The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 4 years ago

23. Optimizing Sales Productivity to Drive Exponential Growth w/ Doug Landis

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Doug Landis is a Growth Partner at Emergence Capital and on E23, he chats about his top strategies to improve sales productivity. Tune in!

... to the Sales Hacker podcast. Super excited to feature Doug Landis on our show this week. We'll talk to doug in a little bit. This is your host, Sam Jacobs, on the founder of the New York revenue collective. If you don't know what the revenue collective is, we are a group of VP and above a sales leaders and marketing leaders. Right now in New York we're also launching London and a few other cities that come together to share best practices and to encourage each other's professional development. So when I say that I'm the founder of that group, that's what we do. And then my day job is I'm the chief Revenue Officer of an amazing company called Behave Os. Now this week on the podcast we've got two amazing sponsors. The first is one that we've been working with for a little while now. They're called air call, and air calls a phone system designed for the modern sales team. They seamlessly integrate into your crm. They eliminate all of that crappy data entry that you always have to deal with and they give you greater visibility into how your team is performing through advanced reporting and analytics. So when it's time to scale, you can add new lines and minutes, not days or weeks, and you can use incall coaching to reduce ramp time for your new reps. they're rolling out a new sales module the summer which we're all really excited about and you can visit. are called that io for sales hacker to see why companies like Uber, Dun and Brad Street pipe drive in thousands of others, trust are call for their most critical sales conversations. So that's our call. And then our second sponsor is outreach dot ioh they are the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activities in scale and customer engagements. With intelligent automation, outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results. Pop over to outreach doto forwards sales hacker to see how thousands of customers, including cloud are, glass door, pandor and Zelo, rely on outreach deliver higher revenue for sales wrap. So thanks for listening, Sam Jacobs, and let's listen to our interview with Doug Landis from emergence capital. Folks, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. I'm incredibly excited from my guest today. My guest today is a guy that a lot of folks in the startup world know. I first met him, I think, on a phone call when I think Doug was working at box and he, I was working at axeal, and he was kind enough to sort of give some tips. But let me tell you about Doug Landis. He's currently a growth partner at emergence capital, one of the best vcs that I know of in the valley, and investing in companies all over the country in the world. Prior to joining emergence, where Doug's been? I think he'll correct me, but about a year and a half. Doug spent twelve years driving sales productivity and efficiency inside of some of the world's top technology companies, including box sales force in Google. So prior, immediately prior to emergence, he held the coveted title of Chief Storyteller and VP of sale productivity and enablement at box. I'm sure he will tell us what that means. And then before that he was leading corporate sales productivity at sales force. I believe, in looking at his linkedin that he got started many years ago at Oracle before finding his way into start up world. And we're so excited to have you, Doug. So welcome to the show. Thank you. That's quite the intro. Your funds, like I've gone all are a very important person. So I don't know about that. I think I think half of my half of my success is is a luck. The other half is skill. Well, that sounds like you've been reading this book thinking and bets by any Duke. But at least you attribute some portion of your success to luck, which is unlike most people in the world. Absolutely well, look, I mean, at the end of the day it's about our people, it's about our network, it's about who we know and how we can be helpful, if you call it. Go into every connection. Like Sam, you and I, we go in every connection with how can I be helpful to you, because at the end of the day it's going to come full circle. Well, this is not part of like the scripted interview, but you are reiterating my life motto, which is my whole theory and life, is how can I be helpful? And it's also like long term greedy, because if...

