The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

Ep 6: Starting up an SDR program feat Andy Racic

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Starting up an SDR program feat Andy Racic

Book. What is up everybody? Welcome to the revenue collective podcast. I'm your launch host, Justin Welsh, member of the Los Angeles Chapter of revenue collective. In inside of these episodes we're going to feature ideas and conversations that are inspired by ongoing discussions within the revenue collective community across the globe. In inside of the Revenue Collective Slack Channel. There has been a lot of talk recently around the unique challenges of building an STR program from scratch. We're going to cover how to do that in more inside of this episode with our guests, the head of sales at tangle health and e Racic. And before we dive in with Andy, a few notes. If you're out there listening and you want to join revenue collective, visit Revenue Collectivecom and click apply now. Also, our sponsor for June is outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from siload conversations to a streamlined, in customer centric journey. Leveraging the next generation of artificial intelligence, the platform allows sales reps to deliver consistent, relevant and responsible communication for each prospect every time enabling personalization at scale that was previously unthinkable. Okay, let's dive in and get the show started with today's guest and e Racik. Our guest today is Andy Race. Like Andy is the current head of sales at tangle health, a Bob, SASS and B PEO provider in the benefit space, currently around ten million an Rr. He has nine years of B to be experience within HR, talent and benefits, and he's also the CO author of your definitive sales career guide. Andy, welcome to the showman. Justin thanks for having me. Happy to be here. Awesome. I always like to start out, Andy, just by learning a little bit more about how our guests got to where they are today. Can you tell us a little bit about your career history? How did you get to be the head of sales at Tangle Health? Yeah, for sure, so. I'm your probably your stereotypical accidental salesperson. I studied physics of all things in college and really had no, you know, business type aspirations and Undergrad towards the end of that I realized that, you know, I actually should maybe changed my mind and find a way to enter the business world. And obviously you know, everyone needs a need's a career. So about three months or sorry, three years after I graduated, you know, I've been with a very good company for a while and eventually realize that it sales might be kind of interesting, just because, you know, hey, it's a it's critical problem solving and you know your problem is trying to figure out a lot of different things and moving pieces specifically. You know, people where their mind is, that and all that. So I became very interested in in the challenge of professional sales and I was very lucky that I had a former classmate and friend, David Weiss, who helped me get into sales. Fast forward about eight years or so.

You know, I it's been a lot of time in the talent space. It's been a little bit of time in the HR software space. I was in Austin. I was with ATP in mid market sales and I saw an opportunity to join a, you know, small start up ish company, which is tango, and I jumped at it. And at the time I joined tango and I was in a individual contributor position covering effectively, you know, enterprise accounts for the northeast United States. Over the next you know, nine months or so the dam I was on turned over completely. So my peers, and I was one of for the other three left the business for for various reasons. We had an SDR supporting us. She left the business and also, at the very end of that time, my vp took a position to get back to basically a business development role in the space that she was much more familiar with. So it wasn't a bad story by any means. But you know, the the team turned over for various reasons. Luckily, at the time I was well luckily, maybe not skill or luck, you, but but I've been the top performer on the team. So I'd earned earned my stripes during my time at tango as an individual contributor. So I made the case of you know, hey, let's let's kind of rebuild and reach tool our sales organization. I've got an idea of some of the best practices that I'm aware of in industry. So I made the case for that and basically made the case to get the leadership role at the same time. And you know, the business liked and trusted me enough to give me the opportunity. That's amazing. You know, I think a lot of us. You know, a lot of US kind of stumble into sales by accident, right. I think a few people kind of know they want to be sales people. But you moved up really quickly into sales leadership and I got a kind of wonder. Did you know that you wanted to be a sales leader and, if so, like why? Was it the challenge or you are you a natural people leader? Was it something else? How did you think about, you know, moving up into a leadership roll? That's a good question and I've been I've been mulling over that for for quite some time. I'm not necessarily early said, hope not. I don't think I'm a power hungry person or even necessarily a status hungry person, and I'm not going to deny that. Hey, we all kind of like power and status because the mixtual lives easier. But I've had some opportunities to step into leadership rolls here and they're like, you know, I did the fraternity thing in college, which was dumb but also was a lot of fun, and I stepped into some leadership rolls there and really, more often than not, whenever I felt that the motivation or the drive or you know, the need to do that, it was because I thought that I could help out and serve, you know, the organization potentially better than anyone else because, you know, either my skill set or the time I had available or whatever it is, because I I really do believe in servant leadership, and once someone eventually explained what that framework was and and that philosophy, I was like, Oh, yeah, that's that's how I like to operate. So if I think I can do the best job, I'm going to fight for it, and if I...

