The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

44. Career growth from Sales Engineer at Salesforce to building $100M company w/ Travis Bryant

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk to Travis Bryant, Entrepreneur in Residence at Redpoint Ventures and former global head of Sales at Optimizely. Travis began his career designing web portals for car dealerships before joining Salesforce as a Sales Engineer. He rose up the ranks before moving on to Optimizely where he helped take the company from $7M in ARR to just shy of $100MM.

One, two, one, three, three. Quote below. My friends, it is Sam Jacobs and you arelistening to the sales hacker podcast. We've got a great show for youtoday. We've got Travis Bryant, who has had sales leadership positions at salesforce and at optimizedly, is currently an entrepreneur in residence at red point venturesand was introduced to me through the famed blogger and SASS analyst and investor tomass toum goose. Now, the interview with with Travis is fantastic. Hetalks about what it takes to be a great manager. What are the differencesin stages of company? What's the difference between going in as an account executiveor sales engineer at a very early stage, and then what's the difference on takingthat company from fifty to one hundred million? So I really really likedchatting with him. Now, before we get to the interview, we've gotto thank our sponsors. The first is chorus DOT AI, the leading conversationintelligence platform for high growth sales teams. Course records, transcribes and analyzes businessconversations in real time to coach reps on how to become top performers. Withchorus DOT AI, more reps meet quota, new reps ramp faster, leaders becomebetter coaches. Everyone wins, everyone in the organization can collaborate. It'samazing. I have been a customer of chorus. I can speak from firsthandknowledge that they do an outstanding job. So check out chorus DOT AI forwardsales hacker to see what they're up to. And again, if you're not usingsome kind of call coaching call analyz software at this point, you're behindthe curve, because the telephone is where the action is happening. Our secondsponsor is our corporate overlord, outreach. outreached ot ioh the leading sales engagementplatform. Outreach support sales reps by enabling them to humanize their communications at scale, from automating the soul sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providingaction oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back.Now two more announcements. Sorry for all the ad copy, but we've gota couple great things happening. So in March outreaches running unleash. Two Thousandand nineteen the sales engagement conference. This is going to be the definitive greatnew sales engagement conference. It's going to take place March ten through twelve inSan Diego. If you are listening right now, you get a hundred dollarsoff simply by entering the code shpod, s hpod. So hop over tounleashed dot outreach that ioh and use the code shpod to save a hundred dollarsoff your ticket. I'll be there. It's going to be great. Finally, have you been nominated, or have you nominated yourself or your peers forthe sales hacker top fifty awards? Well, we did it last year. Itwas amazing. I'm on the the Judgment Committee, the executive panel,I don't know what they call it, but I'm there evaluating all of you, all of you people out there in the world, and I can tellyou that you're all fantastic. But this year we're taking it to a newlevel. We're looking for the best, the sales managers, the sales opspeople, the account executives, the SDRs, all of the people that are involvedin taking a product and delivering it to the customer and trading value formoney. We want you to nominate those people. We ask you podcast listeners, nominate your colleagues or your salves. Winners will be featured on this verypodcast and will receive other very exciting prizes, including the recognition and praise of thesales hacker community, which, unfortunately, is fiel scrape. Can't pay yourbills, but you will get that recognition and you will be on thepodcast. So that's awesome. So get nominating. You can nominate at saleshackercom. Forward slash nominate. Sales hackercom. Forward slash nominate. And without furtherado, let us listen to Travis Bryant on the SALESACER podcast. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. You are listening to the salesacker podcast andtoday we're incredibly excited to have Travis Bryant. Travis is a really wellknown sales leaderout in Silicon Valley. The way I got introduced to travis was Iemail to Mustangus and I said to Moss, who's WHO's an investor at red point, who do you think are the great sales leaders in the bay area? And he immediately replied back and introduced me to Travis. So Travis ismost recently he was ahead of customer growth at front, but really he's knownfor five years as the step of global sales at optimizedly. He helped themgrow from small to big, which will hear about. He also spent sixand a half years at Sales Forcecom, a company that we're all pretty familiarwith and really well respected and connected in the bay area as a sales leader. I think he also runs his own sales consulting group called Sales Human ConsultingGroup. Right now he is an entrepreneur in residence at red point, soprobably incubating and formulating some kind of amazing new idea. Travis, welcome tothe show. Sam, thanks for breaking a car no, rule number oneof thunder promise and overdeliver. So now I'm not sure how we're going togo from here. You are the second coming of you know, any oneof our the religious saviors? Oh boy. So, Travis, you know someof the folks out there may know you, some some don't, butlet's go through you know, we call it your baseball card, in thiscase because you're an entrepreneur in residence. Just give us like let's talk aboutthe highlights of your career and go through some I touched on it briefly,but give us a little bit about your background and and and sort of likehow you got started in the world of...

