The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

76. How Slack is Generating $600MM With a Bottom-Up Approach w/ Kevin Egan at Slack

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we talk to Kevin Egan, VP of North American Sales at Slack

Kevin’s sales career has taken him from Oracle, to Dropbox, to Salesforce, and now, to Slack. We hear his best practices on developing a sales team, measuring rep productivity, why companies should lead with their product first, and what the sales team’s responsibility is inside of a product-led go-to-market strategy.

One, two, one, three, three, the folks at Sam Jacobs, welcome to the salesacker podcast. Today we've got a great show. We've got Kevin Egan, the vice president of North American sales at slack, and if you were listening to this show earlier, probably October, November, December sometime, you remember that we had Danny Hertzberg on the show. Denny's part of Kevin's team, if I'm not mistaken. Danny, if you're listening and you are not part of Kevin's team and maybe you're even Kevin's boss, shoot me a note. And I'm sorry, but I think that's the the organizational chart. So, at any rate, that's not the point. The point is that Kevin has led sales teams at sales force, at dropbox and at slack and he's seen top down led sales organizations and he seen bottom up product let for sales organizations and he has some thoughts on it. So I think that that's really, really useful in this conversation and something to look out for. I also want to thank our sponsors before we dive into the interview. The first one is lucid chart. Lucid Chart Sales Solution is the leading account planning platform from modern sales orgs. With Lucid Chart, you can visually map out key contacts and crucial account data to uncover critical insides that will allow you to close the group deals faster. Go to lucid chartcom forward, slash sales for more information. Second sponsor is outreach, of course, believing sales engage platform our support sales ups by enabling them to humanize communications at scale, from automating the soul sucking manual work that he's upselling time to providing actionary two tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back. At breakfast this morning, Leo Channing, I was asking me. It was a revend collected breakfast, but he was saying what's The music? Then the salesacer podcast, and is that you singing in the answer is yes. So if anybody's out there and has been listening as wondering what the music is, both for Friday fundamentals and for this show, it's from a band that I was in. I really don't know why we named it this, but we named it lipstick l Ip Stik. No, see, I regret it deeply, the name, but the music is actually pretty good. It's on spotify. The album's called everything is good, and so that's the answer to that question, if anybody had it. Of course, it's also self aggrandizing and self promotional, which is something that hopefully will forgive me for now, without further ado, let us listen to the interview with Kevin Egan. Hey everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome back to the SALESACER podcast. Today we're honored and excited to have Kevin Egan on the show. Let me tell you about Kevin before we dive into the interview. Kevin serves as vice president of North American sales for slack. That's a company that I think we all know about. Prior to slack, Kevin spent four years as VP of sales at dropbox, where he helped build the outbound sales team covering SMB through large enter price. Prior to that, Kevin spent ten years at sales force, where he moved from an ae roll to various senior sales management, operations and recruiting roles. He's a recognized speaker on the top of a new selling models within the Sasspace, which is what we'll be talking about, and acquiring top talent to make it happen. He went to Holy Cross. He's a father of to Kevin. Welcome to the show. Thanks so much. Great to be here some we're excited to have you. So we start with your baseball card. We want to learn a little bit more about you and contextualize your expertise, so we know your name, your titles. VP North America sales. I think most people in the world know it slack is at this point, but let's give you the opportunity to tell us what you think slack does well. Slack is a work platform that allows people to work more officially, connect with employees and connect with their data and applications more efficiently. The benefit, what we're seeing is higher employee engagement and faster time to market for products and just the ability for employees to tap into collective intelligence across our company. As a you slack more and more day and day out. Awesome and and by the way, I the business that I run besides running this podcast, slack is a core part of what we do. It's a global community of sales executives and they're answering and asking questions all day on slack. So thanks for building it has grab me. I wish I could say I built that's all. And so you...

