The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

Ep 118: Ten Years of Yelp w/ Allan Ramsay

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 118: Ten Years of Yelp w/ Allan Ramsay

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

Hello everyone and welcome to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host friend of Martin You're listening to. Is this a good time to show where I put pavilion members of the hot seat for 15 minutes. We hear their stories. It's a lot of fun. We really shows Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit subscribe. Don't miss an expert today. Our guest is Allan Ramsay. He is the director, says that candy and we talk about being at yelp from the early days europeo, it's pretty fun. Stories about luck in his career. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businesses use drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift, helps their customers online sales and marketing on a single platform to deliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have a conversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more at drift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 54. Is this a good time, you all right? Everybody so excited to have Allan Ramsay with us today. Allen is the director of sales and candy. He's out of California up early for us at the Pavilion podcast. So great to have him. Thanks. Excited to be here. Thank you. Well look, let's jump right in all meat. No filler. Tell us about your current role. What are you doing and then how you got here? Yeah, sure. So I started a Kanji about seven months ago, is the SNB manager at the time. I think there was seven people on the sales team total. Um, we've grown our team from seven to about 30 just on the sales side and Actually added 15 SDR so was given the opportunity to move into a director of sales roles, looking over both mid market and smb for Kanji. I got here pretty uniquely. I was at a startup, you know, it's a great company, was wasn't really enjoying it. And so I called Lincoln messaged Nathan sparks, who's our VP of sales and I said, hey, I'd like to work there. It looks like candies doing something special. And um, I was luckily enough, he worked with somebody, a classy that I worked with a prior startup that had said good things...

...about me. So though it was a cold message on linkedin, it was an easy entrance because of luckily a relationship we have built in the past. How many, how many cold messages did you send out to people? Was it just want, you could, you could, you could tell us the truth. Don't just say It was just 1 to Nathan. Oh shit, Get out of here. Yeah, I identify the right person and you're lucky man. All right. So we're gonna save that for the luck segment of the planet because clearly 11 for one is not not the typical path for people. You had you had a you had a very interesting path before that you were like a journeyman that yelp right? You were there for what? Almost 10 years? Almost 10 years. Yeah, I started as one of the first 50-account executives. There was a small little office in San Francisco and then Left as a director of sales, helped open up our Phoenix office and did some training as well. So we had anywhere from 20 to 70 A is on boarding every single month. And so just what attracted you to Yelp, I mean like we've had a couple people on the, on the pod that have worked at Yelp, it's just such an interesting thing because the early days, by the way, somebody I forget who it was was telling was telling me that it's not, yelp does not stand for yellow pages, which I never even considered that it was, but So it doesn't, but in the moment I was like, Oh my God, that's brilliant. And then he told me it's not true, but like, what attracted you to? Yelp, such an interesting kind of company to join when it was, you said under 50 people? I was under 50-account executives. Yeah. Under 58. Okay, sure. So it's probably one of the 150 people there. All right. I know that. You want me to ask to luck stories later. Yeah, Go jump right into what everyone. Let's go, let's go right into your luck story. That's that's where we are. I had worked at a recruiting firm for six years, it was my internship in college. I really enjoyed it, but I decided that I didn't want a job finding people jobs. So I took a two month sabbatical, luckily they gave me a nice little severance...

...because I hadn't worked there for so long. I went to Japan for a month and then came back and started looking for jobs. One day I slipped on a soap sponge and broke my leg and I was in final talks with somebody else and it was about to accept the job, but then had to go and get a cast and everything like that. And luckily yelp had reached out in between that time and so I took an interview with them and decided to go with them instead of the other company. Shut up. So if you hadn't slipped on something in the shower, I'm assuming, you know, we have like a laundry room connected and I was Mid 20s playing soccer in the kitchen with a soap sponge. With my buddies slipped, fell and broke my uh my leg when I started to Yell. And and clearly you were at before I. P. O. And then through the I. P. O. Right through that time. What is it just, you know, you are director I think during that time maybe or whatever, what is it like being in, you know what I would say is more middle management, right? Like you're not making the decision, you're probably not standing at the you know, Nyc but you're also not line level. What is it like when when the company's I. P. Owing? I mean like is that is that just an it's not a lot of people get to go through that. Is that an insane time? Do you do you think that that's something that people should seek out? Go find a company is likely to I. P. O. Because it's just such a cool ride. And whatever I can say this like when I got married, two of my groom's men were from yelp. Probably half the friends that were there were from yelp. And I think when you work at a place for more than a couple of years you start developing those relationships that become more than just like work friends but like actual real friends who I still hang out with to this day um and still have a huge impact on my life. And I think everyone talks about like the money you make and the excitement around the I. P. O. But they don't talk about like the people you need in the relationships you build, It will last for 30, 40 years because you went from building a company that was competing against yellow pages and google to actually I. P. Going and you...

