The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

1: Walking the Road From Individual Contributor to Management w/ Kiva Kolstein

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this inaugural episode of the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk with Kiva Kolstein, Chief Revenue Officer at AlphaSense

What You’ll Learn  

  • How to map your career from individual contributor to manager 
  • Why you should spend time with and invest in your new hires 
  • How to know if a company is a good fit for you and your skills 
  • How a cohesive leadership team should function 

... the sales hacker podcast. I'm your host, Sam Jacobs, founder of the New York revenue collective. Before we start, a quick thank you to this month's sales hacker podcast sponsor node. Nodes Ai Discovery Platform, can understand the meaning, context and connection between any person or company by proactively surfacing opportunities that are highly relevant and personalized in real time. Note is creating an entirely New Paradigm for sales and marketing professionals to grow pipeline and accelerate revenue velocity. Visit Info dotnode DOT ioh forward sales hacker to learn more, and now on with the show. Welcome everybody to the Sales Hacker podcast. This is Sam Jacobs. I'm the founder of the New York revenue collective. I've been building businesses in New York City for the past fifteen years and this is episode one. Thank you so much for joining us. Four episode one. We're excited and honored to have Kiva Col Steam, the chief revenue officer of Alpha Sense and somebody that's been a friend of mine for a number of years. Welcome Kiva. Thanks. I'm great to be here. Well, we're excited to have you. You're one of the most respected and recognized revenue leaders in New York City and Alpha sense is one of the fastest growing businesses. So what we want to do over the course of the next period of time is really chat with you about where you're from, your origins, what got you into sales, and then we can dive deep into some topics as they emerge. This sound like a good idea. Sounds perfect awesome. So we're here with Kiva Colstein and we want to do the quick baseball card stats. So, Kiva, what's your title? Chief Revenue Officer, and what's the company that you work for? Alpha since? Give us a rough annual recurring revenue range for Alpha Sense. We are in the fifteen to twenty five million dollar range. And how many folks are on the team? What's the size of the team that you're responsible for and walk us through how it's organized. So we have about forty people on my team and my team consists of customer success, which includes account management and product specialists, and sales. In the sales team is set up in two teams. We've got a team that's responsible for selling into the by side and cell side and a team responsible for selling into big corporations. Each of those teams has a VP of sales, and then supporting both of those teams is an SDR layer. In addition, we have sales ops and sales enablement. Wow, and tell us about your growth plans for two thousand and eighteen. Our goals to double revenues in two thousand and eighteen and, in terms of the number of people, were likely to grow these sales or by that fifty percent this year. So let's get started, Kiva, you know I have your background and your resume in front of me. It's obviously very impressive. But why don't you walk us through a tell us your origin story. How did you get into sales and how did we end up on a zoom call a cross the Atlantic Ocean together on a Tuesday morning? Great, happy to do that. The coolest part of my story actually begins long before I even thought about sales, long before I really thought about anything. My parents decided to, on a whim, quit their jobs, sell their house, sell all their possessions when I was three years old and take me on a an eighteen month trip around the country. And so we spent eighteen months living in a trailer, visiting every state in Mexico and over that period of time, obviously we spent a lot of time together as a family, but my father wrote a book called everybody should quit at least once. I didn't know anything about the book that he was writing, nor did I know anything about the trip that I was on. I was only three years old. Where did you guys start from? We started from Maplewood, New Jersey, wow, and we landed in Rockland County, New York. That's where the trip ended and and we settled down. We were your parents doing before they quit everything? My father was an advertising my mother was the head of a an all girls school. Had they just seen the Albert Brooks movie...

