The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

184: Mastering the 2 Ps: People & Process


In this episode of the Sales Hacker Podcast, we have Kerry Hudson, VP of Commercial Sales at Conga, a sales leader in the high tech space across multiple verticals. Join us for a timely conversation about producing high performing sales organizations with a focus on people, process, and customers.

What You’ll Learn

  1. Discovering your passion, not following it
  2. A systemic approach to finding diverse candidates
  3. Taking a bet on talent, enthusiasm, and potential
  4. How the sales process has changed in the last 18+ months

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. About Kerry Hudson & Conga [1:45]
  2. Kerry’s career journey into leadership [4:25]
  3. Misconceptions about sales leadership [7:06]
  4. All about diversity hiring [10:59]
  5. Why you should track the 2 Ps [13:15]
  6. Changes in today’s sales process [16:48]
  7. Paying it forward [20:29]
  8. Sam’s Corner [23:08]

One two one: Three: Three: Everybody atSam Jacobs, welcome to the sale sacker podcast today on the show we've gottarry Hudson carries the VP of commercial sales North America forKonga. So it's going to be a great conversation and we talk all about howwomen can position themselves best, why it's important to find a sponsor, howto find your own voice and leadership and a bunch of great topics that arethat are covered before we get there. We've got a couple O sponsors to thankthe first is out reach. We know outrated been a long time to sponsorthe show and were excited to announce that their annual series, only someserieses back this year theme the rise of revenue. Innovators join the new cohorde of leaders who put biers in the center of their selle strategies todrive efficient, predictable growth across the entire revenue cycle, getmore details and save our spot at some on dot out reached a Ao were alsobrought you by Pazin pavilion is the key to getting more out of your careeror private membership gives you access to thousands of like minded peers.Dozens of courses in schools through Pavilion University and no for onethousand work folks, ten flat scripts and play books to accelerate yourdevelopment pavilion members get hired. Twenty two percent more quickly arepaid fourteen percent more and get promoted. Thirty four percent morerapidly than the pears unlocked accrue of your dreams. By applying today, ajoint pavilion and finally demos tack. The product demo is make or break foryour deal, but tailoring the story is tedious, work, Demos, doctores weeks ina minute, so you can have accustomed demose scale, no more acme in dummydata, a demos tack you can edit data and charge with a point and a quick andshow product stories that won deals faster, see how world classic sales orexcuse demostratus revenue a demo stacom. Now, let's listen to myconversation with carry Hudson everybody at Sam Jacobs. Welcome to thesale sacker podcast today on the show were excited to have carry Hudson carryis the VP of commercial sales for Conga, and let me tell you a little bit abouther she's been leading sales organizations for the last fifteenyears of the high tech base across multiple verticales carries focusesbeen on producing high performing sales organizations and high growth companieswith a focus on people process and customers. Carrie welcome to the shownice to meet you Sam, I'm excited to for you to be here. So what we like todo. Is We like to start with your baseball cart, which is really a way ofhelping you contextualize your experience and expertise, so your titleis VP of North American commercial sales. Is that right? That is yes,awesome and then, and you work for Konga, there's folks out there thatdon't know what Konga is or what you all do so tell us in your words, whatis going to do yes, so Konga is an end to, and Revenue Operations Platformthat helps organizations find revenue opportunities within their businesswhile creating efficiencies with their sales, legal and operations. Team, soat the end you know said in just a couple of words: We help yourorganizations get business done faster while making more money. Is there acore use case within that Conga work on as it is it like document management aselectronic signatures? Great question, it's all of the above, so we doeverything from creating documents to helping you create a quote through ourC platform to negotiating on that quote or MS, a or legal documentation all theway through signature. So it's a true end and platform awesome and yourtitles VP of commercial sales. How big is your organization tell us about that?Is there? Should we interpret that to me that there's, like an enterpriseteam and a commercial team, just tell us a little bit about your mandate? Yes,so under my preview, I support our customers that are anywhere from oneemployee all the way to forty five hundred employees. I have forty fiveemployees that represent our or commercial organization, and then mycounterpart leaves our enterprise organization, which has another fortyfive plus sellers in the Americas, and then we also have representation inEMEA and a pack as well amazing, and then how big you know again, don't tellus anything: That's confidential or...

