The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

45. How To Put Your Reps in a Position to Succeed and Crush Quota with Brian Birkett, SVP of Global Sales, Leandata

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we chat with Brian Birkett, SVP of Global Sales at Leandata.  Brian walks us through his career journey beginning at Interwoven before finding his calling at Yahoo Hot Jobs and rising up through the ranks.  After a few more jobs, he has now spent over 5 years at Leandata building the team and organization from nothing. He talks about the lessons he’s learned, how to be a great manager, and what he views as the keys to success in a sales career.

One, two, one, three, three. Hi Everybody, it is Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the sales hacker podcast. I am the founder of the revenue collective, which is the exclusive community for commercial executives at growth companies. WERE IN BOSTON, Denver, Toronto, New York, London and Amsterdam. I'm also the host of this podcast. Today we've got a great show. We've got Brian Burkett, who's the SVP of sales at lean data. Lean data is an infrastructure company that sits between basically your marketing automation and sales force and helps in sure lead to account routing and mapping. Works really, really well. It's particularly useful for companies that are employing account Bas marketing strategies. They're growing really, really quickly and Brian has a lot of great insights over the course of his career, but particularly from the time when he came out of school and he went to work at interwoven and then he went to work at hot jobs and and through a bunch of opportunities and he's now been at lean data for five and a half years and he talks to us about sort of what, why and how he builds and leads great teams and why he believes that people over index on experience over hunger drive motivation and that's why his top performing reps are all people that came in as SDRs into the organization. So it's a great interview. Now, of course, we want to thank our sponsors. The first is chorus DOT AI. If you're not using chorus yet, why not? They are the leading conversation intelligence platform. They are for high growth sales teams, course, for chords, transcribes and analyzes business conversations in real time to coach Reps and how to become top performers. With chorus, more ups meat quota, new hires ramp faster, leaders become better coaches and everyone in the organization can collaborate over the actual voice of the customer. So check out CORUS DOT AI, force sale secker to see what they're up to. Our second sponsors outreach dot io, and that is outreach. We know outreach. They're the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach support sales reps by enabling them to humanize communication at scale and from automating the soul sucking manual work, so all the shit work. Outreach takes a lot of that away from you. So that you can focus on action oriented, value added activities that drive results. Outreach has your back. If your sales professional coming up in March, outreaches running unleash two thousand and nineteen. This is there the great sales engagement conference, and it's going to take place March ten through twelve and San Diego. So write that down. March ten through twelve. Listeners of the pod get a hundred dollars off simply for entering the code sh pod. Hop over to unleash dot outreach dot il and use the code S H Pod to save a hundred dollars off your ticket. Finally, I hope that you've been nominating people for the sales hacker top fifty awards. We are. We are doing it. We did it last year, we're doing it again. Please nominate your colleagues or yourselves. Winners will be featured on this very podcast and will receive other exciting prizes of which we do not know, but certainly recognition will be coming your way and bestowed upon you. So get nominating. You can nominate at salesackercom forwards. Nominate. I also want to thank some of the folks that have been writing in. So Jackson Jose Chavez from the company clockwork. Thanks for chiming in. He's at a new job and a new role and and really has been deriving a lot of value from the guests on the show. Justin Pool Grano, Tyler Gregorson, Matthew Finch, noise in Toronto, who may end up joining the Toronto Revenue Collective, Alex Von Hagen. And Alex, I'm sorry if I miss pronounce your name. Which Pileck, which pelect at collective? I the head of that company, Steve Denton, if someone that I'm very close with as well. He's an incredible person. Anything a guest on the show. So Jackson, Justin, Tyler, Matthew, Alex and Alex, thanks so much for for reaching out. We love that you're listening and I hope you nominated yourself for the salesacker top fifty awards. Now this has been a lot of my talking. We were listening to the podcast earlier this morning, me and my wife, and normally she doesn't listen and she commented at the intro this is a lot of talking. Why do you talk so much? And so I'll stop now. Let's listen to the interview with Brian Burkett. Hey everybody, it's Sam Jacobs and welcome back to the sales hacker podcast. We've got a great show for you. Today we've got Brian Burkett, who's the SVP of sales at lean data. Brian is a longtime sales executive and sales leader. He's responsible for leading global revenue at lean data. Now, prior to lean data, he led a team of senior enterprise reps responsible for Linkedin's largest west coast customers. So we work for Linkedin and he brings a diverse background in sales management experience banning from startups to large public companies, in both field and inside sales. His previous employers include True Bates, Yahoo, interwoven and the Great State of California, and I could do my schwartzenegger accent there, but I won't. Brian, welcome, welcome to the show. Thanks Sam. Thanks for having me. It's great to be here where we are excited for it and we're excited to learn more about lean data. So we start to show with the baseball card, which is to help us contextualize your expertise. So your...