...lost in America? They may have. I don't know what inspired the trip. I know it didn't please my grandparents their decision to quit their jobs and sell everything, but they were inspired to do it and it was sort of a romantic journey for them. Had that inform the rest of your life, which is probably I mean, I think a couple things. One is the importance of doing what you love and making sure that you're always sort of checking yourself to remember that you know you only live once and you should spend sort of every minute of every day doing the things that you love and when you realize you may not be quit and go find the thing that you love to do. I think that's the most important takeaway for me from from their trip and in the year since, of course, we talked about the trip a lot and it's sort of become the foundation for who my parents are, but maybe perhaps who I am. To tell me more about that foundation. So how did it lead to to a career in sales or what were that they animus was really doing things that you love, and how did you figure out even that you loved sales, because I think your original background was in political science, of UNMISTAKEN. Yeah, so, so right, exactly. So, I think with a backdrop of doing what you love, that's what I set out to do after college and what I began early on. What I graduated with a dry in political science, I decided I wanted to go to law school. My parents suggest that I take a year off between graduation and starting law school and get a job and see what it's like in the real world, and I went to work for a company called Windstar Communications, which was a small local telecommunications company in the midst of the telecom deregulation of one thousand nine hundred and ninety six, so the telecom act of ninety six, but which opened up markets to local competition for the first time. It was an awesome time, a great time to be working in the space. I sold to big fortune, five hundred customers. I crushed my numbers. I won national and international sales contests across like five hundred or thousand person sales organizations. I literally had trucks backing up to my apartment with prizes one from these sales contests. What did you think you were doing differently than everybody else, especially given that you're only twenty two? I don't know. I really didn't compare myself to anybody else. I I'm not sure what made me different. I was just super aggressive. I understood the obvious choice, which was you have this sort of monopolistic telecommunications company that you've been using for the last whatever number of years and they're charging you a rate local longdistance Internet access, whatever it was back then, and now, for the first time, you could choose a different provider the very same fiber, so the same access at a lower cost, and so it was a no brainer. It was a pretty easy sale. This is long before the need to map accounts or build influence or advocacy. I simply walked in, met with whoever was in charge and sold among this idea that they could save a lot of money. Well, people buy things to either make money or save money, so that sounds like a compelling value proposition from my perspective. Let's keep going through your so your background. So whenstar communications is the beginning. It was an easy sale because of the deregulation which sort of enabled you to walk right in the front door and say you can save a lot of money and stop working with the big monopolies. What happened next? So I stayed another year after after having done well by first year. I didn't go back to school. I did it. I had another good year and then I moved on to a come to called Global Crossing. It was actually an interesting time to be a global crossing. Global Crossing had just bought frontier communications, so a much smaller in terms of number of people and Revenue Generated company buying a much larger one. I think at the time I was with Global Crossing, we had something in the neighborhood of five hundred or thousand people and we bought Frontier Communications, which had maybe tenzero employees, and I stayed on our I began as a manager at Global Crossing. I stayed on there a couple of years, taking on two...

...or three different teams as a general manager in New York and had a bunch of success there and the rest is really history. I mean I never went back to school. I moved on from Global Crossing to a company called CPI, which was the consultant brought in to help in the transition as we integrated frontier with Global Crossing. I spent about five years there and on and on. So here I am now at Alpha Sound, seven years later. So one of the big questions you know, and the folks the sales hacker audience has a lot of STRs and a lot of entry level acount executives thinking about making, you know, mapping a career that eventually ends up in management. Do you have any tips, tactics insights there? And then the other question I have for you is how do you think about, because you're both an example of this distinction going from an individual contributor to a manager, but how do you think about guiding people that are trying to figure out what's best for them? I think the first thing is to hit your numbers. No matter what you do, no matter where you ultimately want to go, it all starts with you mastering your craft as an individual contributor, really learning how to choreograph the entire process, learning how to break down your sale cycle into its smallest component parts and master each of the phases. So it begins with a phone call or an email and you move into that first meeting, the deck, the Demo, discovery, objection handling, negotiation, closing, etc. Each of these phases requires a set of skills that don't sort of happen by accident. You've got a really practice and master the craft and once you do, that usually leads to significant success in that individual contributor role. And so for me, the best sales managers or directors are VP's that I've been around started as SDRs or started as sort of junior ae's, and we're in that role, not necessarily at the company for whom they now manage, but in that role for a long enough time where they recognize pitfalls or landmines and can help a seller sort of master their craft, and so to me that's that's the first most important thing you can do. Beyond that, managers need to be selfless, and so the big difference between individual contributorship and management, from my perspective, is is front lines versus behind the scenes. You're standing on a stage in front of the audience as an individual, individual contributor, and you're sort of behind the scenes as the producer, the director, pulling the strings. As a manager, you have to be selfless. You have to be interested in elevating the folks who work on your team and giving them the glory in becoming almost a repository of best practices, information that can be shared across a team. If that is what interests you, if you're genuinely interested in building those around you, then management is likely a good path. If not, then you should reconsider you know, I often hear from management candidates they think of themselves as entrepreneurs and they sort of have an entrepreneur mindset, and that's a good thing on the one hand, because you do need to be crafty and gritty and willing to sort of roll up your sleeves and pivot in the moment, but on the other hand, entrepreneurs many times begin by working alone, and that is the opposite of what I see in good management. You really need to understand how to quarterback a sales process or pull from different parts within the Organization for your sellers, whether it's engineering or product help or even help from the finance team of marketing team. The sales manager needs to understand where the the real value in the organization to help a seller close a deal lies and begin to help a seller organize is that value around them to help their deals get closed. I tend to agree and I think the insights there are really important, which is that, if I think that distinction between being an entrepreneurial mindset and almost a servant leader. I don't think enough people consider what is the true purpose of management, which is essentially sales enablement...

