The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

67. How Data and Metrics Fuel Revenue and Company Growth w/ David Zwerin

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with David Zwerin, Head of Field Operations at TripActions

 

We’ll walk through why sales ops are important to any organization, how data and metrics are driving growth (and how to manage those rapid changes), and we’ll take a special deep-dive into how a data-driven approach can be made accessible to any style of manager.


One, two, one, three, three. Hello, my friends, it's Sam Jacobs, host of the salesacker podcast. That's what you're listening to. I am the host of this show, which I just said. I'm also the founder of revenue collective. We're building a very wonderful global community of revenue executives and leaders at companies that are growing quickly all over the world. As of this recording, we just signed up our first person in Minneapolis. We've recently added people in Berlin, Televi, Paris, Oslo and Barcelona, so it's a global movement. We're super excited about it. You can linkedin message me if you have any questions. But today we are here to talk about David's Warren and our interview with him. He's the head of field operations for trip actions. They are a fast growing company, quickly approaching a hundred million, backed by all the big names, including lightspeed and entries, and they've raised massive amounts of money and they went from a hundred people to seven hundred people over the last fifteen months and David talks about that incredible growth story in our conversation. We also dive deeply into what is operations, what are the metrics that you need to measure? What does it all mean? How do you figure out the man generation and forecasting and all of that good stuff. So it's a great interview. Before we get into that interview, we want to thank our sponsors. We've got two sponsors on the show today. The first is Congo. CONGA is the leading end to end digital document transformation suite. With Congo you can simplify documents, automate contracts and execute e signature so you can focus on accelerating sales cycles and closing business faster. Go to go dotcomocom forward slash sales hacker for more information. Our second sponsors outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach support sales reps by enabling them to humanize 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 let's listen to David's whearing from trip actions. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome back to the sales hacker podcast. We are so excited today to have David's where and he is the head of field operations at trip actions. And, first of all his background and start up land, as well as what he's been working on a trip actions and his perspectives on how to scale and really maintain the right level of growth for Revenue Organization from the perspective of somebody in operation. So, David, welcome to the show. Bigs, I'm excited to be here. We're excited to a view. So we like to start with your baseball card. We know your name, we know your title, head of field operations. We may not know what trip actions does, and forgive us for offending you if that's the case, but tell us what the company does. Yeah, trip actions is a revolutionary business travel platform and it's really the choice of enterprise organizations out there. So we help you, enable you to build and manage and scale kin a world class corporate travel management program with these. So we put the power for your travelers to have that really kind of best booking experience around and kind of what I think is an amazing inventory and also one of the key differentiators for us is that personal I support that travelers need while they're on the go and when they're on the road. Dot It. So is it is it fair to say, is it like a new kind of corporate travel agency, or is it that plus a software platform? Tell me a little bit more about it. Yeah, that's that's a great question. So it's a combination of two things. So our technology is one of the kind of best in class mobile solutions also desktop. So from a USABILITY perspective, our technology is amazing. But it's the support. So there's kind of the second part of our organization where trip actions actually has support agents all around the world that can call in and also have proactive chat with a trip actions employee to help them through, whether it's a canceled flight or a fight that maybe we need to...