...know, we could all we could go to the you know, I guess we could. I don't know if have you all filed, like a your first quarterly earnings report? Yeah, Y was our first quarterly enterings report. We put guidance out there around revenues. I'm so I'll let people look that up, but it's in the neighborhood about six hundred million for the year ahead. That's fantastic, awesome. And then your team. How big is your team currently in North America sales? That includes account executives, bedrs, SDRs and managers. Word, about a hundred, forty people. Awesome. And then you've been doing this a long time, so I guess you know. First of all, I just read off a bunch of companies, all of them are public, all of whom are household names. Slack, dropbox sales force. Let's go back a little bit to the beginning. How'd you get into sales and walk us through a little bit about the your career milestones, because it's always interesting for listeners to understand. If I want to be a VP of North America for a company that's going to do six hundred million. You know, where do I start and how do I think about putting the pieces together for my career? Great, I think. You know, my start was an interesting one. I had the benefit of starting at Oracle. I moved out to California right after I graduated college. I started in a contract role in the IT help desk, servicing internal employees at Oracle. At that point that, you know, the company is about ten to fifteen thousand employees. So it was a it was a big help desk and the year was one thousand nine hundred and ninety six. So the real benefit there was that's when corporate into you know, basically the Internet was really entering into corporations. Email was becoming the prevalent communication tool and I got to work on a basically helping people reconnect to networks, understand where they are dropping network connections, help them getting in and out of applications and in that time I learned eunuchs and I learned database administration. So from there, after about a year, year and a half on inside support, I was then able to move into the inside sales organization as a sales engineer or sales consultant, depending upon different companies have different names of basically pre sales engineering. So that was a great opportunity I ran. I was there for about four years where I helped the internals, the inside sales team, what was called DMD at the time, as a sales engineer and then ultimately moving into field sales engineering and supporting about eight field sales drops of Oracle. Wow, and you know there's the word is tossed around and we're actually going to do a few episodes on sales engineering. Yeah, but you know, when you hear that title, is there a specific definition for what a sales engineer is and does I think the core role of a solutions engineer sales engineer is around solution mapping, understand what the technical and business requirements are of a customer and mapping the technical or the product solution to that. So mapping basically needs to product and obviously demonstrating that and providing credibility around the solution in terms of how it's solved the problem. When you were as sales engineered Oracle, did you know that? You know it was it just very clear to you that you wanted to pursue both a career and sales as an Inid as an individual contributor but also, you know, a sales leadership career. No, not at that time. I did know that I loved working and kind of innovative environments and I love the concept of business to business conversations and and you know, oracle as a platform to help businesses run more efficiently and cost effectively. So I had you figure it out. I think you get to work with a great group of people. I figured out that I did like the the studying part and learning more and more about products and you know, it is really my transition to sales force, where I became an account executive and then quickly a manager, that I figured out I love to management. But that was the oracle time. Was really a great foundation in terms of understanding technology and how ampt to busit problem. So what year did you get to sales force? Between Oracle and sales force, I had a couple of stops, but I got to sales force in two thousand and two. Wow, about a hundred and ten employees there and...

I started under Rob Acre in the what we called the small and medium sized business team. Was About too eleven reps of the time. Now it's hundreds or thousands of reps. but yeah, so I joined in two thousand and two here in San Francisco. Wow, so you went to see you. I mean two thousand and two was probably an amazing time to be at sales force and then from there to drop box and now to slack. First of all, what do you attribute the success to in terms of your ability to land at such great companies that had so much growth out of them? I think once you see it, I think by the chance to work at Oracle and see what a high quality organization looked like in the s really helped informed choosing sales force. And you know, sales force in two thousand and two it wasn't, you know, totally obvious that it was going to be this big, Bohemoth and successful company that is today. It felt like it was scrappy at the time. We were kind of building it on our own, so to speak, in terms of sales playbooks and learning the motion of selling cloud computing. So wasn't success. That never felt imminent. It felt like you could make you know, month by month things got a little bit better, a little bit easier, but you never felt like this thing was just going to be handed to you. So and then if I look at kind of what what I look foreign companies, you know comes down to what is the size of the market that they sell into, what is the quality of the product, and then what is the quality of the CEO? How do you evaluate the quality? To See, you largely through. You know, I didn't actually, I guess in all three cases I did have a chance to interview with the CEO, so that was kind of unique. But you know, how well are they conveying the message to the market in terms of what their solution is and how we'll solve real business problems? How do they stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted with some of the other I don't know, I'm sure it's easy to get distracted the CEO, but but how do they demonstrate focus against the opportunity in front of them? And then how do they are what, as you're interviewing and working with various employees in your evaluation, what did the alignment in messaging look like? A are the employees aligned against the the opportunity had? And so that's because that's obviously the one of the key elements of being a good CEO. Yeah, absolutely. How big was the team that you inherited. It dropbox. When you got there we had about the team I inherited was about fifteen people. Are So, and we grew that to about a hundred people overall. Wow, yeah, and that was that was so was early days a dropbox. I mean we had about a hundred million people had signed up for the business apports, dropbox individual the consumer product. The business product hadn't really been launched. I joined in January and the business product was launched officially in April. So it was a great opportunity to get in at the kind of ground floor and help understand where, you know, in a fremium model like that or the consumersation of it going happening like where? How do you take a product like that and bring it into the enterprise? How far can you go and to what extent? So walk us through that, because it sounds like you're doing probably something similar it slack. How do you what's your perspective on on how to do that, on how to take a fremium model, how to move into the enterprise, how you align with the product of map? Walk us through some of your key principles? Sure, I think the key principle is that would change between sales force and dropbox is obviously dropbox as a hundred percent kind of product and Engineering Lad Company. They built a great consumer product. They innovated on a model through virality and the referral program and that virality. As I mentioned, there was a hundred million people using dropbox and a good portion of those were using them with their corporate email domain. So they're what we would do is we would look at, you know, the standard play is where's the usage? Usage and activity are the strongest signal for value right, and if we saw that as some company had a lot of users and was growing that userbase over time and had a lot of activity in terms...

