The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

Ep 8: We're all remote now. Learn to build your sales team feat Simon Tecle

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Ep 8: We're all remote now. Learn to build your sales team feat Simon Tecle

Book. What is going on everyone? Welcome to the revenue collective podcast. I am your launch host, Justin Welsh, member of the Los Angeles Chapter of revenue collective. In inside of these episodes we're going to be featuring ideas and conversations that are inspired by ongoing discussions within the revenue collective community across the Globe and obviously, as of laid there has been a tremendous amount of talk around remote work, hiring, onboarding, training and coaching, all remote, all across the country, and we're going to cover some remote best practices inside of this episode with our guest head of sales in customer success. It's citrus labs, Simon Tekel. If you're out there listening and you want to join revenue collective, visit revenue collectivecom and click apply. Now, before we dive in with Simon, I cannot forget our amazing podcast sponsor, outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from siloid conversations to a streamlined and 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, it's time to kick it off. Let's get to our guests. Simon teckle. Our guest today is Simon teckle. Simon is the head of sales and customer success at citrus labs, a one and a half million dollar Rur business headquartered right down the street from me in Santa Monica, California. He has over five years of executive leadership experience and has been in sales since two thousand and six after attending my Alma Mater, the Ohio State University. Simon, welcome to the showmen. Justin thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here and I'm glad you did say the Ohio State University. You don't think that I would screw that up. I'm I do it. I do it the way the football players do it before the Games. The Ohio State University, the one and only but after great, great to have you. Great to have you men. You know, before we dive in and we talked about today's topic, which is remote work. I'd love to learn a little bit more about your career history. What is your backstory leading up to citrus labs, and then maybe tell us a little bit about what citrus labs does? Yeah, absolutely, thanks. Justin so I am first generation, born in Chicago and rate from Chicago. I was raised in Cleveland currently, as I had extend in Columbus, Ohio. So you know, I've done sales my entire life. My first sales job was being a telemarketer collecting donations for the Ohio patrolman's be Nevlote Association, and then I was, you know, calling for a mortgage company and generating leads for loan officers. So that was kind of my first sales job and the taste of the sales environment. So after attending to a house the Ohio State University, I again my professional career. I began my professional career selling computers for debt. So that was kind of my first taste of outside sales experience and combining, you know, that it hardware, software and and matching that up with the customers needs and getting a glimpse of that. So from there I landed at a company called everyday health, based out of New York. That was the first startup I ever joined and the stars aligned and the first startup I ever joined ipoed in two thousand and fourteen. So that was really exciting. Learned a lot from my time at everyday health and about the struggles and just kind of getting a grip of what startup in growth life is. So I've just been in love with startups and Growth Company since then. You know, I've held every role from individual contributor to local level, you know, frontline sales managers to director level roles, and now I had a sales and customer success at citrus labs. Awesome. And what does citrus labs do? Yeah,...

