The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

25. From SDR to VP of Sales at One of the Best Companies Outside the Valley with Dan Cook

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak to Dan Cook, SVP of Sales & Success at LucidChart, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the US, based in Salt Lake City.

Dan originally hails from the East Coast and came of age in finance, working at Polaris Venture Partners, a Boston-based VC after graduating from Harvard Business School.  He then moved out to Lucidchart to become an Operations executive before quickly transitioning to Sales.

Dan walks us through the mechanics and beliefs required to help the company build out a fully-functioning sales team and how, in his view, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

One two one TW THREE FON: I folks tit's the sales hacker podcastso welcome to it we're in the middle of September. Now. Thank you so much forlistening. We've got damn cook on the show. This week the SP of sales andsuccess at lucid chart really impressive leader he's got a financebackground who, as in VC and then he moved over to lucid chart where he'sbeen over four years, helping scale that business based in Salt Lake, it'sa great interview, and so I'm excited for you to listen to it. But first,let's talk about our sponsors. We've got two. The first is air call it's aphone system designed for the modern sales team. They seamlessly integrateinto your crm. It eliminates data entry, which is a huge pain in the ASS, sothat's gone and it provides you with greater visibility into your team'sperformance through advance reporting when it's time to scale, meaning whenyou've added people or hired somebody. 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That website is outrage da Io, fords lysaleshacker that is outreached out io for its five sales tacker to see owthousands of customers, including Cloudera glassdor, Pandora Zillo, allrely on outreage to drive higher revenue, her sales rap last thing Iwant to encourage everybody. PODCAST can be long. I don't always likelistening to my own podcast and I'm somebody that loves the sound of my ownvoice. What I encourage you to do is listen at one and a half speed. One anda half speed takes a forty minute podcast and gets it done in twenty fiveto thirty minutes. It makes everything quicker and it can allow you to justget through more content. I find that now, when I listen to myself on onetime speed or any other podcast, it is tediously laboriously slow. So Iencourage you to use that one and a half speed function on your podcastlistening device because it just makes life go quicker and we all are verybusy without further adu. On, with the show everybody welcome back to the saleshacker podcast. I am your host Sam Jacobs, the founder of the New Yorkrevenue, collective, I'm also, currently, the chief Revenue Officer ata wonderful little company called Behavox, and today I'm excited towelcome Dan Cook to the podcast. Now a lot of folks know about Dan and hiscompany Lucid Chart. But let me give you his quick bio and then we'll diveinto the conversation with Dan. So Dan Cook is the SPP sales and customersuccess at Lucid Chart. It is a three hundred and fifty employee SASSbusiness based in Salt Lake City Utah, one of the sales capitals o the WorldDan grew up in New Hampshire before moving to Utah to attend Briggham YoungUniversity, where he studied economics and accounting. He spent first viewrsof his career working in technology investment, banking in San Franciscothat moved to Boston, where he sore Sass investments for playrs centrarpartners, which is a Boston, Bas, pc. He then went to HBS, Harvard BusinessSchool where he received his Mba and then he joined lucid, where he wastasked with building out locened sales and customer success. Programs, Dan andhis wife. Jamie have four kids that keeps them extremely busy and in aspare time, Dan enjoys all things New England sports, which is upsetting andunfortunate, and an occasional game of golf and spending time with his familyDan. Welcome to the show they sam thanks for aving me, it's great to behere. We're excited to have you so walk oes through we like to start the showwith your baseball card. The reason we do that is so that everybody out therecan contextualize your experience, your insighes etc. So your Nameis Dan Cookgive us your Titas, so I'm the as senior vice president of sales andcustomer success here at Lucid, that's awesome and so lucid chart. So a lot offolks know the company, but but many don't what's the rough revenue range orlike give us a feeling for the size of lucid chart in whatever informationyou're able to provide, so we typically don't disclose our revenue, but we'refast growing SASS company recurting revenue business. We have aboutfourteen million users of our product. It is a free product that we give away,but then we do convert an typical freemium style. You know a healthypercentage of those into paying users and then our sales team, upsells theminto bigor enterprise deals, so double digits and fast growing in the millionsthree hundred a fift year, so people- and so you can get a sense for kind ofsome size and scale there, yeah, absolutely and so- and you've been in.How long have you been at list? So the company itself about seven and a halfyears old- I've been here for about four and a half of that, so it Don'Co,you know we're getting. We feel like we're Gettinga little older, butthere's always new things to do four and a half you know my career wasseven and a half years in one spot,...