...of sharing documents and so forth, that was our strongest signal to go approach them. Oftentimes, you know, these folks are interested in taking it to the next level but they don't really know how. They don't often times of people who are who are using that service haven't purchased software in the past. They don't know how pricing, how legal and how the company actually procure software. They don't know how to build a business case to, you know, go to their boss and say here's here's why I think we should move forward dropbocks. So first you'd find where the usages and then you try to build a relationship there and arm them with the business value and help get them through moving just from the consumer product, which was kind of in a rogue used in a rogue way, into the business product, which had more of the security features that was sanctioned by it security and kept their company more safe with their methodologies that you employed. You know it sounds I don't know if you've read the challenge or customer, but you know there's this concept of mobilizers. Right now in the enterprise it takes some people, estimate eleven probably, you know, twenty or thirty, sometimes people to make a purchasing decision and I would imagine that some of the corporate users that you were encountering at Dropbox and probably at slack we're not effectively what we would normally consider decision makers. So did you incorporate some kind of process or methodology? Did use anything like medic in terms of the playbook to operational Ayes your ability to get through and and make a sale? Yeah, well, every company should have their kind of key metrics on what signifies kind of a what we'd call a warm lead, you know, and in facebook terms that was, you know, they stumbled upon the idea that, I think it was, if somebody added seven friends and ten days that made them a, you know, highly engaged user. So we had usage statistic that told us that these people were highly engaged and we try, we aimed for at least five, to basically build five champions within any account before approaching more centralized it or procurement with a proposal getting those, you know, the at that that point, it was early days. It was like what. Five people would come to the table for us and say good things and then help us navigate internally and then in turn, we would help them, you know, with the getting through the process. How a line were you, or I'm and I imagine closely with with product? And I guess what's your philosophy on if you see, if you see a group of people doing some activity with high frequency and high volume, is your instinct to put gates around that activity from a product perspective, to force them to upgrade, or do you have approach of let them do their thing and then we'll build new products and services on top of whatever their core activity is? Yeah, I think with it's the ladder. You don't want to get into a place where any humans or salespeople are putting in gates anywhere. I think drew Houston, then Stewart butterfield would cringe at that idea. The product itself is the driver and that's what's kind of, you know, new about the you know, this kind of new world of selling is the especially in collaboration. You know, with collaboration tools like dropbox and slack, it's there's nothing, there's no concept of really of a tops down sales model or sales motion. It's always has to be bottoms up because if you don't have that usage, if and users aren't gravitating to your service on their own and self selecting into that service and seeing value, then pushing something tops down is going to be extremely difficult. So you wanted to drive virality, you wanted to dry and you know, in some ways the sales reps job was education and facilitating training sessions, more materials and driving clarity on what the benefits of the service are. So it was mainly the product that was driving virality, but sometimes that salesperson can certainly help with, you know, making it super clear on on business value. So, but being exactly to your point, I was taking my next question. What is the role of sales in this, in this construct a and then be? Is it the same profile of person...

