The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 2 months 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, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the salesacker podcasts. Today on the showwe've got carry huts and carries the VP of Commercial Sales North America for Congo. So it's going to be a great conversation and we talked 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 arebetter covered. Before we get there, we've got a couple sponsors to thank. The first is outreach. We know outreach. They've been a long timesponsor the show and we're excited to announce that their annual series unleash some seriesis back. This year's theme the rise of revenue. Innovators. Join thenew cohort of leaders who put buyers the center of their sale strategies to driveefficient, predictable growth across the entire revenue cycle. Get more details and saveyour spot at Sumit Dot outreached out al. We're also brought to you by pavilion. Pavilion as the key to getting more out of your career or privatemembership gives you access to thousands of like minded peers dozens of courses and schoolsthrough Pavilion University and over Onezero workbooks, template scripts and play books to accelerateyour development. Pavilion members get hired twenty two percent more quickly, are paidfourteen percent more and get promoted thirty four percent more rapidly than their peers.Unlocked the career of your dreams by applying today at Joint PAVILIONCOM. And finally, Demo Stack. The product demo is make or break for your deal,but tailoring the story is tedious work. Demos dock turns weeks in a minute, so you can do over custom demos at scale. No more acmet indum data. With demo stack you can edit data and charge with a pointand a quick and show product stories that when deals faster. See how worldclass sales orgs use demo stack to accelebrate revenue at Demo stackcom. Now let'slisten to my conversation with carry Hudson. Everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcometo the salesacker podcast. Today on the show we're excited to have Carrie Hudson. Carry is the VP of commercial sales for Conga, and let me tellyou a little bit about her. She's been leading sales organizations for the lastfifteen years in the high tech space across multiple verticals. carries. Focus hasbeen on producing high performing sales organizations and high growth companies, with a focuson people, process and customers. Carry. Welcome to the show. Nice tomeet you, Sam. Excited it for you to be here. Sowhat we like to do is we like to start with your baseball card,which is really a way of helping you contextualize your experience and expertise. Soyour title is VP of North American commercial sales. Is that right? Thatis yes, awesome. And then and you work for Conga. There's folksout there that don't know what Conga is or what you all do. Sotell us in your words. WHAT IS KONGA DO? Yes, so Congais an end to end revenue operations platform that helps organizations find revenue opportunities withintheir business while creating efficiencies with their sales, legal and operations team. So atthe end, you know said, I'm just a couple of words.We help your organizations get business done faster while making more money. Is therea core use case within that? Cong the works on is it's is itlike document management as electronic signatures? Great Question. It's all of the above. So we do everything from creating documents to helping you create a quote throughour CPQ platform, to negotiating on that quote or MSA or legal documentation,all the way through signature. So it's a true end to end platform.Awesome. And your titles VP of commercial sales. How big is your organization? Tell us about that. Is there? Should we interpret that to mean thatthere's like an enterprise team and a commercial team? Just tell us alittle bit about your mandate. Yes, so, under my preview, IIsupport our customers that are anywhere from one employee all the way to forty fivehundred employees. I have forty five employees that represent our court commercial organization andthen my counterpart leads our enterprise organization, which has another forty five plus sellersin the Americas, and then we also have representation in a MIA and apack as well. Amazing. And then how big? You know. Again, don't tell us anything that's confidential or...

