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Crazy for ConTech with Mike Pettinella, OnsiteIQ


Welcome to ‘Crazy for ConTech’ with Romey Oulton, a Q&A focused on the Construction Technology Industry. 

This Q&A series is an opportunity for our Head of ConTech, Romey Oulton, to discuss all things construction technology with key players who are championing innovation and digitalisation in the construction space. 

This week we have been in touch with Mike Pettinella, CRO at OnsiteIQ.

OnsiteIQ is a development intelligence platform for real estate owners and investors. We help GPs and LPs monitor construction progress across their development portfolio by programmatically capturing visual data and delivering AI-driven insights.

Don’t want to make you blush but – I have heard countless testimonials that you’re the best sales leader my candidates have ever had the pleasure of working with – what’s the secret sauce to your success? 

MP: Well, that’s good to hear! Sales is really hard. Sales at tech startups is even harder. Sales Reps and BDRs want to know that leadership understands that and is willing to do anything to help them succeed. There is a lot of autonomy at startups and you hire people expecting them to have an entrepreneurial spirit. That doesn’t mean they can figure it out all on their own. I’ve always made it a priority to demand a high degree of effort while also helping where possible and leading by example. The best reps know how to leverage that leadership style to make themselves successful. One of my mentors once told me that your goal as a sales leader is to make sure that every member of your team has grown personally and professionally from the minute they join your organization to the minute they leave, whenever that may be.


Autodesk acquired BuildingConnected for $275,000,000 – what was it that first attracted you to this rocket ship start-up? 

MP: This is one of those situations where opportunity plus preparation equaled luck. I spent nearly 10 years working in advisory and dispute resolution consulting for real estate and construction. It was a great job and I learn a lot about the industry. Around 2014, clients of mine started asking more about technology and venture capital began taking a significant interest in the space for new tech. The light bulb went off for me. I decided to pivot my career into tech. After about a year of research, I serendipitously came across BuildingConnected when someone doing cold sales outreach contacted me for a meeting. I was certainly not in the Ideal Customer Profile, but I was intrigued so I took the meeting. After learning quite a bit about the business, I got in touch with Dustin (CEO/Co-Founder) directly and pitched him to hire me. It filled a big gap in the preconstruction space and I could see the potential in the business thesis very clearly. The tricky part was when I resigned from my cushy corporate consulting job with great pay and benefits to join a startup with $0 revenue – and then found out 2 weeks later my wife was pregnant with our daughter. Luckily the risk worked out.


What advice do you give to those who are looking for the next ‘ConTech unicorn’ to join? 

MP: My advice would be to have more realistic expectations. Unicorns do not happen overnight. It takes years of grinding, iteration, persistence and luck. Even if you control the controllables, there are always outside forces ready to set you back. If you are not ready for that journey, stay away. The great thing about startups is the ability to learn and grow, regardless of success or failure of the business. Focus on 3 questions, in this order: (1) can I work with this manager and this team every day?  (2) assuming you believe in the long-term future potential, does the business have a practical way to build towards it or is it overly hypothetical? and (3) how much can I learn in this role? 


What learnings have you taken from your time at BuildingConnected and Autodesk to shape your GTM team at OnsiteIQ? 

MP: Most of the learnings that are translatable are around people management and driving efficiency and collaboration in the sales process. You improve in how to recruit, hire, onboard, fire, empower, negotiate, set quotas and forecast. You improve in how to juggle many responsibilities and time management conflicts. You improve in how to collaborate cross-functionally. As far as learnings on building and shaping a GTM team, not much is really translatable. Any sales leader who says they have a GTM playbook that works in any startup company is too monotone in my opinion. As a VP of Sales or CRO, your goal is to work very closely with the executive leadership, most specifically Product and Marketing, to constantly iterate on the most effective GTM strategy to meet revenue goals. What is the ideal customer profile? Is your product transactional or enterprise? What does pricing and packaging look like? Does your top of funnel strategy need to be outbound, inbound, or both? What is your budget? What is the profile of the sales reps and/or BDRs? How many do you need? These things all contribute to the plan and should be unique to your business.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given to bolster your career? Uno reverse – what would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to make a positive impact through technology-driven solutions to AEC?

MP: The best advice I’ve applied professionally actually came unexpectedly one day from a good childhood friend who was also the best man at my wedding. I was disappointed in someone we mutually knew and could not believe why this person didn’t do something I expected him to do. My friend said “You can’t expect more from someone than they are capable of delivering.” Everyone has a different bar for everything they do – some of those bars will be higher than yours, some will be lower, and some will be on another planet. Set expectations of others not based on your expectations, but instead based on your mutual understanding of their expectations. This way, you are measuring with the correct calibration and you can build a diverse team.


Tell us about OnsiteIQ’s approach to talent acquisition and culture? Has it changed since you first joined the company? 

MP: Yes it has changed. I met Ardalan (CEO/Founder) in 2018 and began as an advisor in 2019 then started full time as CRO in 2022. The early days of the company was transactional sales. After I joined, we began shifting the business to enterprise sales due to some fundamental changes in our product and GTM approach. This required quite a bit of change and optimizing the profile for talent acquisition. We also reinforced our company values in 2022 which had a big impact on our recruiting and interviewing process. This effort has led to a very high quality team today.


Growth plans for OnsiteIQ: 6 months, 1 year, 3 years (i.e: geographies, products, verticals, hiring, funding).

MP: In the past 18-24 months, we have evolved from servicing individual real estate development projects to an intelligence platform supporting portfolio-wide deployments for real estate developers and investors. This strategy has brought tremendous efficiencies across our cross-functional teams due to larger deals and more predictable deployments. This year we are heavily focused on building out more enterprise-ready functionality in our platform to continue to support the leadership teams of our customers to make more informed decisions and have faster speed to action. Our customers are driving us in this direction and the feedback has been exciting. Other than that, you’ll have to wait and see!   


What DEI initiatives have your company successfully implemented? Where do you feel you can still grow in this area?  

MP: As a company with less than 40 employees, our focus is to hire the best talent available, treat everyone with respect and provide a comfortable working environment for all. Fundamentally, that is DEI for us. We have company values and one of them is “Be humble, open minded, and supportive of your teammates.” One of our employees said on an all-hands call that this is the first organization they ever worked for where they did not feel discriminated against. As long as that type of feedback is coming in, then our company values are resonating.


What is your guilty pleasure? 

MP: I’m a recreational poker player – specifically no limit hold ‘em tournaments. I play in a local league in my town and try to get out to Vegas in the summers for a week during the World Series of Poker to play a big tournament or two each year. It’s like meditation to me and helps me reset. There are quite a few overlapping skills between startup tech sales and poker.


What is your favourite quote? 

MP: I have a lot of favorites. When it comes to tech startups, my favorite quote came from a mentor of mine: “When the tide finally starts to turn in your direction, don’t ride the current, just swim faster.”

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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