...five in the next two in the next sevenmonths in the next. So from where I said, four and a half years is quite along time, ere my longest state. So far, so I do feel like I'm getting old. So let's figure out you're in a verysenior position at a pretty well known company. How did you get here so tellus a little bit about your origin story. Obviously, we now know that you're afan of football teams, the cheat which is unfortunate and but yeah- that'strue. Well, you know, I guess I guess when you cheat, it's easy to win, but but so how did you get from growingup in sort of like the New Hampshire area to running? I guess it's a hundredand ten sales people or a hundred and ten PERCON team on sale, success salesAPPs at at Lucy great question, so I you know growing up in New Hampshire. Ididn't quite know what I wanted to do when I grew up. My Dad told me thathe'd pay for my college. If I went to Byu and Utah or Harvard- and I think heknew I wouldn't get into Harvard Undergrad and so Theti was going toDiou. So I moved out to Utah and you know it's interesting. I found thatthere's two types of people there's people that have always known what theywant to do and there's people that have never known what they wanted to do andI felt like I always fell in the latter camp, and so my I feel like my careerhas been one of turning over kind of the rock so to speak, to understandwhat I like to do and the things that I actually maybe don't enjoy as much andso at Biu. I got exposed to some really smart people that all said Hey. Youshould go and get into investment banking and that led to kind of a firststep in my career which moved me to San Francisco and the real benefit for me.There I hated my investment Bankong job. I learned that that was one of thosethings I did not want to do, but I work with the technology group whichbasically helped tech companies raise capital, go public or engage in murdersand acquisitions, and so, while I didn't really like the day today, rolethat I was exposed to, I love the space and I loved learning about these greatgrowth, tech companies, and so that was to me a pivotal experience because itdid a few things refirst. I don't think you have to know exactly what you wantto be when you're growing up when you graduate college, which I thinksometimes you feel like you have to do, and secondly, it helped me realize that,like he just mentioned our careers in these, in this day and age, you'regoing to take multiple steps, you're going to change careers a few times,and so I felt, like you know a couple years of investment banking exposed mesome great stuff, but also gave me. The confidence that I didn't have to do ismy whole life, and I could change and pitit in my career when you think aboutI'm. Always one of the areas of interest to me is discovering what youlike to do and what you don't like to do, and also how you define thosethings. So what was it about banking that you didn't like? was there aspecific daily activity? was you what was it that sort of turned you off toit's a great question? You know from my particular role. I was an analyst. Iworked on a team and I worked in a cubicle and about eighty percent of mytime. Maybe even more was spent in spreadsheets and on powerpoint decks.You learn really great skills in those regards believe it or not. I felt likea nerd coming home and bragging about excel tricks to my wife, who justthought I was an idiot, but I just did. I realized that I did not like being insituations where I wasn't engaging with other people and where I wasn'tactually interacting, so that was one. Secondly, you know these investmentbanking firms are notorious for just kicking your butt, so you know ive work,eight and ninety to hundred hours a week, and I just realized that wasn'tsustainable. Nor was it a lifestyle that I really appreciate it, and so,while the money is, you know that's how they kind of get you early on as theytry and kind of pay a more money. Ironically, if you? U The hour, leawage, it's actually not that good, and so those ware at least two factors. Forme. That kind of said: Hey, look! Maybe this isn't where you want to be, andthis isn't the kind of career you want to build. Yeah, okay, make sense n andcertainly that that interpersonal interaction is something that I was inbanking, my first year out of school to and didn't work out for me either. Well, I will tell you: I mean the onething that I taught that I learned and maybe it was actually poisoned learning,but was that you can push yourself pretty hard right. You, when you'rehaving to work long and late hours turns out. You actually learn a lotmore. I mean, if you're, going to work twice as much as the average person.There's a good chance, you're going to learn twice as much, and so while theexperience wasn't always fun. I do feel like it taught me this principle ofkind of that principle of compound interest. The idea that if you investmoney early, you get bigger returns later. I felt like by investing heavilyin my career early based on time. It actually, I think, helped kind ofcatapolt me faster than maybe, if I'd taken a more traditional job. Thatmakes sense yeah. That makes a lot of sense and an well get into it, becauseI, because you went to a vc but you're, also building a skill set that in yourrole, a lot of folks don't have, which is an analytical right and sort offinancial enterprise valuation skill set that a lot of EP sales do notpossess Yep and sno. That probably puts you in Ano advantageous position whenyou're in the room with the CFO, I would yeah. No absolutely I mean wecould probably talk about that some more, but it's really interesting. Youthink about the money, ball revolution in baseball, and you think about howthese analytic folks kind of took over...

...the sport there's pros and cons right.The teams that adopted that early, I think, brought a David driven approachthat helped their teams really be successful. That Kan, is that sometimesmaybe the analytics approach doesn't quite JI with your feet on the streetsales reps, who kind of grown up and live and BREEDH sales, and so that'sbeen for me, the big evolution which you know. Maybe we can talk about an alittle bit is hown you kind of bridge from coming from this zanilydicsbackground to working with you know, sales folks and making sure you're, notstewing one. You know too far, one way or the other yeah. We will definitelytalk about that. So getting back to our story right, your you're in SanFrancisco, it's a beautiful place, you're doing banking, it's not so fun,and so then you move back to Boston. Is that right? Yeah? That's right! So Iwas offered an opportunity to join a growth stage. Venture capital, firm,called polarous, Dentur partners, and I you know, had grown up in New Hampshireabout an hour from Boston and thought. It would be a great opportunity toreturn to the east coast and you know Rudon the world series winning Redsoxand the Super Bowwan and so really enjoyed plaris playerswas interesting and this is actually kind of gives you an idea of evolutionand how the same career profression journey thing work out. You know Ijoined thinking that I was going to sit at a table all day and that theentepreneurs were going to come in and pitch their idea, and then I would kindof do this gladiator some some downthing. What ends up happening is,they said: Hey look. We actually have plenty of of companies coming to us.What we want you to do is to develop a thesis on a space or a sector. That'sinteresting, and then we want you to go out and call all the really interestingcompanies that aren't coming to us and build a relationship with them in theCEO so that if and when they do decide to raise money, they picke you and theypick us Hilaros, and so it was interesting. It turns out, and now thatI'm you know, wrunting a sales program. I would they basically hired me to bean SDR right to really go and andsource the landscape of interesting growtstage. Tech companies qualify them based on their growth and their theirbusiness models, and then, where there was an interesting opportunity, bringit a partner and then the you know, the two of US would go and try and win adeal, and so I spent you know about seventy percent of my time reaching outcalling CEOS of tech companies and trying to understand you know theirneeds and especially around capital, and where there was an Oor to invest,making sure that we were lined up to be. You know one of t e, The folks thatcould pick us take a swing at it. My question is because I was just meetingup with a buddy who's, also at a grow stage firm when you're selling acommodity which is capital what besides them liking Dan Cook makes them want towork with Palarus yeah. So it's very interesting and I think for those ofyou who sell a product where there's a lot of competitors, this shouldresonate. So when you sell a commodity product, there's a few things. I thinkyou have to keep in mind. First price will always always be incrediblyimportant. Unfortunately, overweight important, you know in the VC world, asyou might imagine, when you call an entrepreneur and you'd say hey, we wantto invest in your company and you tell them how we valued the company. If itwasn't in the ball park of competitor, you are usually shut down prettyquickly and so price mattered. Unfortunately, in e commodity world youalways got to be sensitive to that, but but it's not a hundred percent of thedecision, makeying criteria and I think that's where these VC firms are able toangle and usually the way that we did it was we would build teces based offof where we felt like we were really strong. So we felt like we were reallystrong in a couple: verticals, healthcare, tech and educationtechnology, and so where we were able to tell a story that was like saying,hey sure, there's other firms here, maybe we're in the ball park. Maymaybewe're not the top we're not going to win on Christ, but here's a story whyyou should choose us because our product and R, you know which was notjust a capital, but the partnership has expertise that we really understandyour business and that we can help you take it to the next level. And so Ithink you have to find that angle around how your business or how yourproduct offering can actually really affect them, and there has to be thatqualitative story, because at the end of the day, humans are emotional peopleand they have to like you and feel that you can help them, and so that was howwe went at it. We tried to build stories around a few differentparticles that we felt like we were really strong in, and maybe we were atthe top better, but we would always be around thet. You know the hoop so tospeak and that helped us win some deals. So you were there for three years. Imean, I think it's really. I just had Tamas Tan goose on the on the show, andhe said you know the closest corrolary to to being a VC as being a field salesrap, and you echo a similar vein when you say they hired me to be an SDR. SoI guess one question is: Did you like doing that and then the second questionis: How did you end up fo going from there to Lucid Chart Yeah? So it'sactually pretty funny. You know you talk Tho CEOS every day and you haveinteresting conversations. Tell me about your business. Tell me very yourbusiness model. Tell me about your growth trajectory and you know I'dalways ask about the team. As you all know, you know- and this is importantwhen you're picking a company earlier in your career, to join the teammatters almost more than anything, because the strategy might change theproduct, Migh Change, that the industry might change. But if you believe inyour team and you like your team, it makes a big difference. Well, I wouldask hem about their team, and...