...be rerouted, because you know, a lot of us know that if you're in a meeting in Chicago and your bosses, you know, head to New York after that and you're planning to come home, that our support agents can be on call and help you to make those changes. Cool, okay. Is it's ass is a recurring revenue or is it a combination or recurring of a new plus, may be like a transactional fee on the purchase of airfare and things like that? Yeah, it's a platform that, you know, as many users can be on that platform. So it's not charged by per user, but we do have a trip fee that's actually a per trip fee. So the more that companies use it, it's just a one fee for each one of your employees trips. So, SAM, if you're traveling three or four times a year, you just pay per trip a certain fixed fee and, unlike other providers that are out there, when you call in to support, it's part of that package, but it's part of that fee. It's actually a really low cost and there's actually a lot of value that you get out of that because, you know, if you have your loyal to let's say Delta or united, you could actually bring over all of your loyalty programs. So it's just like as if you're booking through, you know, directly through a provider. Well, awesome. And so we were talking about this online, but offline, I mean the the revenue range. It's sort of how would you describe it? Yeah, I were. You know, we're approaching the hunter million range and and you know where we think we're going to kind of blow through that. It's it's really exciting to see where the companies that were actually that are on our platform today. They're all not only enjoying our platform, but these are high growth companies as well, so they are continuing to scale and needing more and more level services throughout their holy ecosystem. Got It. And so and then you've raised about a hundred and fifty four million for us serious company, from lightspeed in recent and a bunch of others. How big is your organization? Yeah, you know, it's interesting. We I joined over a year ago when we were at about a hundred. When I join, that's a total across the organization. Little over, you know, fifteen months later we're approaching seven hundred employees, and that includes our commercial go to market team or engineering team, and as well as our support ecosystem. And so we have we have offices all around the world, where in eight different offices spread across all the continents. Wow, what are your let's let's stop there for a second, because you've gone from one hundred to seven hundred, which is amazing growth. What's what's your key observations there? You know, is everything going? Is it working? Have you maintained the culture? If so, how? Talk to us a little bit, because that is even for high growth companies, that's tremendous. It is I mean it's when you're on the inside it's very different and, you know, I think the leadership a trip actions is very attuned to the type of growth that we're under and I think culture here is one of those things that, you know, is refreshing for me personally, because I think the you know, the values that you have as an organization. It's just not a poster that you put up on a wall and you know, a whole hope that everybody can live by that. When you're scaling as fast as we are, there are these, I think, amazing kind of culture carriers that the leadership, you know, as well as the managers out in the field, are bringing to these offices that, you know, as we start building out, you know, our kind of go to market and our footprint. We are really focused around, you know, I think, only the customer and the experience, but also like how to scale responsibly in a way that we are measuring all of the things that are important to us as a bus US. So we're doing something that's that's really unique and are both our CEO and our other, our cofounder. It's just it feels like they're everywhere. They're always...

...engaging us to do things differently and really empowering people to obviously make, you know, those important decisions and doing the right thing to help, you know, the business to move forward and make sure that you know if it's you know, when we were at two hundred and fifty employees, really checking in, you know, having social time. When we are foreign employees, we have it. You know, obviously we did a big rays and then we kind of kept going and we're going to we're going to hopefully in the next month, bring the whole company together for the first time, you know, and especially at this size, it's going to be kind of a real interesting time for us. Are you guys going to go somewhere fun or special? We likes like Thailand. That would be amazing. Harmonic Morocco, or are called? Just took everybody to Morocco. Really okay. We were hoping for something exciting like that. We could charter a few planes, but I think what we're going to do is we're going to focus on probably bring everybody to headquarters. We've got a really nice new space that we've opened up in the last few months and we're going to bring people in here and have some fun of that awesome awesome. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself. So you've been, you know, your head of field operations. So for I just tell us how long have you been working in high growth companies in a little bit about your background, where you're from, what your early career was like and how we got here. Yeah, you bet. So I started my career at go back to kind of a time where actually I was in travel and I had the opportunity to go work for an adventure travel company and I kind of pause my adult career and went to do something what I thought was actually pretty aspirational and do something fun where I was guiding and actually operating trips all over the world. So actually lived abroad for five years running hiking and cycling trips and I speaking a couple of languages, amazing, Europe, South America, tulsing. Ye, that because I'm here, I'm interested. Yeah, so I was a I was primarily living in Italy and France, a splitting my time between those two countries, but it was jumping off points to go to to Ireland, Switzerland, spend a lot of time over in Asia as well and then in the winters go down to Chile. So we're always kind of moving around. I lived out of a bag. I was kind of a professional at that, but, you know, being able to be on the road, work in different cultures meet a lot of really amazing people every week was a, I think, a great gateway to like really understanding, you know, relationships and people and how businesses can work across the board in terms of, you know, what is international look like? You know, what do relationships and business, you know, look like in terms of like how you really, you know, start from from Ground Zero there. So, after I did that for several years, I actually moved back to the bay area where I'm from, and went and ran a sales team locally, and then I decided to go get my Mba and really start thinking more about like how do I put you know, put my skills together and a more fumalized way and really, I think, understand kind of, you know, the levers of business. And one of the things that, you know, happened to me when I was a business schools as actually fortunate to go work for sales force as a consultant to help them build out a program that they had just started, and seeing how sales force started really innovating. You know, their positioning and kind of how they go to market. was especially kind of early on, over ten years ago, as they are really, you know, before they started their high growth kind of scale, but also before they start acquiring a lot of companies. For me was a great kind of experience to be able to see like, you know, what is you know, what is that rick kind of machine look like? And then from there I jumped off and start, you know, I found sales operations, or I think sales operations found me, where I was able to join, you know, quite a few early stage companies that were both,...