...name did first of all, is it burquette or Burkett? How do you prefer the pretty? Yeah, okay, sorry, so I will get better. I'm not going to get better right now. Brian Burkett, stp of sales lean data. What is lean data? Tell us about that company. So lean data is the leader in helping you manage your go to market strategy and a platform for a revenue OPS leaders. So we are helping companies, through complex lead to account matching and sophisticated lead routing and an attribution suite, better automate their go to market processes to ensure that leads get to the right reps at the right time every time, and then also help marketers better understand the F efficacy of their campaigns through deep analytics around campaign attribution and other solutions like that. Did I see on link? Is it? Is it folk used on account Bas marketing and maybe is it related to the the separation between leads and contacts and sales force? It is, so we solve that data mode between leads and accounts and it's really where we got sort of what sort of our foundation, and anyone that's running account based marketing wants to be able to make that connection. So we're not an ABM platform and that we're doing advertisements or running plays. We are the infrastructure that allows you to do all that. So without connecting your leads to accounts, you have despared objects inside your crm and you can't run those campaigns. So we are tied in very closely. We got a lot of friends that have ABM and we partner with them to provide that infrastructure, like I said, so that you can run those campaigns very good and I might ask you a few more questions about it. What exactly is Avm from your perspective? But how big is Lean Dana? What's sort of like? It's a SASS business, I'd imagine. What's the ARR range? Yeah, so right now we're in that ten to fifteen million arr closer to fifteen million, which is really exciting having been there since we were zero. We're ninety five total employees today. We've raised sixteen million in total. We've got some great investors. ARE LEAD INVESTORS SHAFTA ventures. We've had follow on rounds from Sapphire Ventures, which is the sap venture arm, and then Felicius ventures as well. What else can I tell you? You can tell me how big your team is, what functions you have on the team, sort of like SDRs ADRs. Just walk us through the structure and the Organization of the team and if there's a focus on mid market versus enterprise versus SMB, just so we can again using that word again, but contextualize perfect. So the way we have structured our go to market is that on the new business side we're primarily an outbound organization. So today we're tied one to one AE to a TR, so we have about fifteen total a's and fifteen a drs. we do have two segments. So we go after the mid market, which is characterized as a counts with employee size from a hundred to two thousand, okay, and we have both a mid market team and an ADR team that focuses on the mid market, and then we have our enterprise team, which is focused on accounts zero employees and above. In addition to that, we have a strong revenue operations team that supports us. We're building out an am function that focuses on up cell. We have a CSM function that is sort of rolls into our customer Org that focuses on, you know, customers success and retention, and the company's been around for eight years now. Okay, got it. So walk us through your background. We can. We can look you up on Linkedin and figure out. You know, I guess you went to AU. So are you from the DC area? I actually grew up in the bay area but as it turns out, my mother worked for Stanford and so they paid half of the equivalency of half of Stanford's tuition to whoever you want to go. So the time I was into politics and so I chose American. So how walk us through the journey from American many years ago, but not we won't say exactly how many. You can find that on Linkedin if you're a loyal listener. But that journey from Undergrad to where you are now and from your perspective, what are the key milestones, are inflection points along the way that helped take you to this point in your career? Yeah, so I would say there was a couple things that sort of brought me into sales. One being an international relations major, a fraternity recruitment chair and fraternity president sort of led me to when I was looking for opportunities, I sort of gravitated towards sales rolls and, as I mentioned earlier, how my mom worked at Stanford, she was able to get me into the Stanford Job Board and so, having sort of a...