...so citrus labs is where a healthcare tech company and so we support clinical trial. So you know, right now it's just a very interesting time for us, right with everything going on with covid. So we are in the patient engagement space with clinical trial. So we have di welloped software that streamlines everything from patient recruitment for clinical trials to patient retention to controlling your patient experience while they're, you know, visiting the doctor's Office for a clinical trial. So we are an end to end platform for patient recruitment, retention and engagement. Gotcha. So you know, all these companies are a lot of companies, you know, a few that I'm working for as an advisor at the moment have been forced into remote work because of Covid, and I was just curious. Before Covid, was citrus slabs fully remote or re you all office spaced? Yeah, so we were a fully remote company. So, as you know, companies have had the transition right now, you know, to work from home. It was business as usual for us right so, and you know, the way we look at remote work is a couple different ways. You know, primarily we look at it as how can we attract right the best talent out there? So we think being remote first allows us that flexibility to attract and the best talent that's out we look at it also as employe attention. You know, we are able to, you know, compete with other larger tech companies and companies that, you know, may have a larger brand or more funding or anything like that, because we offer that work from home flexibility. So it's way for us to remain competitive as we're smaller company and as we are growing. So we look at away there as well employee retention and then just overall giving people the flexibility of work from home we see, you know, higher engagement, higher productivity, people spending more time working to you know, I get slack messages at ten eleven at night sometimes when people that are working late at night because it just fits their work style better. So you know we, like said, we are remote first company and you know, obviously it's not going to change and you know we've seen a ton of benefit from it. That's great. I'm, like I said, I'm kind of working with with two companies now and I've never been remote before. So I've never done remote and there's been so many incredible learnings as I've helped transition in office team to a remote team. As you started thinking about building out your team at citrus labs. You know, was there like a surprise or an incredible learning that that you took away pretty quickly in the beginning? Yeah, so you know, for me, fortunately, I've been remote my entire career, all but one year. So I don't know anything different essentially from being remote work and working remotely. So that you know, whether I said even as end of individual contributor and throughout my entire career, you know, all I know is remote. So I know I've it's allowed me to learn a lot of things you know and you know and bring some best practices. You know, as I'm building and scaling. You know the company here. So you know there's a lot of things that happen when you know you're looking at a company and you're trying to build it, and I think it all starts with you know, like you said, who are you hiring? I think you're hiring home. Files are extremely important when you're hiring for a remote role and it's going to be different than who you're hiring if you have an office environment. You know, it's one of the big key things that you know, that I've learned as I've been working with different organizations and helping them grow and build teams, is the profile is going to be pretty different. Interesting. Can you tell me a little bit about that? That profile? You know, it's still unclear to me, as I'm trying to build teams in the remote, remote era, how that profile shifts and changes. I'd love to learn from you. How has it change when you shift from I know you haven't done like in office, but what are some of the things of a remote candidate that really stand out to you that say, Hey, this candidate has a great chance to be successful in a remote environment. What are some of those things that you see? Yeah, absolutely, so I, you know, look for you know, and I know...

...most people will say, well, yeah, we all look for that, but a lot of I spend more times understanding their story and what are the intangible so I like to understand not why do you want to work remote, but, you know, what is the outcome of your you know, what does working remote provide you? You know, number one. You know, some people it's, you know, I have a kid at home or, you know, I have a sick parent or whatever it is. So it's the motivation for working from home, you know, is different than you know, my for you kids, I have to go to an office or I don't have the ability to, you know, to go to an office. So, you know, that's that motivation is important for me to understand. Second is what is their will to win? You know, and I like to understand. What did you do in college? What did you do outside of college? You know, not just that was part of this club or this club, but tell me a time that you ran through a wall to crush a goal. Right, tell me a time that you know you were relentless on achieving a quota. So I think the the having the self motivation, that self starter ability is high on my priority list when I'm bit when I'm talking to sales reps and leaders and stuff like that to join our organization, because there are some reps that are used that need that office structure, and there's nothing wrong with that, right. They need that off the structure. They need, you know, some you know, to you know, have someone holding them accountable for kind of, you know, for every part of their day, and that's how they work best, which is great. But you know, I've taken, you know where you have taken chances on sales reps in that scenario, because you can kind of manage their daytoday activity and a remote environment. You really can't take a chance on t on someone like that because you don't have that ability to quote unquote, micro manage. Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. And you said something interesting early earlier. You said, you know, people tend to work potentially longer, right, and I've seen that as well, especially during covid because everybody knows we're in front of our computers, we're kind of trapped in our houses, right. So, like there's this idea that you can start slacking people at thirty in the morning. I'm getting early morning slack. Some days I'm getting, you know, nine pm slacks and you're also telling me about hiring these self starters, these folks that are really motivated. You know, when I see those two things together, a highly motivated self starter and then the ability to be overworked. How do you make sure that doesn't happen? How do you put up boundaries in remote work to make sure that not everyone starting at thirty and ending at eight and you're burning the the team out, you're burning the company out. What are some best practices for making sure that doesn't happen? Yeah, absolutely so. I think we as a company, we have the Times that we respond to slack and when you can expect a response, you know, from a slacker and email right. So if I'm slacking someone at ten PM, I know I'm not getting a response right or at five am. So that is also helping people prioritize. You know, number one. Number two burn out is that question is, how do you solve for burnout? You know. So one thing that we did as a company is we limited the amount of vacation days you can roll over into the next year, right, and part of that was not us being selfish as a company. The reason was we wanted to force people to take vacation. Right. So my job as a leader is to say, Hey, you have x amountification days left. When do you when are you planning on using them? You know, almost kind of like forcing someone to say, Hey, you have vacation, let's let's make sure you're putting on the calendar and helping them, you know, to schedule that time to get away, because burnout is real. And you know, the third part, you know of that is in you know, your oneon once and you know, if you're seeing someone always sending messages at ten, midnight, seven am or whatever the case may be, I'm asking them. You know, some people they work better that way. You know, we have a marketing team and a tech team and we get a lot of emails and stuff from them at weird hours, right, but that is what how they work best, then sometimes it's okay. If that is how someone performs the best, right, and that is my most productivity, that my productive is highest at ten and eleven because I'm just kind of zoned in. And you know, the world is shut down at that time. So it's a balancing act, you know, number one, but also I don't want you don't want to impede. What is someone's,...

