Alex Boyd – RevenueZen – Hiring More Sales Reps Does NOT Increase Revenue
Quote of the Show
Revenue always represents what is working. When you make money, you do so by what is working. And the problem is that marketers and sales leaders don't always know what's working, so their techniques to try to generate revenue lag behind reality.
- SaaS companies need a subject matter expert to tie in the narrative between sales and marketing
- KPIs to watch for are win rate on qualified ops by source and acceptance rate from meeting to qualified opportunity
- Hire SDRs for the job that only they can do and technology cannot
Episode 46 – Alex Boyd
[00:00:00] 1, 2, 3, 4, sales, marketing, and rev. It’s sink or swim out there. And yesterday’s strategies and tactics won’t help you today. This is Revenue today, and I’m your host, Jared Robbin. Join me as we interview revenue leaders in our community to learn what steps we could take, right. To help you scale yourself and your company.
Revenue today is sponsored by Rev Genius, and we’re on a mission to bring inspiration and creativity to all revenue professionals in the world.
Wanna shout out our sponsored demand base. Demand base is smarter GTM for b2b. They help marketing and sales teams spot the juiciest opportunities earlier and progress them faster by injecting account intelligence into every step of the buyer journey and orchestrating every action. For more information about demand-based visit [00:01:00] demand-based dot com, really excited uh, to have this guest on today.
Um, today we have an AE turn growth director. Revs at fast growing startups. Spent the last five plus years helping high growth SAS startups figure out their demand Gen and revs. Right now, he’s the founder of Revenue Zen Agency. Welcome Alex Boyd. How are you today? Thank you, Jared. I am great. Super excited to have you.
And, and, and you know, one of the cool things about having you on and, and some of my recent guests in general was we’ve known each other for a minute, um, Right. Since like early Rev Genius when Yeah. It’s been a while. Uhhuh and, and we’ve both figured it out along the way, so I, I can’t be more grateful to have you and like, , you know, your, your current views and, and how things have updated for you along the [00:02:00] way.
But, you know, jumping in, tell, you know, debunk a myth about generating revenue today. Alex, I think the, one of the most powerful myths that’s still here that I thought would disappear, uh, in the last seven ish years, but hasn’t, is if you hire more sales reps, you’ll generate more revenue. I think that’s a very pervasive myth that takes a lot of companies down.
Cause what they do is they, they make the classic mistake of growth, which is to start with the spreadsheet instead of the people. And if you start with the spreadsheet instead of the people, you’ll say, Well, we’re currently generating this much revenue and we have this many sales reps. And then I’m gonna do a little, you know, increase the sales rep, sell.
And I’m gonna multiply the sales output and ARR output by the same ratio. Even [00:03:00] worse is if I take that and I say, Well, we’re gonna get better. We’re gonna hire sales enablement, and their quota is gonna go down, but, but attainment will go up as we do this. So we’re actually gonna get better. We’re gonna increase our win rates, we’re gonna increase our, our quota attainment, our ASP’s gonna go up and they, they say, We’re gonna hire more sales reps and every kpi, or most of the KPIs along the way are gonna go up at the same time, no less.
So of course more sales reps are hired and that doesn’t happen. They atri because their quota got bigger and their potential to attain it got smaller, but they didn’t invest in demand gen right at the same time. And that is the killer. And there’s, it’s like there’s a rubber band in between. , your capacity to close revenue sellers, AEs, and your capacity to create demand, and there has to be a rubber band tied around them.
So, and it can stretch, right? You can have a period where you [00:04:00] invest more in demand. Jan, your sales team is a little more full and your, your commission bill goes up and then you hire more closers. And then same idea, commission bill goes down a little bit, they’re a little more relaxed. And then you do this in altern.
and you do this continually to have demand created and then demand closed into, into sales. The problem is when you don’t do that, when you say, we can get away with just hiring more sellers and asking them for more and more without simultaneously creating demand, that’s the the messed up thing, and it’s, it’s gonna shoot you in the foot unless somehow you have this, um, machine.
Pure sales generated lead flow coming in, which is rare. And that takes a unique case. Right? Um, so that’s probably the biggest myth that I see still happening. And it, it happened to me seven years ago when I saw the results of it, but it’s still going on. Yeah. And the funny thing is, you know, in these spreadsheets, the leaders only want you to hit 70 or 80% a goal, right?
Like, they’re like, Yeah, [00:05:00] we don’t even need you to hit a hundred percent. to make it work. But that’s interesting that it does it, it, it, it does break. Like now what, what about the argument? Um, we could hire SDRs, you know, as part of this, align them to sales and, um, and, and that’s the demand gen, Is that what, what do you think about.
It works up to a point. I, I’ve experienced this myself, um, at my last company, uh, was primarily inbound driven, partner driven, sales generated, quote unquote, their own leads, right? But, but think about the way that, that, that happened. It was the cream of the crop. Easiest stuff, right? We formed the best partnerships we could.
We kind of cherry picked lead sources. When you’re first building an SDR team, you cherry pick. And you’re sure like anything, your ability to cherry pick goes down as you scale by definition. Right? As you run out of the, the first pick, there’s the, the not [00:06:00] first pick, there’s the next, and finally the last pick.
