Matt Schuster / Executive AdTech Sales Leader Posted on August 09, 2021
Matt Schuster is a veteran of the Ad-tech sales industry with over 15 years of experience. In his most recent role, he was Chief Revenue Officer at Vistar Media where he oversaw an international sales and operations organization of 100 members and drove $100+ million of revenue. Before joining Vistar, Matt was head of National Sales for GroundTruth (formerly xAd), leading the company’s US sales efforts as well as the development and go-to-market strategy for all performance-based solutions. Prior to joining GroundTruth, Matt was Sales Director at Undertone.
1. What do you like most about being a Revenue Leader?
Revenue is the common denominator of any organization regardless of industry. Whether the company makes electric vehicles or razor blades, at the end of the day, the company’s heartbeat is kept going by sales generation. That is an epic responsibility and does not come without tremendous expectations, not just generating short-term wins, but building a machine that will continue to grow and scale the revenue stream indefinitely.
2. What is it about building businesses that you enjoy the most?
I love being able to think in both camps, short and long term. Being able to craft a vision and putting a stake in the ground way down the road, then building your strategy backward to help you get there. Thinking through all the pieces and building as you go while constantly working towards that bigger picture.
3. What best practices have you learned over the years?
Have a roadmap of where you’d like to go. Keep it loose as things can and do change, but have a clear and easily communicated vision of what you are trying to achieve. If you can’t communicate your vision to your team in a way they can 1. Understand and 2. Be inspired to achieve, you will not get very far.
4. What are your core values?
I stick strongly to 2 key values:
We work in an industry where your team members devote 100+% of themselves to their jobs more often than not. They work long hours with sleepless nights and giving you their drive, their motivation, their will to help you achieve the goals you’ve set. It is a PRIVILEGE to have people this committed to your journey and that needs to be cherished and recognized.
Operating strategically (a clear understanding of short and long-term goals) is the only way to evaluate and run your business. Without those clear goals set…and aligned (they cannot be created in silos) your business will cruise without a rudder and blindly forward.
5. As a leader, how do you develop a culture?
I am a big supporter of delegated ownership. I do not operate from a seat in the Ivory tower. After setting the high-level course, I engage my leaders and team to help craft our approach, refine and crystalize our strategy. This means our team is directly responsible and invested in the strategy we move forward on. Invested and driven team members in themselves develop a culture of positivity and motivation. In addition, culture comes from the top. By prioritizing employee morale as an executive leader, it will set the tone for other leaders in the company to do the same. This goes into everything from even before a person is hired. My teams do not hire for volume, we hire for potential and fit. This means, our hiring process may take a little longer, we may pass on candidates with more experience who look great on paper and are great presenters. Ultimately my team looks for people with a strong will, authentic, are focused on building skills, not contacts. If you fill your company with “Good” people, it will result in a good culture.
6. What factors guide your career path?
I don’t think I could identify any factors but more people. I was blessed with being able to work for and learn from some incredible leaders in my career. Great leaders that taught me how to think strategically (“Play Chess, Not Checkers”), care about your team members and carry themself in a way that generated a magnetism that people are drawn to follow. I’ve also worked for some not great leaders where many of those elements were missing and either reinforced what I’d learned or showcased what NOT to do.
7. What is the optimal org structure?
In my opinion, this question is completely relative to the situation/company. I’ve worked in a variety of different structures be it teams, leadership, or combination. Ultimately the best org structure is set up to play towards the strengths of the organization and its goals. One piece however is crucial in any setup. No company will succeed long term without strong communication and goal alignment across departments. As an example, I worked for a company that had an incredibly charismatic and brilliant Chief Marketing Officer. This person was the type that created markets out of thin air and set industry trends and verbiage based on what they would say at conferences. They “Spun gold” as they say. This company needed a structure that fully leveraged the potential of that person front and center and then build pieces around it to complement and execute.
8. What would you do if you were not in this industry?
Funny enough, I am currently evaluating new opportunities for my next endeavor. I have developed a strong toolbox working in the Ad-tech industry. I am focused now on discovering how I can use those tools for a purpose. As Simon Sinek says, I am looking for a strong “Why”. For me, that’s the most important thing, if you are going to focus your energy and drive towards something, it better be for a damn good reason, and “to make a lot of money” is not a good reason. I guess we’ll see where this plays out.