...you're somebody that always helps people, then by definition they come to you for help and you become influential. So total self interested and KARMIC. I tend the Karma a little bit more than the self interest, at least I like to think so. But yeah, you're totally it's but they're a lying they convert. So so it's a useful benefit. Yeah, so walk us through. You know, we're obviously to hear a lot about what you're doing for your portfolio companies and where you spend time at emergence. But in many ways it seems like you've led a pretty for for sort of a sales professional, storied life, a charmed life in the sense that you've been at some of the best, most coveted, most prestigious companies. How did that happen? And tell us about sort of coming out of Undergrad? What was your background? Where you from, and then walk us through a little bit of the path that led you to emergence over the last, you know, twenty or so years. Yes, yes, so a large part of my path to success is luck, and then once I get involved in an organization, then that is all on me. That's the skill part, right. So I grew up in Palato. When you grow up in Palato you're kind of growing up in the backyard of technology, although when I was growing up in PAL Wato is still a little college town before all the millionaires kicked out the every day folk. And then now, by the way, the billionaires have kicked out the millionaires, which is why I can never live in pal I'll do again. But well, maybe you can still be a billionaire at some point. It's a really but I don't know if I'll go back to Palato. But the but the truth is it's almost like if you you know, you grew up in La and you know you just kind of around Hollywood, if you grew up in New York and you're around finance or at tech, grew up in Chicago and you around textiles, when you're around it, you tend to just kind of be drawn to it. All right. So I went to the University of Oregon, was political science major, was going to go to law school. My father, who was a lawyer, talked to me out of it. Our whole family at the core were all sellers and I think I just I started selling when I was selling newspapers is a little kid and it's just kind of been in my blood and as I got involved, my first job Rut at a college, was actually working for black and decker selling power tools and accessories. Like, Oh wow, really, I don't think that's on their linkedin. It's not. It's and it was the best job ever because they literally gave me a company car and a bunch of product and incredible training back at headquarters. But then I covered from Canada to Mexico and I would just drive by a hardware stores but not walk up, talk to the owner and try and sell them power tools and accessories. It was insane. It was like some has to be like the best crash course in sales possible. Yeah, because what do you have to do? You have to be able to assess a business in a matter of moments. You've got to be able to read people, you have to understand how to articulate value to someone that's running a store in the middle of you know, in the middle of bfee, where you know they're not really thinking about margin, they're thinking about just their they're happy customers and you have to be able to do all that on the fly and be able to articulate why our products are better or different and what it actually means for the business. And Yeah, it's being able to have a business conversation instantly. Is really difficult and in fact it's one of the things that I think is often lacking in the world of sales. Sales people are so quick to like focus on, okay, prospecting skills and negotiation skills, kind of like their core selling skills, but one of the thing that's that I find is often missed is just how to have a business conversation, how to go to Max and look at his business and sales hacker and go what does he really do and how does he generate money? Many people in that sense, MACs, I know what you do to love me the Max and he makes a lot of money at it. But but being able to assess that so then I can then connect who I am and what our company does and the value that we deliver to Max and his. Is there training that you that you espouse or drill into people to enable them to which is it's all sort of like a form of empathy. It's coming into a situation and putting yourself in the other person's shoes. Are there skills or tactics or traits that you that you use? You just took the words right out of my mouth. I don't care what methodology you buy into. Challengers, Spin Sandler, I don't really give a shit about any of that. Truth is, they're all the same. At the core, what truly helps you differentiate yourself and your company is your ability to be empathetic, and empathy is demonstrated in your ability to articulate what you understand about the person...

...that you're meeting with, about their world, their role, their job, their industry, their company and everything that you know about them. So actually being empathetic is the core of being able to actually I have a business conversation. If you think about it, it's also getting your MBA. I think is helpful because it helps you to think through like how to businesses think about making money and gross margin and their competitors and growth and scale and expansion, etc. If you haven't had that opportunity to do that, will go try and start a company. See what it's like. It's hard, it's really hard. I've I've started three in my over the course of my life and I'm not gonna lie, it is incredibly difficult because that what you realize is the world of a start up and the founders of all the companies that might be listening to this podcast today. At the end of the day, it's about tradeoffs. I only have so much money and so much time and what are we going to focus on? Are we going to focus on building these capabilities? We're going to focusing on going in a new market at we're going to focus on going up market? When focus on hiring? Like I got to do all these things and I need to do them all now, but you can write. So how do you how do you make those tradeoffs? And when you understand that, it makes it easier and easier to understand what someone who is a business owner goes through. Like if I'm trying to sell to and you, and the funny thing is you may think like, okay, I'm trying to sell the oracle as a potential customer. They're huge, you know, they're one of the biggest software companies in the world. So how do I understand what their business drivers are as an organization? What they care about what they're trying to accomplish as a company? Well, go read their K or their ten Q. You know, Larry, when he does his earnings calls, will say here's what we're focus on now. It's funny. There are times when people tried to sell the box and you know, I'd be like, I would love to buy your product, but we are hyper focused on getting to become a cash full positive. That means we're not spending any money across the board. I mean, no matter how good your product is, I cannot get any budget for this unless I'm replacing something that are we've already have allocated budget for right. And so if you understood that, then you would change the nature of our conversation. If you're trying to sell them, sell me, when I was at box, the number of people that don't take the opportunity to read a K's always surprising to me because there is so much information in there that is just so valuable to just put yourself in the mind of the business exact yeah, but I think that I think one of the challenges is people don't know what to look for when you're reading that. What should we look for? I mean you're looking for insight as far as what the company is focused on. What what you know? Are they growing in terms of net new logos, or are they growing through margin? Are they growing through expansion? What's their churn look like? What new markets are they are they potentially targeting, or what new products are they delivering and how well are they actually selling those products? You're thinking about, overall, their ability to execute in the market. Are they in first place in their market? Are they in third place, and what are they trying to do get to second? Another trying to get to second through mergers and acquisitions, or they trying to get to second through new products or new pricing? What matters to them, because every single person in the organization, their job, is measured against what the company's overall objectives are. Yeah, I mean it's a great insight. So you're at black and deck or you're driving around the country from Mexico to Canada, which is, by the way, that's a lot. That's a territory. Yeah, and then how did you end up at sales force? I think the you know, because I feel like you're at sales force. I don't know if Aaron Ross was there at the same time, but sort of like you were at two of the archetypical SASS businesses, with sales force being like the archetype during their period of maximum growth, maximum kind of emergence and visibility. How did you end up there? Yeah, so funny of Aaron Ross and I both grow up Pal Alto, ironically, so maybe there's something about pal to. But so it was a it's a crazy journey. So it was a black and decker. They move me all over the country and they wanted me to go back to headquarters. I was like, I want to get back to talking about technology because I love it. I grew up around it, and so I moved back to the Barry to go work at Oracle and funny enough, I was a field seller at black and decker, calling on low's corporate right, calling on...