...private, but how big is Congo? How give us a sense? It could be a number of employees,it could be rough rr range, however you want to frame it. Yes, so Conga is roughly fourteen hundred employees. Globally they're about three hundred and fiftymillion in revenue. Amazing, amazing. Well, let's let's dive into alittle bit about about your background and I know there's a lot of topicsthat you're passionate about. How did you get into sales? Walk us througha little bit of your career journey that ended up having you at Congo,because I know that you've had on a number of really interesting experiences. Yeah, so I somewhat fell into sales a number of years ago. I hada unique opportunity, after growing up and going to school in New York,to live and tell your eye Colorado for a couple of years and met somereally fantastic people who gained and really informed my leadership, leadership style. Butafter a couple of years of ski bumming and Tell Your I decided to moveup to to Colorado, to Denver and and focus on a sales career.And really what drew me to a sales career, like many sellers, wasI was a former collegiate athlete who liked the competitive nature but wasn't able anddidn't have the I think the mass skills to become an architect because I reallylike to build. But I knew that within sales you could build your ownterritories and then you know, in future state you could build and sales organizations. So I was able to start where emost most sales reps do, asan str and then grow my career through that trajectory. Tell us about likehow long and each in each rough roll and when did you originally make thejump from individual contributor to manager? Yeah, great question. So you know,my journey was a little bit a little bit fragmented us. started outas an str and realize very quickly I like to work smart, not hard, and the str roll is the the hardest role within a sales organization.But I had an opportunity, while looking through my book of instead of lookingat just going after net new customers, how could you look at our existingbase and sell into them? So really we're I found my success is usingdata to help inform the decision of targeting into to our existing base and customersand really found success there. So it was my first for wet for Iinto using data to make informed decisions and find success. I then took theleap opposed to going into a direct selling roll over into the channel side ofthe business. And you know, in the channel you're really selling through,you know, first and second tier distribution and really learning how to sell throughrelationships, which is a great, great experience. But kind of through thatjourney I started to build some sponsorship around the or my organization. At thetime I was at a smaller startup called mx logic, which focused on emailsecurity, and then we were acquired by macafee and through building that sponsorship,you know, caught the the ear of our coo and he brought me overto another, another tech company when he left macafee and I was able totake my first leap into sales leadership. So, you know, my sellingjourney in an ice role was about five years and then I've spent the lastthe last number of years, ten plus years, in sales leadership. Whatdo you think the biggest misconception people have is about sales leadership and what makesor separates great sales leaders from mediocre sales leaders? Yeah, and I wouldactually say that the first my first leadership role, I was a terrible leader, and the reason I said that is that I made you know mistakes thatare very common with first front line leaders is that, you know, asa high performing sales rep, you expect everybody to do things the way thatyou do it. And what I learned in that first leadership role was thatyou really have to focus on the people and what are their intrinsic motivators andwhat is going to take and help them to get to their next level.And so what I spend a lot of time doing and coaching not only myfront line leaders on but even working with my my team on, is havingan individual path or plan for each one of the sellers so that we understandhow they're motivated, where their individual gaps are so you can fully develop theminto the best sellers they can be.

Is that an easy process to figureout? Sometimes? I guess. You know, people we want to figureout there why, but they don't even they haven't spent the time figuring outtheir why themselves, and so building like an individualized plan can sometimes be prettychallenging. Is that something that you've run into? Yeah, you know,I think it's just spending time and if they're not clear on there why yet, it's unpacking what skills then do they want to develop so that they canopen doors that they might not know yet. So what I mean by that isis that you know many of the seller, especially someone who's less tenyard and see it, doesn't have the the net next career path that theywant to go through. But if we know that, we can develop theskills that they'll need to either take one path or another or opening doors forthem. So if they're not concrete in their their career trajectory or goal,let's just give them the skills so they can pivot where they need to be. I love that. Makes that makes tremendous sense as a female leader insales. You know, I guess I'm curious. There's some folks I've spokendo in the past where they say, you know, I really don't tryto put a lot of emphasis on my as women, on my gender.I just try to do the work and then those others that are highly consciousof it, particularly because they want to be role models for other folks.How big a role has gender played in your career career and what advice doyou have for other women in technology that want to that want to rise upthe ranks and become leaders themselves? Yeah, it's actually something I'm really passionate aboutand say it's a pretty you know, there's a lot of emphasis on thistopic right now and what I really believe in is in opposed to,you know, really focusing on my gender in my role, it's really focusingon the skill sets that I need and where are my gaps in terms ofwhat out what do I need to do to be successful? And so,you know, advice that I give to people who ask this question is reallymake sure that you're within an organization, that you have a supportive team,and I am probably the most fortunate that I have been in my career thatI a Conga, that I have an ELC who is really focusing on thisissue, and the way that we're focusing out on Congo, which really alignsto my core values, is that we're not looking at it at just like, let's put a token female or somebody with a diverse background at the topof the organization, so we've checked the box. What we're doing at Congais we're looking across our organization and saying, how do we create multiple layers ofleaders that have a diverse background so in o to ten years, wehaven't just put one leader into the environment or into the community. We're puttinghundreds of leaders into the community and so for me this is something that wefocus on, we mentor to and we hire two as well. One ofthe pieces of feedback or you know, one of the things 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 is thatit's a pipeline issue, quote unquote, meaning that you know the just thesheer volume or number of diverse candidates is not sufficient to hit certain diversity higheran goals. Have you found that to be the case? I personally havenot, but what's your experience on that? On that issue, we you knowwe haven't. I think it's a focus opposed to a pipeline issue.So you know, as an organization, when we focus on things, weachieve our goals. So, as an example, in the last six monthsforty six percent of all of our our new hires have come from a diversebackground. So I think it's just having situational awareness about it and saying whatare you doing to solve it? Will emphasize it. I don't think it'sa pipeline problem. I also think that when you look at candidates, becausethere might not especially as you grow to higher levels within the organization, there'sgoing to be times as a business you've got to be okay taking risk,not having that person who potentially has scaled to that next level yet and puttingthe resources around them to be successful. And I'm a product of that,is that. You know, I have not taken a company from, youknow, a hundred million to three hundred million, but my elt believed andhad competence in me and said, guess...