...general degree, sales opportunities or sort of entry level sales were ones that I was getting called called back from. But the real reason I got into sales is because in high school, or, let's see, my second to last year of college, I put it a posit with my best friend on San Francisco giants tickets because they were moving to eight or at the time it was pack Bell Park and we didn't want to miss that and I flew home from school for the first week to open the stadium and I bumped into one of my high school buddies who said, Hey, you probably need a job. I'm working for a software company and I'll get three thousand dollars. If you don't like it, just quit after three months. So there's a couple things that led but the opportunity to work with some of my best friends in a fun environment where, you know, we were making a lot of money right out of school. You know, my parents were elementary school educators and administrators, and that sort of how I got into it and and why I liked it at the beginning. And so how did you walk us through sort of like your career in the major milestones? It looks like he's spent five years at Yahoo, so tell us about that experience and the journey, particularly from kind of entry level Rep to enterprise wrap to manager. Walk us through that journey. Yeah, so my journey starts, like I said, at interwoven and in the earl well, like back into thousand. They were labeled as the fastest growing software company in Silicon Valley. So it was a chance to see what high growth sales was, sort of without any exposure to corporate sales. So I did that for a couple of years. After eleven I decided to go back to what I studied and took a job working for a California state senator and try to save the state, if not the world. After I wouldn't call it flaming out of that role, but you know, being politely asked to move on after, you know, not not being all that passionate about some of the issues we were trying to tackle. I made my way back to sales because I realized that at the time, and I didn't appreciate this as an early stage professionals, that one it. It came natural to me. It was relatively easy and man, if you want to stay in the bay area you have to make a decent amount of money. Yeah, so, you know, having work for the senator who did does a man amazing stuff and is now a congresswoman, you know, it was sort of asked of me to make a move. But you know, I made the decision to go back into sales and at the time I chose Yahoo hot jobs. And so my Yahoo Story starts on Market Street in San Francisco. That was worse than it is now and almost in mid market, in this overheated giant sales floor with Ikea desk next to each other where you could touch the two people sitting next to you. There was one bathroom stall like in the middle of the office and there was like a dirty coffee pot. But I walked in there, sort of sized up this opportunity and was like there was a buzz about this place. I was like this is what I want to do then. So that was the hot jobs group of Yahoo. In some ways it was a step child because we weren't on the main campus and Sonnymail. We had our own individual culture. It was a sales culture with a music leaders and it was in downtown San Francisco. So at the time this was prior to a lot of tech being in the city. So culturally was the reason I took that job. And then the other thing is I was interviewing I knew that at some point I wanted to lead lead a sales team. I came to that conclusion in my first job and I sort of sized up the opportunity and the folks that were working with me and it's like, okay, these are people I can spend the next few years with so that I can build a foundation and get that opportunity to manage and build my own team. So started as a lowest level sort of str moved into a closing roll after three or four months. It was like an SMB account executive. I was selling to small staffing companies that were like one man shop. So getting honed in on sort of how to do the transactional business, how to negotiate, but just getting a lot of at bats, if you will. From there I moved into like a hybrid inside outside role, which we called the key accounting executive. Working on sort of a mid tier count I got exposure to some customers and then I finally got the opportunity to take over a team while the manager went on Maternity League, and so for the first time I got my chance to take over a team. It was really difficult because I was managing my peers, you know, and we were young, crazy and fun and then all of a sudden you're thrown into this leadership position...

...and, like I said, that's what I always wanted to do. So I think, you know, in some ways it came naturally and I I thrived in that role. When the woman came back from maternity leave, I was able to keep the team. She was able to get promoted to field sales, which was a great way to keep her around, and then from there it was just sort of like this meteoric rise where every year I had a different job. So I think at Yahoo in the seven years I had like eight different roles where it went, you know, inside sales manager, and then I got pulled into this off side and they're like, guess what, you're now a field sales manager and here's your new team, and half of them sit in New York. So I got the opportunity to sort of manage remote folks and then I got promoted to director, which led the entire sort of west coast inside sales team. So at that point I had like thirty six reps, three managers, you know, a lot larger revenue responsibility. But at that point Yahoo wasn't doing so well and so they had they were going through all the motions and they decided to divest our business line to monster. So I went through an acquisition. Had to manage through that, but ultimately decided that for me to succeed, I wanted to build my own team from scrap. So rather than stay on with monster or go to Linkedin, which at the time was like eight hundred employees and where a lot of my reps web, I decide to go to a series a startup called True Bates, and this one was back by any adventures, Scott Sandels on the board and Shaft Adventures, Robbie Mohan, who was the secondary investor, and this business was awesome. It was group on meets Amazon. So now I'm not even closing deals anymore. I'm just building a team of really junior, ride out of college folks to cold call into small, like tiny SMB businesses and stock the shelves for our e Commerce Platform. So you know, we're calling Salon's, we're signing up haircuts, wax has, massages, all these things. And at the time we were competing head to head from group on and we had launched like seven cities. We grew, grew that team to about forty, but unfortunately we didn't make it that one shut down. I was having my second kid. So I went back to Linkedin to land then do ideally do something a little bit more stable. But I had stayed in touch with Robbie at Shasta and we were having breakfast quarterly and I had this phenomenal team at Linkedin. They really didn't need to be managed. They were going to hit their numbers sort of regardless. And so when the opportunity to get introduced Evan, who was the CEO of Lean Dada, came along, I jumped at it. And so you know my heart is in the in the early stage, and I think building something when you know there's no guarantees and you got to figure it out, is really exciting to me. And so that's how I got lean data. So it's my second stint with a Shasta portfolio company. I'd have been here ever since. So going back to your time at Yahoo. You know you mentioned that you kept getting promoted. If you're thinking about why, you know why, because you mentioned you know you were in the interview process. It was a lively floor at hot jobs. You know, everything was was fantastic. But also, I'm sure you also said that you recognize in your first job that you wanted to be a sales manager at one point. So when you think about what you were doing really, really well, whether it was intuition or whether it was feedback or coaching that was being given to you, what do you attribute that to? That people just kept giving you more responsibility? What do you think you're really really good at when it comes to leading teams and managing people? I think, at the end of the day, and this sort of I also have coached youth sports and stuff, I think that I'm able to get the most potential out of an individual. So I think that, you know, and I'm very passionate about it too. So the opportunity to work with someone, whether they're early stage, later stage or wherever in their career, and help them realize their potential, I think has allowed me to move up and it's a lot of it has to do with the individuals, but I think, you know, a little a little bit of it is sort of the opportunity that I give them. You know, my belief is to set everybody up for success. I can't make them successful, but I have to give them an opportunity to be successful, and I think that really allowed me to move up, because I think people saw that people, People's careers got better because they work for me. Some have surpassed me, others have, you know, gone on to be fantastic individual contributors. But I think that that, you know, that's really what I care about and I think that people managing me saw that and they saw that their team could benefit or, you know, people that are hired could benefit by aligning themselves with myself or an organization...

