One on One: with Talend's Mark Fazackerley

One on One: with Talend's Mark Fazackerley

Fazackerley shares his career highlights, top tips for sales people and what’s next on his agenda for Talend in the region.

Talend's Mark Fazackerley

Talend's Mark Fazackerley

Credit: Talend

A decision to retrain in IT in his early thirties saw Talend Australia and New Zealand (A/N)Z regional vice president Mark Fazackerley cutting his teeth with Wang New Zealand. After moving across the ditch, he acquired some strong sales skills but pins his success on his ability to walk in the customer’s shoes. 

Fazackerley shares his some of his career highlights, top tips for sales people and what’s next on his agenda for Talend in the region.

What was your first job?

After Ieaving school, I worked in retail for a menswear chain that had cornered the ‘farmer’ demographic back home in New Zealand. It was an interesting introduction to sales, being on the floor with a bunch of old school English attendants. 

Within a few months, they were shuffling me up the chain as a potential management candidate – if the cards had fallen differently, I could be managing a shop in Dannevirke right about now.

How did you get started in the IT industry and progress to where you are today?

In my twenties and early thirties, I ran an interior design and architectural glass business with my then wife. When the partnership went west, I needed a new direction and decided to retrain in IT. 

Back then, Windows was still new and DOS was the main operating system. It turned out I had an aptitude and, after cutting my teeth with Wang New Zealand, I moved to Australia and into a pre-sales role in the analytics and intelligence sphere. 

My boss at the time pointed out – rightly – that if I aspired to his job, I’d need to become a sales guy. So, in the end, I did. The company I was with was eventually acquired by Oracle and sticking with them gave me the opportunity to rise up the ranks in a top tier vendor. 

Strong sales skills have contributed to my success but so has my ability to walk in the customer’s shoes – perhaps that comes courtesy of having had my own business in earlier life.

What has been your biggest business mistake and the lessons you’ve learnt from that experience?

It would probably be celebrating a deal before it was finalised early in my sales career. I had the verbal that we were all done on Friday afternoon and then, on Monday, the earth shifted. By then, my wife and I had been out for the slap-up dinner and bottle of champagne.

It was an interesting lesson. These days, I hold off on popping the Moët until I get that all-important email saying the order has been processed. 

My team is encouraged to do the same – and to pay attention to detail, so deals aren’t held up unnecessarily because the paperwork isn’t in order. 

These sound like the most fundamental of sales principles but you’d be surprised how often I see people racing ahead of themselves. Contracts do occasionally fall over at the eleventh hour so don’t count on anything until their signature, and yours, are on the paper.

What are some of your plans for the company in the coming months?

We’ll be continuing our pursuit of customer-centricity to help them remove the barriers to working effectively with data across their entire organisations.

Talend is still a relative newcomer in the Asia Pacific region and we need to grow our market share. That’s our focus for 2022-23 – getting our data health approach in front of more decision makers and articulating the depth and diversity of our platform. 

Most people think of Talend as an ETL tool but that’s just a small part of what we do; we’re offering a cloud-independent unified data integration and management solution.

So, my plan is to go loud and wide. With lockdowns and border closures now a thing of the past, that should get significantly easier. We’ve staged several marketing events and everyone is thirsting to get in front of people regularly again.

What are some of your biggest ambitions, personally and professionally?

At the moment, my ambition is to drive Talend to its full potential. I don’t tend to look further ahead than the company I’m working for. Running to a five or 10 year plan has never been my thing – life has a way of getting in the way.

Having run APAC businesses before, I’m not that interested in the amount of travel it entails – I’m extremely happy to be confining my attention to the A/NZ market.

Personally, I want to not act my age. Growing old disgracefully has a great deal of appeal. I still go mountain biking and I’m a keen martial artist so continuing in those pursuits for as long as the body permits is a priority. 

Traveling the world at my leisure, rather than in the two to four week stints that we’re generally confined to when taking leave, is also something I’m looking forward to, in the not too distant future.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Never give up. There’s a saying in martial arts that a black belt is only a white belt who never gave up. 

It’s very true. In my sales and IT career I’ve certainly seen enough instances where persistence has won the day.

Of course, you can’t just nag people into signing off on something but taking the attitude that you’ll push on through can be very helpful. My boss back in my early repping days was no martial artist but he subscribed to this philosophy. His version of not giving up was having me track a customer’s accountant down on Christmas Eve – we eventually ran him to ground in the pub – so I could get a deal signed off before the end of the quarter. I occasionally tell that story to reps who are feeling despondent and need to be encouraged to keep at it.

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