...think that someone else can do, you know, as good or better of a job, then I don't necessarily care as much to go after that job because, hey, you know, I'm I'm pretty happy in the role I'm at at almost any given time. So let us try to like work together at the figure out, Hey, who really should be doing this. As long as you're the best person for the job, even better, because, I mean, you know, I've got a great CEO. Love reporting to that guy. I do have, you know, aspirations to eventually, you know, continue and grow my career, but I love that guy in that job right now. I hope he never moves and I hope that, you know, we're able to have someone above me teaching me for quite some time. Yeah, I can, you know, I can testify how important that is. You know, I've reported to to amazing CEOS and it just makes your life so much easier. And I'm with you on the on the leadership side, right. I think you know, when I think about leadership, being able to help others achieve leadership roles has been something that's really stood out for me. I you know, I of course I'm excited about how the companies that I've been at performed, but when I look at look out across my network, you know, watching guys and girls that have reported to me go out and bvps and crows and CEO's is probably been, you know, more fun for me on the on the leadership side. So I want to do want to transition into this conversation, though, which I saw in the revenue collective channel, which is I believe you recently went through the challenge of building your very first SDR program when you were tasked with building that program how did you start mapping out the build of your very first SDR program yeah, so, let's see. I think I made the case for that in January or February of last year and we're recording this in, you know, early April. So it's it's still very much so it work in progress, but as part of the transition from individual contributor to leadership. I said, Hey, you know, companies like ours have successful outbound SDR programs. I think we're really, you know, missing a lot of value by not having one. I I haven't built one before, but I have done a lot of outbound prospecting, so I think I can do that. So I did a lot of research and that means, you know, I consume a metric crap ton of podcast content and typically listening at you one point five to two x to just cram as much in there as possible with you. Listen to a lot of content, and that I read as many books as I could find around that subject. So predictable revenue, still devotment playbook or the two that immediately jumped to mind that were fairly foundational for for a lot of what I put my plan around. Did a little bit of a competitive survey to look out in the market and say, you know, hey, let's make sure that you know are our main competitors or companies that are in our space that are a bit larger and a bit more sophisticated as far as their sales organization goes. Let's make sure that they're doing that. Okay, Yep, they are. So we've proven out that are you know, we're reasonably confident that the market makes sense for us. Then it's, you know, every single step from there. So let's define the role, the responsibilities, make sure...

...that we've got the tools, the text act there and, you know, just kind of get to work from there. Yeah, it's it's really interesting. You know, I've built out a few SDR programs myself and the amount of things that you learn like right up front is really really promising. When you can turn those learnings around and use them to better, you know, grow your team. I'm going to assume that you guys had some pretty quick learnings as well, both positive and maybe also some challenges as well. What was something that didn't go as planned when you were building this out, and how did you handle that? I this is embarrassing to admit, but the I think the biggest challenge that I've I've had this past year and at this point, I've had to replace the person that I did joined us before because someone came in, you know had some success but, you know, frankly, not not enough. I think they kind of saw the writing on the wall and they found another position and then we brought somebody else in, but the the person that we had in the role. I've always been a bit of a self starter and if I don't either understand the job in front of me or the task or how to do it best, I'm going to proactively find ways to do it, and that means, you know, research. However, I need to or obviously reach out to my manager because, you know, it's kind of their job to make me successful and enable me to achieve my goals, because it helps them. I think I had accidentally, or you know, through poor hiring and screening process practices, hired someone that really wasn't like that and they needed much or, you know, time and attention, handholding, however you want to call it, and I I didn't even at the time realize that that could be a thing for a sales person because it just didn't didn't make sense to me that someone like that would would take a sales job. So now I've I've become much more cognizant of the you know, profile or personality profile of the person that I'm hiring or bringing on on my team. Yet to me it's the difference between optimizers and builders, and I think oftentimes we get confused by the success of people and we see, you know, someone was a world class sales manager one President's Club a few times, but it's really truly important to understand whether or not they actually built something from scratch or whether they took something that was built and actually just went out and optimized it. Right. And it sounds like you needed a builder. Is that right? Yeah, that's a that's a very good way framing that. How do you find those folks right? Like it feels like you you maybe took a swing in a miss on the first hire. You probably learned a lot from that. Do you have any sense of how companies go out in assess who a builder is versus someone who needs something to be in place? Because I see this mistake happening all the time. What's your take on getting that right now that you've maybe gotten it wrong the first time? Yeah, and I can I can speculate and I can talk about what I'm trying to do. I'd very much so like to, like to get some advice or maybe even hear your thoughts, but I think a lot...