...to your point, which is removing obstacles and then putting resources in front of the sellers they can close deals. So that was great. Now we're at Global Crossing in terms of your career development. That's where you first got management experience, I think, and is this are we in n Nineteen Ninety eight at this point? Neighborhood? Yeah, I think we're like with two thousand, two thousand and one. But yeah, that that neighborhood. So the first the really the firstcom boom, and then you know walk that just the final few steps, because you know you've made a leap from individual contributor, which is right out of school, all the way up to chief revenue officer, which is for a lot of folks that are listening, probably their career destination and their career goal is to at some point be a cro so what we're do you think over the last maybe ten years, the important inflection points that led you to where you are today? I was in management through CPI and the company called Castle. Actually took a step back in terms of responsibility by joining Gerson Lamor Group, Gelog, where I met you, Sam, and decided to help found the corporate markets division for this company. Geolog had historically sold its expert network to the financial services industry. The business had flattened out a bit in two thousand and six or seven and I was on to help start this corporate market division, determining whether or not or we were setting out to determine whether or not there was an appetite for access to expertise in side of large corporations, and so I began as an individual contributor again there, and I think that was really a turning point in my career because it was sort of a start up within a bigger company. We had a bit of a safety net in that if it didn't work out, there was a bigger company to support us. But I was involved at in every facet of building this business, even as an individual contributor, a seat at the table, really thinking about pricing strategy and customer segmentation and territories as we as we realized there was an appetite for access to experts and we began to build a business there. Regardless of my title, my responsibility expanded far beyond selling to customers, thinking about the trade of the handoff between sales and service, thinking about what is now called, you know, count base selling or ABS, but really thinking about how do we expand all of these big fortune five hundred customers that we begun to sell? When do we bring on an St our team? And so even back then, as an individual contributor for this startup within this larger enterprise, I was getting involved in things that would be more like head of sales or cro for me that that was the big turning point. We built a fifty or sixty person company there. We grew revenues at in Gelog sort of corporate life sciences, to something the neighborhood of a thirty or forty million dollars over the six or seven years that I was there. I would say that sort of that gave me the greatest opportunity to see how a startup gets built from the ground up. You know, one of the things I see Kiva, which sort of is embodied in the decision that you took to join glg. I see a lot of people trying to balance title and sort of designated seniority in a sense, with the right level of experience and so on the one hand I see people that really really want to be a VP or really really want to be a director, and sometimes they take a leap before they really have enough cumulative experience to teach other people. So they get the title but ultimately they're not as successful as they could have been. There's another group of people that take a much longer term approach where there really are accumulating experiences, maybe all the way through their s and then once they feel like they've hit that critical inflection point. Then they pursue all of the Koutraman and the trappings of office, which would be the title, in the money and things like that. Do you have a framework for what guided you to take what you consider to be, you know, a slight step back in terms of title to geology, or maybe some advice for people that are balancing those two paths right now in their career? It's a great question. I think one of the most difficult things to do as you're building your career, not just in sales but just in general, is balancing patients and...

