The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

Ep 239: Just Say Yes w/ Eric Martin


Just Say Yes w/ Eric Martin

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host s Brenda Martin. You're listening to is this a good time? Show, where I put pavilion members on the hot seat for fifteen minutes and we hear their incredible stories. Shows are out on Thursday, so hit subscribe and you'll not miss hearing from our experts. Today's guest is Eric Martin. He's the head of Sales Advanta. We talked about how, professionally and Networking Wise, you've got to just say yes, and I love this concept. This episode was brought to you by contract book. Raise your hand if you love managing contracts. We didn't think so. Contract book created an all in one contract automation platform, with data at the heart of everything, to help organizations automate mundane tasks that waste your valuable time, energy and resources. VISIT CONTRACT BOOK DOT COM to access contract books complete set of automation tools for free. All right, let's do this episode one seventeen. Is this a good time? All right, everyone, we are here with Eric Martin. He's the head of Sales Advanta out of San Francisco. Eric, so great to have you on the pod. Happy to be here. Awesome, man. Well, I'll meet no filler. We jump right in. Um, go ahead and bring us through your your you know your history. Tell us where you where you started. You've been a founder in the past. I mean a couple of times, it seems. How how did you get you start off your career and then and then bring us all the way to Banta. Yeah, cool. So I'll give the T LDR. My backgrounds and engineering. have an Undergrad and mechanical engineering. Went to Grad school and lived in Saudi Arabia for three years, where I got a master's degree in environmental engineering. Learned about the world of entrepreneurship there. Um with zero credentials, helped start my Grad schools kind of entrepreneurship Cent Center and seed fund was like investing in kind of Saudi tech startups. Overnight, ended up joining one of those Um that company ended up licensing the technology out as a means of kind of shedding closing doors.

Uh. Started another company that did not work at all and on the heels of that Um in, a number of my advisors were like hey, like if you ever want to be a CEO again, every CEO has to be a good salesperson. You're such a people person, we think this could be good for you. It's going to be humbling, you should give it a shot. And that was eight, nine years ago, and kind of the rest is history. Um Too says kind of icy roles. Later found myself avantas employee. I think number seven. Um, first go to market higher, but very clearly kind of wanting to not just be the first go to market higher, but first go to market leader. And I have the opportunity to lead the entire sales word for the first three years until we brought in a Siero a few months. Well, then, and and and and and and. So you were at Data Fox prior to advance it. Right. So tell me about the journey in Data Fox. Were you in sales leadership from the get go, or were you an IC that was promoted up? Or yeah, it's funny. So my so I actually I'll go I'll zoom in on the sales career for a second. So my first sales role was a bdrt a company called swift type. Swift type was Um later acquired by elastic public company. Swift type was where I learned after a few months that like in sales, no matter what you had to hit quota. I remember coming home one day and, you know, a friend being like. I'm like, yeah, I think we're doing well, I'm hitting eight percent ago and they're like they were in sales and like, dude, you have to hit a cent UH. And so did that. That company Um, kind of, how do I say it? Like it effectively ran its course, like with the acquisition. My next opportunity was at Data Fox, who I had learned about by guests playing on their company's soccer team, and they also insisted that I joined as a BDR, even though I've been in seat for twelve months. So Fun fact I've been a BDR two companies. Um, but it was really a data fox where I kind of got to invest in kind of learning kind of the art and craft of of selling, and so I actually, you know, I guess the Promotion Path there was from B D r a e to what we called senior. My first sales leadership...