...these big, huge hardware chains, and then I go back to oracle to be an str str what had to wear a suit, had to get up at, you know, getting off as thirty every day, five thirty in the morning every day. How to make a hundred calls a day and if we didn't hit that number we were worried that we were going to get fired. Yes, sometimes with game, the system we were calling facts machines, but back then you couldn't really tell. It was a total cry and they made they made you wear a suit to do that. Yeah, there was a I mean, look, there's this funny thing about, you know, look good, feel good, feel good, do it right. There's this like when your jeans, a Tshirt and you're comfortable. Yeah, you Maye comfortable, but there's an element of like when you're dressed up and you're polished, your game feels a little bit more polished when you're when you're casual, your game feels a little bit more casual. It's just something that I've experienced as a professional and I certainly don't dress up, you know, all day every day now. You're pretty sharp dresser, though, I think laughs. At rainmaker you were looking pretty good. But it kind of matters, right, it's you know, people make impressions, unfortunately, by what you say, how you look, at what you do and and all those things add up. I'm not trying to pull the wool over somebody's eyes, but it certainly does matter. Yeah, I agree with you. So you were an start orcle I didn't even know they had strs back yeah, to the whole machine that sales force built. Sorry, Aaron Ross, you can't take credit for this, because force built started it oracle. And where do you think mark got it? He got it from Ray Lane. Ray Lane built the STR ebr inside sales, because it at or at Oracle is str and then you went to ant sales, which was selling Microsoft version or their database, and then you went and you sold middleware and then you moved up to selling applications and, you know, full database or database and application. So they built that machine and then mark took that over to sales force. I didn't know that. I just wrote down Ray Lane. I'm going to find that guy and get him on this podcast if he still love. Yeah, yeah, I mean ray was, you know, ray was was Larry's righthand man. Yeah, so you learn the traded Oracle and then maybe sales force comes calling or mark knows that, you know, that's the place to go to get all of his protegees. Is that what happened? How you made them? Well, there were some. Yeah, there was some startups in between there that I had started and then of course I did a bunch of reality TV shows. Totally different story. We're not going to talk about that today. We have to talk about them for the One TV shows. Yeah, I've done for in my life, which is kind of crazy. These were your concepts or you were like on the real world at some point. I just have to go back. Yeah, I was. I was a participant on more sports oriented than they were dating oriented, although I did one of those. We don't like to talk about that at parties. But beside the point, I was kind of like effing around, if you will, trying to decide what I wanted to do, and then it actually ended up at Google, which was again for to it is because I had a friend of mine it was working there and she's like, Hey, you know, you've got all this great sales knowledge and experience and at the time, you know, post startup failure, if you will, cul I was like trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life when I grew up. That's when I realized like this world of accelerated in performance of sales people, because I love the art and the science and selling. Always have. It's been in my blood. And this idea of like how do we make sales people smarter, better and faster what they do with something that I just kept falling back on. And so then I had the opportunity to go run training and development over at Google. And when I was at Google, the one thing that I learned is at the time it was very much an engineering driven organization. So if you're in sales, they're like yeah, it, you don't really matter because ill have to just pick up the phone and say hi, I work for Google and people will talk to you. Wasn't really the case, but that was certainly the perception and organization. And then again I had some friends that were working in sales force and an opportunity came up there. They called me and I was like, well, it's the best selling organization in the world, I'm going period. And that's how it all started on fold. And so you know, we were talking about this before we hit record, but your title at Sales Force was director of corporate sales productivity. Yes, and you know, meanwhile, over the last I don't know, Fifteen, twenty years, there's been this concept of enablement that's emerged. How are those? Are Those things the same thing?...