...that I was aligned with. So when you say getting the most out of people, and then you also said putting them in a position to succeed, like what is if there's a manager out there listening and they're writing down notes and and you want to give them three examples of what it means to put someone in a position to succeed, give us those three examples or give us an idea. So one is like the I think you have to be able to show them how to succeed, and that would be done through like training and examples. And then too, I think you really you have to have an innate sort of positivity and belief that that they can succeed. So I think. And then third, I think that you know, ongoing coaching and just a level of honesty with them to sort of tell them how it is so that they realize one they know if they're not living up to expectations or they are able to, and then also setting the vision for what taking advantage of your potential looks looks like. I think a lot of managers they either don't have the discussion when they're off the mark or they don't set the bar high enough for them to be able to take advantage of it. It's like hey, you know, I mean one of the things is I don't really celebrate like at fifty percent or seventy percent or even a hundred percent, because I expect my teams, are my individuals, to like exceed that. You know, we're one of those rare professions where you ring a Gong when you do your job. But like I see that as my job, you know, and I think I expect the people that work for me to do that as well. Like you, hitting your number is the expectation. You going above it, like let's celebrate that. So I think you know, as a manager, if you can set sort of the mentality of what you know true achievement looks like and then give them a path and coached him to that, you know it'll go a long way with ensuring that you're getting the full potential out of those books. Yeah, that's interesting. So speaking to the point of you know, there's a lot of different theories of quota. Is your belief, and I guess broadly define one of them as we want seventy percent quote Tam and across the team. Quota is primate. Is a number I need to put into a financial model that helps me hit my target. There's another belief where it's quota is almost like a psychological number and you know it needs to relate obviously to the revenue plan, but really I'm looking for a hundred percent quote attainment by rap, not just meaning you know, my top two reps over attained and they pay for the rest of the team, but I'm really looking for, like everybody, to overachieve and as a consequence, the number needs to be low enough to enable that. Would you say you're in the first camp or the second camp? I think I straddle the line on that. You know, what I actually look for is like eighty five percent attainment or better, across eighty percent of the team, because I think it's unrealistic to think that, you know, if everybody's hitting a hundred percent, your goals are probably too low. Yeah, and and so I think that looking at consistent attainment across reps and then hit it and as long as that hits your overall hundred percent team number, I think you're in good shape. And I think you can't ignore one or the other and one is less important, because one you could have like an Allstar and the rest of the team stocks right or, you know, you lose focus on what the team should be doing. So I think it's a combination of both and and managing to both of those metrics. Yeah, that makes sense. You know, you were at Linkedin, but you've mentioned a few times, and you're at hot jobs. Obviously big company, but you went to true bates and now you're back at you know, you've been at lean data for five and a half years, but when you started it was zero. Now you guys are into the teens, which is an incredible accomplishment. So what do you see is the key differences? And what is it that? What is it about those very early stages of a company that you're so drawn to? So I think it's the opportunity to make a true impact. You know you can be you know, as you think about your career progression, like you can be a great manager and make an impact on people, but if you go to a larger organization you may actually not be impact in the business all that much. And so that was sort of what I felt at Linkedin, like hey, as well as I could do. We're talking about a drop in the bucket compared to the overall total revenue. So at an earlier stage company, I think you have a greater opportunity and you can really fail, and I think having the opportunity to fail forces you to innovate and move quickly. Like when I joined lean data, we did not have the product vision we had today and actually the first product we had I wasn't able to sell. So I was going to resign, but in the time between when we had the meeting set up with our VC and the time, you know, when I had decided that I would leave, I came up with an idea for the product and I remember sitting there sort of, you know, being pretty...

