Dimitar Stanimiroff on the efficiency of agile sales
An Introduction to Dimitar Stanimiroff
"In any sales organisation, it is the people that matter. After all, people buy from people." - Dimitar Stanimiroff
I’m going to be a perfect parent. I'm calling my shot right now.
I mean I already know what it's like to run a business. Sure, I get an LLC lacks a certain consciousness and a baby is, well… alive. But, both of these require nurturing, right? And both require balance — too little nurturing and they suffer neglect, too much nurturing and they become overly dependent. There isn’t a one-size-fit all solution when it comes to running a business or raising a kid, so I should be great, right?
All jokes aside, in B2B SaaS, you need a strategy that can adjust to make sure everything is running smoothly. With sales in particular, there are different schools of thought on the best way to go about it. In this episode we’ll discuss the agile sales method with one of my really, really good friends, Dimitar Stanimiroff.
Dimitar is one of the best dressed people in B2B SaaS. He's also one of the most helpful people in B2B SaaS and that's why I love hanging out and talking with him. I sat down a few years ago who at the time was CEO at Heresy. He was gracious enough to share the wisdom he’s learned growing a business and nurturing it through sales. All that and more in this episode.
Agile sales method
Agile sales, as Dimitar explains, is "kind of leveraging what engineers have been very good at, which is working together as a single unit to hit a common goal." Unlike traditional sales, which is very quota driven and individualistic, agile sales is more collective and team driven.
It applies project management strategies like sprints, stand-ups, and iteration to the sales process so that, not only do you work as a team toward a common goal, but you also support and help your team members get better. In the end this translates to efficient, high-value client experiences and higher revenue.
What to do today:
- Follow Dimitar Stanimiroff.
- Schedule a time to meet with your sales team to evaluate its structure and efficiency.
What to do next:
Build an agile sales team.
Chances are if you're selling something, you need a sales team. However, without a solid structure, process, and support system in place, you're setting your sales people up to fail.
As Dimitar states, "People buy from people." So, it's important to set up a process that goes beyond just a quota to hit. You want to build a team with a common goal and one that supports and builds each other up to be better.
To help you build your own agile sales team, we've included the three roles Dimitar explains you must have, and the goal of each one — directly from the Anatomy of an Agile Sales Team: The Three Must-have Roles.
The Three Must-Have Roles of an Agile Sales Team:
- Team member
- Team leader
- Sales manager
The team member is the player
- Goal: The goal of the Team Member is to sell. They are the people tasked with closing deals, bringing in revenue, and building relationships with prospects and customers.
- Number per team: 5-8. You want to keep teams small to aid support and collaboration.
- What they do: Sell, and learn to sell better.
Everything else in your sales organization—the processes and the structures, the leaders and the managers—is geared towards them achieving this goal.
The sales team lead is the captain
- Goal: The goal of the Sales Team Lead is cadence. They are the engine room of the team, driving them through the month and keeping everyone focused on where the burn-down chart ends.
- Number per team: 1
- What they do: Stand as a model for the rest of the sales team and drive the team forward each month.
The sales manager is the coach
- Goal: The goal of the Sales Manager is growth. They want to grow the business by growing people.
- Number per team: 1 per 2-3 teams.
- What they do: Teach people to be better.
The Sales Manager is the person directly accountable for the revenue of the team. They increase this revenue purely through their influence on the team rather than directly contributing to closing deals themselves. They are not a player/coach—they are just a coach.
Read Dimitar's complete article: Anatomy of an Agile Sales Team: The Three Must-have Roles
What to do within the next year:
Implement your new agile sales team structure and process. Be sure to establish transparency and accountability, so that all team members are aligned and work toward the same goal/s throughout the entire sprint.
As with anything, you want to continuously evaluate the output and make modifications where necessary.
Who should own this?
Your agile sales team as a whole.
Do us a favor?
Part of the way we measure success is by seeing if our content is shareable. If you got value from this episode and write up, we'd appreciate a share on Twitter or LinkedIn.
00;00;02;04 - 00;00;22;12
I'm going to be a perfect parent. I'm calling my shot right now. I mean, I already know what it's like to run a business, right? Sure. I get an LLC, lacks a certain consciousness, and a baby is well alive. But both of these things require nurturing, right? And both require balance, you know, too little nurturing. And they suffer neglect, too much nurturing, and they become overly dependent.
00;00;22;17 - 00;00;39;07
There isn't a one size fits all solution when it comes to running a business or raising a kid. So I should be great, right? Well, of course, you know, all jokes aside here in B2B SaaS, you need a strategy that can adjust to make sure everything is running smoothly. With sales in particular, there are different schools of thought on the best way to go about it.
00;00;39;07 - 00;01;01;20
And in this episode we'll discuss the Agile sales method with one of my really, really good friends, Demeter, and I'm not even going to try to pronounce his name. I avoid saying his last name stance. Denim are off, denim or off. Demeter is one of the best dressed people in B2B SaaS. He's also one of the most helpful folks in SaaS and that's why I love always hanging out with him and talking to him.
