Shannon J. Gregg: Driving Sales Optimization with Innovative Client-First Solutionsby Analytics Insight August 19, 2020
Cloud Adoption Solutions is a 100% woman-owned registered Salesforce partner, helping small to medium (SMB) technology, healthcare and life sciences, and professional services businesses through a focus on Salesforce optimization and adoption. Delighting clients is imperative, and the company values and beliefs create a culture of client-first solutions. An urgent customer-first focus on innovation and relentless pursuit for successful outcomes and communication, collaboration, and teamwork drive every decision.
A Sales Expert and Influencer
Shannon J. Gregg, MBA, is the president of Cloud Adoption Solutions, a sales process and Salesforce.com consulting practice. She also provides keynote talks, consulting, and workshops on sales productivity. Her popular book, “It’s About Time” is being used by sales teams across the country to refocus on what is really important to drive revenue and results.
Shannon is an aficionado of using sales technology to increase efficiency in the sales process. She is an early adopter and adoption influencer for sales technology systems, particularly Salesforce.com, and technology that integrates with the Salesforce platform. Shannon is known as a change agent, particularly in the M&A environments (VC/PE), with a successful track record of integrating process, product/service pricing and pricing methodologies, and notably, global teams with cultural sensitivity.
Having stood up three sales operations teams in technology firms, Shannon is no stranger to the needs of a growing company to identify efficient and effective sales processes in order to drive revenue as quickly as possible. She’s hyper focused on improving sales productivity and optimization and is known for her ability to hone in on areas to improve with a lean approach and charismatic condor.
Shannon delights sales teams, sales management, and executive sponsors with her ability to improve sales to drive results. She earned her BA from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Point Park University, and is currently a PhD Candidate in Community Engagement at Point Park University. She also competes on a jazz dance team for moms.
Caring for Stakeholders as Family
Shannon started the company in 2018 to provide novel service for organizations who would benefit from a more optimized approach to using Salesforce.com. Shannon loves Cloud Adoption Solutions’ clients – she knows their businesses well and works with every stakeholder, she writes them handwritten notes to show she cares, and she celebrates their wins with them. However, Shannon loves her employees first and foremost. She has given opportunities even to those who were not in Salesforce roles, allowing technology to become the great equalizer for staff as diverse as an electrician, an IT professional forced to work overnights at hospitals, a woman in an unstable work environment, and a young salesperson being managed by metrics and not led to grow. These employees truly feel like a family, and Shannon pushes them hard while giving them the safe space they need to continue to mature and grow.
Talking about challenges, Shannon says that women in sales are scarce; women in technology are scarce; and women in management are scarce – therefore, being a woman in sales management in the technology space meant that a lot of times, she did not have a natural role model. Instead, Shannon has had to search for women in other industries and ask them to allow her to shadow them, ask them to mentor her, and ask them to be on her personal board of directors.
Transformational Leadership for Data-Driven Business Decisions
Shannon is focused on measured growth. The growth, however, must not outpace the culture of Cloud Adoption Solutions. Talent pipelines are full, and each potential new hire is tested on-project prior to joining the company.
Shannon subscribes to the Carol Dweck “Mindset” approach, and continually encourages her staff to learn and grow. 60% of the company’s staff has MBA degrees, and 100% of the staff participates in learning and development in soft skills and technical skills. Shannon said that each daily scrum warrants an expectation to see the teams (sales and delivery) bringing a new idea or methodology to their peers. For example, when Flow Loop Variables were announced by Salesforce, Cory Frey handling Salesforce Services at Cloud Adoption Solutions presented it to the team, and it was so impactful that it was turned into an educational piece for the ecosystem.
Shannon believes that a leadership approach should always be rooted in education, and those leadership practices should be defined by where theory and practice meet. This means a lifelong learner approach is followed, all of the time.
Innovating with the Best Interests in Mind
Cloud Adoption Solutions offers traditional Salesforce.com partner solutions such as implementation, integration, and managed services. However, through its innovative “Admin On-Call” service, companies can, without minimum consumption contracts, call on the certified Salesforce admins to help with sales process, technology optimization, and train-the-trainer sessions. The company gets inside of an organization and acts as internal stakeholders would behave, with the company’s best interests in mind.
Shannon adds, “We ask “Why?” five times to uncover what the organization actually needs to do, not just what we can do in the moment as a technology band–aid. We’re guided by the principles of the following academic theories: change management, adult learner, and diffusion of innovations, and we apply those theories to organizational Salesforce practice.”
Leading the Way in Using Disruptive Technologies
One of the things Shannon loves the most is watching how Artifical Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can be applied to sales technology, to really allow the sales user to spend less time on transactional administration and more time in doing what they do the best: delighting the customer. Salesforce.com is leading the way in using next-best actions in the CRM technology to allow for and lubricate that. Cloud Adoption Solutions is constantly working on understanding that technology application to apply it to its clients in healthcare/life sciences, financial/professional services, and technology/SaaS.
Sharing Knowledge for Future Gains
Cloud Adoption Solutions is focused on education and optimization of sales technology, and uses the approach of theory + practical application for ultimate user adoption. While many companies provide implementation and managed services, Cloud Adoption Solutions was born out of academic theory: change management, adult learner, and diffusion of innovations. Its clients are constantly delighted that the company doesn’t just “add a new field” or “develop a new flow” when they request it, but instead uses root cause analysis with an eye for sustainable adoption to ensure that their services spend is fully magnified.
The company is focused on the Golden Triangle of people, process, and technology, and follows the Mister Rogers rule of kindness, paying forward the things learned and known, and shares that knowledge across its YouTube channel, popular blog, and Shannon’s speaker series.
Cloud Adoption Solutions gets so deep with its clients, that many of them give them internal email addresses and invites to their holiday parties. The company truly has their clients’ best interests in mind, and although white-glove service is promoted by many organizations, Cloud Adoption Solutions really lives it.
Valuable Advice to Future Women Leaders
Sharing leadership advice to future women leaders of tomorrow, Shannon says that they must find and define their personal board of directors quickly. They must make sure that they surround themselves with people who are going to push and challenge them – those who are not afraid to give the critical feedback which is needed to grow. Shannon says, “Women in business face different societal and professional challenges, and rounding out your personal board with people from different backgrounds, ages, and specializations will help you to maintain balance and focus on your own growth.”