...private, but how big is Congo? How giveus a sense? It could be a number of employees. It could be rough arr range.However, you want to frame it. Yes, so Komba is roughly fourteen hundredemployees globally. There are about three hundred and fifty million inrevenue. AMAZING AMAZING! Well, let's, let's dive into a little bit aboutabout your background, and I know there's a lot of topics that you'repassionate about. How did you get into sales walk us through a little bit ofyour career journey that ended up having you at Congo, because I knowthat you've had a number of really interesting experiences yeah, so Isomewhat fell into sales. A number of years ago I had a unique opportunity,after growing up and going to school in New York, to live in Teleri Coloradofor a couple of years and met some really fantastic people who gained andreally informed my leadership leadership style. But after a couple ofyears of ski bumming in Teler, I decided to move up to to Colorado, toDenver and and focus on a sales career and reallywhat drew me to a salescareer. Like many sellers was. I was a former collegiate athlete who liked thecompetitive nature, but wasn't able and didn't have the. I think the mask goesto become an architect because I really like to build, but I knew that withinsales you could build your own territories and then you know in futurestate you could build and sales organization. So I was able to startwhere Moch most sales wraps do as an SDR and then grow my career throughthat trajectory tell us about like how long in each in each rough role andwhen did you originally make the jump from individual contributor to tomanager yeah great question. So you know my journey was a little bit alittle bit fragmented. I started out as an SDR and realized very quickly. Ilike to work smart, not hard, and the stir role is the the hardest rolewithin a sales organization, but I had an opportunity, while looking throughmy book, instead of looking at just going after a net new customers, howcould you look at our existing base and sell into them? So really, where Ifound my success is using data to help inform the decision of targeting intoto our existing base and customers and really found success there. So it wasmy first four wet for I using data to make informed decisions and findsuccess. I then took the leap of post of going into a direct selling rollover into the channel side of the business, and you know in the channelyou're really selling through you know, first and second to your distributionand really learning how to sell through relationships, which is a great greatexperience but kind of through that journey. I started to build somesponsorship around the Ormi Organization. At the time I was at asmaller start up called x logic, which focused on email security, and then wewere acquired by macati and through building that sponsorship. You knowcaught the the ear of our co and he brought me over to another another techcompany when he left macatee and I was able to take my first leap into playesleadership. So you know my staling journey in an I C role was about fiveyears and then I spent the last the last number of years, ten plusyears in sales leadership. What do you think the biggest misconception peoplehave is about sales leadership and what makes or separates great sales leadersfrom mediocre sales leaders yeah, and I would actually say that thefirst, my first leadership role, I was a terrible leader and the reason I saidthat is that I made moowis takes that are very common with first frontlineleaders is that you know as a high performing sales rap. You expecteverybody to do things. The way that you do it and what I learned in thatfirst leadership role was that you really have to focus on the people andwhat are their intrinsic motivators and what is going to take and help them toget to their next level, and so what I spend a lot of time doing and coachingnot only my frontline leaders on, but even working with my my team on, ishaving an individual path or plan for each one of the sellers, so that weunderstand how they're motivated where their individual gaps are so t. We canfully develop them into the best sellaries they can be. Is that an easyprocess to figure out? Sometimes I...