...melancholy because I was going to have to tell my wife I left Linkedin for a startup that didn't work out. IDEA POPS in my head. I run over to the head a product and the head engineering, you know, two of the twelve employees at the time, and I said Hey, if you can build this, I can sell it. And that was to take the lead to account matching and then all these potential matches and just visualize it. Help me make eighty yards more efficient, right, take one step out of their day. I can go sell that. And so they built that in like twenty four hours and we went out. We sold thirty deals of that for like next than nothing. But all we had to do is prove that we were onto something. So that meeting turned into me resigning to launching, to explaining this new product. So I think that, you know, that really as close as I've been today to sort of my founder moment and, you know, at the same time doing what I love, which is, you know, working with people developing them and closing deals. That's that's an amazing story. Do you feel like you still have the same risk appetite? You know, you mentioned children, you mentioned a family. You know it. Does that impact your point of view on how much risk you can take? And I mean because it does feel like a big risk if you're going from linked in to a super early stage company? How do you think about your personal risk profile, as you know, as you get older and as your career advances? Well, personally, I'm really lucky to have a phenomenal wife who has also worked at startups and she's actually been at an IPO and I haven't. So that takes some bird enough. But you know, I think like everything is a is a balance. You know, it's never not risky. The only real risk at going to an earlier stage company, a Middle Stage Company or later stage company is that you may have to find another job and if you're confident in your abilities and you have something to add, you know that's really the only risk. Compensation might be a little lower, but they make up upper that, make up for that in equity. So I don't actually think it's all that much of a risk. It comes down to what environment allows you to be the most successful and ultimately happy. Yeah, I think you're your point as well made that you know, you just have to be prepared to find another job and if you can do that then it's not really that risky if you can get the right experience. One of the questions I have, you know, so we put together like a little one sheet and there's a question that I asked that I'm just curious on your answer on, which is I ask what's a commonly held piece of wisdom and start up land that you think is total bullshit? And you you mentioned something about sort of like the zero to five, million, five to twenty. Walk US through your perspective on on on that answer and tell us a little bit about the context. Yeah, so I think every every VC and every sort of early state startup goes through these different phases. There's like, you know, zero two, one, maybe one hundred and twenty five, you know, five to twenty or five to ten, and sales leaders get typecasted as a certain type of leader and so, you know, in my case they're like yeah, you can do zero two five, and so from personal experience, I think investors, you know, they're looking to mitigate risk in their investment. So they always want someone who has done it before given the opportunity. But what happens is you could be doing just fine as a zero five guy, raise a series be and and say, okay, we want to go faster, we're going to bring in someone from the outside who's done this before, without giving the person that's been in there and opportunity. So I was really fortunate that this happened to me, but they kept me around and so when we had raised series be, we had brought on a crow for six months and, you know, great guy, but unfortunately it didn't it didn't work out and the business actually took a step backwards. When I took the team back on, we were actual actually able to get a lot of things right, get get things back on track and then double the revenue and put us back on a new trajectory. So I would say to you know, the BEC's that are listening. I was like, if you have someone that's really good, give them an opportunity. Don't just type cast someone without giving them a fair shot. I started my networking group, the reven to collective, exactly partially for that point. So I completely agree with you when, when you think about that, you know, and by the way, the brief cro stint, whether you know whether whoever it is, is very, very common because, you know, integrating New People into an organization that already has a culture, in a way of doing business is actually much harder, particularly at the senior levels. So what do you think you did different? We don't need to, you know, reflect too much on who, on the person, whoever they were. But you know, what is it that you think you did when you took over the team that helped drive that that business forward? You mentioned that. You know, you pride yourself on operational efficiency. Talk to us about you know, what do you think are the samples of operational efficiency that we could find in lean data? So yeah, so one thing is we went back to really doubling down on being AC count based from a sales perspective. So, you know, rather than...