And then you have this big SDR team going after the, not, not even cream of the crop. They’re going after the tier three leads, and yet you’re expecting more performance out of them. So yes, you can scale sdr, but up to a point you have to actually be in the trenches looking at what’s going. Looking at not just your tam but your, your ability to really capture leads at a certain conversion rate from outbound, which is going to decline as you scale, um, without some other motion.
You can’t simply plug and play, add more, and expect a linear amount more. It doesn’t work like that, especially today, cuz it’s harder and harder to set a meeting, a qualified meeting, you know, Let’s, let’s, let’s break it down. so that the listeners can like better view this. You have sales, you have marketing.
What percentage of pipeline generation should be coming from sales? That’s a great question. I actually don’t have, [00:07:00] uh, a necessary benchmark for that. I, I think any benchmark can work, right? If let’s say you are selling, um, well, just the idea like demand gen needs to be hyped up, like rough estimate. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I mean, somewhere in the half range usually, like if it’s um, very far away from that something is going is interesting, right? Like some companies are entirely inbound driven, 95% transactional sales, inbound driven. The closers are basically, they’re not paid that that well, but they’re coming around, they’re not generating their own pipeline, right?
Um, a friend of mine who is an amazing marketer and. His first job was selling credit repair services. They would pick up the phone when marketing generated the, the, the inbound call. Yeah. And they’d close them on the spot. Right. They’re 0% sales generated. On the other side too. There are industries where sales generates the entire thing.
For most SaaS companies, it’s probably gonna be a healthy mix of that 30 to 70%, kind [00:08:00] of right around half-ish. But the, the important thing is that the, the numbers work. And the spreadsheet comes last. Um, and what I wanna see people doing is saying, where can we get the most profit and efficient sustainable growth Sure.
From different channels, right? You, you might have, um, you might be able to generate 70% from sales, but that’s probably gonna be really expensive to do. Yes. And you have less happy sales reps, so you could. That’s why there’s no magic number. Cause you could do it, but it might kill you in the process, you know?
And we don’t want that, obviously. Well, yeah, and I’m, I’m, where I’m, where I’m going with this is like, you can’t scale companies if you don’t have 50% plus pipeline coming from marketing. Yeah. It’s much harder to scale 200 K reps. How, how is that gonna work? Early stage. No, it doesn’t. I mean, the, the really, the only way that that works is in industries where the product is not that [00:09:00] new.
Sure. It’s old and the reps just kind of gotta show up. Right. Real estate, the, it’s a house. You show up, you, you sell the house. It’s not that interesting or exciting. And marketing doesn’t have as much of a role to play versus if you’re creating a new product, a SaaS product. The role of pre-education before the sales conversation makes things go just way better.
And I think that the, one of the problems is if, if you’re a chief revenue officer who’s overseeing both, Yeah. And you haven’t sat in that chair in a while, you haven’t talked to a prospect in a while, and you’ve forgotten. what it’s like to show up to a meeting where someone says, I’ve been reading your CEO’s LinkedIn posts.
I saw your guys’ ads for a little bit. I just read one of your blog posts. Um, I listened to a bit of the podcast. I have some very specific questions before I buy versus the other one is a pure cold call generated, you know, barely showed up. I’m eating and I’m like, Tell me why I should buy from you guys.
Like such a d. Mentality. Right. And you’ve [00:10:00] forgotten that when you’ve been in that leadership tier too, too long. And that’s the problem. I got a cold call the other day and um, and, and my first question was, Why are you calling me? Period. Period. Like, I don’t care about why I should buy from you. I was just like, Why are you calling me?
Because they said hi, and they just product dumped and it’s these little nuances, right? I was waiting for, I’m calling you because you’re exactly like who we succeed with. Anything along those lines, I would’ve felt warm and fuzzy. We couldn’t even get that. And I’m like, How could I talk to you ? Like, I don’t even know.
Like he goes, Cuz you’re, because we’ve identified you as a company with this many people. Oh man, he said that. And uh, and, and he goes, This and that, and he’s like, Are you the IT person? Oh, and, and then like when I started challenging him, he says, It doesn’t sound like you’re the IT person. I said, Well, I’m the ceo.
How do you [00:11:00] not know the data of who you’re calling a cyber security person? I said, How do you not know that you’re calling into the sea level and you don’t even know that? , that’s table stakes and sales nowadays, like you don’t necessarily need marketing for that. Mm-hmm. , but geez, If you could layer in.
At a minimum, good data quality, that’s table stakes. But in addition, some lever level of intent, right? Like you’ve interacted with my content and stuff and I’m, I’m curious like, you know, the original, um, challenge or the myth debunking was adding sales doesn’t scale revenue. What’s your game plan to scale revenue?
And, and you mentioned demand gen, I mean keeping, keeping the, like I said, that rubber band between demand gen and sales is, is the key part. But then, I mean, you, you mentioned data quality that becomes way more key as you scale. And I think this is an interesting, um, nuance because people hear data [00:12:00] quality.
Think about the brain of a sales and marketing leader, well, let’s just say sales leader or sales driven cro who hears data quality. What’s their first reaction? Is it, Oh, that’ll probably make it way easier for our reps to convert. Or is it at some it nerd. , it’s probably that’s some iter stuff and they don’t bother with it because there’s this like, I’m gonna call it like a hyper-masculine type of, um, Approach to selling, where’s just get out there and do it right.
