Gary Spero is Local Measure’s SVP, Global Business Development and he’s been a key member of the Sales team for upwards of 10 years. Hear more from Gary in this latest edition of Life at Local Measure.
Tell us about your career journey so far.
I've been with Local Measure since day one, which is over a decade now. Over time, my roles and responsibilities have changed and evolved immensely and I have grown my skills within the team.
Before Local Measure, I was involved in customer service and business administration at an electrical wholesaler. A far different game to Local Measure.
I believe that it was my customer service experience before Local Measure that helped me develop my thick skin. I was responsible for dealing with a lot of dissatisfied customers and complaints and learned how to navigate these situations and conversations. So whilst I haven't been in sales the whole time, I’ve always been in a customer-facing role.
What have been your top three career-defining moments?
I think number one would be moving to Singapore. Prior to being in the contact center industry, our main business was in hospitality, delivering customer feedback and insights to companies in this space. At the time, we were getting a lot of leads coming in from South East Asia and I was jumping on a plane every other week. I would go one week and then have a week off. Eventually, it became draining, both physically and emotionally and you're never really refreshed after a weekend. So I don't want to say it was a snap decision, but it was clearly evident I needed to be in Singapore. Initially, the idea was to get some sales and slowly build but by the time I left, there were four of us there.
Moving overseas taught me to just get on with it and that dwelling on little things won’t get you anywhere. When setting up a new base of operations, you really don't have an option. Learning to juggle everything and keep moving, was probably the biggest learning for me.
A close second would be moving back home as reinserting myself back into, not just the bigger team environment that we had here, but culturally back into Australia, took some getting used to! I was returning as a different person to the one I was when I left, with more experience both professionally and personally from living in a new environment.
The third, I would say, was taking over my current role at Local Measure. Previously, I was able to simply focus on myself, managing customer relationships and making sure that I was able to get deals done. Now, I have to be slightly more hands-off from customer conversations and let my team take the lead, as hard as that can be from time to time. I now have a different focus throughout the day, managing my team and overseeing deals, and not getting involved with the end customers as much anymore.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
It begins with an early start! Since my team is based around the world, really there's always somebody awake. So in the morning, first thing, I'm awake at 5:30 in the morning and I have that normal habit that everyone has; looking at my phone straight away to see what I need to be across. Usually, there'll be plenty of things that came in overnight from the US and Europe. With the activity of these two regions, I spend most of my morning catching up. By the time I've gotten through everything, I take a quick break to send my kids to school and by the time I sit down at my desk it’s around eight o'clock. I’m usually in back-to-back meetings throughout the day, not with customers, but mainly people at AWS and our team internally, supporting where I need to. If there are questions coming in around how we need to structure things or answer questions around deals that we're currently working on I throw myself in as much as I can.
I tend to find that in the early afternoon, there's a quiet period that I can dedicate to focused work. Then, around 4:30 EMEA starts waking up. After a few more meetings and catching up on emails, I start to wind down for the day, spending some time with my wife and kids before heading to bed.
What do you like most about working for Local Measure?
The thing I like most is our team. We are serious when we need to be but at the same time, everyone is able to have a bit of a joke and laugh, while still being a collaborative and supportive team.
The other thing is, I've been fortunate enough to see a few iterations of the business over time. We are so far away from where we started, which has meant that I've had to learn new skills, industries, jargon and concepts and be quick to pick up these new things, as the business has evolved and branched into different areas.
If we think back to before Covid-19, we weren't in the contact centre industry. I didn't understand much about it, nor did I ever think I would! Fast forward a few years and all of a sudden, that's really all I know and I've forgotten a lot about what we did before that. So I suppose that’s a silver lining from a rather tumultuous period of time. But it means that I've been able to continuously learn new things and not get stuck in a monotonous routine of doing the same thing day-in day-out.
What are you most excited about for Local Measure as a business moving forward?
As a business, we went into Covid-19, like everyone else, not knowing what was going to happen. By the time the pandemic ended, we had a new product, a new team and we were growing again. Since we got into this industry, we’ve been experiencing tremendous growth, and I’m extremely excited to see how things progress.
Recently we've had a lot of faces join the team as we're trying to expand in our current markets and make headway in new ones. It's always nice when you can take stock at a point in time, hear how well a customer has received the product and how it's helping them and their business. I'm looking forward to seeing new customers have those exact same experiences, from all over the globe and in a variety of industries. I think that's what excites me the most; it’s seeing more customers getting the product in their hands and our business, product and people continuously evolving to meet their needs.
What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in Business Development?
Gain experience in a customer service role first! In an industry that has a high amount of disenfranchised customers and complaints, this experience helps you develop a thick skin. In this type of role, you can be on top of the world one day, and then you have a few bad calls that change everything. You have to bounce back quickly and put on a brave face for the next interaction. Doing this on a daily basis builds resilience. If you take things to heart too much or dwell on rejection, Business Development may not be the best place for you.
What resources do you follow to stay on top of emerging trends and industry news?
There are a number of different publications that I look at. An example is CX Today. However, these types of trade publications are fairly niche. The reality is that most of our customers don't look at those. Most of the trends that are affecting their businesses, such as inflation or unemployment, are topics that are discussed elsewhere. So most of the time I look at general business publications such as Bloomberg or the AFR and keep up to date with global news and newspapers that are reporting on the companies that we want to be working with. What is important to me is understanding current markets and issues so that I am able to engage with customers about issues that are affecting them.
Lastly, what do you do to unwind and what do you like to do outside of work?
I've got two kids so I spend most of my downtime with them. I think the nicest thing about them is that they're not aware or impacted by our adult life stressors. When I spend time with them, I am able to see things from their perspective. It’s a refreshing view of the world where I can briefly forget work. And sometimes that's exactly what I'm looking for!
I do find that when I go out with my friends, it’s great, but inevitably we'll circle back to talking about work and so I can't necessarily always switch off. But I find spending time with my wife, kids and family is the one thing that helps me disconnect and relax.
Are you interested in a career at Local Measure? Find out more here.