Thing? Are they different things? Walk us through specifically what productivity means and how you think it relates to enablement? Yes, totally so. First of all, I'm just going to say this right now. I'm on a mission stop saying enablement bills. ENABLEMENT doesn't exist. I look up enablement. I went to dictionarycom, type in the word enablement. It's not even a word. It doesn't show up. Is that true? It is true. Literally, I would when this before we got before we hit record, I looked up enablement dixonarycom Google doesn't exist. So why do we say it? What does enablement mean? So when I got to sales force first it was my title was like like director of sales effectiveness and I was working under the education team. It was like, what are we doing here? Need to be under sales. It doesn't make any sense. And eventually we found our way under sales and at that point we coined the term sales predictivity. It didn't exist before. And so what are you doing differently than the man? It to work alongside the frontline manager. You know. How does that? Yeah, some how it relates to yeah, so let me, I'll kind of explain, and this is why I get on this like pedestal about enablement. To me, enabled make by the way. It's a marketing term. Marketing camp came up with it because when you're enabling a salesperson, in my mind, you are you are giving them assets of information intelligence that you can use on a phone call. Right. So I'm enabling you with competitive tear sheets, I'm enabling you with Industry Intel, I'm enabling you with with with assets. It's a marketing function for sales people. I love it, it's necessary, but fundamentally the way I look at the world is I am in the business of how do we accelerate the performance of our sales organization or anybody that's really customer facing for that matter, because sellers nowadays it's not a singular function where I've got a physical item and I sell it to you and then I'm done. The reality is is we're all revenue drivers. If your customer facing right, where our job is to earn our customers business every single month, and that is that is that is what recurring reven is all about. That the implicit promise, a hundred percent right, and so so to do that we're all involved marketing, sales, customer success support. We're all involved in that relationship, including product and engineering. For that matter. And so the idea is, how do weed and eliminate the things that get in the way of a salesperson's ability to actually find the right people, have the right conversations, uncover and create opportunities and close deals faster and in in turn burn the revenue? Right? To me, that is ultimately what we want to do, is we want to incrementally increase the productivity, which you can define as dollars per head for every single Rep. and so how do you how do you do that right? So part of it is you have to unpack it. So when you know, we when it it boxx, it would be this phrase. It's like, Oh ret productivities down. It's like Oh shit, because everyone would look at me and I'm like, well, on a second, I can't control everything, because what you have to think about is when rep productivity is down, is it is it a sales execution challenge, meaning do they not have the right skills to actually go out and do their job? Is it actually kind of more an operational challenge, which is they don't have the right territories, they don't have the right quotas, sales forces set up incorrectly, we don't have the right data and sales force, or is it a market problem, meaning the market isn't mature enough, there's competition in the market, are pricing or packaging is inappropriate. We're not doing enough from an air coverage perspective to actually educate the market so that there's some level of awareness of who we are what we do right. So there's so many things that affect a repsibility to do their job and in the world of sales preductivity it is fundamentally anchored around how do we help our reps do a better job marketing and sales? enablement content is a part of that, but it's not the whole thing. So if you're thinking about hate, it the kings of or the the emperors, whoever it is that is the the largest champion of of enablement, will provide a very expansive but kind of abstract definition. And what you just did around enablement was actually very helpful, because you're like the these are the things that you do. You create competitive archieets, you...

...create the right marketing material right. So applying that same kind of tactical lens to productivity and thinking about enablement is one part of it. What are the common things that are in the way of sales people being productive and effective, and what are the ways that you help solve those problems? There's a number of things, right. So it starts with on boarding. How do we get our sales people ready to have the right conversations? is quickly, right. And so what does that mean? That means they have to understand the product. That don't understand the market. They have to understand their message or competitors, the pricing, right. So that's a lot of Intel, that's a lot of knowledge. They need to be able to consume, comprehend and reorient right, or shall we say, redeliver. So there's an element of on boarding, there's an element of certification, there's an element of messaging, there's an element of demoing. So there's skills, there's knowledge, there's tools associated with that, right. So if you think about the world of predictivity, you can actually think about it in terms of skills, tools and knowledge. I put sales enablement because most of that content and that tool bucket right. You could even an oriented around some some sort of knowledge, but knowledge to me as also how you get access that information. So is your sales for setup properly? Are you are you leveraging the right tools, like grew or like to learn the core mind, working to go something to serve up that information to you when you need it. I actually write I said something incorrectly. If you think about it, skills, tools and all these tools are all the gurus in the you know, the learned cores of mind, titles and sales laughs of course, is, if you will, the tools of sales forces, the tools that I use to help me do my job. Unfortunately, we have tool fatigue and we likely have too many tools and it's hard to understand the workflow of how to leverage all these tools, because sometimes, if I'm spending more time in the tools and I'm not spending enough time in front of my customers, will then that's an issue. Right. That's a repem. So it's so. If you think about predictivity, there's one way to measure, which is dollars per head, per rep like how many dollars in my generating out of each head. It's also a matter of thinking about, well, how much time are they actually able to spend in front of customers? Right? So, on average in our world, unfortunately, twenty five percent of a reps time is actually spent engaged selling. So what are they doing with the other seventy five percent of other time they're in one on one's team meetings, trainings, their meeting with their see, they're meeting with their CSM, they're strategizing about deals, their prospecting, where they're researching? They're doing a lot of things. They're learning, they're studying the products, right, they're getting trained. is so how can we remove the the friction from all the things that are rep actually has to do so that they can spend more time selling? That's fun about you have like the favorite thing that you typically do in the playbook. Actually, a playbook is one, right, so building out a playbook. So first we talked about on boarding as a function, as an important function, because that sets the stage for their their success. It also helps you, as a team and even as a leader, determine whether or not someone's going to be successful right away, because you get to see, you get a sense of their work ethic early on, right you get a sense that their their aptitude and their ability to actually learn quickly on the fly. And so on boarding is an important component, though, but also sales process, right. So the process in which how we manage opportunities. It's interesting, but because you know, Opportunity Management as a as a whole is not something that we spend a whole lot of time focusing on. Frontline sales managers do because they're doing all that, you know, Real Time coaching on how to navigate this opportunity and how to actually move it through the cycle. And then sales ops and sales preductivity might think about like the playbook for entrance and exit criteria for each stage, but how to actually get through a stage is something that we don't spend enough time on and to me that's where playbook really fits right. It's like defining all of the you know, kind of what is my goal for that stage? What's that straight what's my strategy for this stage? What are the tactics? Are Milestones that I have to hit in order to be able to move from one stage to the next? The hard part, though, of course, about a playbook as you may build it on paper, but it's operationalizing that inside the sales force. So it makes it very easy and you can coach against that and you can see kind of where there the steps are being missed.