Get out there and kind of conquer, you know? Um, and asking about data quality and dimension is sort of like seen as weakness, I think in a sales driven, you know, CRO office. Um, but, but marketing should. Should be retaking its authority and power of the organization. I think it’s lost. I think the, the, um, the value of marketing’s been, been lost along the way, and we’re kind of getting it back in some circles, right, where marketers [00:13:00] are really valued for, for what they do, which is.
Tell a story widely to generate massive awareness with the right people and the right type of awareness, which is to tell your strategic narrative to the people who can most succeed with it, thereby changing their minds in a way that causes them to wanna reach out to you or, or be more receptive to your sales outreach.
And we’ve forgotten that it’s about changing minds and people think of demand gen as what? Put out more content. I put out more social media posts that generated demand, like you didn’t generate demand until you changed someone’s mind to go at least one notch further to doing business with you. And, and I, I think it, uh, from a changing mind perspective, it’s not necessarily fully changing minds as much as hitting.
In the fields with a solution to a core problem. They either know or don’t know that they have like a core [00:14:00] business problem and understanding the impact that that has, like not hiring, you know, I’m talking so much about founder led today, like, uh, going to not founder led. and, and how you have to set it up.
Like if you hire this person or have this type of technology that opens you up to hitting these goals, which allows you to get out of that and allows you to,
Damn, you’re right, like that. That does sound like a better place to live in. So to tie this back to sales enablement and to marketing too, right? Why did that SDR call you and say, Yep, the reason I’m calling you is because you are a person. We thought it with this many employees, right? It it’s because the training focused on how to use the automation platform.
Yeah. And not on the world their buyer is in at the time when they pick up. [00:15:00] And, and this is a big reason why marketers struggle to. Really fantastic content is they also don’t know enough about the world The buyer is in. and what they’re thinking about. And I don’t mean changing minds, as in you have to have them believe something totally different maybe.
But honestly, in b2b, we’re not changing minds in a big, big way. We’re, we’re influencing pretty small decisions and perspectives. Um, and, and that’s what to focus on. Think about the example of, uh, HubSpot. I don’t know if they still do this, but in the early days, they focused a month worth of training on like build your own site on HubSpot.
And your own blog, like do it for a while to get a sense of how difficult it is and all the nuance of it. And they, they really structured the training to put people in that mental zone. . You don’t have to have people necessarily use the product, but the, the training should be, should come from this strategic narrative, which is, here’s a thing people are doing.
We’re gonna explore that in depth. Like, here is the problem. And not just like, the [00:16:00] problem is sales leaders can’t change enough revenue. That’s not the problem. That’s a really, really high level. We want to get into the specific kind of job that sucks. Mm-hmm. , you know, the job that sucks is when they show up to the first onboarding meeting.
And the enablement program looks like this, and the issue with looking like that is blah, blah, blah, and they, whatever the product is, it’s gotta be really detailed and you have to spend time on it. And the issue is people start with the spreadsheet and they say, Plug them in, ramp them up as fast as you can.
They skip those steps. They do it with marketing too. And marketing. Um, I is scared to produce thought leadership cuz they don’t have it. They, they do not have the thought leadership. They, uh, they cannot. How can you lead thought, uh, if at all? If you don’t know the problem in depth, you have to know it almost better than your buyer.
Yep. And this leads, leads marketers to not be able to generate demand cuz they don’t know what they’re doing. They know marketing, they don’t know the subject matter. So subject matter expertise. Infused narrative marketing enablement, sales enablement. That makes the whole thing [00:17:00] sing. That’s a reason why agencies have a, an advantage with their own marketing is because they’re, Yeah, by definition almost dot leader led, and so it’s just, that’s easier to manufacture that in SaaS companies.
You gotta do it intentionally. You have to be like, Okay, who’s gonna be that subject matter expert teaching everyone? What this is, doesn’t have to be a full-time job, or it could be, um, it, it could be a chief evangelist. It could be somebody who really, really gets it. But you have to get the whole company in the same narrative of really, really getting the problem so that when they call you, it’s not, well, you’re, you’re a company with XYZ number of employees.
It’s like you’re a company that probably has. Let’s try the pitch again. Uh, you, you pick up, Why are you calling? Because Jared, most small businesses don’t think they’re gonna be the victim of cyber attacks because they’re too small, they don’t have enough money. But the, the problem with that thinking is they don’t realize small businesses are actually much more a target for cyber attacks because they’re less likely to be defended.
[00:18:00] Right. That would probably hit you and you’d be like, Oh, I didn’t realize that. I mean, I guess you’re right. Okay. Continue. Right? You don’t have to be it. Hey, hey, Jared, I’m in your, I’m in your email right now. Oh my God. Like the, the, the cyber attacker side. The email, you know, Halloween version. You know what the, it’s funny.
Um, the best people that run security, I, I, one of my old colleagues who’s the VP of Security at Bank of America before we worked together, um, was a hacker before. Huh. So with the process that makes sense. He empathizes with the process. I. Yeah. What, what’s the, um, frame GNA from? Catch Me if you can. Right.
The, the FBI hired him because they were like, they know they need elite subject matter expertise to do the best job possible, but you can take a lesson from that, right? That’s why we love Chris VA’s work, cuz he did the work for 25 years and then started teaching it. Well, the irony with Chris Vases, I’m not sure if he did the work in, in the business world, right?