00;01;01;25 - 00;01;18;11
Dmitry and I sat down a few years ago when he was at the time CEO of Heresy, a company he founded around the Agile sales method. He was gracious enough to share the wisdom he's learned from growing a business and nurturing it through sales. And so all that and more coming up next from Padel. It's Protect the Hustle.
00;01;18;11 - 00;01;39;26
We explore the truth behind the strategy and tactics of B2B SaaS growth to make you an outstanding operator. On today's episode, Demeter from Stack Overflow and Heresy dives deep on AGL sales. We'll talk about having a clear understanding of value, consolidating talent and tools, the efficiency of agile sales, maintaining target accounts and how to navigate funding after you finish the episode.
00;01;39;26 - 00;01;43;27
Make sure you check out the show notes for an in-depth field guide focused on what we went over.
00;01;55;17 - 00;02;12;04
The page right now, and it doesn't even mention it. And we have someone of you, one of our kind of early big clients, and because they were HubSpot, Oh really? They were paying that we're using by simultaneously. And you know, we were like really happy because their sales team started using heresy way more than HubSpot. We were like with work.
00;02;12;09 - 00;02;30;15
And then they hired a new CEO and he was like, Well, the campaign, we're paying like two licenses, which is, which is okay because we're getting value from buy. But the problem was because the salespeople abandoned the source of truth, which was, you know, HubSpot because marketing works. And he was like, why do they integrate with us? So we're going to churn.
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I'll see you later. And two months later, they came back.
00;02;33;13 - 00;02;34;01
Oh, that's great.
00;02;34;01 - 00;02;43;05
So on Salesforce or on a standalone, standalone again, and I think the head of sales is pushing for Salesforce by thinking they can justify it just like crazy.
00;02;44;02 - 00;02;50;01
So we've looked at it again recently, our sales teams growing and it was just like, which instance not even makes sense.
00;02;50;01 - 00;03;10;15
We have. So we had an onboarding last week where, you know, say Salesforce, as you would know from the price that they charge you extra. So they feel like on professional below you don't get the API calls for free and you have to basically pay or like really know how to negotiate. And we have someone who wasn't professional, we didn't really know and we kind of did the onboarding and everything else.
00;03;10;15 - 00;03;18;07
And then we're kind of doing the setting up the pilot. Yeah, click. And yeah, you know, you need to pay. And they're pretty frustrating, but.
00;03;18;16 - 00;03;24;03
They're also part of the ecosystem. Are you going to go across serums or are you going to stick because it's delivery, It's big enough for you.
00;03;24;04 - 00;03;51;19
To be, you know, I mean, right now we've gone from like charging, you know, $50 per seat to like the last one we did was 125%. Just because, you know, again, like looking at the willingness to pay. But also, you know, there's a bit more work that goes into all of this. So, you know, if you want to, you know, support a larger, more established organization which has customized Salesforce over the years, you basically need to do some bespoke mapping so that Harrison and Salesforce work in sync.
00;03;51;27 - 00;03;55;19
So they're paying for a Salesforce seat and for Harrison's. Yeah, look, but.
00;03;56;05 - 00;04;16;25
I think if he's committed, if he's made an investment, then you have, you know, a number of other services plugged into Salesforce, which is where you really get the value, you know, and the sales team is not really getting as much out of Salesforce as we should do. You know, you're forecasting stacks, you know, the days, etc., but you're committed then you kind of you can justify paying a little bit more to actually get the results that you want.
00;04;16;26 - 00;04;44;12
So it kind of makes sense. We kind of knew this as well from the beginning. We were like, Let's do the sexy thing and let's do the thing that we know for the long term is going to guarantee steady growth. Yeah, because like one of the things I learned is Stack was a, you know, even like with a family, we'll say mediocre, but like, you know, like a not the best of products, but a really good sales team, you can brute force from A to B fairly quickly, but they want to be, you know, either plateauing or, you know, takes forever to get see.
00;04;44;14 - 00;04;59;25
Yeah. And you know, we had like Michael from Trello as an advisor and you know, a bunch of lot of people that were saying if he can do a hockey stick like build up the userbase, it's always easier to monetize like 3% of a million then, you know, make 30,000 people pay, blah blah, blah, blah, blah.
00;04;59;27 - 00;05;01;24
Site is how it is, how we were thinking now.
00;05;01;24 - 00;05;15;02
Well, this is what we did, this is what we tried, but it just takes forever. And you know, if you if you're Michael and Joe and you have like full career and you can subsidize the business. Yeah. And you know, you've got the reputation and, you know, the following. Great.
00;05;15;07 - 00;05;26;09
I also think if you're in a different space, like Trello, like the productivity apps have been around forever. Yeah, I don't know if they would call it a productivity app, but I mean they invented, you know, card the card aspect.
00;05;26;09 - 00;05;45;26
Yeah, Yeah. So I was like really skeptical when I first launched Day Night because I could just go, Yeah, it is. I could just join Stack when they launch. And I was like, because I'm like obviously intimately familiar with campaign and I was like, okay, I get it, you know? But there and then, yeah, I don't know, I want to say they've invented it, but they definitely did a brilliant job.
