Grip's constant growth over the past 12 months has been an exciting journey for all of us. And to keep you up to date with our latest hire, we jumped on call (of course!) and had a chat with Dominic Sumpter!
Dominic joined Grip earlier this month as our Chief Revenue Officer, and we spoke about his career to date, what he loves and why he joined Grip, and his vision for the future.
Tell us more about your career up to now; what has been your career path?
I've had a varied career path, but interestingly the one constant I've always had is a focus on the customer.
I have an engineering background, and I love to solve problems and build things. But little did I know that engineering would lead me to a career in technology. I now have close to 20 years of experience within this space, and I've been fortunate to have worked for some of the largest technology companies.
I've been mentored by outstanding leaders and worked with some fantastic customers, and I've seen how successful companies put the customer front and centre and provide innovation and exemplary service.
My advice to anyone coming through the ranks would be to put your customer at the heart of everything you do. Don't rush your journey; enjoy it, understand your customer, and you'll excel!
Why join Grip in 2021?
We're all aware that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology across all demographics, and the events industry has embraced this need. But what separates Grip from other platforms in the market is the vision to deliver a Market Engagement Platform to our customers that delivers at in-person, virtual or hybrid events, and importantly brings buyers and sellers together through intelligent AI matchmaking, networking, and chat.
Grip provides rich data insights to both event organisers and exhibitors within a genuinely frictionless customer experience. Grip is a massive differentiator in which all companies would gain huge benefit - it's the platform that connects people.
Given the current transformation of our market and the growth and vision of Grip, I feel the stars have aligned!
The best virtual event you've attended this year, and why?
Unfortunately, the majority of online events I've attended have been poor, with either audio issues, limited participant interaction, and no real engagement–I may as well have listened to a podcast.
I'm someone who attends events to meet and connect with people. This is where we see business getting done, and if this isn't managed well at an in-person event or isn't an option at a virtual event; then it's an event that won't meet my expectations.
When I started speaking to Tim, and he showed me the platform, I knew Grip was different. Grip focuses on delivering event experiences that offer actual value from both an organiser and attendee perspective. In a virtual environment, organisers need to monetise their events, and Grip gives them the platform to do this. As a CRO, I can relate to this financial return! From an attendee perspective, it's the people you meet and the connections you make that provide the lasting value to attending that event. Organisers must get this right, whether it's in-personal or virtual. As I said previously, Grip doesn't just connect people; it connects the right people.
You've seen industries that undergo rapid change. How will Grip serve event organisers to be true partners in the change they are experiencing?
Within the tech space, there have constantly been transformations that have demonstrated fantastic benefits to customers. For example, the shift to Cloud and SaaS technology put the customer at the heart of everything–giving them greater control over licensing or speed of innovation.
I believe Grip is already in the perfect position to serve event organisers. The company vision is in place to support the strategies of event organisers for years to come, which puts Grip in the ideal position to be a partner to their clients. Technology companies get it wrong when they are shortsighted and just looking for the next deal. Grip is already customer-obsessed, which means they have the platform and people to serve their clients now and in the future.
How do you feel the events industry has changed over the last year?
There is no doubt that the pandemic has shifted working habits irreversibly. Employers have leveraged technology to ensure their workforce can perform and, in many cases, be more productive from remote environments. It's been super challenging for everyone. In many ways, our old lives are unrecognisable, and we will all cherish the moments when some normality comes back; hugging Grandparents, not having to stay socially distant, or walking into shops without the need to wear masks.
The cultural and technological advances adopted during the pandemic are now part of our everyday lives and here to stay–improving work-life balance, increased productivity and better engagement between companies and employees. This is also true for the events industry, and it was quick to pivot when restrictions stopped in-person events, relying solely on technology to connect buyers and sellers virtually.
What differentiated virtual events was the engagement experience that connected these buyers and sellers. Incorporating what is now commonplace in the B2C space, such as streaming, recommendations, insights (Amazon, Netflix, Sky etc.), in one event platform creates a fantastic customer experience.
How can Grip best serve the industry right now?
The events industry is going through dramatic change, with increasing consumer expectations. Smart organisers are swiftly embracing technology to complement in-person events and running hybrid/virtual events using rich engagement platforms like Grip.
The genie is out of the bottle! Organisers, exhibitors, and delegates now expect and require a digital experience and a sublime engagement that connects sellers with buyers - there is no turning back.
In my view, Grip has the edge by providing the best engagement platform, with AI and analytics baked in. It is an easy solution to adopt, with vital customer feedback and incredible insight that enhances the journey of the event participant.
What excites you most about your new position at Grip?
Timing is everything, and I have been super lucky in my career to have been part of the digitalisation of the back (ERP) and front office of (CRM), from mainframe to cloud. I now see a massive opportunity within the engagement platform market that enriches CRM systems and provides a far better customer journey. What excitements me the most is harnessing this opportunity, building upon the fantastic work Tim and the team have achieved and taking the Grip customer experience to the next level–this is our time to shine!
Three fun facts about yourself?
In my teens, a friend and I cycled from Warwickshire to the Bordeaux region of France. Looking back, it was a crazy idea. It was the summer holiday before my final A level year; we had limited time, hadn't planned the trip sufficiently or had the proper provisions for succeeding. We thought we could cycle down (cross by Ferry) and get a train back after having a two-week vacation in Bordeaux. I will never forget the shock on my friend's face when a ticket inspector told us our bikes were not welcome on the train and that they would have to be shipped by freight. We had no option other than to cycle back, covering +700 miles in 4 days and shedding considerable weight in the process. I would never have managed that trip on my own, nor would my friend–teamwork got us through. We pushed one another on as we didn't want to let the other down.
Even after +30 years, I still have a strong passion for bicycles and combining that with excellent British engineering, I have a growing collection of Brompton folding bikes.
My other big passion is my allotment, which I find is a great leveller and a fantastic way to destress. My wife and I have had it for four years and have slowly improved our harvest each year. I enjoy listening to the senior growers who've had their patches for decades. I find their tips and knowledge invaluable. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to defeating slugs and carrot flies!