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DCL Connects with………

Richard Mathewson, VP Sales EMEA at Masergy Communications

What was your first sales?

I started selling business accounting systems on one of the first personal computers to be launched, the Olivetti M20. The kind of in depth sales training that companies like Olivetti, Wang and Xerox provided no longer exists, so I was very fortunate.

What technological advancements make your job easier now than it did when you first started?

The mobile revolution has made it much easier to have all the information you need at your fingertips, particularly when travelling. I have an in house dashboard app on my iPad which gives me access to all our critical systems when on the move or meeting with clients.

What makes your company better than your competitors?

We like to think we solve the problems other carries create in how we transport data across the network, the visibility and control we give to clients through cloud based management tools to monitor traffic and flex bandwidth in seconds and by having support calls handled by Tier One engineers not automated call centres as a few examples.

What will be the biggest challenges you will face in your job over the next 6 months?

The main challenge in front of us is how fast we can extend our partner network and extend the markets we serve across EMEA.

What are the biggest recruitment issues you are facing in your sector?

Like most organisations, finding the right talent and ensuring it will be a good fit not just for us but for the candidate as well. We want to build lasting partnerships with our employees.

Which part of a CV do you like to look at first?

Typically, I will scan the companies they have worked for, the positions held and tenure before deciding to dive into the detail.

What is the strangest question a candidate has asked you in an interview?

A few years ago a candidate asked me if I would put my suit jacket back on as he understood it was a formal interview.

Top 3 excuses you have heard from sales people who fail to deliver?

– Nobody ever explained what commit meant on the forecast.

– Asking for the order is just not my style, is that a problem?

– The traffic light is half red half green on this deal.

Are people leaving education equipped to succeed within this industry?

Better educated for sure but is still requires a huge amount of will and determination to succeed.

How is the skill shortage affecting your industry?

It takes longer to find the right people.

What are you doing differently to ensure you attract the best talent?

We encourage our sales employees in particular to embrace the idea of building their own “ franchise” within the business. We want them to feel they are running their own business.

Why do you think people like to work for you?

They are better placed to tell you but I think most appreciate an orientation towards action and a willingness to spend time in the field with them rather than driving a desk. We also like to celebrate our victories and have fun as a team whenever possible.

What do you think your customers say about you?

A significant part of my compensation plan is linked to client satisfaction and once a year we have an independent company carry out a survey based on the willingness of our clients to refer the Masergy service to their peers or what is called the Net Promoter Score. The last survey in 2011 gave us one of the highest scores in the industry with 94% or our clients willing to recommend and a churn rate of less than 1% amongst our client base.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Personally, I still enjoy the thrill of creating new business opportunities from scratch and bringing them to a successful conclusion. If I ever stopped being excited about closing a big deal then I would know it was time to hang up my boots. Seeing the business grow in Europe and adding new logo international clients still gives me a buzz.

How do you switch off from work?

I like to fly fish both here in the UK and abroad. Whether it is a day by a Hampshire Chalkstream in Mayfly time or wading a fast flowing Salmon river in the arctic circle, it is completely absorbing and a great escape from the everyday pressures of work.

What was the last book you read?

I just finished Running the Race by John W Keddie, the biography of Eric Liddell the Scottish Olympic champion and missionary made famous in the film Chariots of Fire.

What is your proudest achievement outside of work?

I think everyone should have at least one big adventure in their lifetime, for me it was sailing the Atlantic ocean a few years ago with 2 other people in a 48 foot yacht. If you have never sailed a boat out of sight of land before, it is an amazing experience.

What technology could you not live without?

I think many of us are wedded to our smart phones but I would miss my iPad.

If you were prime minister for a day what law would you pass?

I would introduce a new Trafalgar day bank holiday.

Which 5 people would you invite to your “ultimate dinner party”?

David Niven, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Natalie Wood and Dean Martin.

Who would you like to star in the film version of your life?

Alec Baldwin

What talent do you posses that no one else knew until now?

I can ride a horse.