The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

182: Build a Sales Team from the Ground Up w/ Michelle Pietsch


In this episode of the Sales Hacker Podcast, we have Michelle Pietsch , VP of Revenue at Dooly , which streamlines sales workflow and saves reps 5+ hours per week. Join us for a standout conversation on building sales teams from the ground up at high-growth startups.

What You’ll Learn 

- How to handle massive growth expectations

- The importance of investing in infrastructure in the team

- Hiring SDRs to create demand

- Why the discovery process is always an improvement area

Show Agenda and Timestamps

- About Michelle Pietsch & Dooly [2:10]

- Building sales teams from the ground up [8:08]

- Being in the early growth stage with sales [11:15]

- Effectively coaching reps for improved performance [16:40]

-Improving the discovery process [18:57]

- Paying it forward [25:10]

- Sam’s Corner [27:01]

One, two, one, three, three. Hey everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today in the show we've got Michelle Peach. Michelle is the VP of revenue at Duly, a really interesting company that provides connected workspaces so that your ability to update your crm and sales force is improved, reduces complexity from Your Company and saves your reps five hours per week in busy work and things that they don't want to do. So at any rate, it's a great conversation and she's been building companies from the ground up for a really long time. Before we get there, we've got three sponsors. The first is outreach. Outreach has been a long time sponsor of this podcast and we're excited to announce that their annual series, unleash summit series is back. This year's theme is the rise of revenue innovators. Join the new cohort of leaders who put buyers at the center of their sales strategies to drive efficient, predictable growth across the entire revenue cycle. Get more details and save your spot at summit dot outreach dot I. Oh. The podcast is also sponsored by pavilion. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. Our private membership gives you access to thousands of like minded peers, dozens of courses in schools through Pavilion University, and no for onzero workbooks, templates, scripts and playbooks to accelerate your development. Pavilion members get hired twenty two percent more quickly, are paid fourteen percent more on average and get promoted thirty four percent more rapidly than their peers. Those are some amazing stats. Unlock the career of your dreams by applying today at join PAVILIONCOM. Finally, Demo Stack. The product demo is make or break for your deal, but tailoring the story is tedious work. Demo Stack turns weeks in two minutes, so you can deliver custom demos at scale. No more ACME INC dummy data. With demo stack you can edit data and charts with a point and click and show product stories that win deals faster. See how world class sales organizations use demo stack to accelerate revenue at Demo stackcom. Now, without further ado...

...less, listen to my conversation with Michelle Peach. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today, we are excited to have on the show Michelle Peach. Michelle is the vice president of revenue at Duley, the rapid growth sales SASS company that recently raised eighty million dollars to pioneer the connected workspace for revenue teams. Michelle has a long history of developing and scaling sales teams for fast growing startups. Prior to joining duely, Michelle served as the VP of sales adrift and associate VP of sales a data dog, where she successfully grew the sales team from the ground up. Michelle, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Sam. We're excited to have you. So we like to start with your baseball card. Your title is vp of revenue. Your name is Michelle Peach, but not everybody knows Du lie. So, in your words, the company you know? Just tell us. I mean there it's been a story in the press that would that I've read about recently, over the last couple of months. But in your words, what is duly do? Yeah, so for a sales wrap and sales managers. You have your data in your meeting notes all over the place and reps don't update sales force because there's a lot of Admin work and that impacts of sales managers. So we're duly reps, take meeting notes and update sales force with one workflow and view, which ultimately eliminates the duplicate effort ensuring that your sales force, instance, is always going to be up to date. And we are saving sales reps five plus hours per week. So just really eliminate all that busy work, all of the noise. And for me as a sales leader, I have dealt with US my entire career, both as an account executive but on the leadership side, where I have to constantly hit up reps to ask for updates of their forecasts or what's going out with deals. So that helps with all of that grunt work and removes it. Amazing. I mentioned that you just you know you've recently raised eighty million dollars. But from like a size of the organization, rough ar are I...