...know the money is nice, but the relationships are just as great. So that's what I would say was the best part of it and why people should go for it. Cool, I'm gonna throw you a curveball here. All right, give us a dark time because over 10 years of that, you must have had some periods where you grabbed a buddy or like we need to get a beer. This fucking companies crazy. I'm out of here in a month or this manager such and I feel like you're far enough away where we can talk a little shit because help is controversial to consumer or to business owners. I should say, right, you don't want an open forum about like, like, I mean I am from the world of restaurants, you can generally say that restaurant both appreciate the place that they get positive feedback on yelp, but absolutely abhor the place that if there was like not enough ice in my glass and I'm going to give you a review um like that for like those things are equal on yelp, and in some ways I know the algorithm probably doesn't make them equal, but whatever to that, but just like was there, was there dark times where you were like damn, this is never gonna work, sure I moved to phoenix while I was dating my now wife and we were doing long distance for two years and that was really fucking hard, I think I can square because you're swearing like a sailor today. Yeah, yeah, it's fine, we can say, you know, I was there, I was in phoenix for two years by myself without my girlfriend at the time, didn't have a light at the end of the tunnel. After a year and a year and a half, some people moved back to san Francisco and I did not get to do that which motivated me to keep getting better, but it's hard to balance that, especially if you have someone that you're really truly think that like the long term is gonna fit paid off because I'd also say that moving to phoenix was one of the best career moves I did and going back to the I. P. O. I actually moved back the day before we ip owed. So it was like this grand return of where I got to experience the I. P. O. At HQ. Get to do the big party stuff and it made me feel like all those dark days in phoenix where I was missing my...

...girlfriend or missing san Francisco because I loved it. There were worth it. Nice. That's probably a good pro tip is if your company is going to I. P. O. Figure out why you should be in the city with your headquarters during that time. That's where the party is going to be if you don't realize it. Yeah. Yeah. Very very cool. Well look we've gotten into a little luck, we've got into a little bit of your career, you know, give us a tactic, you know, give us something else that you think. I'm really curious because you know, who do you guys sell into today? I should ask in your carnival. Yeah sure. So we sell into my team manager specifically working with Apple products, basically any Apple device that a company has can be managed by our MDM. We are trying to become the modern MDM um and sell against Jam, which is our biggest competitor. They basically built the space and we're trying to do a few things different than they are. And MDM matters a lot. I mean, I actually, our company works with them with MDM because we have devices for digital ordering all over the country and like my gosh, we could not actually support what we do without without that. So cool, so that's different. So it's B two B sales, but I was actually going to ask you about SMB sales right? Like you spent so much time probably hand to hand combat getting people to, you know, small S and B s to realize that they could do promoted stuff on yelp and therefore make more money or get more visibility. Any tactics that you might consider from that time that you Yeah, sure. I think the biggest one was twofold one was treating the NDM or the non decision maker. The person who picked up the phone just as important as the decision maker many times the SNB space, especially at a restaurant, the person picking up the phone could be the cousin of the owner or at the dental office. The office manager could be the wife or husband of the dentist and they're just as important to the decision making process and how you treat them as you treat the owner. And...

...what I saw was that a lot of the times people were just annoyed because that person is also not supposed to let you get to that person if you treat them well and they have a good opinion of you, you're more likely to get to the owner than you would have been if you didn't. I think that's really important. And then I think the second thing is, you know, as much as you talked about with the help that people disdain the reviews, which is totally fair showing people how much business they were getting from. Yelp was always a bit because you can show them how many people checked in called you map directions to your business and we even see that with with kanji here a little bit, which is, We can show them how to become Sock two compliant faster. We can show them how to save them time and energy using our product vs others. And so I think really not focusing on the feature but focusing on what it does for the customer or the business will separate you from everyone else. I like that man, that's great. Any positions that you're hiring for right now, so many, so one of the, we are hiring across the board for sale, so SMB mid market emerging enterprise. we have some of the most fantastic people and dedicated sales folks. So, so excited to grow the team where we're at right now, you get to work with me, which I think is cool. Um we have people from, you know, logmein ignite Classy, keep tracking some really big names and some great sales leaders who are doing amazing things that can really help you grow your career. How many people in the total team so far? uh we have around 30 across the three segments, Wow. And you just you said you added nine or something like that, that when when I first started man hyper hyper growth company, whatever. Yeah. Alright. To get some shout outs, who who do you like, who do you follow for content? Like what they do and kind of, you know, maybe subscribe to their kind of philosophies? Sure. one is...