...what, we're just going to putsome more support around you so you can do that, and that's what I'vebeen able to do, you know, at Congo for them. So it'shaving the sponsorship in this support around you to do it and that's where,you know, Congba, I think, is leading the way in in solvingthe couse of the challenge of that. How do you when we talk aboutmotivating reps, and if you can hear in the background, you can tellthat I very much in in New York City, since the Sience, sir, somebody somewhere needs needs something that requires lots of noise. So anyway,I'm wondering about. You know, you're managing a team of forty five folks, men and women, diverse and nondiverse, but there's still a question of trackingand motivation to accelerate performance. What do you do, and particularly,I guess, the caveat, I would say, is in, you know, the very modern world the last couple of years, you know, activitybased metrics seem to be less and less useful and you know, just call, you know, figuring out number of dials is not as useful when it'svery difficult even to get somebody on the phone, when many people for fortexting, and when there's so much outreach and so much communication that personalization sometimesis more important than just sure volume. So what do you track and howdo you motivate reps to accelerate your performance on the commercial team at Congo?Yeah, so what we do is it we take it back to the firstof my two piece, which is the people on the process. I'd sofor as to you know, because we have a clear understand of what andhow to motivate each individual. We use that as part of part of themechanics. But secondly, is really helping reps understand what are the key activitiesthat will make them successfully. To your point, it's not number of dialsanymore. But in our motion there's a couple of key things that we cando in terms of how do we communicate with our customers, how do wewhat types of meetings are we having? That can be leading indicators to thatsuccess. And so we focus on giving our reps a really strong framework towork against. And then we knew once it for each one of those reps. and then what we do is we really spend a lot of time lookingat those leading and lagging indicators to say we're not going to just look atthe pipeline built that you you've created, but have you put the front endwork into kind of executing against your account based strategy that we spend a lotof time on and working towards that. And then you know, how doyou motivate the team to do it? You know different reps have different,different motivations. You know some are they like to see, you know,their paycheck. Others, you know, club is a motivator for them.So really understanding what are those intrinsic motivators and helping each rep be successful infinding that. When you think about leading and lagging indicators were some examples.What are some things that that you focus on from the leading perspective that helpyou understand where things are going? Yeah, so we we can sell through Bolterrapt and through our our plan all community and so we spend a lotof time focusing on, you know, what are the meeting types that we'rehaving and those meeting types are going to help us understand the pipeline build thatwe know that we're going to get out of them. So for every partnermeeting we're going to get x number of opportunities created out of those partner meetings. So we look, we focus, you know, for my seller's pipelinebuild from that perspective. I also have my growth team and the leading indicatorsfor US ARE OUR DEMO requests. Are we seeing an increase on the frontend demo request? So that's a lot of partnering with our Marketing Team Becausewe know that we have strong conversions all the way through the funnel. Soit's how do we how do we increase topline pipeline through our marketing organization tosupport our growth team? Have you seen changes or modifications in terms of marketingstrategies over the last couple of years is, you know, there's been a bigway of to eliminate gated content and to give more content away for freeand use more conversational intelligence tools like drift. What have you seen in terms ofjust like tools and techniques in order to drive demos and to drive kindof deeper buyer engagement? Gosh, there's just such a wealth of kind oftechnology and technology platforms out there that, you know, Mark Marketing team hasbeen so on the cutting edge of doing...