00;05;45;26 - 00;05;51;04
But you know, take taking something which is well established in the developer world and bringing it to the masses in the mainstream.
00;05;51;12 - 00;05;53;03
Media is simple.
00;05;53;09 - 00;06;12;15
Which is figuring it out from the gist of it and everything else. And yeah, maybe to your point, maybe they didn't invent it in the sense that they, from day one were like super deliberate about creating a category. So if you look at some of the early documents like Charlie documents and the way they talk about, they were like, we're creating a new type of documentation now.
00;06;12;19 - 00;06;17;14
I'm like not creating anything new. But, you know, just the way they spoke about it and the way they thought about it ended up being.
00;06;17;20 - 00;06;19;16
That makes sense. Yeah, we'll see.
00;06;19;28 - 00;06;25;14
00;06;25;14 - 00;06;29;09
How is it different than, like, all the other good sales enablement? Yeah, Good.
00;06;29;21 - 00;06;53;29
Good question. So it's a combination, I think you know, so I get I can give you the story of everything because actually ties into what I just said about stuff. I was like heresy was ultimately born within StackOverflow. So when I joined StackOverflow, when I started building is scaling the sales organization here, I brought with me this seemingly crazy idea of applying Agile best practice and certain tools into the sales process.
00;06;54;04 - 00;07;04;08
Hence why the company ended up being called heresy because the very idea of approaching sales the way an engineer would approach software development is theoretic in the mind.
00;07;04;15 - 00;07;05;15
You know, makes such things.
00;07;07;12 - 00;07;37;14
Like makes people think this from the very basic notion of why, for example, the burnout chart guys top left and bottom right. Yeah, it was just crazy like going to go in, you know, bottom left to top, right. That's a good reason behind it, which I think we can dig into shortly. But so here is this started off as stack StackOverflow and we basically scale the team using it from about two people in a joint to, you know, we ended up having like 120 people globally and that was basically the driving force behind the growth and scale of the sales team.
00;07;37;14 - 00;08;03;21
And StackOverflow is something that started just in London because, you know, I was based here and I took it with me and I worked on the Agile sales idea in London. But because we ended up in a way, if you will, outperforming the other two sales teams to sales offices in New York and Denver in 2013, we took the decision to actually roll it out across the sales organization purely because we're getting better results and we're growing quicker and there's certain positive externalities if you what to use it Team from economics.
00;08;04;19 - 00;08;22;16
Yeah, where the team was basically benefiting from the process, not just from the things that were kind of the I know the forecast reliability and the fact that everyone was on the same page, but also we ended up building a very different company culture, especially in sales, which in turn meant the more people were sticking around, hardly anyone was leaving.
00;08;22;16 - 00;08;37;14
And then as a byproduct of that, I end up retaining a lot more knowledge and people are basically able to grow a lot quicker and therefore ramp up quickly, etc.. So if you think in a very small business, so any sales business, if you open of business that is backed by an insight sales team, that's kind of the most important thing.
00;08;37;15 - 00;08;53;28
You want to be able to grow quickly in the sales organization and not just the headcount, but he wants to basically be able to expand the collective knowledge from the team. So it's a term that I like using the wisdom of crowds. You know, the the idea that the team is always smarter than even the smartest person in the room.
00;08;53;28 - 00;09;16;27
And that's something that myself teams, I think very bad because just because of the way sales teams like historically set you know it's a very individualistic endeavor. Everyone is kind of working in their own silo. And when you think about this, the overall team, which is what he is, a founder CEO sales leader, should be concerned with. You never get to experience and never get to grow the pace that you should be growing.
00;09;16;28 - 00;09;40;01
So that's kind of the big premise around Agile. So kind of leveraging what sales engineers have been very good at, which is working together as a single unit to hit a common goal, in that case, shipping a product of time in sales, meeting your monthly, quarterly, on your target, whatever. But the way it's been done in the traditional model is I worry about my target, you worry about yours, Shawn and Rich and Dave worry about theirs.
00;09;40;01 - 00;10;09;19
And hopefully at the end of the month or quarter, we we get to go and, you know, the focus on our job is basically getting everyone on the same page, thinking as a single unit, making sure that we are very conscious and deliberate about hitting targets. That's kind of a philosophy. And behind that, a bunch of tools, some seemingly fairly simple, you know, like the burned out chart which I mentioned, which kind of takes the focus and sales from activity to very goal orientated and results driven kind of sales.
00;10;09;19 - 00;10;27;26
So you kind of start with your monthly goal, quarterly goal and you chart all the ideal progress to go would be with the idea that every single day if you're doing a good job, you should have less and less work to do at the end of the cell cycle. You have hit your target and then you track against that by view of velocity.
00;10;28;03 - 00;10;47;20
You track the actual performance. So here basically is a combination of this. You know, a simple example of a tool that we leverage sprinkled with a bit of machine learning magic, where we get to analyze historical data showing for Salesforce or whatever CRM using. And then we can apply what we have discovered about the efficiency of the sales team back into the product.