Like he did it under. [00:19:00] Un under significantly more hostile circumstances. So, yeah, you know, every, everybody quotes the book and loves lines and stuff and may even try one or two things. I personally know dozens of people that have read the book. I don’t know anybody that, that swears by the VOS process for
negotiate. Oh, I don’t copy it. Word for all. No, it would be obnoxious, but, um, but the, the point is like that almost the mentality infuses you and you don’t use the playbook in business. Mm-hmm. , but you do, um, sure you do take your mind is changed by it. And that’s the same thing where, um, if you’re thinking about.
I have five hours to dedicate to sales training or, you know, marketing implement or something. Should I bring in somebody who knows who has sold a lot of stuff, or should I bring in somebody who has been the buyer for a long time? Obviously I wanna bring in someone who’s been the buyer. I mean that, that is way more valuable.
Um, The, the text [00:20:00] message chains with, you know, you and a buyer who is your friend mm-hmm. explaining the Revo story is so much more valuable. Right. Uh, my, one of my best friends is, uh, head of global research at, um, a large tech company. If anyone. , uh, of, of our clients revenue than clients is sells a researcher UX product.
I’ll go text him, be like, Hey, what do you think of, you know, Qualtrics or whatever? What do you think of this? He’d be like, Oh yeah, blah, blah, blah. It’s just three texts from an actual buyer with the read story versus this kind of glossy, doesn’t say anything. Marketing jargon. People are like, Oh, stop using jargon.
You don’t know how to stop using jargon unless you’ve spoken to people who are real and doing the thing, right? There’s just, you don’t know what to do, and that causes confusion from training. SDRs is cuz the SDR manager, again, doesn’t know. So everyone’s gotta know what that, that story is what the feelings are of the people who you’re calling marketing to showing ads to, and you have to speak like them.
Only way to do that is to get your hands dirty again. . Yeah. And I couldn’t agree more, but, [00:21:00] um, KPIs that help hold accountable for growing in the right direction. What, what are some of the most important ones in your opinion? One that comes to mind from this discussion is the win rate on opportunities by source.
Sure. Um, a lot of people do not have this dashboard. They don’t have win rate on qualified ops by source. Um, you can also do acceptance rate from meeting to qualified opportunity. What might this reveal? Well, you could, it could show that opportunities sourced from CEO’s, LinkedIn posts, convert. 42% an opportunity sourced from email based outbound end up converting at 28 and from phone based outbound convert at 25, whatever it is, right?
All those numbers are really, really telling because the. . One thing you want to end up with is the value of a meeting. You can put a dollar value on, on a meeting, uh, where that meeting came from, who it’s with, what source was used to get it, what happened before the meeting. All can influence [00:22:00] that. And you have this like dollar value of a meeting and then you can figure out how much you can spend to get one of those meetings.
Um, not tracking. This leads to issues. , we’re seeing the number of, of outbound activities dramatically increased through automation. Uh, let’s just say at a specific company, and I’m thinking of a specific company in mind, it won’t say who, but they took their, you know, outbound email volume from. A few thousand to like 20,000 a month.
Um, and they were getting first incrementally more leads, way less than you’d expect. Sure. And then it went down. And then the opportunity win rate went from like 20% to 5%. The blended win rate, blended win rates are, they hide a lot in a growing company because a blended win rate of 25%. It might say that you have 70% win rate on investor intro sourced ops and 5% win rate on other, so on one big source, let’s say outbound in this case, if you haven’t doubted in the motion, and then [00:23:00] people are like, Oh, win rate’s 25% higher, more outbound.
But then you see it continued erosion of blended win rate because win rate by source was not evaluated. That’s a great example of a kpi. You can take that principle and apply it everywhere. In marketing the value of a lead, the conversion rate on leads sourced from different marketing sources, converting to a meeting.
That’s just a very similar one quick question on, on your, one example there, going from a thousand to 20,000, is deliverability potentially at to blame of the emails? Like, is that, is that a KPI that people aren’t looking at? Because the law of diminishing returns, knowing what I know. I could take a really good hypothesis.
Guess that the, the deliverability is big there because when you got more, you’re going to spam more if, if your stuff isn’t relevant, if it’s coming from your key, your primary domain, and all of that, right? . Yeah. And frankly, [00:24:00] it’s been a while since I managed deliverability myself, but even back in the day when I was, Yeah.
Um, that was absolutely a factor. Um, there was a, when I was a young, uh, leader of growth teams, , um, we had 10 SDRs sending lots and lots of email. And one of them, poor, poor guy, uh, he was bouncing almost all of his emails. And, and he didn’t say anything for a long time. And finally I sat down and I was like, You’re, you’re doing great.
You’re working hard. Why is your quota so low on, on meetings? Um, and he and I looked at his inbox, there’s bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce. And he was just, oh, just kept going, cuz why? And so I was like, Okay, we’re gonna figure this out. So we sat down, uh, we pulled a poor prospect who, you know, probably thought it was really weird, but we sent, uh, an email to her from Gmail by.
but the same thing you would’ve sent from a platform. I was like, All right, let’s test. The platform bounced. Well, it wasn’t the platform. We sent the same email, um, with, I think it was [00:25:00] no message, but the signature and it bounced. It’s like, okay, it’s not the copy. Mm-hmm. . I sent the same email with the message, but no signature, and it went.