...a number of things. You know, so you can talk about drift has been a key, key solution forus, but then you've got, you know, organizations like six cents whoare really helping us understand our accounts how we should engage with those accounts,and that tool in particular has given us such lift in intelligence in marketing andthen all the way through the sales motion. I love it. Six senses andincredible tool and big a good friend of their chief marketing officer, LatinCona, so is a it's a game changer and a great they're in oursister company in our port cow so part of iddy awesome. So what doyou think when you look at like changes in sales, particularly since covid.What tools have well, we talked about six sense, but what do youthink slowing down your sales process today, and also, how is the salesprocess changed in response to Covid? You know, have you made modifications toyour motion as a consequence of not being able to meet in person, forexample? Yeah, so it's interesting. Are actually we've accelerated our deal motiona bit and I think what what we've done in order to support that was, with the inability to meet in person, what we did was we focused onour executive relationships and contacts earlier on in the sales motion, which hashelped to to to keep our average days to close steady during kind of thistransition period. Now that's a set. That said, like I'm also havea great advantage of working for an organization that's a revenue operations platform, sothat we know when we think about the efficiencies within our sales cycle and oursales motions, we have the tools and house we drink our own champagne ensurethat as we're working through the motion, we're being successful. But we alsohave focused heavily on how do we create that that experience that customers need tounderstand and evaluate remotely, opposed to being hands on, which is, youknow, was was our motion prior to covid. How aggressively are you jumpingback into in person meetings now that it's still up and down and sort ofstate by state and country by country, but how have you thought about reapproachingin person meetings and in person sales now that there's a vaccine out? Thereare multiple vaccines. Yeah, so as an organization, you know, we'retaking a, you know, a conservative approach. We've reopened our offices and, you know, we're going to work with our clients and our customers tosee how they feel about it. So we certainly put it out there andwe have some customers that are open to meeting in person and others that arestill taking a very conservative approach, you know, for their own corporate strategy. So it's still on a case by case basis. Certainly look forward togetting back into the field more regularly, but also I think that things havechanged a bit, is that you do you know, the the world isrealized that you can perform and conduct business successfully remotely. So I think it'llbe a high bred approach for four years to come. Yeah, and thenthere's an argument or some some folks at the very high enterprise level, andmy experience have said, well, that's true, until the first competitive persongets on a plane and then you feel like you're at a loss if you'realso not on a plane. And so pretty soon there's an arms race andwall flooding people's offices again. Do you think that will happen or you thinkwe'll will will stay at home? I think you know when you when youpurchase technology, you're not purchasing just the product, you're really making an investmentin the people that are going to support you in, you know, goodtimes and challenging times, and so I think that there was always going tobe that sense of how do you build that relationship? And a lot ofthat's done over a dinner or drink after the meeting. So I think youknow, a lot of the the motion will continue to be remote, butI don't think you'll ever get away from that face to face contact because youknow, as we saw during covid you know, businesses had to adjust tochanging times and and had to reach out to their their partners and say howdo how do you help me adjust during this challenge, and so that's alldone through the relationships that you're building.

Yeah, totally agree, Carrie.We're almost at the end of our time together, but what we like todo sort of towards the end is kind of follow the bread crome trail.I say, pay it forward a little bit. Figure out who were thebig 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 the like that,who are some people are ideas that come to mind? Yeah, I meanthat the one in my leadership style who is the most impactful was Norman Schwartzkoff, which is he, you know. For those of you who don't knowhim, led the Golf War and was a leading commander of the golf war. And why I say he's the most influential? When I lived in Tellyou how, I got to know him really well and he was really inpathtful on my leadership style, because is what he taught me was that youalways need to know and have influence on the boots on the streets, andI remember having a glass of wine with him and he said I knew theinfantry better than anybody else under my command and I asked him why, andhe made a comment saying that the infantry in the front line will always knowthe changes in the sands before your your leadership teams, your l ones,will know, and I asked him, like what does that actually mean?He's like, they will know that you know things are changing, the sandshifted and therefore you can't get the tanks through and by having that information it'sgoing to create and allow you to react faster. And so through my leadershipstyle, I've always stayed close to my front lines and in the weeds withthem, because then I can know and I understand how the market is shiftingquickly and I don't have to just wait for the data to support it.We can react or understand or evaluate and a faster turn around time and that'shelped us be more innovative and find faster ways to win. So I wouldcertainly say Schwartz cough was a big one, as well, as I'm a hugefan of Jeblot and all of his books. I think that they're reallyinteresting, their great reads and they just like really help me connect to prospectingand customers and I love his book Sales Eq. But you know, morerecently, as I've said, you know, I've had in many, you know, great leaders that I have gotten to work for. I would youknow, I would call out Eric Salva, who is like my seat at crotoday, but I would also call out individuals that are part of ofmy team that I learned from every day and it's just it's great to bepart of an organization that you get to grow and learn from a number ofpeople. I love it. I love it and certainly huge finish sworts off. If Carrie, folks for listening and they want to reach out to you. Maybe they got some questions, maybe they want to seek you out asa mentor are you okay with that? And what's your preferred method of communication? Yes, absolutely so. I love to love to speak to a numberof people and so linked in is a great way. Or you know myemail address at k Hudson at congacom. You can reach out to me.Awesome, very thanks so much for being on the show and we'll talk toyou on Friday for Friday fundamentals. Okay, perfect. Thank you so much.Thank you, everybody. Sam Jacob, SAM's corner. Great Conversation with CarrieHudson, clearly a very talented sales leader. She said a number ofthings that I think are really interesting. The first is that, you know, we talked a lot about figuring out people's why. You know, whyare you here? What motivates you? What do you want to be whenyou grow up? And in my experience talking to young people, they mostpeople don't know what they want to be when they grow up. In oftentimes they don't really know what motivates them. Telling somebody that's twenty two years old, just do what you love or follow your passion. You know,what are you passionate about at that point? Maybe you're passionate about making music,but it but maybe that's I'm just not sure. Follow your passion fora young person is great advice. In fact, I think the better adviceis discover your passion rather than follow your passion. We can follow your passionand your s once you've discovered in your s. But the other part.That's not what carry says. She says you know what, let's figure outwhat skills you need in order to give...

