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Q&A with Sara Archer: Insights on Emerging Technologies, Leadership Challenges, and the Future of Work

June 20, 2024

We had the pleasure of speaking with Sara Archer, VP of Sales at ChartMogul, about her perspectives on the evolving landscape of technology and its impact on product development, marketing, and the tech industry. Sara brings a wealth of experience from her journey as a former neuroscientist turned SaaS startup operator, with over eight years of building ambitious, international sales teams. Here, she shares her thoughts on the latest technological trends, leadership challenges, and the future of work.

What new technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the product development, marketing or tech world in the next 12 to 24 months?

AI for general productivity and its ability to free up time otherwise spent doing administrative work. This means we are able to invest more time and energy into thoughtful, creative pursuits in areas of product development or marketing.

Reflecting on your experience, what major challenges do you anticipate product/growth/tech will face in the coming years? How do you think leaders should be preparing themselves and their teams to tackle these challenges?:

Slower growth in certain segments may mean leaders will have a hard time motivating and retaining talent. Smart leaders will be honest about the ambitions and the trajectory of the business.

Considering recent advancements in AI, what are your thoughts on the ethical implications? From your perspective, what are the critical ethical challenges that need to be addressed as AI becomes more widespread?

First I think is knowing when and where AI is present. How can it be labeled and identified consistently across diverse environments? It’s challenging for sure. Then, knowing what constitutes ‘good.’ I get pitched AI co-pilot solutions for sales multiple times/day and most pitches are focused on the outcomes of using this technology. What I want to know, though, is how it works. It’s a bit too black-box-y and I think some of the potential winners in this space will be able to demystify the mechanics of AI to create credibility and to change hearts and minds.

I suppose we’ll also see businesses required to publish their use of this technology similar to what we see with subprocessors, etc., on a privacy policy.

How do you envision the integration of emerging technologies like VR or AR evolving in professional environments where you work?

Not so much to say about this one. I know that some businesses are using VR to train warehouse workers;but in SaaS the most this gives us is a virtual game night.

In your opinion, what is the next big opportunity for tech innovation that you feel is currently being overlooked or isn’t receiving enough attention?

SaaS has been afforded a lot of remarkable tech. As software businesses are experiencing slower growth and more arduous sales processes, we see a trend of those same businesses looking to serve more traditional markets. This might mean that traditionally underserved markets (public safety, health, transportation, banking, etc.) might benefit from newer tech that has been focused on high tech.

From your own experience, how do you see the continuing evolution of remote work and its technologies impacting your own work-life balance?

Maybe we’ll see a formal alternative to the M-F 9 to 5 that satisfies the flexibility that workers now require with the expectations ambitious founders want in ambitious hardworking talent. It could mean hour or outcome tracking and even come with different compensation considerations. For me, it’s not the 4-day work week which doesn’t work for sales or executive leadership. But how could it look for those individuals to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions in a totally free-floating work environment?

Can you share a bold prediction about how you think technology and sustainability will intersect in the next ten years?

Not sure. Maybe something around how we consume product and services. People are certainly more conscientious about this (e.g. we have employees who will no longer do long haul or air travel, as well as employees who sew their own clothes). How could technology accelerate this without being overbearing or overpowering? I recently met with a startup who is using data to track and validate the end-to-end impact of sustainable textiles from origin to consumer, how cool! I suspect we’ll see more of this.

If you could implement changes to the way people work based on your own routines and practices, what specific adjustments would you make to improve productivity or well-being?

A big unlock for me recently was intentionally inviting creative pursuits in. I’ve been sewing, reading, and painting every week for the past few months. This, I feel, is the biggest transformation I’ve made to my very tech-filled life and has improved my happiness substantially. It might be different for each person, but to create something is a really magical feeling and it doesn’t just have to be software.

Reflecting on your own journey in your field, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out?

1. Give it time. Optimize for building on a longer time horizon than you think. It takes 25-30 years to build a meaningful career.
2. Build a support network. On that time horizon, you’re going to have left turns, U-turns, and even accidents. Make sure you have a healthy cast of characters that build you up and listen.
3. Pay it forward. Give when it costs you little to nothing whenever it helps others.

About:

Sara Archer, VP of Sales, ChartMogul

Sara is a former neuroscientist turned SaaS startup operator and has 8+ years building ambitious, international sales teams. She is absolutely determined to convince the skeptics that ‘sales’ is not a dirty word. In her current role with ChartMogul, she helps top-tier subscription businesses globally grow faster using their revenue data (think recurring revenue, churn, customer lifetime value).

Sara Archer’s Turing Fest talk: How Product and Sales Can Work Together to Find PMF (& Why We Built a CRM).

“Pick a lane,” said one ChartMogul customer. “This is a perfect natural extension to ChartMogul,” said the next. Going multi-product is a challenging, yet tried and true growth strategy. But, what role does a revenue leader have in influencing product strategy? How can they help you on the road to product-market fit? ChartMogul’s VP of Sales tells the story of building and bringing to market their new CRM — and what it’s like in early days to compete with some of the biggest players in SaaS.

View the 2024 agenda here.

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