...sales. Yeah, sure, so, bit of a bizarre path, I suppose. I was a really poororacle DBA and Java developer at Chevron when I started my career, of allplaces, and I was building websites for the gas station owners to log inand get their invoices from sap and super, super exciting wow. But I realizedthat I wasn't a great natural developer. I think that that's a creative endeavorlike music or painting. But I had a somewhat of an act forexplaining what the product did and varying that explanation in a way that resonated.So if it was another developer, I could nerd out, if it wasa business person, I could talk about the function, if it was aexecutive, I could talk about the results, and that ends up being a fairlyuseful skill for the current chosen profession. So I had a path that wascloser and closer to the customer, from developer to consultant, consultant thenwith the big pivot for me was between product manage mint and that's another placewhere I think the business and technical should come together. And then the guythat ran the SE team at this company I was at before sales force waslike, let me tell you about how sales engineering works, and it soundedlike a Shangri law, which I think in fact it turned out to befor me, and that's how I ended up at sales force. And youknow this. The the magic of see and in the ability to frame atechnical solution to a customer problem in a way that resonates with them is,I think, some some version of Alchemy, and got a lot of energy fromthat and being at sales force and that time before the cloud was evena term, was really powerful and that we felt this sort of energy aroundhelping people run their businesses better in a fundamentally different way. And really Ithink Sass was the innovation, and that, because it put us on the sameside of the table. Is like, I can't sell you this thing andthen hope that you get it working and whether you do or not itdoesn't matter because my sale is done like the the subscription model dictates that weboth have to care about the same thing, which is you using and finding valuefrom it, because if you don't renew, we go out of businessfaster, and that that to me resonated in that I could do this jobthat we all have the connotation that it's all of the various visuals that USand lawyers, I think, are on the bottom of the reputation scale.But but you know, being being able to be passionate about the business valueof it, being curious about how a company works and how what what theirhopes and dreams are, and being a match for that. If you dothat well, that's a noble craft and that kind of mentality worked out wellfor me to continue to have success. The deeper and deeper that I gotinto sales and was very formative in that. Was Six and a half years atsales force before getting a chance to move on and and run the showat which was something that I don't know if I ever set out of mycareer. It's funny people will approach me specially like I love talking with strsand a's, and I remember very specific at ee it optimized. He waslike, okay, so here's the deal. I'm going to be an str fora year and then I'm going to do outbound for a year. It'sthen I'm going to be an AE and then maybe a manager and I maybevp at thirty one. I was like, great, dude, I love thatyou have figured that out for yourself. I don't even know what I'm goingto have for breakfast tomorrow. And and I just the number of variablesthat go into figuring out where your career is going to go, it seemscertainly ambition and and energy is important, but drawing out that, okay,I was going to end up as a VP of sales at this fast growingtech company was never part of the plan. But it was the joy from thecraft that kept kind of pulling on that thread and getting deeper into thenwanting to construct something, construct a team, construct a playbook, create a culture. That those are the things that I really took a lot of energyfrom during my tenure and optimized. So let me ask you a question aboutsales engineering. First of all, it's actually not completely understood as like auniform definition across the sales landscape. How did you figure out that you wantedto be a sales engineer? And then, from your perspective, like how doyou define where the account executive role ends and where the sales engineer beginsand how they should interact with each other. Yeah, sure, and I it'sfunny. My major in school was information systems, which was essentially businessmajor and computer science minor, and if you had to write a degree,that would lead perfectly to the role of a sales engineer. I think that'sthe one, because it really ends up being this combination of business aptitude andtechnical aptitude, and those are our ven diagrams, which are are getting closertogether, but there's still a relatively short supply of people that can do thattranslation. I think maybe translation is the right theme to think about there.That the role that inn se plays, which done well, is really,like I said earliers could can be magical.

Is this ability to understand what thecustomers trying to accomplish at a company level and then certainly at a personallevel, because that's how people make decisions, as they act out of their ownrational self interest, and translate that to the features and functions but,more importantly, the results that can come from the product that they are offering, and there a broker of that connect action. Now the that, intheory also should be what in a is responsible for exactly. They should becurious, they should they should have that drive to understand the business opportunity andwhether the capabilities of the product can meet that. But I guess the waythat I would characterize the difference there is is my expectation of a's as always, that they have an undergraduate degree in the in the technical capability, andwhen you need that graduate student level of detail, that is where an secan provide that. It also is one of the challenges of conversations like thisis a you can come across this fairly generic because it really does vary marketto market and product to product, because in some instances, like I havea close friend of mine who is at Hashey Corp, which is a seriesof devops related products, and I think they're the AE is really an seethey have to have that graduate degree in the in the technical detail the productto even know how to initiate a conversation about sales. And then the sethere is is a developer, because you got to go almost down to theto the bare metal level, but then add a at a business productivity toolor, you know, marketing or customer facing sort of tool, then these is not as deep technically but is more of that business consultant and solutionoriented broker and and then the seller is really more focused on the relationship intelligenceand how to navigate the organization to find the people that the products going toresonate with. So it does vary quite dramatically, but I've always that visualmetaphor of undergrad degree in the product for AE, graduate degree in the productfor the se was a good yet visual that. Were you paired when youwere at sales force, where you paired with sort of an account executive ora series of count executives, where you camped on closed one business where youtreated and then how did you make the transition from see into either