...mean you don't have to answer anything confidential, but where are you in your growth? How many people work there? That kind of thing. Yeah, we are really small. We have a big presence out in the social media world, but I started in March and we had thirteen employees and we're around fe employees today and fastly adding more to more engineering and product side. On the air side, we keep that pretty close to us, but we are growing and have some pretty lofty goals ahead of us. Amazing. How did you find the job you're working? I Sam you're a you're adrift. I mean those are drifting data dog or two pretty high profile companies. What was it about this opportunity that excited you? Yeah, it's funny because I left drift to be a stayathome mom. I had my second son last July and thought I'm going to take a break and really just spend time with the family and didn't think I work for quite some time until Chris, our CEO, asked to meet with me and I saw a demo dulee and it just solves a pain that I felt for so long in my career. So it was a no brainer to take this role and do what I typically do, is building and scaling the sales team here at Duley. So I'm really excited about that. Well, that's that's incredible and congrats on your on your second son. Thank you. So let's dive a little bit into your background. How did you, you know where you're from. The common question is because I still I've been doing this for three and a half years now, recording this podcast, and nobody has ever said that they have a quote unquote traditional sales background in terms of how they got into sales. So how did you get into sales? What was your entree into the world and and and just tell us a little bit about your career. Yes, so right out of college, two weeks out of college, I started at EMC's sales program because I really didn't know what I wanted to do, but sales just seemed like the natural step for me. I went to school to be in PR and communications.

I had a number of different internships in PR and I noticed that the ability to make a lot of money and control your revenue wasn't really there. And at the same time I was bartending and waitress saying and knew how to upsell from, you know, the stake tips to the flame and yon the bottle of wine, and I enjoyed that. So I had a feeling that I should go towards sales, but no one knows what they're going to be doing out of college. Ended up at AMC, went through the sales program and realized that the larger organization really wasn't for me, because crushing goals and getting like very little recognition and not seeing that reflect in your paycheck as a bdr wasn't for me. So I went to applause, where I got my experience in the true startup world and that it took off from there, where I was a Bedr and at that time we called it grass roots marketing. Had No idea what I was getting myself into. Didn't really know what a startup was, and I learned so much very quickly about outbound prospecting, how to talk to prospects and close deals at a really young age, right out of school. So it kind of just happened naturally. What did applause do? What does applause do? So applause was called you test back in the day, and it is crowdsource bug testing. So you hire people to test your applications for bugs and you could do that on different platforms and different environments, which were super powerful for some of these the world's largest organizations. When they're rolling out an application, you need to make sure it works. Amazing. And so what have you learned over the past? You know. I mean you've been at data dog, you've seen some really incredible success and now you're working at a really well funded company that's early in its growth, and... of the things that you mentioned a few minutes ago was, you know, what you do is you build sales teams from the ground up. How do you approach that? You have a framework? Do you have a methodology? Do you have a seat? You know, how do you figure out what to focus on? For example, tell us a little bit about, you know, your philosophy. If we were to hire you to build out our sales team, what would you do first and how did you think about it? Every organization is different, and that took me a little bit of time to realize. It depends on what you're selling, who you're selling to, and I it really starts with listening to your customers, listening to the current employees that are there and identifying our super powers and the value that we bring to the market. So before you put any type of process in place, it's important to understand what we actually do, what our customers are saying, what they love what they hate about our product, and peel back the layer of the onion there to identify okay, what's our discovery process look like? What's our B flow look like? What type of sale is it going to be? Is it more transactional or we focusing more on mid market to enterprise? So early on it's identifying top of funnel. We know who's coming, who's raising their hand, and what does that look like, and then putting the standard process in place from there and knowing that the first two times is probably going to fail and being okay with doing experiments and and being okay with those experiments not necessarily sticking. So with the organizations that I've built, the team that they have had multiple different trajectories of where the sales process was going and what that overall growth look like. So at data dog is super, Super Transactional, your standard plg motion. Before PLG was even a thing, we had people coming in, raising their hands and bind without ever talking to a sales rap and drift was a little bit different, where we had...