...ambition. Hard for me, hard for everyone, and so I don't know that there's a recipe for balancing, you know, patients and ambition. For me it's mostly about the opportunity, and so when I talk to SDRs who aspire to be a ease or a's who aspire to be managers, what I want to sell them on, what I want to talk to them about is is the opportunity that exists at this company for them and try to show them a sort of a not just a path to whatever comes next, but a path to the job after that or the job even after that, and how the work that we're going to do together here is going to prepare them for life long after they leave me, three or five years from now. Now, speaking to all of the heads of sales or Crros out there in the world, I would encourage you to spend time in recruiting and with your newer hires to do just that that. It's really important that the folks who join your team under recognize or believe that you're going to develop them so they can take what they've learned from you and apply it to the next job, in the next job of the next job. I think too often sales managers bring on new hires and teach them to the job that's right in front of them, perhaps even some of the better ones, help them close deals and achieve their target. Are they delivering general manager skills to help this seller manage a PNL? That's the kind of additional support that I think folks need today, or really need to believe they're going to get from you before they join your company. And so, to answer your question, I don't there is no silver bullet. I mean, I think you know, everyone sort of thinks about their career and the speed with which they rise differently. I would just encourage folks to focus more on the opportunity. One is the opportunity this company and the person to whom you'll report provide you more than your title or responsibility day one or how fast you might get the next title. I think that's great advice. So, bringing it back to your career, so you know you're at Gelog. You then were an early employee at percolate along with a bunch of other friends that we share in common, including Mike Seek. You grew that business significantly, both as chief growth officer and chief for evenue officer here. Then chief revenue officer at handshake, and now you're chief for revenue officer at Alpha Sense. So you've had tremendous success over the last couple of years and you come into to me offline about sort of the elements that go into you picking a role or picking a company specifically, you know, for the readers the listeners out there that aren't familiar with Alpha sense, tell us about that company and tell us about the factors that led you to taking the role as chief revenue officer at Alpha Sense. Sure, for me there are five or six things that that needed to be true for me to get really excited about the company, Alpha sense and the roll, but most important, as I just mentioned, the opportunity. Right. What about this company makes it an exciting place to be, regardless of your title or your role, and the five or six things that had to be true for me to get really excited about this business. One, it's a gigantic market. It's a market that already exists, that does not need to be manufactured. So all these knowledge professionals who work for these different companies. So, if you're on the by side, it's an analyst, a PM and MDA, director of research and Cioh if you're inside of a big corporation, it's Ma Strategy, competitive intelligence, investor relations, bed Corp coms. You already recognize the importance of accessing this kind of content. It's what you do every day. It's your job. What we need to do is not convince you that access to this kind of content is important. We need to convince you that Alpha sense provides you a better way or a faster way to access this information. That's really interesting and you know, I think a lot of people out in startup land talk about market size and even at the same time that they talk about it. There's not always a clear or uniform definition of what a big market is. Sometimes a big market just means the number of possible people and that...

...you can have a conversation with and possibly sell to. Other Times it means the actual amount, the volume of dollars that are spent on that specific solution or product. So when you think about big market, do you just think about the number of people, the average amount that they spend, the total amount that they spend? How do you think about it? Great question, and all three. And so when we think about a Tam Alpha sense is a SASS product and we sell it. We sell licenses to individual users inside these companies. We think about the number of users within a company that might potentially buy, how much they'll spend and then, by market, what is the total revenue opportunity that we may be able to realize by selling into these set of customers? Are you another common fallacy that I've seen, as everybody assumes their product is going to access newly created budget, that the decisionmaker, the economic buyer, is going to create new money for their solution? Are you guys taking existing budget from other spend or are you in one of those rarefied situations where they are actually going out and getting more money and new money for your solution. It's a great question, so I'm going to answered a moment. Going back to Gelg, that was one of our challenges early on was where does this budget come from? We're talking to executives and big corporations who didn't even know they could pick up the phone and talk to an expert, and so the first thing we did had to do is introduce them to this concept. We had to manufacture a market for this service and then we had to figure out where the budget was going to come from. At Alpha sense the budget is already there. It is highly likely that if you're a knowledge professional in one of these companies, you are spending money on Bloomberg or Thompson Reuters or cat biq or facts at companies like that. If we can differentiate Alpha sense and show you how you can gain access to the very same content more quickly and you can find what you'd otherwise miss if you're using some o their tool, we can shift budget from one of those companies or other companies like them to Alpha sense, and so for the most part the budget is already there and it just needs to be shifted, which actually is a good thing in most cases because, to your point, you're not having to create an entirely new category, which has both its benefits and it's disadvantages. It is in really the way I think about as it relates to the seller. It's how many sales do you need to make in order to get you deal done? You want to limit the number of sales that need to get made inside of a company in order to get your deal across the line. Yeah, so if you first have to convince them that access to this kind of content is important, or access to an expert who might help you think about moving your business into a new market is important, well, that's sale number one. So you've convinced them of that. Then you've got to convince them, sale number two, that doing it through your firm is a good idea. That's sort of sale number two, and so, without the sense sale number one is already as already been made. And so to me you're speeding up the sales cycle by not having to convince them that that having access to this kind of content is a good idea. Yeah, sort you're alluding to another issue, which is that an established markets, the salesperson can focus more on pure sales, and in new categories the salesperson has to also play the role of marketing in a sense, because if you're trying to convince somebody that they need a solution in the first place, that is often a much longer process and often the domain of marketing as opposed to sales. So you were talking about factors that led you to Alpha Sense and obviously we've got a big market and that's because they are spending money on research already. There's lots and lots of people and there's budget that exists for this type of search content or a product that searches content. You've got a product, obviously, that you believe and what are the other factors when you're evaluating and picking a company besides the product in the market that you're considering? Well, the first is definitely the size of the market. The second is the product. In your right, we've got a product, but I think it's been a little bit more time on that one because I've been part of, or I've advised companies, sort of ABC round companies where the go to market strategy is far out...

