Q&A: Former Box EVP of WorldWide Sales – Jim Herbold

What does your first hour in the office look like?

Here’s a quick and motivating answer to the question in a musical format 😉 I’m your typical list-driven, A-type personality.  I do the same three things right away, every day: I review my task list, my inbox, and my calendar.

For tasks, I keep track of medium and long-term action items in an online service called Trello so I’m looking in there for items to pull out and get done soon. I still use a handwritten list to keep track of today’s actions that must get done before I’m done working (hopefully, but rarely, no more than 4 or 5 things). I like the handwritten list because scratching stuff off the list (with vigor) makes me happy (A-type personality hard-wiring)…

I’m also using the first hour to deal with my inbox. I use starring of emails in my inbox to designate action requirement on my part. And I like to have as few emails as possible in my inbox, so I’ve had to get good at delegating and replying quickly with not too many words. Nothing feels better than a quickly and effectively purged and cleansed inbox!  With the calendar, I’m looking for double-bookings to clear up and more importantly, meetings where I need to get better-prepared. I know this may sound last minute, but sometimes even just 5 or 10 minutes of prep can make a big difference to the value of my contributions to meetings later in the day.

What is the tactical challenge you’re happiest about solving?

Metric and KPI instrumentation. Saying this probably means I am a geek, but there’s beauty and truth in
accurately-derived data, and there’s crucial and immense value in knowing the data-based trends of your business on dimensions like average deal size, average time to close, conversion ratios through the funnel, and rep productivity, with all of this cut by segments and lead source, and all of this being used in forecasting. I also like to make sure that my reps understand these data points and trends as well, because it helps them manage their own funnel and identify issues early so they can act quickly and with impact. CEOs and boards really appreciate command of the KPI trends and accurate forecasting as well! I’m convinced that my command of the metrics and the forecasting at Box contributed to my long tenure there!

What is your favorite quote, why?

“If we are doing things in six months like we are doing them today, then we are doomed!”

It’s my own quote and I use it all the time when talking about scaling a sales team in the midst of hypergrowth. Self-disruption is the lifeblood of continued market viability. I talk more about the concept in this article that I published on Techcrunch and LinkedIn earlier this year.

Who are 3 sales teams/leaders that you think are “doing it right”?

Russ Thau at Intercom Justin Roberts at Lever Rocky Paap at Blackbird Technologies
All three of these guys were early on my team at Box and it’s amazing to see them move into sales VP roles in Silicon Valley and create success. I can’t say enough about how fortunate I was to be able to hire such great sales
leaders like these three, along with many hundreds of others, and how proud I am of what we built together! We did it as a team at Box and I know Russ, Justin, and Rocky are doing the same at their companies.

What is the thing you are happiest with on your current team?

My current team is just me since I’m now doing independent consulting. I’m super-enthused about the diversity of the go-to-market situations that I get to tackle while consulting. The issues are just as far-reaching and complicated as they were at Box, and that is intellectually very stimulating. I’m also
enjoying hand-picking the highest-quality teams and largest market opportunities to spend time with since I can only take on a few projects at a time.


Jim_Herbold_headshotJim is the managing director of Herbold Consulting, helping enterprise technologycompanies with go-to-market strategy, execution, and operations. He’s been leadingSilicon Valley sales and marketing teams for over 15 years, most recently havingserved as the Chief Revenue Officer at Infer, a predictive lead-scoring play. Thehighlight of Jim’s background was his nearly seven-year run as the Executive VicePresident of Worldwide Sales at Box, where he grew recurring annual revenue fromless than $1 million to over $174 million, launching the company towards its IPO inearly 2015. He’s a self-described type-A, list-driven, get s*^# done maniac who lovesbuilding rapid-fire revenue engines that are fueled by customer imperatives.