I know that, like our Buddy Rob Jepson with x bloyant is really trying to do that right now with our company. is like operationalizing playbooks, because it's really, really hard to do. And Yeah, it's more than just coaching right. It's a combination of data, insights, Technology and coaching. Right. It's like presenting the right information at the right time, at the right point in the sales conversation, which you know, again, it's in more than just enabling, because it's also ask these questions, make sure you've got access to these people. Let's diagram the sale, let's look at where we are. It's Yes, absolutely. I also think of the world of sales preductivity, is is, of course, kind of ongoing skill development. We can always get smarter, better and faster it and the skills that we have right it. So how do you assess whether or not a rep is act say, a great closer or a great prospector do you just look at the data? Do you look at how much pipeline you know how much pipeline is sourced by the AE, and then say, okay, they're not really a great pipeline generator or maybe they just don't like doing it right? Or how do we like like. So that's why, if you look at the sales equation, which is number of opportunities times average deal size times your win rate divided by your sales cycle, and if you build out the benchmarks of those numbers within your organization, then you can measure somebody against that. So if you were win rate, by the way, is lower than average, then what does that mean? In order for you to get your number, you need more opportunities, right, or I need to coach you on how to block and tackle our competition, or I need to coach you on how to qualify deals out a lot faster, because maybe you're hunting down deals that just aren't a good fit for us, right. I mean one of the biggest challenges that most managers tell me is rep spending a lot of time on deals that are not one noble hundred percent, a hundred percent. And you know, the single biggest competitor that we all face, every one of us, I don't care what industry you're in. What is it? Status quo? Yeah, no decision. Right. And so if I'm getting, if I'm finding myself on these common situations where I'm getting no decision, then I need to do a better job up front qualifying. Yeah, because I am not doing enough in that regard. I'm not qualifying out enough. One of the big questions people say is like, are you comfortable telling me no? It's people don't understand that they can force to buy or to just say hey, let me know where we are with this thing, and it's perfectly okay for nowhere. Yeah, absolutely. In fact, some of the best reps I've seen over the course of my life are the ones that actually can say no. They know how to say no confidently, not as an Asshole, not as like, Oh, I'm just doing this to fur as a power move. They're doing it because they understand their own personal value and the exchange and they understand the value of their company and their solution and what they bring to the table. Yeah, it's hard to do. Yeah, it is. But if you think about everything that we've just talked about, that sales productivity enablement doesn't do that. A marketer, it's building assets. Can't, you know, go run and in an entire onboard and then it can. It's about skill, but you know, go run on boarding for an organization because they haven't actually sold. They don't understand the key to sales manager does. If you're looking at like a great on boarding program how long should it take? What are the keys? Is Its certification? Is a classroom? Training is in a mixture of like, you know, make these fifty calls to these bad lead so that you can get in the habit of having the conversation. Plus that like. What is an excellent onboarding program look like? Yes, all the above. Great, ninety days. Ninety days now, okay, your first ninety days. Most on boarding programs are you is your first week, but I believe there should be pre work ahead of time. There is your first week or two weeks at headquarters, for you're getting ingratiated into the culture and understanding who's who in the zoo in your organization. Because, by the way, how you get things done internally within your organizations has a huge impact on your ability to get things done with with your customer right, massive impact. So all those things are important to set you up to actually get on the phone come day one. But simulations are incredibly important, real life situation simulations. So if I just give you a competitive dump, I'm buying. I work a box and I'm telling you about how we compete against one drive and drop box and everybody else in the space, the...

