The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 23: Compensating and Motivating Sales Development Reps (SDRs) feat Graham Collins

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 23: Compensating and Motivating Sales Development Reps (SDRs) feat Graham Collins

...by the way. Hi and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. My name is Casey. Let Gordon and I'm your host today. I am very excited. I get to sit down with Graham Collins, who is the head of growth for a quota path. This is a special session because Photo Path is actually our sponsor for this month. Quota path is commission tracking software built by salespeople for salespeople. And after talking to Graham, I get it. If you wake up in a cold sweat, dreading the commission's process quota path is for you. Quote A path provides commission transparency for everyone involved while motivating reps to sell more. Plus, it's so easy to on board it'll be running before your next commission cycle. Ditch the spreadsheets and formulas. Simplify commission calculation at quote a path dot com. Today, Graham and I are going to talk about how to actually build com plans. What should a career trajectory for an str looked like? How do you make sure there's contracts, parent see and alignment, and how do you deal with it when there's not? Graham keeps it, really, but he also gives some very tangible, very helpful tips for anybody that is in an SDR role or leading SDR teams. So with that, let's get going. Hello and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. My name is Casey. Let Gordon and I'm your host today. I have the chance to sit down with Graham Collins. Graham is the currently the head of growth for quota path, which, if you listen to the top of our episode, is also response. Er Photo Path is a sales first commission tracking tool, and Graham describes himself as a jack of all trades, working in sales, marketing operations and waxing poetic about com plants, which I'm very excited about because I think it is one of the most essential parts of the work we dio. But it's often one of the most complicated. Ingram's previous life he ran a 45% str team is the director of SDR Trend Kite, located in Austin today, Graham is coming to us from Maine with his wife and two dogs. He's very passionate about good calm plants, craft beer and woodworking. So we have our very own revenue collective Ron Swanson here. Welcome, Graham E am doing good. So I have to start because I also have two dogs who I just had to put outside because they were acting like absolute nut job. What kind of dogs do you have? Eso I have to Cattle dog mix is so they're blue heeler Australian cattle dog mix is there? Couple of a couple of months? But I love them. E have a very specific caricature in my head Now you are in Maine, your woodworking. You have your cattle dogs. Like I'm looking at you right now you're rocking like a use a sweatshirt. So there is awesome image of you in my head that I hope our conversation. All right, well, I'll hope I live up to it. That's great. Alright, Graham. So tell me. Tell me a little bit about what your world looks like today. Obviously you're with quota path and want to hear a bit about the company. But also a bit about your role in what day to day looks like. Yeah, absolutely. Eso My title is Head of Growth, which, as I alluded to Are you alluded to is kind of ah jack of all trades. I tell people that I do a job until we hire people who are better at it than I am, and then I let them take over. So currently I'm focusing on a bit of our marketing stuff. So some content some podcasts, and we just did a revenue collective webinar recently, and I also focus a bit on sales and customer support on account management. But ah, big thing that I've been focusing on recently are compensation plan consultations that I I've been doing with a bunch of folks from revenue Collective. I think I've probably about 50 at this point where I sit down and just do a deep dive into people's compensation plans as they're building new ones as they're reviewing their old compensation plans and quotas,...