00;10;47;20 - 00;11;01;09
So we can basically get predictive analytics about where you're likely to end up. And we visualize all of this. The heritage is very visual as well. Again, yeah, yeah. Again, something that engineers do very well with kind of visualize progress and that's kind of what we try to dig.
00;11;01;16 - 00;11;20;29
Into to back up a second. So traditional sales, like you kind of said, we have a concept of that where it's very individualistic, very, you know, quarter driven like agile sales. It's a little bit more collective. Like it's one of those things where you've been in it so long. So I want to like back up and maybe like burn down chart.
00;11;20;29 - 00;11;29;25
Very similar engineering. Yeah, but there's it's weekly standups like, yeah, go through, you go through kind of like what makes an Agile sales team like what does that look like on side.
00;11;30;05 - 00;11;58;29
So let's start with the team. So number one would be the team structure for example. So if you are thinking of scaling a sales organization, normally it will be kind of this unit that keeps on ballooning and ballooning and ballooning as you add more and more bodies to it. And I think in a way at least you think it's okay and ends up happening is the more people you have in the team, the less conversations you have purely because you can not enable it happening and the less cohesive the team is and the fewer opportunities to learn, grow and develop collectively.
00;11;58;29 - 00;12;15;17
You have. So one of the things that, you know, we kind of stole or borrowed, whichever way you want to think about it from sales engineering is the idea of having teams of teams. So instead of having a single sales organization, even a single sales team, I keep on pointing behind us. The Stack Overflow is literally across all of it.
00;12;16;01 - 00;12;39;13
But the reason why we were very good of scaling the sales team was Stack Overflow, especially here in London, was because we ended up building a sales organization which was comprises comprised of small individual teams. So say in London we ended up with about 4548 people in sales. Instead of having a sales team of 48, we basically have five or six teams of 5 to 6 individuals, sometimes eight depending, but very small.
00;12;39;13 - 00;13;11;00
Any single team acts as an independent unit, so they basically are selling as if they sort of a sales organization of their own. And then all the teams in the office come together to produce the number for Europe and then the same dynamic is replicated in states, etc.. So I end up with all of these little teams. And you know, what he allows you to do is, number one, if you go back and connect the burnout chart, every single sales person on one of these teams of five or six, whatever you happen to be, will have their own band now tracking down progress to go.
00;13;11;01 - 00;13;42;00
If you have five individuals, you can find a burn down, so that gives you a burnout for the team. Then you put together teams in the office that gives you a burnout for the office, and then you put the offices together. You have one of the organization. So from a very simple sales management leadership standpoint, what this enables you to do on a day to day basis is you can literally within the within a few clicks, figure out if something is going wrong, if, for example, the way you're tracking against GO is beginning to deviate from how you should be, where the problem is, instead of spending hours digging for a CRM or having conversations
00;13;42;00 - 00;13;57;04
with your reps, etc., or your managers being like, what's going on? You can literally see which office, for example, that's how we did it. You know, we would look at say what I falling behind go, we would look at the number for stock. I was like, okay, we're not where we should be. Which office is it? Oh, it's like, say London.
00;13;57;13 - 00;14;07;05
And then we would see which team is within London, which teams and then which individual. So then you can quickly drill into the specific deals as to why something going to happen and you can basically fix things before you see like because.
00;14;07;05 - 00;14;08;17
It's all dollar based, right?
00;14;08;17 - 00;14;12;11
It depends on whatever currency stock obviously got the base, but.
00;14;12;11 - 00;14;26;10
It's all cash that you're measuring. Or is it like traditional sales where you have, you know, lead opportunity, etc., like our these burn down charts like these the teams of five or six with their burn down charts, is it all like the amount of cash they're close the.
00;14;26;10 - 00;14;41;24
Amount or the burned out account of cash that we're closing then you know in the way that should be kind of the primary metric in a way that you think of. And, you know, from there on, you know, if the burn down doesn't look right, you can see as to why that is happening. You know, then you can look at the ability.
00;14;41;27 - 00;14;52;07
Of five or six today. Do they produce their own leads? I know a stack. It's a little bit different because they're I'm assuming it's a lot of inbound or long hours mostly.
00;14;52;07 - 00;15;18;26
I don't know. I think, you know. Well, when I said when when I joined them, it was hardly any any inbound at all because everyone knew StackOverflow from the developer community, you know, every developer was using it, or at least a lot of developers were using it, but they had just started building the the talent product, which at the time was called curious to find out about StackOverflow, which morphed into StackOverflow careers and then ended up being StackOverflow talents, which is what their product offering on the Thalassitis call today.
00;15;19;01 - 00;15;37;28
Well, no one knew about it, so it was heavy outbound from from day one. And in the case of StackOverflow it was predominantly cold outreach connecting with people. And with that in mind, a lot of salespeople on the team created their own leads. There was StackOverflow to date. I think they kind of changing this now. But, you know, for for the time I was there, I never had.
00;15;38;10 - 00;15;58;19
And as the team generating leads and qualifying, it was a full stack. Yeah. Although as a salesperson you are responsible for generating game leads unless you're getting of course you're getting some marketing. But yeah, you basically have a full control of generating. You're only qualifying them, going after them, closing them and even managing them, kind of upselling them and cross-selling.
