One of the first things we asked Walter Rogers was why he would take on dual C roles at both MontyCloud and Baker Communications, including all the responsibility that goes along with those roles. We think you’ll enjoy his answer to this question.
“Some friends of mine asked me the same question when they read the MontyCloud press release in April of this year. My reasons were actually pretty simple,” Mr. Rogers commented.
“First of all, none of this would be possible without the exceptional management team at Baker Communications which provides me the freedom to grow two companies concurrently. The first is that I love figuring out ways to accelerate growth. And that usually starts with sales performance. That means taking all of the fantastic things my team and I have learned at Baker Communications, Inc. (BCI) helping companies like AWS, Stripe and other grow and then putting them into action at a new and exciting start-up in the Cloud space, MontyCloud.” He went on to say. “But the reverse is also true for BCI.
When we started to see all the decisions that could be made more accurately with data, the BCI team took that as their call to action. We then came up with our data-driven sales readiness approach that caught the eye of Forrester back in 2020. It quickly positioned BCI as a leader in using data to start attacking some acute problems that we all face in the world of sales – a 34.7% turnover rate and only 47% of our salespeople making quota. That put us on a quest to see if we could use data to do a better job.”
Next, we asked Walter if it all worked. His reply was enthusiastic but low-keyed.
“We felt really good about the outcomes,” offered Rogers. “We grew CloudChomp, Inc. from 0 customers to over 1100 in 5 years working closely with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its partner ecosystem. And ultimately VMware acquired the technology and talent.”
How Will Your Experience Impact MontyCloud?
He started with a quick history on MontyCloud before offering his comment. He said that MontyCloud Inc. was founded in 2018 with the fundamental principle of enabling IT teams to become cloud powerhouses. Many large enterprises, retail, healthcare, educational, and research institutions use MontyCloud DAY2™ to efficiently manage and operate their cloud environments. MontyCloud Inc. was founded with the fundamental principle of enabling IT teams to become cloud powerhouses. Many large enterprises, retail, healthcare, educational, and research institutions use MontyCloud DAY2™ to efficiently manage and operate their cloud environments.
MontyCloud’s No-Code approach to Autonomous Cloud Operations helps customers rapidly deliver intelligent Applications, instead of focusing their efforts on infrastructure and Operations. MontyCloud DAY2™ is a cloud-native, Events-driven platform that delivers both simplicity and extensibility to Cloud customers.
In one of their latest releases, Mr. Rogers aid that they’ve added new features that reduce cloud spending and accelerate their client’s innovation in the cloud. “With this new release, MontyCloud further delivers on our vision of empowering IT teams to become cloud powerhouses,” commented Mr. Rogers. He went on to say that the new release expanded on collaboration opportunities by allowing R&D users to put in a request for services that they require and get approval from the Cloud Admin, in just a few clicks. That’s key to speeding the innovation process for the client he went on to say.
But it wasn’t just the R&D side that Walter Rogers turned his focus. He’s also keenly aware of the upcoming recession challenges and how to get his sales teams ready to thrive during this period.
Although it’s still early to see how all that sales performance knowledge will impact MontyCloud, Mr. Rogers is hard at work with his team designing a better go-to-market plan that would grow their revenues quickly while being even smarter about investments in the face of pending pressures in the economy..
“It was the same formula that I used twice before with two other software startups, and they were also acquired by publicly traded companies,” Mr. Rogers finally added. “When you’re focused on customer outcomes and listening to their needs, you can’t help but be successful.”
His focus on “customer outcomes” will not only drive their sales approach, but it will also better define the products and services that the customers need. The only “fly in the ointment” is what the economy will look like in 2023 after record inflation and the leftover problems from the pandemic. “The best companies are born or thrive during times of crisis and this is our moment to help customers navigate troubled waters and differentiate from all the noise in the markets” said Rogers. “While others may want to retreat and wait this out, this is a time to mobilize and attack.”