...and oftentimes especially for VPs of sales. They don't really have anybody toe bounce those ideas off of. And so that's sort of one of the things that I'm really passionate about right now. I can appreciate that so much I I put in a past life, ran a sales organization, and I think that was one of the most challenging pieces, especially as the organization gross because what might have been a calm plan for a few people, as you scale might need to look differently. Different needs of the organization. And so I think, to be able to not just have a platform like a quota path, but also the consultation and that human element to talk through it, I think is pretty powerful. So when you say that you're passionate about it, usually passion comes from some experience. Tell me, Tell me, maybe what was either good or bad about some calm plants in your past and what drove you to actually make this a passion of yours? Yeah, absolutely. So my previous role, I worked at a company in Austin called Trendy Kite, where we were a PR and Communications Analytics platform that allowed brands to track where they're being talked about in the news and what kind of impact that was having on their their even the revenue. So that was what we did and Iran the SDR team there. But prior to that, I worked in sales work in sales management have always been on the sales side of things, and I've seen a lot of complaints. I've built a lot of calm plans, and I built some pretty terrible com plans. I I can tell people exactly what E can allows me to tell people what not to do. So you you said at the top. There we compensation is is the major reason that sales people do what they dio. A lot of the time is Thio earn money, but it's one of the most misunderstood and poorly executed functions of their job. It's almost an afterthought for a lot of people. We spend all of this time on positioning and marketing and and prospecting and cold calling. And once you finally get to the end result, oftentimes people don't know how much they're going to get paid on deals. Uh, and so I that ties in with my role currently a quota path. But it's been a long journey to get there. Yeah, I think that it's so powerful, and I really I mean, I felt it may be anecdotally, but I don't know that I've had it crystallized just like you said, because the sale cycle often times becomes the focus and the end state is what you hope you get Thio and then the conversation comes there. But there's not a lot of time, even in negotiations early stage, because a lot of times, especially a lot of our members are early stage companies or growth stage companies that sometimes you're being offered roles where it says, You know, here's the starting place, but we'll figure it out as we get in. And I think that gray area can be so confusing. And so I would love for us to take this conversation a bit from both, you know, SDR, the actual reps who are maybe informing this and what they should be thinking about, as well as the people who are responsible for creating these that organization, similar to roles that you've had in the past for your leading teams having to develop these. So you know, let's maybe start with Let's start with the leaders of groups and let's talk a bit about maybe some of the pains we'll get. People seem like virtual head nodding as they're driving in the car right now. Yes, that is my pain. And then we'll talk about some of the actual reps and things they can think about. Yeah, certainly. Excellent. Alright, so talk to me about like where do you start with an organization when it comes with? Let's design a calm plant, right? I'm building out of sales organization. Or maybe I have one, but I'm revising this. What is the starting place? Yeah, so really, the starting place that I always ask is, What do we want? Thio? What do we want to get out of our compensation plan? Oftentimes, the answer is sales bond. That's fine. That's great. OK, wonderful. That revenue. Do we owe logo? Like what? What do those mean in sales? Yeah, exactly. And that's That's the follow up. Question is, what does that mean?...

Does that mean revenue doesn't mean a R R doesn't mean total contract value? Does it just mean logos? Oftentimes, with with small organizations, the average contract value the revenue doesn't matter nearly as much. It's the new logos because there are raising around and they wanna have all of these fancy logos on their pitch deck. So that that's really the question is to say, like, Where do you want to get? Do you want? Do you want to do revenue? Do you want to do a R R? Is it recurring revenue? Do you find that most people know that answer For the most part, they know it, but they haven't really like, thought about it a ton. They haven't really been and even really asked that question of themselves. They just they think in their head sales. You know, we wanna generate revenue. And then when I say Okay, is it is it long term? Revenue is a short term revenue. Is it upfront revenue? And so once we define that, that's when we can dive a little bit deeper into the how to compensate your reps accordingly. Yeah, and when I think about quota path, we'll talk about that because that's you know, that's the world you're living in right now. Who is a good customer for you all. What are the kinds of companies that you're working with? And, you know, is there a sweet spot that you all play? Yeah, for sure. So my it may just be because this is my background. Um, but where we've seen the most success is in in those high growth high tech startups, they don't necessarily have to fit that we have. Some of my favorite clients are our solar panel sales companies, but ah, lot of the high growth high tech people who are adding sales reps. people who are trying thio standardize their compensation, make sure that they're competing, especially if you're in a competitive market like Atlanta or like in Austin. You have toe to make sure that your competitive but fair and and make sure that the sales makes sense for the company and the reps. I'm curious when we think about