The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

26. From a Big Company to a Startup to an IPO w/Andrea Gellert

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview Andrea Gellert, one of the most respected marketing and sales executives in the industry. Andrea is currently CMO and CRO of OnDeck and has built an incredible career as a marketer over the past 20 years. Tune in as we chat with Andrea Gellert— marketing expert, CRO of OnDeck, and former American Express executive!

One, two, one, three, three. Fo My folks, it's Sam Jacobs. I am the host of the Sales Hacker podcast and I believe this is episode twenty seven. Well, that is amazing. Now it's twenty six. Sorry, I was wrong, episode twenty six. So we've got a fairly exceptional executive in our midst for this interview. We've got Andrew Geller. She's the chief marketing officer and she for a new officer Von deck capital. On deck is a public company providing lending and financing to small medium sized businesses, and Andrea shares a lot of her experience in this interview about her career, going from fifteen years in American Express, where she cut her teeth on marketing and data and analytics and then took on more roles as she grew, and then made a leap from, you know, a massive however, many hundreds of thousands of people, at tens of thousands of people American Express employees, down to on deck capital and when she joined them they just had seventy people. And so she talks about that transition. She talks about the skills that you need to develop moving as always, we talk about from an individual contributor to a manager, what she attributes her success to, and also the power of influenced management, which is a really key theme. So we'll be hearing from Andrea shortly, but first we want to thank our sponsors. The first sponsor is are call. Hopefully you've taken a look at air call at this point, but if you haven't, a really fast growing company. It's a phone system designed for the modern sales team. They seamlessly integrate into your crm, they eliminate data entry for your reps and they provide you with greater visibility at your team's performance through advance reporting, assuming you means a manager type person. When it's time to scale, you can add new lines and minutes and use incall coaching to reduce ramptime. So the website is are called dot io for its sales hacker, that is, are called ot io forward slash sales hacker. Go there to see why you we're done in Brad Street pipe drive. Thousands of others trust are call for the most critical sales conversations. And then our second sponsor is outreach. So that's outreach 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 and scaling customer engagements with intelligent automation. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results. So that website is outreach dot io. Forward sales hacker again, outreacho forward sales hacker to see how thousands of customers, including cloud era, glass door, Pandora and Zillo, rely on outreach to deliver higher revenue per sales rep and now let's listen to our interview with Andrea Geller. Everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. I am your friendly neighborhood host of the sales hacker podcast. As hopefully you know at this point, I am the founder of the New York revenue collective. I'm also the chief Revenue Officer of a wonderful big data, machine learning AI platform focused on people analytics, called behave ox. But that is not why we're here today. We are here today to interview Andrea Gellert, who is one of the most noteworthy leaders in, I think, broadly to find the east coast, but certainly in the New York City Tech Community. She's currently chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of on deck, the largest online small business lender in the US. She's been chief for Avenue Officer since May twenty two and she's responsible for all revenue generation processes across on deck, including marketing, sales and business partnerships. Previously, she's got more than fifteen years of marketing and client service experience geared towards a small to medium sized business market. So she served as VP of client services and operations at group commerce and she also spent over fifteen years in leadership positions at American Express, including both the open small business and merchant services divisions. She is an undergraduate degree of Harvard College, so she's fancy and smart, and she has an MBA from the Kellog Graduate School of Management at northwestern so welcome Andrea. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks so...

