In February we welcomed Mike McGuire to the Unmind team as our brand new Chief Commercial Officer. We sat down with Mike to hear all about his journey to Unmind, his vision for the team, and the drive that took him from a junior sales role to exec in just nine years.
What does a Chief Commercial Officer do?
No idea! Just kidding. Basically I’m in charge of the revenue strategy for Unmind. From the marketing strategy (how do we get Unmind in front of the right customer?) through to sales (how do we get that customer onboard?).
Our big challenge at Unmind is working out how we can scale, fast. That’s a challenge for lots of companies. And really it comes down to process. What are our pain points and how can we fix them?
The benefit of being a new person is you have fresh eyes. You don’t have all the history about why things were set up a certain way, so you can spot opportunities faster than other people. But you also spend a lot of time making stupid suggestions!
What’s your story before Unmind?
I’ve always been a salesman, ever since I was a kid I’ve had the gift of the gab. I started out as an entrepreneur and I worked as a fundraising manager at a charity for a while. But I knew I wanted to get into SaaS (software as a service).
I went for a job at Salesforce. They told me I needed a degree, so I went away, got the degree, came back and applied for an account executive role. Then they said I couldn’t do the job without SaaS sales experience.
They offered me an entry level role as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). The pay didn’t cover my bills and I worked out if I took it I’d be losing £500 a month. But I saw it as a way in, so I took it. There was free cereal in the office so I often ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At 34 I was the oldest SDR in the team. But I worked hard and within six months I got my first promotion. I did a total of seven different roles over the course of six years and by the time I left I was a VP. So it all worked out in the end!
To be honest, I wasn’t looking for a new job. I was really happy at my last company, Iterable.
But when a recruiter got in touch with me and I saw the role was for Unmind I was definitely curious. I’d heard of Unmind before. I agreed to that first phone call, but I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to go for it. When I got on the call it sounded like such an exciting opportunity that I quickly changed my mind.
I have a really clear north star.
One, I want to have a lot of fun. The Unmind team is great so I know I’ll have fun.
Two, I want to make a lot of money. Every company needs employee mental health support, so we have the potential to make a lot of money.
And three, I want to do something amazing. When I was kid I loved the Christopher Reeves Superman movies (still do!), in particular I love the idea of overcoming adversity while being true to your values. At Unmind we’re transforming mental health in the workplace – we really do have the chance to change the world.
What’s been the focus in your first three weeks?
When I started I thought: how would I feel if a new senior leader was joining my company? I’d want to feel heard, like they’re listening to me before making decisions.
There’s an old parable of three blind men who have never come across an elephant before. Each feels a different part of the elephant's body, but only one part, such as the trunk or the tail. One of them touches the leg and concludes it’s a tree. Another one touches the trunk and thinks it’s a snake. The third touches the tail and thinks it’s a vine.
No one person has all the answers and we all bring different experiences to the table. So I’ve spent my first few weeks speaking to as many people as possible. I’ve asked everyone what they’d do if they were in my position. It’s been great hearing everyone's answers – we’ve got such a bright team.
Where do you see Unmind in five years’ time?
In five years I see Unmind cementing ourselves as the number one global enterprise software company, and the leader in our category. I see us as having a renowned high-performance culture that everybody wants to be part of. Then when people leave, they'll put ‘ex-Unmind’ in their LinkedIn bio.