structuring a plan. I think that comp can certainly I think many people get into sales for the earning potential right and the motivation around that I have found. And maybe you can correct me or validate here. But I have found that money or compensation can mean different things to it can mean value of an employee could mean that I am being wanting to be retained. It could be the winning aspect of it, right? I'd like to have incentives that I'm going after. Are there certain aspects that you look at as like an individual level of SDRs or what a team is comprised of when you're thinking about comp? Yeah, So when thinking about motivation of sales people, whether it's SDRs or or a es, even VPs of sales, I look at kind of ah matrix of motivation and you have public versus private and money, cash versus pride. And so you have these four quadrants that people generally fallen. Repeat those. So you have money, just pride and then public versus private public recognition versus private, maybe compensation or boys or girls. Eso So public money is kind of the easiest example. It's the person who drives the fast car and where's the fancy watches and wants everybody to see all of the money that they make. And that's a really big driver for some sales people. And kind of the, You know, the hackneyed view of a salesperson is like, Oh, they're exactly yeah, And then you have the private money people who are actually a really good portion of sales people in some of the best salespeople. They're the people who wanna have a nice house who wanna wanna have nice things, who don't care how flashy it is. They just want to drive. Ah, nice, reliable car because it z good for them and it may be more expensive. And then you have the public pride people who are the ones who smile as they're ringing the gong or love when they get shout outs publicly and...

...the private pride People are the ones who who hold themselves accountable, who hit their quota every month because that's their job. And they want Thio. You know they feel good about themselves when they do that. So there's all different ways of motivating and compensating those people a swell. And do you recommend we'll stick with the high growth, tech oriented companies because you know, to your point that that's where you all see at least a good portion of your customers. Do you see that a company should have a singular com plan, or should it be determined and and vary based on what the individual reps might need? And I think that's my hypothesis is, if you're managing 45 people like you did in your last gig, that might be really challenging. And so I'm curious how you get enough structure that it makes sense for a company, but enough flexibility that individuals feel seen and appreciated and and, you know, cater to, so to speak. Yeah, for sure. So I'm a big proponent of standardized compensation plans across the board. Um, it could be for specific role. So you have a senior you have a junior SDR senior SDR Junior, a senior 80. But everybody who has the same title has the same base. Salary has the same exact compensation plan. I'm a big fan of this for a bunch of reasons. Transparency for reliable are our consistency. So you know what you could earn when you move into the next role on why you would do that. But the major one for me is, is that if you have different plans for different people in general now, I'm not accusing anybody of doing this intentionally, but you end up under paying specifically women and people of color. And so there's a bunch of studies about that. I encourage everybody to take a look at their compensation plans. If they're not standardized, ask yourself why and oftentimes it's Oh, they negotiated this base salary and they they care more about this than that. And that may be the case. But take a look at it and understand that you may be under paying specific people. I love that perspective honestly, and I'm a woman in business and hadn't really thought about it. In that sense of the benefit of standardization, it creates a culture in which there's clear path for individuals they can opt in. If that's motivating to them, I assume into a company or culture. And then I imagine it's a lot less headache for the manager, right? Like you, you're not having to worry about these nuances. It's pretty straightforward. Do you ever find that there's pushback within negotiations to say that this is like our standard model across all employees like, Is that ever a deter? Yeah, it is. It absolutely is. And when I joined Trend Kite, I was the second sales higher and the 10th employees at Trend Kite and ended up growing a team with 250 employees before, on acquisition a couple of years ago for $225 million. And so we. But we had the standardized plans the entire time when I joined as the second sales higher. I was trying to negotiate mawr and they were like, No, we have a standard standard compensation plan, even though I was the second person, so I think just laying that out as as a standard from the beginning and having a good explanation behind it. It's not because we don't want to pay you Mauritz because of those things that I mentioned Transparency. Ah, clear career trajectory. You wanna earn more? Okay, come in, Kill it for three months you'll get promoted to a senior A and you'll make even more than what you're trying to negotiate. I love that. That to me is is so powerful. And especially as we see a necessary but increasing conversation around pay inequalities to be ableto have. This is something that's very tangible for people to do to review your compensation plans and to set forth something that says We're creating equal playing field. Everyone is gonna have the same earning potential to start and performance that is going to drive how people are earning. I think that's fascinating. I have seen actually an interesting model, a swell, Yeah, A couple of organizations I've seen have an interesting model where you can. It's not a negotiation, but it's a you get to choose your base salary and your base salary in software. Specifically,...