...much for having me, Sam. It's great to be here. We are very excited about it. So one of the things we always try to start some a lot of people know who you are and then some people don't, and this is going out, frankly, all over the universe, wherever there are sales hacker fans, so we like to get a little bit of your baseball card, which is some of your quick stats, and learn a little bit about on deck and then about the organization that you're responsible for. So your name is Andrew Geller, your cro and Cmo of on deck. Tell us just briefly about on deck, including you know, it's a public company, so tell us what you can tell us about the size of the company, the revenue footprint, things like that. Sure, on deck, which is company I'm super proud of, was really built to respond to a major mead out in the US and then internationally, which is giving small businesses access to the financing that they need to grow and maintain their businesses. So we provide small business loans to small businesses and we do it through a combination of a very automated online system and a very high touch offline system as well. We've been business now over about ten years. Celebrated our ten anniversary recently, and we've loaned over close to ten billion dollars to over eight thousand small businesses during that time. So that's what we do. Yes, as you noted, we went public in two thousand and fourteen which was a very exciting time, as we raise two hundred million dollars on the day of our IPO and we're now at three hundred and fifty million dollar Revenue Company and we have about four hundred and fifty people. So that's that's what we do. Hered on deck and you, so you manage marketing, sales and partnerships. How, approximately, how big is the organization that you're responsible for? Right? So the organization I'm responsible for is about a hundred and thirty people. The majority of the team, not surprisingly, is our inside sales team and then I have followed by a marketing team and then a business partnerships team. That's exciting. So we will dive into all of that, particularly because I think the route that you came up through, which is the marketing route, is interesting in that you inherited, I guess, the sales and revenue responsibility explicitly and we'll talk about sort of what are the challenges there and sort of what you've seen. But I think first things first. You know, we mentioned that you went to Harvard and and you got your NBA from Kellogg. What's your origin story? How did you get to American Express and what was to just tell us a little bit about your career and how you made it to where you are today. Absolutely well, I grew up in Los Angeles, so just even getting to a company New York was a bit of a surprise to me and certainly my family. I thought I was going to be a lawyer. Lots of lawyers in the family, and then when I was starting to think about applying to law school, I thought, wow, this just doesn't seem like it's that much fun. And then suddenly all the lawyers I knew were telling me that there were just too many lawyers, and that was a real moment for me because I was about a year out of college. Had always assumed I would go to law school and then thought, oh no, I don't want to go to law school now, what in the world am I going to do? So made my way into business. Went to business school actually to get into marketing and thought that I was going to do consumer products. It's one of the reasons why I chose Kellog. It'ts really known for its consumer products focus, and I was looking at my summer intern jip opportunities and was trying to choose between American Express and Colgate Palmala of and America expressed the small business division was hiring. I thought that was really interesting. I hadn't really spent that much time thinking about small business, as I had an American Express card, so I knew what that was like. Really appreciated the brand and had a really nice conversation there, and then went to Colgate Palma, of which you should have been the dream for me, and this is not a knock on call gate palm of it's really just more of an insight into me, which is I was going through my final rounds of celled a conversations and I had a meeting with a person who was the director of one of the brands at colgate and I walked into his office and he was the director of Deodorant. And so all around his office, I don't know, there must have been thirty different packages of Deodorant. And listen, Guy, it's like a strange pot Pourri make sure of so many different sense exactly,...

...you know, long, lasting, Short, last, whatever it was, you know, clear or not clear, and you know thisten like I think, dear it is a great thing. But when I left there I thought, you know, what do I want to do? Every day when I wake up, what do I want to look in the mirror and say that I'm focused on? And, you know, selling more shelf feet of deodorant compared to solving a longer term financial cash blow management problem for small businesses was what I had to weigh and I just gradivated towards the financial services problem that American Express was trying to solve, because they were both fantastic brands. I knew I was going to get a great experience at both of them and honestly thought that I would be an American Express for three to five years. Never expected to be there for fifteen years, but the company did a great job of move me around. I had multiple careers, I would say. I was there both in marketing, account management a strategic industry development, but I always knew that in my heart of hearts that I wanted to be part of a smaller company and really helped shape and form a smaller company in a bigger way and and that's ultimately what brought me to on deck. And so walk us through a little bit of your fifteen years at American Express, because it's clear that they taught you a lot. So where you want a marketing track you mentioned. You did account management, you did a few different things. was there a core discipline that you entered that you sort of apprenticed in? Was it truly like a cross functional, Multi Disciplinary Program how? How did you think about, you know, the evolution of your skill set at such a big company? Sure, I started in what now is known as open, the Small Business Card Division, and started there in a marketing rule, in marketing capacity. I was doing acquisition marketing. So learned all of the fundamentals about direct marketing and direct response and direct mail and you know, a lot of the functions at American Express are have a through line core of marketing that you do. So my next job at American Express was a job that was really focused on opening up new industries to plastic acceptance. This would have been in the late s and people forget that it wasn't so long ago that you couldn't use a credit card at a grocery store or at the post office or a costco places like that. This department was really focused on opening up the card acceptance and it was on the merchant side of the business and that's where I really flexed my industry strategy and development skills, always with the Lens of marketing, right, because the goal once you opened up these industries was to work to encourage that America's press card members to use their card there. So there was a lot of marketing. Is Part of the the deals that we were doing and the value proposition to those merchants. And so then I spent some time from there taking on larger industry. So I managed a large portfolio of hotel companies that were merchant partners or merchant partners of American Express. And again, when you're working with high or holiday in or four seasons, what they're really interested in is access to the American Express customer base. So which requires marketing. So we would spend a lot of time sort of mashing up what they could bring to the table from an outreach perspective and what American Express could do from an outreach perspective. And then I actually went back to open then spent the last couple of years at American Express, I would say, bringing that all together and focusing on an overall customer experience role and retention roll and and learning about how to create best customer strategies on the back on the card member side, which again was marketing. Open appears to me, as an outsider, to be sort of one of the tent pole success stories of American Express over the last fifteen to twenty years. Is that accurate? Is that how it's perceived within the organization? I think so. I think that creating a brand. It was the first sub brand that American expressed have had, and I think for a while there was this question about do we need a SEP brand? Do we not need to sub brand? I think it's been effective and I think it responds to the classic issue larger companies...