Fortunes Crown would place our bet on Walter Rogers’ ability to pick which businesses will thrive in these times and aim MontyCloud’s Sales and Engineering teams in the right direction. The evidence behind that conclusion is in the performance of Baker Communications and CloudChomp through the pandemic. He’s very proud that he didn’t have to lose a single employee at BCI during the pandemic. And it wasn’t altruism. His leadership steered his company towards the right solutions, and as a result, the company performance remained flat while competition lost as much as 30% of their revenues.
And of course, CloudChomp was still in elevated growth mode when it was acquired by VMware. That’s two impressive accomplishments during adverse times, and a strong bellwether in our opinion on his ability to move MontyCloud in the right direction.
The Impact on Baker Communications
Baker Communications was founded in 1979 and had been using traditional methods of training up until the turn of the century. That’s when they started to add other training methodologies beyond the classroom and discovered the impact that technology, consulting, and multiple delivery modalities could have on their customers. When Mr. Rogers decided to create CloudChomp, the use of data was becoming more important in his mind. As he saw the software evaluate and use trillions of data points to make decisions in real time that consultants would labor over for months, he knew he was onto something.
Fast-forward to 2022 and the next evolution of Baker Communications, Inc. was taking form. He said that from BCI’s perspective, when companies started using data to drive hiring, onboarding, training, and coaching decisions, that proved to be their ‘secret sauce.’
He said that the company is firmly grounded in its use of data science to help its customers build world-class sales teams. “Just like a doctor uses diagnostic tools to identify illnesses, we use sale-specific diagnostic tools to identify sales team members’ strengths and weaknesses.” Mr. Rogers explained. “It’s trading opinion for data – a crucial step forward for the industry.”
The proof of value in that go-to-market strategy is the impact of high turnover rates that the company shared with us. The average sales turnover rate is 34.7%, a number that’s nearly twice the rate of any other position in the company. When we discussed it, he explained that the industry only had a few indicators about a salesperson’s abilities, the primary being if they made their quota in their previous positions. But that left a lot of room for error when you consider that there are jobs ranging from telephone sales to managing strategic accounts, and industries ranging from agriculture to high tech. The skills and knowledge needed is not the same across those variables.
According to Walter, they now have reliable data on over 170 attributes to compare against. The database contains the results of over 2.2 million sellers working in multiple countries and industries, as well as in multiple job roles. The predictive validity is now up at 91%. If the data tells you to hire an individual, there’s a 92% chance that the individual will be in the top half of performers in 12-months. Conversely, if the data tells you not to hire, and you decide to hire anyway, 75% of those hires will be gone in the first 6 months.
He went on to say that when you exchange opinion for data to make your hiring and training decisions, you can see where it will have an absolute impact on turnover and the achievement of quota. “That’s the value we came to understand when the two companies’ strategy came together,” Walter went on to describe. “The use of data just ‘clicked’ in our mind. It was like seeing what medicine was before and after diagnostic tests, x-rays, and MRIs.”
He said that realization prompted him and his senior executives at BCI to change their entire go-to-market plan to lead with data. And they’ve never looked back.
What’s are the Two Most Exciting Project Going on Right Now?
Walter thought a bit and then said, “I’m most excited about our “Baker 2.0” project underway at Baker Communications. We’re investing heavily in that transition and leverging some of the best tools in the industry to help our customers meeting their outcomes.
He went on to explain that the combination of technologies, content, training and coachingpromises to finally deliver on the promise of personalized, individualized training at scale. It’s a problem that learning experts have been trying to solve since the 1980’s. “Most thought it would be impossible, but we’re set to turn that notion on its ear with a combination of assessment, technology, and a whole new way of designing training and coaching,” Mr. Rogers offered.
He then went on to describe the exciting direction MontyCloud is headed. “MontyCloud Day2™ is helping customers set up a cloud center of excellence in just a few clicks,” Walter proudly noted. “That ability rapidly advances cloud consumption without requiring our customers to bring in specialized cloud talent. With each new release, we’re getting closer and closer to our vision of empowering IT teams to become cloud powerhouses, while significantly reducing the time and costs to deliver cloud management and operations excellence.”