...there's kind of this rule of thumb of five x on target earnings to quota, So if you're making $100,000 per year, your five X would be you'd have a $500,000 a year quota, and that would be it. Then that's on a 50 50 base and commission split. So I have seen a couple models where it says, like you can take whatever base salary you want. You can have $100,000 base salary, which means you have $100,000 of commission potential. But you're quote is a million dollars a supposed to taking half of that? You have half the quota. And so I have seen that model before, which is interesting. It allows somebody to kind of choose their own destiny. I haven't done any research as to the whether that does away with or or encourages pay inequality. So I'm not gonna not going to blanket approve that or or ah, support that. But it is something toe investigate. I do like the at least the optionality of that and making it around expectation. It's not around candidates willingness or likelihood to negotiate. It's based on their ability to contribute to the organization's goals. And so I think that, you know, to your point we won't make any blanket statements here. But I love here in the variability, and I really like that. It's it makes sense. But it's a math equation that we're putting forth here and an individual can then often to say, Do they feel capable of contributing to that math equation? Yeah, do you find as you go into organizations? Let's say retroactively like right. It's one thing to come into the beginning and help somebody set it up because there's not the baggage that comes with it. But you come into an organization that maybe has their handful of employees set for They are all over the board as faras compliments. I imagine it's emotional to try to inflict change. Change is never easy. So how how do you all see that done and just quote a path? Help with any of that? I'm curious from like a I think it's your observations. But then also just the business that you're in. Are there certain things that you guys were solving for with those things? With that? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, with within the quarter path app, you can create different plant different com plans, assign them out to specific people if you have those unicorn plans, or if everybody has a different plan, you can assign those out to two specific people. With that said again, there are instances where everybody having a slightly different plan makes sense for account managers. They're not all going to have the exact same book of business, or it may be different quarter by quarter. And so there there are instances where everybody may have to have a slightly different different quota. And so those air, you know, again something that could be handled within quota path. But the actual change management is is difficult going in from I've seen instances of organizations where one person is earning a 25% commission on all of the deals they close, and one person is earning a 6% commission on all of the deals. They close, and one person is going to be upset, and the other person is likely to be happy unless you just blower them all down to that 6% 1 person. So it can be a very painful process for sure. Is there a certain point in a company's growth outside of at the beginning? Do it right. But is there a certain point which you see that most organizations are finding that have to adjust? Or is there no one specific recipe? Yeah, I mean, part of it is as soon as the whoever runs your compensation starts complaining enough about it because having to dio having to dio 25 or 30 different compensation plans, you know different commission rates is okay. But often times I'll see situations where somebody gets paid on the number of logos they close, and somebody gets paid on the amount of revenue one person gets paid on a are are they? The person gets paid on MRR, and so the standardization tends to be required, at least to an extent at a certain point. And it seems to be kind of the same stage where you break off into two teams to sales teams, which is gonna be your like, You know, once you get past 10 sales people, you're likely to have two separate sales teams. And...

