CEO Series

A Day In the Life of a Chief Commercial Officer

Meet Peter Burridge, President and CCO of Hyperwallet Systems Inc. Applying his 20+ years of experience in the areas of technology, business solutions, product development, sales, and mergers and acquisitions, Burridge provides executive support to sales and customer management at Hyperwallet. He is responsible for the company’s capital financing and shareholder relationships, as well as overseeing its network and partner development. As part of PYMNTS.com’s Commander In Chief Series, Burridge shared his personal point of view in his daily role as a Chief Commercial Officer and what he can apply from his experiences, both in the office and outside of it.


[pullquote]One of the things I like most about Hyperwallet is that no two days are the same – it is a very dynamic environment and the team is very agile.[/pullquote]

Q: What does a day in the life of a Chief Commercial Officer look like?

A: It starts with coffee. Good, strong espresso “flat white” – I’m from New Zealand, after all, and we’re known as coffee snobs. From there it’s an Uber to the office while Skyping with the folks on the East Coast to patch myself into the day’s activities. I am constantly talking with my sales leaders and reps on key deals and discussing our best approach. I also keep a very close watch on the customer experience and staying connected with the service and support side of our business. If a key customer needs attention, that always gets MY attention. One of the things I like most about Hyperwallet is that no two days are the same – it is a very dynamic environment and the team is very agile.


Q: What is the most difficult part of your job and why?

A: Providing the right amount of guidance to the team to allow them to recognize opportunities and get deals signed. Too much oversight will smother them (not to mention take up too much of my time), but too little assistance and we won’t meet our aggressive revenue goals. Every person is motivated in a different manner; my job is to find that right incentive – whether it’s a carrot or a stick – and use it to drive success. I see it as my job to remove any barriers, and when we get it right, the sales executives are empowered to run their own business within our framework.


Q: What do you wish you had more time to do?

A: The cliché response is the work/life balance debate. Actually for me, I think I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to have a lot of fun along the way, and having lived all around the world for the past 20 years, I’ve seen and experienced more than most. Looking deeper within, and with “age,” I have great respect for those who dedicate their time to supporting the underdog; people who fight on behalf of those who can’t fight for themselves. Being from NZ, we’re very aware of the outdoors and the need to protect wildlife and their habitats. I’ve always had a thing for whales…so when I read the firsthand stories of those who risk their lives fighting their exploitation in the southern ocean, I want to drop everything and jump on a boat to participate. One day!


Q: Chief Commercial Officers have to herd a lot of cats in order to make the integrated delivery of services seamless. What’s your secret for doing that?

A: I am constantly asking myself, what big problem is written on our customers’ whiteboards? What’s important to them? We need to be the reason a problem is removed from the list, and we certainly don’t want to be responsible for one. If we can keep everybody in the sales, product, and service teams focused on the customer experience, we can achieve this. It ensures that everyone is in sync with the customer imperative and that we recognize the cross functional team and their contribution, not just the sales rep or the account manager.


Q: How do you balance customer product needs with company revenue and profit needs?

[pullquote]We got there by listening, innovating, and challenging conventional wisdom.[/pullquote]

A: We are fortunate that we have a great product. We got there by listening, innovating, and challenging conventional wisdom. Our product team spends a lot of time in front of customers and this is a very important part of what finds its way onto our product roadmap. We are adding capabilities and extending our settlement network in 6-8 week cycles, and we involve our customer council in establishing our priorities. This approach not only ensures our existing customers stick with us, but enables us to attract new ones. Without a great product portfolio and great customer service, there is no revenue. So we make sure our customers are always happy.


Q: What are the most important lessons that CCOs can learn from product failures?

A: My definition of product failure is spending resources building capability that we can’t sell or monetize. That’s very different from the service not working. Like everyone, we’ve looked into the crystal ball and made some wrong decisions. With all the will in the world, the desire to get into the market quickly sometimes conflicts with doing the requisite amount of research and socializing. Product failures are important. Without failures, you’re not taking enough risks to develop truly innovative products – products that are capable of driving the business forward. I believe it’s important to take calculated risks, knowing that failures can and will happen. But fail quickly and don’t cling to it if it isn’t working.


Q: What is a lesson you have learned in interacting with other businesses as a customer that you’ve applied to your work?

A: That having the best product, service, or solution only matters if we continue to back it up with best-in-class customer service. Whenever I experience bad service, I ask myself, do the executives of this business actually know this is how it works? When I was running Siebel in Asia Pacific and Japan, we’d run Customer Experience Workshops with the C-suite of our prospects. Executives were given challenges that required them to buy services and receive help from their own company, anonymously. In every single case, they were absolutely horrified at how terrible the experience was for them. Eat your own dog food! Sit in the call center – answer the phones, sign up for the service, and “feel” the customer experience firsthand. Then you can do something about it. And keep doing it.


Peter Burridge
President & Chief Commercial Officer, Hyperwallet

Peter provides executive support to sales and customer management. He is responsible for capital financing and shareholder relationships, and oversees network and partner development.

Peter started his career in the software industry. After enjoying great success in that arena, he moved to the financial services industry in 2006 where he operated between London and Washington, D.C., as the Chief Executive Officer of Travelex Global Business Payments, the world’s largest non-bank Foreign Exchange provider.

Before Travelex, Peter held various executive positions at both Oracle and Siebel. He was President of Siebel Asia Pacific and Japan, and Senior Vice President of Sales at Oracle Asia Pacific.

Peter has 20+ years of experience in the areas of technology, business solutions, product development, sales, and mergers and acquisitions. He is an active investor, board member, and advisory board member to Hyperwallet Systems Inc. and FireScope.

 

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