...inevitably these companies would saywell look we, you know, I hired my brother's kid to e sales rap and nowhe's running our sales team, because we're growing so fast and then I youknow hired my my sisters, nephews, Ou boyfriend to be my operations guy andnow he's our coo, and it just felt like time and time again you know in thesesgrote stage companies you have battlefield promotions happeningeverywhere, people that maybe necessarily weren't totally qualifiedto run teams and run businesses, but by virtue of the product, ind the businessmodel and the skalling rate. These folks were exposed to really awesomeopportunities, and so that really was attractive to me, I thought to myselfbaybe. Instead of calling these guys and trying to get him to take my money,I want to be on the other Hend having you know, Dan Cookd, two point: Ohcalling me trying to trying to trying to give GIV venture capital int thebusiness I work with, so that's where the seed got planted and then the otherbenefit I had- and I think this is an interesting point- is that I was ableto identify, or at least kind of build pattern recognition around, which stageof companies are the best to join. If you want to get exposed to those typesof opportunities, what I found there was that these companies, that are youknow early on, they have product market fit. There's revenue, there's customersthat you could talk to and that could could say something nice about theproduct. These are the businesses, but they haven't yet scaled. Yet these arethe great businesses to join, and it's because you'll join and you'll getexposed to massive opportunities to grow in your career. So anyway, thatleads me to lucid. You know when I was at business school. I knew I wanted togo. Join one of these grow stage, companies I'd gotten introduced to ourCOO here, Dave Gro, who's, a brilliant guy, Youshoul Follomon Linkon, thesehighly prolific on Linkdonhe's he's a long writer. The Guy Gets Ama. He gets so many viewson those things. It's unbelievable. It's all! It's aliked in specificformat, t's like the one sentence, double space, one sin, Oe Paseo, he'stotally reverse engineered. Linkedin he's abut, but no so I met. Dav wasreally impressed with day they just raised a little bit of series, acapital they had a product. They were break even and were growing fast, andit was just it was the right in that fit of company stage hat's exciting tojoin. So that's a long story, but you know for those of you who are thinkingabout how to Duice your career, finding those companies that are just a painingproduct market fit and are trying to gear up for scale like Getti up thoseare the companies to join because you're going to get exposed to so manyopportunities to build. I think that's great advice, one Q, You know I'll tellyou something hat that impacts people. If they're coming out of banking, Imean I'm imagining you, you re, you were at a VC, you were in a bank, thenyou go to HBS and now you're going to or early say, startup I have to imaginethe compensation wasn't comparable to. You know the Goldman job that you'reprobably offered or something like that yeah. So it's a great point and I thinkthis is where there's an interesting arbitrage to use the financial term, soI'm obviously not based in San Francisco or Boston or New York. I'm inSalt Lake City- and you know it's interesting about Salt Lake and I thinkthere's a few of these tier two callitteer three tech cities. You canarbitrage the salary relative to the cost of living and you know we lived inBoston. We live in San Francisco and sure my salary was higher, but the costof living was a lot higher, and so I made less money moving here out ofbusiness school, which my wife was looking at me say: Isn't this notsupposed to happen, especially after HBS? I mean you say, yeah well, trustme yeah, I was. I was asking myself some serious questions there too, butbut there's a few things to point out one there's the arbitrage of thegeography which Salt Lake and you know Austin and CA. Denver Bolder. You guysknow the cities there's a few of them that are, I think, are reallyinteresting, where the cost of living is much more attractive. Maybe the paceis a little different but the're great places to live and build a career, andyou can get away with making a little less money. That's one and then second,as I mentioned these growl stage, companies are exciting because of a fewthings. First of all, if you get in there and execute and perform, I foundthat within six to twelve months, the role that they think they're bringingyou in for could change dramatically, because the way these these companieswork ciuse they're going to hire you for a role that they have at the momentand then, within six to twelve months. Your comparative advantage is going toshine. Something that you do really well is going to appear and they'regoing to say hy. You know, hat let's repast you at something else and ofcourse, then you say: okay, that's a different role like let's Tock Cop d,so you know you have an opportunity, I think, especially if things start to gowell and N, you pick the right company to kind of make up for those salarylosses. Perhaps later on. So you jump to lucid and I guess were you the firstsalesperson there yeah. So it's funny story. I actually was hired to be inoperations. I think you know to the point you made earlier. They saw thiskind of analytics VC background and they said we don't know what to do withyou, but like come on board and let's figure something out yeah, and so myfirst task was to build some dashboards for the CEO and they must have beenreally crappy because you know just like a week later, he's like you knowwe're going Ta. Have you do something else hat's like so you know that lucidit was a freemum model. So the idea was you give away this product lucid chartfor free and people. You know a percentage of the folks that sign upwill pull out their credit card and pay for premium features, and that was thebusiness model at the time they looked at me and said: Hey we've never reallythrown sales resources at this to be...