...you know, I would say, enterprise scale, backed by some amazing venture firms here in the bay area, but also getting into rolls. That was like, you know, a lot of mentorship from sales leaders and from marketing leaders. That really kind of helped me figure out, you know, obviously, you know, what are the key things that we need as a business to be focused on in order to kind of make that high growth mark that a lot of venture firms are looking for in terms of like, you know, is this a company that's going to go to x x for x and really kind of bring a pretty special product market? So natural question here to part or first of all, how early do you think you need to invest in sales operations? At what stage in a company's growth? That's the first part of the question. And then second I'm always interested to hear how you think it should be positioned to a product driven founder or CEO, because sometimes they don't quite understand what sales operations is, what it's supposed to do or why it's necessary at a certain point. So walk us through how we should be thinking about it. Yeah, great question. Actually question that's asked often by a lot of friends that are in a similar situation where there, you know, entrepreneurs in there and their start up and I think where sales operations should get introduced to an organization. As you've got a you know, first time sales later you're starting to build out your sales team, you know, you've got a marketing lead that's in, you know, and you're really starting to start get that kind of commercialization going and and once you kind of see that product market fit and your sales team is seeing traction and there's some good kind of predictability and repeatability, that's when it's time to really start kind of helping that operational down or you need to start building that operational foundation to look at your tool stack be able to start kind of optimizing around your pipeline. Then you start optim optimizing kind of inside of your pipeline, around, you know, how does that lead flow look? What are the kind of the best practices that you need to have between maybe starting to kind of bring on new roles like str where they obviously you can look at the inbounded outbound motion to build pipeline in a lot of those things that you know, sales operations leaders are starting to, you know, take on in those early stages. You know, is not only helping operationalize that kind of go to market, but also starting to own you know team like an SDR team. And then, you know, looking at what is that handshake once the sale cycle is done, that handshake to kind of implement or like customer success. Now is kind of traditionally taking on you know, that implementation, especially here at trip actions. That's that's kind of our model. But those are some of the key things that you I would advise. You know, early stage companies really start thinking about is that, you know, when a you start seeing those signals and when is that kind of right time to start looking at it. They'll be some clear pain that will show up in terms of like I just you know, it's like you might ask questions like Hey, what's your forecast? What's the pipeline look like? Sales leaders maybe asking all their individual Reps. it may feel like it's too much and that's really when you start thinking about having a sales operations role in your organization. Are there metrics that you mentioned? You know, product market fit, which is a phrase we hear all the time, and you mentioned repeatability. Is there? Obviously, you know, revenue itself, as a lagging indicator of sales team performance, can be looked at as a signal of repeatability. But are there secondary or second order metrics that you're digging in on to establish when repeatability as possible? As it you know, number of UPS hitting quota? Is that? What do you look at to define repeatability from your perspective? Yeah, it's a great question, I think. You know, for us, because we're not quite a SASS or going to Zation, we actually look at consumption on the back...

