Climbing the mountain

When I joined Zerto back in 2012 I knew I was in for an adventure. At the time I was hired the company had less than 50 employees worldwide, a few dozen reseller-partners, a handful of Cloud Providers offering Zerto-as-a-Service, and a 2.0 product which usually took a couple of hours of hands-on work to get up and running. I had seen Zerto in a lab but never in real production use. The company had about 100 customers with what felt like good product/market fit, a recent Series-B, and who I felt (and still do) was the right team for the job.

The next two weeks are a blur of me sitting in the cube of the other Sales Engineer at the time, learning the Zerto software and creating process (read: making it up as I went) out of what is better known as typical startup chaos. Case in point: due to a massive workload and a need to get going ASAP I downloaded all of the documentation on Zerto to an iPad that I took with me everywhere. The morning train commute, the bathroom, when I say “everywhere” I mean “everywhere”! 10 days later I was leading my first technical calls.

Coming from a reseller that I thought was the epitome of “high activity”, I have to admit that I was floored. Potential customers and partners were exploding with interest. I’d hop on a plane with one of my sales reps, hit 7 meetings a day through a half-dozen states in a week, and fly home for a weekend of rest and working in my lab. Come Monday I’d have ten conference calls a day through 8 or 9pm that Friday. Rinse and repeat. Late in the evening on December 31st, 2012, with the last order in the system for processing, the reports showed that it all paid off: we all saw that we had brought on over 250 customers through the year, or at least one new customer every day since I started.

Now fast-forward several years.

We recently held an Americas business review. These are standard in sales and different companies hold them at different frequencies through the year. A sales manager asked a question regarding one of our key performance indicators, or, “How many meetings should we hold our folks accountable to each week?” A few opinions shot up around the room and the team began a healthy debate. I was standing in the back of the room and, as things wound down, flashed both hands out several times to our VP of Sales who noticed and said, “Sean’s giving a pretty big number back there!” I spoke up:

“When I was a Sales Engineer I wouldn’t get on a plane for less than 7 meetings a day. So 25 or 30 a week sounds about right.” I got some nods as well as some eye rolls, like I had just said, “When I was your age…”

In hindsight, I could have articulated my vision more clearly at the time.

When you work for a startup you aren’t just working for a company but really building it. You’re creating something from nearly nothing. Zerto has thousands of customers and hundreds of partners and yet we truly are at the bottom of a mountain. VMware, the leader in server virtualization today with the vSphere product family, boasts over 500,000 customers globally. Zerto software also supports Microsoft’s server virtualization platform, Hyper-V. We’ve extended support for disaster recovery to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and we’re currently working on ways to get virtual machines back out of those two public clouds. In fact, “bottom of the mountain” doesn’t quite describe it.

It’s more like this:

Mount Everest seemed like an appropriate metaphor

Since the business review a few Sales Managers and SE Managers have asked exactly what I meant that day. This has been and continues to be my answer: At Zerto we have an enormous mountain of opportunity ahead of us. VMware alone has over 500,000 customers. Remind me again of how many we have? It is not a small number, but it is nowhere near five-hundred thousand. It’s not 100,000. We aren’t even 20% of the way there. And that’s just one platform! We’re cross-platform, baby! We aren’t yet climbing the mountain, we’re on the long and glorious trek to the base of it. Have breakfast with a partner. Have lunch with a customer. Take a potential customer to dinner. That’s three meetings right there. That is three steps closer to the base of the mountain. This is the warm-up. Stretch your legs, take in the view, you’re in for a wonderful adventure.

Every day hundreds of Zertonians around the world wake up with one goal: create a world of uninterrupted technology for businesses & people. Think you have what it takes? We’re hiring hundreds of people this year across dozens of roles. Come join us on our amazing journey.

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