...have when trying to serve small business customers and in fact my experience it on deck I think reflects what I learned there, which is that when you most companies try to reach consumers and they're trying to do it at scale, with with customer acquisition costs that are really low, or they're trying to reach large enterprises, institutional sales or big BETB sales, and they're right, your cost of acquisition is much higher but the yield is higher. Small businesses are somewhere in between. You have to market to them more like consumers in terms of the media they consume. How do you engage with them because there are a lot of them and they're very fragmented, but you have to do so with a level of service and focus and orientation that speaks to the fact that their business owners. Right. I always say that small businesses don't like cute marketing. Right. They want to be taken seriously as the business owners that they are, because they're responsible for employing people, they play critical roles in their communities and the like. You know. That said, they're hard to reach because you know, at on deck, for example, we market to seven hundred different industries and trying to reach a and communicate effectively with a plumber in Arizona is very different than trying to do so with a doctor in Arizona, let Alana, a doctor in in in tucket. That's a juice it. So I think because from a very probably the S on Americans press decided to take this focus and make it a separate business division and and really try to understand the segment, that it did create a hall Mark Brand within a brand, and I learned certainly a ton from that experience that I've taken with me to blast. Like on deck, when you think about what you learned personally or when you are telling the story of your success to yourself or to others, what do you a tribute your success to, particularly because you know navigating such a large organization is really difficult. What specific skills of we're speaking out to the folks that are listening, do you think plate a larger role or disproportionate role and helping you move up the ladder at American Express? Sure they're definitely a few things that come to mind. First is developing really strong pure relationships and cross functional relationships. That was true at Amex. I think that's true everywhere at this point, that your job is always going to involve a matrix and the way you're going to get things done is through other people, often people who don't work in your direct group or work for you, and so you need to have really strong relationships to be able to influence your own outcomes through other people. So influence management was something I certainly learn how to do. Write at eight thousand first company. That's how you're going to get things done is through strong influence management skills. Which, secondly, and I I think partly contribute to that, is what kind of communication skills do you have? What kind of how effective are you, verbally or in writing, at articulating what you're trying to accomplish? Backing at that up would be how strategic are you? You are you thinking about where you are and where you're trying to get to? You know, or you just focus tactically every day, and I think good tacticians are extremely important. But from a career progression perspective, I think what I was able to do is to demonstrate that I really understood how to get things done and then took on more responsibility and show that I was able to make that transition from somebody who just gets things done to somebody who can determine what should get done. And when you're talking about what should get done, that's where you're talking about strategy. And when you're thinking about being good at strategy, is at a learnable skill, in your opinion? Is there are there things that you can do as an individual to get better, or is it innate in some way? I think it's a bit of both. I think some people naturally gravitate to strategy and some people...