...as it would be at a more traditional outbound be tob enterprise sales solution, something like well, I don't know if you consider sales force of a freemium product. I do not like something like a big, you know, big a man a press application. That's interesting that you mentioned sales force with premium because I think sales force was one of the first sales team to take a maybe maybe not one of the first. It's kind of tried to say trusted advisor or we know we're a consult overall consultants. But one thing that should be noted is that sales force and bending off, to his credit. You may not call them fremium, but mark was the first person to put his product out there for free for thirty days. So in two thousand and two we had the we have the free thirty day trial of sales force and that product in that's first two years was free upper up to I think, I think ten users. So what you what we would do at sales force and this translated, you know, beyond in the dropbox and slack words. You would guide people through pilots and success criteria for proving out how the product, product would add business value. Sales Force, you would do a free thirty day trial and you instead of presenting with a powerpoint slide and so forth, and we powerpoint was always part of it, still part is part of every sales motion. But for the most part you're trying to get in the APP with a customer to help them customize the application, create custom fields, float those custom fields up into custom reports and DASHBOARDS, add more users to the pilot in the platform, get more people's fingertips and, you know, using in the you know, touching the product and in the product, so that you could show teams working together and ultimately getting more done more quickly. And that idea of teams getting more done more quickly, you know, that's that's the same concept that we're talking about today at slack, which is how do we get drive efficiency among the myriad of ways different people are working? And I do think you know well, you might not call sales force a freemium company. They did start. They were the first especion in cloud computing to provide the first free service and then, you know, a lot of sales people to help consult with a pilot and testing of the usage. Well, I stand corrected and yeah, your Damn Right, I am. We had a full playbook a sales force. I'm sure they still do, but the full playbook on how to guide people through a successful free trial. And that your conversion rate was. It was crazy. Was Great. Here's what I've heard. You can tell me if I'm wrong. What I heard. I'm happy to be wrong, but I heard was that what they figured out. What you figured out, but tell me if I'm wrong, is that it wasn't just the act of getting the data, you know, like the the crm. It wasn't just uploading your contacts and and putting all the data into sales force. It was the act of creating a dashboard and having it email to you. That was sort of like the core first magic moment that you felt led to conversion. Is that accurate or did I miss here? That? Know that that's accurate. I wouldn't say that was the first. If I went back in time, I would say the first was when sales force gave the ability create custom fields which is probably two thousand and three or two thousand and four. So you could create a custom field and then you could create a custom tabs. So now you have objects that in the past you were re choired and like sea bullspeak, you know, in the land of Seabol or what Oracle, you'd have to actually programmatically build these new custom fields or these objects. You could do that point and click and sales force. The first the real money moment was when somebody could create custom fields within a custom object and put it in a report and then the next step. You out to your point once then dashboards came along, reports got a better user interface and then you could email those dashboards at whatever intervals. But the early days was like well, I can actually customize this off the shelf crm application and you know without you know, in whizzy wig, without any code, and I can report on it within two to three minutes. That was I mean that now that says that seems commonplace, but you know, to your point back in two thousand and two and two thousand and three, that that...