...guess you know people we want to figureout their why, but they don't. Even they haven't, spent the time figuringout their why themselves, and so building like an individualized plancan sometimes be pretty challenging. Is that something that you've run into?Yes? You know, I think it's just spending time and if they're not clearon their. Why? Yet it's unpacking? What skills then do they want to develop sothat they can open doors that they might not know yet? So what I need bythat is is that you know many of the cellar, especially somebody who's lesstenured and see, doesn't have the NAT next career path that they want togo through, but if we know that we can develop the skills that they'll need toeither take one path or another or opening doors for them. So if they'renot concrete in their their career, trajectory or goal, let's just givethem the skills, so they can pip it where they need to be. I love that thatmakes that makes tremendous sense as a female leader in sales. You know, Iguess I'm curious, there's some folks, I've spoken to in the past where theysay you know. I really don't try to put a lot of emphasis on my as women on mygender. I just try to do the work and then there's others that are highlyconscious of it, particularly because they want to be role models for otherfolks. How big a role has gender played in your career career and what advicedo you have for other women in technology that want to that, want torise up the ranks and become leaders themselves? Yeah? It's actuallysomething I'm really passionate about it. It's a pretty. You know, there's alot of emphasis on this topic right now and what I really believe in is aopposed to you know really focusing on my gender in my role. It's reallyfocusing on the skill sets that I need, and where are my gaps in terms of what?What do I need to do to be successful, and so you know advice that I give topeople who ask this question is really make sure that you're within anorganization that you have a supportive team- and I am probably the mostfortunate that I have been in my career- that I at Conga that I have an Elt whois really focusing on this issue and the way that we're focusing on on Congo,which really aligns to my core values. Is that we're not looking at it act islike, let's put a token female or somebody with a diverse background atthe top of the organization, so we've checked the box. What we're doing atConga is we're looking across our organization and saying how do wecreate multiple layers of leaders that have a diverse background,so in five to ten years we haven't just put one leader into the environment orinto the community we're putting hundreds of leaders into the community,and so for me, this is something that we focus on, we meant or to, and wehire two as well one of the pieces of feedback, or you know one of the thethings that people say. I'm not sure I don't think I believe it. In fact, Idon't believe it, but it's certainly something that people say, which isthat it's a pipeline issue quote unquote, meaning that you know the just.The sheer volume or number of diverse candidates is not sufficient to hitcertain diversity hiring goals. Have you found that to be the case? Ipersonally have not, but what's your experience on that on that issue we youknow we haven't. I think it's a focus opposed to a pipeline issue, so youknow as an organization when we focus on things we achieve our coals. So asan example in the last six months, forty six percent of all of our our newhires have come from a diverse background. So I think it's just havingsituational awareness about it and saying what are you doing to solve? Itwill emphasize it. I don't think it's a pipeline problem. I also think thatwhen you look at candidates because they are might not, especially as yougrow to higher levels within the organization there's going to be timesas a business, you've got to be okay, taking risk a not having that personwho potentially has scaled to that next level yet and putting the resourcesaround them to be successful, and I'm a product of that is that you know I havenot taken a company from you know a hundred million to three hundredmillion, but my elt believed and had...

