As 6sense’s CEO, Jason Zintak is responsible for advancing the company’s vision to transform marketing and sales through big data and artificial intelligence. At the helm of the industry’s leading next-generation B2B marketing platform, Jason is moving the marketing technology world away from outdated tools and ushering in a new era of B2B marketing platforms. Jason is a proven leader of growth-stage B2B software companies with a winning record of excellence and dominance scaling marketing and sales organizations.
6sense: How did you get into sales?
Jason: I started as a BDR. I had one of the worst jobs in the world. I worked for an insurance company. One-hundred percent commission job, had to show up at 7:30 every day. Here I was, 22 years old — after partying all night or whatever I was doing — showing up with a smile and a call list.
The training was fantastic. They drilled into you how to do it, what to do. I really cherish the experience because it was scary. You don’t know what you’re doing, and the stakes seem so high, and yet you can feel yourself getting better at the job. It’s amazing.
I went on to a big software company. I was also a BDR, inside sales. There, it was pretty much, “Hey, here’s a list of accounts. Have fun.” We were ignored. No instruction, no playbooks, no nothing.
Nope. We had no marketing material. Back then, the company’s leadership didn’t think software was sold through marketing and brochures and events. It was all conferencing pilots, whiteboard sessions, very technical deep dives. That was really hard to go to market with. We just didn’t have material. We constantly begged for years and years and years: “Give us something to work with here.”
But we learned, and tried to get better every day.
The early days in a sales career are so educational — but they can be brutal, too.
Yeah. Before that job [at the big software company], I was a sales rep for point-of-sale software. We had to load PCs into our cars — like monitors, CPUs, printers — for on-site demos. I sold to lumber yards, hardware stores, auto shops. Lugging that stuff around was a total pain.
I often got a strange reception. I remember going into conference rooms — well, they didn’t have some conference rooms, really. They had a room where someone would spit on the whiteboard to clean it off. There was a lot of resistance to the sales cycle. It was humbling.
Where did your career take you after you were a BDR?
I became an AE. I won a Porsche! It was pretty sweet. One year, I was the number one worldwide sales rep. I was 27. I was like, “I can’t even drive this. People are going to think I’m a total tool.”
And they did, I think. But I drove it! [laughs] Hey, you gotta have fun.
What lessons from your BDR experience inform your CEO work today?
It’s not just about bringing the best solution to the sales and marketing world. Not for me. It’s about the culture and the people we work with — and doing the work with mindfulness and integrity.
We’re a family. We love hanging out. We aren’t political. We solve problems. We laugh like hell. We sometimes fight, but never with a raised voice. It’s respectful debate. “Constructive tension,” is what I like to call it. It worked back then when I was a BDR, and it works now.
This is us. This is the revolution driving our company. We listen to our customers. We react. And hopefully the success of the business is proof of that.