...end, you know, we look at leading indicators, so we actually start seeing, you know, we we care about the funnel very much about number of opportunities that were we're bringing in by what channel, so in bound, outbound and partner, so three very common channels. And then, as we can see repeatability, we can see, you know, what a conversion rate or when rates look like in time to close. Those are very common metrics that we're looking at all the time. And we look at it by segment because we are actually starting to differentiate our different customers. And then, you know, for us on the consumption side, and that's goes back to our business model of, you know, people who are booking on our platform, as we start looking in measuring, you know, how well are they actually, you know, booking their trips and you know, if they had a kind of a predictable dollar value of what they were spending in the previous years, are they ahead of that? So there's a very clear set of metrics that we look at throughout the funnel that really help us understand when predictability can start obviously kind of driving different decisions. And, you know, do we invest more head count in a certain area? What's your there? You know, there's a lot of debate. We talking about pipeline and demand generation. There's a there's a lot. Don't know if a lot of debate. There's some debate. There's some debate that the SDR function, which was I don't know if it was invented, but it was popularized right around two thousand and ten when Aaron Ross for at predictable revenue. But now there's some folks that are, or I've heard in certain circles, that are trying to move back towards a full cycle rep and they're trying to say that reps, you know, have lost the skill of prospecting and the consequence of that is that and and buyers don't actually like interacting with SDRs or be Drs. what's your perspective on it? You know, how do you think about scaling up? You mentioned does that STR team report you? We're all just interested in demand generation. I'm curious how trip actions looks at it. Yeah, I think your listeners will probably agree with this. Is that every GTM meeting that you know, you call it a GTM meeting with your demand leader and your sales operations and sales leads is always tense. I mean it's it's a it's one of those it's a meeting where you're always trying to make sure you know who's accountable for building pipeline right. So, SDRs, you know, we see strs playing a real critical role and and you know, helping kind of identify who the people are in the organization. That obviously can help us start the conversation. As a buyer, you know, I respect obviously the role of the str do I prefer to kind of, you know, speak right to the salesperson? Sure I do, but I also know the SDR is trying to kind of qualify me and also that kind of waste my time as well, because if there's no fit there and I don't have it like a real active pain or need to acquire a technology, you know, then you know, I don't want to kind of obviously I don't want them calling me. And, you know, to be honest, like just like probably many people listening to this who are buyers, you know, are inbox is flooded, you know, with strs who are really trying to get our attention and so, you know, I think we all appreciate kind of the role that they're trying to play and, you know, and how they're getting creative to actually get our attention to is it. You know what what kind of medium? Is it, you know, as an email? Is a phone call? Is it Linkedin? Is it you know what you know? Is it through a connection? You know? And that's those it's their job is really hard today, but I think that there's actually a huge amount of value there because, you know, ultimately kind of drives awareness and, you know, Byer like me, it may not be the right time because I know I've got some things on my road map and it's great to kind of understand, you know,...

...what the players are out there in that space that I might be interested in the future. Yeah, no, I agree hundred percent certainly that their job is really, really hard. I think sometimes we underappreciate how hard it is, particularly if they're, you know, if they're not having an opportunity to customize or humanize their communications and scale, if they're just being hand and at a script or template a from marketing and then blasting it out two thousands of people, that can put them in a difficult position. You've talked about sort of operating a business without trending metrics versus static metrics and sort of the difference between trending metrics and static metrics. Tell the listeners what are those differences. What it give us some some some of your advice on how to run the business from a metrics perspective, particularly for thinking about pipeline and conversion ratios, as you mentioned. Just talk to us about the differences between those two types of metrics. Yeah, I first of all I love the data that, you know, sales force is able to give us when it when it actually become create a multiplier effect. So if you've got ten reps, you can you can really kind of manage the business. Pohen you get to like fifty, metrics really matter kind of to get your kind of signals that that start coming out from forecasting and from pipeline building. So trending metrics, you know, I'm really big and too kind of like playing back the tape for, let's say, pipeline through a waterfall or a sanky diagram. There a couple vendors out there that can actually do a really good job at that and it's but it's tricky, and what I mean by that is that, you know, when you start a month, we actually measure everything in monthly intervals, but you start by looking at, you know, what we came into a given month. One of the pipeline actually look like. And then what did you end up with? And then in between those beginning and ending poor you can actually see the pushbhator of your reps. how well did we pull things in from a future month that may have been set for a closed date, of an opportunity set for a future month? What did we create in intramonth that actually closed? And so those types of things, we can kind of start building some predictability. So the trending. The trends are always just so important for us. So we can actually start seeing, you know, are we getting better in a certain area? The static metrics are like basically what happens and a given months. So, like you know how many opportunities did we create? You know how many deals that we went to close loss and why? You know all of the kind of the key indicators that would allow us to really understand our business and where we need to improve. Got It. Waterfalls are super so you said. I let me finish that. Thought waterfalls are super useful, but you said Sanky diagrams. What are Sanky diagrams? Oh, thanky's. Yeah, I stumped a vendor the other day about talking about that. It's basically how do I it's. Well, let's let's spell it, because I'm I don't know. Is it SA n Ky Ey? Yeah, why? Yeah, it's yeah, look it up. It's great. It's actually a data scientists named after data scientists many, many years ago. Basically, it's like a flow. So it will actually, you know, you have a starting point and it will show you a visual flow of all of a let's say you're looking at your pipeline of let's say you know pipeline best case and commit, and that top bar will have commit and then there'll be a flow that will go to the right and it will show you of all those deals that you started with, how many actually went to close one, how many still got pushed out, so still open or close last it's it's fantastic. It's an ability to kind of visualize right away the flow of your pipeline and I think it's really important as sales leaders and is and as sales executive, to really understand, like you know, how things are actually how things move from quarter or month over month. Yeah,...