...a great, great brand recognition out in the market. So everyone was really really cure various for we treated as if it was a PLG emotion. But at the end of the day we really need to do like qualification and proper discovery in order to make those customers successful, and that was one of the instances where, like, we didn't take the time to actually listen and learn and identify those true superpowers for our customers in order for them to be successful. So, putting your your traditional sales motion in place, there you're a dueling now. How do you think about I guess there's a natural tension, I would I would presume, but I could be wrong, between the amount of money that you've raised, in the growth expectations that are implicit in that money, and the reality that it's pretty early stage company and there were thirteen people there a few months ago. How do you balance that pressure? Do you balance that pressure? Do you just try to hire higher higher? You know my experience when, and you might know this just from from knowing a little bit about me or not, but my experience is sometimes companies raise a ton of money and then there's this huge pressure to hire ton of sales people before they before there has been any diagnosis, a top of the funnel, before you figure it out how you're going to generate leads and generate opportunities. How are you balancing that tension now that you're a duly where you've got this massive amount of capital on the balance sheet which implies, you know, a couple hundred million dollar valuation, but the reality is that you're pretty early in your growth stage. Yeah, Sam, and that is yet we pressures the right word. It is setting the right expectations with everyone involved at the state Jeck level, in the organization and also at the board level, because we are very much seed company, or really early series a, but with a lot of money, and we have been in learning mode since I started in March. There were no sales reps, so we had really very little resources or understanding of, you know, where this thing is going. So when you have all of that capital and expectations to build and grow super quickly,... can fall on your face relatively quickly because you hire two quick and you don't have the the resources, the process and the understanding of where we are going to run to. And that was something that I set early on with our CEO that I will not just throw bodies a number because we got a ton of funding. We need to understand how we can be successful and map our priorities the right way and knowing that we are still very much in learning and growing phase and as we start to have more conversations with prospects and customers. Were learning every single day. So I spend most of my time coaching and listening to calls with my sales team to identify, okay, what is our process going to be? Now, for example, we're starting to see a lot more mid market companies raise their hands, so that's something that wasn't there two months ago. So it's really it is a it's a tough balancing act, but setting the right expectations early on was really important for me with my CEO that I will not just throw bodies at a number. We need to make sure that we have our ducks in a row before we do that, because I've made the mistake in the past where we've listened to okay, you have x amount of funding, now go hire twenty people. Six months later we have to fire fifty percent of them because we just we weren't ready. I've made that mistake too. Yeah, been they're done that. I don't want to do it again. Yeah, me neither. Another thing that I sort of like discovered, or which is also hard sometimes to pitch to the CEO, is, Hey, I don't want to hire reps necessarily. First thing I want to do is maybe hire a head of revenue ops, and maybe I want to hire a head of enablement and maybe I want to hire, you know, a recruiter or some kind of sales or revenue focus talent acquisition person, like building out the infrastructure of the revenue team before just hiring Reps. have you sequenced it that way or you know what's how are you thinking about building infrastructure as you hire the actual closures? Yeah, that... exactly what we're doing. I hired headed of Red Bops in June when I only had three sales reps at the time, and the idea for her role is to really understand our data and put the process in place for marketing off C S OPS and sales ops so we can figure out where to focus, as opposed to bringing in a bunch of sales reps. I think it's really important to hire salesops or revops really early on because they are you're basically guiding light and they're my like number one person that I spend most time with to just put the mechanisms in place and if you without the actual tools needed in order to understand top of funnel Matrix, top a funnel data and also see and customer success data. You really can't figure out where to go without that, in my opinion, and that's a role that people wait too long to hire, because once you start to unpack it, after you know selling for twelve months, they're like, Oh wow, we should not have segmentsed that way now let's change it. I want to do it the opposite way and have someone put that in place before we actually do, you know, segmentation or tiering of accounts or or grating of leads and stuff like that. But for the sale side, I also hired an ASTR team earlier than I normally would as well, and that's for us to really just to penetrate the market and get as many hands on leads and contacts as possible to bring people to duly, and it is a it's at one ratio right now, which you don't typically see this early on, but it's an experiment that I'm willing to take. I support your experiment. Thank you for it's better to have...

