The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 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 are listening to the sales hacker podcast. We've got a great show for you today. We've got Travis Bryant, who has had sales leadership positions at sales force and at optimizedly, is currently an entrepreneur in residence at red point ventures and was introduced to me through the famed blogger and SASS analyst and investor to mass toum goose. Now, the interview with with Travis is fantastic. He talks about what it takes to be a great manager. What are the differences in stages of company? What's the difference between going in as an account executive or sales engineer at a very early stage, and then what's the difference on taking that company from fifty to one hundred million? So I really really liked chatting with him. Now, before we get to the interview, we've got to thank our sponsors. The first is chorus DOT AI, the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams. Course records, transcribes and analyzes business conversations in real time to coach reps on how to become top performers. With chorus DOT AI, more reps meet quota, new reps ramp faster, leaders become better coaches. Everyone wins, everyone in the organization can collaborate. It's amazing. I have been a customer of chorus. I can speak from firsthand knowledge that they do an outstanding job. So check out chorus DOT AI forward sales hacker to see what they're up to. And again, if you're not using some kind of call coaching call analyz software at this point, you're behind the curve, because the telephone is where the action is happening. Our second sponsor is our corporate overlord, outreach. outreached ot ioh the leading sales engagement platform. 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 providing action 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 got a couple great things happening. So in March outreaches running unleash. Two Thousand and nineteen the sales engagement conference. This is going to be the definitive great new sales engagement conference. It's going to take place March ten through twelve in San Diego. If you are listening right now, you get a hundred dollars off simply by entering the code shpod, s hpod. So hop over to unleashed dot outreach that ioh and use the code shpod to save a hundred dollars off 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 for the sales hacker top fifty awards? Well, we did it last year. It was 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 tell you that you're all fantastic. But this year we're taking it to a new level. We're looking for the best, the sales managers, the sales ops people, the account executives, the SDRs, all of the people that are involved in taking a product and delivering it to the customer and trading value for money. We want you to nominate those people. We ask you podcast listeners, nominate your colleagues or your salves. Winners will be featured on this very podcast and will receive other very exciting prizes, including the recognition and praise of the sales hacker community, which, unfortunately, is fiel scrape. Can't pay your bills, but you will get that recognition and you will be on the podcast. So that's awesome. So get nominating. You can nominate at sales hackercom. Forward slash nominate. Sales hackercom. Forward slash nominate. And without further ado, let us listen to Travis Bryant on the SALESACER podcast. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. You are listening to the salesacker podcast and today we're incredibly excited to have Travis Bryant. Travis is a really wellknown sales leader out in Silicon Valley. The way I got introduced to travis was I email 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 is most recently he was ahead of customer growth at front, but really he's known for five years as the step of global sales at optimizedly. He helped them grow from small to big, which will hear about. He also spent six and a half years at Sales Forcecom, a company that we're all pretty familiar with 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 Consulting Group. Right now he is an entrepreneur in residence at red point, so probably incubating and formulating some kind of amazing new idea. Travis, welcome to the show. Sam, thanks for breaking a car no, rule number one of thunder promise and overdeliver. So now I'm not sure how we're going to go from here. You are the second coming of you know, any one of our the religious saviors? Oh boy. So, Travis, you know some of the folks out there may know you, some some don't, but let's go through you know, we call it your baseball card, in this case because you're an entrepreneur in residence. Just give us like let's talk about the 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 like how you got started in the world of...

