Transcript from REVstars interview with Belal Batrawy
Speaker: Belal Batrawy,
Enterprise Account Executive at Clearbit
Interviewer: Aly Merritt, Head of Community at SalesLoft


[Intro, musical overlay]

Aly Merritt: Hi!

Belal Batrawy: Hey. Good to see you.

Aly Merritt: Thank you for coming.

Belal Batrawy: Of course.

Aly Merritt: Grab a seat.

Belal Batrawy: Thank you so much for having me. I am Belal Batrawy. My role is enterprise account executive at Clearbit.

Aly Merritt: Let’s start with a really fun one that I love, which is what do you put your heart and soul into?

Belal Batrawy: That’s a good question. I think it’s being a father, I’d say. It’s something that’s really big for me in the sense of like what bigger thing can you do in life, but help somebody else, like raise a good child and then see everything that that good child’s going to do?

Aly Merritt: Are your sons going into, like, actual soccer?

Belal Batrawy: They do. They do the Little Lions Smyrna Soccer Club thing. It’s the cutest thing ever, where they go out there and kick the ball. All the kids just run after wherever the ball is. It’s super-cute.

Aly Merritt: It’s like a mass of small children just running around.

Belal Batrawy: There’s a handful of parents that take it way too seriously.

Aly Merritt: Be honest, are you that parent?

Belal Batrawy: I’m not, thank goodness. I’m not. If Ibrahim doesn’t want to do it, I’d be like, “It’s fine. Let’s go play on the swing or something.” No issues.

Aly Merritt: Okay, there is an axiom that says, “Choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” It sounds like that’s something that you’ve adapted as a mindset, only instead of “easy” what you actually mean is “most efficient.”

Belal Batrawy: Yes.

Aly Merritt: Tell me a little bit about that.

Belal Batrawy: This is really core to the way I am as a professional. I view that everybody should always take the easiest path, the straightest line between point A and B whenever they try to take on a task. That’s very much the startup mentality, which is like prototype to fail. There’s only one right answer. There’s probably a lot of wrong answers, and odds are we’re not going to pick the right answer right out the gate.

Belal Batrawy: We’re going to have to test and figure out the right way to get to that answer. The last thing we want to do is sink a bunch of time into something that doesn’t work. The faster we can get to failure the better. The lazy man’s approach is that I will figure out if something doesn’t work very quickly and then switch rather than kind of sort of do a bunch of different things, not really come out with a clear answer, and then realize I just spent a bunch of time, and I don’t have the answers necessary to make the right decision.

Aly Merritt: We are going to briefly move into a slightly more personal note, because when you’ve been asked about how you hope others describe you, you said words like authentic, trustworthy, honest. A lot of other people tend to list things like motivated, successful, or even occasionally empathetic, which is also solid. Talk to me about why  honesty and being trustworthy are important concepts in how you want to be perceived.

Belal Batrawy: I got asked once in an interview, I thought it was a really good question, about what makes me different as a seller. They were expecting answers like I won these awards or I sold these deals, but I told them I’m driven by a moral compass, and that a moral compass guides my decisions, and I always put people before profit. It’s a really odd thing to say as a seller.

Aly Merritt: How does that manifest?

Belal Batrawy: It definitely makes some of my former managers uneasy and current managers uneasy because it’s not the thing you typically think of, of like a hungry, motivated, outgoing personality, hunter — you know, the words that we associate with a seller. I don’t think that’s actually correct. You don’t have to be those things to be a really good seller. I think if you do put people first and you think about it that way, that that’s playing the long game, and things pan out the right way.

Belal Batrawy: I’ve had people that have not bought from me and still referred business to me. I think that’s the testament to putting people first.

Aly Merritt: If you could say where you want to be in five years, what would that be?

Belal Batrawy: Personally if, in five years, more people were talking about these sort of things, I’d be happier. Because this seems like a fringe conversation versus the mainstream conversations happening today in the world of sales.

Aly Merritt: What are the mainstream conversations that are happening?

Belal Batrawy: The mainstream conversations today are talking about how to motivate sellers, or different sales methodologies, whether you’re going to use BANT or MEDDIC. Is cold calling dead or not? Should we all just be on social media or not? That’s like fluff. That’s not really the core of what’s happening in sales today.

Belal Batrawy: Core of what’s happening in sales today is that it’s not working. Sellers aren’t hitting quota. It’s a common misconception that sales should be high turnover, like things like that that actually affect lives, affect people, and affect companies, affect everything. They’re not getting addressed. Because, again, the same solutions are being presented, and yet they’re not sufficient. They’re not working across the board.

Aly Merritt: You mentioned a community. Talk to me about what a community represents to you in this context.

Belal Batrawy: I think for me a community is, it’s those shared ideals and principles that people have. If I meet a community member, there’s already a connection there that we could just do like this, sit down and just talk. We know exactly the right mentality. It’s a question of how do we get there. We’re not arguing about the details in that sense, because we’ve already agreed upon the basic principles and so on. Now it’s just a question of just execution.

Belal Batrawy: I think that would be ideal, if we had a sales community like that, that people can get behind, and it was championed by people across the board. It wasn’t just one person. Personally, and this is a big thing for me, I don’t want to be the face of a community. I think strong communities don’t act like that. They’re not built upon one person.

Aly Merritt: They’re not one person.

Belal Batrawy: That’s right. It’s shared principles. Shared principles transcend gender and status and titles and whatever, all that stuff.

Aly Merritt: Okay, what are you proving to yourself?

Belal Batrawy: Think it’s about trying to live in the most excellent way possible.

Aly Merritt: What does that mean for you?

Belal Batrawy: Excellence to me is like, did I do everything that I could and should have done for whatever the thing is? For example, when it comes to trustworthiness, am I being excellent in that? Are there times where I could bend the rules and do something a little bit wrong?

Aly Merritt: Are you outside the box a little bit? No. [laughs]

Belal Batrawy: That’s right, or am I holding true, again, to something bigger than myself, like a bigger purpose? I think that would be the thing to prove to myself is that if I look back at all this and be like, “Did I do it all right, or was it with the wrong intentions?” Because of those wrong intentions, then the results came out a certain way that probably weren’t ideal or the way I intended. I think that’s probably the best thing you can do is just purify your intentions and try to do things with excellence. I think if you did that every day, I mean the world would be slightly better place just because of that.

Aly Merritt: Has there been a time where you realized you were doing it with the wrong intentions?

Belal Batrawy: Yeah. Especially with the LinkedIn thing. That started off as just for me personally just like vanity. That started telling me, “You know what, you should probably do this with a bigger …” Like, check your intentions. Let’s purify the intentions, go back to what really matters here. There are people here saying that this is wrong, and they want to see it fixed. Could this be more than just some likes and comments and posts on a social media platform? That’s what got me thinking. Coincidentally, as life would have it, fate would have it, that’s when I met Sahil [with Bravado].

Aly Merritt: And it was perfect.

Belal Batrawy: That’s right. Sometimes things like that they fall in line. You play the hand you get dealt, so that was like, “Let’s see where this goes.”

Aly Merritt: Really appreciated having you here today. It’s been really fun learning a bit more about #NoMoreFluff and about your personal philosophy. I’m excited to see what you’re building with Bravado and where you’re headed next. Thank you for coming.

Belal Batrawy: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate this. I think being in this sort of a community, again, with these likeminded individuals is really special. I’m excited to see where this leads to.

Aly Merritt: Absolutely. Thank you.

Belal Batrawy: Thanks.