Our goal at Building the Sales Machine (BTM) is to enable sales leaders in the tech community to help and learn from each other. We’re all in this boat together, trying to help revolutionary companies disrupt the norm. To make people’s lives easier, better, more fulfilling. We’ll aim to bring some of these great teams, leaders, and strategies to life through our articles, meet-ups, speaking events and interviews.
For today’s Q & A, we’re publishing the third part of our chat with Peter Kazanjy, a serial founder, and seasoned early stage Saas executive. Most recently, Pete founded TalentBin, a category-defining talent search engine and recruiting CRM, which exited to Monster Worldwide in early 2014. Pete’s energy and experience are contagious, and we’re super excited to keep sharing his ideas!
BTM: How do you strike the balance between analysis paralysis (trying to measure too much), and flying blind (not measuring anything)?
Pete: I prefer to focus on a couple key precursor metrics. “First downs” we call them, that correlate to the various roles (SDR, AE, CSM). Activity, quality, etc. I think the important thing is to make sure your data is good and enforce good CRM behavior, because that gives you the option to cut data different ways as you go. Generally, someone who thinks it’s ok to fly blind is just afraid to dig in, likely doesn’t have the skills to do so, and is being lazy or ego-driven by not getting help. Fire them. They will poison your org. And never hire that profile again by instrumenting for that skill in your hiring process.
Generally, someone who thinks it’s ok to fly blind is just afraid to dig in, likely doesn’t have the skills to do so, and is being lazy or ego-driven by not getting help. Fire them.
BTM: Whats the most effective short term and long term motivation techniques you’ve seen someone use?
Pete: Short term I love stand ups, leaderboards and transparency. Long term I like solid manager-rep relationships, consistent biweekly one on ones, and candid career development conversations.
BTM: What role do sales operations and field enablement play in your organization?
Pete: Sales ops is an extraordinarily important lever for your sales org. They are there to do the projects to make reps faster, stronger, smarter. They also are keepers of truth, and can bridge between COO/ CFO / CEO. Especially as legs get larger, having a function that is a check and balance on the sales org (for CRM cleanliness, etc) is key. And early stage, they can act as a product manager of the sales org to make sure things are being done to make a stronger platform on which the sales producers and their managers stand.
Sales ops is an extraordinarily important lever for your sales org. They are there to do the projects to make reps faster, stronger, smarter.
BTM: How important is your sales technology stack to your sales organization?
Pete: I would say technology is key, but any particular technology is not all that important. I think the most important thing is to be open to applying technology in pursuit of your revenue goals. Modern sales staff, managers, and sales operations folks get this. I’m very leery of folks who refuse to adopt new tech. Things change. You need to adapt as a manager and leader.
BTM: If you could fix one challenge on your sales team today (with the snap of a finger), what would it be?
Pete: Pipeline transparency issues. There needs to be better ways for reps to spend time on opps that matter, in a more repeatable, consistent basis. Often it feels like swarm-ball after the initial disco calls and demo is done.
BTM: If you’ve built out a training team, what was the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Haven’t, but onboarding is the closest thing. Same as what I said above: life fire sparring sessions. Invaluable.
BTM: Do you believe you’ve built a metrics driven environment? Whats an example of something youv’e done that other organizations may not have thought of?
Pete: Definitely. One thing we were very proud of was building “boo boo reports”, to help reps easily see their opps that were falling outside of contact SLAs. That is, “show me all my down funnel opps that I haven’t had outbound email to in greater than 5 days.” This was all enabled by strong CRM data and managerial reporting acumen.
BTM: What interactions / meetings should managers be having with their reps and why?
Pete: I’ve got a nice little write up for you on that right here!
Standups. Sales team meetings. One on ones. Happy hours. Team dinners. Those are my favorites.
Pete Kazanjy is a serial founder, and seasoned early stage Saas executive. Most recently, Pete founded TalentBin, a category-defining talent search engine and recruiting CRM, which exited to Monster Worldwide in early 2014.
At TalentBin, Pete went from product and product marketing founder generalist, to first sales rep, first sales manager, first VP of Sales, all the way to leading new product sales for 600+ sales reps at Monster worldwide. He’s currently writing a book on sales for founders, Founding Sales, documenting all the mistakes he made along the way, and solutions to them, so future founders can accelerate their go to market acumen.
Prior to TalentBin, Pete worked in product marketing and product at VMware, having graduated from Stanford in 2002.
You can find him on Linkedin here and on Twitter here.