...cover every geography, we use data to figure out who has the highest propensity to buy amongst our target accounts and then what we did is said, let's just cover those because right now like and let me ask you, let me in reb you a real quick so what data is it? Big Sales Force customers, because they must be having, you know, they must be swearing the most amount. We need to account mathing. So absolutely so. For us, we're built completely on sales for so they had to have sales force, but we really solve a lead routing problem. So one of the data points we need is people with lead volume and then complex selling motions. So the more functions you have like str a, Dr Ae, field, AE, account manager, channel sales, that makes your routing requirements more complex. So we look for businesses that have those criteria and you can get that through job titles on Linkedin, size of the sales team. But the other piece that we had always missed out on was lead volume. So you can be totally complex, but if you have no leads, you don't really need us either. So we found a data provider that tries to equate how much a company is spending on Google ad words, because add words translate to leads. So with those, you know, generalizing sort of. Those those three data points helped us be more methodical and who we get after. And like at our stage, I don't have to sell to everybody and so it's a lot easier for me to spend a more focused effort with fewer reps after better accounts than to just say hey, let's call everybody in the southeast and figure out, you know, if lean data is the right fit. That makes the tremendous amount of sense. was there a trigger you were specifically looking for if they fit those three demographic profiles? The trigger is something that we've sort of struggled with. That that's the hard part for our business because it is sort of infrastructure. But, you know, expanding the revenue ops sort of domain or functionality, seeing sort of people come into that role helps a lot because we really sit at the intersection of sales and marketing. So potentially, like adding marketing automation or seeing a spike in ad spend means that there's increased volume or increased hiring, and certain roles could be trigger events as well. And then we know that, hey, with more people comes more complexit, more complexity, with more data comes more complexity and you're starting to look a lot like the people were helping today and we can help you be more efficient. Yeah, it's really smart when when the one to one s SDR to a count executive ratio is not common. It's obviously great for the ease are you? Are you on a tight leash with the CFO to, you know, make sure unit economics and CACT LTV are holding up, or have you run the numbers yourself and you feel like you know the math and and you know it works? It's fin I mean, I realize it's not sustainable, but I think, as you're as we're building out the channel, we probably over indexed on a DR spend versus marketing spend. So over time, as our brand build, obviously we're going to get more efficiencies from every from other leverage points within the business. So I fully expect, you know, that ratio to go down and then you'll see some of that spend on head count shift to, you know, our channel programs, marketing programs or other ways that are just more efficient. But at the beginning you can't be helped down hustlers. But yeah, I mean you need the business and you need to demonstrate that there's something there and then and then we can shift the spend. Now you've you're also huge proponent. You know, you keep you both in terms of what you mentioned about Yahoo and about being, you know, putting people in a position to win, also being a youth sports coach, but it's clear that you're a believer in kind of hustle over experience. Talk to us about your philosophy, because so many people, as the companies grow, you know, to exactly to the zero, two, five and five to twenty point, there becomes, you know, a profile that they need to hit for different positions in a certain amount of years of experience. What's your perspective on kind of experience versus versus raw talent and versus hunger and the how do you build a team? Yeah, so I don't want to discredit experience. I just think that you shouldn't overlook the folks that grow up in your organization that have no experience. So you know what I figured out over time and what I've done with my adrs. And it's hard because we're constantly turning over that team because we're doing a lot of promotions. Half my AE's today have been promoted from the ADR ranks and we've also promoted like three or four ADRs over to the CSM ranks. And so what I what I realized that happens when you promote internally from an ADR a. You can start to transition them in way before they actually take on the role of a and so you can...

...almost have a fully ramp rep with a full pipeline ready to go when you transition them to a and so from a metrics perspective and from a cost perspective it's a lot better. And like culturally, it's just phenomenal to be able to take someone potentially right out of school that doesn't have any bad habits teach them, you know, first and foremost about ICPN personas as an a Dr, how to connect with people and get in the door and then take them to the next level and help them understand how to work a sales process, negotiating clothes and demo. So for me it's something that's worked really well. I think you have to supplement it with people from experience, but I think that you know if they're if there's sales leaders out there, managers out there that are like, Oh, I'm I'd rather just hire completely from the outside because I need someone with X Y Z, I think that you're probably overlooking a great resource and I'd say that a lot of companies actually don't believe in promoting their adr stay's. That's why there's so many great ones out there that have like twelve months of experience that you know would rather bounce than stick around because they know that they're not going to get an opportunity. Yeah, I mean one question I have for you. You mentioned building a pipeline before the promoted. Now they're paired with an AE. How do you deal with a situation where you know the AE maybe isn't where they want to be from a quotea perspective and they feel like the str are siphoning off leads to build their personal pipeline and anticipation of promotion? How do you manage that tension? So we're a team first and foremost, and you know it. Like I said that the name on the Front of the Jersey is more important than the name in the back, and I think we try to hire a e's with that vision, that buy into that type of culture and so they understand that at a certain point there a tre you know, if they're any good will want to move to an a or CSM roll, and so it is a difficult scenario that you talk about where they may not be doing as well. But what we do is we limit the A tr on the new business side to creating like five opportunities. So it's still just a fraction of their time. And I think if you, you know, if you walk around sales floors or you talk to reps, like most reps have more time and aren't totally efficient with their time. So it's easy to go back to the REP and have a conversation like you know, hey, me, taking ten percent of your eighty rs time to give them an opportunity to develop and contribute to the company. You know, if you can't see why that's good for US overall, as you know, shareholders in this business, then you know it's probably not the right cultural bit for that type of a well, yeah, or again, I mean maybe. I'm sure there's a lot of folks that don't even take the time to give that explanation and I think the you know, to your point about being a great leader and manager, if you take the time to give the explanation in the context, that probably goes a very long way with a yeah. I mean it works for us. You know, it may not work at scale, you know if you have a hundred eighty urs, but you know it is something that's worked really well for us in the early days. Is like one it's we're down in Sunnyvale it's hard to hire reps, you know, there's just a you know, we're it's not like the city where you can walk out and find a sales rep standing next to you on the on the corner. So you know, we have challenges when it comes to getting to finding great folks, and so it's in our best interest to give people opportunities to develop get better, you know, and everybody wants an opportunity to prove themselves. Obviously we have many folks in the bay area, but many folks that are not so explain to everybody. First of all, why does a company they put themselves in Sunny Vale when more young people are living in the city? Is it to recruit great engineers and then explain everybody? That's how they're listening. The distance between basically the valley and Sunnyville and mountain view in those the cities and and downtown San Francisco. So let me go through the geography first. So San Francisco's is the tip of the peninsula and then if you were to go south about forty miles, you'd hit San Jose. Historically, you know, the innovation started in San Francisco, but about ten years ago a lot of the fast growing startups, especially around Sass because of what sales force is doing, moved to San Francisco, a suburb of San Jose, is Sunnyvale, where we are located, which historically has been like chip manufacturers, like really old school tech. So we have like amd is near US and applied materials and all these tech companies you wouldn't necessarily associate as tech anymore. They're almost like manufacturing companies probably, but anyways, we're in sunny mail because our founders are a little bit older. They have families. You know, when people in the city have families, they moved to the peninsula or the South Bay because there's a little bit...