...ahead of the product and whens up happening is the product the sellers need to sell so far into the road map that one of a couple things happens. Either one just the product development cycle isn't sped up enough so that when that customer does sign they get what they were initially promised. And maybe they sign on or it, maybe they don't. But let's say they do sign on, it puts all sorts of pressure on the product organization to reprioritize the roadmap to support that new customer, like a customer commitment. Or third you put pressure on your customer success or your account management organization to satisfy a customer. That's not very happy. For me, what was really important is joining a company whose product already serves the needs of the market, that it's not some future roadmapped product, but the product as it exists today supports the needs of the market. Of course it will continue to evolve and get better over time, but what I didn't want is sellers having to sell six or twelve months into a road that I think that is a unique insight, especially because my perspective, especially in New York, is companies are raising a lot of money, given the availability to capital somewhat earlier than has historically been the case and at stages that it would imply there as much clearer product market fit than there actually is. And so you see companies raising ten, fifteen, twenty million dollars around a B or a sea round, the assumption being that they figured it out and now is the time to scale. But in actuality what's happening is exactly what you just describe, which is seller selling into a road map that you know is sometimes six to nine months out ahead. Yeah, I think it's an epidemic. I mean I really do. I think it's a real problem in startup land where you've got sort of a lot of pressure, based on the recent round and the story that you want to tell the market or the investment community, to sell bigger deals or more of them, and so you're putting pressure on the sales organization to go out and sell these deals when in fact, in order to do that you've got to sell so far into the road map that you're just not going to have happy customers, and you know which leads to churn and you know there's all sorts of problems that come as a result. Is there a Kiva colsting answer to this epidemic. Besides, from your perspective, picking a company that hasn't done that well, I think it's again sort of palance of patients and ambition. I think on the one hand it requires a management team willing to take the slow and steady approach, willing to stand up to the board if that's what it takes, willing to take sort of the long term here, understanding that in order to build sort of a massive independent company, not one looking for a fast eggs it sometimes you've got to sort of be a little bit more patient and set perhaps more appropriate expectations at the board level. And at the same time I think it requires transparency inside the organization. If you do decide, for whatever reason, and many times there are good reasons, to have to sell into the Road Map, making sure that the entire organization, your service organization, your product organization, Sales Organization, recognizes why we're doing that really important that the founders, that the chief Revenue Officer, that the folks who are or out there leading the charge, communicate clearly what we're doing and why we're doing it. And so taking on a customer commitment is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as everyone is aware for why we're doing it, and a reason could be it's the largest deal we've ever closed. It might signal to the rest of that market that this company has chosen to go with yours and therefore there are some followers that will decide that they should go with you. So there's there's lots of reasons why you might want to take on a customer commit reprioritize the product roadmap for one customer. But but transparency is really important here. Have you seen that happen? You don't have to name names, but yeah, naming names. I definitely have seen that happen. And in the same way that I talked about, every single interaction with a prospect can potentially impact the outcome of your deal. So you need to choreograph the entire process. Every single decision that we make through our growth process will potentially impact the out home. You know the exit, you know where this company is headed, and so it's not just big decisions like pricing and customer segmentation and...