...that's around the time when standardization makes more sense. Yeah, that's that's fascinating to me, and I I I'm curious to hear the response from our audience because this to me, is so timely, especially if people are going. If they work on a calendar year going into, you know, cute for fiscal planning for the next year and how they start to look at this. So we've talked a bit about the organization and the leaders of teams. How they set this fourth. I'm curious what resource is or maybe quarter path has, or that you've seen that the actual individual contributors might drive around, you know, conversations or calm plans and and how they should be looking at this. Yeah, for sure. It's fascinating the number of times I have conversations with individual contributors or just sales or sales reps who don't really understand their compensation. They don't understand their com plan. They know that they get paid a certain amount, but it's so confusing or it's so complex that they don't they don't really get it. I know that if I close the deal, I earn about 8% on it. Unless it's a two year deal and then I turn mawr. But I don't really understand exactly how much and so that transparency is very the lack of transparency. It could be very de motivating for reps and so I understand if if you're listening to this and you say, Yeah, I don't understand how I get paid. Let me know. I always tell people you could go to meet with graham dot com. There's my calendar, but we I look a calm plans and dissect them and understand them every day. And we have, ah, free version of quarter path that allows reps to go in, enter their calm plans in track their sales even great with Salesforce or CRM s and and track their sales in their their commission. Accordingly, I, as an individual contributor, had a, um, Excel document. I still have it on my, uh, it's been turned into a Google doc. Exactly. And that's that's what lot of I call myself and others like me. Sales nerds. That's what a lot of sales nerds end up with. Is this this Excel document that they're using to track their own sales, their own commission and hope that their their organization is doing the same? So that's one of the things that we're looking to do It at Quarter path is provide that transparency across all people. So not just the director of sales ops, who does all of this this calculating but each individual rep as well. So encourage your your sales ops person to check out a tool like quote a path as, well Quota path. I mean, I think that that gives the transparency. But say somebody is not to the point yet or they're not using that tool like that. And organizations who do you find or where should the responsibility lies it on the SDR? Is it on the team lead? Is it on the organization as a whole to report out what earning should be? Yeah. I mean, I think that each person is in control of their own earnings. Obviously, the organization should get it right. But I would recommend everybody know exactly how much they get paid and ensure that it's correct. Because I I if I had to ask your your listeners how many of them have had a Nen correct commission check? I guarantee that almost everybody is nodding along right now. I certainly have a few times. Yeah, same. Same here. And I think that you know, the one thing that I personally am very fascinated with in quote a path or any tool and that is helping with this is the transparency across the board. I can't tell you how many hours of my time as a sales person has been spent in that damn Excel sheet and organizing it emails back and forth meetings to, you know, lay out things. Negotiations. It probably is at least a week's worth of time annually, if not mawr, that has spent figuring out the comp model versus doing the job that would help me get what I want to be. And so, as I'm thinking about this of just efficiency of scale and transparency and all the...

...benefits that come with that how that affects an organization, especially those that are high growth, to focus on what they should be focusing on rather than some of the back end nuance. Oh, yeah, no, it it sucks. It sucks doing commission. I've done it for teams. I've done it myself. Ah, lot of that also starts at the top starts at the VP level of somebody building that the compensation plan, making sure that it is easy enough to understand and not overly complex. I always in my compensation in my complaint, consulate calls with people I'll often just say like no simplify, they'll be like, Okay, So we need to compensate on the number of years that they closed the deal for they pay it and how many, See? Nope, Simplify it, simplify it, simplify it like I know that quota path allows you to automate all that stuff. But your reps should still have a pretty good understanding of how much they're going to get paid on a deal. Um, even without software, I love that when we think about motivation of reps like it gets so complicated at times, I could imagine very de motivating. It's It's almost It's not worth the headache, even if there's earning potential there. It's not a headache for me to spend time here. So outside of calm plants, you know, we talked about the public private. We talked about some of the, you know, the cash versus pride. Are there any other components that you think about when it comes to motivation and specifically in a team, I think about a team of 45. I don't mind. The largest team I've ever worked in is a team of five small professional services. So 45 member team blows my mind, especially from a sales perspective, so I'm curious of what are some of the ways that you see Com plant or not that you're keeping teams motivated and excited and, you know, driving towards the goals. Yeah, certainly. And trust me, I could not have run a 45 person team without without, ah set of wonderful managers. I worked with a bunch of wonderful managers throughout that time, so don't don't think that I was doing it alone. I I always tell people I was a a mediocre