account executiveor sales leadership? What was that evolution like? Yeah, yeah, well, are for the model. I was always in the corporate sales organization,which funny, every year that I was there, the line of what theythought could be handled by this these junior inside sales reps running around in SanFrancisco, in Toronto, that that line moved every year because we could provethat that model, that inside sales model, which is really hybrid because we wouldget in from the customer where we had to, but we tried toget efficiency through all the online tools where we could. The line moved everyyear. But in the in the corporate unit, we were a pooled resource, so you weren't paired necessarily to two or three as into a territory,but you could work with anyone and it was a little bit like homecoming Kingand Queen Contest, because you would you would want to get picked by thebest a ease. But my Stra ategy there, which I think was abit different at the time, was instead of just doing the same, andwe used to call it the Shit Show Harbor Cruise, which is, youknow, the sales fir stems like and here's the accounts tab and over hereis the Opportunity Shab like you're pointing out the Statue of Liberty and LS island. You know, there was one strategy, is like stay in the same conferenceroom and have the a's roll through, do the same exact demo to towhatever the customer was. It didn't matter. They were getting the sameand I want I just like. I wouldn't have been able to do thatout of boredom, but to I thought I could add more value as beinga considered, not a resource, to the AE, but as a peer, and their mindset was applied to different parts of the sale cycle and hadrelationships with different people. But I could provide that same sort of value,not just doing demos and being the quote unquote technical expert, but but beinga peer to the AE. And so I would go to the first prospectand calls. I'd be involved in the pricing, external with the customer andinternal with the Pricing Council that had to approve this crazy scheme that we werecoming up with, and I think in that way it prepared me for thenext job where that was supposed to be my day job. I had gottena lot of on the job training and because I'd worked with so many differentas, I was able to formulate a style learning from what each of themdid well, and it was fantastic preparation in that way. So yeah,talk about the the so, you know, one of the big questions from theaudience a lot of the time or just a thought and people's head tothe point of you know that fictional or...

...maybe non fictional s Dr that youknow has their life planned out and wants to be a VP by thirty one. You know, there's sort of two big inflection points. One of themis moving from individual contributor to manager, and then the second is moving frommanager to manager of managers, because being a frontline manager and then being sortof like a VP of sales cro are sort of step functions and complexity perhaps, or at least skill set. So how did you know that? Youknow you wanted to be a manager? What were some of the lessons thatyou learned? How did you learn them? Walk us through that evolution as youwent from individual contributor up the ladder. Yeah, thinking back to that timeand it and maybe I'll first zoom out and say the thing that Icare the most about for anybody is that they had genuine, authentic energy forthe work that they do, because if they have that, then all thegood stuff that comes along with that, the results, the the calm,the career growth. I think it stems the the fountain head is that youyou give a shit about what you do, whatever that is, and so thetrick for any of us in our careers is to find that thing thatyou would do even if you weren't getting paid. Again, it sounds Cliche, but I think that's the energy that sustains especially in startups, when yourevery day feels like either wild success or abject failure, like you got tocome back to where that genuine energy is from. And so every time youmove from a roll there's always a question. You can't really know it until youdo it, like am I going to have that genuine energy for it? And that was for me. The first question was going from se toAE. was that something where I was giving up what I really loved andwas I going to get enough of that genuine energy? And for me,luckily, that turned out well, where I loved the AE role as muchas I love the se roll, for different reasons. And so then thequestion about moving from I see the manager is it. That is to methe biggest change, because it is an especially from ae to ae manager,because the way that we architect these roles and organizations is like you kind ofthe world has to revolve around you and you get this this ego feed ofgoing to club and being on stage and no matter what, even if ittook the village, like you're the person that caught caught the touchdown and carriedit across the goal line, even though every single person in the organization wasinvolved in getting that ball from the quarterback's hand into your hands. And andso the big question is like, if I've had that ego feed and Igot energy from it, am I going to get the same feed from notmaking it about me but making it about the folks on my team? Andthat's a huge, huge shift that you have to do some personal analysis andjust be real with yourself. Of Am I cool getting energy from seeing peoplethat I'm responsible for successful and not having it be about me? And Idraw a big pair, or a big distinction I should say, between managerand leader, because, see me, a great manager is someone who chameleonstheir self to what they're that individual person needs on their team to maximize theirpotential, because everyone is is a snowflake, super unique and different and you've somepeople need to kick in the ass, some people need a pad on theback. You have to be able to intuit that and then mold yourselfto what they need so that they do their best work. That, tome, is like the mark of a great manager. And so that wasa question for me moving from from AE to manager, was was I goingto be able to do that chameleoning a and be was I going to getas much authentic energy from seeing somebody on my team be successful as I gotwhen I was successful individually. And I remember actually a very distinct milestone wherethe results of that experiment became clear, was I had my first management roleat sales force, was building a team of platform as. So we hadacquired Hiroku and we had the underlying technology like forcecom and databasecom, where peoplecould build custom applications and not just use the sales and service cloud outs outof the box. And so I build this team of a's and being anoverlayer with a called co crime, now it sales force, is really trickybecause you don't own the account and an opportunity directly. You're you're an influencer, a specialist, and so you got to do a lot of internal sellingas much as you're doing external selling. I'll never forget I hired a guymy team and he was aligned to a particular region. So he had theservps that he was building relationships with and sitting in the in the break roomgetting a coffee or drink or whatnot, and that one of the RVPS andcame up to me and he said, Hey, this guy, he isamazing. He nailed this meeting that we were at. I'm so glad thathe's the line of my team. We're...