...a small number of reps with tons of opportunities high fiving and everybody's sitting quote and closing deals then two hundred reps and no leads and then you fire half of them, like you said earlier. Right, right, exactly. So one of the things that you know, you I think you're good at, you've prided yourself on in the past, is is coaching, how to effectively coach your reps. and you also mentioned earlier in this conversation that you know you're spending a lot of time on the phone listening to calls. Maybe you're using, you know, something like Gong or course or what have you, but try not hear what our customers saying, what a prospect saying. How do you need to think about the sales motion, the sales process, the talk tracks? What Are Your keys to effectively coaching reps that you can actually drive improved behavior and performance? Yeah, it took me a while to learn this through many, you know, failed attempts of watching other leaders come in above me and putting a process in place. It just doesn't we simply just doesn't make sense or aligned with the business or the rep stay in the life and then trying to roll out a process to sixty reps who just look at me like you have no idea whatever what we do all day. So I have now realize it's best to understand what the reps are doing every single day. What does their day in the life look like? What's getting in their way, what's working, what's not working, and listening to calls and identifying coaching opportunities for each individual rep, and then also on the team side, is really important, but getting on the reps level, so spending more time on a one to one basis and a team environments as well, to just hear, okay, what are you hearing on calls? What's getting in your way? For I just got off a forecast call. I got into the second deal and one of my reps is chimed in and said Hey, have you, has anyone else been hearing x, Y and Z, and we spent that entire forecast call just trying to unpack that and help them identify how...

...they can get over overcome that objection or get better when that comes up, as opposed to just like focus on the deals, focus on the forecast, and I think it it's really important to figure out what they're spending their time on. So, for example, at drift we were constantly rolling out new tools. Every tool that we rolled out the reps, no one logged in and they were like. You realize that you just gave us five tools to learn and to implement and I don't have the time or energy to do that. So figuring out what's getting in their way and how you can minimize that that noise is really important and it also gives you the opportunity to build their trust in your ability to help them, especially when you're identifying areas of improvement, gaps in their process and taking the time and over it's really just about listening. You mentioned that the one thing that you can always that always bears improvement is the discovery process. Elaborate on that. Yes, I don't care your a hundred million in revenue, you're crushing it, I guarantee. There are reps that are just still failing at the discovery process and and it's maybe because I am spending a lot of time listening to calls, but you miss the opportunity to dig deeper and identify what I call like a golden nugget really early on on calls and discovery is super important to identify how you can position the value of the product, how you can actually help your prospect and reps need to always be working on discovery and you see even your top reps get super comfortable because they're your top rep and they start to skied over some questions and they miss the pain. They can't tie value back, and it's something that I will always be working on with my team. One of the experiences I had sort of to your last point, your last coming about time value back, is sometimes when I've been teaching discovery or trying to coach reps or... or just been part of teams that have been doing it, we spend so much time talking about asking effective questions that you hear reps on the phone and they they just they start asking so many questions and you could tell they lose the threads somewhere in them all the conversation and they're not sure how to take any of these answers and relate them back to the product, tying it back to value. How do you how do you coach people to do that? That's a question. That's what I'm dealing with today. I think it's narrowing it down and not asking it's almost like less is more, especially if you get a metric. You get one metric, focus on that one metric, dig a little deeper and then identify in our demo. Like you, it could go it could be a ten minute demo where you can get to the Aha moment or you can be showing someone forty five minutes of Duli but without actually identifying that core metric or pain point. It's really hard. So once you get one one thing really early on, stop there, ask a few more questions, know that you have amor at the end of the call or at the end of the sales process to throw back at them. That is easier said than done, though, and I've seen it with my reps, for example, just at a call yesterday. Had unbelievable metrics and just didn't know where to go from there. And it's the it's practice makes perfect and identifying. Okay, what else could you have asked with this one metric? You got the pain, ask the two or three more open ended questions and then go to the part of our platform that ties back to that and then that's it, because people don't want to be on a pain funnel call for for fifty minutes where you're just drilling them with questions, and then that you lose them in the demo because people's attention spans are very short. So try and less is more, short and sweet. Yeah. Also, the other thing is that people are aware, you know, especially for your tool right, because you're probably set up selling to heads of sales, enablement or crows or vpieces of sales. They are acutely aware of when it's a rep...

