I was fortunate enough to spend some time recently getting to know Mike Hellebuyck, Senior Sales Director – West, at DocuWare and catch a glimpse of what life on the road is like for him.
As a sales director at DocuWare, he travels around the country, along with his team of Regional Sales Directors (RSDs), building successful business and personal relationships with Authorized DocuWare Partners and equipping them with the best tools and resources to sell DocuWare’s document management solutions.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how he supports DocuWare Partners and why he loves making them thrive, with some fun stops along the way!
Mike, thanks for the time today. In sales, we are always reminded of building relationships with our prospects. Could you tell us more about yourself?
I was born and raised in Michigan, graduated in state, and have been in the ECM/document management space for roughly 16 years. I have 2 kids, Averie who is 6 and Hudson who is 3. Outside of work, I enjoy vintage cars, fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling. I have always wanted to be in sales and knew it was my calling. I started with DocuWare in 2012 handling MI, OH, IN and the Pittsburgh, PA area. The territory was struggling to produce and I turned it into a top performing territory in just one year.
Pit Stop #tacobell What's the reason for the huge smile?
I got to the hotel late one night and I was hungry. The Taco Bell was actually adjacent to the hotel, within walking distance. I walked over and the doors were locked – the sign said “drive-thru only.” So I walked through the drive-through and proceeded to jump up and down next to the order sign in hopes of triggering the tire sensor for vehicles. Obviously I don’t weigh as much as a car, so I waited for the next vehicle to pull around to trigger the sensor. When I heard “welcome to Taco Bell, please go ahead with your order”, I replied “I’m not in a car, I’m walking through and need a Burrito Supreme and a Mexican Pizza… lots of hot sauce.” I was then told I would not be served unless I’m in a car, so I approached the vehicle behind me, had the gentleman roll down his window and engaged in a 1 minute sales pitch on why he should help me out… well, it worked! I handed him my cash and walked around the corner to wait. He pulled up and placed his order along with mine and met up with me around the corner to deliver my late night snack.
How many partners do you work with? How is it working with them?
Supporting my team of RSDs, I work with about a dozen partners. Some we work with a lot, others not so much, but the door is always open to get them more engaged. It’s always fun working with the partners as there are a lot of personality mixes. Being good at sales means being able to adapt quickly to partner’s demands, while juggling communications between them, the customer, and of course, corporate. Understanding and realizing very quickly how you need to work with a partner and how to help them become successful can be difficult but also very rewarding; especially if they have the same passion as me.
The best thing I can do for a partner is to add value to their business. If I’m just a channel manager, I’m no different than the competition and that’s why I strive to be a true partner that can add value by engaging directly in sales efforts to win business. In many ways, as a sales manager, I’m the DocuWare cheerleader, relationship manager, solution presenter, and corporate controller for partners - the glue that ties a lot of things together. I support corporate initiatives to partners, along with working side-by-side with sales representatives to help them through challenges; I’m their shoulder-to-lean-on and the motivator to get greatness out of them.
The biggest joy for me is watching a partner grow from not producing much to reaching the top echelon of our partner rankings. The entire company gets on a roll and you see the momentum and teamwork. Everyone gets excited and it makes my job very rewarding.
How different is each week? Are some months busier than others?
Each week holds new journeys. Sometimes the events can be similar but the audience is always different so it stays exciting.
The busiest months include every month! And the last few days of each month are especially busy with all of us pushing hard to get deals done. If I had to choose just one, I’d have to say that September of 2017 was the busiest month in DocuWare history from a raw sales number; I’m not alone in saying it was also the busiest month for every RSD.
DocuWare RSD Mark Michonski, ComDoc, Inc. Document Management Specialist Ron Holtzer, and myself were on our way to a prospect appointment and game-planning how we were going to attack and close the deal.
What do you like best about your job? How are the relationships?
I would be lying if I didn’t say the opportunity to make as much money as I can, but that’s about me! Other than myself, I truly enjoy building relationships and watching the hard work pay off by a partner becoming successful and building a thriving DocuWare business.
I'm hoping that’s a sack of cash you’re toting around!
I had landed in Pittsburgh, PA and was early. My counterparts were in another meeting so I had a little time. I decided to Uber to a casino in Downtown Pittsburgh and play a slot machine while waiting on my team to meet for lunch at the casino’s restaurant. No, I didn’t win, but was able to talk to the Accounting team at the casino about the benefits of DocuWare. If you lose enough, you can talk to anyone!
How do you manage your work relationships vs time spent with your family?
These are my kids, Hudson and Averie. My wife Amy is hiding from picture in back. I was on my way out the door heading to the airport. I wanted to get a goodbye shot and the kids wanted to be part of the fun, so they are waving hi and bye to all of you!
I miss my wife and kids while on the road but I know that I’m in a great industry and the opportunity is there to make a very good living as long as you work hard. I know that if I can make my partners successful, it will make me successful. Having a roof over my head, food on the table, and a good education for my children is the most important thing for my family. Fortunately, the good news is: I’m usually at home on the weekends!
How do you help your partners succeed?
I help them succeed by getting their commitment to do things that I know have proven results. In my opinion, the secret sauce to being successful in this business is determination and patience. You also have to offer fair compensation plans; if you don’t, sales reps will simply not push the solution. I help my partners through these scenarios with proven solutions and open communication.
Hoping you're on your way home?
I was heading off to California for another week of travel. I was lucky to see my flight wasn’t cancelled due to weather coming into town. It’s always stressful with flights; you have to be very diligent about finding alternate options on the drop of a dime.
What’s the best traveling story you have?
I was on a long road trip and it was late. After morning presentations in Buffalo, NY, I hit the road for my trip to Dayton, OH. At approximately 10:45 p.m., I received a text/call from a partner that had his demo system crash; he had a very big presentation the following morning and needed help. I couldn’t do the meeting for him remotely based on my travels, so I pulled off the next exit and pointed my car in the other direction. I made it to his house at 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and sat in his kitchen downloading my Virtual Machine shell to his laptop and configured a demo. While I was working in his kitchen, he looked at me and said “I can’t believe you are here…. I just can’t believe you are here right now”! At the end of the day or night, so to speak, he had his demo up and running for his morning meeting and was able to present and close the business a few weeks later. I left his home at 1:00 a.m. and kept driving another 1.5 hours to my hotel.
This looks like a great lunch spot to catch up!
TBS Ohio Solutions Architect Mark Parianos, DocuWare RSD Mark Michonski and myself were having lunch overlooking a river near Cleveland, OH. It was a nice place to eat, strategize on upcoming sales calls and recap the previous days’ events. It also provided a great opportunity to really connect with our partners to build relationships, which is very important.
Why should dealers partner with DocuWare? What’s the best thing about working with the DocuWare team?
It’s simple. DocuWare provides companies the best opportunity to build a successful, sustainable document management business. There are a lot of products out there, some very similar to DocuWare. Your company can choose to represent any of them, but with DocuWare, you are investing in both a top product and a special kind of partner relationship.
We are truly dedicated to your success and want to be directly involved in your company to build your DocuWare business. Many times you are left on your own shortly after signing on with a product, and unfortunately many of these companies fail. Sink or swim! We do not play that way. We have a well-balanced team of RSDs with an entrepreneurial spirit, dedicated to heavily engaging with partners to excel.
If I were a company looking at reviving or developing a new a document management business and had dedication and persistence, I would definitely consider DocuWare. My team and I will get it done with you.
Please feel free to look me up on LinkedIn and connect - I’d love to get to know you and bounce ideas around!