...sales. Yeah, sure, so, bit of a bizarre path, I suppose. I was a really poor oracle DBA and Java developer at Chevron when I started my career, of all places, and I was building websites for the gas station owners to log in and get their invoices from sap and super, super exciting wow. But I realized that I wasn't a great natural developer. I think that that's a creative endeavor like music or painting. But I had a somewhat of an act for explaining 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 was a business person, I could talk about the function, if it was a executive, I could talk about the results, and that ends up being a fairly useful skill for the current chosen profession. So I had a path that was closer and closer to the customer, from developer to consultant, consultant then with the big pivot for me was between product manage mint and that's another place where I think the business and technical should come together. And then the guy that ran the SE team at this company I was at before sales force was like, let me tell you about how sales engineering works, and it sounded like a Shangri law, which I think in fact it turned out to be for me, and that's how I ended up at sales force. And you know this. The the magic of see and in the ability to frame a technical 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 from that and being at sales force and that time before the cloud was even a term, was really powerful and that we felt this sort of energy around helping people run their businesses better in a fundamentally different way. And really I think Sass was the innovation, and that, because it put us on the same side of the table. Is like, I can't sell you this thing and then hope that you get it working and whether you do or not it doesn't matter because my sale is done like the the subscription model dictates that we both have to care about the same thing, which is you using and finding value from it, because if you don't renew, we go out of business faster, and that that to me resonated in that I could do this job that we all have the connotation that it's all of the various visuals that US and lawyers, I think, are on the bottom of the reputation scale. But but you know, being being able to be passionate about the business value of it, being curious about how a company works and how what what their hopes and dreams are, and being a match for that. If you do that well, that's a noble craft and that kind of mentality worked out well for me to continue to have success. The deeper and deeper that I got into sales and was very formative in that. Was Six and a half years at sales force before getting a chance to move on and and run the show at which was something that I don't know if I ever set out of my career. It's funny people will approach me specially like I love talking with strs and a's, and I remember very specific at ee it optimized. He was like, okay, so here's the deal. I'm going to be an str for a year and then I'm going to do outbound for a year. It's then I'm going to be an AE and then maybe a manager and I may bevp at thirty one. I was like, great, dude, I love that you have figured that out for yourself. I don't even know what I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow. And and I just the number of variables that go into figuring out where your career is going to go, it seems certainly 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 growing tech company was never part of the plan. But it was the joy from the craft that kept kind of pulling on that thread and getting deeper into then wanting to construct something, construct a team, construct a playbook, create a culture. That those are the things that I really took a lot of energy from during my tenure and optimized. So let me ask you a question about sales engineering. First of all, it's actually not completely understood as like a uniform definition across the sales landscape. How did you figure out that you wanted to be a sales engineer? And then, from your perspective, like how do you define where the account executive role ends and where the sales engineer begins and how they should interact with each other. Yeah, sure, and I it's funny. My major in school was information systems, which was essentially business major 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's the one, because it really ends up being this combination of business aptitude and technical aptitude, and those are our ven diagrams, which are are getting closer together, but there's still a relatively short supply of people that can do that translation. 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 the customers trying to accomplish at a company level and then certainly at a personal level, because that's how people make decisions, as they act out of their own rational 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, in theory also should be what in a is responsible for exactly. They should be curious, they should they should have that drive to understand the business opportunity and whether the capabilities of the product can meet that. But I guess the way that 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, and when you need that graduate student level of detail, that is where an se can provide that. It also is one of the challenges of conversations like this is a you can come across this fairly generic because it really does vary market to market and product to product, because in some instances, like I have a close friend of mine who is at Hashey Corp, which is a series of devops related products, and I think they're the AE is really an see they have to have that graduate degree in the in the technical detail the product to even know how to initiate a conversation about sales. And then the se there is is a developer, because you got to go almost down to the to the bare metal level, but then add a at a business productivity tool or, you know, marketing or customer facing sort of tool, then the se is not as deep technically but is more of that business consultant and solution oriented broker and and then the seller is really more focused on the relationship intelligence and how to navigate the organization to find the people that the products going to resonate with. So it does vary quite dramatically, but I've always that visual metaphor of undergrad degree in the product for AE, graduate degree in the product for the se was a good yet visual that. Were you paired when you were at sales force, where you paired with sort of an account executive or a series of count executives, where you camped on closed one business where you treated and then how did you make the transition from see into either account executive or 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 they thought could be handled by this these junior inside sales reps running around in San Francisco, in Toronto, that that line moved every year because we could prove that that model, that inside sales model, which is really hybrid because we would get in from the customer where we had to, but we tried to get efficiency through all the online tools where we could. The line moved every year. 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 King and Queen Contest, because you would you would want to get picked by the best a ease. But my Stra ategy there, which I think was a bit different at the time, was instead of just doing the same, and we used to call it the Shit Show Harbor Cruise, which is, you know, the sales fir stems like and here's the accounts tab and over here is 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 conference room and have the a's roll through, do the same exact demo to to whatever the customer was. It didn't matter. They were getting the same and I want I just like. I wouldn't have been able to do that out of boredom, but to I thought I could add more value as being a considered, not a resource, to the AE, but as a peer, and their mindset was applied to different parts of the sale cycle and had relationships 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 being a peer to the AE. And so I would go to the first prospect and calls. I'd be involved in the pricing, external with the customer and internal with the Pricing Council that had to approve this crazy scheme that we were coming up with, and I think in that way it prepared me for the next job where that was supposed to be my day job. I had gotten a lot of on the job training and because I'd worked with so many different as, I was able to formulate a style learning from what each of them did well, and it was fantastic preparation in that way. So yeah, talk about the the so, you know, one of the big questions from the audience a lot of the time or just a thought and people's head to the point of you know that fictional or...

