Yesler Team Grows with Michael Welch as Head of Sales

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Michael brings to Yesler over two decades of Sales and Business Development leadership in the software and technology space, including strategic partnerships and alliance creation.  His experience spans both the US and European markets covering everything from Mobile to SaaS and SMB to the Enterprise. 

YESLER:

What’s exciting about coming to work with the team at Yesler?

Michael:

It’s an incredible opportunity to be part of something transformational in a traditionally non-tech-forward industry. I’ve worked in software sales for 99% of my career, both as an individual contributor and also as a sales leader for over 25 years. I’ve sold to lots of different types of customers of all shapes and sizes in lots of different markets, and they’ve all been pretty advanced and mature in terms of their use of technology.

Joining Yesler I see an incredible opportunity to transform an industry through technology, and that could be hugely valuable for our customers. In the short time I’ve been here I’ve heard some amazing things about how our customers are leveraging our platform and changing the way they do business. To hear people describe what we are doing as ‘game-changing’ is validation of everything we are working towards. It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of this team and helping our customers on this transformational journey. 

YESLER:

What do you think the biggest challenges are to not only Yesler’s success, but industry-wide for a more ubiquitous way to adopt technology?

Michael:

I have seen a lot of reliance on old systems and old processes including lots of spreadsheets and manual work for sure. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I see a huge opportunity for technology to drive efficiencies here and improve the way companies are communicating, transacting and going to market. It’s maybe a cultural shift in some cases, but there are many other industries that have gone through these transformations and come out better, faster and stronger. The approach has to be to view the technology as an enabler and something to embrace rather than being fearful of change.

YESLER:

In your 25 years plus of sales work, do you have a sense of what industries are analogous or comparable to what Yesler’s trying to do in the lumber and building materials industry?

Michael:

Uber is an obvious consumer example. It’s a marketplace connecting people who want to get somewhere with people with cars who can take them there. 10 years ago you stood in the street and waved at every passing car until someone stopped and picked you up. Today you push a button on your phone, and you know exactly when you will be picked up, by whom and in what kind of car. There are plenty of other examples of non-tech-forward industries that have embraced technology and seen the benefits. Oil, gas and energy is a great one…maybe traditionally very engineering and manufacturing  focused but technology has led to huge improvements in driving efficiencies as well as improvements in safety. 

YESLER:

Tell us about your background.

Michael:

I graduated in  marketing and always thought that was the path my career would take. In my first job I was a marketer for about three months and then got pulled into some sales discussions and quickly became a spare pair of hands to help out with product demos and renewal discussions. I very quickly transitioned into an account manager and…blink…didn’t realize how I got there but hey, I’m in sales now.

I spent almost four years in the high tech market research space. And then moved into the content delivery and content management space for almost eight years. This was a very exciting time as it was just around the launch of the DVD, a great example of technology changing the game. We went from ‘press play and stop 100 minutes later’ to a highly interactive experience with cast interviews, alternate endings and more. 

My next move was into the software delivery/software licensing space, helping companies package and deliver their software in new and innovative ways. I joined just as companies were making the shift from perpetual licenses to selling subscriptions, and we helped them to make that leap. It was fascinating to see people introducing more exotic ways of selling and delivering their software. Salesforce.com was pioneering this. It didn’t take long for other companies to realize the benefits of subscriptions, both for creating recurring revenues which companies love but also for giving customers way more flexibility in the way they buy software and shifting it from CAPEX to OPEX.

YESLER:

Where are you from? You’ve got your fabulous accent.

Michael:

I am originally from the UK. Born in Wales, studied at the University of Plymouth in the Southwest of the country, and then moved to the greater London area after I graduated. And that’s where I kicked off my sales career, or what was initially going to be my marketing career, but turned into a sales career. 

YESLER:

What brought you to Seattle?

Michael:

My amazing wife, Michelle. We actually worked for the same company for a while, although in 2 different divisions. She was running Marketing and I was one of the sales leaders.

YESLER:

She had your job, the job you wanted!

Michael:

She’s an incredible marketer. She was reporting to the CEO, and when the company got acquired, she went to work for the CEO again at his new company that was headquartered in Seattle. I ended up staying with the company through that acquisition and one more 3 years later but moved from the DC area to Seattle. I was spending a lot of time in the Bay Area, so it definitely helped my commute time from the east coast to San Francisco! 

YESLER:

What excites you about working with customers and building a team?

Michael:

I love helping customers solve problems. It’s always interesting learning about the challenges customers are facing with their businesses and discovering how we can help them get to a better place. I am a big fan of working backwards from where the customer wants to get to, and that will generally get you and the customer to a good place. 

And I love building out teams. I’m very excited about the prospect of more folks joining us as we continue to grow our business and we can bring more people on this transformational journey we are on with our customers. It’s an incredible time to be in this space and to see the impact we are having.

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