Driving Rapid Revenue Growth: A Q&A with Everbridge's David Meredith
Executive Insights Interview Series Episode 1
In this exclusive series, FTI Consulting experts interview industry executives to explore how innovative leaders are adopting new strategies to drive rapid revenue growth.
This is going to be an interesting quarter in terms of sales, and we will get a clearer picture on the impact across the tech industry as companies start reporting their earnings. As an industry veteran, can you give us your perspective on how bad the damage will be for the tech industry?
David: Senior executives are dealing with myriad challenges: how do I keep my people safe; how do I help my team to be productive; and how do we communicate with our customers during these uncertain times? This current scenario is a perfect representation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you are out there trying to sell something that is not related to any of the crises your customers are going through, it is harder to get their attention. If your business utilizes mostly “on-prem” [on premises] delivery models, the problem just got even bigger because customers are not allowing any more visitors. So even if you can close a deal, you cannot implement the solution and recognize revenues. Overall, customers are going to cost-containment modes, and the onus is on technology companies to get creative about communicating the value of their products
When I speak for Everbridge, we are in a unique position because our business directly helps organizations keep people safe and restore operations amid the coronavirus, and most of our products are SaaS-based.
As economists rule out a V-shaped recovery and start debating between U- and L-shaped recovery curves, what is your forecast for the recovery curve for the tech industry?
David: We have two separate issues going on right now
in the world — a public health crisis and a financial crisis,
with one crisis developing as a direct result of the other.
If we were to experience a quick breakthrough in the
advance of a vaccine for COVID-19, I think there still could
be a V-shaped curve. Unfortunately, most people project
it will take well into next year to produce and distribute a
vaccine. In this case, companies and states must manage
the health crisis without this vital resource for a longer
period of time, and that could mean a longer recovery
curve for the industry. At Everbridge, we are focused on
leveraging our technology solutions to de-risk the return
to work for businesses and healthcare organizations, as
well as the return to public spaces for citizens, in the runup
to finding a vaccine.
One of the most challenging aspects for CEOs recently must have been pulling their sales division through the crisis and keeping up their morale. How are you doing that at Everbridge?
David: Speaking for us, we expanded the value
proposition of our global critical event management
(CEM) platform to emphasize specific benefits for our
business, government and healthcare customers related
to the issues they are facing due to the pandemic. We
were very quick to pivot and launch our COVID-19-
specific value propositions, and we are receiving a lot of
positive feedback from our customers. We have launched
a series of solutions under our CEM suite called COVID-19 Shield, which includes a collection of quick-start
templates around specific-use cases our customers are
dealing with in the current environment. Given that field
marketing is not an option right now, we have placed a
lot of emphasis on digital marketing and sales
What would be your advice to fellow CEOs to drive rapid revenue growth amidst COVID-19? Where should they start?
David: First, reposition your products and services to
specific pain points your customers are dealing with
as a result of COVID-19. Second, rethink the traditional
sales and marketing techniques and try to become
digitally savvy. I already see a lot of innovative companies
doing the above two things, and those companies will
emerge as winners when we come out of the pandemic.
Third, trust your employees and empower them to be
successful. At Everbridge, we acknowledge that our
employees are working extremely hard, and we recently
rolled out extended work-from-home policies, and
expanded and flexible vacation plans, among other
benefits. We have empowered our employees to do the
right thing for customers and for the company.
Looking further along when we come to the other side of this, what do you see as more permanent changes for the tech industry?
David: Companies will start rethinking their traditional
channel and sales strategies and begin challenging the
norms. Many companies are operating at 100% workfrom-
home models right now, and they are beginning
to realize that they can run their operations efficiently
— maybe even better than before COVID-19 happened.
Speaking for Everbridge, we repurposed marketing
money we had allocated for trade shows into a virtual
symposium on the coronavirus in Q2. We drew more than
10,000 registrations, with strong C-Suite participation,
and are on track to generate more pipeline and brand
awareness than we would have achieved from the more
traditional tradeshow spend. Smart companies will
capitalize on their learnings from COVID-19 and rebalance
their sales channels between physical and digital.