...hiring, it's all the small decisions that we make every day. And so we meet as a leadership team once a week, not just that. Alpha sense, but in all the companies I've been with and and we do clearly planning once a quarter and we set the path when a founder, on a whim, decides to make a change that is really disruptive. We talk a lot about at Alpha sense measuring twice and cutting once versus the opposite. Let's take our time to really analyze the situation, whatever the situation, and not simply follow something that might be trying to and brighten new let's move into a bit of tactics, because you've learned a lot of lessons from your time at startups and I think it'd be helpful to share some of your key lessons and some of the elements of the Kiva Colsta in playbook that you rely on that you think are particularly successful. Walk us through some of your frameworks. Choreography is sort of the overarching framework and Samue and I've talked a lot about that and I cared deeply about sort of choreographing the entire process for sellers, for managers, for ops, for really everyone in my organization sales and service. I train on choreographing the process. I talk a lot about mastering each of the phases. I believe in it for myself too and what I what I do, and so I'd say the first thing is around hiring. Making bad hiring decisions is probably the worst thing that you can do. It sets you back well a long time. Not only do you have to sort of let somebody go and a bad decision has been made, but you have to unwind the work that they've done in their territory or customers that they've built relationships with or all the other stuff that has gone on over the course of the first two or three or ten months that they've been with you. So do you, as you have a framework for I think a lot of people would nodd their heads. But then the next question is, I don't know how to hire somebody properly. I don't know how to hire somebody effectively. So what's your framework for making that that decision the right way? I think getting lots of people involved in the hiring process is a good first place to start. Making suure that everyone who is interviewing a candidate is looking for something unique, whether it's passion or grit or raw intelligence or curiosity or a genuine interest in learning, whatever it is that you are looking for in candidates for a specific role. Make sure that all the folks who are interviewing are interviewing for something different. First, it will give the candidate a better experience not to have five or six of the same interviews we're all asking the same questions and second, it will focus your questions in a way that can deliver to me, who maybe the hiring manager, insights around each one of these characteristics that I may be looking for. What's your favorite interview question? Give us something we can take with us. I think it's less about a favorite interview question more about the story I want to hear told to me by a candidate. For me, it's important to go all the way back to the beginning. I told the story at the outset of this conversation about my parents in the trip around the country and how that, to some extent, has stayed with me and built a foundation for me as I think about you know what I do with my day. I want to hear about elementary school and challenge is that they may have faced or had to overcome. I want to hear about whether they've played sports in high school or played an instrument. Why are we not? I want to hear about why they chose the college they did. What are you looking for? I'm really looking for decisionmaking and, perhaps even more importantly, obstacles that they've overcome. The hardest thing for me and interviewing is determining whether or not this person has the Grit and the horse power to work inside of a high growth, high velocity start up like Alpha sense or handshake or percolate or anywhere I've been. Horse Power mean hours to you know, just trying to get specific. What is horsepower mean to you? You perseverance. It's your motor, it's your ability to power through. It's not necessarily ours, although it could be. It's a recognition that when you work inside of a company that aspires to be a billion dollar company and there's a long way to go from here to there, you have to be running at a hundred and ten percent all the time, that this is an all in experience,...

...and so I want to make sure that this person who I'm interviewing has dealt with adversity, has tools that they used to overcome obstacles that they haven't just in their sales career or business career, sold gold and a gold rush, if you will, and sometimes that difficult to glean from a resume. The resume says they went to an Ivy League school, they got out of college and joined a company and achieved great things. They hit presidents club year over year a year. But what it doesn't tell me is how difficult that might have been for them to do. You know, what was that company selling? Where they simply taking orders or having to introduce, like we're talking about earlier, a new concept or open a new market? And so part of the interview for me is understanding sort of work life, but I really want to go all the way back and understand sort of what got them there. I don't want to hire folks who've always had it easy, because this will be the hardest job that they've ever had and I will push them harder than they've ever been pushed before, force them to use X or exercise muscles that they've not exercised in a while or perhaps ever, and so the folks that I find fail in an environment like this one are those that haven't been pushed in that way. So, Kivo, what else do you think is important? You know you've done you've talked about hiring a little bit, but give us a little bit more of your framework for helping build in scale the start up. So the next would be sort of territory creation. As you think about scale, creating territories is pretty important. When you've got one seller, they're responsible for all the prospects in the entire universe and you've got to then you've got a divided by two and three and so on. But scaling is really difficult because it requires that you you begin to beg and borrow territory from existing sellers, thereby shrinking their territory and in their mind they were building to achieve their target. And so coming up with a terrorratory creation plan you can convince the existing sales team that there's enough tam total addressable market inside of their prospect universe to give them the opportunity to double or triple their target. is a really important part of managing a team and at the same time, when you are scaling, be able to deliver to new hires the same opportunity a territory that gives them the opportunity to double or triple their target. In some sense you're not even just talking about territory creation but around the entire investment that you need to make it for a new seller to make them successful, which might also include SDR support or marketing support or some commitment around how you're going to help them build that pipeline within the territory. Absolutely, that's true and I would say those are other those are additional, sort of peripheral learnings around territory creation. But one of the most difficult for me it is literally creating territory. And so how do you do that? Well, you've got to get creative and go beyond geography, and so we've thought about verticals. We thought about sort of ABS. So when you're starting the company or early days, you've got sellers who've got two hundred or five hundred, a thousand companies in their territory and as you bring on more sellers you're shrinking that territory. You've got to think about different ways to convinced that seller that they can achieve their target, and so abs is sort of this new term but an old strategy. It's focusing in on a very specific accounts and understanding the customer personas that we're selling into with any of these accounts and determining how much revenue you can generate from one on account over the course of the next year and then building a marketing and sales plan around getting at that revenue. And so when you do that, and you do that effectively, you can now convince a seller that instead of meeting two hundred or five hundred accounts in their territory, they may only need five or ten. That's a really important part of scaling a sales or is getting to a place where a seller only believes they need five or ten accounts in their territory to achieve their target. And now is the sense. If I'm a seller, am I just focused on new business or do I get to keep the account after the sale so I can push for expansion and up? So on the Bicell side, you immediately hand that account off to an account manager, mostly because additional analysts buying access to Alpha sense inside of a hedge fund doesn't require a lot of additional selling. On the corporate side, you keep the account as an AE and continue to...