...absolutely, speaking of forecasting, what are your best practices there? You know, you mentioned the commit is that a is that a human decision? When people make it commit that you know the reps are making the commit and then the managers are proving it. Always interested in sort of like how you help a crow or head of sales or head of revenue come to a number that they then report to the CEO and the board. What are your strategies? Are Your tactics there? Yeah, there's a there's a couple ways. I'm actually kind of like a fan of several methods. One is I think that sales for should always be your system of record and you should look at that and really, I think, double down your efforts with the Reps. that says, you know, look, this is our sales stages, this is our forecast categories, these are our probabilities, and just have everybody manage that out of out of sales force. So if a deal sitting and commit, let's commit. And so what we do as a leadership team is I ask every week for our sales leaders to lock in all their deals, make sure that it's set in the right forecast category and then we allow the rep to give kind of a verbal commit so it's a combination of what's in commit versus best case and then and then the manager will make their call. And then ultimately the sales leader and I will kind of have a have a leadership call. And so what we're doing is we're starting to kind of triangulate, you know, the final number for for the given month or the next month, and then what I do is actually run another model where actually have a waiting so the probability of all the deals. It's a pretty straightforward, simple approach, but we start looking at of all the deals and their percentages. I just kind of take that value and what's interesting is that since we started looking at waiting over a year ago, it's actually been really accurate as an endpoint of where the kind of the month is going to produce for us as a business. It's not as sophisticated, just given kind of where we are in the business. There's some other things that I do want to add on in the future, but we're not still there. But there are some of the things that I've done in my past where we actually look at reps ability to kind of call and also holding the reps accountable for when they start a given month or a period, if it's a quarter, that they need to stay within ten percent of their initial forecasts. HMM, if I were to make it commit, do you assign a probability? What percent you expect of commits to actually happen? Do you expect a hundred percent? Is a ninety percent less? You're real, you know your real life experience, real, real life. Yeah, I mean it's when it's commit we actually do have a judgment of individual who, may I like to use the word hope casting, not for not happy nurse. Yeah, exactly, and that's exactly. That's where, you know, that's where the kind of the art in the science of forecasting comes in and also, you know, if there's a deal that we're actually trying to pull into a given month, you know, we really try to kind of treat that with with, I think, kind of a different a different Lens. Is You know something that you know a lot of sales leaders out there kind of traditionally understand that. You know, those are those are upside that's going to potentially get us there, but you know, we typically don't include that and a call, but you know, just kind of sending a signal that you know obviously we're working on it. Yeah, totally. Do you think the crow or the VP of sales needs to let the CEO know if if they're worried about the quarterly forecast and have you any war stories about when that's gone wrong, because I've certainly seen that go badly wrong sometimes. Yeah, it's a great question. I really try to work close closely with the sales leader, Crow and CEO to kind of obviously give and as early a signal as possible on, you know, hey, listen,...