00;15;58;19 - 00;16;05;05
Was your responsibility.
00;16;05;05 - 00;16;17;14
And so those teams of five or six, are they self-organizing into like these three are going to go after leads, these two are going to close? Or is it more like I mean, I guess you get different. Yeah, it's.
00;16;17;14 - 00;16;32;20
A full stack. So the structure of the team is the first everyone on the team is selling. So that's one of the that's one of the things that we advocate with large our sales is that you have a clear separation between organizing the team cadence and being in charge of the team cadence, which falls on the team itself.
00;16;32;20 - 00;16;52;25
And then having an external manager, if you will, who basically is responsible for overall people development and making you a better salesperson, you know, training and dealing with interpersonal issues that you might have at home or whatever it might be, because things that would affect your sales performance. So there's a separation between the two, the teams themselves. You know, the idea is that you end up with a purely self organized team.
00;16;53;07 - 00;17;09;11
And again, the reason why we say this is because if you're thinking of scaling, you know, the one thing that gets in the way of scaling is the ability for the team to learn and develop feedback and basically leverage as I mentioned earlier, the wisdom of crowd. You're making your own job as a sales leader much easier. You know, the amount of conversation I can have one on one with my people is limited.
00;17;09;11 - 00;17;23;10
The amount of conversation they can have have between them, especially if we have build a variety infrastructure and the right culture for them to to have. These conversations can take you from here to here in a much shorter time than the amount of time it will take for me to go and work with every single one of them.
00;17;23;19 - 00;17;41;23
So the way the teams are structured, you have a bunch of team members. Everyone basically is selling and everyone has a target the entire quarter that they're carrying. And there's one person, if you as a player coach, the team leader equivalent would be the role of a Scrum master if you were from from Scrum and Agile. So that person basically is responsible for driving the cadence of the team.
00;17;41;23 - 00;17;54;07
So there would be charge of running a stand up. Now to your point earlier, is it it's not daily. We we never said do it daily because it's software development. It makes sense to have a conversation daily because I can get it for a certain amount of code and we can ship X amount of you, Hey.
00;17;54;07 - 00;17;56;02
I'm having this problem. Can you unblock me?
00;17;56;02 - 00;18;11;28
Yeah, Yeah. In sales, even if it's like fairly transactional sale, probably a day's not enough for me to have done enough meaningful work for us to have a conversation. Well, I can tell you something that you can learn and you know, I can, I can make you a better salesperson. I can learn something that will make me a better salesperson.
00;18;12;10 - 00;18;45;04
So the way we do the StackOverflow, the forecasting cycle was monthly. So every single month the team was expected to hit a certain number and therefore we had four sprints, each one being roughly five days. So the way this sprints around will be first business day of the month. You have the first sprint starting and then five days from there, a new sprint starts, etc. So the idea was the beginning of every sprint you have a stand up where you will talk about blockers, as you mentioned, what we have done and what we're expecting to the what didn't happen and for whatever reason that was like that was really important still is, you know, not
00;18;45;04 - 00;19;04;10
just talking about successes, but what can we learn from common failures. So the idea is that if we're constantly adding more people to the team, we don't want them to be banging their heads against the wall trying to figure out the works. It doesn't work by themselves. If I can hear it from someone who's literally spent all night two weeks, like two months, maybe working on a deal that was lost.
00;19;04;10 - 00;19;21;13
Tell me about the saw. Don't do the same mistake or if something worked really well for you. Tell me about this. I can replicate your success standards basically, like every five days, more or less, at least on StackOverflow. And given that cell cycle, that's how we within it. And we also have a little sprint review, which you know, technically should be doing at the end of the sprint.
00;19;21;13 - 00;19;42;08
But because they overlap, we always do it at the same time, which basically is a team getting together, looking at the shape of the burn down and trying to understand how each person contributed, why things didn't work, why they work, etc. and also taking the commitment for the next sprint, the next five days deals are we go into place where they think we're going to be and then that gives us a a commitment from the team.
00;19;42;08 - 00;20;10;02
You know, I'm not telling you you should close X, Y and Z, but the team says, I'm going to close this. Exactly. So you have, like, for lack of a better word, social pressure in a way to deliver. But you also don't want to disappoint your teammates if you've committed to closing X amount of deals and saying, I'm going to be contributing X amount to the success, the pressure is on you to deliver, but actually gives you from a again, from a sales leadership standpoint, a clearer vision of where you're going to be in the next five days instead of the traditional problems of having sales waiting until the end of the month and everything
00;20;10;02 - 00;20;27;02
kind of drops there. And that's kind of one of the big takeaways, at least for me, from software development, kind of breaking down the amount of work that you have to do into smaller sprints so you can kind of plan better. And even if everything was expected because again, in sales, you know, often the lot is out of your control.
00;20;27;10 - 00;20;44;08
Even if you spec in most of the deals to keep closing in, like the sales for the full sprint, etc., you kind of know and you're not really panicking. And in that situation you're dealing with a very large team. We can try to leverage that and make sure that other teams basically close the gap in between one and two.