...of it comes down to the you know, the interview process, the screening process and specifically behavioral interview questions, because you got a really screen very, very hard. You know, I think one of the one of the first lessons that one of my former VP's to you know and imparted to me once I was stepping into a leadership role was higher, slow, fire fast, and I was like why, you want to you want to build a team as quick as possible and then eventually realize that, you know, once you hire somebody, you know, for better for worse, you stuck with them for a while, and the behavioral interview style questions, that's what allows you to really understand how does this person react in this kind of situation? What kind of experiences do they have and and it kind of helps you suss out who they who they really are. At least that's my take on it thus far. Do you ever a tango? I'm curious when you're hiring executive, you know, leaders or senior sales leaders to come in and, you know, build an str program or build an a e team, do you have them, during the interview process, do a project? I'm kind of going around and getting a sense from folks on whether or not that's that's commonplace. I did it in my past business and really enjoyed it. What about it? Tango? Do you do? You have them create projects? Yeah, so it's funny you mentioned that. The first time around I thought, okay, I'm only let me give an exercise to the candidates that I'm screening for and I try to give the exercise basically after the initial application, before any any conversation. And I think out of the twenty or thirty people that I had given that to, only one responded and their work project, so to speak, or their their exercise submission was almost a copy paste for our web site. So I was I was not super private that and I was like, may be sure. Yeah, but this time around I was like, well, let me let me get them a little bit excited about the opportunity first and then they'll be a bit more invested in it. So I did make a point to introduce an exercise essentially after the phone screen portion of the conversation. That worked out fairly well for us. Yeah, it's been it's been really big in my previous businesses and I love giving people just the bare minimum amount of information and in kind of understanding whether or not they come back and ask a lot of questions. I want to see that curiosity. I think that builders tend to be just hypercurious. So, you know, for those folks out there that aren't putting executive leaders or sales leaders through a project in the interview process, I highly recommend it. But let's maybe move down into the STR team themselves. When I built str teams in the past I was actually really surprised to find that my best strs actually came right out of school. Now I built smbs as team, so it wasn't complex enterprise sales, but that was surprising to me. I had always anticipated that someone was six months or twelve months would be more successful. What about a tangle health are? How do you think about, you know, hiring the people that are most likely to succeed in who have you seen succeed so far? Yeah, unfortunately, a bit too too early to give you a the this is what's work for us. I've seen some success so far, but I'm current about a month or so and in on boarding my most recent str I get...

...the idea, the logic behind what. What makes the most sense, as far as you know, hiring someone fresh out of school, because you do have the ability to work with someone that has a bit of a blank slate as far as what what professional sales looks like, what professional work looks like, and you can ideally be the person who gives them that mold of these are the expectations, this is how you you behave on a team. This is what what works the best. I'm still trying to find that myself. I do remember when I've been going through this process and asking people my network, you know, tips and tricks for identifying hiing screening. A lot of people were recommending strs fresh out of school, but some of the the left field ones were anyone that's coming out of education or healthcare. So if you could find a teacher that's like, Yep, you know, I love education, but I don't really want to do this for the rest of my life as well as nurses, apparently can kick butt in this kind of job. I haven't had the opportunity to to hire anyone like that, but it's something that I'm keeping an eye out for. Cool, so you're you know, you're just kind of fresh into it, you're learning a lot, you're hiring people, you're having wins, you're making mistakes, just like we all do it. It's amazing. What after sort of this early you know, look into your SDR program what's the number one piece of advice that you have for someone after just this sort of short learning or experience that you've had? What you know? You reach out to the audience and say this is the one thing to either do or don't do. What is it? Never hire less than two to start with. Ideally go for three. Why is that so? It and it's a trap that unfortunately, I got forced into and I'm digging my way out of right now, because I've made the case for two and we eventually settled on one. But the challenge with hiring just one is it's there's a lot of things that are into that one. You don't have anything to really measure that person against because even if you were in that role doing an outbound prospecting then you know what your prospects you know how to target them and if you know that job, you know through and through. It's not quite the same because it's unlikely that you're going to hire someone with your level of experience in the space, you can't even measure yourself against that person very well and you need someone else to benchmark them against. So that's just a good way of helping you manage that. The other piece is, or one of the other pieces is, it creates a sense of, you know, team Camaraderie, because I've been in roles where I've been one of two, I've been in roles where I've been, you know, one of six, seven eight on a team and then you at least have a teammate to learn from, someone to you know what need be. You can complain about, you know, work, whatever it is, but it allows the just the feeling, the experience of the job to be a lot better for the person, assuming you can build and foster a positive culture. And then the other piece is, if that person leaves, you're starting over from scratch, whereas if you can hire two or three ideal you're not losing the entire team at once. And then when you bring someone on board, you already have a bit of that culture, that tribal knowledge there. So the onboarding training process, while that's still on you to provide to you new hire existing team...