...more land. It's still incredibly expensive, but it's a different way of life and I think you know the city has actually very few children in it and so because our founders have families, they started the company probably closer to where they live, which is Sunnyvale. There is an advance and age that if family type people are what you're looking for, you can get more of that. But it does make a challenge to hire the fresh right out of school because a lot of those sort of str type recent college grads gravitate to where the action is, which is, you know, more so in San Francisco. Yeah, it does, it does. It feels difficult. I hear you. Listen. We're almost at the end of our time together and this has been a great conversation. One of the things we like to do, though, is we like to figure out what are your influences and, you know, what is the WHO are the people that have had an impact on you, and what are some of the you know, the books or the or the content that you consume that's had an impact. So when you think about specifically that, you know, sales and marketing leaders, because we you know, it's just important, I think, to spread the love around. Who are the people that you really respect, or who's the person that you really respect when you're thinking about people that had have had an impact on your career? Yeah, so there's there's a couple folks that I had exposure to at Yahoo and most recently that was our GM Chris Merritt, who's now the CRO cloud flare, and he comes from more of an operational background. So I think I learned a lot of operational excellence from him and how to manage the overall team and manage through change. Prior to that, I had exposure to some really phenomenal leaders. One is the CEO at Yelp who was their first head of sales, Jed knockman. He always built phenomenal team with a great culture, and so I think I learned how to how to treat people from watching Jed. And then there was another sales leader who's the head of sales add indeed, that was there. That was Nolan Ferris, and he was just you know, watching him balance sort of tough you know, having tough conversations to get the most out of reps is something that he did really well, and so I learned that from him. And then, you know, right now I have an advent. We have an advisor named todd rule on Miller, who's actually featured in these PBS specials because he was the first head of sales at Netscape and he was also at next computing. So he worked with like mark and Reesan, you know, Steve Jobs to build these businesses. So much more experience than me. You know, has sat on multiple boards, but getting the perspective across sort of breath of these companies that have really become game changers, like think about netscape right, the first web browser. I know you know having exposure to work with him has been helpful as well, and so I think those are those are the type of leaders that that I've been fortunate to have come across in my career that have really made an impact. That's fantastic. Any parting words, life principles, life mottos give us something inspirational as we as we head into our day and the rest of the week. So I just talked about this at our sales kickoff and I think that you know, all of us have chosen a specific opportunity. You and you know it's really all you can ask for is to have an opportunity. So I would challenge everybody that's listening to the podcast and you know your opportunity is unique. You know, what are you going to do to take advantage of it right and how special is the opportunity that you have? Because you don't they don't always come along very often. So if you're somewhere special and it truly is unique, take full advantage of that. Figure out where you're going to do, you know, to make sure you don't miss it. Like opportunities don't come along that often, especially like an opportunity like I have. So I'm always thinking about how am I not going to fuck this up right so take age. But you know, I mean it's incredible the opportunities that we have and I think that, like sometimes we need to step back and just say like hey, how how wonderful is it to even have it in the first place, and then how am I going to take advantage of it? I love it and you're right, a recurring theme of this podcast and of life in general is when opportunity knocks, you got to answer that door, you gotta go. Don't think too much about it, because the window doesn't stay open very long, and I've just mixed a door and a window in terms of the metaphors that I'm combining. If folks are listening to this, Brian, and they want to get in touch or they want to apply for a job or just, you know, seek you out for advice, are you open to that and, if so, what's your favorite mechanism for being contacted? is an emails at Linkedin. How should we reach out to you? Reach out to me on Linkedin or you can email me as well. It's Brian at lean data Acom awesome. Brian at lean data inkcom. Brian will talk to you on Friday with Friday fundamentals,...