str I'm a pretty good SDR leader and I understand the math and whatnot behind it. But get me on a cold call and I'm actually just like, just Okay, So, um, but when it comes to motivating those those people, really the money is is there for everyone. But you have thio drill down and understand each individual person. And what what they really care about? Yes, the public and private. The money versus versus pride, but sitting down and understanding each person. And so at the beginning of every month, I would sit down with each one of my STRS, which again was, ah, a bit of a chore every, uh, every month dedicated pretty much a half week Thio it and we'd set goals. We'd sit down. We'd set up because we had such a quick career track. A tranq itis Well, like what are you hoping to do? Or you don't wanna be an SDR forever. That job sucks. E mean it just it's just not the most e. It's just it's not. It's all the hunting without getting getting to experience the kill. And that is just so everybody does the SDR job. Everybody with an asterisk there does the SDR job because they want to move into a close on dso. I would sit down with them and say, Okay, let's set goals to get you to that next role and to get to the next role is it really accomplishes both both the money side and the pride side because, hey, you got a promotion. It always feels awesome to get a promotion, so I would sit down with them, set these goals and then translate them into actual outcomes. And so, for my STRS, their quota was centered around two things centered around exhales, accepted opportunities and revenue. And so I would say, Okay, where we good, where we bad What? Where did you struggle? How can we use your skills? Use where you're You do really well, Okay, maybe you're really, really good at setting demos, but you're not very good at having those demos show up. And that's where you fall flat, eh? So how...

...can we use your demo setting skills to help improve your demo show skills and break that down and help them? Um, really look toward the future for themselves? E. I love that I like the thought around breaking down with the sales processes. Where do you win and how do you use your areas? You win toe help where the areas you have a deficit. And I don't I don't know that everyone thinks of it that way. I think that and that's a really good framing, in my opinion, as somebody that's led teams to help somebody make it tangible of them, it's not just go fix this. One thing is how do we innately lean into the things you're excellent at to help overcome that deficit? That's great. Exactly. All right, let's talk about sales trajectory. Career trajectory SDR. We talked about that. And what should it look like? You know. I know you. You mentioned that SDR like That's not anyways dream gig. It's where you start, but maybe we can shine a little light, and I'm sure it varies by organization. But what does the path look like? Maybe what does the compensation path look like? If we could get into some of that? Yeah, certainly. So I would lay out the compensation. Are not sorry. The compensation? Well, we would lay that out as well, but I would lay out the career path for SDRs during the first interview. Well, the first time I interviewed them much as a phone screen, and then I would interview them, and so I would lay that out for them from the very beginning. And I think that was one of the major reasons we were able to hire such hi talent in in Austin on the str team. When we look around, some of the top top sellers in Austin came up through the SDR organization is Trend kite, and so I would lay that out from the very beginning, and for us, it was a very clearly defined you start in this role after a certain number of months we expect you to get to this role, but it's not just like a you know. After four months you're promoted. It's a These are the clearly defined goals, and I think that's a major component as well. Because oftentimes people who are a quote, culture fit get promoted ahead of the people who are maybe just very good at their job. But don't don't fit the mold of what you'd expect somebody. And so we have these very clearly laid out goals for you to go from an SDR to a senior str that on average takes about four months or five months can't over at this point. A few years ago, the fastest you could do it is three months because you have to hit three quotas in a row and then in order to move from a A senior SDR to a junior A. You have to do these five things, and one of them is is learn how to demo the product. And so part of the career path thing is adding certain skills that you'll need in order to be successful in the next role and possibly dropping skills. So at a drink, right, we had ah, prospecting specialist role, but then would turn into a scene era, turn into an SDR and then a senior str. And by the time you hit the senior SDR role, you weren't expected to do any prospecting because that was being fed to you by the prospecting team. But it still helped build your skill set, and I gave extreme empathy. I'm sure for the people who were still in those roles and understanding the work they're doing, like I I really like that. Ah lot. I'm curious A trend kite and I'm sure this was the case. But I imagine you had to hire, you know, people not necessarily being home grown from all of those roles. You had to hire somebody at a a role net new and so in bringing them in. How do you How did you approach that? Or was there any specific things that you might have done around on boarding them? Because somebody that maybe started as a prospecting specialist that got to an 80. They have a very specific understanding up to your point. Your culture, how you guys train. Was there anything specific that you all do when you interject somebody bid trajectory. Yeah, we we tried not to. We tried Thio higher, higher, entirely internally, but that that could be tough because you have toe. It's just like any deal cycle. You have to answer a lot of...

