By Nick Hamm, CEO
When I founded 10K Advisors, my goal was relatively simple — build a successful business that would deliver great results to customers and give back to the Salesforce community which had helped me build my career. I wanted to work with people who I admired and (hopefully) make some money along the way.
In the nearly three years since launching 10K, those goals have evolved and matured, and with the help of our CTO Matt Lamb and COO Jared Miller, I believe we’ve set a great foundation for doing something transformational. In the past 32 months, we’ve curated a community of some of the top Salesforce experts in the world, and along the way developed a platform and processes that can remove much of the friction when it comes to working with a contract workforce. Most importantly, we’ve proven to customers and partners of all sizes that working with independent contractors and boutique service firms in an on-demand model can be a better way to get work done in an ecosystem that is growing and evolving as fast as Salesforce.
Today 10K is taking the next step in our journey, hiring Mike Martin as our very first Chief Customer Officer! I have worked with Mike as a customer, then colleague and fellow Salesforce MVP for a decade. Over that time, I’ve seen him evolve as a professional, technical expert and leader. His experience and accomplishments make him a great fit for this new role at 10K.
As our new CCO, Mike will help us take 10K to the next level, creating deeper customer relationships and exploring even more ways to make customers and consultants more successful than they might be on their own. Mike’s breadth of capabilities, deep technical experience, relationships throughout the Salesforce ecosystem, and overall positivity make him a perfect fit for what we’re trying to accomplish. Here are some of his own words about why he’s such a great match for 10K and our customers.
You are 10K’s first Chief Customer Officer. What is your vision for this role and what are you most excited to accomplish in your first year?
You and the 10K crew have built an incredible business with a completely new model — which I truly feel represents the future of work. I’m excited to join the team to help take our focus on our customers to the next level. I will build on 10K’s existing relationships, understand how we can help our customers go beyond a reactionary Salesforce project model and move toward true Salesforce Program Management. This shift will allow our customers to think more holistically about their investment in Salesforce and transform their business.
You’re a multi-year Salesforce MVP and very active in the Salesforce ecosystem. How did you get your start in this space and what keeps you motivated to spend so much time helping other experts?
Like many of us in the Salesforce ecosystem, I started as an “accidental admin.” I was hired to join a small software company as its lead sales engineer. I walked in on day 1 and they told me that the Salesforce Administrator was leaving in 2 weeks. This was in 2008, and many of the resources available today to those joining the community didn’t exist at that time. I was able to find a recently-launched local Salesforce User Group, and made connections with a number of folks on Twitter, including the future leadership team of 10K. The User Group was instrumental in helping me learn about the platform, and I felt it was an opportunity to give back to the community and ecosystem, so I offered to help lead the group. I am active in the Salesforce ecosystem because I believe anyone can build a career alongside the platform.
You played so many roles at your last organization, from consultant and technical team lead to sales and most recently directing Appirio’s Indianapolis Delivery Center where you helped train and onboard new Salesforce consultants. How will you use what you learned over the last 8 years to make 10K customers and our community members more successful?
I am excited to bring my varied background of sales, delivery, and talent development to 10K. The Chief Customer Officer role is a perfect fit for me – drawing on my technical background and Salesforce platform knowledge for solutioning, as well as my experience in pre-sales and as an Account Executive to help build strong, lasting customer relationships. To top it all off, I have a passion for building the next generation of talent, especially in the Salesforce ecosystem. Everyone at 10K is responsible for the success of our community and experts, and I hope to enable both our customer’s and our expert’s success.
Our model is pretty unique in the industry. Why do you believe in the model and why do you think what we’re doing matters so much in the ecosystem?
10K’s talent broker model is really why I was drawn here. There is such a discrepancy in available talent in this industry. Even Salesforce has stepped in with their own programs, like Pathfinder and Trailhead for Students, to train new Administrators and Developers. Our customers are always looking for top talent, and we are well suited to help match expert skill sets to customer needs. Starting a business or going out on your own as a consultant is hard, and can be scary. We hope to make that process as easy as possible for our Experts by providing everything from tools and technology, to a proven methodology and personal support.
10K’s vision is to give people the freedom to excel at the work they love. How do you see you and your role playing into this vision?
Customers have bought into the Salesforce platform in a big way, but many need help unsticking their Salesforce projects getting more from their investment. Having the right Salesforce Experts on a team can go a long way in making this happen and can free our customers up to focus on their own core competencies — the work that they love to do.
We’ve moved into a services-based economy, where people can access the goods and services they need without having to own the resources. Companies can now get hard-to-find skills and talent on-demand the same way that they can get software and infrastructure on-demand. At the same time, individuals have the freedom to choose the projects and clients that make the best use of their skills. As Chief Customer Officer, I want to make our customers wildly successful working in this model and ensure our Experts get the support and tools they need to deliver results that exceed customer expectations and grow their reputation.
The term culture is a buzzword these days, and it means different things to different people, but I believe it’s the foundation for any company’s success. To me, culture is about creating an environment of trust where people can learn and do challenging work. As Chief Customer Officer, I am committed to building that type of environment for our experts and customers alike.