Francois Bordeaux and I probably what your your name. So sorry buddy. But he was actually one of the first folks who started liking my content and are you commenting on my content on linkedin? And and then he's been very instrumental for me. And what I like that he does is he does a great blend of business and personal, but it doesn't feel like it's facebook sharing. It feels like it's actually relevant to the business to help. Yeah, he's a great follow. He also does a friday podcast where he basically has a salesperson come in and pitch their product and then other people from other businesses coming critique it or give them advice, which I think is invaluable. The second is daniel cross. He was, I worked with him at verse and he was the guy who actually got me into posting on linkedin. He does some really great content that is company specific to verse and what they do. But with a like fun twist, he tries to bring in humor every single time. And his content is really great. And you know, he's trying to build out his brand as he grows as a I think he's the director of business development there now. Cool, very cool. We'll look out for both. I just realized you have a pretty significant following on Lincoln how are you? An everyday poster? I used to be. And then I started working on startups again. And so my life has been not as easy. And then we also talked about how I'm buying a house and all this other life stuff. So I need to get back to it. I'd say that Growing your following is not just about posting, but it's about spending, 30 40 minutes a day finding the people you want to connect with and sending that a linkedin requests and and seeing what happens. My god I can't even imagine 30 40 minutes on linkedin. Um You know during this time this pandemic whatever you know like I know we're getting out of it but I'm still doing all for fuck ton of zooms. If I got 30 40 minutes I'm going to be off my phone. But like man I envy envy that you put in the work at some point. That's cool. Alright well any anybody. Oh yeah so look I got was going to say you know...

...one of the easy ways to do it is with sales navigator, identify the I. C. P. You want to go after. It will give you a list and you can just go and send request. The other trick that I do is figure out who's following your company and go send them a request To uh, to connect because those are super easy. And then the last given that we're talking about pavilion, go find all the people on that have pavilion on their linkedin. Your acceptance requests will be like 95%. That's an easy way to grow it. Total fair point. I actually wish there was a trigger where everybody who joins pavilion. I would Autumn like why do I gotta do the work? Like then just give me a feature auto sense to everybody that joins Pavilion because like I'm a, I don't know, like maybe it needs to be like, I'm a part or even in my own company. It's funny we're hiring like crazy too. And it's like, oh, I forgot to add that guy who we, uh, you know, hire three months ago. But uh, you know, small problems, not big problems. I do appreciate you giving me the excuse of, I'm in startups shit hard and I don't have time to do linkedin great, but that's not an excuse. Last one. Big one for me, most important one. I'm a restaurant guy. Where are we eating? Give me, give me your tidbit. Uh, where in san Diego or just doesn't matter wherever you, you tell me one spot and if it is, if it isn't a perfect taco spot in southern California, going to be disappointed, I'm just kidding. It is not actually. So, um, if anyone knows me from my, y'all days and my san Francisco day is my favorite restaurant probably in the world is the chinese restaurant called Sandtown in the inner sunset. They have the best chinese chicken wings in the world there on hot. Uh, no, they're not, you can make them spicy, but I didn't because they were just so delicious by themselves. I used to get them as rewards for teams. I would get them like post mated, like three trays of san tung wings. So my team knew me as the santa. I had like somebody got me like a buffalo wing sweater because of...

...it. But yeah, that's my favorite place to in the world and I think that's great. I love, I love stuff like this, you gotta send me the link to the place and dude, thank you so much, so excited to be connected and to to see you know where you go from here man, it seems like a killer path. Thanks man. And last shout out is depressing who set this up, pressing is one of the nicest and best people in the world saw the earth. So thank you Preston. Yeah, thank you Preston, I appreciate the intro. Alright, thanks, Alan, you are the rest of your day, man, that is our show. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you Preston for the intro. To Alan. If you love the show, please rate and review in the Apple podcasts. Spotify have sent it to some friends. Make sure to smash that subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by tripped the new way businesses by from businesses. You can learn more about the conversation started at drift dot com. I had fun today. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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