...going to figure out how to howto go wild the platform this year, and I was more stoked for thatto happen than any deal that I had closed myself. Is. It wasjust a good signal that that genuine energy of being a great people manager wassomething that I I resonated with and felt like, okay, I'm going toapproach this in the right way. Did you have a set like other setsof skills, you know, besides, besides sort of just making sure thatto your point, you know, your chameleoning, let, you're molding yourselfto the motivation of the person, what do you think the other tenets ofbeing a great manager are? Besides? I guess we might call it empathy, you know, drawing energy, though it's subtly different from empathy, butdrawing energy from other people's success. When you think about the skills that arerequired to be a really effective manager growing into a v PA sales, whatare the key tenants do you think? One that jumps out to me isaccountability, and this but I maybe productive accountability as a way Wad of phrasein and that, for example, goals. It's really easy. Lazy Management IsLook, you got to quote your green, yellow red against that quota. Is Your Green, yellow red with me and that I'm making you accountableto that? Okay, great, I take that as face value. It'sone of the things that I think draws people to the profession because there's aclearer sense of performance and how you're doing them a lot of other roles andyeah, so I think people gravitate to that. But underneath that there's goalsthat are leading indicators that need to be managed to and people held accountable againstto lead to that ultimate goal of target attainment. And I don't mean iteven necessarily from an activity perspective, of pipeline generation perspective, but it's like, why are you doing this job and you want to be great at it? If you don't want to be great at it, let's talk about thatfirst. But I think you're here because you want to be great. Let'stalk about the behaviors and competencies and frequencies of those behaviors that you need toget there. And you're setting those goals as an individual. I'm not necessarilysetting them as a manager. We might have team goals that everybody has,but in that individual cameleoning. Tell me what your goals are, and myjob as coach is to hold you accountable to those things that you told meyou wanted to do in the first place. And so I think there is adiscipline that's beyond the empathy and how to create the environment that maximizes people'spotential. But let's add the the cold rationality of we work at places thathave specific goals that are enterprise to enterprises to make money, and we allhave a responsibility to play in that. And so I'm here to hold youaccountable to the things that the company needs you to do and you told meyou want to accomplish because you have aspirations for performing in this role and,of course, developing into other roles as you grow your career. There's asort of specific question. We mentioned quota and quote attainment. There's a lotof different perspectives on what quota means. There's one one place where it's definedas it could be in the CFO's office and they're building the revenue plan andthe quota is simply the U is as a dollar value times a number ofpeople that is required to hit a revenue goal. Another for other people it'ssort of like you want seventy percent of attainment. You want it to behard but not impossible. And then there's other sales leaders that are are reallyput in quota. They're separating it from the financial plan and it's almost likea motivational framework where they basically want almost everybody hitting quota. What's your perspectiveon how to set quota, how to use it as a motivator and howit should relate to the financial model? Yeah, the first thing I wouldsay I try to be really precise with words and vocabulary because I think theyhave a big impact and we have this richness of whatever language we speak.There's a most responsibility to try to use it well. And so the reasonwhy I start there is I get this this or reaction the quota and I'vetried to eliminate it from my vocabulary, probably to the point of annoyance frompeople that I've worked with and and have worked for me. But the reasonwhy I start there is because quota is this the term, is this perspectiveof control and I have this vision of people in factories making widgets and ifyou don't hit your quota you're gone. And I and again this is thisis all something that could could be debated, but I think that people get motivatedby something deeper than the surface level level. I hit my quota,but there's there's leading indicators to that success. And so yeah, we've got targetsand there is a Tamin against targets that you should measure against yourself.But something about the word quota that gives me just a little bit of that. I flutter think about it. Its utility. Now, how do youset those targets and what's the dance with...