00;20;44;08 - 00;20;54;13
Is it kind of nicely tracking along the bottom there? It's it's a difficult concept to explain in a short period of time, as we have. And it's a very difficult without kind of going crazy on the whiteboard.
00;20;54;13 - 00;21;16;05
And definitely you said you're bringing engineering principles to sales, which you think are super important. But I also like the aspect of if you think about where a lot of growth teams are going, like in particular, like you look at Spotify, Uber, etc., like the the decentralization of teams, smaller teams, etc., I think it's helpful. I think it's I mean, it's like the Aaron Ross predictable revenue model is very well known.
00;21;16;06 - 00;21;35;29
Yeah, right. Like it's a very well known. It works, it has its faults and I think this is kind of the evolution of that. Yeah. And what I'm curious about is that at Stack, did you or even your customers using this? Yeah. Do you notice that certain teams like a stack? Was there a team that naturally was like, we're going to be the big deals team versus we're going to be the high volume team?
00;21;35;29 - 00;21;38;00
Yeah. Was there, was there that kind of how we did?
00;21;38;00 - 00;22;02;06
We did that from the top in a way because yeah, so, so we had, you know, 120 people and you mentioned the sales organization. We had a geographical split, so we had Europe for example, my team here was EMEA. So they basically had geographical restrictions as to, you know, what accounts they can target to the to offices in the US, the same geographical restrictions, if you will, applied.
00;22;02;16 - 00;22;26;03
And then in terms of deal size, we had a strategic accounts team which was basically targeting companies that can generate X amount of revenue over the course of the year. So they were assessed differently and the self forecasting cycle was different as well, or larger deals which took normally longer to close, etc.. So there was a split. So it wasn't something that the team individually decided on what to work.
00;22;26;03 - 00;22;44;08
The way we did it is like this is the work that needs to be done. How you do it, it's up to you and kind of allows you to be creative and you know, instead of dialing for dollars, which is kind of the common perception of sales, it can actually be a very creative process and more enjoyable, I think.
00;22;44;08 - 00;23;00;21
Because AVM is now all the rage, right? Like at every company's marketing where I mean, it's definitely a little bit a little bit kind of like the middle of this, I feel like. Do you see And it's also kind of like sales ten years ago and we just made a new name for it. But like, do you see like where do you see this kind of fitting into?
00;23;00;23 - 00;23;19;06
I don't know. I mean, I like it. It makes a lot of sense, in fact. So one of the aspects of, you know, in terms of to large that we didn't touch upon with Agile, there was the use of a scramble to come on board the very column to the left. And, you know, even inheriting our product, it's called the backlog.
00;23;19;06 - 00;23;45;19
If you think of our traditional sales like one Android stock, I was like, So I flew to New York to meet the team and everything else. And then I met the two people on the sales team, the existing sales team at the time, and one of them had like a list of accounts that he wanted to target written like a sheet of A4 written on his desk, a bunch of posted on his computer screen, you know, like 21 of the like covered in faces as people who he wanted to in companies he wanted to keep in front of his eyes so he can target them throughout the course of the year.
00;23;45;19 - 00;24;04;25
And he used to be mocked, you know, by said to be real, all the hit list and everything else. But I was definitely want to have that list because especially if you're in a high volume sales environment or if you're kind of trying to carve out a new market, which stock was doing at the time, there's so many opportunities in front of you can easily forget about the opportunities which matter.
00;24;04;25 - 00;24;29;11
They might take a lot longer to close, but you know, do you want to keep them in front of you? So one of the early things that I did with, you know, where the methodology kind of was started was getting, you know, what this person, for example, was doing, what many other people do, and just formalizing it a little bit and saying, okay, the accounts that you're working in the long term put them in this column called a backlog, which is almost like your wish list, the accounts that you want to close in the course of the year, you know, the you know, the quarter or whatever, which is account based.
00;24;29;11 - 00;24;45;24
My view is that works in a way. So you're saying, okay, if we were to meet our target targeted end of the month, these are the accounts that we're going to sell. And now, you know, our just sales statista, you know, one step further, which is saying, okay, now that we've got these accounts, this is the list, what am I going to do in the next quarter?
00;24;45;24 - 00;25;06;03
Which accounts am I going to work in the next quarter? So take X amount of accounts from the backlog, you know, the bucket list and transfer them into this quarter. And if my goal for the quarter is likely 50, I basically you have enough coverage to get me there. The further you go, even further, which is to say, okay, well this is the quarter, but let's think of, you know, the sprint.
00;25;06;05 - 00;25;22;29
Is everything going to close at the end of the quarter, which is very often what salespeople will tell you, and it's not their fault. I think a lot of this is byproduct of bad software design. If you think of the CRM and the way design it basically allows you to pick a date and the salesperson, you don't have a crystal clear vision of what the future holds.
00;25;23;07 - 00;25;38;15
So it has the risk of being wrong. You would say the end of the month, end of the quarter. So if you were to visualize this in a burn down, you always look, this is your model and then you expect your performance in a straight line because you're not selling in theory anything. And then in the last day all the dealers drop the sales manager.
