Not only do we have a featured guest, but also a guest host on this special episode of the Hey Salespeople podcast.
SalesLoft’s CEO, Kyle Porter, sits down with the CEO of ZoomInfo and DiscoverOrg, Henry Schuck, to discuss how to scale a sales organization. If you’re interested in growing from one sales rep to 20 or 20 to an entire enterprise sales function, listen in on this conversation.
Beyond scaling, the two share immediately actionable advice about everything from hiring and demos to email optimization and getting in on the ground floor as executives. Be sure to listen all the way through so you don’t miss Jeremey Donovan’s five takeaways from Kyle and Henry’s conversation!
Listen to this episode for answers to questions like:
- What is the trick to scaling a business? (Hint: data is everything)
- How can you optimize each phase of the sales cycle?
- What is the best way to maximize show up rates for meetings?
- Why does Henry use an aptitude test when interviewing new sales reps?
- How should CEOs get involved in the sales process?
Scaling Your Sales Organization
Henry: Scaling a sales organization is a critical motion that every company would like to master. What ends up happening is that companies look to make those steps and to grow the business, but they don’t realize that everything you do as a salesperson when there’s a sales department of one… has to be translated into systems and processes that more people can do.
Once you sort of see what five people are doing – which is going to be different than one person – all of those things need to be translated into systems and processes that twenty people can do. Then on and on and on. What happens is that you lose track of the individual components of a sale. You just think, “Okay, I’ve got this account executive. She sells.”
But you need to break down what an SDR does, what an AE does, what they interact with, what tools they use into individual components, and make sure each of those components is optimized. Then there’s a process around it. I’ll give you an example of how this manifested at DiscoverOrg.
More Than Magic
Henry: When we first got a CFO, we had about 10 Account Executives and about 4 SDRs. We knew how people were selling, but it just magically came together at the end of each month. We didn’t have any real visibility into what was driving the end outcome. I hired these sales guys, I trained each one of them individually, I generated leads for them, they got the leads, and then magically, at the end of the month, they closed a bunch of business.
That’s sort of the way I thought about it and I’m sure a bunch of listeners with ten sales reps feel the same way. You hired them well, you trained them well, and they’re making magic for you.
Yes, I was still involved in a lot of those deals. I understood what people were looking at and I was constantly training the team on questions that were asked and how to get better at those things. Our CFO came in and he said,
“Look, Henry, it’s not magic. It’s not magic that this is happening every month. There’s actually a rhythm to this business that we should all be focused on. It all starts with your SDRs and marketing.”
The first thing we look at is how many leads we’re creating every week, whether that be from SDR outbound or marketing-generated inbound. If we’re looking at marketing-generated inbound, how many of those are we converting into actual demos? That’s a place that we can optimize in the future. If we’re talking about SDR outbound, how many appointments are each of your SDRs creating every day, week, or month? What are the goals there?
Then, let’s look at how both of those inputs translate to demos and then let’s look at how those demos translate to opportunities. Finally, let’s look at how those opportunities translate into closed-won or closed-lost business.
Inside vs. Outside Hires
Kyle: I’m curious, what’s your philosophy on promoting from within or hiring outside?
Henry: We’ve promoted from within almost all the way up our ranks. Although we’ve also made a couple of acquisitions. We acquired a company called RainKing two years ago and obviously ZoomInfo. So, we’ve also inherited talent. I don’t know if you count that in or out, but we’ve inherited talent in specific areas.
Today, we are building an enterprise sales function that we historically haven’t had. There’s a whole bunch we don’t know about enterprise sales. It’ll take a lot longer and be somewhat foolish to go try to figure out enterprise sales on our own. Why spend three years figuring that out when we can fast track it by bringing in somebody who has five or ten years of experience doing enterprise sales?
Kyle: Personally, I had very little enterprise sales experience coming into SalesLoft. I know you founded the company while you were in law school, so I don’t know how much experience you had doing it.
We’re bringing on leadership that has been in the world of enterprise sales and has the wisdom, experience, recall, and knowledge. That’s been a game-changer for us and for me, and it’s really opened my eyes to the differences of what it means to sell upstream. You’re checking the boxes of legal, IT, finance, security, line of business, etc. There are so many different things you have to do when you’re selling in the enterprise motion.
For us, I think it’s been awesome to promote from within, particularly in the commercial markets. But we found that some of the external hires in the enterprise have been wildly successful.
Keeping Your Head in the Sales Game
Kyle: As a CEO, I have been spending a lot of time looking at how executives can assist their sellers to bring in business and serve their customers. I found there are opportunities for executives to get more involved, but do it in a way that’s streamlined and effective.
I know you have a big organization. You’re making acquisitions. You’re growing at massive scale, knocking on that potential IPO door down the road… how do you keep your head in the sales game?
Henry: Three days a month, I make myself available to do anything for sales for the entire afternoon. You want me to call a prospect? You want me to email a prospect? Or just to look at a deal with you? Three days a month, half of my schedule is completely wiped out to help sales reps.
I have a Slack channel that’s called Henry’s Deal Desk. You can request things there – you want me to call the smallest customer we have or you want me to call the biggest customer we have? I’ll do whatever the sales team wants me to do.
I have a special affinity for the smaller customers who are taking a big bet on our service. It’s not an inexpensive product that we sell. They are betting, usually their own money and a lot of times their careers and the future of what’s going to happen next. So, I have huge respect for that segment of the market. What’s incumbent on us as CEOs is that we set up our organization to really enable those customers. If we’re going to sell to them, we need to be able to enable our teams to make them successful.
It’s really interesting in our company where we work with one and two people companies all the way up to Fortune 50 companies. The level of sophistication at the SMB is so much different than the level of sophistication at the enterprise.
Specializing people around those different sized companies and industries is really important because there isn’t a place in our customer universe that we don’t want incredible success to happen. We just have to get it done in different ways.
THERE’S A LOT MORE TO HEAR! Listen to the full podcast for more on driving strategy.
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