...finance and and approach? This iswhere I mean things can vary super dramatically. I remember in early times the targetsthat a's and optimizedly had were over three million in rr equivalents. Andpeople are going to gut me. This is incredible productivity, but some ofthat was predicated. Well, I'm very proud of the team that we haddo I think that they were three times as amazing as a team at anothercompany that had million dollar are our quotas, which is more typical, I guessyou'd see in Sass not necessarily and a lot of it is market timing, is the product price point, is the performance of the various four horsemenof demand generation, from marketing to partnerships and beyond. So you got tolook at all of those elements to set what that absolute target should be.But the deeper part of your question is what will kind of almost like cultureor style, do you want to approach this with? And I like thereare a couple of rules of them that I think are useful that I've seensome informal benchmarking with peers, and there's one two, I should say twoconcepts that we should pay attention to. The first is overall attainment, andso that's just collectively, as the team, the roll up targets of all theindividual as. What does that lead to? And I think collectively wewant that to be above a hundred percent. It means that as a team weare performing ahead of expectations, and I'm a big believer also in loweringthose expectations to create appropriate cushion from the roll up street capacity of the eighty'sto what you tell the board is possible within a given period. So that'sa tainment on one side, but the other one that you have to tieto it is participation rate, which I've heard defind is the number of aease you are add or above target, because if you don't pair that Together, attainment and participation, then you end up having situations or you might feelgreat because somebody just crushed it, get a huge deal, is four hundredpercent of their target and everyone else is starving, and then the the cultureand spirit in the team is heavily impacted by that. You've got halves andhave knots. The bell curve is inverted and so participation rate, this variescan vary a bit based on SMB to enterprise focus, because just naturally anenterprise you're going to get lumpier kind of attainment. But I think a goodrule of thumb as above half of a EA's on the team are at orabove their target, because it means that then collectively people are winning. We'rewinning as a team, but individuals are winning too, and I would Ito me that that's this aggressive but attainable philosophy, that it does show thatthe targets are not a cake walk and you know just roll in and andend up in accelerators, but also that they're they're attainable and people can besuccessful because and more people are getting ahead of their target than not getting it. So the those too, as rules of thumb, above a hundred percentattain it and above fifty percent participation have been useful MNEMONICS that I've tried tocalibrate against. That makes a lot of sense. Let's talk about so you'reat sales force to two thousand and twelve. It's not quite, you know,the the Juggernaut that it is today, but still they define Sass in manyways and they pioneered the use of the word cloud in many ways.And then you go to optimizedly, and optimizedly is, I think, justseven million and run right when you joined and you took that company all theway to just about a hundred million, if I'm not mistaken, or oryou are part of the team, at least you. However, we wantto, as right, define it, but walk us through. There's twobig questions. One of them, because everybody's thinking about this all the time, especially, you know, sort of midlevel people where they've had a greatrun as an account executive, they're trying to figure out maybe taking their nextjob. How do you evaluate a company. So I'm sure you had a tonof options coming out of sales force. How did you figure? How didyou decide that, optimizedly, was the right one for you? Andwhat, what is, if any, frameworks do you have for evaluating acompany? And then to, you know, walk us through how the job changedas you went from seven million to a hundred million and what you thinkthe skills that you needed to develop were as you, you know, wentpast fifty million and as as you sort of achieved some of that success thatwe're all, everybody's striving for. Big, big, two part question, butbut yeah, give us what you think. Okay, we'll see.We can break it down into some component parts that are useful. So thefirst one is, how do you know if it's one right to leave ingeneral? And then how do you pick the right thing, because there's alot of amazing opportunities all over the shop and I so I think I'd breakit down into those two parts. So...

...for me, I almost left salesforce in before I ended up to two and a half years before I did, because I when I was thoughtful about what I wanted out of my career, I had some desire coming from somewhere to want to create and construct,and there wasn't necessarily to run my own company. I never had the classicentrepreneurs journey of running stuff in high school and having having side hustles and collegeand that sort of thing. I like comfortable working at companies and working forpeople, but I did have some desire with in a constrained scope, somethinglike a sales organization. I thought that there would be opportunity to improve whatI had learned from my experience and make it better. So I almost left. I end up getting convinced to stay, rightfully so, because there was thisspecial part of the journey that there's a ton of startups always there arenew companies being created, but there's not a lot of companies that make thatleap to the sixty one story office tower, hundred some odd billion market Cap Juggernautthat sales forces, and so getting to participate in that was a veryspecial experience, and so I ended up taking the that role to build theplatform sales team and which I sort of posited was the best us to bothworlds because I'd be able to construct something from scratch, which is something Iwas feeling energy for, and do it within the friendly confines and I learneda tremendous amount from that experience and I took a lot with me. ButI realize that I had kidded myself if I thought that that was clear andfull autonomy. It was building something with with a net underneath, and Iwanted to perhaps not have the net. And so that was the first realization. That was core was I wanted to create something and I was feeling thedesired to have that opportunity. Now, specific to optimizedly. I wish Icould say share the perfect Matrix where I ran calculations and said, okay,market opportunity and earning potential and quotient intelligence IQ the people that I was workingwith and and I looked at eighteen different companies and optimizedly at the highest score. And at some point you end up trusting your gut. But if Ireverse engineer the decision, and then I've used that now as a matrix abouthow I make decisions to join or work with companies in the future. Forme comes down to three overlapping circles. First one is the product and whetherthat's specific for me having more of an engineering background, I just have alwaysfelt like I can't be effective in front of customers if I don't believe authenticallyin the business value of what I'm offering. It's almost the point, right,and one of the ways to change the reputation that we all have iswhich I think, is the point of the craft. Is like, ifyou really understand what it does and how it drives value and you you havecuriosity about what this company's trying to accomplish and you see a match there,you're doing a favor by selling to them. But it does have to start withthat authentic energy. So for me, that was the product and with optimizedly, it was from the moment that that Dan Sroka, the founder,showed me half an hour before we went on stage together a sales first conference. I just got it, and you can see how you could explain toto companies of why they needed this thing and it was easy to get firedup about it. The second was market, which could be defined loosely as howmany people and companies would give a shit about this product, because weneed a certain amount to in fact give a shit such that we can growand become impactful, and that was the way that I looked at you.Just I was at the time thinking, okay, every website on the planetcould benefit from that, and then became every mobile APP and now it's thepoint where any sort of customer facing experience, from a kiosk in the airport toan apple TV, can run an experiment to help make better decisions.And so there was a there's just a huge market potential for it. Butthe third and again this is the big reverse engineer, was ultimately you woulddo a lot of crappy jobs of people that you loved working with and theDaytoday, energy, irrespective a product and market, has to come from wantingto be in there innches with people that you learn from, that you trusted, that you had fun with, that you that you fought with. Likethat that's the thing that gets you through all the highs and lows of thestart up and I felt that in every person that I met with and whatended up being about a yearlong courtship to join, but it just it feltlike, all right, you know, even even if the products not quitethere, the markets not quite there, then I think the people will bethere and that's the thing that will sustain and it's it's really special and Ihad this at sales force as well. It's really special that those relationships liveon beyond whatever role you end up taking, if they're ones that are like youhope for. Right with with all...