...completely frank like there was no wayfor someone to actually talk to anyone that lucid other than to send an emailinto the support team and the support team would not call you it would beanother email back. So there was literally no way to talk to anyone atlucid and chart when I joined, and so you know they said Hey, would you takea stab at this? The first thing I recommended was hey. You know, I'm nota I'm, not a rocket scientist here, but why don't we put a phone number on ourpricing page and this engineer looked at me and said you mean you actuallywant to talk to the customer, and I said, let's just give it a tryand so anyway turns out. This is a funny story. The very first phone callcomes in. I had this old iphone, we hooked it to the phone number and thisphone call comes and everyone's looking at me. I'm thinking it's going to be.You know some big corporate wanted to buy thousands of lisenses of ourproduct. I answer the phone I said Hey, this is Dan. I lose the chart and thisguy says yeah I'd like to cancel my account very first call ifhe cancelationeveryone askd me how it went. I just told him it was a wrong number, but weturns out our time Y know. We tedn built out hooks to actually engage withthem. Talk to our customers and users, which is you know, but amazing thingshappening here, but yeah. So I was not brought into do sales, but my first,really, six to nine months at lucid, was hey play the role of a sales wrapfigure out the workflow the process figure out how much we can actuallyproduce. If we do this and then you know there was a point that came wherethey said: Hey, let's try and scale this a little bit. You know, let's growthe team and and so one and so forth, so yeah I was hired to do one thing itchanged to another and but I played the roll he rap, for you know, call six tonine months, which was extremely beneficial for me. So here's a questionbecause I dealt with this when I was at live stream. If you have a hundredpercent soft service business, how much planning went into like? Did you have amandate? was there a product of forentiation so that you were sellingsomething different than the Self Service? was there a an attributionproblem where actually you put the phone number on they were going to buyanyway, but now you know sort of Dan Needs Commission on it. How did youstop that problem yeah? So it's a great question. You know for those of you whoare in these kind of fremium to enterprise, you know type models, thinkbox, think invision think smart sheet, among others yeah. This was an issueearly on, so what we found was, if you think, of your Ven Diagram, certainlywhere the circle of selfserve and sales, assisted or so to speak, overlap.TTHERE are going to be some instances where you would engage with a customeror prospect who would have bought on their own, and we were willing early onto kind of know that what it's going to happen- and you know we did our best totry and think of attribution there. Really, though, we were focused on thatother circle in the vent of just pure sales assistit, and certainly yourpoint about the product and product different JSHO is important. What wefound was the best strategy was to reach out to companies where we hadseen a lot of adoption across disperate users and accounts and just to engagewith the IT buyers at those organizations to understand how theyfelt about it. It was really a very open, ended discovery of hey did youknow you have hundreds and of users of our product. How do you feel about that?Is there any reason why we shouldn't roll all these users up into one kindof corporate account? My question is with the corporates. So then my concernis, but it's only concern. It's solvable, I'm always cognizd Enof we'vegot a hundred people in different groups and they're paying a hundredbucks total, and now I'm going to the corporate it. Buyer, I'm always nervousabout saying. Well, I can give you a discount- and now it's ninety bucks,because now I've taken ten bucks from the company, so maybe the pitches likesecurity or corporate oversight or governance. How do you position itwithout sacrificing a revenue opportunity yeah? So I think a reallyimportant thing to understanding these Freemiam models is that there's reallytwo levels of persona there's the end user persona. These are individuals whohave a need and, generally speaking, the selfserve mechanism helps them findthe product and engage and use the free version or pull out their credit cardand pay for the premium version to do their job. The second level persona isthis: it Persona, and so the product you're selling to that group isactually ther technically, not necessarily the same product that theseend users are adoptedg. In fact, we didn't have to oversell Lucid Chark tothese it folks because it had already been sold. You know the users hadspoken, and so we built a pitch and product features that resonated withthese it personas around how to better manage applications in this day and ageof bring your own ap to work and shadow it we said: Hey e, let us help yousolve this problem and we did it with kind of a variety of enterprisefeatures of which you've mentioned a few security door or attention Etca,and what this did was. It opened up conversations with the software ascetmanagement and it arms of these businesses and, in fact, and mostinstances, if not all we actually charge them more, we don't give them adiscount. We charge them for those incremental features and we found thatto be an effective go to market strategy. That sounds really reallysmart, so you started. You were doing that for six. Nine months sounds likeit was working and then the team started growing. One of the bigquestions we often get on the podcast is that leap from individualcontributor to manager and everybody has you know a subtly differentperspective on it. Did you have any you...