It’s like, Oh man, this is weird. So the signature was causing the bounces. Wow. And then I said, Wait a minute, is one of those fancy signatures ? No, it wasn’t even that. Damn. What it was is I asked the rep, I was like, Hey, what’s your middle name? He says, It’s Lee. And I was like, Okay, you’re changing your name.
You’re Lee Lee Wilson now. And he changed his name from, uh, what his Carter Wilson to Lee Wilson. And, and sent the same exact email. And it went through, because what had happened is he had, uh, apparent. We were getting a code that some content was labeled a spam phrase and the, his full name had been lodged as a spam phrase in various P because he had sent too much email and, uh, changing it to his middle name, last name cause it to go through.
And we unblocked it. And it was just this weird little thing of like, if I hadn’t sat down and just tested 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and [00:26:00] this, you know, really looked. , um, no one would’ve seen. So imagine the CEO saying like, We gotta hire more SDRs. But not knowing those things, not actually seeing those things and, and carrying that level of detail down.
You’re gonna mess up your hiring plan, your revenue plan’s gonna go all, all out the window crazy. And, and no, that, that love antos like that. I think that they’re happening more and more now because we’re having more and more reps just, uh, spray and pray, so to speak. But, you know, don’t want to go down that tangent.
Um, yeah. What’s keeping you up at night now though? What’s difficult for, I think for me it, the, the thing that’s the most difficult and interesting is probably that, I mean, right now I’m in the position of being, you know, founder and majority shareholder of my company. So it’s more like that kind of, yeah.
Where and when timing of where to invest, I think because it’s like, okay, we can change the race car, the driver, but not the. . And so there’s this kind of like, when is the weather [00:27:00] changing in the, the economy? Um, and I think this gets a lot of people quite up too. They think when, when is the weather changing?
And you have some people saying, Gonna change q1 2023 is all gonna be bad. I’m in the camp of one more quarter of not that great and then start to come up just because, um, of stock prices. Um, but we don’t know for sure obviously. So with I’m of the camp for 12 months and just. Do it. Like do what you need to do no matter what.
Uh, run a profitable business. But , that’s just me. Well, yeah. I Revenues in is a profitable business, so for us, yeah, I figured as much care as much because it is, we don’t, we would never run at a loss. Um, we’re not venture backed. Um, but for a venture backed business, I can totally see investors. In capital preservation mode, and they’re really grinding on you to to, to hold their interests at heart.
And that kind of hamstrings you, so you have to figure out ways to, to do more with less, which conveniently has been good for organic, um, organic results from all [00:28:00] type of sources has been, have been good. Um, It. The thing that worries me about that is it’s harder to scale fast with paid in that environment because if cost per clicks were going up even before this and CPAs were going up even before this happened, um, and organic does have kind of a limit on it, right?
I mean, you, you can’t scale infinitely with organic. You can do really, really well though, and that’s kind of where, I mean, fortunately, our, our, what revenues in does has shined. , we focus on organic growth, right? It’s, we, we started with outbound in the early days. We did a lot of seo. We’re primarily SEO today and we do a lot of LinkedIn work, but we don’t manage any ad campaigns.
So it’s been a bittersweet type of thing where we’re able to get really fantastic results in this environment. Um, , but venture budgets, uh, aren’t quite as good. So we’ve actually gone more up market to enterprise, um, and Yep. And it’s, it’s caused a bigger need to move to a different set of buyer in shorter amount of time than we were expecting.
Um, so that’s been, [00:29:00] um, it’s a good thing though. It’s a, it’s a good thing though. Yeah. But it’s also like, it’s kind of a grind worry more than a, um, you know, an existential. , if that makes any sense. Yeah. And, and others that are, are worrying about, you know, forecasts of the economy and, and you know, their business with that, what advice would you give them?
I would say that there are answers to be found if you change where you look. Um, and one of my yes themes of advice is get out of the spreadsheet. Right? You in times like this, especially, you have to get outta the spreadsheet and back. If you’re in sales. Close the dashboard. Sit by your reps, shadow their calls in this environment, whatever it is.
If you’re remote. , if it’s marketing, you have to turn off the, the ad dashboards. You have to shut down some of those campaigns and spend that extra time not doing what I call ostrich, which is when you put your head in the sand and you don’t, you choose not to look [00:30:00] and take your head outta the sand, and then you have to just sit on your uncomfortable emotions and go learn more deeply about the buyer and organic success is out there for you, and it is the answer to what you’re seeing in these times when you can’t.
Plug another sdr, spend another 10 K on Google ads. That’s not going to work nearly as well. And it’s not gonna be as profitable, which is gonna take you away from your goals. So you have to include a bigger focus on the uncomfortableness of organic. It’s uncomfortable cuz you need to learn at a much more detailed level how to speak to people organically versus just watching your conversion mate go down and your spend go up.
That’s gotta go out the. and then you have to get uncomfortable with, with doing things in a new way. You’re used to not bothering the executives and just managing the company’s social account. Yep. But if you were to get the C-suite on on board, at least half of them on board, even just the CEO with a thought leadership driven LinkedIn marketing program, [00:31:00] your results would go, would skyrocket.
Right. That if you looked at the performance of my LinkedIn, The, the cost per mill, right? The CPM of my LinkedIn account is just, it blows any ad account out of the water. It’s hundreds of times higher, um, because it’s so different. Like impression is not an impression. That is the lesson to learn from marketers.