...was, yeah, a massive game changer. Right. So getting so the sales reps roll in. That is how do you and that's a meaningful conversation, because now you're talking about, okay, well, what is important to your business to measure and what are the picklists or what are the values that you want it, that are important to you, and now suddenly you're talking more about business process, business metrics. Then you are feature function on a product. Yeah, I would consider that. You again, tell me if you disagree. I'd consider any off to be a sales and marketing led founder and then I would consider, to your point, you know, Stewart and drew, to be product led founders. When you or product, they are product. Companies are product led, whatever however you want to frame it, but the point is that they're sort of a different the's two different approaches. Here in New York we frankly see a lot more sales led companies because there's just not as much technical talent and the day it's more evenly distributed. What do you think the key differences are between companies that are founded by somebody that's technical, that is focused on the product, versus, you know, go to market person that is a businessperson in their bones? I'll say this. I think you have to be for these for today, in this day and age, again, I'll come back to if it's going to be used by end users in their work day, day in a day out, like right now slack. I think on average the average user slack is in slack ninety minutes a day or more. Right that has to be an incredible user experience and the CEOS view and is that product and engineering led CEO will have the view and the ability to execute on that end user experience better than sales market led CEO. What and that's for again, for collaboration tools that that are, you know, really reliant upon virality and teams growing on their own organically. It's got to be product and engineering led. I think in terms of tops down sales, like I mean if you think about security tools and security enterprise security products, I think those can still be tops down right when where the CE so makes the decision and the requirements are crystal clear on what that whatever that security product needs to do or whether that system of record for hr a RP needs to do. Like where you can get that debt defined by a small group of people, you can lead a tops down sales process. But where it's end user led, the product really the company new really needs to be products and engineering led. Yeah, I one of the things that you've done, which everybody has to do in order to make it to the quote unquote, top, is you have to move from being an individual contributor to a manager and then ultimately to a manager of managers, either as a VP or crow or whatever it is. When you think back on the key skills that you need to develop in order to make those steps, to take those steps, what do you think they are, and what do you think the biggest? What do you think the skills are that an individual contributor needs to develop, not just to become a manager but to oversee an organization? I think they need to show that they're willing to be team first and team centric, not eyecentric. The benefit that I had at sales force was that I came into sales force with a training as a sales engineer at Oracle. So I was able to demo the products, help with the customizations and lead some of that kind of nitty gritty cut of stuff because I had somewhat of a technical background, not a deep technical background, but you know, enough of a technical background. We were light. Our ratios really lean on sales engineers back in the day. At sales force. So I kind of acted as an a e my day job and then nights and weekends would help people with their demos. I would jump on Demos for people and, you know, be their sales and, you know, jump in as a sales engineer if I needed for somebody to leave, kind of leave the ranks of an IC and go to a manager. I think reputationally they need to be known as somebody who is willing to dig in for the whole team and go above and beyond for the team. And that gets you out of the gates.

And then once you're a manager of I season, you've come from that spot. You can't rush like you're not going to get credibility overnight as the manager who knows everything and can see around corners. You can't rush that. So you got to over index on helping in the trenches and then over time you kind of you see enough and you beat you become that manager and it's only with time that you get perspective that you can really really help people with coaching on de Electcution, with managing internal cross functional elements, with hiring properly and so forth. So team first, and then it takes a little bit of time, no doubt, when you from dropbox grew to, you know, a large team, and then I would imagine slack was probably, you know, given that you were so early at sales force and fairly or late dropbox, sock is probably besides Oracle, you know, one of the larger organizations when you stepped in. Is that accurate? Let's see, drop boxes about tw hundred and forty people and I joined and slack was probably six or seven hundred people. Yeah, yeah, so when you inherit a team and and you're the new leader, you know they sort of tell everybody, maybe on slack or an email. God Forbid, Hey, we just hired Kevin Agan. You know he built, he built these amazing teams to dropbox to you're the new person, you're inheriting a bunch of talent. Do you have sort of a standard three thousand and six ninety playbook that you use as a new executive to get going? I won't go through each element, but there's some kind of key themes that I would try to you know, impart, which is one is, you know, listening a hell of a lot more than you're talking, especially in the early days. Nobody wants to hear you talk if you haven't been at the company long enough. And then I think people, when they see a new manager come on board with their what they're looking for is number one, selfishly speaking, houses person going to help me. So it kind of comes back to that. I think beyond that, they're looking for is this a kind of organizational leader who's going to lead from org charts and Dashboards, or is this a leader who's going to get on the plane with me, roll up their sleeves and help me get my deals done? And I think the strongest ones do both, and I think the best place to start is rolling up your sleeves and helping people bring in customers and make customers successful. And if you show them that you're willing to, you know, to grind it out and do the travel on Sundays and do the trips that you don't you know that you're not particularly excited about, and take the hard calls with customers to help them make them successful, and you focus your time kind of in the trenches, so to speak, and the early three thousand and sixty ninety days, then that affords you one is it builds a lot of good will and then it affords you the ability to kind of, when you do need to back up and run a little bit more from a kind of higher altitude in terms of org structures, metrics operations. You know the business better and you've you've got the buying of your team. How did you learn? But I think maybe the answers you worked at sales force. But and maybe Oracle. But how'd you learn what metrics to focus on? You know, because I think you do need both. To your point, you have to be able to get in there and roll up your sleeves and help people close deals, but you also need to have a perspective on how to drive the business. How did you learn that? It was it was being at sales force. I think it was. It was it would having having to speak to you know, the beauty sales forces. You had to talk about Crm, you had to talk about pipeline management, you had to talk about, you know, different flavors of activity management, what kind of worked for different types of companies. You had to talk about marketing effectiveness and so forth. So that foundation at sales force was very helpful. And then, at the end of the day, you know, I did have the chance to work for Hillary COPLO and a for two years in an operations roll where that was back office. Really I you know, I didn't known the SPREADSHEET, so to speak, but I really did help work on a lot of the creeky criteria around headcount growth, where the headcount was going to go and what we expected in terms of productivity. So it all comes out. You know, it all comes down to what is reproductivity at the end of the day, like that's the number one metric to me. That's the...