...but for now, thanks so much for being part of the salesaccer podcast and and we'll talk to you soon. Thanks, Sam. It was great to be here. I folks Sam Jacobs. This is SAM's corner. Another fantastic interview, this time with Brian Burkett, sep of sales at lean data. Brian was there from the first customer at zero and now they are in the mid teens in rr and growing nicely with a lot of operational efficiency it. Brian talked a lot about what it means to be a great manager and how he handled that, and I think he talked a lot about helping people see the potential for themselves, helping clarify expectations. We talk a lot about that on the pod and then push it, putting them in a position to succeed. And I think when we when we drilled down, we figured out that being put in a position to succeed means getting the right training, getting the right call, coaching and creating a coaching organization. So certainly a platform like our sponsor chorus is a way to develop a training culture within an organization that puts people in a position to succeed. Of course you have to have a close alignment with marketing because you need enough leads to succeed. And and I think it's also about just understanding the value proposition in the ICP and focusing on the right accounts, the right opportunities. They talked about how, you know, they went from sort of a spray and pray approach. They really focus down. They created smaller opportunities, smaller territories, but territories of the right companies, and so they you know, if you listened, he said we were looking for people that used a lot of sales force, so big sales force customers, because obviously lean data sits on top of sales force, and people that generated a lot of leads, a lot of leads with complex selling motions. That sits on top of sales force. That was their three, kind of the three criteria that needed to be met for their ICP. The other thing that I would say that that Brian said. You know, we all live in a world of Heuristics, mental models that have that enable us to go through the reality. In fact, most people say consciousness is self is a mental model. This we are constantly parsing information and and basically taking shortcuts so that we can operate in the world. Obviously, if we we ingested every piece of information that was out there, every piece of data, every sense that our censors detected, we would be overwhelmed. So our brains are in the business of ignoring lots of things and focusing on models and shortcuts. That enables to get shit done. But one of those areas where we sometimes fall short as this idea of experience. And you know, you hear about it when you when you're talking about is she the zero to five million dollars crow or the five to twenty million dollars crow? You hear about it when you're when you're sort of being typecast. The challenge that you face as you grow as a company is that you think what you're doing is raising the bar, but you're raising the floor and lowering the ceiling at the same time when you specifically higher and focus only on resume, to the detriment of hunger, motivation and capability. And that is why so many early stage companies, they have these employees that are sort of Jack of all trades. They know the product incredibly well. At axeal it was Dan Lee. We called him Hawkeye. He was the eye on the sky that understood and everything about the business. Now, Dan came to that business fresh out of Undergrad from Harvard, admittedly, but he would not have fit a profile for a head of revenue operations or ahead of sales. He just didn't have the right experience. So everybody was wandering around, you know, five years later, saying how do we find the next Dan Leag will you by mandating a certain level of experience, you are you are precluding yourself from the opportunity to find the next great, hungry young person that can do amazing things within your organization. That doesn't mean that experience isn't worthwhile, and if it wasn't worth anything at all, I would be unemployed permanently because all I have is experience at this point, but maybe a little bit of knowledge. But but just think about that. As you scale and as you grow and look back at your job descriptions, are you asking for five to seven years of experience? Do you know what that means? Is that is that really what you need? Maybe sometimes it is. Sometimes you do need that experience, but I would stress test the experience requirements on a job description, especially if they're being driven by HR and not by the sales team or the marketing team that needs those folks, because there's lots and lots of people that come into organization with absolutely no skills or experience at all and they become all stars. And if you're asking yourself three, five, seven years later, why can't we find another Danlee, there's a reason. It's because you are not letting yourself interview. You are not giving yourself the opportunity to develop and grow the next Dan Lee. We don't know if Danley's listening to this. He's somewhere in Denver Colorado, but Dan if you're out there, we love you. Now for show notes and for all of the things, head on over to sales hackercom. You can find a full list of our podcasts and you can see previous guests and listen to all kinds of great stuff. You can also, of course, I'm supposed to read copy that says you can find us on Itunes, Google, quite play, but if you're listening to this, you know where you can...

...find us, because you're listening to it. Sort of self evident. At any rate, if you enjoyed the show, please share it with your peers on linked in, twitter or elsewhere. Get a great idea or guests for the show, get in touch with me. Find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs. Are On linkedin at linkedincom. Slash the word in and then Sam f Jacobs. We'd love to hear from you. Big shout out to our sponsors for this episode. Chorus, the leading conversation intelligence platform. Please give Corus a shot. There Great Company and outreach. The leading sales engagement platform, another fantastic company. So chorus and out each other reason that we're able to give you this this amazing content. Will see you next time and I hope to see you at on leash in March in San Diego.

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