...we're going into next month or next quarter with the very light pipeline and give them that next level down detail, saying hey, here our key deals, here's the list of our key deals. A lot of sales leaders you know that are out there obviously very involved in those key deals because those are obviously, you know, executive level. They've probably been engaged at one point in the introductions and I think at best practice obviously is, you know, at least a quarter out. If you know our business, a month out's usually too late because obviously you are are sales cycles longer than thirty days. So we try to look two months out to obviously kind of raise any sort of signals and that's really kind of it just depends on the business. I mean there's a couple of you know, I wouldn't say war stories, but you know, I was I was sitting with a executive team during a Qbr we are looking at an international in a national leader who was who is selling and he could he had been struggling for three quarters in a row and he was kind of talking about his next quarter and saying this isn't a good one, but the next one's going to be amazing. And I had just returned from being in France sitting with him and doing a deal inspection along with our VP of corpse Dev and we put the phone on me that we said give them one more quarter and sure enough that next that V quarter, he blew it out nice and I think that that's, like, you know, part of like you know, salesops roll is like to go and spend the time and, you know, really start swarming you know deals, or at least regions or something that may need, you know, more time, but also just, you know, try to build the trust in the business to say hey, listen, you know, our forecasting works, are deal management works, are inspection works. If you trust the individual on the other side that the doing the right things and they've got the right activities, you know you can tell the Crro Hey, here's you know, here's our confidence in terms of like things are going to not be good for the board. So let's let's, you know, send that right signal now and then have an obviously an action plan in place to obviously remedy and when we're going to kind of pick that up. Yeah, well, I love in this example that this I don't know if they were French, but they were in France, but this person blew it out of the water for the fifth quarter. So that's fantastic. Now they were French trejually. Yeah, you know, you've talked about how managers often have difficulty analyzing you know, as I forget who's said this, maybe is Thomas Paine, to see what is in front of one one's nose often requires great difficulty. But you know, the point is managers often have information right in front of them, but they don't have the tools to analyze the data in a way that makes it actionable for them. How do you address this problem and what are your how do you implement a data driven approach within an organization when managers might not be so inclined? Yeah, it's a great question. Managers just don't have time to do the data analysis right. So I think you just hit the nail on the head. It's a it's about it's about US and sales operations or business analytics. We're actually standing up a function to really help drive that. But give them very prescriptive metrics for, you know, how they should enable their kind of one on ones with their with their reps that are out there in the field. And you know, it's basically all levels of the organization. So you know the sales organization, so you have your front line managers, then you have your you know, your rvps, and then you have your sales leadership, right, and each one of them should have a certain set of core metrics that give them the right visibility in terms of actually what's happening. And so we're you know, I think sales force, the data that does come out of it, obviously is kind of the data everybody's managing and measuring. But you...

...know, there are other tools that are out there, you know, like a looker or tableau or you know some of these other tools that are out there that can really help us give them the right kind of dashboards for them to look at. But what you're trying to do is he while you give them that data, you're also reading back to them a set of, you know, problem areas for them to investigate. You know, hey, your you know, rep a is always been really solid doing this one metric, but like they seem to be behind. What's up, you know, time to dig in there, and so that is one of the most kind of powerful things that we're really trying to do. We're very constrained in terms of giving everybody kind of that an out, that level of analysis, and so the question is, you know, do we actually do it here, or can I bring in somebody who can help help drive more of that insight for the managers? ARE FRONTLINE MANAGERS? Yeah, makes a lot of sense. Random question. Are you a Gules Force class? Are you on sales force, classic or lightning? So we're classic. We are going to make a switch, right. Yeah, don't we all have to go to lightning? I use up spot. I'm not even on sales force, lucky you. Yeah, you know, it's funny, it's like it's the it's the hot topic, when when we're talking through you know, same, same question and going to the lightning. I think we've actually we're starting to SCOPE that out. Make Sense. Cool when you think about you know what, I guess the following question. What else is in your text act? You know, you don't have to name specific vendors if you feel selfconscious, but what are the tools? You've talked a lot about how you know tools can't solve the problem. So what tools do you think are critical when you look at driving efficiency and performance within within the sales team and and to the point of your you know you mentioned looker and tableaux and maybe there's inside squared, but are you using analytics platforms that sit on top of sales force or you building all of that within sales force? Maybe you have, you know, you have the ability to put that stuff together and maybe you've got somebody that's a sales force engineer. How do you think about your text act when it comes to enablement and productivity? Yeah, that's great. I mean I think, you know, we have a really healthy text act. When I came in, we're actually like pulling sales force out of the shrink rap. So we've really been building things out of, you know, from the foundation ground up. But there are things that I think are critical. So you got you know, it's I what I do is I look at like I think of each function and what they need. So our sales development team definitely need in the emailing tool. We need prospecting tools, so we're literally building our database overnight. Then how do we help self service and then also kind of operationalize adding data. So there's a there's a bunch of tools for kind of our SDRs to be able to go o out and pursue pursue those those folks. Then there's the enablement piece. So call recording functionality is been massive for us where we really need to kind of learn not only kind of like how our sellers are selling, but you know, it's a great coaching tool for our managers. We actually have a manager who listens to every single one of her purse or her team's calls on Sunday night before she gets in the office, so she knows actually how to manage their team. So like it cannot, you know, I think, live without that. I would say. You know, when you start thinking kind of more broadly about kind of the ecosystem on like you know, the metrics piece, we actually have something. We have a technology that sits on top of sales force and also our Google apps that help us kind of build other signals, because we know that, you know, emails that go out of Gmail and calendar invites aren't always logged as activities, and so this tool kind of catches that, but also alerts our leaders on things and behaviors that are kind of actually tracking in the right direction.