...you know, most productive hours or most productive time? Yep, definitely. So I feel you. I try and get my work done in very specific blocked hours, because that's just when I'm best over a cup of coffee, you know, and I'm I'm more, I'm worthless between three to five. So I totally get that. You said something earlier as well that was really interesting, which is this allows citrus labs to compete. You can compete with these larger companies, you can compete for the best talent. You know, one thing that I've never done that I'd love to hear from you is onboarded groups of new folks into my organization remotely, and I can only imagine, I mean I've done it in person in an office setting. I can only imagine that there are significant challenges between on boarding folks remotely in those who are doing it at office. Do you think that there's a new or unique or particular approach that works really well to on boarding folks into a remote environment? Yeah, absolutely. You know, if I had a couple pieces of advice for on boarding new hires, whether it's sales or management or whatever level. You know, especially on the sales side. You know, as you're hiring sales reps, you want, number one, you want to hire in groups. You know, I say minimum minimum. You want to hire in groups. So for right, because you want to have that Camaraderie, because you can have them do things as a group and learn together and that that keeps each other, that keeps everyone motivated. You know, the biggest challenge of being remotest, feeling you're on an island right and I'm alone. So the more you can combat that by hiring in groups, you will alleviate that for your hiring classes. Number One. Number two, I'm a big believer before you even start on boarding you must preboard right, and what's included in preboard? To me, what's included in preboard is introducing that team or that that those team members into who are who's immediately on the team. Take this is everyone else that's on your team, this is your direct report. You know, we have little shoots that tell you. You know, this is my favorite book and this is what I like doing, and you know so you can find out, Hey, who on the team do I have some similarities to? Right. So I think that's very important as part of pre boarding. Second, assign a mentor to everybody, right. So this is your got person if you have questions, and also this is a way for you to give some more responsibility to maybe there's an ae or something that's asking for more that you want to you know, bring up through the company or potentially remote promote into a management role. Assigning a mentor to each person. And if you if you don't have a one to one ratio that you can do that. A two to one ratio, you know, can work just as well. Third is everything that's expected of them. So a lot of the stuff that you know, most people get on day one. I start today and I'm this is what my week is like. That information is extremely valuable a week before their first day. You know. Number One, here are your expectations. Here is you know, the KPIS are low kurs. Here's everything that we're looking for, you know, here's what's required you. Here's what happens if you if you don't meet, you know, performance expectations. So all that stuff, I think is critical for someone to understand before they even get today one, because then when they land on day one there's a lot of the unknown or a lot of the nervousness they had. They know who their mentor is, they know who are their buddies, they know who's all on their team and they get that team environment almost before immediately right. And so I think preboarding and anything you can do to make them feel comfortable, to teach them about the company, to send them five or dust small sample deck so they at least know some of the buzz words and lingo and things about what you sell and how you sell. Anything you can do ahead of time, before they land on day one, will make on boarding that much better. Yeah, that's some that's some great advice and I think you know, with with covid going on, we're seeing a lot of advice around hiring, onboarding, training, seeing a lot of advice on coaching remotely. The one thing where I see less information out there is about working cross functionally or, taken another way, developing alignment between different teams, so alignment between...