...a g drive, whatever else. It's one thing for me to tell you. It's another thing for me to paint some pictures of some customer stories of how how they we overcame those situations. It's another thing to put you in a situation which is like, okay, so I'm trying to compare you and one drive and we have an enterprise, a group of Microsoft. Why should I buy you? And put them in those real life situations. Now, if you've got a sales team that is dispersed across the country, it's harder to do that. But there are platforms like the likes of learn core, saleshood or mind tickle that can actually help you do that right at scale. So I mean, I think certification is one step in the journey, but don't stop it continues on. Your learning can should continue in your first ninety days, because you can't teach somebody everything in the first two weeks. Right now. You can't. I'm mini story. You have to learn when you're on the job. Right. Yeah, of course, but what how do I create a quote? I don't need to know that my first week, unless I'm in VSP and I'm doing. I could potentially be doing deals on my very first day I get on the phones, but for the most part I don't. Now you're absolutely right. I think a lot of folks want, you know, on boarding to be a oneandone kind of thing where it's like one to two weeks, that's it, and then we just start looking at are watch waiting for the first deuel to close. Right. It doesn't always work right. Well, and I got to tell you so. Unfortunately, frontline sales manager don't help a lot. They can be super helpful, but they can also be a giant pan the ASS. Here's the thing that I suggest, highly suggest. Number One. Frontline sales managers just need to be bought into the entire onboarding plan. So ninety days frontline sales managers have to be bought in because it's their job to help drive the engagement in that plan. There's nothing worse than a frontline sales manager is like, Oh, I've got this guy, want them to start tomorrow and your new boot camp starts on Monday and it's like, well, they haven't, they're not gonna be ready. They haven't done any other prework. Then I need you to hold them accountable to getting it done over the weekends that come Monday they know what the hell they're talking about and they don't get lost, because we're going to move at a clip. The other thing is to work with your recruiters and your executive team to ensure that your start dates are all consistent so you can create cohorts. So start a cohort every two weeks. So if you hire somebody, guess what, I don't care. If you hire them a week and a half ago, they don't start until Monday, right. So it creates some consistency, because there's nothing worse than trying to do an onboarding for two people. Yeah, where even if, if you're an early stage company and you're not in, you're hanging like five people. But to the point, like group them together or else, like every every Monday, you know the some senior executive has to be bought intil I could giving the history of the company, right. You could have done that once and do it works some months. Yeah, it's IT'S A it's a it's a terrible waste of resources. Unfortunately, when that happened, so you were you were at box and then now you're in this really exciting role at emergence and I think one of the things that's super interesting about it is the number of different kind of companies that you see. So tell us about the new role and sort of what your mandate is and then we can we can go from there. Yeah, sure. So again got super lucky, fortunately, because the companies that it worked for and kind of the role that I had in those organizations and, you know, emergence came to me to talk about this idea of a role like this. Emergence, as a venture firm, is a tier one venture firm. Is We're hyper focused on basically working with people who want to change the future of work. But what that means is under the domain of BB enterprise ass right, and so we're hyper focus. That's all we invest in, you know, early investors and sales force and Yam or and box and success factors and service Max, and so, as a result of my experience both at sales force and box and Google and Oracle and the others, it kind of made sense for me to join to help our portfolio companies overcome the hurdles that are they commonly face on the go to market side when they're trying to scale from a million to ten million to fifty million. At the end of the day, my job is to help them scale faster. Right, and truthfully, it's about helping them to recognize the patterns that every series a and series be stage company faces. Like what I'm learning about the world of venture capital is where in the business of pattern recognition. Right,...