...output. You know that. That is what are reps producing on average, by segment, by Geo, and then you from there. You into what are the inputs. So reproductivities a key output. And then where the key inputs right? What what is the pipeline need to look like in terms of coverage? Where does the pipeline come from? It needs to come from marketing, it needs to come from partners and needs come from the a's themselves and then needs to come from bdrs. So what are you know, it sales, for speak. We called that the four horsemen and that was, you know, marketing, sales, BEDR and AE. And when those you know, to what extent do we expect contribution from each of those. When we did get that contribution, how much what it had roll up in terms of pipeline coverage. Awesome, and I say awesome in the sense that you probably know this, but so many companies they view the rep, hiring of the REP is the input and the output. So yeah, yeah, there's a hot list. How many of that we hiring? We're working on it. But you know, it's not easy to pull together. It's a big cross functional effort to really get nail and say what are we expecting from marketing, sales, bed or partnerships and a's and bdrs. Yeah, absolutely. When you think about the you know, one of the things that you speak about as sort of top talent and how to make sure that as your job as VP of North America, as somebody that's running of Super Large PNL, your job, one of the fundamental roles of it, is to recruit, is to make slack a place where great people want to work. How do you do that? You have to. It's we're lucky. I came in and there's an amazing foundation of people here. Bob Friday was already here, AJ tenant was here and it hired some amazing people. So foundationally. You had people that I think more and more we have to keep an eye on, like who are the people that want to build and be part of a company where their career is propelled over the course of five to seven years, five, seven, ten years. You know, take your pick, versus, you know, who are the reps that are just coin operated and want to maximize a w two for a year or two? The people that want to build operate a little bit differently than the coin operated when the builders are far more into sharing, sharing content, building content, jumping into workshops to help, you know, und basically uncover or surface things that are working, get around things that aren't working and so forth. So it's that our conversations are constantly around are they a builder or they coin operated? Do you hand operating is bad, but it's just not the right place for folks and startups for the most part. Do you have you have a testing framework of interview questions I figure out who's to build a versus coin operated? What are some things that you might ask them? The for that one specifically you're asking about, and I think linkedin does a good job of this. For the coin operated will for the for the builder you're looking for. Its questions around leverage? What what assets did they build that help the rest of the team? That's a good question. One of my last questions and, by the way, I thank so much for being on the show. But these are just, you know, things that are coming from my curiosity. There's a big debate. I don't know if it's a debate, but there's a there's a dialog at early stage companies about cheer point, not just pipeline coverage but quota coverage and how. You know, somebody on the show might have been build bench from Pendo. We may now talked about metal to metal, meaning if the quotas at a hundred percent attainment add up to the target, then that could be dangerous. At least it could be. Doesn't aducing. Yeah, yeah, go ahead. I was going to say how do you think about it, which we were about to share. I think. I think the education to builds point metal and metal. I think that's a great way to put it. You know, most spreadsheets and most people in finance and planning, you know, they their models don't account for imperfections, and start up life is right foot imperfections. So people leave the company. Marketing misses the mark...