...yourself options so that as you discoveryour passion, you don't realize, through the fact that you haven't invested inyourself and you haven't put time into skill development, that you have a passionbut you don't have any of the skills necessary to accomplish that passion because thosemuscles of atrophied. So I got some insight from that. I thought thatwas pretty cool. And then she talked about, and frankly she'll talk moreon Friday, fundamentals about it's not a pipeline problem, it's a focus problem. You know, you can Conga doesn't just put, you know, oneone woman at the top of the Dei you know task force, or guessthey're called Arg arps, the groups within organizations that are focused on, youknow, employee issues. It's much deeper than that. It's systematic. It'ssystematic in terms of their outrage to diverse candidates. It's systematic in terms ofrecruiting. I'll tell you that it's really about the and I just completely agreewith care. I don't think it is a pipeline problem. There's plenty ofpeople out there in the world that want great jobs and many of them arediverse. So it's not it's not a pipeline problem, it's a focus issue, which is you need to build diversity into the core of the organization.Once you do that and once those diverse people and candidates believe you and believethat your efforts are authentic and that you are willing to share the spotlight,you know, because that's what it means. Bringing different people into organization brings differentpoints of view and you have to honor and welcome and respect those pointsof view if you truly want those diverse people to feel if you want anybodyto feel included, once they feel included, they will refer their friends. Rightthe general problem with referral based hiring campaigns is that if you're all abunch of white men, then you're just going to refer the same types ofpeople that you already know, which are going to tend to be white men. Well, the same, the same, quote unquote problem can become a benefitif you start with a small nexus, a small atomic unit of diverse candidates. If you build diversity into the early parts of your organization, thosepeople will then begin to refer people that they know and by fun and byvirtue of who they know, you will then have a diverse company that isenabled to scale because you started early enough. So just make it a focus.And then the last thing she would say is, you know, sometimesit's about moving past the resume, moving past I need somebody that has doneexactly this before, because if you truly want diversity, you have to recognizethat many of those people haven't been getting given a chance to accomplish whatever itis that you need somebody do have done before. So you're gonna have totake a chance and bet on upside and bet on talent at potential and ambitionand enthusiasm and passion. And frankly, I'll tell you from personal experience Ihave one way more than I've lost when it comes to making those bets.Every one of the VP's at pavilion is a first time VP and as aconsequence, we've got, I think, eight people in the leadership team forthem. Or women. I think we have more women of Color at pavilionworking full time than we have white men and if we don't have more thanit's tied, and that's because we started early and now it's not. It'snot as difficult to recruit more diverse candidates, because folks that like working at mycompany refer other folks and pretty soon you look across the faces of thezoom screen on the Friday meeting and you see all kinds of different faces,different colors, different genders, different ages. Right, because age is a partof diversity and it's it's special to watch and it's a flywheel that thatis self perpetuating at this point, because we started with a small group,we took some chances on people. Those people have rewarded us with incredible growthand incredible leadership and now I've got an amazingly diverse company. So that's awesome. You should do the same thing. If you want to reach out tome. You Ken Sam adjoining Pavilioncom Linkedincom folks lash the word in for MF Jacobs. If you haven't given us five stars yet on Itunes, pleasedo so. Of course we want to thank our three sponsors, outreach withtheir new the rise of revenue innovators. Check out their summit series, theonly Summit Series Pavilion. We've got over twenty different courses running right now.Frontline manager, School of sales, school chief marketing officer school, all ofthe things. Most of them included a membership. So give it a giveit a chance. That joined pivilioncom and...

...demo stack. The demos the key, and it's enough with the dummy data and the pieces of Shit Demos thatyou're running. Stop Doing Shitty Demos. It's enough. Okay, dude,reremos, use demo stack. All right, that's all. Talk to you nexttime.

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