...naturally gravitate to tactics. That said, I think anybody can be a more focus in credible goal thinker, if you just are willing to ask the constant questions. Right, are you thinking about? Where are we now? Where do I want to get to? Just even asking yourself that question. I often say to people what's you're from too? We were moving from and we're trying to get to and just even getting people comfortable with that kind of model can help them think more strategically and ask that question of themselves and of their teams first, because if you if you have an idea of where you want to go, then figuring out how to get there, which ultimately is the strategy, is a lot easier. But often people get stuck because they're just not even focused on where they want to go because they're so grounded and what they're doing today and where they are. That makes sense. So I think that was one thing, and then I just they would say. The other thing that I learned a ton of from American Express was how to manage people, because it's not intuitive at all, and I think one of the things that's certainly brought to on deck is that managing people is much more of a discipline than it is just a natural thing people are know how to do, and I think earlier stage. Companies definitely have a challenge with that if they have a lot of people who don't have a lot of trained managerial experience. What are the key management principles that you adhere to and maybe give us one or two super specific tactics that you use to you in your management strategy? Right? Well, I really believe that people are the most productive and motivated where they understand, again, where the company is trying to go, what success looks like and how their role links to that, right, so that they can really draw a straight line between what they're doing and the company's success. And I know that sounds like it's obvious, but often I find people have roles. You know, when I've come into other companies and talked like so, what are you working on? Somebody will give me an answer and then I'll say so, why is that? And you say it nicely, but like why is that important? Why does that matter? And if they're not sure, that's problem right and they think. You know, that can happen more than you realize. So just, you know, making sure that the roles are will defined. I think organization structure and role definition drives a ton in terms of setting up the right management framework, so that sort of thing. One thing, too, is having concrete goals. Here's what we expect you to accomplish in this time period, as measured by which is the CODA people often forget about, right, that we want you to do this as measured by that, super important. And then having a really robust professional development plan. Right here the two things that I'm working on to grow my skills, and here's the one thing that I'm really good at that I'm working on to take to the next level. And it should just be three things. Right. People can't, I don't know, do play golf like it's you've ever had somebody try to correct your golf swing? You know their leg and then these fifteen things are wrong, you're just going to like walk off the course, right, but if they're three things you could focus on and get really specific about the areas of focus. So not just that. I leould say I want to be better at speaking in presentations. Okay, well, how what are you going to do? Well, I'm going to try to present it too, in the next six months. And here the topics that I'm going to do and I will represent in front of some of my colleagues right, like make that professional development plan a real plan. First, is just areas of improvement that you want to focus on? Do you use a weekly one on one to do that? Is that sort of how you manage your direct reports? Right? I have a weekly one on one with my direct reports, I have bi weekly one on ones with my executive colleagues and then, I would say I have monthly one on ones with other key stakeholders in the business. I'm in a lot of meetings. So my day to day is a lot of readings. I think everybody's, anybody that's in any kind of management position, is pretty much backtoback in meetings and then in the question is, how do you leverage those meetings to get things done right?...

And it's funny because I feel like over time I've tried to evolve what my one on ones with my direct reports are that it used to be. I don't know if I would encourage this or by direct report would come up and say here the fifteen things that I'm working on. Now I'm less focus on the laundry list of activities, but here the three things that have the most impact of the business. Let's really focus on those three things versus I don't need the laundry list of things that you're doing every day right unless you're having challenges and I want, you know, you need my help on them. Yeah, and exactly, but let's jet to your point right as set the direction, let's figure out where we're trying to go and then let's prioritize and how you get there. As part of the beauty of your own autonomy. It is. It's also the hardest part, and I think this is a challenge at big companies, but it's especially a challenge at small companies, which is how do you there's so many great things we could be doing. There's so many awesome things to be working on. I want to work on all of them, and one of the hardest things, I think, to do as a leader is to say, you know what, we can't do all of them at any given moment. We have to pick the top three, the top five, that are going to be the biggest needle movers in our business, and then we'll go to the next five and then we'll go to the next five. Right, will get to all of them, but we're just not going to do them all at once, and that's a really hard, I think, thing to to stick to as a leader, particularly in a smaller company. It is the absolute hardest thing. So so you're fifteen years an American Express and, to your point, you've always had that itch of I want to go to a smaller company and feel that thrill. How did you select on deck? And then you know you've been there on a pretty wild ride right up there. When it was seventy people, it's now north of four hundred people. You've been through an IPO. So walk us through some of the lessons that you've learned, but I'm particularly interested in sort of how you ended up there in the first place and then and then what you saw as you grew sure I ended up there. It wasn't looking for a new role. I had had left American Express after fifteen years because I had known, like I said, that I always wanted to move into something smaller and I had an opportunity to work at an early stage. It was like a series be company. They just rent raised their series be company. It was a really interesting value proposition in the what was the hot daily deal market at the time and I wasn't looking to leave. I was really enjoying this startup community, although the funniest thing for me was that when I first got there at a few months in, the offices were in Soho Classic Loft Style Startup Company, and my kids came to visit and at the time they must have been eight and twelve and they'd been used to visiting me a American Express and so they come up to this office and they said like this is it. MOM, knows everybody. Okay, you know where's where's your where's your office? And I said, well, I'm sitting at that table over there, and they were like it's everything. Okay, mom, I are, we are. How many? How many people are at this company? And I said I think at that's time too, is about seventy people, and my daughter, who's twelve, was like zero, like theren't any more Zeros on that mom, like no, it's a smaller company. Yeah, it was really funny. It was one of these environments where, you know, the tech people were playing with all the remote control gadgets, which might thought son thought was just the coolest thing. So I was really enjoying that. I really think that if you're ready, not everybody is suitable or interested in going to it. From a very large company to a very small company, but within a month I just it felt like I hadn't been in a large company in years, which to me, made me realize I'd made the right decision. So I was having a great time there. A sort of nine months in and I got a call from a head hunter about an opportunity to head up marketing edit company that was focused on small business lending, and that spoke to my heart. It really when I think you know about the areas that I am interested in. Your Marketing and small business are always at the top of my list, and so I couldn't say no. I...