...that's just asking questions because they were told to ask questions and it feels like an interrogation, not a conversation exactly, and you can also tell when there's a script in front of them, which is painful. So trying to make it as conversational and helping your prospect as opposed to just drilling them with questions because you know your manager is going to ask, makes a lot of sense. Last question I have before we sort of talk about your influences and mentors and things like that, but you're in an early stage company. I don't know. Do you have a quarterly or monthly goals for the team? We do both right now and that's simply because we didn't really know much about our our run rate or where business is going, but we're going to go quarterly next year. Makes Sense. My question is this. I've found, but you know, and maybe, maybe, maybe just have an experience this I've found it can be. You know, the job of sales leadership can be. I mean the job of an eight is very hard. The job of sales leadership or reven the leadership is also hard. And one of the hard things I found is that you build up so much energy and commitment and enthusiasm and passion for the quarter and hitting the number and, you know, pulling deals forward and clue and clearing out the pipeline so that you can hit that quarterly number and then it all resets back to zero. You know when the next quarter starts and the reality is that for duly to be a world changing company, that's going to take probably five, six, seven years. And there's you know that's going to be two thousand and twenty four, twenty eight quarters of that kind of roller coaster of energy ups and downs. How do you pace yourself? What's your mindset? How do you think about making sure that you were prepared for, you know, a two, three, four five year journey as opposed to, you know, a shorter journey with the company? Well, that's a very good question. For me, it is really identifying small goals that you can chip away out and then, very long...

...term goals that you can chip away out so you always have something that you're racing to achieve. So, for example, if we do quarterly goals it, I have my team specifically focus on chipping away monthly and then also chipping away weekly. So I will do the same, but I think more long term, for six months out and chip away there, but from a numbers perspective and, you know, keeping this thing going for the next three to five years, knowing that there are going to be ups and downs and understanding what your your ultimate goal is, either, you know, acquisition or IPO. This being my fourth start up, nothing really surprises me anymore, so nothing phases me. I just need to understand how we're going to get there and make sure you have the proper goals in place and then back it into, you know, weekly, monthly, quarterly expectations for myself and then also for my team. Thanks a lot of sense, Michelle. It's been great having on the show. One of the last things we like to do is just pay it forward a little bit and figure out who it can be. Books like it can be, you know, grit by Angela duck worth. It could be like a great book. You've read it could be a great boss that you've had, a could be a mentor could be a board member, but could it's just people or ideas that have had a big impact on your life that you think we should know about. When I frame it like that, what comes to mind? My previous zero, Josh Allen at Drift was a great mentor. Josh and I had, I think, a good working relationship where he was one of the first leaders that provided feedback and then I also provide feedback. So we helped one another grow and and learn from. You know, books and what I really like to read or what I when I'm my favorite books is Patty mccord powerful. That was an awesome book...

...because it ties back into what I've dealt with a lot with growing startups and the mentality of the employees from like really early on and as you grow. I just like the way that she's she's no bullshit and that's how I hope and want all leaders in a startup to act. Yeah, I think Josh Allen probably be my favorite leader that I've worked for so far. Well, we are all fans of Josh Allen over here, so you're not going to hear anything sent from US Michelle, it's been great having you on the show. We're going to talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals, but if folks are listening and they want to reach out and get in touch with you, what's the best way to get in touch? What's your preferred method of contact? Linkedin Michelle Peach at Dooley and maybe remind people how you spoke peach pie ts. H Awesome, Michelle, thanks so much for being on the show. Will Talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals. Thanks so much. Same. Hey everybody. Sam Jacobs and Sam's corner really enjoyed that conversation with Michelle Peach. Really really talented early stage sales builder, leader, revenue leader, and she's taken on a great job at Duley, which is a really incredible company. We talked about a lot of things. A couple things just to underscore, and if you know me, you've heard me talk about this one million times, but Michelle has inherited a situation where they've just raised eighty million dollars and I think dule's overall raise over a hundred million dollars, and yet they're a very, very early stage. I mean I think she said Post sad pre series a, like really early, right, really early. There were thirteen people that worked at the company when they had eighty million dollars on the bank, which is wild. But the point is this. With eighty million dollars comes very, very high growth expectations, and the mistake that Michelle did not make, but which less experienced people might make, would be to take those growth expectations. First of all, it just turn up the intensity and the anxiety metre inside, right internally. You just you're be...