I think in this environment is not all impressions are created equal. Just like sales leaders had to learn that not all meetings are created equal by a mile. Um, and if you really internalize. , take your head outta the sand and get your hands dirty again. It will be less comfortable, but you will regain the feeling of being in control and that you are doing something and that that something is going to yield a more sustainable, efficient, and profitable result.
Mic drop moment. That’s it. Like whenever, whenever, you know, we weren’t that far removed from like, Arguably worse economic time, like the [00:32:00] height of covid at the beginning, or at least, uh, a less unsure time, that’s for darn sure. And, um, just look for opportunity and be creative, right. And organic. That’s phenomenal advice.
And there might be something else out there that we haven’t even seen yet. Um, there was, when Slack was created right in the recession, there was when, um, some other major businesses were created. It’s not just new businesses coming to light to solve that, but it’s also new marketing strategies or sales strategies or whatever, like go to market strategies in general, um, as well, really well said.
Now, what excites like, I, I don’t wanna leave on that, that. Downside note, like what excites you about the future? Uh, I I think it’s kind of like you just alluded to, like the, the down note. I didn’t even say that with a down note in my No, no, no. I came across as that. But I, I think of this as opportunity, right?
Like, Yeah. Um, every, every, um, every time a, a recession comes, [00:33:00] it, it does so, Kind of like a wildfire, right? The, the dry leaves in the forest floor kind of gotta get burnt up, and companies that are not running themselves in a sustainable way have to have that behavior checked, and that check is a good thing.
Yeah. And so if it accelerates transitions that needed to happen anyway, that is a good thing. Yeah. I mean, think about the transition to remote that, you know, the, the horrors of covid caused, but that, that one outcome of transitioning more to remote. What’s a good thing? And I think if, if this, um, Environment causes people to much more widely include subject matter experts, SMEs in their marketing departments or their revenue teams.
That will have been a really good thing. I’m excited about that. I’m excited about the fact that more and more people are, uh, Treating SMEs like the core part of demand gen and sales that they are. [00:34:00] Uh, I’m changing my role to chief evangelist of revenues end, uh, and we promoted our COO to president who very well deserved, so I can focus on that key role.
So I’m excited about doing more of that, right, and really embodying what I see the change needing to be in revenue. Going forward and, and that’s what I see revenue as today. Um, and I think that’s where marketing and sales will catch up to tomorrow cuz revenue always represents what is working. , right?
When you make money, you do so by what is working. And the problem is that marketers and sales leaders don’t always know what’s working. So their techniques to try to generate revenue lag behind reality. If only they could see, and this is a whole other rev op topic, but if only they can really see. What is working actually, they hopefully would change much faster, but that lack of transparency disables them from being able to.
So, [00:35:00] uh, I’m excited actually about the future of Rev enabling people to see what is really going on in the hopes that that will lead them to do. More of what does work, which is actually more pleasant to the buyer and less of what doesn’t, which is more annoying to the buyer. You getting that call of you have this many employees and you’re the IT guy, right?
Hopefully that wouldn’t happen in the future, which is SME driven, uh, data quality centric, um, and is just a rev ops dream, right? Like Rev is where it all happens. Um, that’s the center, that’s the beating heart of the organization, ideally. So I’m excited about. So, you know, this brings up, uh, another question that I’ve been like mulling through.
Cause I, I believe OPS is the center of an organization. We look at it as rev ops. Do you think, uh, in, in, in this PLG world that we’re in the middle of and is only going to increase, do you see, um, some growth metrics joining the revs? Maybe a change in names to see, like leading indicators. You know, we’re seeing product led sales now where you’re already [00:36:00] jumping in.
Mm-hmm. , that’s one thing. And. That’s a growth thing, right? Like and, and, um, but also acquisition, which is traditionally a growth metric in PLG acquisition product, like this is all part of ops. Like, I, I, you know, we’re building a team, a growth ops team internally foreshadowing the future of op. Um, and, and you know what’s funny is growth ops.
It’s, it’s almost funny cuz growth marketers kind of have that ops already built into who they are with like testing data, all of this. Mm-hmm. , there’s not like a separate department managing them per se. And I think that’s some of the silo, but, um, And, and, and you know, on the other school of thought, I’m thinking like Rev hops, a way it’s meant to be run is like your top growth person as well.
Do you see all of this becoming one, whatever the name is, of the future? Well, yes. Like I [00:37:00] remember back in my first ever job. For osha real job. Um, and I was a, a broker, uh, for FX trading, Not a stock broker, but still licensed, but for, for FX trading. And what we would do is we’d call people who opened up paper trading accounts and we’d see if we could get them to fund a live account.
And that was our goal. And I had this brilliant idea to be like, Hey, what if we could get in Salesforce, the, just some of the things they’re doing in the paper trading. That would be really cool. It’d make it our call way more efficient. And we just got shadowed, right? They poo-pooed the idea and they were like, eh, that’s doesn’t matter.
