Product CEO or Sales CEO? Why You Need to Get It Right with Catherine Dahl

Are you a product CEO or a sales CEO? The answer may not be what you think. Case in point: Catherine Dahl, the CEO of Beanworks, an AP automation platform recently acquired by Quadient. Catherine spent two years building her company as a sales CEO when a sudden realization struck that she was trying to be something she wasn't. By owning her role as a product CEO, everything changed. With the right sales leader in place and the sales machine turned on, Beanworks went from half a million Canadian in revenue in 2017 to 8 million Canadian in 2021. Listen to her story in this episode of Sales Talk for CEOs.

During our discussion, Catherine takes us back to the early days when Beanworks was starting. She discusses building the platform, getting customers, and the bumps along the way. After partnering with Sage, Catherine demonstrated her knowledge of the pain points and product through speaking and educating customers. But it wasn't until she read Steve Jobs's biography did it 'click' that she was a product CEO trying to be a sales CEO. Her journey led her to find the perfect sales leader, who built a powerful sales team and got the sales machine running. Find out how it all happened by listening to this episode.


0:50 Rejuvenating a hundred-year-old business

4:39 Getting ready to go global

7:26 Before Beanworks began…

12:21 Trying not to sell

19:57 The quest for more customers

23:33 Getting the channel sales flowing

26:52 Product CEO or sales CEO?

34:18 The biggest lesson learned along the way


"Steve Jobs was not a sales CEO, and all this time, I thought he was because of the way he's portrayed in movies. He was a product CEO, and his passion was product. And he hired the right people to do the sales side."

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