And then, you know, goes all the way through to some other kind of technologies that we're building. You know, billy in around, you know are you know, we're starting to see a lot of our peace in our sales cycle. And how do we automate that? And I think, you know, one of the things that we are doing as a business is we've got this like amazing tribal knowledge. What, what the Hell do you do with all that tribal knowledge? Right? So it's like, as you share it across the business, you got to actually organize it and structure in a really good way. So we've got, you know, a technology that does that. We also need to have a content management that product marketing team can have as kind of the source of truth. So it's not just the organic knowledge, but it's the more kind of structure knowledge. And then finally, you know, we're starting to really look at like our learning management system and be able to kind of bring that onto they're very, very structured around knowledge and empowering. You know, obviously our sales team across the ORG. Not only is there on boarding but, you know, constantly evolving on the ongoing education and really kind of trying to package that in a very, hopefully elegant way. Yeah, I love it. I mean so much is happening. So it's really exciting time for all these tools. Just got to make sure we train them the right we train our reps the right way and train the people that we're get the companies the right way, or all still they won't be used, which that's right, what we want and that's that's why it's in. My VP of finance always says are you guys using all that, and the answers sort of yeah, try, if he's listening, it's a yeah, of course, yeah, of course we are. Mr M is vp of finance, David. We're coming to the end of our time together and this is the part in the conversation where we like to pay it forward, like to figure out who the people that have influenced you, who are the people that you look up to? So when you think about great revenue leader was great founders. Tell us who are your influences? Who should we be aware of? Yeah, so I had a fortunate experience working with a Cmo who, you know, I've learned a lot with and had a great kind of partnership. And I think and we think about, you know, sales operations. It just isn't the sales leader all the time and I've had an amazing kind of slew of sales leaders that I've learned from and but a CMO that I've loved to work for. His name's Jedd ares. He's at Eyegel and I worked with him when I was an absence, building an amazing organization over there. And you know, one of the one of the other one of the other kind of founders that you know, I think is doing some awesome work out there, it's Roy Ronnie over at chorus. I think when you start thinking about you know, it's not just like the partnership piece, it's about the human stuff as well. I think he's just done a fantastic job engaging with me and in and, you know, being kind of a thought partner on some stuff and I think you know, you asked me this question about like investor. I actually had a great opportunity to meet Peter Fenn when I was at lithium. Is it bad? He's a benchmark and he came in he told us this like hilarious story about his opportunity to either invest in friendster or facebook, and we are all like, Oh my God, and he went with friendster and we all just obviously got a good laugh at that. But you know, he has been such a such an amazing kind of I would say just his vision and you know, some of his recommendations have really helped a lot of what I did earlier in my career. Those, those decisions, awesome. Yeah, Roy is great. By the way, Roy took the whole team to Barcelona. So he did, or he did. He's now a customer, so we'll get them on that. Exactly. So, David, great talking to you. If folks want to reach out to you, is that okay? Maybe they want to learn about sales ops, are revenue ops or growth ops, or they want to work at trip action. So what's the best way to reach you if you're open to it? Yeah, absolutely, my my linkedin is always open. I love when people reach out. Always happy to mentor like one of the things...

