Vice President of Sales, Europe, at HqO
Sam started at HqO in 2019, as the company’s first international hire. In his new role as a Vice President, he can be found having regular meetings with customers, HqO’s Go-to-Market team, and many other internal groups across the organization to ensure alignment and expand HqO’s global presence.
Your HqO beginnings are pretty interesting. When did you join the company?
I joined in June 2019, so it’s nearly been three years already. When I started, HqO had around 32 or so employees — a true startup. Now, we have an established global team and over 200 employees. I also happened to be the first non-American hire, which is quite remarkable to look back upon.
Let’s talk about that. How did you first learn about HqO?
I was actually approached by a Boston-based recruiter who was looking for somebody to set up HqO over here in London. I’d just spent the previous two years setting up another international real estate company in London, so the request was similar. Having spent 12 years in real estate and with an underlying desire to move into the technology side of the industry, the match was perfect.
That’s incredible, I’m so glad you joined! Fast-forward to working here for three years: What does your day-to-day look like?
It’s certainly quite varied! I have regular meetings throughout the week with the entire Europe Go-to-Market team. So, for example, on Mondays I’ll meet with our sales teams in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich, as well as reporting into Boston.
Alongside the welcome increase in in-person meetings, I’m also able to do a lot more travel as the world has pretty much returned to normal. I’ve recently been to our Amsterdam office to meet with an enterprise customer and spend time with the team there. Next week, I’m off to Germany to meet with Steve [Grundmann] — HqO’s Head of Sales in DACH — and visit a number of customers there. I go to Paris the week after. There isn’t a regular weekly schedule for me, which is exactly why I love it so much.
That sounds like a very dynamic, but exciting role. Out of all the projects you’ve worked on here, which has excited you the most?
There have been a number of different customers that are really exciting to work with. We recently closed a significant deal with Bruntwood. It’s been great working with a customer that has such a vision to deliver world-class workplace experiences and looks to us for support in this. Besides that, the biggest project I’ve worked on was our acquisition of Office App. The summer prior, I was involved in leading a small part of the due diligence. It was great to shape part of HqO’s considerable investment into Europe, significantly expanding the footprint that we had grown organically.
The acquisition was an exciting time! Tell me more about your role in that process.
Of course! I was tasked with looking at the existing customer base. It was really interesting, because I had to understand our geographical alignment so the strengths that we delivered thus far in the U.K. and French markets were complemented by our new strengths in the Netherlands, Norway, and Germany. I got to see that all come together as I led a team that reviewed all the sales information and processes. We got to meet our new colleagues in September in Paris to discuss the merger before it was announced, a truly great coming together of teams.
I can only imagine how much work went into the merger! When it comes to our clients, what is one of the most important things you’ve learned from them?
Our clients have taught me a lot about the human connection that we bring. We always tell our customers that we will both learn something that we didn’t previously know about the people in your spaces. There’s just a degree of human connection that always comes out. The anecdotes that show where people have felt connected and informed are often far more powerful than just the technology solutions that are delivered — and that’s what we’re here for of course. We create technology to build those connections. That’s the most important part of what we do.
Speaking of technology, how is workplace technology changing the industry as a whole?
It’s hard to decide if it’s becoming a differentiator, or the expected standard of the leading owners of real estate. The way I look at it is — without doubt — those that will win in the sector will be the best owners and providers of space-as-a-service. They will not only have a suite of services and amenities available to their occupiers, but they will also be using data-driven insights to learn more about the people in their spaces and make more informed decisions about what they need to deliver in the future.
Workplace experience technology demonstrates the power of what we do. It gives customers the edge they need over their competition so they can further focus on the needs of the people in their spaces. People will actually know what their customers want now. I’ve heard it so many times: ‘We don’t know what amenities people want,’ or ‘We don’t know how much space to provide.’ The fact we’re taken seriously in the data space means we’ll be able to shape a view for our customers that will set them up for success.
Very well-spoken. Finally, what excites you the most about HqO?
The future. When I reflect on the growth we’ve had, and what we’ve achieved, I’m always astonished by how our culture remains intrinsically tied to everything that we do. It gives me confidence as we continue to scale, not only in an efficient way, but in a way where we won’t lose our values. We remain true to the ethos of our company, just the same as when we started. The mission that we’re here to do — which is building technology that strengthens social infrastructure and grows social capital in our communities — is always top of mind. It’s becoming realized now, and as we power out of the pandemic, it will only further accelerate.
When I joined, the Sales team was small, just about four people (including our CEO, Chase). Those same people are still with the company, and the way that team worked back then is the same way our Sales team works now. We may look totally different as an organization now, but we’re staying true to our culture and our ethos. We rely on those values and we’re getting it right. Therefore, we’re helping the industry get it right. We truly mean it when we say ‘If you succeed, we succeed.’
Inside HqO pulls back the curtain and introduces you to the people who make HqO the undisputed leader in workplace experience technology. For more information on HqO, click here. If you’re interested in joining Sam and the HqO team, check out all of our current openings here.