Get to Know: MJ McCarthy, Vice President, Account Management
Tell us about your role here at Everbridge. What is your team like and what do you do?
I head up account management, which is the team responsible for retaining our North American customers and helping them grow. We serve customers in a variety of vertical markets, like healthcare, state and local government, and corporate. Right now, we’re 34 strong. We have teammates with a wide range of experience levels, from Major Account Managers to Renewal Specialists. Most of us are in the Burlington office, but we do have five people who work remotely from home.
Tell us about what you were doing before Everbridge.
My whole career has been in sales. In college, I started as an inside sales rep for an overnight shipping company, then moved into field sales after graduating. After that, I moved to New York City and did ad sales for a television syndication company, then moved to Boston, where I worked for CCBN for six years.
That company did very well. They provided a kind of early SaaS — more of an ASP model — for outsourced investor relations. Eventually they got acquired by Thomson Financial. I continued to work at Thomson for eight more years in sales, business development, and sales management roles before joining Everbridge, in 2012.
I came into Everbridge as a senior director, and my job was to help build the account management team. At that time, we had five people and weren’t really our own sales and retention engine yet. In 2015, I was promoted to V.P. of account management.
Had you led account management before?
It was always part of other jobs I’d done. When I was at CCBN, I became the team lead and carried my own quota for client sales, which was basically managing existing clients and selling more to them. At Thomson, my sales management responsibilities were mostly around new business, although I also sold to existing customers. Everbridge was my first foray into pure account management, though. Since I’ve been here, my job has always been about ensuring our customers are delighted with us, so they’ll renew and continue to grow with us long term.
What do you like about account management?
I’ve always enjoyed working with existing customers. When I was an individual contributor, I really liked building relationships with clients, and was always bummed when I had to give them up. One reason I joined Everbridge was because the position required me to manage a team dedicated solely to account management. I like establishing long-term, sustained partnerships with customers to continually bring them value.
“I like establishing long-term, sustained partnerships with customers.”
What goes into building a good long-term relationship with a customer?
You need to be trustworthy. You need to be their advocate, the person they can lean on. It’s so important to establish a strategic relationship with customers, to understand their business drivers and where Everbridge can add value. Yes, there’s a sales element to account management, but there’s a finesse to that. At Everbridge, we first need to ensure the customer is successful with what they’ve purchased, and earn the right to expand across their organization. Respecting the existing relationships we have with customers is key to everything we do on my team. I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve been very successful.
Other than the fact it was a pure account management role, what else made you decide to join Everbridge?
First and foremost was our mission, and the mission-critical nature of what we do. We absolutely matter to customers. We help in life-and-death situations—that’s so rewarding to all of us. We provide a valuable technology, and every day a customer finds another way that Everbridge can help with their critical communications.
“We help in life-and-death situations — that’s so rewarding to all of us.”
I was also impressed by the experienced management team I would be working for. I could tell our CEO, our head of sales, and our chief technology officer had a vision for Everbridge. They operated with the kind of rhythm that comes from having worked together before. I had a lot of trust in that.
How would you describe the culture at Everbridge?
Everyone here really cares about what we do. That drives our culture, whether it’s volunteering at events or celebrating feel-good stories, like how a missing child was found because the police used our solution to help alert the public. Our culture is different from anywhere else I’ve worked, and it comes from being proud of our mission. Going from a tiny little company to public in 14 years, being among really good people, selling a really good product. I don’t know if any company will compare to the fulfillment we all feel here. I think I’m here for the long run.
“I don’t know if any company will compare to the fulfillment we all feel here. I think I’m here for the long run.”
Tell us about your ethos as a leader. How do you think about your role on your team?
I’ve been fortunate to have hired really good people, people who are self-starters, who are driven, and who care about our mission. In any account management or sales job, you have to bounce back when things don’t go well, and my people are resilient.
“In any account management or sales job, you have to bounce back when things don’t go well.”
My role is to empower them to do what they need to do, to hold them accountable to goals, and to get obstacles out of their way so they can do their job. I’m their front-line advocate to senior management. I relay to management what customers are saying, what’s working, and what’s not. Being the voice for my team and our customers, ensuring we’re giving them what they need, is a big part of my job and something I love.
What challenges are your team facing right now? What goals does your team have?
We want to continue to make our customers happy while hitting our very aggressive growth targets. We need to make sure our customers are successful with what they’ve already bought, and that we’re servicing them well. Our goals this year include 95% retention rates and 125% net yield, which means we can’t lose customers and we need to provide enough value for them to buy more. To do this, we need to elevate our strategic relationships and have an audience with the C-level without disregarding our day-to-day users. We must effectively uncover our customer’s needs and effectively convey the ways our new tools can serve them.
What do you see happening at Everbridge, now or in the next few years, that you’re excited about?
We’re a public company now, which is so exciting. We’re on the map. We’ve had an infusion of capital, so we can invest in our products more, and we’re becoming a true enterprise communications solution across our customer base.
“We’re a public company now, which is so exciting. We’re on the map.”
Our new safety connection product is really exciting. We can help customers expand their duty care for their employees all over the world. Our expansion into Critical Event Management through the IDV acquisition is another area I’m excited about, as it will help elevate our relationships across the enterprise, along with our continued investment in IT Alerting.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I’m passionate about my family. I’ve been married to my husband, Brendan, for 16 years. We have a son, Quinn, who is 14, and a daughter, Laney, who is 12. I spend a lot of time in hockey rinks and dance competitions, supporting my children’s passions.
I also love to read. I love to be outside, and I’m a bit of a health and exercise nut. I love trail running with my dog and my mom-friends. Work is a big part of my life and drives me, but at the same time I like to keep a mix of healthy activities in my life. Being out in the woods gives me a Zen on the weekends that helps to ground me. I’ve gotten more into interval and strength training in my forties, which is kind of funny, but I think it helps me be a stronger person in my job. It helps me feel very centered. It clears my mind. I think my team knows the days I don’t work out, because it affects my attitude.