...marketing, sales, ces, product things like that. How have you effectively brought those teams or stakeholders together while working remotely? For citrus labs. Yeah, so I think the first thing with that is making sure everybody's objectives at some point are aligned so we're all working towards the same goal. Right, selfishly, you know, I think our goals are objectives need to align at some point, number one, because then at least our meetings that are all working towards a common goal. You know, I think that's one of the challenges. Is Product has their own roadmap and things they want to do. In marketing has their own issues with demandjin and things like that, and sales like revenue, revenue, revenue, and we're almost operating in three different silos. So everybody needs to come under one silo at, you know, at one point. And then it's how are the leaders of each of those silos, CS, marketing, product coming together to discuss, you know, what are the challenges in each everybody's organization and how we can support each other? Right. So, product may need sales to give feedback on, you know, a new roll out that they're going to have. Marketing may ask, Hey, how are the leads coming in from the last demand en campaign? We did it, or whatever the case may be. Right. So I think it starts with the leaders of each of those silos. I think you need to align goals and bring everybody under one roof, you know, and then have those continuous meetings that we're keeping track, we're keeping score and we have actual items that we're going to take to our, you know, specific business units and disseminate information and say here's how we're all working together towards that common goal. Love that is there. Is there any particular, you know, goal setting framework that you use? I know some folks use OK ours, others just kind of dump some goals into a Google doc. Is there a particular way that you guys go about setting cross functional goals? Yeah, so with, you know, our CEO and CEO when we kind of do our yearly planning. So at the end of two thousand and nineteen, where we were looking into two thousand and twenty and we were identifying what our goals and you know, Ok ours, we specifically set out what are what are some combined Ok ours right, you know, and we got buying from, you know, our head of marketing and our chief technology officer and myself on what those could be. Getting goals is one thing, but you know, having everyone sit down and agree that. Yes, you know, these are are combined kind of objectives. Is another thing, and that is what really fosters that collaboration and that working environment for everybody to have. And you know, I have a lot of friends that are in, you know, similar roles and V pu roles that they're fighting with, you know, product and marking. We hear the story all the time, right, Justin sure, so true. And the challenge is that they're there. There's no combined objective. Everybody is selfishly working for their own objective and and to me I say, you guys do not have combined objectives that you guys can work on towards together. The organization will feel that right and the company will feel the ultimately, it will hinder the growth, you know, of the organization when everyone's kind of, you know, operating in their own little bubble. To totally. I know that. You know, when when people are doing Ok ours for the very first time, they never go well the first time. And as we did them more and more and more frequently at my previous companies, we started to figure out that having those cross functional o k ours was so critical because we were able to drive huge, you know, company Kpis forward by leveraging our entire our entire group of employees. So it's great to hear that you guys are taking a similar approach, because it took it took me a few years to learn that approach and it was just a huge benefit once it once we went that way. So very cool that you're doing that at cuter laps as well. Simon, we're kind of nearing the end of our time here together and that means that we have one more segment left and that's our quick fire five segment. In these are five questions where we get top of mind real answers from executive revenue leaders like yourself. You ready to go?...