...had to talk to this this person to find out more, and the more we talked, the more interested I became, and so ultimately I joined the company, but I was fairly disciplined about how I went about doing it. I think it's really important when you're talking to an early stage company that you get access to to their documents and understand what their strategy is, that you understand what their funding structure is and to ondex credit, and this beak too. I think a really important part of an early stage company. There that several board members interview me, and that told me a lot about in my conversations with the board members told me a lot about how invested the board was in on deck and how that I felt, leaving those conversations that this was a company that was not just well funded but well supported, and that the relationship between our CEO and the board was going to be a really what as a very healthy one, and that we would get the support from the board in addition to their money. And so when I added it all up, I thought, you know, this is a great opportunity for me to pursue, and so that's when I that's when I joined the company. When you're joining as a head of marketing and you know there are these massive growth plans, was part of the interview process. Here's how much, and also, because you spend so much time at American Express marketing to small businesses in a sort of a skill set in a channels that are probably pretty similar, right, did you have a point of view and like, listen, I'm going to need a hundred million dollars to do this the right way and here's how I'm going to spend it. When you forced a bit to put together a resource plan, that sort of helped you articulate what your plan was and what your strategy was. Absolutely and in fact one things that we do at on deck is that we make that part of the interview process. So I actually had to prepare a full marketing plan as part of my interview process, and I actually now anybody on our team has to have some kind of project that they do, mainly so we can see how they think. You particularly, I think, with marketers. We can be very good at talking and so you really don't always necessarily know how somebody thinks unless you give them an exercise to do so. So I actually had to put together, Oh gosh, it was like a ten twelve page document on the front and before even got the job. And then I actually use that quite a bit in my first out of three, three four months. That the company and resource plan was definitely heard of it. But I also knew, and this is why I think it was good that I had been in an early stage company prior to coming to on deck. I knew that there were only so many resources that I could practically ask for. You know, this wasn't a company that was going to market through huge brand initiatives, that that would the thing that we needed to do is really demonstrate that we could go directly to small businesses. That go to market strategy before had been through the large sort of broker business that services small businesses for a ton of different things, and so really the idea was, let's demonstrate that we can go directly to small businesses and that will give us the opportunity to then ask for more resources. You'd done marketing to small businesses at American Express. I'm curious where the same channels and I guess now you know, years later, are the same channel still as productive? Is it still, you know, the mixture of direct mail and maybe direct response email, or what's changed, I guess, in the way that you can market to small businesses and what's become really interestingly productive and what's also declined in productivity over the past couple of years? Sure, I think. I think a lot of the tools are similar. As I mentioned to you before, reaching small businesses is tough, given this scale and scope and diversity of them, and so there are certain tools that allow you to be effective at filtering and I think that one of the unique things about our business, lending in general, is that you have what we call this double funnel so I can explain what that is, which is that you know, normally,...

...in a shopping experience, let's say you want to go buy shoes. You like Zappos, you go to Zappos, you decide what color shoe you want, what type of shoe you want, you give them your shoe size and then you just go buy the shoe right and as long as you have is your credit cards not denied, you're going to get the shoe. In our business a small business comes and says I want financing for my business. We say, okay, give us some information and then we tell the small business a are we willing to give you that money, and be if we are. Here is the durations a loan willing to give you, here's the amount of money we're willing to give you and here's the price that we're willing to give you. So that's a very different buying experience and what it means from a marketing funnel perspective is that you have this two step conversion. Right, there's a first step, which is interest, and then there's a second step, which is actually approving somebody for a loan and then booking them for the loan. And so it's really important that you filter out people who you will never approve for a loan. And when we first apparently started testing digital marketing, this is before I came to the company, we were looking at search terms and we're like, oh, we you know, we were ranking for small business grants. That was awesome. We were getting a ton of traffic from Google for small business grants. The problem is that we weren't going to loans from that because people who are looking for small business grants are generally pre revenue and in our business one of the requirements is that you have to have at least a hundred thousand in revenue. The median is closer to five hundred. You need to be in business at least a year. The median, I think, is somewhere around seven. And so the more filtering you can do on the front end right half the half the battle and marketing financial services is who don't I market to, not who do I market too, and there's often an inverse correlation. The people who are most eager to get money often of the people who are least qualified to get it. And so so that's where things like direct mail still work well, because there's just a ton of information that you can filter on model, on etc. The direct mail that you can't do with other channels. That said, I think certainly the world is evolved in terms of how everybody shops. You know how everybody is trying to find out information, and so we leverage a lot of content. We know that even if somebody sees a direct mail piece of ours, or listen to you, here's the radio out of ours, the very next thing they're going to do is come to our website and try to learn more about us, because we're not a household thing, right, we're not tappos. So making sure that we connect the dots on all of our marketing and connect that to a positive website experience, I would say, is the one thing that's changed a lot from my perspective versus doing direct response work ten years ago. By connect the dots, do you mean sort of consistent landing pages or like positioning messaging which is consistent across all the different channels that you're marketing against? Right, you need to be out in front of the small business kind of more and more frequently, not just because they're busy, which they are, but also because just the level of noise out there in the market is so high. So how do you make sure that when people hear your message that they associate it with you and not somebody else? How do you stand out from a differentiation perspective? We in our first tagline here when we when we did our first branding work about a year or so after I got here, was on deck. We actually want to lend a small business. The reason why we love that so much was because you couldn't swap our logo out and put Bank A or Bank B or bank see or American spress there. Right. So, but that message has to be consistent across all of your different marketing channels and then also just needs to follow up. I think the other big change is just with marketing automation, all of the follow up nurturing that you can do now just makes it sometimes overwhelming, right in terms of your strategies, but but gives you a real tool to follow up, because...