...super freaked out every single day that you're not living up to these massive expectations. And you know, you could imagine like a revenue model where, like Michelle's, she said she started in March, so it's like that's the end of q as A. Qtwo is, you know flat, q three is a little bit up, but then que four you're supposed to all of a sudden show five hundred percent growth and be at, you know, ten million an Rr, up from one in March. And that's not going to happen most of the time. Maybe sometimes it'll happen, but most of them it's not going to happen. But the thing that really happens, though, is you feel that pressure and say you say and the board because oftentimes, although it's changing, but often times they don't know how to build a company either. So they say, you know, go hire ton of Reps, go hire thirty reps. you know, every rep generates two million a R are. If we hire thirty reps next year we'll have sixty million. And that's not how it works and that's that would be a big mistake. And so Michelle has made a couple smart decisions that I would or scored and sort of bring to you. The first is that she's invested in infrastructure, in the team. First and foremost, I think she only had a small number of reps, and yet what did she do? She hired a head of revenue ops as, I think, one of her big hires, and she made that hire only a month or two into her her journey there. Secondly, she hired bunch of SDRs. Right, so in steenators hire and twenty Reps. they've got a one to one ratio. What is she doing when she does that? She is creating demand, she is focusing on creating infrastructure, scalability, that's the revenue operations higher and she's investing in creating demand through SDRs and correspondingly, what you're going to have is a smaller number of reps correspondingly, but reps that feel supported. Right, they've got infrastructure around them, they've got demand generation and strs creating opportunities and leads. Those people are far more likely to be successful. Can you imagine a world where there were no SDRs or where Shell is being chiseled maybe on like, you know, a specific kind of ratio, one hundred and twenty five, one str to five reps, which doesn't really do any good and there's no revenue laps. And she just hires reps, traps, traps, because the CEO, in this case it would be Chris Hartforkinson, who does understand these things. But let's say it wasn't. Somebody is enlightened, as Chris all of a sudden you're...

...just you're being asked to hire all of these people and, as Michelle said, then what happens? Three months later? You fire half of them. Fire half of them because they didn't have any deals to work on. Well, why don't they have any deals? Well, because you don't never process, because you have an infrastructure and because he didn't have demand. So she's doing it the right way. First, focus on creating demand, focus on creating opportunities, focus on creating infrastructure through revene APPS, and then from their build out the sales team with scalability in mind, and I think that's going to work. So I really like that conversation with Michelle. Before we go, we want to thank our sponsors, of course. The first is outreach. Remember that they're bringing back the unleash summit series. So get more details and save your spot at summit dot outreach dooh. We're also sponsored by pavilion. Think about these stats. Pavilion members get hired twenty two percent more quickly, are paid fourteen percent more on average and get promoted thirty four percent more rapidly than their peers. So those numbers speak for themselves. Unlock the career of your dreams by applying today a joint PAVILIONCOM. And finally, Demo Stack. Product Demo is make or break for your deal, but tailoring the story is tedious work. So see how world class sales orgs use demo stack to accelerate revenue at Demo stackcom. Thanks so much for listening, everybody. If you haven't joined the sales haacker community yet. Please think about doing that. If you haven't given us a five stars on Itunes, please think about doing that. If you want to get in touch with me, can you can email me Sam a joint pavilioncom or linkedincom forward flash the WORD IN FOR M F Jacobs, but otherwise I will talk to you next time.

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