Just call ’em. And I was just like, they’re using this account or not. Like, why don’t we call the ones that are using it in certain ways? Wouldn’t that script are opener much better than, Hi, I’m Alex calling on behalf of blah, blah, blah. Uh, I’m, I’m your assign relationship manager. Like that’s fine, but like the department would’ve been radically more.
if we called the ones who were using the account actively, [00:38:00] especially, I dunno if this is compliant, but the ones that had made money, paper money, right? Like, I mean, there’s so many things you could have done and 10 years ago. 2012, I was sitting at the desk being like, I wish we could get product data in there to enable us.
But that would’ve required collaboration between product and technology and sales, and they didn’t want that. That was a pain in the ass. So hopefully PLG and Rev Ops will combine in such a way that enables collaboration and sharing. Data, technique and goals, and this has to be top down. They have to be given permission to do so by their bosses, which is how all change happens somehow.
The C-suite has to get ahold of the idea that collaboration between products and revenue is going to be core to their strategy. and then they should encourage that collaboration. And nowadays we have correlated, we have PLG platforms, we have all these things that make it so that we can do that. [00:39:00] If only we had that back then 10 years ago, God, it would’ve been a different world.
Um, but Rev has to orchestrate all of that and, and make sure that that is designed for the outcome of revenue. , that’s how it’s going to work. It’s going have, how it’s going to have to work unless you get left behind and you’re still in this more SDRs, more revenue, uh, and you’re just gonna burn through venture money until you stop being given it.
So more SDRs, more revenue. Without going down this tangent, and we definitely need to jam on this offline. Could be if, if marketing is overseeing SDRs, it could. if, and I know that you probably agree, like, like it could be if it’s aligned the right way, um, it could, yes. But it has to be, um, tightly aligned with that growth and dimension.
Right. I, I think the SDR role done right is beautiful. It’s beautiful, right? Be what they can be is last mile extensions of brand subject matter experts, right? If let, [00:40:00] let’s say, my ideal way to train SDRs and front level sellers is to arm them with three deep insights that they know through and through.
They don’t have to know everything. Nor about the product, nor about the technology, but just three deep insights about how things go, right? Um, one of them, let’s say for cybersecurity, did you know that smaller businesses are more likely to receive a cyber attack and here’s why. If they know that one thing and two other things that should be marketing and, and strategic narrative driven.
And so if marketing trains them to do that, they’re only gonna be able to call the people who are receptive to that insight. And there’s gonna be this natural, ideally, um, correlation between the scaling of that brand and narrative and the amount of SDRs needed to carry the message one to one. Right?
Instead of just saying, I hire an SDR who is an inbox that is used to blast more emails out, like, you can mass email without more sds, You, you, hundred [00:41:00] percent. But, but people still do that. And it’s like, you should be using email inbox is worth more than an sdr if that’s all you’re gonna do. It is. You may, if you’re gonna do that, you may as well just, just multi inbox, right?
And yes, there are some issues with that, with, you know, deliverability, uh, multiple account stuff. But like at the end of the day, you can crack that, not if you want to without hiring another person to do manual email automation like that. That should not be the reason you hire more SDRs. It should be for things that only an SDR can do, that technology cannot relationship.
Yes, exactly. Uh, and caring. I think it’s the tailor part of Challenger Sale, right? Marketing narrative. C-Suite is the, the teaching, the narrative, the why, the insights, um, sdr, F bdr, xdr, their job is to tailor that to individuals. They take that, they carry it to market and tailor it. They have that second step as the process is theirs.
Ideally, unless they’re just direct response email automation. But that’s, you know, that’s not a great role for Ns. The, the future is exciting, is [00:42:00] the point. And, you know, I, I wanna learn more about you though, Alex, like, like there’s, there’s some deeper insights, revenue zen, the zen part of that as well as who you are.
Tell, tell me about everything that makes you, you, We touched on the zen part, right? That’s always been aspirational because one thing that I experienced doing leading growth at my last company before revenues, was the emotional highs and lows. And it is, it is that emotional work is taxing. I mean, the taxing nature of emotional work needed to do this.
High volatility, um, startup grind. Is a reason why most people don’t do the things that we’ve been talking about. They don’t talk to customers. They don’t get deep in the, in the details of, of the insights because it’s hard and they’ve had a long day. Right, And they’ve already been fending off their, their boss and or if it’s, if they’re the ceo, their investor and they don’t have the emotional bandwidth for it and.[00:43:00]
The, the mindfulness aspect of Revenue Zen is, is hopefully to help you introduce a little bit more stoicism into it at a time when I needed it. Like, the way I started Revenue Zen was, um, like really in defense of, of hostility. Coming to me that I had to kind of give birth to a company out of. And so I needed, uh, what was on my mind at that time was needing to make sure that I had not control over my own feelings, but being able to experience them and let them pass and be left with a little bit more measure of calm and ability to do the hard things.
Cuz this is really hard and it’s really hard to do hard things if you have not attempted to master your. . And so, no, nobody’s a master of themselves, but the, the practice of trying to do that, I don’t just mean sitting down with your legs crossed and listening to the com app, right? Cause that’s a big way you start.
But I ideally, even [00:44:00] just the simple practice of like, you have a really busy day. You’re on a bunch of calls, recording podcast, hosting a podcast, creating content, blah, blah, and you just take like 10 seconds in the middle of it to just ponder the mysteries of the universe. And then you come back to your, to your normal head, like even that alone will work wonders on your ability to put all of this in perspective.