...expand it, mostly because the functional areas within incorporation or siload and require additional selling. So moving from Ma the strategy to competitive intelligence, to be the etc. Requires many times a whole new sales cycle. And there isn't a lot of best practices sharing inside of large corporations and so we keep those accounts with the AE's. This sounds like it takes a tremendous amount of work. So to follow up questions, one is there must be a point at which you want to start developing more sophisticated territory creation, or is there not? Do you develop it right from the beginning, you know, just as you're hiring a first batch of a's? But I would think that you sort of phase it in based on milestones that the busines this hits, and then what kind of resources do you need as a cro to enable this level of sophistication in terms of sales, APPS, support so on. The first question, you absolutely phase it in and I think along with everything else, like comp plans, they become more complicated. Territories become more complicated over time as you're required to think about new and different ways to support new folks that you might be bringing in. In terms of the the assistance, I'd say the two most important hires for me are sales ops or business ops. Someone who is thinking about analytics from the very top, top top of the funnel. Alongside our marketing team all the way down through negotiation, close and expansion, division of labor between a M and AE etc. So to me, sales ops is is my first hire, and that person really has to understand, I think, most importantly, the velocity of opportunities that they move down a funnel, giving us the confidence that the pipeline that we're creating, week over a week, month over month, will get us to our target at the end of a month or the end of quarter. The second most important higher for me is sales enablement. That person also can get involved in customer segmentation, in creating fire personas in some of this absabm strategy, alongside sales ops and me. But most importantly, that person is responsible for spinning up or ramping our sellers. And so the way I think about sales enablement is we split it into three parts. First part being on boarding, and that's usually one to two weeks. I want that to be Navy seal style in early, out, late, homework, every night, presentations to management, really getting prepared for what life will be like out there on the front lines after your second week is over. The second part of sales enablement is what we call performance ramp. So week three to week fifteen or week fourteens of twelve weeks worth of performance ramp. That is less intense than your first two weeks, but you are still spending significant time with sales enablement and various other folks within the organization mastering different parts of the sales process or getting certified on let's say, discovery or objection handling or the deck or the Demo, that kind of thing. And then the third part is ongoing sales effectiveness. So for all of the existing staff that we have on the sales and service team, we want to make sure that they understand how to articulate value, to talk about are a lie, when we come out with a new case study, how to communicate that case study to clients in different sectors in a way that will make good sense to that client. So there's this ongoing sales effectiveness program that we run and so to me, those are really the two people that I rely on to help me think through not just territory creation but comp planning and scale. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. We are running out of time. So this has been incredible. What I want to do now is shift to some quick fire questions where we can just get a lay of the land in terms of how you approach different things. Does that sound okay? Great? Sure, great. So, first of all, big question in the startup land. Who Should St Ours report to? Marketing or sales? I've seen them report to both. I don't necessarily have a strong opinion on whether they report to marketing or sales. I do have a strong opinion on making sure that, if they report to marketing, that marketing and sales are coordinated. And so what you never want to have is a marketing organization...

