Jason Zintak, CEO, 6Sense

Season 2, Episode 47,   Apr 13, 2023, 08:32 AM

We spoke with Jason Zintak, CEO of B2B sales and marketing platform 6Sense about his diverse career journey, how he maintains connection with a fast-growing, dispersed team, and the importance of being your own authentic self, always.

Our guest in this 34th podcast episode with a unicorn start-up leader is the CEO of 6Sense, Jason Zintak.

The B2B sales and marketing platform 6sense was founded in 2013, but Jason joined the company four years later. The company then achieved unicorn status in March 2021 and last year, after a Series E funding of $200 million, reached a valuation of $5.2 billion with over 1300 employees.

Jason shares what it was like joining a company as CEO, having previously been led by the founder, with the challenge of achieving unicorn status. “It’s been quite a journey", Jason admits. “I joined the company and the founders at roughly $5 million in ARR [Annual Recurring Revenue] and today we're $200 million plus or minus, and that's just five and a half years later. So, we have quite a lot of experience together”, he adds.

He goes on to talk about what it takes to build a successful management team, such as getting to know your team and how they work and complement your own skill set. “One of our values at the company is just a growth mindset, balanced with accountability, integrity, having fun, being one team, so to speak. And we've practiced that for the last six years.” These values have been a part of the company's DNA and play a significant role in their success formula.

We then got onto the topic of ChatGPT, and Jason revealed that 6Sense has had this technology within the product for the past two years, but they feel fortunate to be “riding the tailwind”. The whole company is built upon the ability for AI to drive modern applications. “I think AI is embedded in increasingly more and more things and part of our [reason for] founding the company is that there's just too much data for any human to really process.” 

Jason has always loved communicating with people, it’s what got him into sales and marketing in his early career, but will also often sit back and observe, and even feels nervous sometimes. He finds it harder to connect with employees, especially new recruits, due to a remote structure and rapid growth, but will always make a conscious effort to get small groups together on “workerversaries” to reconnect and stay in touch.

In addition, he maintains an "open door policy" to encourage internal communication, inviting anyone who wishes to discuss anything at any time, regardless of location. Jason’s organization operates as a flat structure without any mandatory hierarchy, which he believes fosters this closeness and “helps keep it human.”

Talking about his leadership style and who has had the biggest influence throughout his career, interestingly, Jason believes that we shouldn’t be trying to emulate a leader that inspires us. Instead, he urges people to adopt small parts of what those leaders do well, but to focus primarily on being your own authentic self.  

The interview, as usual, was co-hosted with Russell Goldsmith of the csuite podcast. Alongside Holly Justice, Senior Partner at Tyto PR.

We have distilled the most valuable, actionable insights from our first 15 interviews with leaders of unicorn companies and bottled them in our book ‘Growing without borders: The unicorn CEO guide to communication and culture’. You can download it here.