...stuff at the top of the funnel in order to get it down to the bottom of the final out I can think of. I think I know of one person, a guy named Cam Smith who is still at Trend. Kite was acquired decision. So he's, I think he's still at decision, and he was one of our very first prospecting specialists. Became an inbound, MDR SDR outbound senior. Now he's, like, moved all the way up the chain in the account executive line. And so, But for the most part, we did have to hire those external folks. And so we tried to do kind of a crash course in all of those roles in the prospecting role in the STR role and the demo ing roll, it took a while. It took a while for them, toe be fully ramped. It might have taken six months for somebody to be a fully ramped E that was hired externally, whereas it would only take two months for a str who came in Thio come in and become fully ramped. So one of major reasons we tried to avoid it, but yeah, we did like a crash course. I think the first two months, two or three months, they were effectively SDRs and instead of it taking a year to get there, it took them two months. Yeah, I'm fascinated just personally. You said you were the second sales person and the 10th employees creating structure amidst ah, high growth environment could be very challenging, right? You're feeding the beast while also trying to build the foundation toe to bring in new members of the team and any tips and tricks of how you balance that, Because, I mean, I'm sure some of it right now it sounds lovely. I'm sure there were trips and falls along the way, like right behind site. You can always, you know, make it make it a better story. But I'm curious of just how you balance that about like, knowing that you wanted to have homegrown talent, for instance. That's a pretty strong perspective, and it sounds like it's sort of dual really well, knowing what? The timelines Where toe step to the next thing in creating that structure was that your team was it in partnership with HR? I'm just curious what that looks like. Yeah. I mean, part of it was done kind of accidentally because of cost reasons. It's a lot cheaper to hire somebody out of college and train them to be ah seller than it is to hire a seller and have them, you know, pay them a big base salary and and, um, have them closing deals. And so part of it was due to that being a scrappy startup, but some of it was intentional. We we had come from actually, most of the organization when I joined had come from, ah, competitors. A company called meltwater, uh, that competed directly with with Trend Kite and I came from a different competitors working at NASDAQ at the time. And so we've seen kind of in the industry what was working in what had worked. And so we were able to build a team and build a structure based on what we had seen successful in the past. And then a lot of it was experimentation guy who was one of the very first employees as well named K. Fujita. He is one of the most brilliant, like, experimental minds because he's super creative. But he's also organized enough to say, like, Okay, let's look at this A B test and see Did the did sending this type of email or this time of day produce better results, or did it produce the same or worse results? But he's able toe to come up with those ideas. So I would say that it's, ah lot of just try a land error, but quickly iterating on it. And, yeah, we had a lot of failures as well. We tried to do a pod structure where we matched up to SDRs with three a es that failed pretty miserably for us. We tried a bunch of different things. Yeah, I love hearing these stories and especially, you know, when you were there from the beginning to the point that it's scaled, I could probably sit here all day and jam with you on this. And given that we have people you know, for their their half hour hour here, we'll jump right back into to our topics so Graham. I guess you know if if you're talking to our audience, think about the members of...