...maybe non fictional s Dr that you know 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 them is moving from individual contributor to manager, and then the second is moving from manager to manager of managers, because being a frontline manager and then being sort of 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? You know you wanted to be a manager? What were some of the lessons that you learned? How did you learn them? Walk us through that evolution as you went from individual contributor up the ladder. Yeah, thinking back to that time and it and maybe I'll first zoom out and say the thing that I care the most about for anybody is that they had genuine, authentic energy for the work that they do, because if they have that, then all the good stuff that comes along with that, the results, the the calm, the career growth. I think it stems the the fountain head is that you you give a shit about what you do, whatever that is, and so the trick for any of us in our careers is to find that thing that you 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 your every day feels like either wild success or abject failure, like you got to come back to where that genuine energy is from. And so every time you move from a roll there's always a question. You can't really know it until you do it, like am I going to have that genuine energy for it? And that was for me. The first question was going from se to AE. was that something where I was giving up what I really loved and was I going to get enough of that genuine energy? And for me, luckily, that turned out well, where I loved the AE role as much as I love the se roll, for different reasons. And so then the question about moving from I see the manager is it. That is to me the 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 of the world has to revolve around you and you get this this ego feed of going to club and being on stage and no matter what, even if it took the village, like you're the person that caught caught the touchdown and carried it across the goal line, even though every single person in the organization was involved in getting that ball from the quarterback's hand into your hands. And and so the big question is like, if I've had that ego feed and I got energy from it, am I going to get the same feed from not making it about me but making it about the folks on my team? And that's a huge, huge shift that you have to do some personal analysis and just be real with yourself. Of Am I cool getting energy from seeing people that I'm responsible for successful and not having it be about me? And I draw a big pair, or a big distinction I should say, between manager and leader, because, see me, a great manager is someone who chameleons their self to what they're that individual person needs on their team to maximize their potential, because everyone is is a snowflake, super unique and different and you've some people need to kick in the ass, some people need a pad on the back. You have to be able to intuit that and then mold yourself to what they need so that they do their best work. That, to me, is like the mark of a great manager. And so that was a question for me moving from from AE to manager, was was I going to be able to do that chameleoning a and be was I going to get as much authentic energy from seeing somebody on my team be successful as I got when I was successful individually. And I remember actually a very distinct milestone where the results of that experiment became clear, was I had my first management role at sales force, was building a team of platform as. So we had acquired Hiroku and we had the underlying technology like forcecom and databasecom, where people could build custom applications and not just use the sales and service cloud outs out of the box. And so I build this team of a's and being an overlayer with a called co crime, now it sales force, is really tricky because 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 selling as much as you're doing external selling. I'll never forget I hired a guy my team and he was aligned to a particular region. So he had these rvps that he was building relationships with and sitting in the in the break room getting a coffee or drink or whatnot, and that one of the RVPS and came up to me and he said, Hey, this guy, he is amazing. He nailed this meeting that we were at. I'm so glad that he's the line of my team. We're...