...experience came Advantam. Oh Wow, so they did take a leap on you. I mean, you know, I bet you a lot of people that are listening are. I see is that say hey, I want to be a sales leader one day. Did you. You know, did you employ like a bit of a fake it two make it, or how did you prep for, let's say, Um, you know, being being representing yourself as a sales leader that could build an organization? Yeah, it's a good question. There was certainly no fake it till you make it. When when Data Fox was acquired by Oracle Um, I only knew a certainty that I didn't want to work at Oracle. I also knew pretty clearly that I wasn't ready to go start another company, and so for me, the only roles that I were that was entertaining were kind of first sales roles. So I, you know, silicon values a small space. I've been here for a decade. At the time, had a dozen conversations Um. In a very kind of funny roundabout way, ended up getting introduced to Vant UH and once again, like in terms of there's never been any kind of fake it till you make it, Um, I feel like I've been really blessed to learn from really strong leaders and sales leaders. Um. I like to say that kind of putting my mind through six years of engineering study helps. You also kind of developed problem solving frameworks that I found to be more transferable than not. And so, Um, I don't know. I I suppose maybe through those experiences my appreciation for sales as more of math and science than art. Well, I was going to say that you, you actually, you actually referred to it as the art of sales, and I was going to come back to that and say, as an engineer, I imagine you really see this as a process, right, like Um, when when, when you break it down, it's just individual components and finding bottlenecks and and and working through success rates that at different stages, right, like it is. I mean it's some kind of continuing is a bit different, but it's it's like it's o r right, like Um in a lot of ways. So are... Are you that type of leader? You are very great analytic sales leader, I think so. We certainly kind of have operated this sales team and they go to market team at large Advanta in that capacity over the last three years, you know, with, I think, a healthy emphasis on process and efficiency, but also like a really generous kind of acknowledgement that there are humans behind this and that there are humans on the other side of the zoom call as well. So that's where, like if I'm kind of using the terms art and science. You know, it's like I certainly am a believer that it's it's a mix of both. Got It, got it, and you might as well, uh, do us a favor and tell tell the world with Advanta is while we're here. Just give yourself that plug. Yep. So, uh, we are the kind of leading cloud compliance software vendor. We created this category about five years ago. We Automated Salck to hit at GDP R P C I for Ompanies. We're basically doing to the world of compliance that I don't know Uber did to the world of taxi cabs. If that makes sense. Sure. And you know, I was curious because the model is not exactly Um, it's not SAS right, like its services in a way, or is there some part component of it that is SAS? It's actually like Vantas. So it is so, so so. Traditionally, if companies were preparing to go through a sack to audit, they'd hire human auditors who would come to the office spends upwards of one to three weeks doing what's called readiness assessment, telling them kind of like you know which ducks are out of row and like kind of what you need to fix this is this and all of the continuous monitoring of all these what are called controls are what Vanta automates to software. The human component on the back is on the back end, where like we've built a product for consumers as well as for our kind of fifty plus C P A firms that we partner with, so that, like, both can leverage the tool to get the kind of audit performed with minimal zoom interactions. You know, screenshot sharing, spreadsheet,...

...ring center. Good, good, good. I'm glad to ask. Um, I know that. Um, I know that our company has taken a look Advanta and we're impressed by it. So you have, you have my endorsement. Well, let's let's let's get into a couple of the things. I mean. We talk a lot about how luck is a part of getting to where you are, and I wonder, you know, whether it's uh, you know, the time in Saudi Arabia or through this transition into sales. So where has kind of luck peeked its head out and really given you a push? I generally think that, like where I am today is a byproduct of what I call earned luck, and I've given this field to a number of kind of friends in the past. But it's just that, like I live life, being a yes person, right, and kind of saying yes has resulted in me getting to experiencing a number of kind of extraordinary things that life has to offer, but also meeting, uh, a number of extraordinary people, uh, and so I share that with the context of like, you know, how did I get here? In the context of luck? You know, when I like, throughout my sales cure, I've always kind of kept my head up, and throughout life I've always done the same. And I don't know, like two things happened to paid dividends as it pretends, like finding Vanta. One I had kind of befriended at one point in time a recruiter at the lions, and after a dozen conversations with kind of direct conversations with startup founders, I, on a whim, reached out to her and she's the one who happened to tell me about Vanta. And, you know, another kind of bioproduct to this is, you know, I got an invitation to go. It's like eight years ago, moved into this House with the founders of Chubby shorts, who happened to be Stanford alum who were good friends with Christina, the CEO of Vanta, and I became good friend to them and so as I got to know her, she did her back channeling, I did my back channeling and it was one of those like, you know, it just was like okay, cool, this is like this is a good thing, and I feel like that's just a, you know, a blip of a story that I feel like I've been very blessed to be able to tell in terms of saying yes resulting in things that have ended up served me well. Yeah, I I actually I I subscribe... this a lot. I think a lot about I have two young kids of four, four year old boy and a three year old girl, and I think this is one of the lessons I want to teach them and just like always say yes. Um, you know, when it comes to do you want to do x that seems maybe a little bit out of your comfort zone or an event that you don't know anybody yet, just say yes and go and make the most of it because, Um, I think you know, and maybe you'd agree, what comes along with saying yes is a lot of you know, sometimes less than fulfilling experiences, like you might go to some happy hour and be like, oh, that, nothing happened there, I didn't meet anybody interesting or whatever, but that's part of the work that it's like, there's a part of the work, because then the one time out of ten where it does turn into something great, or even the one time out of five it is it is well worth it to say yes. Yeah, yeah, I think it's it's a it's a feedback loop of like saying yes but also having like very thoughtful awareness of the situation that you're stepping into and what feels good and what doesn't and, you know, making future choices based on that feedback loop. I love that, man, love that. Well, look, I'm you know, you've obviously had a ton of experience now, both as an I C and a leader. Give us a sales or marketing tactic that you think, you know, pavilion members can kind of put into play tomorrow. Yeah, so this is one that I, Um, I share with kind of folks who are kind of a few years behind where we are and or kind of building sales organs Um as something that we did so early on in Vanta. I found that, like we were selling into the SMB and we still largely do sell into the SMB space. The while the well, I would argue that the sales motion feels more mid marketing. Um, it's a very transactional deal. These are like you know deals, average cycle of just a couple of weeks. That's said. I give this context because, acknowledging that sales motion when we were building the team, we're having a really hard time attracting like really tenured sales reps, and so what we found is that we were getting a lot of interest from these folks who I call kind of Steph curry after their rookie season where they were...