...on some of their spend. We high you know, we hired, you know we started to typically hire, enablement and training too late. All these things, all these imperfections come up along the way that oftentimes are not taken into account on the spreadsheet or in the model. So, to builds point, I think most would sales works with finance in the planning stages. You need to account for some what we call oversign or some buffer to make sure that it's not metal to metal. Do you is there a percentage that you favor? You know, fifteen percent, twenty percent like that that makes you feel comfortable? Well, coming from a metal on metal environment that I'm in right now, I would I would like twenty percent. I think that, you know, basically the at the CRO level, twenty percent feels right. And then it just depends on how many reps and how you distribute that twenty percent down. Yeah, and and would you change? I mean you're in a public company, your number probably can't change. But if a manager comes to you and says, you know, my number was five hundred thou but that was with five reps, but my last person just quit. Can I lower the target? What would you say it depends where you are in the year and do we have historicals that tell us what the what productivity should look like? So I would say you are on the hook for the whatever was lost with that person walking out the door. I would say that too. I would try to manage to it across. But then you know, as that person's leader, you have a portfolio of other regions or what have you, other teams that you need to go and cover. That, I my expectation would be, boy, will be you know, you got to go cover that, but in the back of my mind I'd be thinking you're going to have a tough time doing that, so I better go look elsewhere for that coverage. Fair enough. What last question for me? When you think about your role, you know you're overseeing again a large organization. We've got the piece of sales or early managers at early stage companies that are managing much smaller organizations. What change is as as you are a public company, as you approach six hundred million and revenue? I'm sure your book of business is, you know, two thirds of that six hundred million, if not more or less somewhere around there. But how does the role change? How do you? How does what you do daytoday change from when you when you might be a VP of sales at, you know, a twenty million dollar company? I'd say the biggest thing that I'm noticing change now is cross functional communication. I think the older company gets, the more mature company gets and they you know, as your career develops within an older, more mature company, the more important it is to spend time and like really spend time taking, you know, focusing on cross functional communication. Not something that I did particularly well both at dropbox and slack, but something I'm working on now. So, for example, I'm doing my Qbr with my boss, Bob Raddy. By you know, completed my q to qb are and in the past that would be it. But now what I'm doing is I'm taking that QBR and the results of my q two and I'm doing about another two to three sessions. So I'm communicating directly with my managers, all the ads in the organization. I'm walking them through what I did. You know what, what the messaging you know what what I my my sense for what happened, what key focus areas are. But not only that, I'm taking that through my pure group here at slack making sure that they understand what's happening in my world and that they're hearing it firsthand from me, and then we're doing a lot of kind of a lot of work, and follow up comes out of that. So that's an example of that. It's not the QBR is not just between you and your boss and then becomes tween you and all your cross functional partners and it becomes then, you know, your job to follow that up accordingly. Makes a lot of sense, Kevin. We're at the at the end of our time together, but we've got some time on Friday set aside. But you know, parting thoughts are always about we call it paying it forward. We don't. We're not the only ones that call that. I think it's called that, but anyway, the point is people that have influenced you, either books you've read, bosses that you've had, people that you think or ideas that you think we should know about as we all pursue our individual...