...going to figure out how to how to go wild the platform this year, and I was more stoked for that to happen than any deal that I had closed myself. Is. It was just a good signal that that genuine energy of being a great people manager was something that I I resonated with and felt like, okay, I'm going to approach this in the right way. Did you have a set like other sets of skills, you know, besides, besides sort of just making sure that to your point, you know, your chameleoning, let, you're molding yourself to the motivation of the person, what do you think the other tenets of being a great manager are? Besides? I guess we might call it empathy, you know, drawing energy, though it's subtly different from empathy, but drawing energy from other people's success. When you think about the skills that are required to be a really effective manager growing into a v PA sales, what are the key tenants do you think? One that jumps out to me is accountability, and this but I maybe productive accountability as a way Wad of phrase in and that, for example, goals. It's really easy. Lazy Management Is Look, you got to quote your green, yellow red against that quota. Is Your Green, yellow red with me and that I'm making you accountable to that? Okay, great, I take that as face value. It's one of the things that I think draws people to the profession because there's a clearer sense of performance and how you're doing them a lot of other roles and yeah, so I think people gravitate to that. But underneath that there's goals that are leading indicators that need to be managed to and people held accountable against to lead to that ultimate goal of target attainment. And I don't mean it even 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 that first. But I think you're here because you want to be great. Let's talk about the behaviors and competencies and frequencies of those behaviors that you need to get there. And you're setting those goals as an individual. I'm not necessarily setting them as a manager. We might have team goals that everybody has, but in that individual cameleoning. Tell me what your goals are, and my job as coach is to hold you accountable to those things that you told me you wanted to do in the first place. And so I think there is a discipline that's beyond the empathy and how to create the environment that maximizes people's potential. But let's add the the cold rationality of we work at places that have specific goals that are enterprise to enterprises to make money, and we all have a responsibility to play in that. And so I'm here to hold you accountable to the things that the company needs you to do and you told me you 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 a sort of specific question. We mentioned quota and quote attainment. There's a lot of different perspectives on what quota means. There's one one place where it's defined as it could be in the CFO's office and they're building the revenue plan and the quota is simply the U is as a dollar value times a number of people that is required to hit a revenue goal. Another for other people it's sort of like you want seventy percent of attainment. You want it to be hard but not impossible. And then there's other sales leaders that are are really put in quota. They're separating it from the financial plan and it's almost like a motivational framework where they basically want almost everybody hitting quota. What's your perspective on how to set quota, how to use it as a motivator and how it should relate to the financial model? Yeah, the first thing I would say I try to be really precise with words and vocabulary because I think they have 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 reason why I start there is I get this this or reaction the quota and I've tried to eliminate it from my vocabulary, probably to the point of annoyance from people that I've worked with and and have worked for me. But the reason why I start there is because quota is this the term, is this perspective of control and I have this vision of people in factories making widgets and if you don't hit your quota you're gone. And I and again this is this is all something that could could be debated, but I think that people get motivated by 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 targets and 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 you set those targets and what's the dance with...

...finance and and approach? This is where I mean things can vary super dramatically. I remember in early times the targets that a's and optimizedly had were over three million in rr equivalents. And people are going to gut me. This is incredible productivity, but some of that was predicated. Well, I'm very proud of the team that we had do I think that they were three times as amazing as a team at another company that had million dollar are our quotas, which is more typical, I guess you'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 horsemen of demand generation, from marketing to partnerships and beyond. So you got to look 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 culture or style, do you want to approach this with? And I like there are a couple of rules of them that I think are useful that I've seen some informal benchmarking with peers, and there's one two, I should say two concepts that we should pay attention to. The first is overall attainment, and so that's just collectively, as the team, the roll up targets of all the individual as. What does that lead to? And I think collectively we want that to be above a hundred percent. It means that as a team we are performing ahead of expectations, and I'm a big believer also in lowering those expectations to create appropriate cushion from the roll up street capacity of the eighty's to what you tell the board is possible within a given period. So that's a tainment on one side, but the other one that you have to tie to it is participation rate, which I've heard defind is the number of a ease 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 feel great because somebody just crushed it, get a huge deal, is four hundred percent of their target and everyone else is starving, and then the the culture and spirit in the team is heavily impacted by that. You've got halves and have knots. The bell curve is inverted and so participation rate, this varies can vary a bit based on SMB to enterprise focus, because just naturally an enterprise you're going to get lumpier kind of attainment. But I think a good rule of thumb as above half of a EA's on the team are at or above their target, because it means that then collectively people are winning. We're winning as a team, but individuals are winning too, and I would I to me that that's this aggressive but attainable philosophy, that it does show that the targets are not a cake walk and you know just roll in and and end up in accelerators, but also that they're they're attainable and people can be successful 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 percent attain it and above fifty percent participation have been useful MNEMONICS that I've tried to calibrate against. That makes a lot of sense. Let's talk about so you're at 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 many ways and they pioneered the use of the word cloud in many ways. And then you go to optimizedly, and optimizedly is, I think, just seven million and run right when you joined and you took that company all the way to just about a hundred million, if I'm not mistaken, or or you are part of the team, at least you. However, we want to, as right, define it, but walk us through. There's two big 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 great run as an account executive, they're trying to figure out maybe taking their next job. How do you evaluate a company. So I'm sure you had a ton of options coming out of sales force. How did you figure? How did you decide that, optimizedly, was the right one for you? And what, what is, if any, frameworks do you have for evaluating a company? And then to, you know, walk us through how the job changed as you went from seven million to a hundred million and what you think the skills that you needed to develop were as you, you know, went past fifty million and as as you sort of achieved some of that success that we're all, everybody's striving for. Big, big, two part question, but but yeah, give us what you think. Okay, we'll see. We can break it down into some component parts that are useful. So the first one is, how do you know if it's one right to leave in general? And then how do you pick the right thing, because there's a lot of amazing opportunities all over the shop and I so I think I'd break it down into those two parts. So...