...confidence in me and said: Guess whatwe're just going to put some more support around you, so you can do thatand that's what I've been able to do. You know at Congo for them, so it'streating the sponsorship in the support around you to do it and that's whereyou know Comba, I think, is leading the way in in solving divos book knowledgeof that. How do you when we talk aboutmotivating raps in? If you can hear in the background out, you can tell that Ivery much I'm in New York City, since the siren, Sir somebody somewhere needsneed something that requires lots of noise. So anyway, I'm wondering aboutyou know: You're, managing a team of forty five folks, men and women,diverse and non diverse, but there's still a question of tracking andmotivation to accelerate performance. What do you do, and particularly Iguess the cave at I would say is in you know the very modern world, the lastcouple of years. You know, activity based metrics seem to be less and lessuseful, and you know just call you know, figuring out. A number of dials is notas useful when it's very difficult even to get somebody on the phone, when manypeople prefer texting and when there's so much outrage and so muchcommunication that personalization sometimes is more important than justyour volume. So what do you track and how do you motivate reps to accelerateyour performance on the commercial team at Konga Yeah? So what we do is it wetake it back to the first of my two pies, which is the people on theprocess lot. So first, if you know, because we have a clear understand ofwhat and how to motivate each individual, we use that as part of partof the mechanics, but secondly, is really helping raps understand what arethe key activities that will make them successful to your point. It's not anumber of dials anymore, but in our emotion, there's a couple of key thingsthat we can do in terms of how do we communicate with our customers? How dowe, what types of meetings are we having that can be leading indicatorsto that success, and so we focus on giving our wraps a really strongframework to work against, and then we nuance it for each one of those rapsand then what we do is we really spend a lot of time looking at those leadingand labine indicators to say we're not going to just look at the pipeline beltthat you you've created, but have you put the front and work into kind ofexecuting against your account based strategy that we spend a lot of time onand working towards that? And then you know, how do you motivate the team todo it? You know different reps have different different motivations. Youknow some. Are they like to see? You know their paycheck others, you knowclub is a motivator for them to really understanding hate of those intrinsicmotivators and helping each rep be successful in finding that, when youthink about leading and lagging indicators were some examples, what aresome things that that you focus on from the leading perspective that help youunderstand where things are going yeah, so we can sell through both direct andthrough our our pinal community, and so we spent a lot of time focusing on you know what are the meeting typesthat we're having and those meeting types are going to help us understanddthe pipeline bill that we know that we're going to get out of them so forevery partner meeting, we're going to get x number of opportunities createdout of those partner meetings. So we look, we focus, you know for my sellerspipeline build from that perspective. I also have my growth team and theleading indicators for us are our demo request. Are we seeing an increase onthe front end? Demarara, that's a lot of partner in with our marketing team,because we know that we have strong conversions. All the way through thefunnel, so it's how do we? How do we increase top line pipeline through ourmarketing organization to support our growth team? Have you seen changes ormodifications in terms of marketing strategies over the last couple ofyears? It you know, there's been a big way of to eliminate gated content andto give more content away for free and use more conversational intelligencetools like drift. What have you seen in terms of just like tools and techniquesin order to drive demos and to drive kind of deeper by our engagement, Goshthere's just such a wealth of kind of technology and technology platforms outthere that you know Mark Marketing team...

...has been so on the cutting edge ofdealing. A number of things you know so you can talk about drift, has been acrakey key solution for us, but then you've got you know, organizations likesix cents who are really helping us understand our accounts, how we shouldengage with those accounts and that tool in particular has given us suchlift in intelligence in marketing and then all the way through the salesmotion. I love it six senses an incredible tool and big big good friendof the other chief marketing officer, Latini Cona. So is a gay. It's a game changer and agreat they're in our sister company in our pork call so part of idol awesome.So what do you think when you look at like changes in sales, particularlysince Ovid? What tools have well? We talked about six cents, but what do youthink slowing down your selfs process today and also? How is the salesprocess changed in response to Ovid? You know: Have you made modificationsto your motion as a consequence of not being able to meet in person, forexample yeah? So it's interesting, our actually we've accelerated our dealmotion a bit and I think what what we've done in order to support that waswith the inability to meet in person what we did was we focused on ourexecutive relationships and contacts earlier on in the sales motion, whichis helped to keep our average days to close steadyduring kind of this transition period. Now that's a set. That said, like I'm,also have a great advantage of working for an organization, that's of RevenueOperations Platform, so that we know when we think about the efficiencieswithin our sales cycl and our sales motions. We have the tools in house andwe drink our own champaign and sure that as we're working through themotion were being successful, but we also have focused heavily on. How do wecreate that that experience that customers need to understand andevaluate remotely opposed to being hands on which is you know, was I wasour motion prior to Covin? How aggressively are you jumping back intoin person meetings now that it's still up and down and sort of stayed by stateand country by country, but how you thought about reapproaching and personmeetings and in person sales now that there's a vaccine out there or multiplevaccines yeah? So as an organization, you know we're taking a you know, aconservative approach, we've reopened our offices and you know we're going towork with our clients and our customers to see how they feel about it. So wecertainly put it out there and we have some customers that are open to meetingin person and others that are still taking a very conservative approach.You know for their own corporate strategy, so it's still on a case bycase basis, certainly look forward to getting back into the field moreregularly, but also, I think that things have changed a bit. Is that youdo you know the the world has realized that you can perform and conductbusiness successfully remotely. So I think it'll be a high bred approach foryears to come, yeah and then there's an argument or some some folks at it s avery high enterprise level- and my experience have said well, that's true.Until the first competitive person gets on a plane and then you feel likeyou're at a loss, if you're also not on the plane and so pretty soon, there'san arms race in world flooding people's offices again. Do you think that willhappen or you think well? Well, we'll stay at home. I think you know when you,when you purchase technology you're, not purchasing just the product, you're,really making an investment in the people that are going to support you inyou know good times and challenging times, and so I think that there wasalways going to be that sense of how do you build that relationship and a lotof that's done over a dinner or a drink after the meeting? So I think you knowa lot of the the motion will continue to be remote, but I don't think you'llever get away from that base to face contact, because you know, as we sawduring Ovid, you know businesses had to to adjust to changing times and had toreach out to their partners and say how do how do you help me adjust duringthis challenge? And so that's all done through the relationships that you'rebuilding yeah totally agree. Carry...