00;25;38;20 - 00;25;40;09
Even as a salesperson, you don't want to see.
00;25;40;09 - 00;25;41;12
That as an operator.
00;25;41;12 - 00;26;02;11
Yeah, I want to do that. So what we're doing with Agile sales and the heresy is basically giving you a different way of thinking, which kind of which is to say, okay, well I don't have a, you know, the perfect vision of the future. But what I do know is I can take a little bit more of an educated guess as to when those opportunities that I've just pulled from the backlog might that might come into the quarter.
00;26;02;23 - 00;26;21;04
And it gives yourself like a 20 day, 30 day whatever you prince happened to be buffer. And then you can visualize the expected performance of the burn down and that is incredibly powerful because you can see where you're going to be five days from now, 20 days from now at the end of the quarter. And then we can really as we go along, we basically match what has happened.
00;26;21;28 - 00;26;39;09
And then we have like a bunch of machine learning, forecasting filters built into it which actually tell you how you're progressing and where you're going to be at the end of the month. Things that take into consideration the likelihood of a deal closing based on, you know, who the rep in question is, what the likelihood of a deal closing in that particular stage of the pipeline is.
00;26;39;18 - 00;26;57;22
Well, the remaining pipeline, Tennessee is the size of the deal, etc.. So we're kind of, you know, going back to what you asked me earlier, what makes it special is not just the the process, which was where we started, but it's also leveraging big data machine learning. Yeah, in a way, kind of meeting, meeting in the middle, because there's a lot of stuff that we did.
00;26;57;22 - 00;27;11;01
A stack of 90% was basically just pure process. And one of the things that I would use to stand up for my own, but if it was to kind of get an idea for the team is going to be so I feel I can get some better sleep at night. It's like, oh, you know, what are we going to be?
00;27;11;05 - 00;27;14;11
We better predict and like, run your business. Exactly.
00;27;14;13 - 00;27;30;22
Yeah. Yeah, that's cool. And now what we're doing is basically taking the things word, but also based on historical data, we can say, Oh, you know, we're not going to be there. What can we do now to mitigate the risk of actually not being there because we know that's going to happen, You know, So that's kind of where we're going.
00;27;30;22 - 00;27;31;00
00;27;31;07 - 00;28;08;00
And to pivot a little bit, you would stack and now running heresy and sounding heresy, those are those are kind of two big types of companies that are in London, right? You have a lot of like like US companies setting up their European shops here and you have a lot of like start ups. They're starting off right. And I know over the past like five or six years, like stuff has just kind of exploded globally, but also like in London specifically, like is that pretty much sums up the ecosystem that that stack or do I have that kind of incorrect?
00;28;08;02 - 00;28;27;26
No, I think I think you know, you go to pretty background. I think it depends how you define tech startups and tech. But I think London had, you know, if you think of agencies of us for a very long time, had a very strong agency seeing creatives, etc., like the like like the VC, Aqua, etc. ignite London based companies, you also have a lot of really good media companies.
00;28;27;26 - 00;28;50;28
And of course, the city, you know, along this one of the world's financial capitals, if not the financial capital. So you have a lot of interesting ecosystems at play here, kind of more traditional ones and a lot of talent that we've seen, as you mentioned over the course of the last six, seven years, moving from those traditional industries into into, you know, traditional tech start ups and starting businesses.
00;28;50;28 - 00;29;12;06
And you see an a huge rise in the number of fintech startups. For example, a lot of people from the city have the knowledge and the domain expertise moving and starting their own businesses. Same with media, same with fashion in a way, etc.. When the social media revolution took place, you know, and everyone was going crazy about Twitter, you know, I'm talking like nine years ago or whatever London was the Twitter capital of the world.
00;29;12;06 - 00;29;30;06
You had the. Oh, yeah, right. Like, I think you had the highest density or the highest number of people on Twitter out of anywhere else in London. So that's crazy. So there's a lot happening here. But to your point, yeah, a lot of traditional startup scale ups, tech companies from from the US have chosen to to make London their home.
00;29;30;18 - 00;29;51;23
Used to be the case that I went to Dublin you know, the key abroad went through to Dublin for obvious reasons, tax and whatnot. But I think in terms of talent, London has a lot more to offer. I mean, city is humongous, right? It's like a big city. Dublin's tiny. And so and we get to see how Brexit affects this, but historically has been the melting pot with people coming from all over Europe.
00;29;51;23 - 00;30;11;08
I mean, I myself, you know, I'm an immigrant. I wasn't born here. I've lived here for 17 years, but I'm originally from Bulgaria. So you still have tons of people from Eastern Europe. You know, you and I met in Latvia, right? You have all of these people coming here kind of contributing to the ecosystem. So it's I can talk years of.
00;30;11;09 - 00;30;11;27
00;30;12;09 - 00;30;35;09
One of the things that I would say, which is kind of has been I think problematic for London is the fact that historically at least we seem to hit a lot, even the possible ceiling failure early on, often because of lack of funding it, even talent in a way. But kind of once you hit a certain scale because we haven't had, at least in the past, big companies coming out of London and kind of being built here.