...careers. What springs to mind when you think about, you know, major influences over the course of your career? Boy, major influences. I've been lucky. I've had the amazing bosses at Sales Force like rob acker and Brian Millim and Frank van Vat it all and Hilary and man and and a dropbox in here. I think one thing I think I'd like to share is some cool concepts that I'm seeing today at slack and how it's kind of present the culture. And one is, you know, Stewart's mantra of, you know, seek to create value, not extract value. So like that is as a salesperson, that is the mantra that I can really get behind it. I can cannot kind of see it and how technology is being consumed. We have to create value first before we, you know, before you can extract any value from the customer. So first is seek to create value, not extract value. Right. So that changes. That puts a lot more power on the buyer than it does on the seller, but I think it's really act of how this world works today. And then I think I think there's an element of balance. Like your these are hard times. There's a lot up and down. And I think a couple other things that we know can kind of get behind in certain terms of munch was that we have. Its lack is, you know, we're a team, not a family. So like this is you, this is the team of professionals that you work with. You have a family at home and and you need to take care of those people to create balance and and see this for what it is. And then the other would be, you know, work hard and go home. So it's like, do your work, produce great work and then go see the people that are important to outside of the job, and your stamina and your perspective will improve as a result. I love it makes sense, Kevin, if folks are listening and they are inspired, maybe I'm, I would imagine, giving your growth at you're hiring and they want to reach out to you directly. I guess as that okay, and the if so, I do have a preferred method of communication. Yeah, absolutely, please reach out to me. Kevin Egan. Is Email addresses keg an at slack corpcom, so Keygan Kagi and at slack corpcom. I'd love you here for me. Awesome, Kevin, thanks so much for being on the show. We'll talk to you for Friday. All Right, thanks, I'm take care of everybody. Sam Jacobs. This is SAM's corner. Another great interview, this time with Kevin Egan, VP of North American sale for slack. Just somebody with an amazing track record, you know, from Oracle to sales force, joining sales force in two thousand and two. That's a good time to join sales force. You know that's not it's not that different from joining Google in two thousand and two. And you know, if you haven't read the book behind the Cloud, which is the story of Mark Benny off, sales force really did invent this whole thing in many, many ways. Maybe, maybe not perfectly, but I think those lessons are really really it's just an a massive business and any time you see mark Benny off, you know, tweeting about the Arur growth of sales force, you are always taken aback so Kevin's experience. They're starting off as a sales engineer. I think is really, really interesting. A bunch of other folks have started off as sales engineers on their path to becoming sales leaders and I think that that's interesting because what it means is if your sales engineer, you need to really understand the product in a way that's sometimes deeper than a traditional account executive. You need to have that technical knowledge and insight. And then, if you worked at sales force. You have that knowledge of analytics and data and really to be, you know, a high level executive, you need two things in tandem. You need to be able to help your team close deals, but really it's about recruiting the people that help your team closed deals in conjunction with understanding how to view and analyze the data that the business is producing. Kevin said. Is something else that I just think is super important to really grab onto, which is something I talked about all the time. They have a productivity model, a rep productivity model, but rep productivity is the output, not the input. What do I I mean? Hiring people does not generate revenue. Hiring sales...

...people does not generate revenue. Revenue comes from as Kevin said, and I think I'm, you know, I think I'm getting most of it right. Marketing Right, the marketing contribution. Marketing contributes pipeline by generating leads, awareness, etc. And getting people to raise their hands so that they want to talk to the sales team, the BEDR team or the STR team, you know, the the demand generation engine, the people that are reaching out to prospects. They generate demand directly by reaching out people and getting meetings. The channel and the partners. Those people generate demand as well by discussing your solution and making your solution their solution of choice when they recommend it to their customers, and then also the account executives. But all of those elements go into the pipeline model and that pipeline model and the output of that, which is the money, the revenue, is the thing that is the output, is not the input. So so many people build their revenue model by just saying each rep that I hire is two million dollars in business. If I hire five people, that will be ten million dollars. Boom, there I go. I gotta go, I've got a perfect spreadsheet. It's not how it works, it's not how demand is generated, and Kevin understands that, which is which is also really, really important. And then, of course, you know the conversation definitionally is about, because he works at slack, the consumerization of the enterprise and how you have to lead with the product, you have to build enthusiasm with the product and then you apply enterprise strategies and skills like qualification and proper discovery and mapping, you know, mapping the business pain to the solutions that your solution can just can deliver that the solutions that you're for can deliver. But all of that happens once you've develop that enthusiasm at the fremium level and it's really a bottoms up approach. It's not a top down approach. So if you're at a fremiums for product led company, or if you don't have any fremium model at all and you're trying to do top down, but it's a it's a product that's going to be used by thousands of users within the organization, maybe it's time to look at a free trial or some kind of fremium use case that builds enthusiasm and interest and then translates that into a more effective and rigorous sales conversation. So this has been Sam's corner. Thanks for listening. Before we go, let's thank our sponsors. Lucid Chart Sale Solution, the leading account planning platform for modern sales orgs and outreach that I owe the leading sales engagement platform. If you want to reach me, you can linkedincom forward. Slash the word in forward. Sam F Jacobs. If you want to rate our show, we would love it five stars on Itunes. That helps us stay in business. And if you're an executive out there that needs support, guidance, counseling or coaching and you want a community of peers that you can learn from and extend your career with, consider revenue collective, which is the business that I run during the day, and the podcast is the thing I do, also during the day. Anyway, it doesn't matter what time of it is. It matters that you're out there and that you're listening and that you reach out if you need help. At any rate, I'll talk to you next time. This has been the salesacker podcast.

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