...we're almost at the end of our timetogether. But what we like to do, sort of towards the end is kind of followthe bread crumb trail. I say: Pay It forward a little bit figure out whowere the big influences in your life and it could be books that you've read.It could be authors, it could be mentors or former bosses or colleagues,but it's people that you think people are ideas that you think we should knowabout, because they've informed who you've become when I frame it like that.Who are some people or ideas that come to mind. Yeah I mean the one in myleadership style, who is the most impactful was Norman Schwartzkoff,which is he you know. For those of you don't know him led the Gulf War and wasa leading commander of the Gulf War and why I say he's the most influential.When I lived in Tallard, I got to know him really well, and he was really inpackful on my leadership style, because what he taught me was that you alwaysneed to know and have influence on the boots on the streets, and I rememberhaving a glass of wine with him, and he said I knew the infantry better thananybody else under my command, and I asked him why, and he made a commentsaying that the infantry in the front line will always know the changes inthe sands. Before your your leadership teams. Your El Ones will know- and Iasked him like what does that actually mean he's like they will know that youknow things are changing the sand shifted and therefore you can't get thetanks through and by having that information, that's going to create andallow you to react faster, and so, through my leadership style, I'vealways stayed close to my front lines and in the weeds with them. Becausethen I can know- and I understand how the market is shifting quickly, and Idon't have to just wait for the data to support it. We can react or understandor value it and a faster turnaround time and that's helped us be moreinnovative and find faster ways to win. So I would certainly say Schwartzkoffwas a big one as well as I'm a huge fan of JEB, blotch and all of his books. Ithink that they're really interesting their great reeds and they just likereally help me connect to prospecting and customers, and I love his bucksales q. But you know more recently, as I've said you know, I've had in many.You know great leaders that I have gotten to work for I would you know Iwould call up Eric Salva who was like my set cro today, but I would also callout individuals that are part of my team that I learn from every day andit's just it's great to be part of an organization that you get to grow andlearn from a number of people. I love it. I love it and certainly huge fanishword stuff. If carry folks were listening and they want to reach out toyou. Maybe they got some questions. Maybe they want to seek you out as amentor. Are you okay with that? And what's your preferred method ofcommunication? Yes, absolutely so I love to love to speak to a number ofpeople, and so laden is a great way or you know my email address at K. Hudsonat Kongoon, you can reach out to me awesome very thanks. So much for beingon the show and we'll talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals. Okay,perfect! Thank you to match! Thank you! Everybody, Sam Jacob, Sam's cornergreat conversation with carry Hudson. Clearly a very talented sales lit er.She said a number of things that I think are really interesting. The firstis that you know we talk a lot about figuring out people's, why you know whyare you here? What motivates you? What do you want to be when you grow up andmy experience talking to young people they most people, don't know what theywant to be when they grow up and often times they don't really know whatmotivates up telling somebody that's twenty two years old, just do what youlove or follow your passion. You know what are you passionate about at thatpoint? Maybe you're passionate about making music, but it, but maybe that's,I'm just not sure, follow your passion for a young person is great advice. Infact, I think the better advice is discover your passion rather thanfollow your passion. We can follow your passion in your thirties and is onceyou've discovered in your twenties, but the other part. That's not what Kerrysays she says. You know what, let's...

