Our New York team is growing fast. With the team rapidly expanding and our platform capturing more of the American market, we are excited to announce Templafy’s new hire: Greg Sheppard, who will be steering our trajectory as Chief Revenue Officer. Coming to Templafy from TravelClick via American Express and LexisNexis, Greg joined us virtually to talk about leading a team remotely, why Templafy is positioned for success, and his plans for growth in 2020 and beyond.
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I live just outside New York City with my wife, three kids (aged 9, 5 and 3) and a dog named Elvis. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked in a variety of areas - sales, marketing, product, and operations. I spent the last eight years at TravelClick, a software and data company for the hospitality industry based in NYC, but with offices all over the world, including Barcelona, Singapore, and Melbourne.
When I joined TravelClick there were around 300 people and when I left there were 1100. This growth represented multiples in revenue and profit, and in 2018 the company was acquired by Madrid-based Amadeus IT for $1.52B.
At the end of 2019, I was introduced to Jesper, Templafy’s CEO, through a mutual colleague. It started with a casual conversation, then over the course of the next couple of months, I met a lot of the folks both on video and at the New York office, like Christian Lund, Anne Marie Finch, Rasmus Hedelund Jensen, Jacob Ekkelund, Emil Dyrvig and Martin Binau.
With every new conversation, I got more and more excited about the chance to be part of the team. Then in March this year I joined Templafy as the Chief Revenue Officer - with quite an unconventional remote start due to COVID-19.
What does your position as Templafy’s first CRO involve?
My main responsibility is to lead the commercial functions - focused specifically on wowing our customers and growing our market share. It’s a very exciting proposition because the product is in such a unique space and is so valuable to our customers.
Everyday is different, but I get to work on some really amazing things - from speaking to our existing customers about how they’re getting value from our platform, to working with new customers about how they can gain access to Templafy and figuring out how we grow even faster than we’re growing today. How do we scale up and hire lots of the right people? How do we identify the segments that we're the most successful in and double down on those? How do we expand our marketing in North America? How do we continue to wow our customers through product, customer success and account management? These are all really interesting initiatives I’ll be working on.
What’s it like working at Templafy?
Joining Templafy at this stage of their journey reminds me a lot of when I first started at TravelClick. At that point, TravelClick was in scale-up mode as well, and there was a huge focus on how to do that effectively. Templafy is at that same stage now, where growth is fast and we’re in the position to scale rapidly.
What’s unique about Templafy is the incredible range of opportunities that the platform itself gives us. The breadth of industries our platform is relevant for is almost endless. We work with customers from a variety of industries, including financial service firms, accounting firms, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, hospitals, manufacturing companies and retail brands. That range of possibilities is really exciting and fun.
The other thing that stands out is Templafy’s culture. It’s incredibly unique. You have the melding of many cultures, which is fantastic - for example, you get the best of both American and Danish cultures and the commonalities between them. Both cultures value directness, transparency, and mutual respect for one another, alongside a wider drive for the company’s future.
There’s also a level of commitment and excitement that permeates Templafy. Everyone I’ve spoken to and met here is incredibly motivated and enthusiastic about rapidly growing Templafy and making it super successful. That kind of common goal and common feeling across everyone throughout the business is very special.
How would you describe the leadership style you’ll bring to the team?
I have to start by saying I'm really fortunate that the team is so strong. We've got a great team at all levels, I've been really impressed with everyone I’ve met and that makes my job easy.
In terms of how I support my amazing team, I'd say my leadership style is customized based on the individual and what they need at that point. People need different things and varying degrees of support to fulfill the role they play in driving the business forward. It’s important to take into account the projects they’re working on, the level of experience they have, and how much they need my input. If they need a lot of help, that's great, I'm happy to do it. If they don't need much help and they can handle it on their own, that's great as well.
I guess my ultimate leadership goal is to let my team really run their own show and be responsible for their outcomes but know they have my support at all times to accomplish that.
How has it been joining and leading a team remotely?
It's definitely been a different experience. I wouldn’t say it’s how I would have drawn it up from the beginning, but it's presented some good opportunities.
Although you lose the casual conversations you would have in the hallway with people, it’s forced us to create more structure in how we go about things. We have to set up a few more meetings than anyone would have liked, but it allows us to go through things more methodically and in more depth, which I believe has allowed me to get up to speed even faster. And thank goodness for Zoom, so I get to still see my colleagues!
As an international company, why do you think it's important Templafy has an office in New York? Can you explain the current opportunities in the North American market?
Firstly, the global nature of Templafy’s business was really attractive to me. I’ve worked in global organizations before and have been fortunate enough to work with customers in Asia and Europe, and I’ve worked with team members all over the world. I’ve travelled to some amazing places and experienced some incredible cultures. So the fact that Templafy has offices all over the world was a really big positive for me.
In terms of North America, the opportunity is huge if you think about the kinds of companies that are here and in need of a platform like Templafy. According to our initial research, more than half of the addressable market for Templafy is in North America - that’s really exciting. Especially as it’s only been around 18 months since we set up our office in New York and visible progress has been made. If I can play a small part in how the company can grow even faster in North America, and capture more and more of the market opportunity, then that would be fantastic.
What are your main aims or goals for the next year?
My number one aim is to build a really strong team who are as motivated and enthusiastic about the company as our current Templafyers. The second priority is to rapidly grow the business by both bringing new customers into our portfolio and expanding our relationship with our existing client base.