...for me, I almost left sales force 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 classic entrepreneurs journey of running stuff in high school and having having side hustles and college and that sort of thing. I like comfortable working at companies and working for people, but I did have some desire with in a constrained scope, something like a sales organization. I thought that there would be opportunity to improve what I 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 this special part of the journey that there's a ton of startups always there are new companies being created, but there's not a lot of companies that make that leap to the sixty one story office tower, hundred some odd billion market Cap Juggernaut that sales forces, and so getting to participate in that was a very special experience, and so I ended up taking the that role to build the platform sales team and which I sort of posited was the best us to both worlds because I'd be able to construct something from scratch, which is something I was feeling energy for, and do it within the friendly confines and I learned a tremendous amount from that experience and I took a lot with me. But I realize that I had kidded myself if I thought that that was clear and full autonomy. It was building something with with a net underneath, and I wanted 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 the desired to have that opportunity. Now, specific to optimizedly. I wish I could 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 working with 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 I reverse engineer the decision, and then I've used that now as a matrix about how I make decisions to join or work with companies in the future. For me comes down to three overlapping circles. First one is the product and whether that's specific for me having more of an engineering background, I just have always felt like I can't be effective in front of customers if I don't believe authentically in 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 is which I think, is the point of the craft. Is like, if you really understand what it does and how it drives value and you you have curiosity 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 with that 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 to to companies of why they needed this thing and it was easy to get fired up about it. The second was market, which could be defined loosely as how many people and companies would give a shit about this product, because we need a certain amount to in fact give a shit such that we can grow and become impactful, and that was the way that I looked at you. Just I was at the time thinking, okay, every website on the planet could benefit from that, and then became every mobile APP and now it's the point where any sort of customer facing experience, from a kiosk in the airport to an 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. But the third and again this is the big reverse engineer, was ultimately you would do a lot of crappy jobs of people that you loved working with and the Daytoday, energy, irrespective a product and market, has to come from wanting to be in there innches with people that you learn from, that you trusted, that you had fun with, that you that you fought with. Like that that's the thing that gets you through all the highs and lows of the start up and I felt that in every person that I met with and what ended up being about a yearlong courtship to join, but it just it felt like, all right, you know, even even if the products not quite there, the markets not quite there, then I think the people will be there and that's the thing that will sustain and it's it's really special and I had this at sales force as well. It's really special that those relationships live on beyond whatever role you end up taking, if they're ones that are like you hope 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 of is people that I was in the trenches with, optimizedly that we were building this sales team together, are going off and running their own teams at other places and I just get a huge amount of energy from seeing them take the concepts 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't agree with you more. One of my favorite things actually is I've got in a bunch of, you know, like these linkedin recommendations from people that used to work for me and when they made the recommendation their title was x and now it's very impretty. It's a more impressive list at this point because they all go on to do great things and just watching them rise up is this 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 this is a very common sort of common thing to say, right, which is like a she the tend to thirty person or the thirty to a hundred person. You were the seven to a hundred person. If you were to split your personality or split you know, whatever the skill sets were at the fifty 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 at that level of you know, three thousand to fifty up to a hundred, then is different from maybe seven to thirty? Yeah, yeah, well, I do. It's it of course is a blur. It's one of those regrets 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 pivot point where I started behaving differently. But if I look back to a couple of those phases, I would say that it's being comfortable with any level of altitude and I talked a lot about zooming in and zooming out that in the earlier days, not being executive guy. That's like look, I I'm not going to get on that call or I'm not going to jump on that that lead. That's because I'm big picture strategic thinker that that stuff is super dangerous because at some point we all got work to do and we gotta get to work. and was like, I remember one of my my favorite Oh shit moments, and my first week it optimizedly, was an a WHO remain nameless. It was incredible talent and doing great things. Now they comes over and he goes, he puts a thirty page contract from three m what