And if you can put all this in perspective and see that it is like, ideally a very fun game that we are playing to hopefully increase the, you know, the, the future of humanity’s potential through technology. Um, Then you can find joy in it versus only seeing the, the toxic parts. And I think that’s important because this is a hard thing.
Um, and revenue is the hardest thing to have any zen about because it’s the final thing that matters, right? Um, it’s cas the way that we fund life. It’s not life, but it’s the way that we fund it. So hopefully we can see it cas the way that we fund life, not the purpose and the meaning of life. [00:45:00] Um, and we take a little bit of a practice to work on our, our own selves so we can get back at that hard work with vim and vigor and not dread and zen is the way we fund ourselves.
Oh, oh, I loved, I haven’t heard that. I love it. So you, you know, um, I, I’m, I’m, I’m really a believer in, you know, in, in, in. Zen or in working on ourselves both. Right. And um, and another little thing we could do is just remember to breathe, right? Like even if you don’t have the 10 minutes, like as I’m talking to you, or even better as I’m listening to you, making sure that.
I’m connecting my breaths because you know what doesn’t happen in the present Pauses, right? We need to breathe to live like it’s the most simple thing you could do without closing your eyes, without going for a walk, without even having your mental state go from right [00:46:00] here. It’s something you should be doing every second.
Of every day that words aren’t coming outta your mouth, but so often we pause to think about something probably in the past. Mm-hmm. definitely in the past, some emotional trigger today that, and, and we could go down that, But you also live in Portland, um, which is a city that I’ve spent five months in and, and I enjoy.
Like how, how, how does that contribute to everything that you’re doing? Because Portland. You know, a, a budding startup city as well? It, it is. We interestingly don’t have that many clients in Portland, but the, the journey for me was, um, I used to live in San Francisco. I was born and raised in Brooklyn games, so I, I’m a native of the Bay Area and I realized that I did not, Uh, need or want that culture to be around me all the time.
And I, I, I had been born in it, and raised in it, and what I needed was a place [00:47:00] that would enable me to hit my longer term goals that didn’t require to me constantly hustling. Um, to the nth degree. I wanted to be able to take a little bit more of a pause and, um, and to, to have more of that, that balance in my life.
Um, and so moving to Portland for me was less about, um, seeking comfort and more about taking a, a calm look at my current state and saying, I’m going to a hundred percent be able to reach my own goals. Much, much sooner, uh, by moving to Portland and, and creating a life that’s more grounded in what I saw.
It characterizes Portland as opposed to the Bay Area. Um, I love the Bay Area and the people there. I noticed that the, the people in Portland are, tend to be more focused on. Here and now In some ways, in some ways, very much not right, Like politically, very much not. But in, in the way that they [00:48:00] approach, Like people here have hobbies.
They do things that don’t matter for capitalism. And I find that to be very beautiful. And for me that is a way that I’m, I’m better at capitalism when I don’t spend all my time on it. and I just thought that was a beautiful thing I needed to have and, and to change. Um, and that’s the reason I moved and stayed here is because, um, I had enough of that drive to work and to build.
I didn’t need the entire city around me to be doing the same thing. I wanted to introduce more of that. Variety, that kind of, I mean, it’s literally, literally much greener here than it is where I grew up in California and that I love that. Um, and I remember a quote from, to bring it back to the zen part, Atic Nott Han book, where, um, a young, a younger disciple is saying, I, I gotta leave the journalism part of the monastery.
I wanna work on the, in the gardens for a year. Um, and she gets permission and six months in Han uh, asks her through another monk to. Back to the journalism [00:49:00] side cuz they have important mission work to do. And she says, No, I wanna work in the garden. And he says, Tell her it’s the same working on the computer or in the garden.
It’s the same. And I love that it’s, it’s the same and no matter where you go, what you do, it’s just, it’s the same. And so whether you’re growing revenue or working in the garden, it can be the same. and wherever you go, there you are. Yeah. As a reflection of, um, the internal things that you have going on.
You can’t Yes. You can’t outrun them forever. They will always find you always. Yes. Mike would outrun them for a short period of time. , but not forever. But not forever. Uh, and, uh, and it’ll come back when it could most help you as well. Mm-hmm. , uh, assuming that you look at it that way, and you should, but Alex, th this has been a pleasure.
How can people. Get in touch with you, find you, I like it to be personal. Come to me on LinkedIn, send me a connection request, include a note, and, and let’s just have a chat there to start. I, I like it that better than any kind of barrier between [00:50:00] it. Um, so hit me up on LinkedIn. If my email address ever changes, my profile won’t.
Um, yeah, and, uh, you can go to our website too, but LinkedIn’s the best way to contact me directly and we’ll, we’ll have a nice chat there first, Alex, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been amazing. Thank you for having me, Jared. And thank you all for listening. Uh, this is another episode of Revenue Today.
If, if, if you like it, share it and, uh, we’ll be back next week. Thank you. Whoa. Another great episode of Revenue Today. For show notes, links and mentions, visit revenue today.live For all my friends, the Rev Genius Community. Thank you. It’s been awesome to spend this time with you. Please DM me any feedback and.
In our Slack channel or on LinkedIn. If you’re not in Rev Genius, join [email protected]. It’s free and it only takes like two seconds, and you’ll be joining a group of 27,000 revenue professionals [00:51:00] strong. We’ve got it all. Looking forward to seeing you there. Catch you on the flip side.
Thank you. Yeah.