...the things that I just said,it's cool now to even see it. One of the things I'm proudest ofis people that I was in the trenches with, optimizedly that we were buildingthis sales team together, are going off and running their own teams at otherplaces and I just get a huge amount of energy from seeing them take theconcepts that we believed in, that we were trying to expand in the world, and go and run that show themselves. It's just it's awesome. I couldn'tagree with you more. One of my favorite things actually is I've gotin a bunch of, you know, like these linkedin recommendations from people thatused to work for me and when they made the recommendation their title was xand now it's very impretty. It's a more impressive list at this point becausethey all go on to do great things and just watching them rise up isthis really, really fulfilling with getting to the the second part of that question. So what do you think, because, and I asked because you know thisis a very common sort of common thing to say, right, whichis like a she the tend to thirty person or the thirty to a hundredperson. You were the seven to a hundred person. If you were tosplit your personality or split you know, whatever the skill sets were at thefifty to a hundred verses zero to fifty. Using very, very rough framework,like what do you think is different about taking a company at that atthat level of you know, three thousand to fifty up to a hundred,then is different from maybe seven to thirty? Yeah, yeah, well, Ido. It's it of course is a blur. It's one of thoseregrets that you didn't keep some sort of journal or or or diary or something. You will go back and look and see. Yeah, that's the pivotpoint where I started behaving differently. But if I look back to a coupleof those phases, I would say that it's being comfortable with any level ofaltitude and I talked a lot about zooming in and zooming out that in theearlier days, not being executive guy. That's like look, I I'm notgoing to get on that call or I'm not going to jump on that thatlead. That's because I'm big picture strategic thinker that that stuff is super dangerousbecause at some point we all got work to do and we gotta get towork. and was like, I remember one of my my favorite Oh shitmoments, and my first week it optimizedly, was an a WHO remain nameless.It was incredible talent and doing great things. Now they comes over andhe goes, he puts a thirty page contract from three m what was ontheir paper and it was a consulting agreement. He goes and man, usually Ijust sign these, but I since I figured, since you're here,you should probably look at times now, and I looked at it. Ilooked up at it. I went, how many of these have you signed? Because we didn't have a general council. We didn't it was just it wasthat get shit down done mentality. And so in that early time thatbecomes super important. You can't be high level forecast and strategy guy. You'vegot to be willing to get into the muck and that comfort as served.But the inverse of that, then is is and this is such a hardthing to balance, and it's hard to have a very specific playbook to saythis is when you do this, but it's the comfort of getting out ofthe muck to is what prevents people from moving from first line sales manager tothe strategic leader of the sales or or go to market function. And soI I do remember recognizing that, as more people were getting into the gettinginto the company and I was moving away from the Daytoday call coaching and bigdeal reviews and and so forth, that I remember consciously saying, okay,I got to turn my direction to what are the repeatable initiatives that we getscale from, because we can't just continue to have the blue binder when somebodyshows up. And that's the onboarding process. Like we got to build an onboardingframework, and I ended up being expert in not so, and I'mthe I don't let anyone else to turn to in the company to ask howto do this. So I got to keep my external network cultivated of peoplewho are in similar roles at other companies that I can learn from and actuallylike. A great example that comes to mind is you've had mark roversion onthis podcast before, right, I have indeed. Okay, so mark isalmost more than anyone someone that I just looked up to in a significant wayabout how he's applied this repeatability and scientific approach to how to grow sales andgo to market. And I got a chance to meet him through a mentorof mine from sales force and we got some some phone time with him onoccasion and I had this moment. It was about, let's see, it'sabout a year and a half into my tenure at optimizedly and we had hada big finish to the fiscal year. We had had totally crushed it.I ended up shaving my head in front...