was on their paper and it was a consulting agreement. He goes and man, usually I just sign these, but I since I figured, since you're here, you should probably look at times now, and I looked at it. I looked 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 was that get shit down done mentality. And so in that early time that becomes super important. You can't be high level forecast and strategy guy. You've got 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 hard thing to balance, and it's hard to have a very specific playbook to say this is when you do this, but it's the comfort of getting out of the muck to is what prevents people from moving from first line sales manager to the strategic leader of the sales or or go to market function. And so I I do remember recognizing that, as more people were getting into the getting into the company and I was moving away from the Daytoday call coaching and big deal 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 get scale from, because we can't just continue to have the blue binder when somebody shows up. And that's the onboarding process. Like we got to build an onboarding framework, and I ended up being expert in not so, and I'm the I don't let anyone else to turn to in the company to ask how to do this. So I got to keep my external network cultivated of people who are in similar roles at other companies that I can learn from and actually like. A great example that comes to mind is you've had mark roversion on this podcast before, right, I have indeed. Okay, so mark is almost more than anyone someone that I just looked up to in a significant way about how he's applied this repeatability and scientific approach to how to grow sales and go to market. And I got a chance to meet him through a mentor of mine from sales force and we got some some phone time with him on occasion and I had this moment. It was about, let's see, it's about a year and a half into my tenure at optimizedly and we had had a 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 will never 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'm very thankful for for current glory exactly. Anyway, I are ball the forecast in January, just like huge miss and it was a bit of a no shit moment and I called mark and I said, Hey, how do you apply more science where you can to try to make this more predictable? And he talked me through this concept of inspectable events that you create these as binary and as objective as possible components in the sales cycle that are not what the REP does to the customer but how the customer responds. And the more that you can flesh out a common set of those, then the more that you can inspect every deal against those and then have more predictability of whether these deals are are on track or not. And and that is like, I don't know what those inspectable events are for you, but you need to go and figure those out. And so that kicked off a process to get a e's in the room and just ask them like, tell me about your best deal and and to then find and draw out those common inspectable events, and that became 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 example of 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's early, but to get the repeatability so that the ten rep to the hundred throat that you hire understands what those inspectable events are, is trained against them as held accountable against them. and to me that sort of willingness to work on bigger problems and get to try to get ahead of those as best you can is what helped me hold on to the job. I mean I feel like I honestly feel like it was just holding on, because there was always the click taking clock, like you could feel it from the investors. They pattern match you and go yeah, cool, okay, you you got it. To hear it's almost like being a comedic actor something like well, you know how to be in a comedy, but you've never been in a drama before and you just have to keep holding on and try to keep getting out and 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 it optimizedly. That went into your sales process? Oh Man, my favorite is we had 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 product was going to work on their site, business fit. But we had then also called out this recognition that, look, people make decisions with their intuition and they back it up with data. So we have to address the emotional part of this decision. There's an emotional fit that's got to happen something you go okay, well, how do you how something that's somewhat touchy feel like emotional fit? How do you assess inspectable events that are somewhat binary? And so we did this big brainstorm exercise. This was not top down stone tablets coming 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 think about 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 text with, it's a very different relationship. And so we had it and it was a check box on the opportunity record in sales force. Are you in the text zone with your primary sponsor? That is awesome, easy way to know how, how, what kind of relationship. And then the joke became okay, well, if you're in the EMOJI zone, that moves automatically into commit because clearly you're you're in in the best set. And then we even varied 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 the variation in Germany was, are you on a first name basis? Because the the business climate in Germany is you address everyone as Mr or Mrs and so. Yet if you get to that first name basis, that's a very different kind of intimacy, and so that's a sense of emotional fit and it became 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 you some sense of how far off or we in really aligning and be able to predict that this deal is going to happen. Yeah, I mean it's a yesterday to your point right. It's trying to capture and distill these ambiguous sentiments into something yes or no, like are you texting with the prospect which is really, really helpful and fantastic. Travis,...

