What our execs are reading: Ed McQuiston, EVP and CCO

For the fifth edition of the What our execs are reading series, we hear from Ed McQuiston, Hyland’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer.


I’m not a shy person. And I like to get things done.

As someone who has been involved in technology and sales for more than 20 years, I’ve found that the best way to accomplish a goal is to take an honest look at the situation, and then call out what you need to fix.

Another way of putting it is ‘challenging’ ourselves to rise to the occasion.

Status quo is a no-go

So it comes as no surprise that I’m a big fan of The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. I understand the importance of this book – because when it comes down to the decision of ‘the pain of same’ versus ‘the pain of change,’ most people will choose the former.

We need to fix that.

“Based on a study of thousands of sales representatives across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions,” according to The Challenger Sale’s Amazon description.

It’s not about features, facts, and figures. Whether you’re selling change internally or externally, it’s about demonstrating exactly how you can help an organization become better at what it does.

And if you have to challenge the status quo along the way, so be it.

Change requires wide-ranging consensus

As drivers of change, we need to talk about our audience. Because we might be focusing on the wrong people.

Turns out, whether you’re selling into an organization, or trying to lead change within it, it’s not the people who are early adopters we need to embrace.

It’s the skeptics.

This interesting concept is why I also like The Challenger Customer: Selling to the Hidden Influencer Who Can Multiply Your Results, by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, Pat Spenner, and Nick Toman.

In their follow-up, the authors of the bestselling Challenger Sale book found that complex deals require the consensus of a wide range of people across organizations. It’s not about gaining agreement from an individual stakeholder, especially an enthusiastic one, as there might not even be internal consensus about an issue.

“It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo,” according to The Challenger Customer’s Amazon description. “These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers.”

As I mentioned, when it comes down to the decision of ‘the pain of same’ versus ‘the pain of change,’ most people will choose the former. To change that, we need to do the right things and engage the right people.

And the most successful way to engage people is to show them there’s a better way of doing things. Even if there’s a little pain involved.

My Ketogenic diet, for example.

Tune in next time

We hope you enjoyed this edition of What our execs are reading.

Tune in next time for a surprise contributor!

The Hyland Blog

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