Ready to go, all right, man. What has been your favorite experience to day inside of the revenue collective? So my favorite experience to date would be I was invited to participate. Sam Jacobs obviously created this great group. He has partnered with devante Jackson and they have created revenue collective of color and really, really awesome and have my hats are off to Sam Jacobs and Devante for, you know, coming up with this idea and pushing it forward, and I for it coming to fruition and what it's doing is is it's putting a group together and how can we champion the next phase of under representative minority leaders to, you know, get into these executive levels, VP levels, head of sales levels, and how can we mentor foster, you know, the next generation and invite more people to join the red and collective, even the associate program right. So, you know, that's been my favorite experience so far and get my hats off to Sam Jacobs and Davante Louise Jackson for for advancing that initiative. Love it, man, I was reading about it the other day. So that that's that's great to hear. What's a piece of advice that you hear often that you think is total bullshit? You know, how much time do you have? You know? For me, I would say the that piece of advice for me that I think is completely bullshit is the find what you love and the money will follow advice. And and I'll explain why. So one of my favorite shows is shark tank. I've seen every episode probably three to five times, Kay, and you I know, I watch all these people pitching and you know, some have great ideas, some, you know, not so great ideas or whatever the case may be. And you know they are, you know, fighting, fighting, fighting, fighting and grinding, grinding, grinding, and even though the business and the numbers and nothing supports the sustainability for them to continue, they're still driving forward, saying, you know, I'm just going to keep figuring it out and I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing because I love and and everything will figure itself out. And it reminds me a lot sometimes. And we hear the stories too, in the startup and you know world, right you where you have founders that are just hyper focused on a product because they developed the product and you know, they're like, we're going to bring this product to market and they're not listening to a customer saying or what sales or anybody saying, and they're just really focused right on their product because that is what they love and they say we're just going to push US product market and everything else will take care of itself. And you see a lot of companies folding because of that, right. So I think that you hear that advice often. Yeah, yeah, it's work for some people, but I think overall, I think that that is actually some terrible advice. Got It what's a book that's Changed Your Life? Yeah, an, this is a couple books I would probably say I'm a big fan of. I'm saving them, buy or say no. That would be my my favorite book because when I first got into sales, a lot of sales that I was doing was, you know, a lot of transactional and you know, the telemarketing and generating leads for lawn officers, very just kind of a hard sale. So, you know, I read that book and you know, it reminded me back to that point in like all the little mistakes I was making. And you know, we're not in a still transactional environment now, but I think there are still some gems in there that every sales where can can benefit from by you know, Tom Hopkins Love It. When Simon needs inspiration, who's a music artist we're going to find you listening to. When I need inspiration, I'm gonna be listening to Drake, probably, you know, and and the reason is is drake has music that can help all my moods. Right if I need something to put me up and get me going, if I need something a little more mellow. That's just kind of background noise because I'm just really focused and, you know, and doing some work. You know he I can turn on one of his albums and spears need to take...

...care albums probably a you know, I can turn it on and you know I'll get a little bit of everything in that and that's something you just have playing in the background. All right. Last question. What's the biggest mistake you've made building teams and what did you learn from it? Yeah, so actually, when I was selling computers for Dell, I was promoted to become a sales manager when I was twenty five years old. I was managing a team of eight people and talk about on the job training, and the biggest thing that I did, I learned from is I was training and coaching and motivating people based on what motivated me, and I didn't I did not understand that I have to realize what motive, when motivates in them, and unlock that. And so, again, back to the point of on the job training, I struggled for probably my first year, year and a half, and wondering why people aren't motivated by the things that I am and so that was a big mistake for me and I lost talent and I learned things the hard way. At that point and I really had to live in the mirror and just figure out what wasn't working and, you know, I had to look at resources and read and understand, you know, management skills, and so that's been the biggest lesson I learned early on was how to, you know, manage and motivate people, and it helped me throughout my career. Yeah, I think that's a lesson that ninety nine percent of people learn. I mean I think maybe one percent of people are just they just understand that intuitively for some reason and they're really good at it. But Man, I know I had to learn that as well. Simon, this is this has been great, man, really really enjoyed speaking with you. Tell everyone how they can get in contact with you. Yeah, absolutely. So you can reach me on Linkedin, Simon teckle, and then you can email me at Simon at citrus Labscom Boll and, your revenue collective slack handle. Simon. Yeah, it is Simon teckle. See, but awesome, Simon. It has been great having you on the show. Really appreciate taking the time out. Always great to talk to a fellow Buckeye and I wish you a wonderful week man. Thanks so much. Thanks Justin. Thanks for having me. Really appreciate it. That was a killer conversation with Simon teckl, head of sales and customer success at citrus laps. Here's what I took away from the time that I spent speaking with Simon. First, when you are moving to remote work, the profile of your candidates will change. Be prepared to observe how that happens at your company. And how about this refreshing nugget? Push people to take their vacation. Burnout is real, as Simon said, and I can absolutely attest to that. Okay, if you're out there listening and you want to apply to revenue collective, either to our executive or associates program simply head over to revenue collectivecom. That's revenue collectivecom and click apply now. Thanks again to our guest today, Simon teckle. If you are wondering how to connect with me, you can find me on twitter at Justin Sass. That's just an Saas, or simply by visiting my website at the official Justincom. Let's connect there and talk shop. Cheers,.

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