...not everybody need your product at that very moment. Maybe they're just trying to learn. Like well, maybe if I needed financing, do I want to go to on deck. How do we make sure we're doing what we can to maintain communication and then over time, develop a relationship such that when they do need financing, they'll come back to us. That's interesting. So, especially with nurturing, I mean the world is so complicated and there are also so many different ways of getting somebody's attention that maintaining that attention was sort of thoughtful content is seems to be the order of the day. It is an I would say. The other interesting difference is just how much of that has to float through to our SEALES team. Right. So one of the things we've been working on here is how do we make sure that all this great content were producing as a marketing team is easily digestible and usable by our sales teams, because people are expecting follow up from the people they have interactions with them, your sales team in a way that they'd never expected that before. You started off as the Cmo of on deck and then you you recently inherited the CRRO title. What have the been the big changes? I mean, have you run, you're now running sales teams? Had you done that before, and what sort of surprised you and what was consistent with your previously help beliefs when it comes to running the entire reven organization? As opposed to just the marketing component. Right. So I inherited sales and business partnerships, about a year and a half of them, and became the zero may two thousand and seventeen, so just a little over a year ago, and it's been a ton of fun. I'm just being able to have all those departments and and see how they can connect and and how they interact has been great. But I had never run an inside sales team before. I had managed relationships with third party call center renders, so I was familiar with what people in a kind of call center need, which over up somewhat, although not a hundred percent, with when you have your own inside sales team. But I wasn't. It wasn't entirely new to me, but it was definitely different. And the scale is totally different, right. You go from running a twenty person marketing team to adding a hundred people from sales. Business Partnerships was more similar and I spent a lot of time doing account management development work. But I think the thing that's been interesting to me is just how the three organizations have such different personalities. There's a there's a little bit of a like. Men are from Mars women are from Venus, but dynamic that that goes on right, where marketers like data and they like structure and they they are not and I don't know if this is good thing or a bad thing, it's just the way it is right. We're trying to kind of keep our emotions out of it and let a be testing tell us what works versus what doesn't work, and we can be fairly, I don't know, like Quind of direct and assertive in a our communication styles. And then you go to Your Business Partnerships team, which is a little bit like, you know, the forging new forging new paths, and they see what's possible and they want to take a lot of risk and they are very client oriented, right, you know, we want to make sure that that are a clients are getting what they need from us and and the like. And then you have sales, which to be a good salesperson you really need to be much more intuitive. You need to rely, I think, on your eque a lot. Good sales people are, and good sales leaders are very data driven, but they also leverage, I would say, their gut and their instincts, particularly you're more seasoned your season sales team in a way that you have to listen to, you have to pay attention to, and so one of the things I've worked on on a lot, and they're still more to do, it's just how do these three teams communicate to each other and sort of in a way that the other team will absorb and respond and the like? That's, I think, been the most interesting. What are some of the changes that you've instituted to help drive that communication? Sure, I've done some organizational realignment, and you know for so, for example, we have a business partnerships team. We've now consolidated our folks doing business partnership sales all under one roof.