...that I love doing, as you said earlier, paid forward and pay it back, and or they could just reach me simply a trip actions. It's just easy. That's kind of like how I'm known, is deasy a trip actionscom. That's an awesome email address, mozzle on that one. Nice job. Thank you all right, thanks for being on the show. We're going to talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals and thanks so much for being a guest on the cell sacer podcast. Thank you, Sam. Really appreciate it. Everybody. It's SAM's corner. Another fantastic interview with David's wear and head of field operations at trip actions, a fast growing company that's revolutionizing the way that people book corporate travel, and certainly I'm excited about that, potentially because I need to preserve my platinum status on Delta, so is that I can board ahead of you. Just getting David talked a lot about a lot of interesting and important points. I think sales ops is is an underappreciated, underrepresented function. I think CEOS and founders often don't know why you need to invest in operations and the reality is that you need infrastructure if you're going to scale, and so David talked about this concept of once you have repeatability, you can begin to invest in operations as a means of growing and scaling the Sales Organization. They went from a hundred people to seven hundred people, which is just that's a lot of hiring. So and they're still hitting their targets, which is which is really, really encouraging. We talked about how do you forecast, and triangulation is the word that comes to mind most often when people are talking about forecasting. You have your human your human inputs, which is what we call the commit and that's when the salesperson is sort of putting their hand to God and swearing on the Bible or, you know, the holy document or literary tone of their choice. And perhaps if they're agnostic or an atheist, they choose to swear on nothing. It doesn't matter. That's not the point. Stop obsessing about about anyway, I'm getting I'm rambling. A point is this. The commit is when you make a commitment that you're going to close that deal, but it evitably those deals still only close about eighty or ninety percent of the time. So you want a human grounds up, a approach, a bottoms up approach where all of the humans, all of the sales people and then the count executives and their managers are all aggregating all of the deals that they think are at a high probability at you know XYZ stage or later in the sales process and saying these are going to close. And then you want to bring a different approach to it, which is you want to just bring a pure probability waiting against the different stages of the sales cycle, against your sale cycle, and and make sure that that you that top down approach which is taking. You know, if it's at introcoll it'll be twenty percent or ten percent, and if it's at you know demo or you know demo, it's great teams close at forty percent. You know bad teams close at two thousand and twenty five percent. It really depends when you create the opportunity. If it's in legal it's supposed to close seventy, seventy, eighty, eighty five percent of the time. So you're doing a top down forecast on a bottoms up forecast and you're comparing those two numbers and then you're presenting them back to you know, up to the senior management something else that's just super, super important. You know, a good friend of mine says bad news doesn't get better with time, and that is the truth. I've seen a lot of sales leaders get fired because they bring the bad news too late, because they're crossing their fingers that there's a couple key deals that are going to come in right before the end of the quarter or end of the month, and then they'll throw that into the results deck. That will go up to the board meeting and the CEO presented what and everything will be Hunky dorry and hope is not a strategy. If you're crossing your fingers, let's call those deals as let's not commit those deals are not going to come in and we got to look at what actually is in the pipeline, what's actually going to close, and so the minute that you think you're not going to hit that number, Gosh Darn it, you better say something and you get to do it calmly. You can't make it like a five alarm fire every single time, but you do have to let people know all the time as early as you know, and frankly I appreciate that you know certain...

VC's and certain people think that you know sales leaders and commercial leaders or sandbaggers, meaning we we under promise and overdeliver. But darnet under promise and overdeliver is the way that you can get promoted, that you can keep your job, and that starts with if you're a new sales leader entering a new role at a new company, what's the one thing that you are not allowed to do? You are not allowed to accept their existing forecast. What you have to do, what you must do as part of your negotiation at any VP leveler above, is you must say, listen, I appreciate that you have your numbers. I need to get into the pipeline, I need to dig into the numbers and then I will present you, after thirty days, some kind of sense for what I think the forecast will actually be. Otherwise, they're going to sign you up to some massive number. You're going to get there, there's going to be no pipeline and no opportunity and your demanda and function isn't going to be fully rebuilt out of robust and you're going to be facing an awful miss and that will be on your shoulders. So we don't want that to happen. So. At any rate, the main thing we're talking about just now is just pipeline and forecasting. Get good at forecasting and provide bad news as quickly as possible in a calm and measured way, up through senior management, because you don't want it to be that two days before the board meeting you're telling everybody they're going to miss by thirty percent. That is a recipe for getting fired. Now that's been Sam's corner. Thanks so much for listening. Listen. If you haven't rated the salesacker podcast on itunes and given us five starts, why haven't you please do that? If you want to reach out to me, I'm at Linkedincom. Forward the word in and then forward Sam f Jacobs. If you want to hear more about our sponsors, those people are Conga, the leading end to end digital document transformation suite, and outreach the leading sales engagement platform. I will talk to you next time.

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