...figure out, what skills you need inorder to give yourself options so that, as you discover your passion, you don'trealize through the fact that you have an invested in yourself and you haven'tput time into skill development that you have a passion, but you don't haveany of the skills necessary to accomplish that passion because thosemuscles a atroped. So I got some insight from that. I thought that waspretty cool and then she talked about and frankly, she'll talk more on Fridayfundamentals about it's, not a pipeline problem. It's a focus problem. You knowyou can conge doesn't just put you know one one woman at the top of the DEI.You Know Task Force or guess: They're called Erg ERPs the groups withinorganizations that are focused on you know, employe issues it's much deeperthan that, its systematic at systematic in terms of their outrages to diversecandidates. It's systematic in terms they recruiting I'll. Tell you thatit's really about the and I just completely agree with care. I don'tthink it is a pipeline problem. There's plenty of people out there in the worldthat want great jobs and many of them are diverse. So it's not it's not apipeline problem. It's a focus issue, which is you need to build diversityinto the core of the organization once you do that, and once those diversepeople and candidates believe you and believe that your efforts are authenticand that you are willing to share the spotlight. You know because that's whatit means bringing different people in the organization brings differentpoints of view and you have to honor and welcome and respect those points ofview. If you truly want those diverse people to feel, if you want anybody tofeel included once they feel included, they will refer their friends right.The general problem with Refera based tiring campaigns, is that, if you'reall a bunch of white men, then you're just going to refer the same types ofpeople that you already know what you're going to tend to be right, thenwell the same. The same quote: Unquote problem can become a benefit if youstart with a small nexus, a small atomic unit of diverse candidates. Ifyou build diversity into the early parts of your organization, thosepeople will then begin to refer people that they know and by fun by virtue ofwho they know. You will then have a divorce company that is enabled toscale, because you started early enough, so just make it a focus and then thelast thing she would say is you know. Sometimes it's about moving past the resumemoving past. I need somebody that has done exactly this before, because ifyou truly want diversity, you have to recognize that many of those peoplehaven't been going to given a chance to accomplish whatever it is that you needsomebody do with dome before I yo're gonna have to take a chance and bet onupside and bet on talent and potential and ambition and enthusiasm and passion.And, frankly, I'll tell you from personal experience. I have one waymore than I've lost when it comes to making those bets every one of the VPS.A pavilion is a first time feat and, as a consequence, we've got. I think eightpeople in the leadership team for them are women. I think we have more womenof color at Casilli working full time. Then we have white men and if we don'thave more than it's tied and that's because we started early and now it'snot it's not as difficult to recruit more diverse candidates, because folksthat like working at my company refer other folks and pretty soon you lookacross the faces of the zoom screen on the Friday meeting and you see allkinds of different faces: different colors different genders different agesright because age is a part of diversity and it's it's special towatch and it's a fly wheel. That is self perpetuating. At this point,because we started with a small group, we took some chances on people. Thosepeople have rewarded us with incredible growth and incredible leadership, andnow we've got an amazing way, diverse company. So that's awesome. You shoulddo the same thing. If you want to reach out to me, you can Sam a joint tobillion Linton for slastion. For so I m F Jacobs. You haven't given us fivestars yet on itunes. Please do so. Of course we want to think our threesponsors outreach with their new the rise of revenue. Innovators check outtheir summit series the only Summit Series Pavilion we've got over twentydifferent courses running right now: frontline manager, school sales, schoolchief market in Outer School, all of the things most of them included amembership so give it give it a chance. A joint of Golinda common demo stackthe demos, the key, and it's enough...

...with a dummy data and the pieces ofShit Demos that you're running stop doing shitty demos. It's enough. Okay,Du o Demos. He's demo stack all right. That's all! I'm gonna talk to you nexttime. I.

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