They had been more distributed before, so that's created more unified and coordinated type of communication. I think that's that's been super helpful. We created a consolidated revenue operations team. So there used to be sales operations and there was marketing operations and we we created a single team that's responsible for both. That's helped a lot because they are taking input from both teams and and often can do the translation really effectively. And then we've been really building out recently our sales enablement team and leveraging them to take a lot of what marketing is doing and figuring out how best to package it in a way that sales and use it. So those are the kinds of things that we've been doing. Yeah, no, sales enablement is something everybody's talking about these days and sort of how do you take the collateral and the messaging and the positioning and then put it in front of the salesperson at the right moment, at the right time right which is difficult to do. So one of the last things I just wanted to talk about which is something you've sort of dealt with your by definition your whole life, but specifically in the context of like leadership, is gender and you know you're a chief revenue officer, your chief marketing officer, you're one of the senior executive team members at a public company. I'm sure it hasn't been easy. Tell us your thoughts on female leadership. What do you think as a woman, you've done differently, or have you not done death anything differently? You know, how do you what's your advice out there to the young women and the folks that don't always have the same options as other people on a how to think about their career, to maximize the results in the output. Just a small question here from I'll give you sixty seconds and then last and the soft world piece. Exactly. Sure, no problem. So it's interesting. I was fortunate, I think, to grow up at a place like American Express that that had, even from when I started, their many senior female leaders and I think that that taught me how to find my voice, right, because I had role models who showed how they use their's. But I do think you're to find your voice and I think that when I work with and mentor younger women, I see a couple things that aren't universally true. Right. So I don't want to for this to come off as like all women are accent on then or why, but I've noticed a few things that I try to coach women in particular on and and the first one is how to make sure that they're merchandising and selling what they're doing. I think that often womensume more than men that that if I do good work, it will be noticed and it will be appreciated and it will be recognized and I think at the end of the day, somebody who who works for me was it's actually a guy, was like no one loves you like you love you right. So you've got a really be willing to share what you're doing right and and in fact another woman I know who was a very early senior leader, I think, at one of the car rental companies, who runs a women's leadership program said that people don't know what you're doing, then they can't appreciate you. Right. And so you have to be able to communicate the people what you're doing and why that matters, and do it in a quantitative way right. Explain the impact of what you're doing and why it's important for the business versus. This is a great initiative. I did right the so what needs to be linkedin labeled? So thing number one, I think. Thing number two is how to make sure that your networking, and I think that this is something that I've observed. You know that men tend to feel more comfortable doing more naturally than women do. That that this idea. Again, the example that this senior leader in this whim's leadership program meant to always stuck with me, which is that she saw her husband in the study and he was on the phone and he gets off the phone and she says, Hey, you know who were you talking to? And he said you know, Jun John Smith, and she said, I've never heard you.

I haven't heard of John Smith. You know who is he? And I was like, Oh, it's a it's no buddy of mine, and she said really, when was the last time you talk to him? He said, Oh Gosh, probably like twenty years ago, and she said, I mean twenty years ago, like I wouldn't reach out to to John Smith if I didn't send him a Christmas card last year. You know, I'm sort of a this idea that you should be able to like. How do you how do you make sure that you have an extensive network of people that you can that you can reach out to, and it's okay for that to be a more transactional relationship. Doesn't have to be a deep friendship, it can be a transactional relationship. And then the third I think, is how do you advocate for yourself? I am always amazed, or I have been more amazed, with WHO comes into my office to ask for promotions and ask for raises versus who doesn't. And I gotta say, and it just makes me sad every time I think about it, that the ratio of men to women doing that is, Gosh, five to one, four to one right. That just women need to be willing to advocate for themselves and get what you think you deserve out of out of your job, in your career, and if you don't ask, you won't get right. So I would say just try to be more assertive. Are you optimistic the future of gender and diversity in the workforce? Sort of a loaded question. I hope you say yes, but what do you think? I think so. I think if you just look at the demographic ships, that alone is happening. I think that the work life balance changes that have happened over time. I mean I just think like when I went on maternity leave, I had to kind of screep together twelve weeks from a combination of unbasically even paid vacation and unpaid vacation to Steven get it. And now in most companies, you know, twelve, even sixteen weeks is standard. I think the ability to work from home and not have it be seen as a black mark on your you know, on your abilities. There's just so much more flexibility and it's so I think the combination of just where our demographics are going and and the fact that technology allows for a much greater diversity of worked type and makes me really, really optimistic. And and yet I do think that we need more leadership at the top to to stimulate it. And know when I joined on deck we didn't have any female board leaders. I was the most senior woman that was at the company. I know that because I was at the company, we were able to recruit more women to the company at all levels and we now do have a woman on the board and that's been extremely helpful. And it's not just about having different genders. It's is really true that you get different perspectives when you have diversity of all kinds that we should all be trying to get there. Yeah, I agree, Andrea. Thanks so much for participating. Last couple questions are really a way of hanging it forward a little bit for the for the listeners out there that you know are looking to emulate or just, you know, read what you read or learn what you learn. Any any great business books out there that sort of influenced you? Any great podcasts you're listening to? Just ways of following the bread crumb trail. Sure so on the Business Book Front, and I read a lot of fiction but I do try to sprinkle in business books on the side. I really enjoyed a book that recently came out called prime to perform. Super Interesting Book, all about how do you make sure you're tapping into what motivates your employees and that motivation really is derived from joy and the love of what people doing, are doing far more than monetary incentives, anslery benefits and the like. It's so how do you really focus on on what creates joy for your employees and how to infuse that into their work? Super Interesting Book podcasts. I'm a big fan of the gist. I also like MPR one. Those are the top of my my list right now. Great will prime to provide? That sounds very interesting. Last points, any life motto or gutting principles out there for the folks that want to embody you or emulate you? Life Principles? You know, I think that I think it's important to always make sure that you're...

