Published August 17, 1999
Volume 7, Number 8

Chris Nozet is Working Hard and Playing Hard at Kronos, Inc.

Talking to Chris Nozet, it's clear that sometimes the simple things like hard work and discipline are the keys to success. 

Of course, it also helps to have an unusually clear understanding of oneself, as Nozet demonstrates. 

"I guess when you go to college, you never know what you're going to be, but actually I'm (working) in the area I majored in, which isn't typical," says the 34-year-old. "I always thought of myself as a business person." 

It's a perception that was undoubtedly shaped by his parents, both successful in their own right. 

Chris Nozet"My mom owns a realty company in the state of Washington, with about 100 employees, and my dad has a company here in the Bay Area that sells building products to companies like Home Depot," he says. 

Originally from Van-couver, Washington, Nozet moved to California to attend Chico State, where he earned a degree in business marketing. After stints at Hertz and Reynolds Corporation, he began working in sales for Lanier Worldwide. 

"I was a national accounts manager for them, selling mostly to the State of California fax machines, copiers, things like that," he says. "I was really successful there, always overachieved my numbers. I think I was number two on the West Coast." 

After about two-and-a-half years there, he moved to QMS, a maker of high-end laser printers used in networks in large companies. 

"That's where I had my first foray into technology and I really learned a lot about networks, since a lot of the printers ran on Unix systems," he adds. 

He began working for Kronos in June of '93, and led the rookie sales reps in his first year. The company is the industry leader in what they call "frontline labor management," providing software for managing employee time and activity data, scheduling, and providing managers with the tools they need to measure and improve workforce productivity.

With part of his responsibilities now geared towards training salespeople, it was a valuable experience.

"There are a lot of things that go into being successful in sales," he says. "You have to make sure you're talking to the people who can make decisions. There's proactive work, as far as doing a lot of direct mail and telemarketing on a regular basis; it has to be a regular part of your system daily and weekly as a sales person or your pipeline will dry up months from now.

"Understanding the business needs of that particular customer better than the competitor does, and making sure you're filling those needs."

The main ingredient, he notes, has to do with the attitude that a sales person brings to their job. 

"Run your territory like it's your own business, and do what you need to do to make it successful." 

He finds that his experience shapes his direction of his sales force as well. One thing he cautions against, for instance, is micromanaging experienced sales people.

"We try to give them free rein to be creative and make sure that they're given territory to be successful in as well," he notes. "I think that allows people to flourish more than if you have them under your thumb all the time." 

It also helps that Nozet enjoyed his time in sales. In fact, there are times that he misses his time on the front lines. 

"I think there are some things that are nicer about being a sales person: you only have yourself to worry about, the problems you deal with typically aren't as big..." 

The only similarity is the level of stress, but he notes that there's a big difference between meeting a $1 million quota as an individual as compared to a $17 million quota for a 50-person staff. 

"But if you have a good team like we have, the numbers continue to come in," he adds. "One of the most important things you can do is surround yourself with really good people." 

He compares the change from salesman to sales manager to the change a professional athlete makes from playing to coaching. But Nozet is a team player, in every sense of the word. When away from the office, he busies himself with water and snow skiing, golf, and recreational softball. 

"I believe in playing hard and working hard that's sort of my motto," he says, "so on the weekends I try to enjoy as much recreation as I can, because I know what the week is going to be like." 

He also credits his wife, Vanessa, and his 15-month-old daughter Brittany, with his success. 

"It's a motivation," he says. "It helps to have a solid family at home." 


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