Acorio Employee Spotlight

Acorio Spotlight: Sean McIntosh on Shifting Client Relations during COVID, Acorio’s Early Days, and Golf’s Persistent Relevancy in Sales

We’re back with one of my favorite content series: the Acorio Spotlight. Each month, we sit down with an Acorio employee to interview them about their role on the team, and their life in and outside of work. For this month’s Spotlight interview, I chatted with Regional Sales Director Sean McIntosh.

Based in Texas, Sean has spent the last 6 years at Acorio building out our Sales team. As one of our earliest employees, he’s seen the company grow and evolve tremendously throughout his time here

Keep reading below to hear about what’s changed the most at Acorio during his tenure, how Sean is maintaining client relationships remotely, and why golf and sales have more similarities than you may think… Let’s jump right in!

The Elevator Pitch: Sean in 30 Seconds   

Sean McIntosh has spent over two decades working in sales and technology. Having previously served as a Client Partner at Fenway Group, and holding other roles at CenturyLink and Verizon Business, he boasts a strong history entering new and expanding existing markets on a national scale. Sean is a perfect example of work hard, play hard – when he’s not on the clock, you can find him playing golf, hiking, and (in a non-COVID year) traveling around the country.

1. When did you first join Acorio? How did you find out about the company? 

Back in 2014, my wife was sick with cancer, so I left my position at the time to take care of her. As I was taking care of my wife, I couldn’t stand not being somewhat busy, so I started working part time before transitioning into full time for a small, 40-person consulting firm. There, I built out their ServiceNow practice and got them registered as a partner to start building rapport in the ecosystem.

As we were starting down that journey in 2014, that’s when I met Marci Parker and Carleen Carter who were at another ServiceNow firm. They both went on to join Acorio and after seeing them at Knowledge and talking with the head of HR here, I took a leap of faith and chose to join the team over other offers at ServiceNow and Cloud Sherpas.

At the time, Acorio was still looking to hire a VP of Sales based in Boston, so I didn’t know who my boss would be coming into the role. That part of things definitely made me nervous, but it’s all worked out great. I officially started working in July of 2015 but came to Boston for onboarding and our all-company summit in June of that year.

2. Acorio has grown consistently since its inception. Aside from company size, what is the biggest change you’ve seen at Acorio since you joined back in 2015?   

Our whole company framework has evolved. When I first joined Sales, we had a much leaner structure where whoever was available would jump into client calls whereas now, we have a very well defined, well-oiled PreSales machine.

In that time we’ve also become much more efficient, and now obviously there’s a lot more people involved in the sales cycle because our deals are bigger and more complex.

 3. How would you describe your role in three words? 

Listen, Educate, and Solve 

4. What’s the biggest client challenge with COVID?  

Finding budget and anticipating what the future will look like.

5. Due to COVID, you’ve been unable to travel for over a year. How do you maintain relationships with clients virtually? 

I’m a relationship sales guy, so it’s been very tough not being able to see clients this past year and a half. I’m a big fan of grabbing a meal or drinks with folks so we can talk about their role and their company’s plans to develop. Those questions provide insightful context for roadmap conversations, and unfortunately it’s hard to replicate that on Zoom. With everyone on back to back calls all day, people are less prone to engage in those sorts of casual discussions that you would normally get before the pandemic.

Personally, that has made things a lot harder, but I’ve found other ways to build rapport even when we can’t be face to face with our clients. For example, this past year I’ve started to text more back and forth with clients, asking questions like ‘How are things going?’ and ‘Where can I help you?’. In my 25-year career, I normally travel 25 round trips per year, so 2020 was a huge change for how I build and maintain client relationships. My wife makes about 30 round trips annually, so she gets it too. We used to see each other more at the Admirals club than at the House, so this has really been an adjustment!

6. What does your typical workday look like? How has that changed during the pandemic? 

Obviously right now we aren’t traveling so I don’t have to deal with all the travel logistics that I used to. But generally, I start every day with a to-do list, which I make at the end of each day for the following workday. I’m old school in that I still use a legal pad and work my way down through the list item by item.

In terms of my day to day activities, I’m usually dealing with various projects including Legal, HLPs and SOWs because that’s the nature of Sales. It also involves a lot of calls, I try to make 20 outgoing calls a day to prospect and maintain relationships.

7. You’re an avid golfer, what skills have you learned golfing that transfer to your job (or vice versa)? 

I would say patience is #1: you know if you hit a bad shot that you can’t let that ruin your entire round. The same goes for our work. The sales process has a lot of highs and lows. You can get very excited about a project proposal and then the customer goes dark for two weeks or budget gets pulled, so I’d say golf and sales are similar in that you can really get up and down emotionally. That’s what makes patience so important, you can’t get too high or too low or it’ll just create havoc in your head.

Another similarity between the two is that neither is over until the game is done. I’ve seen too many deals at a verbal or even signed stage, where somethings goes awry and procurement stops the purchase order. So, just remember to be patient and never ever assume you have won until you have purchase order in hand, or the last putt is in the hole.

8. How has our company culture code helped you grow as a sales person? 

Our culture drives everyone to jump in and get things done. I’ve never worked at a company where everyone is willing to drop things and tag in whenever needed.

For example, we answer a lot of RFPs and that process can be very tedious. But our subject matter experts are always willing to work late at night or do whatever needs to be done to make a deadline. To me, that really encapsulates Acorio’s culture which centers around the concept that there is no ‘them’, only us – meaning we’re all in this together.

9. You mentioned golf, but how else do you like to spend your time outside the office? 

I like to exercise and spend time outdoors, whether that’s out on the lake, playing golf, or hiking. In a normal year, I go home to southern California at least six times a year, which typically includes lots of hiking and beach time with friends, since that’s where I grew up and went to college.

10. What is your favorite Acorio slack channel?  

You know, I was torn on this, because I like the sports channel, the beer channel and the foodie channel, but I think my #1 favorite would be our random channel because you never know what you’re going to see.

Simply put, it’s a channel where you can express yourself: whether it’s an interesting fact, a funny meme, or a debate on if a hotdog is a sandwich, there’s always something happening there.

11. You’re based in Texas, what does it mean for Acorio to join NTT DATA Services with roots in Texas? 

I’m in a unique position because the office is about 18 minutes from my house, so if it weren’t for COVID-19, I would be able to go into their building and meet people. Because it’s so close, I’ve known a lot of people that either work for them or the companies they bought. I haven’t worked in an office for almost 20 years, so I’ll continue to work from home even once they start heading back to work, but I’m excited for the opportunity to build more relations with the NTT DATA team.

Personally, the most exciting thing for me with our acquisition is the new relationships and business opportunities. We have some of our biggest deals ever in the works, and those opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without NTT.

Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!