00;30;35;23 - 00;31;02;16
Mid-level management, for lack of a better term, was just not here. So people choose to go abroad in the US, maybe to kind of carry on scaling. I think that is gradually changing. I mean, even like say with StackOverflow when we started in 2011, completely from the ground up, you know, just myself from building a team now you can probably, you know, they're like half a dozen, if not like more than that experienced managers by, you know, marketing, sales, engineering.
00;31;02;16 - 00;31;10;11
So if you're thinking of building a getting a business here, you know, you actually have the kind of next level of talent here as well. But that historically was a problem is interesting.
00;31;11;00 - 00;31;24;14
And is it just because of the tech orientation, because you have you have agencies, you have media, you finance, like you said, and there's obviously like old school managers and middle management there. Like, is it just been more like those people don't want to jump to tech, just similar sort of thing?
00;31;24;15 - 00;31;41;00
Yeah, I don't know. It's not that they don't want to jump the tech, but if you think of like a company that goes from like five to like 500 people in the space of a few years, a couple of years, that's a very different business to run, right? Sure. Again, going back to that particular gap in the market, it gives you like mid-level senior management.
00;31;41;09 - 00;31;58;25
Now it's just not here. The world, you know, going to have Yahoo! So that Google can hire and then you know, Google so that Facebook can hire Microsoft, whatever. But that is changing. You know, they as you said, a lot of American companies are here now. They have built successful offices. A lot of people have grown and developed over the course of the last five, six, seven years.
00;31;59;23 - 00;32;06;07
And I think London is getting stronger by the day. Again, the one thing that remains to be seen as, you know, will Brexit after this.
00;32;06;07 - 00;32;22;12
Do you find that the kind of queues coming over like the US queues are really good for you guys in terms of basically being able to hire like they train sometimes they relocate some some of those like middle managers etc.. Have you seen that ecosystem starting to brew a little bit?
00;32;22;20 - 00;32;50;13
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think I mean, just it's great. I mean, the more companies we have, which is good for everyone, right? More talent, more people moving from elsewhere, etc.. As I said, the question is, would the UK be able to retain its competitiveness? You know, it just the other day there was like a massive cock up with the EMI option scheme not of boy, but you know, that was basically a huge incentive for anyone joining the company early on and know seems like we might be able to might lose it.
00;32;50;26 - 00;33;05;10
We'll see. It's just even interesting with like lost right because of GDPR used to be you were just kind of included in it and now it's like you, you don't really have a choice because most people don't just sell into the UK. But it's kind of interesting like that kind of stuff.
00;33;05;11 - 00;33;09;15
Yeah, I don't even want to go there. Yeah. Oh yeah.
00;33;09;28 - 00;33;23;10
That's been crazy. Yeah. And do you find, like with Brexit specifically, like, is this something you worry about, like giving a up and coming startup or is it something you're kind of like, we're going to keep raising our own raise? It's probably not going to affect this as much.
00;33;23;11 - 00;33;37;25
No, I think everyone is going to be affected one way or another. The way I see it, though, is there's very little that I can do or any founders in the ecosystem can do. I think in terms of affecting the course of events, you know, the one thing that we could do is go to vote didn't go our way.
00;33;37;25 - 00;34;00;02
Obviously, I think we'll have a very different outcome if the referendum was to be held again today. But you know, that aside, there's very little we can do. I think the only thing which is within your control is should things kind of start moving south fairly quickly, which, as I said, you know, by the looks of things might happen is where you go from from, you know, from there, you know, do you really take a company D do you go to the US?
00;34;00;02 - 00;34;03;14
Do you go, I don't know. Elsewhere we go to Asia, you know.
00;34;03;14 - 00;34;13;23
If things continue on the path, do you think that's what a lot of founders are going to do? Like even if they just hop over and go to Paris, maybe not France laws or. Yeah, right. Yeah.
00;34;13;23 - 00;34;25;11
Berlin obviously is. It's, you know, it's been up and coming, you know, going back to our previous conversation around us companies relocating to Europe, I've seen a lot more companies choosing Amsterdam, ones that.
00;34;26;03 - 00;34;26;19
00;34;27;11 - 00;34;46;03
Think London is the necessary the go to place anymore again and Brexit has certainly contributed to kind of that dilemma, you know, becoming kind of where do we go now? You know, before it was like it was Dublin, then it was Dublin in London, mean it was like a course perspective, like a place like Berlin where a cheaper way, way cheaper.
00;34;46;05 - 00;34;47;07
Yeah, it's interesting.
00;34;47;14 - 00;34;50;10
00;34;50;10 - 00;35;14;21
A huge shout out to tar for doing the pod. Now you have what it takes to be an expert in agile sales. Today we talk about having a clear understanding of value consolidating, talent and tools, the efficiency of agile sales, maintaining target accounts and how to navigate funding. And if you want to support Padel and the show, we would greatly appreciate it if you have a five star review of the podcast or the equivalent rating wherever you listen or watch the podcast.
00;35;14;21 - 00;35;29;04
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