...of the company, which I willnever do again. Wow, as a motivator to for that final push.Please send pictures. Yeah, those pictures are not on the Internet anywhere.Fortunately, if not a good not a good looking bald guys. So I'mvery thankful for for current glory exactly. Anyway, I are ball the forecastin January, just like huge miss and it was a bit of a noshit moment and I called mark and I said, Hey, how do youapply more science where you can to try to make this more predictable? Andhe talked me through this concept of inspectable events that you create these as binaryand as objective as possible components in the sales cycle that are not what theREP does to the customer but how the customer responds. And the more thatyou can flesh out a common set of those, then the more that youcan inspect every deal against those and then have more predictability of whether these dealsare are on track or not. And and that is like, I don'tknow what those inspectable events are for you, but you need to go and figurethose out. And so that kicked off a process to get a e'sin the room and just ask them like, tell me about your best deal andand to then find and draw out those common inspectable events, and thatbecame the basis of our sales framework that at the time we called Oh deal, the the ideal optimizedly deal. But that, to me is an exampleof the sort of programmatic or systematic framework work that you have to do.That's not just riding along on deals, which you have to do when it'searly, but to get the repeatability so that the ten rep to the hundredthroat that you hire understands what those inspectable events are, is trained against themas held accountable against them. and to me that sort of willingness to workon bigger problems and get to try to get ahead of those as best youcan is what helped me hold on to the job. I mean I feellike I honestly feel like it was just holding on, because there was alwaysthe click taking clock, like you could feel it from the investors. Theypattern match you and go yeah, cool, okay, you you got it.To hear it's almost like being a comedic actor something like well, youknow how to be in a comedy, but you've never been in a dramabefore and you just have to keep holding on and try to keep getting outand looking at the next thing so that you don't get get caught by it. What it? What's one specific and spectable event that you guys determine itoptimizedly. That went into your sales process? Oh Man, my favorite is wehad so we had a bucketing it into these different assessments of fit.So we'd have a technical fit because we had to make sure that the productwas going to work on their site, business fit. But we had thenalso called out this recognition that, look, people make decisions with their intuition andthey back it up with data. So we have to address the emotionalpart of this decision. There's an emotional fit that's got to happen something yougo okay, well, how do you how something that's somewhat touchy feel likeemotional fit? How do you assess inspectable events that are somewhat binary? Andso we did this big brainstorm exercise. This was not top down stone tabletscoming down from the mountain, but we had brought all that at the time. We could bring everyone together and we would brainstorm on what these events were. And an AE came up with the text zone. So if you thinkabout the kinds of conversation communications that you can have in the formality of them, it's email, it's phone, but you think about people that you textwith, it's a very different relationship. And so we had it and itwas a check box on the opportunity record in sales force. Are you inthe text zone with your primary sponsor? That is awesome, easy way toknow how, how, what kind of relationship. And then the joke becameokay, well, if you're in the EMOJI zone, that moves automatically intocommit because clearly you're you're in in the best set. And then we evenvaried it right, because then in Germany, our German teams look at US crossways, but we don't text our customers. That's that's for boating. But thevariation in Germany was, are you on a first name basis? Becausethe the business climate in Germany is you address everyone as Mr or Mrs andso. Yet if you get to that first name basis, that's a verydifferent kind of intimacy, and so that's a sense of emotional fit and itbecame a component then that we could use to measure how platonic ideal like.No one checks all of those boxes, of course, but it gives yousome sense of how far off or we in really aligning and be able topredict that this deal is going to happen. Yeah, I mean it's a yesterdayto your point right. It's trying to capture and distill these ambiguous sentimentsinto something yes or no, like are you texting with the prospect which isreally, really helpful and fantastic. Travis,...

...we're coming to the end of ourtime together and we get to a section where we like to pay itforward. We like to give people a book, a podcast. A couplepeople you mentioned, Mark Robers, if you had to single out, youknow a couple VP's of sales or commercial leaders that have had a really,really big impact on you, who would you mention? Yeah, mark clearlyone who I know you've had a chance to have him on and I Iwish I would have gone before him whenever he came on, because it's notgoing to look great in comparison. Another that who was an official adviser forme at optimizedly as Erica Schultz, who is a crow at new relic,just really a professional leader. I always felt this level of precision, discipline, Polish and and breadth of a perspective that it and I think the modernsales leader is weird, confucious thing to say, but it's not not aboutsales anymore. And she taught me, for example, that moving up market, and it is this Monter drill that in my head, enterprise selling asa team sport and it means that if you're not, if you're just hiringeight e's with the field experience and marketing and product and success aren't all holdinghands and in the boat together that we're going up market, then you're goingto struggle it. Just little things like that always really struck me. Andthen the person that introduced me to mark is Kevin Egan, who wrang globalsales at dropos during their formative years and currently is head of North America atslack. Kevin was an see at Oracle and so I think we always hada similar outlook and I supported his team when he was an RVP at salesforce. And I think the thing that I love the most about our timetogether is just understanding that at the end of the day, it's just ajob and it's something that you should have passionate, authenticity and energy for,but you can laugh about it too, that this world that we've ended upit up in is somewhat ridiculous and