...we're in the business of pattern recognition of opportunities and once we invest in the company, it's helping them to recognize the pattern of what not to do so that they can grow, so they can overcome some of the hurdles that we've seen people really struggle with. Where do you end up spending a lot of your time? So I get super tactical, I get in the weeds with our companies and we go through it literally the same the same stuff for every company. It starts with, okay, who's our ideal customer profile and why? Like, who's buying our product and why? What do we know about them? and Are we actually messaging to our buyer or we messaging to the companies that we want to sell to? It's really interesting nuance. We may think like our product maybe designed more for it, but we actually go sell to CEOS and VPS of sales. Well, if our product is designed for it, how do you bridge that gap when you're selling to a VP of sales or a CEO or CIO? Right? So it's that it's understanding who our customers are, who our buyers are, what do we know about them, and it's aligning our messaging, in our positioning around that. And far too often, and what I've learned from my storyteller role, which I created when I was at box, is everybody, every company, is hyper arrogant in their positioning, meaning all they do is they talk about themselves. Look at how great we are, look at all of our customers, look what we do for our customers, and they don't worryent the conversation around what we've learned from our customers, right, and what our customers have taught us and what our customers are helping us to recognize in terms of value that we're delivering for them. And so we spent a lot of I spent a lot of time on messaging and positioning, mission vision exercises with the founders and the leadership team. And then we get into everything from like sales process, sales playbooks sales operations. Hiring is a huge area of focus. I think unfortunately, for early stage founders, this idea of an organ chatter cross the organization is is kind of foreign. Like who do I hire on the go to market team first? When do I hire? Who Do should do you believe are you? Are you a proponent of you know, maybe after you you feel like you have something approximating product market fit gopher, a senior hire that has the experience building out the team? Are you somebody that wants to develop from within? Do you think that you know? Are you sort of a more mercenary vc that's saying, well, we will get the zero to ten guy or Gal, and then we'll get the ten to twenty five guy our gal and we'll keep swapping them out until until we get to a hundred. Yes to all of that, which which means which means no to all that as well. Right. So there's no silver bullet. There really isn't. Part of it depends on the leadership team that you already have in place, right, and some some people, when they come to us at series a, they already have a pretty senior team. They have a VP of sales, right, the IREDY is what I've often find is they'll have a VP of sales, but they won't have ahead of marketing. I would you, if you're in the seed stage, you better be looking for that head of marketing first. And Guess WHO's your seller? Get that head of marketing, because you know who should be selling, your founders, you know, and and Peteca is Angie's writing a book about founder selling and how do you actually become a founder seller? So I recommend everyone read it. But the reality is your founders are the ones that are helping you to understand who our customers are, why they buy what they buy, what message really resonates with them, and it's not a message that you delivered to your ventures, to your investors. It's a different message that that's happens a lot, right. So you take your VC pitch and you tweaked a little bit and not becomes your Sales Kit Pitch, your first call pitch, and that's just totally should not happen at all. But the truth is is what most founders struggle with is hiring marketing and hiring them first. Because, by the way, a VP of sales, a vpm marketer, will take you good six to nine months to hire a sales leader. Whether you hire the sales leader first or the sales reps first. Again, it kind of depends on who you have in place as a leadership team. If you've done this before, then I might hire someone. I might hire sales reps before because I know how to manage those two sales reps. if I haven't done this before, then I want to...

...hire a sales leader that can help to build out the machine. But if that's the case, then I need to hire a sales leader that's a builder, that knows how to build dashboards and reports and sales force and knows how to actually build board decks and knows how to Ab test against the hypothesis as far as like, this is where the markets going and this is who we should be selling to and this is how we should price right. So it's a profile of a sales leader or that you need to be really cognizant of. But you also need to be as a leader. You need to be really cognizant of where your gaps are right and your leadership style. If you're Super Analytical, make sure you hire a sales leader that's superanolibical. In that way, you're speaking the same language, because there's nothing worse than when you hire somebody that you know. You think like, Oh, I'm super inliicals, I want to hire like the charismatic, you know, sales leader, culture guy. It's like, no, that doesn't work. You guys will. It's seriously, I've seen it happen over and over again. Right. So it's been really clear about understanding the type of profile that you're actually looking for and then, oh, by the way, hire you ahead of marketing first, then hire your customer success managers, then hire sales. So higher. That interesting, crazy, right. But it was like, Oh, I gotta hire sales people. It's like, no, you don't go out and sell, Mr Founder, that's your job. You shouldn't be for I mean like, don't spend all your time focusing on the product, which, unfortunately, there are a lot of product founders. Focus your time on selling and engaging with your customers and hire Ach. I think a lot of a lot of the issue is that it hasn't yet, although I think it's penetrating. But you know, you and I are completely the same page, which is higher marketing before sales. The reason people hire sales is because they think sales equals revenue and it doesn't. necessarily. Sales turns demand into revenue, but without demand sales, those unders much at all. Know, by the way, in the early days people don't think. They name marketing because they've got all these leads coming in, right, because, guess what, you got all these leads coming in because you're a shiny penny and and that's going to dry up real quick. And when it dries up, that's when you say that's when I see. This happens a lot. It starts to dry up and so it's like, shoot, we need to go get hire ahead of marketing, and then that takes six to nine months and now you're way behind, right. The other thing is, yeah, when you're hiring ahead of marketing, and one of my colleague Viviana Faga, who's used to be to cmosnefits, who's my counterpart on the marketing side, which is really interesting, because she'll often say, well, what kind of had a marketing do we need? Then we need someone that's got demanjin expertise or product marketing expertise or brand expertise. What? What kind of expertise should they have? Typically it's either from what I've seen, it's either demandin expertise or product marketing expertise. On the marketing side, right, because we need to know what to say, or we need to know how to go out and get more leads, or at least free orient a lead flow. Right, because a lot of these leads are just junk. One of the problems people don't quite understand is they say, you tell them what a demand gen person or you know, like what the responsibilities are, which is to generate demand, of course, and they say, Oh, I want that and but they haven't spent any time on messaging and so they don't understand that. The managins person's job is to distribute a message to a channel, but without a message they don't there's not very much to do. So, true, if to create content for them to distribute, right. Right. So, so would you hire ahead of product marketing, ahead of Demand Jin? Yeah, or or is that something where again, like I need the founders insights on on, like, what is the message is that were bringing out to the market, because they've been selling and they're getting feedback from the customer base and then I can put that into you know, ads or Webinars or whatever it is that we're doing. So then it depends on the your leadership team, your founders, right. Are Your founders great marketers kind of by default, or the great sellers by default? Or are they great customer, customer lovers, if you will? Yeah, customer advocates, like what are they? What are they really good out beside building product? Yeah, and then how can you anchor around that, because that'll help you determine what didn't do any product marketing or demandjen. First, this has been an incredible conversation. Doug one thing that we like to do at the very end is sort of figure out what are your influences or people or books or podcasts or content that we should be consuming...