...that is operating in the green, slapping each other five really excited about all the leads that they believe that they're generating, in a sales organization that's operating in the red, believing that the sales that are being generated aren't very good ones. And so as long as there's type coordination between those two organizations, you're in good shape. The second thing I have an opinion on is is who the SDR ultimately wants to be, and my experience it's very hard to motivate and str SDR is like the toughest job in the entire organization. It's thankless, it's long hours, it's lots of rejection. Difficult to motivate that person to do that job for twelve or eighteen months unless they desperately want a career in sales. And so if they believe they're growing up into marketing or strategy or some other functional area, they may be difficult to motivate and tough times. Yeah, sense. So monthly, corterally or annual quotas? What do you do for for off of sense. So everyone has an annual target, but they're responsible for achieving each of their quarterly targets and I manage them against a twelve quarter close. So important that everyone hits a number every month. Even more important that everyone hits a number every quarter or so in Alfa sense, you get paid a commission based on the sales that you bring in, but you also get paid a quarterly bonus for achieving that quarterly target. And then, of course, if all else fails, you need to achieve your annual number. But I'd say you do an annual number. But most important to me is everyone aligning against the quarterly goal. Average quota for, you know, SMB reps, mid market and enterprise. I'd say average for SMB's two hundred and fifty three hundred K. average for mid market is probably the neighborhood of five hundred K and average for enterprises is closer to hundred k. and for me, what I've learned is you want to be somewhere in the neighborhood of x theae's as ote in terms of what their target is for the year. Okay, let's talk about your text act. What are the are you guys a sales for shop? We are, and what are the other tools that you're using? You know, across sort of like your sales technology investment linkedin sales navigator. We use outreach and hub spot. The sellers use outreach, our marketing team uses up spot. Are Recruiting Organization uses greenhouse to organize sort of candidate interviews and to post new jobs. And then slack, and I think slacked by far is my favorite APP. I'm on slack all day long, not just with the sales team but with the marketing team, the product team, finance team and really everybody. Enables me to connect with people very quickly and ask them quick questions about deals in cycle, your favorite vp of sale that's not you, or just give us a mentor or a leader of people that you brainstorm with, as we want to know who are the best people in your in your ecosystem. Yeah, so I'm not sure that I have a specific mentor that I regularly turn to for advice, but I'm part of a ven wise cro part in New York. We meet once a month and then a couple times in between a more formal meeting to brainstorm with each other. I'm part of your New York City revenue collective, which is awesome, and I'm off of using folks from that group to bounce ideas. I use you apart from that group, and I've got a question. Mike Zeke. He and I were at geog for a long time together. Then we're on the executive team that percolate together for three or four years. So we've kind of grown up together in similar environments and I like to buy bounce ideas off of Zeq. And then Jess Hunt has been a long time favorite of mine. We work closely together at Gelg for a while and she's wipped smart, has deep experience managing multiple sides of the business, and so when I'm really stuck I'll turn to jess. All right, everybody, thanks so much, Kiva, for your time on the first ever salesacker podcast with Sam Jacobs. I'm Sam Jacobs Kiva. If anybody listening wants to get in touch with you, maybe their incredible account executive or SDR, or they just want to meet up with coffee, can they? And what email address should they use? They absolutely can, and they can email me at k Colstein at Alpha Sensecom. Awesome, Kiva. Thank you so much for participating and I'll see you in future meetings of the revenue collective. That sounds good.

Thanks so much them. Thank you. At the end of every interview that we do we're going to have a little section called Sam's corner where we reflect on what has happened, and this is the first Sam's corner. I think we can all agree that that conversation with Kiva was pretty exceptional. Kiva is such a well respect and well regarded thought leader in the New York sales community. One of the things that he said at the very beginning was he said make sure that you're doing what you love, and my experience is that phrase and that admonition often gets misinterpreted. I think that folks might want to consider a three circle ven diagram when they think about their career. The first circle is what you're interested in, the second circle is what you're good at and the third circle is where the market is moving, and all three of those circles need to overlap in order to have a successful career. Most folks overweight what they're interested in and they underweight where the market is moving and what they're good at. I would say the final caveat to that as well, or a Dendam, is most people missed define what they're good at. They don't actually frame it in the right way. They oftentimes are applying a very broad stroke to a department or to a discipline that is really an accumulation of discrete responsibilities. So what I mean specifically is people say I'm not good at sales, when, if you break sales up into its component parts, which are a combination of organization, discipline, the ability to ask difficult or uncomfortable questions, the ability to paint a picture for a world that might be versus a world that is all of those things actually do end up being both something that people are good at and sometimes that they're interested in when they thought they weren't. So that's my word for the wise for today, and that's Sam's corner. Thanks so much for joining in. If you want to get in touch with me for any reason, you can reach me on twitter. Sam F Jacobs is my username, or you can email me Sam f Jacobs at gmailcom, and I'll talk to you soon. Thank you. To check out the show notes, see upcoming guests and play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, visit sales hackercom podcast. You can also find the sales hacking podcast on itunes or Google play. If you enjoyed this episode, please give us a share on Linkedin, twitter or any other social media platform. And finally, special thanks again to this month's sponsor, at node seemore at INFO dotnode DOT IO. Forward sales hacker. Finally, if you want to get in touch with me, find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs or on Linkedin at Linkedincomlas in slash Sam f Jacobs. I'll see you next time.

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