...know anxiety or consternation aboutadding people that you were now responsible for? What did you do tomake sure that you did a good job? What's your approach to management giveus a little bit of that yeah sure. So it's great question. I was a littleanxious about it, but I was probably more excited to me. Honestly. Thebigger leap is when you go from being a manager of sales, raps direct toactually managing managers. I think that's actually the bigger hurdle wecould spend some time talking about that perhaps but the reason I wasn'toverly anxious about it was because I knew we were onto something- and I hadbeen in this role for six to nine months and I couldn't keep up with it,and so I was really pumped to get a few folks in here to help us and so there'sa few things I'll mention there. First, you know id read some interestingmaterial, some of it from some great sales luminaries, some blogs, Jason,Lemkin, Aron Ross. You named all the guys that everyone you know hears fromind listens to, but we knew we wanted to hire more than one person, so youalways want to have that tag team at least effect where you can have twofolks that are pushing each other. We are we hired four as our first groundand our thought there was that at least one person is going to just totallyfigure it out and maybe push it even further than I thought I was able to.Maybe one person would be a dud and then the other two will kind of be awayfor us to just see how big we can scale. This thing we actually ended up with agreat first class, and all four of them are still here four years later,believe it or not, but what yeah a really good group. So the point I wasmaking there is that we wanted to hire multiple folks. This would allow us tohave a little competition on the team and well as well as to make sure thatwe had a good kind of a good ABCD test mechanism to understand. Is it thepeople or the process if things weren't working? From my perspective, I feltlike there were a few things that I had to do early on, one was e directlyinvolved with the reps themselves and make sure that everything that Ithought I had figured out was at least being implemented to some degree sothat, if things weren't working, I could point to it not being the processper se. So you kind of isolate the variable I wanted. I wanted the processto be pretty consistent across the four reps and that way, if things weren'tworking, I could kind of say. Okay, maybe it's just not the right person. Iwill just mention this, and this is classic like I felt like IAD figured itall out, and so you bring these folks in and you give them you put him outthere. I had gone through this rigorous analytical Mah, using on my eyebankingskills, to set quotas for these guys and turns out. I had taken myproduction run, rated or extrapulated over a yer, and I divided it in half,because I was so confident that I was the best sales rot. The whole time thatanybody we brought in would do half of what I could do well turns out. Webring these guys in and within six months, they're run rating twice what Iwas doing so epain perspective. I was off by like fourx in order of magnitude,and so we had to do a quick reset six months into the sales experiment oftheir quota INCOMP, which was my first. You know tough conversation I had tohave with THA team, but, needless to say, I felt like we put theright team of place, we isolated on process and you better believe theyfound ways to improve it, which was fantastic, and you got to love thatkind of in the wild mentality of how things change and these agule startups,which I appreciate I will say, though my management Mo early, was to be veryoverweight on inquiry versus what you call advocacy and the way I think about.That is ask a lot of questions and always do the tell me more versusadvocating do this. Do that do this? Do that and my hypothus is there- and thisis kind of a management principle for me- is that first of all, people liketo hear the sound of their own voices and so any time you could ask aquestion instead of telling somebody something and you're always going to bebetter off. And secondly, if you learn to ask the right questions, you cangenerally guide people to your same conclusion, and so my managementphilosophy, early and certainly still today has been asked. A lot ofquestions that follow a question. Tell me more is got to be one of the bestquestions ever invented, and you just say that until people stop talking- andI think I learned a lot that way and also was able to direct the team tomake them feel like they had bying an ownership of the the program but butalso guiding them towards the things I wanted hem to do. Thatsense yeah makesperfect sense and tell me more Peter Lerman, fror maxill taught me tell memore and it's. It is a beautiful phrase. It is so you mentioned that you knowone of the big. The bigger leap is going from not just managing a bunch ofraps but managing managers. What do you think the key differences are? What'swhat makes that so challenging yeah? I think there's two things at least anprobably more first is the mindset, so you know the beauty of being a managerof reps and why I kind of miss it is that where there were thoughts or ideasor things that wanted to be implemented or even ideas from the field, you knowthere was just such a closer ability to exchange information. The communicationlines were much more robust right. You were very direct you're sitting next tothe team. You can turn and talk to them. It was just a much easier way to stayclose to the to the customer and therefore make sure that when you 'remaking changes, if there were changes that you were doing, what was the bestinterest of customer as soon as you are now. Managing managers you're anotherdegree removed from the customer and, at the end of the day, that's whomatters, and so what happens as a result is that some of the ideas thatthat I felt like were important to...

...develop were w one degree removed awayfrom the customer, and so I would always be missing just a little bit ofwhat I'll call context for the customer, because I was a degree removed and then.Secondly, if I did have a good idea, if there were things I needed tocommunicate, I had one degree more removed to get to the customer or toget to the rat, and we found the hard way, especially when you get into thatmode, where it's like. Okay turn it on scale fast, that if you don't build,really robust communication lines and processes, your Tean can in classictelephone game style. Your team will start hearing different messages andyou won't be aligned and that can cause moral issues. It can cause problems ondeals. It can cause a whole host of challenges. So we've done a few thingswe think to address those, but I think that's, those are the two hardestthings you're removed from the customer and the REP and, as a result,communication channels can really break down. If you don't build good process,give us some tips, because I'm sure you know communication is the number onething that people kind of complain about or seems to. I mean it's whateither enables or prohibit scaling. So what are some of the specificstrategies that O use? Was it a meeting cadence? Was it a weekly newsletter?How did you think about it? Yeah great question. You know I often think ofcommunication lines like you know, I think about like in World War, two you'have this army, that's on the front fighting you know the Germans orwhatever, and you have these supply lines back to wherever you 're gettingyour fuel and your Amo and things from, and you know the military has thisamazing way of doing it and I need to study it more. So I can become betterat this, but I'll tell you what we decided to do. We did a few things.First of all, as you might imagine, the weekly one on one is fundamental andyou have to find time to sit down with your direct reports and have beenstanding a line item on the on the one O one agenda, if you're dealing withyour rap is your. How are you doing, and if you're meeting with the manageryou're saying tell me how your reps are doing, and so you want to make sureYoue got that one on one scheduled and that's that's just one o one, but thesecond thing that we did- and I think this was really helpful for us. WeIncorporated what we call a skip level cadence and so the way you might thinkabout this is, if I'm managing a manager who has a team, then I wouldfind once a month or once a quarter once it starts to get maybe unwieldy toactually have a one on one with the skip level individual. So I don't meetwith the manager. I meet with the direct report, and what that allows youto do is to kind of filter through the BS of the telephone game and say, Hey.Tell me how you're really doing and tell me how things are working on yourteam. It tightens or allows for that communication et to really shrink byhalf right, and so we would do a monthly, and now we do quarterly skiplevels. We also have our managers. Do Skip level reports so, like the guysthat report to me, I have then skip level to our CEO, so they'll send amonthly report to the CEO they'll. Do a quarterly one on one with the CEO andbasically, what this does is again. Is it shrinks the distance so to speakbetween the managers, the executives and the sales team, and for that matterof the customer, and we found that to be a really effective practice. Thatsounds great skip level meetings are super important, maybe for you it feelslike more of a challenge, but I think from where we sit. You know your careerseems really really successful. You sort of you know, you've been a banker.You've been a VC, you went to Harvard and now you're helping scale some somelarge organization. When you reflect and thinking back to yourself, you knowten years ago the lessons that you would want to convey to other peoplethat want they want to be Dan Cook, or at least they want to get promoted.They want to be as SP CRO type person right. What do you think are the maindifferentiators that that you embody or that are advantages for you yeah? Well,I mean it's Ni. Yoo Say I mean I think, there's a lot of stuff. I still got tofigure out, but there's a few things I think t when I look back on whether itwas by accident or whether it was on purpose decisions that were made that,I think certainly helped me. You know one of them that we've already kind ofmentioned it's this theory of compound interest. You know anyone who thinksearlier in their career that they should be able to walk in the park aand do the forty hour week thing. That's fine! If O. If that's, if that'ssomething that's cor to you, that's fine, but you need to know that thereare other individuals who are working very hard and woare putting in a lot oftime and if that time is used wisely, that just means that theyare growingand they're getting exposed to things in a way that will ramp their careerand we'll put them in a place to know more than you would. If you just workthe standard forty hour work week and don't worry, don't get me wrong, I meanthere's a time in a place for that and finding balance is a criticallyimportant, but I do think earlier in your career. If you want to go big orhe want to have success, that's the time to invest. First of all, generallyspeaking, you might not have a family. Yet if you do have a family, they'reyounger and you're not going to be missing all the critical milestones bydoing so, and so I think early investment in your career is first andforemost, really important. I think that's one. I think that, though, doeslead to this other tha kind of the Eing to the Yang, which is how do youactually build a life that has balance, and this has been a something that I'vethought a lot about, because you don't want to kill yourself either, and Ithink one thing that's benefited me is making sure that I have a semblance ofbalance in my life and I'm not saying...