...so that we can be as good as dog land us. Any recommendations on great books that you think should inform our perspective or people that we should be aware of? Chris boss never split the difference. He was on my podcast last week. Yeah, out, I love him. I have like this this weird obsession with him that he is now going to be aware of. Run into him all the time, I saw him and I was just enamored with here's the thing. The idea of negotiating, you know, if you think about negotiations, they literally happened the entire life cycle of a customer relationship, right, and so we're always negotiating. We're negotiating for things, you know, internally with an organization, with our families, with our you know, with our customers, with everybody. And the truth is we think that negotiation is this singular event. It's like an exit for an IPO. It's like all, it's a singular event and then I'm done. It's like no, it's happening all the time and the better you can get it negotiating, the overall, the better you're. All of your conversations, in your interactions will be with your customers. So big, huge fan of Chris boss and never split the difference. And I get their email newsletters all the time and they're great. It's great little insight. And, by the way, the core of great negotiating is empathy. HMM, interested. What do you work? Keeps popping up. Yeah, it does, it totally does. And then you know I've clearly, you know, listen to and read everything that all of my homies do, whether that's John Barrows or Jocko or Max or Richard Harris. I Mane. Unfortunately we live in the bay areas. We get access to all this great information and insight. Another organization that actually creates a lot of great content, especially from like this, is value selling notion, because we have to get out of this idea of selling transactions, but we have to actually start selling value and help our customers understand why they should give a shit. Is Force management. Now they they're super expensive if you want to bring them into your organization, but they can write a lot of great content. So that's something else that you should you should dig into. Yeah, that's about it. I don't I read. I spend most of my time reading articles and not books. HMM. Well, fair enough. You did a great job because you immediately had an answer, where sometimes people get a little flustered and then they have and they huh, I like somebody with a point, with a point of view, one of you. There you go. We appreciate it. enablement sucks. That's a point. I got activity, not a day with Chris Botox. There you go, there you go. If people are listening and they want to reach out to you or connect with you in some way, are you open to that and, if so, what's your preferred method of communication. A hundred percent open to that. Always interested in talking to to my homies and my cronies and people that I can learn from or people that have great ideas or people would just want to shoot the shit. Just reach out to me at Doug at mcap EMC APCOM, on Linkedin or twitter's at Doug Landis. Hey everybody, this is Sam's corner. Great Conversation with Doug Landis, who is so eloquent and impressive and is doing great work as a growth partner at emerchants. So a couple of key points. One of them is just about the importance of hiring marketing before sales. We talked about that a lot on this podcast and Doug only read it reiterated it. The founders should be selling and you hire marketing before sales and he even mentioned hire a had a customer success before it head of sales. The big misconception is often times that folks understand and equate sales to money, and sales is one part of money, but demand is the first part of money and without demand you can't harness demand into revenue. So I always say salesperson with lots of meetings and no process can help an organization grow and make money. They can close deals and a salesperson with no meetings at all but a perfect process and perfect solutions and perfect tools can make no money at all. And so the first thing we need to demonstrate is that we can generate demand and from there we can scale the rest of the business. So that's been SAM's corner. Thanks so much for listening and I'll talk to you soon. To check out the show notes, see upcoming guests and...

...play more episodes from our absolutely incredible lineup of sales leaders like Doug Landis A, visit sale packercom and head to the PODCAST TAB. We've got a number of amazing guests coming up and we've had a bunch of amazing guests already. Doug mentioned Chris Foss, who is on the show last week. Now you'll find the sales hacking podcast on Itunes, repougle play. If you enjoyed the episode, please do share it with your peers on Linkedin, twitter or elsewhere. If you want to get in touch with me, you can best places, probably Linkedin, so find me on Linkedincom and slash. Sam F Jacobs mentioned the podcast in your message to me and we'll try and get a shout out to you in upcoming episodes and then, finally, big thanks to our sponsors for this episode. They are are call, your advanced call center software, complete business phone and contact center, one hundred percent natively integrated into any crm and outreach, a customer engagement platform that helps efficiently and effectively engage prospects to drive more pipeline and close more deals. So I'll see you next time.

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