it's okay to have a little bit oflevity. I've had some of the best laughs just talking about the random situationsthat we get into, and I would say for everyone your respective of whetherthere's people at your company doing your job, having people that are outside, thatare in similar roles, that you can trade notes with is just sucha it's a huge, huge gift and I'm really appreciative for folks like thatthat I've been able to be mentored by. That's awesome. That's fantastic. Onelast question, because I'm sure people are out there wondering. So inas a succinct an answer as possible, people, probably particularly for sale leador wondering what does an entrepreneur and residents do? What is your mandate atred point and like, what do you what are you trying to accomplish thereand and what's the goal? Yeah, the main opportunity was a chance towork with folks like Tomas. I followed him, as I imagine a lotof people who listen to this read his blog religiously. We were reading allhis stuff in the early days, optimizedly and geeking out on it and Ihad a chance to meet him. I was at a conference on a paneland he emailed me afterwards and I I kind of freaked out. It waslike long time, long time listener, first time caller that he actually readout. And so we had add a chance to compare notes and stay connected. And so, having this period of my career where I can take astep back, focus on my family for a bit but want to still keepthe the knife sharp, I met with him and he said once you cometo an ir and I was like what's in there and and so the underlyingpremise of it is just getting to participate in hearing pictures from companies here,how red point talks about companies, what they're excited about, and then behelpful with my experience and scars to companies that they're thinking about investing in orare already in the portfolio. And so it's a great chance to meet alot of entrepreneurs and founders, offer help where I can and and then geta sense of what's the right next chapter for me, which I'm resisting theurge to dive in immediately and just ask more questions now, because it's kindof a special period to be able to do that. Absolutely enjoy it.Travis, it's been awesome to have you on the show. If there arepeople out there, I am certain, who want to get in touch withyou, maybe to get mentorship or to become your friend or to ask foradvice, are you open to that and if so, what's the best way? What's your preferred channel of Communication? How should people get in touch?Yeah, for sure, absolutely, as you could tell, hopefully, Iget a lot of energy from these sorts of conversations. So easiest way ismy linkedin profile, which is just t Brian Eighty, or, if youwant to go email, it's travis at sales human groupcom. Awesome, Travis. Thanks so much for being on the...

...show. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks for having me, Sam. That was great. Hello everybody,you are listening to Sam's corner. Thank you so much. What a greatinterview with Travis Bryant, a really thoughtful leader, somebody that chooses his wordscarefully and drops a lot of really valuable nuggets. Three things I want usto remember from this conversation with Travis. The first thing is there's just aquick gut check if you want to be a manager, and it's do youget joy when other people succeed? Now I know that you think that theanswers to simply say yes, and you can say yes, you can dowhatever you want, but look inside yourself and figure out do you get joywhen other people win or do you feel threatened when other people win? Andit's okay if the answer is you feel threatened, but that means you're goingto be a bad manager. Every time somebody interacts with you they're asking areyou self interested or are you interested in my personal wellbeing in success. Soif you are interested in other people's success, that's one of the key sort ofpsychological criteria for whether or not you're going to be a great manager.Now a little bit more specific. inspectable events. So Travis was talking aboutadvice that he got from mark. Were Roll bears on how to forecast moreaccurately, and mark through Travis, talked about or Travis through mark. I'mnot sure which is which, but the here's the point. inspectable events,distilling your sales process down to discreete measurable things that the customer does, notthat you do, but that the customer does, that you can use tounderstand whether you're on the right track and whether you can go to commit andwhat Travis mentioned in art conversation was are you on a text based relationship withthe customer or with your champion? And then they said if you add it, if you are in an Emoji text based relationship and you're sending like cartoonsand stickers and things like that, then you know maybe you can move itto the commit column. But what you're looking for our signals from the customerthat are measurable, that mapped to their buy. Our journey, not necessarilyto your selling journey. Final thing to remember enterprise sales as a team sport. That's what Travis mentioned. He mentioned that came from his from one ofhis mentors, Erica Schultz, who's the crow at new relic and an optimizethe advisor. Remember that, especially for a very, very high tech,technically complex product, you're going to have to take the company along with you. You'RE gonna have to take the sales engineers and the product people in themarketing people and there's no there's no single person within the big enterprice sale thatcloses the deal all by themselves. It is a team sport and so youhave to be thinking about it from that perspective. You have to be givingencouragement, you have to be sharing accolades and Kudos and you can't be ahero. You have to be focused on working collaboratively as a team. Sothis has been a SAM's corner. Thanks so much for listening. You cancheck out the show notes or see upcoming guests. Play more episodes from theincredible line up at sales hackercom and head to the PODCAST TAB. You'll findUS wherever podcasts are found. I find mine on the PODCAST APP on onItunes or, I guess, on my iphone, and if you want toreach me you can so if you have a great idea or if you havefeedback or if you want to tell me that you're tired of it, you'retired of everything and you want to just give up. That's fine. Findme on twitter at Sam f Jacobs. Are On linkedin at Linkedincom the wordin, and then and then Sam f Jacobs. Now. Once again,big shout out to our sponsors for this episode, Chorus, which is theleading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams, and outreach, the leadingsales engagement platform. I'll see you next time and I hope to see youin San Diego at unleash.

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