I'm perfect. In fact, if you talk to mywife, she tell me to shut up right now, but but there's just consy life to Ye.There's this concept called you know this. This guy at was a mentor to me,taught me t of the square and you think of a square. The four sides are equaldistance. Think of each of the side of the square. You've got your physicalhealth. You've got your mental health. You've got your social friends and thenyou've got your spiritual health. These are the four kind of sides of thesquare and he would say to be hey when, whenever you're not feeling right likecheck your square, are you square or as your square morpinto, some other shape,because maybe you're not investing in one side appropriately? That's actuallybeen really helpful for me because at the end of the day, no matter how hardyou put yourself earlier in your career or even later in your career, if youdon't find balance and what you're doing you won't be happy and if you'renot happy in what you're doing you won't be good at it. I'm convinced thathow you feel internally and how you're managing your body and taking care ofyourself is a reflection of how well you'll do in your career and Sur sure.Maybe you'll have a short burst, but it won't be sustainable, and so I thinkthat's a second kind of important philosophy to all of us were as we'retrying to really go big and be successful. We got to make sure thatwe're thinking a ballance along the way, the third one- and I think this is aprinciple that was taught when I was at business school there's a professor otheire named Clayton Khristienson who's got to be the most brilliant person.I've ever met, and you know he had this concept where he talked about how youknow. Ninety nine percent of the battle is learning what questions you shouldbe asking and learning how to ask the right question, and you know he talkedabout how in school he would see these really bright. People give a responseor an answer, and then he would go through this exercise of saying how didthey think to say that what question did they ask that Got Tento? Thatanswer, and I think that that's a philosophy that all of us shouldincorporate when you see someone around you whether it's in sales see someonewho's, closing deals, you see someone who's really successful in the role youshould stop and reflect and say what question did they ask in their brain?They got them to ask those questions or to do that thing with their prospectfor with their manager or fillin ha blank. Where you see some successhappening, and I think that practice is really great, because once you start todo that exercise instead of just emulating and cocping someone, if youactually ask yourself, why are they doing that and what do they do to getthere? Your brain learns faster and you become better right. So that's, I think,a third concept is learning how to ask the right question and then the fourthone I'll just mention it then I'll. Stop for a second, but I think there'sthis concept in our work: Life like we all and especially in sales. We allhave just enough ego where we're always going to be kind of looking around andhave our head on a swimble. But I think when you get into these grow stage,companies in particular there's something interesting about beingwilling to hire people and to surround yourself with people who actually mightbe better than you at a lot of different things and what I found here,an lucid. You know you heard my background: it's not one of growing upin assass or sales career, but what I found very early was that if I waswilling to say hey, I'm going to go, find people who are really really goodand I'm going to convince them that they can come here and they can bothsubsidize or compliment. My weaknesses will also be additive to the firm I asa result, and maybe this sounds like I'm a selfish guy, but I'm going tobenefit because I'm the guy that brought him here and they're going towant to work with me and I'm going to learn from them and all of a suddengood things happen. So the fourth concept, though, is my point, is: Donot be defensive in your career, always be looking to hire someone that'sbetter than you and to bring them in and generally speaking, not always, buta lot of the time that will actually elevate you and if it doesn't, and ifthat person ends up being your boss, that's fine, that's a learningexperience learned from them and then on the next run. You know three. Fouryears later, as we mentioned, we move fast. You'll have learned something new,and so I think that's a really important concept just to go and worksomewhere where you can surround yourself with people who are betterthan you who are smarter than you who are more experienced, ve been moresuccessful and don't let your ego get in the way, and I think that sets youup for a lot of different success. I think the last point you made is: I tryto embody it, which is just basically having a growth mindset and essentiallybeing long term greedy, which is the more I help people the more I try towork with amazing people. I just have to believe life isn't zero, some andthere's not a finite amount of money or credit or power that goes around, andso we can all be successful, not just that there's a we're all scrambling forfor the last bits of whatever it may be. So I totally agree with you in terms ofhiring smart people and just you know trying to do whatever's best and thingswill work out if you work your ass off. You mentioned a point of view to me onquotas that you sort of think is controversial, particularly if you're,probably in a conversation with CFOs who sort of are looking at the worldfrom a different perspective, but what's your point of view, ond sort ofhow to incentavize a sales team yeah. So it's an interesting one and it's onethat we certainly debate around here. My point of view is that puotas shouldbe set in a way where everyone can attain them and where everyone doesattain them and here's the reason I think you know, and if Pi people don'tattain them. Certainly you know there's reason to move them on and say: Heythis isn't the right fit but- and you want to stretch people a little bit,but here let me explain so what we...