...can take care of a lot of that for you. Yeah, I love it. I love it. When I was, you know, building my last business, this was a piece of advice that I took to heart, which was to hire two or three to start, and I can recall hiring, you know, two guys and one sort of look the part your maybe cliche salesperson, big, strong, kind of former athlete, and the other one was didn't necessarily look that way, was very timid and shy and sort of on a hunch we hired both and the the ladder, the timid and shy guy, rocketed his way up through the organization and runs a team of, you know, thirty people doing twenty million and revenue. So I can appreciate that. So that is a great piece of advice. If you're out there, hire two, do not hire one, doesn't matter if it's strs as whatever. I'llways start with too. So great piece of advice and I appreciate you sharing it. And we're actually nearing, you know, the end of our time on this episode together and we have one last segment that we love to do. It's called our quick fire five and it's just five questions where we get top of mind real answers from executive revenue leaders like yourself. You're ready? Yep, all right, let's do it. What is your most controversial perspective on business? Today, sales people are both underpaid and overpaid at the same time. Could I ask what you mean by that? I got ask so I mean from assistant level standpoint. Hey, you know, we've proven out that the the COP model for sales people worked and that you can build and grow in scale and organization, and it does work, but at the same time a lot of it exists just because, well, hey, the sales person was the last person to touch this this account, and there the the difference maker between yes or no. I you know, winner when the deal adult, when the deal and I think that's that's still kind of a ham fisted way of attributing value to the sales process and it's really hard to say, Hey, you know what, what really was the difference maker in this case? And I don't think that the model is is correct. I don't have a better solution for it yet, but it is something that I it's on my mind quite a lot. Really interesting, then, what's a song that you listen to to get you pumped up for a work day, born for this by the score nice. I do not know it. I will look it up. Besides speaking to me today, what has been your favorite experience to date so far and revenue collective? Yeah, so I was I was monitoring the the new member channel and slack and I saw someone join and, you know, we kind of provide a blurb about ourselves and I was like, well, this person's got, you know, this there where I want to be in, you know, ten, fifteen, twenty years, just based on their track record in a very, very similar space is mine. So I reached out to them and I ended up being in their city, you know, a couple months later. So it's like Hey, I'm in town and, you know, he happened to be free. So we got, you know, drinks and just, you know, kind of caught up for an hour or two. And now I've got a mentor that's, you know, been phenomenally more successful and I have just from I'm mostly just the fact that we're both in revenue collective, because I don't know if you would have necessarily taken my call or given me the time to...

...day. Otherwise. Amazing. It's great. Men, what's something that Andy Raycik is world class in? Probably root cause analysis, systems level thinking. So looking at a complex problem and distilling it down to just the two or three things that are really that really matter. Smarter Guy Than I am. Lastly, tell the audience what's a life motto or a guiding principle that they can take home with them today. This too shall pass. Literally one of my favorite things. I say that to my wife all the time. Every time I'm going into something that I know is going to be miserable, I say it out loud. I say this too shall pass. A really interesting that that that is yours. It's been awesome having on the show man. Tell everyone how they can get in contact with you should they want to. Yep, Linkedin is far away the easiest way. I spend too much time there and I'm probably one of the only, if not the only, Andy Racis on there. So if you look for any RACI and you findh an Austin, Texas as me. Cool and what's Your Revenue Collective slack handle? Andy Raycick ATX. Great, Andy, thanks so much for for spending some time with me today. Really appreciate it. Learned a lot and I will see you inside of the revenue collective channel, Justin thank you. Really appreciate this. Take care. Man.

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