...we're coming to the end of our time together and we get to a section where we like to pay it forward. We like to give people a book, a podcast. A couple people you mentioned, Mark Robers, if you had to single out, you know 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 clearly one who I know you've had a chance to have him on and I I wish I would have gone before him whenever he came on, because it's not going to look great in comparison. Another that who was an official adviser for me 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 modern sales leader is weird, confucious thing to say, but it's not not about sales anymore. And she taught me, for example, that moving up market, and it is this Monter drill that in my head, enterprise selling as a team sport and it means that if you're not, if you're just hiring eight e's with the field experience and marketing and product and success aren't all holding hands and in the boat together that we're going up market, then you're going to struggle it. Just little things like that always really struck me. And then the person that introduced me to mark is Kevin Egan, who wrang global sales at dropos during their formative years and currently is head of North America at slack. Kevin was an see at Oracle and so I think we always had a similar outlook and I supported his team when he was an RVP at sales force. And I think the thing that I love the most about our time together is just understanding that at the end of the day, it's just a job 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 up it up in is somewhat ridiculous and it's okay to have a little bit of levity. I've had some of the best laughs just talking about the random situations that we get into, and I would say for everyone your respective of whether there's people at your company doing your job, having people that are outside, that are in similar roles, that you can trade notes with is just such a it's a huge, huge gift and I'm really appreciative for folks like that that I've been able to be mentored by. That's awesome. That's fantastic. One last question, because I'm sure people are out there wondering. So in as a succinct an answer as possible, people, probably particularly for sale lead or wondering what does an entrepreneur and residents do? What is your mandate at red point and like, what do you what are you trying to accomplish there and and what's the goal? Yeah, the main opportunity was a chance to work with folks like Tomas. I followed him, as I imagine a lot of people who listen to this read his blog religiously. We were reading all his stuff in the early days, optimizedly and geeking out on it and I had a chance to meet him. I was at a conference on a panel and he emailed me afterwards and I I kind of freaked out. It was like long time, long time listener, first time caller that he actually read out. 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 a step back, focus on my family for a bit but want to still keep the the knife sharp, I met with him and he said once you come to an ir and I was like what's in there and and so the underlying premise 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 be helpful with my experience and scars to companies that they're thinking about investing in or are already in the portfolio. And so it's a great chance to meet a lot of entrepreneurs and founders, offer help where I can and and then get a sense of what's the right next chapter for me, which I'm resisting the urge to dive in immediately and just ask more questions now, because it's kind of 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 are people out there, I am certain, who want to get in touch with you, maybe to get mentorship or to become your friend or to ask for advice, 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, I get a lot of energy from these sorts of conversations. So easiest way is my linkedin profile, which is just t Brian Eighty, or, if you want 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 great interview with Travis Bryant, a really thoughtful leader, somebody that chooses his words carefully and drops a lot of really valuable nuggets. Three things I want us to remember from this conversation with Travis. The first thing is there's just a quick gut check if you want to be a manager, and it's do you get joy when other people succeed? Now I know that you think that the answers to simply say yes, and you can say yes, you can do whatever you want, but look inside yourself and figure out do you get joy when other people win or do you feel threatened when other people win? And it's okay if the answer is you feel threatened, but that means you're going to be a bad manager. Every time somebody interacts with you they're asking are you self interested or are you interested in my personal wellbeing in success. So if you are interested in other people's success, that's one of the key sort of psychological 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 about advice that he got from mark. Were Roll bears on how to forecast more accurately, and mark through Travis, talked about or Travis through mark. I'm not 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, not that you do, but that the customer does, that you can use to understand whether you're on the right track and whether you can go to commit and what Travis mentioned in art conversation was are you on a text based relationship with the 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 cartoons and stickers and things like that, then you know maybe you can move it to the commit column. But what you're looking for our signals from the customer that are measurable, that mapped to their buy. Our journey, not necessarily to 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 of his mentors, Erica Schultz, who's the crow at new relic and an optimize the 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 the marketing people and there's no there's no single person within the big enterprice sale that closes the deal all by themselves. It is a team sport and so you have to be thinking about it from that perspective. You have to be giving encouragement, you have to be sharing accolades and Kudos and you can't be a hero. You have to be focused on working collaboratively as a team. So this has been a SAM's corner. Thanks so much for listening. You can check out the show notes or see upcoming guests. Play more episodes from the incredible line up at sales hackercom and head to the PODCAST TAB. You'll find US wherever podcasts are found. I find mine on the PODCAST APP on on Itunes or, I guess, on my iphone, and if you want to reach me you can so if you have a great idea or if you have feedback or if you want to tell me that you're tired of it, you're tired of everything and you want to just give up. That's fine. Find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs. Are On linkedin at Linkedincom the word in, and then and then Sam f Jacobs. Now. Once again, big shout out to our sponsors for this episode, Chorus, which is the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams, and outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. I'll see you next time and I hope to see you in San Diego at unleash.

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