has been volatile, it’s on my list because they are young, in a revolutionary industry and have a unique culture.   Cloudera’s culture resembles BuyerDeck’s the most – a Forbes article recently quotes an employee  “It’s not a ‘butt in seat’ culture. Lots of us come in fairly late in the morning and don’t stay late at the office, but instead, prefer to work from home in the evening.  I usually do my email from home in the morning, head to the office around 10:30, stay till 7:30 or so, then head home for dinner, finishing up a bit more work in the evening if I don’t have anything planned.” 

Intercom is disrupting the way Software businesses communicate with their customers.  First by giving you improved visibility on your customer and user’s behaviour, and second by allowing you to interact with your users based on their behaviour and through automation. Intercom has been labelled a ‘Social CRM’ tool and is bringing new levels of innovation into this space. Intercom has great leadership and is looking to take on big players like Salesforce, SAP and Oracle. An underdog worth backing. 

If you want to work for a company building the future of self driving cars!!!!

TeslaI can’t think of a cooler Artificial Intelligence application than the self-driving car industry and companies like Tesla.  Tesla’s recent acquisition of SolarCity, launching its roof tile and power wall, has them ready to scale and ready to sell.  Tesla has an enormous opportunity, and they are hiring aggressively for a broad range of sales roles. 

Zoom –  If there was ever a technology that every inside sales person would need and use daily it is the ability to screen-share, make audio and video calls with clients simply.  Incumbents like Clearslide, Join.me, GoToMeeting and Webex have all fallen short of delivering a winning product and dominating.  Rest assured though; Zoom has nailed this.  Founded in 2011, Zoom is now the leader with an easy to use platform for video and audio conferencing, messaging, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. With 215% growth last year they are now one of the fastest growing Sales SAAS companies in the world. 

Stripe & Recurly Digital shopping and commerce are still on an exponential rise. BI Intelligence forecasts that US e-commerce retail sales will hit $631 billion in 2020, up from $341 billion last year. Companies like Stripe and Recurly are poised to profit from that growth because they take a cut of all sales.  I am particularly excited about Stripe because of its strategy to stay private for longer, signaling expectations for more aggressive growth

Finally but not least….

Twillio is hugely disruptive on the traditional Telco market with its API based platform.   Twilio has virtualised the entire Telecoms infrastructure stack to enable developers, startups such as Uber and AirBnB and Facebook Messenger to use its APIs to build great customer experiences. So when you hail that Uber and receive a text message that your drivers outside, that’s Twilio. When you receive confirmation of your AirBnB booking via text, that’s Twilio. It goes way beyond SMS notification, and its broad range of Telecom disrupting products earns it a place on the list.  One to watch.

Who have I missed?

I’m not looking for a sales job – got one of those at BuyerDeck – but if I was, these are companies I would be interested in working with. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts, what tech companies are on your radar with great culture, opportunities and rewards?

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