By Sam Hollinrake | 5 min read
Brent Taylor’s key to success? Always looking for an answer to the “why.” Continuously seeking to understand how the world works, Brent graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. He diverted into sales starting at Dell and then spent thirteen years with Salesforce, working his way up from Sales Representative to Regional Vice President of Sales for Mulesoft Canada. Now the Head of Sales at Arteria AI, Brent Taylor is on the case to help the world contract faster.
At Arteria AI, Brent leads his global sales team with a customer-first approach. The sales team, which is based in Canada, the US and the UK, is committed to understanding every client’s unique problem from their point of view. By matching our unique technology to the customer’s unique problem, Brent works to ensure clients are widely successful.
Let’s start at the beginning - your work in Biochemistry! What was this experience like?
I was a research chemist at a brewery working with semi-volatile sulphurs. These sulphurs create any bad smell you can think of – skunks and rotten eggs, for example. Understanding semi-volatile sulphurs in beer is important because it is responsible for how well the beers taste. Interestingly enough, this process answers why beer bottles are brown, because light causes beer to turn “skunky.”I tend to ask why a lot – why does this do that, why does that work the way it does – and it leads me down a ton of rabbit holes to how the world works, such as my time as a biochemist.
So, what inspired you to divert into sales for innovative companies?
Though I found it fascinating, my biochemistry work was an inch-wide and a mile deep. There were only a handful of people in the world I could discuss these processes with. So when I was looking for something broader, I asked around, and because I had some previous sales experience, my older brother suggested I applied to Dell. I did quite well there, and I think one of the things I was doing differently than my peers is that I was motivated by the “why” factor once again. I discovered that I perform well in sales because I try to understand what our customers are trying to accomplish and the “why” behind what they are trying to do. If you start with this customer-first approach to sales, it just makes everything easier. If you try to understand a customer’s point of view, their problem, and any impact they are trying to have on their company, you can position your solution and see whether it will have the impact that they are looking for.
Brent before his first day of school, with so many opportunities ahead
What brought you to Arteria?
The leadership team understands the problem we are trying to solve incredibly well. I think they know the capabilities and the limitations of the technology that exists today, and that is an extraordinary thing that is hard to find. AI is a helpful tool, but like any tool, it needs to be used against the correct problem. I believe that digital contracting is one of the last processes to be digitally transformed, and Arteria is uniquely positioned to help there. What I do here– which is the other thing that brought me here – is a little bit of everything. That is the nature of a start-up!
You have a massive vision for the future of Arteria and helping the world contract faster. Dive a little bit more into this vision for us!
The vision for Arteria AI is that anybody, anywhere, can draft, negotiate, and execute a contract. Working with thousands of contracts throughout my career, I understand how and why this process can be painful. If you look at the general contracting process, people have broken their problems into two burning questions. One, how to complete contracts faster – that’s your drafting, negotiating and digital signature tools - and two, how to extract the information from contracts and bring it into downstream systems - that’s your contract repositories, nascent AI search tool, and so on. What Arteria does is that it steps back and looks at the problem differently – we answer the question, what if we did not have to have a break in the chain between these two problems? What if we made this entire process digital? Our solutions not only solve the extraction problem but provide insight into the entire contracting process from the beginning. So, if you think contracts take too long and cost too much to get signed, I think we would work together well.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from anyone?
I have had the good fortune of having many personal mentors that I draw professional inspiration from. I also draw a lot of inspiration from sports coaches – how they understand rules inside out, motivate their teams, and give a kick in the pants when needed. As a sales leader - like a coach - you must see the outcome you want from all angles. Not just what can make a quick sale, but what’s best for the success of our customers, which leads to the long-term health of Arteria and the company’s future growth.
If you were given a one-minute ad slot during the Super Bowl that you couldn’t sell, what would you fill it with?
Aside from a quick plug on Arteria? There is a lot of divisiveness in the world today – it almost feels like two people are watching two different movies on the same screen. I would want to share with the world that if we took some time to understand a little bit more about what others are seeing, feeling, and thinking, we would see that we are all a lot more alike than we think.
We draw our name from the word artery, as we believe contracts are the lifeblood of every organization.
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