...true to yourself and that you you're willing to have a honest assessment of yourself and that you are able to have honest conversations with others. I always say that if you were often asked to get feedback whether or not it's three hundred and sixty feedback or peer feedback or whatever, and I always say you should always first try to give the feedback directly to somebody, right, that you should never write feedback that isn't ascribed to you because that says something about sort of the strength of your relationship. Right, if you're uncomfortable putting your name into feedback that you're giving about someone, then is it really okay for you to give that feedback right and challenge yourself to figure out how to have that more honest conversation so that you could put your name to that feedback and say, well, I've already talked to this person about it, but here's what we've talked about before. That has paid me tons of dividends, as as I said, you know, given that one, I I think the key key thinks you need to be good at as a leader's influence management. Yeah, well, that's great advice. Andrea, thank you so much for participating. We know you're very busy. You're running revenue and marketing and partnerships for a major public company, so it's been a real pleasure to have you on the show and and thank you again. Sam thanks so much for having me. It's been delightful. Hey everybody, it's Sam. This is SAM's corner. We had another great conversation with Andrew Geller, chief marketing officer, Chief Revenue Officer from on deck. One of the things that I always ask at the end of every interview that I forgot to ask this time was, if you want to get in touch with Andrea, what should you do? So I did ask her that offline and she says contact her on Linkedin. She's pretty easy to find. Her title very clearly says Chief Marketing Officer, chief for ev an officer. She says her email inbox is totally jammed up. So if you want to get in touch with Andrea, that's the way. In terms of sort of notable takeaways from the conversation, I think there's a lot. When we talk about managers and executives and how they got there, they talk about how they advocate for themselves a lot of the time and sort of understanding your own personal advocacy. Andrea mentioned it in the context of sort of a gender divide. She says men tend to advocate for themselves kind of four to five times more often. In her experience and so if you're a woman and you want that equality, and one of the things she's saying is if you don't ask, you can't get. But another point that she made is that it's always important to quantitatively describe the impacts of your performance when you're managing upwards. So when you talk about an initiative that you accomplished or you talk about a sale, always try to interpret that and articulate that and translate that into numbers. And I'll tell you, I see so many sales resumes. The immediate thing I'm scanning for when I'm scanning in an account executive resume, I'm looking for numbers. I'm looking for their quantitative and demonstrated analytical capability to articulate their performance and in terms that I, as an executive, understand very well, which is numerically. So if you're working on your resume or you're thinking about talking about an accomplishment that you've achieved, it work, I would strongly encourage you to use numbers to do so. If your salesperson working on your on your CV, you have to understand what's your quota, what's your quote attainment? What was your ramp and hopefully those numbers are really impressive. What's your average deal size? Know Your Business when you're presenting and advocating on your own behalf. So this has been Sam's corner. Now lastly, we want to thank our sponsors. So if you're going to check out the show notes, see upcoming guests and play more episodes from our incredible lineup of sales leaders, go over to sales hackercom head to the PODCAST TAB. We've been growing massively. We've got an incredible lineup of guests. Over the past month here at the sales hacker podcast we featured everybody from Mark Cranny to to Moss Hung Goose to Chris Foss, author of never split the difference, and we've got more great people to come. You'll find us on itunes or Google play and if you enjoyed the episode, please share with your peers on linked in, twitter or elsewhere. If you want to get in touch with me, I think the best way is still linkedin. That's linkedincom in slash Sam...

...f Jacobs. And then, finally, a big shout out to our sponsors for this episode. 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. I will see you next time.

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