...found early on and I kind of mentionedthe exercise I didn't do the right Mas. But what was really interesting as aresult. Is these reps come in here and they're thinking? Oh my gosh. This isthe most amazing place to work ever. I am slaying it right now. So whathappens in sales? And we all know this is there's this confidence concept whenyou're able to kind of perform and hit your confidence is through the roof.You start to believe in yourself. Sometimes iurationally, you know oftentimes the product is just really good or you're, just the first person to theto the well and but but confidence is so critical and what we do so whathappens is when you set quotas in a way where people can achieve them? Theirconfidence goes up. That's number one. When their confidence is up, thechemicals in their brain are firing and theire happier people, so they want tocome to work and when they go home from work, they're happier, which means whenthey talk to their significant of their their partner, their boyfriend, theirgirlfriend they're, saying how much they love their work, which breeds evenmore. You know, satisfaction with the job. You know. We all know that thebiggest risk or one of the biggest challenges in sales is replacing peopleand ramping them that there's such a cost associated with think about theenablement resources think about the recruiting resources, those numbers andthose dollars. Usually don't get factored into quota attainment? Whywould they well? They should because, if you're having to lay off people orif people are leaving because they're not happy, then what happens is. Is Youhave to replace them in that cost a lot of money? So you get point there. Sowhat we've also found is there's this other positive expernality, which isthat as soon as somebody starts, having confidence and is hitting is feels likethey're making money and I's happy in the role. Well, guess what they do,they go and tell everyone and all of a sudden, our recruiting effort isenhanced significantly. So we've gone from me one to a hundred and ten folkson our sales and success teams, and we did that with zero recruiters in twoyears and we literally did not have a recruiting team, and you know I givesome of the the attribution there to some of the folks on our team. Maybesomeof. You know, Yot, follow these guys on Link Ats, Peter Chon and Blakecarbor and GA VI am Mizar. These guys are just really well known and they'vegot a brand, and I think that attracts talent, but I think really what it is.If you look at our team about sixty percent of our our team members arereferrals from existing reps and you know if you are attracting aplusplayers, they're going to recruit aplus player. So so what does that mean? Youknow how far do you go? Do you really want a hundred percent of your raps tohitting the number? How do you model that out? Well, I think, there'scertainly a little art to it. You have to have good dialogue, but if youcreate that winning team and winning culture, I think it covers a multitudeof other kind of process sins so to speak, and it also believe it or notprotects you against competitors who might even be willing to pay more froman Ote perspective, but just folks don't want to leave because thecertainty of their ability to hit numbers overweights the risk of maybechanging jobs- and you mentioned Salt Lake as kind of this sales capital. So,to speak, we're seeing more and more and more businesses set up salesoffices here, and so it's becoming more and more competitive and we thinkthat's one way that we can win and kind of make sure that we're building awinning culture and team and so on. So I don't know if that resonates or ofothers- think that's controversial, I'm sure there's some sales oppcy ofvotetypes, who would you know, want to go to task with me, but you know wefeel like the pros outweigh the cons. Even if it made me raises your cost ofsale a little bit yeah I mean I guess the counterargument would be if you'rebuilding a revenue model, that's based on head count and quota attainment,youre just going to need more people. If you know if the quotas are lower,but that's all a spreadsheet challenge and that's not how real life worksanyway, we're coming to the end of our time together. So Dan this has beenfantastic. I want to give you an opportunity to tell us about some ofthe things that lucid charts working. It wouldn't be fair without it. So youguys are working on a new product. Around Account. Mapping tell us alittle bit about that really quickly, Yeah Thi. So this is a good story. Wewere invited to attend boxes sales kickoff a year and a half ago, becausewe had introduced a integration to our product who a chartlith box too muchinformation doesn't really matter, but we had this sales rep he's a strategic,accot executive. The box come up to me and said I have to tell you. I use lusechart more than any other application, and I said well. What do you do is isthat my Strategi Ke and I thought I've never heard of a account executiveusing a diagraming and charting application, which is what Luca Chartis, and I said well show me what you're doing he pulls up. This USA ChartDiagram on his smartphone and he's got a map of a company that he's trying tosell to that. Has Every individual person that he's been engaging with youknow, box they're, usually working with between thirty and fifty individuals atany, given account could close a deal and he had used lucid chart to map outall the different individual contacts. He'd engaged with he used differentlines and, of course, notes to help his DDR and his customer success.Colleagues understand who he'd engaged with in in what manner and thisaccountmap basically became kind of his xray vision goggles into what wasactually going on with that account, and he found that by using that withhis vpssales and the counterviews, and also in using it with his own deal team.It helped them all be on the same page. So we took this back to headquartershere and said: Hey Look, there's an interesting use case in the sales realmand really in the customer. Success Roumd to especially for sprategic sales,where you might be engaging with thirt forty, fifty different contects or inmotions where there's a bunch of...