...showing M v P potential, but they weren't quite there. And so, Um, all of this to say, like you know, what we did was we built a sales coaching program where I reached out to any number of kind of I see friends who were kind of enterprise sellers who didn't explicitly have management ambitions but who wanted to pay it forward, and we structured this program where repaired these coaches with one or two reps and they'd spent an hour week listening to gone calls and then doing one on one sales skills coaching with them, and what that served to do for us was like rapidly accelerate the growth of our sales team, and we actually now have like an in house coach. We're hiring a second one. That in house coach manages our external coaches. Um, and it's a program that continues to flourish. I know at least four other friends that have kind of implemented something taking taken this model and odds are like, if you're a founder here and you're building a sales team and you're a little nervous about first higher your second higher, like odds are you have a friend who's also in says who you and just reach out, and one of the things we did was Sayd Hey, like you want to pay it for it? Oh, and also like I'll give you a hundred bucks an hour. You know, and this it's a no brainer. So if there's one one thing I recommend folks do, that pays massive dividends, as it pretends to, not just kind of influencing bookings but also influencing seller retention. Yeah, Um, that feels like a pretty, pretty easy I like that man that it also seems like you know, you, you have you know. This is also part of the saying yes, like you have a network of people who you trust to to you know, uh, maybe put more junior people with right, like you're hiring people that are a little bit before their breakout and therefore, I mean, you know, maybe a little bit cheaper, better value, and you're giving them the skills while they're that's pretty cool. Any key position you're hiring for. We found ourselves in a spot where, Um, are a ES. We're on average, kind of doing a hundred, thirty hun or forty percent to attainment to goal every...

...month for the past year and a half, which was which was awesome. But you know, when you're at a company like ours and the goals get bigger and bigger and bigger every month, Um, we've found ourselves in a spot where, like, we were kind of behind the eight ball as IP pertained the hiring. Um, we've since caught up but uh, you know, with the metrics that we have today, I say we're still hiring eighties because, uh, they're kind of the core piece to our our growth puzzle. Awesome, awesome. Well, hopefully some people are listening and want to come learn from you the systems that you put in place. And he shoutouts on people who kind of have helped you along the way or content that you appreciate that they put out and you know, you subscribe to their thinking. Yeah, I guess when when it comes to shoutouts. Um, I've had one mentor who's been really, really helpful for me. This is Ed Callenan. He's the former Crro of seismic. I'ven caught up with him. Caught up with him in a few months. I'm not sure if he's putting the gloves back on, but he's been tremendously helpful for me, for from mentorship standpoint. So I have definitely read some of his I'm sure he's listening. So thank you for all that you put out there. Very cool and uh, and last but not least, I'm a big, big restaurant guy. You gotta tell I mean, you're in, you're in one of the culinary centers of this country. Um, what's give us a secret spot, give us a low key place that we don't know about, or someplace that we do that you love. Oh that's so interesting. Okay, so I've so UM, my girlfriend, I just moved back to sef we were in Venice, beach for all of Covid and this is her first time living here. I feel like she has been the one who's been on more of the culinary tour with me writing shotgun and got the way. Go to Venice with me, baby, because I mean you want Jelina and and and Gusta and all that, come on there with you. But I will say I had not ever been to lazy bear. Shout, shout out to our our Cero, Stevie Kase, invited me there last week. For those in S F who get the opportunity, highly, highly recommend Um. For those looking for a way lesser known place, uh, that I still think rocks. Um,...

...there's a Korean Mexican fusion place on Bus Street called TACOREA. UH, like Taco, as in like in Korea. Um. Oh, interesting. If you're in talent, like for something a little faster, Um, something a little less bougie. Um, maybe that's a deep cut. I like that. I like that. Yeah, the founder of Lazy Bear was a former engineer and he's like he's his whole story is incredibly interesting. If you don't know and it's Um uh and like he just did this as a dinner club and then, like you know, opened it up. I've had a couple of interactions with him in my former selling to find DNING rushaant days. So good, good reco and I love the deep cut O. Thank you, man. So so appreciative to have you on and excited to uh, you know, potentially I use a product at some point in Vanta, but uh, but moreover, just be connected and hopefully get some good food with you in the future. Man as man way. I really appreciate it taking the time and thanks you for having me on. That is our show. Thank you so much for listen and if you love the show, rate and review in the apple podcast or spotify APP, send it to some friends smash that subscribe button. This episode was brought to you by contract book. Contract Books Digital Contract Management Platform allows scaling businesses to automate and manage the entire contract life cycle in one floak and started for free at contract book Dot Com. I had so much fun today. I hope you did too. Now get out and crush your numbers.

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