Revenue collective or other sales leaders gonna be. Aren't members that are listening to this going into Q for going looking at Q one next year? What are some very tangible things you might suggest that they dio when it comes toe planning and comp? Yeah, for sure. Take a look at your com plan and try to remove half of the different components or different. We call them path the different way that you get paid because you could try to remove half of them. And I'm only half kidding there. Most of the time. When I talk to people, there are four or five different components to the ways that people get paid and that can provide confusion and sometimes can provide the opposite of what you're looking. What you're hoping for. Um, people try to game con plans, and sometimes they misunderstand. And if they misunderstand, it means that they are doing the exact opposite of what you want. I've talked oh, or organization where they said once we rolled out quota path people started closing two year deals and I said, Well, now you're paying them more than twice as much for them. And they were like, Yeah, but they didn't understand that. And so now they're closing two year deals, and I'm like, Why didn't you explain it better? And so try to cut back as many of the different components of the complaint that you can and make sure that everybody understands the complaints there so often it's They're not understood. Even if you feel like you built it well, or if your finance person built it, make sure that it it's digestible. It's like trying to read. If it's like trying to read the terms of service for high iTunes, then then it's not a good com plan. It should be very simple. Onda laid out very clearly for them. And so any general rule of thumbs I know you mentioned, you know, for instance, like a five X earning that you should see and then a split between base and bonus or, you know, variable comp any other baselines that you would tell individuals or sales leaders here toe to be thinking off 75% of my complaint. Consul to these, these two rules come up, which is number one exactly what you said. Take the on target earnings kind of in half. That's your your base salary and the other half is your commission. Then take your on target earnings multiply by five. That's what the quota should be. Obviously, there are a lot of exceptions to that if they're selling professional services or if they're selling multiyear deals. But that's a good starting point for you. The second one is on SDR compensation. There are two pure forms of SDR compensation. There is the pay them for every cold call they make or pay them for every deal, every dollar of the deal that gets closed. Anything that isn't one of those two is not going to be an exact science, not saying you shouldn't use those. In fact, I paying everybody for every cold call they make isn't right. And paying people for revenue they generate isn't right. If you have a sale cycle, that's more than my role is is 100 days. But just trying to find the middle point there, where you have sort of a new indicator or a litmus test of there is good revenue here so find if you aren't going to compensate them on cold calls or revenue, find a mid point that is very, very clearly defined. What an opportunity is, what a demo is, what a qualified meeting is and try to make it as far as possible. I love this transparency science, I heard you say, making it an exact science, trying to make it an equation like right, Let's not Let's remove emotion or this feels good. Let's put it truly in tow. What someone needs to contribute and then consistency across the board. Those air things I've taken out of this that I I don't know that I knew coming into it. So I am grateful for the day. The time today, Graham and I have no doubt that our audience is gonna be pumping out these really tangible and actionable insights. So thank you. Yeah, of course. Happy Thio. Happy to join you today. Awesome. So, last question for you if people want to get in touch with you. You said that...

...you you work with a lot of the revenue collective members or other folks out there. How should they find you? Yeah, absolutely. If if you are a revenue collective member. Um, it's Graham Collins on there. You can you can DME Or even in my, uh, in my bio. I have a link to my calendar if you're not a revenue collective member. I mentioned it earlier, but meet with graham dot com. Is my calen Leah's well and so feel free toe book Sometime there. I'm also on LinkedIn and e think it's just linked in slash Graham Collins. So you're a searchable is what I'm here. I am. I am well optimized for the engine. There. There is a Canadian guy who owns graham Collins dot com. If he's listening to this, I would love to buy that from you first. Yeah, but then it's just a bunch of Englishmen Englishman named Graham Collins. And then there's makes Does Ring very English. So I see that. All right, Graham, this has been great. I am so glad that we had a member of our sponsors team quota path, and we'll see you again next time. Take care. This is Casey. Let Gordon and I'm your host. All right? That's a wrap on another great revenue collective podcast. I am so grateful that Graham Collins chose to join us. You heard it from him directly. Go to meet with graham dot com to find out more about him and find time to meet with him. This'll episode was brought to you by quote a path quota path is the first radically transparent and and compensation solution from sales reps to finance. Get started for a free quote, a path dot com and your next commission cycle could be totally automated. I have to say, I wish I had known about quota path in a past life because that sounds pretty darn good. All right, this is Casey. Let Gordon I'm your host. I'm grateful you tune. Did see you next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (263)