...different teams involved in serving thecustomer, and we've now launched what we called Lusi chark for sales. You cansee it online. It sinks to sales horse, it allows you to drag contacts onto acanvas. Everything you do in lucid chart would sink back to sales force.You could share it with anyone on your team and as a result, if you thinkabout collaboration and the need for collaboration between an a and a BDR oran a and your supassbore success, team or implementation team, and so on. Itreally drives kind of a oneness of making sure that everyone's working onthe same things and understands what's going on with the account. So we justwauched it it's something. That's pretty exciting. Our team uses it allthe time we found that it really helps drive preductivity. We end up goingdeeper into the account. We end up talking to more people, it's a good,forcing nechanism, and so, if there's any interest there, youall should checkit out, and certainly you have any questions. You can shoot me note onlinkedin or should be email. Staying at Losee, Char, tcom there we go and justfor the record lucid chart is not an advertiser or sponsor on the saleshacker podcast. So we are just excited about the new product. The last couplequestions, so I'm sure that there's people that have influenced you who're,some of your mentors podcasts, you listen to books, you've read that haveinfluenced you. You know if we're out there and again to the point of like wewant to be Dan Cook one day we want to learn and we want to be influenced insimilar ways. What are some of those influences yeah? So it's great questionI'll just you know put on a little hattip for the saleshacker group. Imean we find the content to be extremely relevant. We listen to asmany of the podcast as we have time to listen to the stuff that you're doitgsand the stuff the backs does were big fan, so you know if you're alreadylistening here. I guess that's. You already know that. So that's one groupfor me there's a few individuals who I think are really great. I mentionedDave, Gro who's, Lucid's, chief operating officer, he's fantasticmentor to me. There's a guy named Ky York he's from New Hampshire. He builta company called Dine dyaand he's now. I was acquired by Aracle he's a guy who,if you follow him on Linkdon, has a lot of Interestin Tenes to say: I've alwaysappreciated him from a book perspective. Certainly I love the sales books AaronRoss. That was one of the first books. I read that really helped me big fan ofMarcro Berrish sells a celeration formula. We're all reading, never splitthe difference. Now I think that's a book. That's influential here, extremeownership, that book about the Naty seals is another one that our teamsreally enjoyed. So there's a bunch of different stuff there I can go on, butthose are a few. That's awesome by the way. This is time lapsed. So this will,I will be speaking to people's ears in September, but this is being recordedin August and next week on, the PODCAST is Chris Foss, author of never spit thedifference, awsome all right den well. This has been amazing. I would assumeit's a hundred and ten people you guys are kicking by you're growing quickly.If people want to get in touch with you, if they want to be mentord by you orhave a question or maybe want to work at Lucid Chart, is that okay, youmentioned your email earlier Danat Luse Chartcom. Is that the right way to getin touch with you, yeah I'd be more than happy to help. If there was everany way. I can you know kind of pay it forward. Your point, like I'd love to.I had a lot of folks who are really helpful to me and still are and so feel,Fryo shoot me now t if yo we're hiring. So if you're interested in you would wewanted to live in Salt Lake, actually w are high remotely to so would love totalk about that, but yeah absolutely or should Bou Knowt, I'm linked in DanCook. I'm Linten, it's wonderful, an thanks! So much and- and this was agreat conversation- thank you so much. I thank Saathicks for Havpening a folks. I is Sam's Corner Dan Cook,really dynamic individual he's got so much different experience. He worked ata bank. He worked at a VC and now he's helping scale lucid, chart and doing agreat job out in Salt Lake City, which is this vurgoning sales capital of theworld in the United States. A couple things hat jumped out of me and forthose that know me, this is a repetition. So I apologize, but one ofthe things that he talked about is is you know, he's one of those people thatcame out of school and didn't know quite of what he wanted to do and hesort of talked about turning over rocks, basically a process of discoverythrough which he figured out what he wanted to do. There's this great blogpost, which I would encourage you to read by Chris Dixon as a partner inEndrason, and it's called climbing the wrong hill and so oogle climbing thewrong hill, Christics and it'll come up, and basically it is a a metaphor forjust understanding how to manage a career and how to discover what youwant to do and then make sure that you're moving in the right direction.One of the things that he points out, which Dan arbitrashe the move to SaltLake from Boston, as he said, you know the longer that you're on the wronghill, the longer that you're sort of going up the wrong hill, which is likean investent banking hill, if you're not into it. The longer that that hillis going to trap you and it's going to become harder and harder for you toleave that world, because the money is going to be better. So you sort of needto have a process for discovery that helps you quickly make decisions aboutwhat you like doing and uncovering the path to success. So that's one flogpost that I think is pretty interesting and then secondly, Dan mentioned thatone of the greatest challenges was becoming a manager of managers. You getthat one layer, removal from the customer and from the REP, and so heemployed a couple different mechanisms, one of them as the weekly one on one,which is absolutely mandatory. He also employs quarterly skip meetings betweenthe rap and the manager's Managure, so...

...that they can all stay kind of incommunication. I would also recommend, if you're not, if you're a VP to dothis or, if you're, in a wrap, asking your manager to do this, but some kindof weekly cadence around an overall summary of the business, either fromthe CEO or from the Vpsales or Cro. Saying here's how things go, here'swhat's happening. It just provides a narrative. You know it provides anongoing story of the business that kind of reinforces the main themes that youmight be trying to Enstell last thing I'll say is I'm a big believer in dailyHuddles, I believe in sort of the rhythm and the motion of the business,and I believe that you get in every morning and everybody stands up. Iprefer that you stand up as opposed to sit. You stand up and you go around theand, and you figure out what you want to talk about. Sometimes it's whatyou're working on that day. Sometimes it's something else, but the point isevery day you figure out that rhythm, it's like every day we're going to beaccountable for what we're doing, and then we have different mechanisms likea skip level. Meeting or a weekly email that ties the day back to the week,which ties up to the quarter, which ties up to the ear, because that's howthings get done every day every moment and then slowly that builds to amultior journey. This has been Sam's corner. Thank you so much to check out the show, notes, seeupcoming guests and playing more episodes from our incredible line. Upof sales leaders, visit sales, hackercom and head to the PODCAST, tapyou'll find us on itunes or Google play or spotify or anywhere that you enjoypodcasts. As far as I know, and if you enjoyed this episode, please share itwith your peers on Linkdin. If you liked listening to Dan Cook, pleasereach out to damn, because our guests love it when they get listener feedbackand if you want to connect with me, find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs, asalways a reminder that that tends to be political tweet, some of which youmight not agree with, and I apologize an advance also tweetzs related toWashington, DC sports and then sometimes indie rock. So maybe twitter,not so great. If you want to talk to me about sale stuff, do you want to talkto me about sale, stuff, that's linkedincom, slashand, Sam F, Jacobs.Finally, I'm the founder of the revenue. Collective we've got a one, a chapterin New York. We just launchd London if your city needs a VP level and abovenetworking organization to support the growths and advancement of sales andmarketing leaders in that region. Let me know, and then I'm also the Siero ofa great company called Behavok wore focuse on machine learning and helpinglarge institutions transform there teams behavior through better insights.That's all I'll talk to you next time.

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