The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 3 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 thepavilion podcast. I'm your host friend of Martin You're listening to. Is thisa good time to show where I put pavilion members of the hot seat for 15minutes. We hear their stories. It's a lot of fun. We really shows Tuesdaysand Thursdays. Hit subscribe. Don't miss an expert today. Our guest isAllan Ramsay. He is the director, says that candy and we talk about being atyelp from the early days europeo, it's pretty fun. Stories about luck in hiscareer. This episode was brought to you by drift. More than 50,000 businessesuse drift to grow revenue and increased customer lifetime value faster drift,helps their customers online sales and marketing on a single platform todeliver a unified customer experience where people are free to have aconversation with businesses at any time on their terms, learn more atdrift dot com. Alright, let's do this episode 54. Is this a good time, youall right? Everybody so excited to have Allan Ramsay with us today. Allen isthe director of sales and candy. He's out of California up early for us atthe Pavilion podcast. So great to have him. Thanks. Excited to be here. Thankyou. Well look, let's jump right in all meat. No filler. Tell us about yourcurrent role. What are you doing and then how you got here? Yeah, sure. So Istarted a Kanji about seven months ago, is the SNB manager at the time. I thinkthere was seven people on the sales team total. Um, we've grown our teamfrom seven to about 30 just on the sales side and Actually added 15 SDR sowas given the opportunity to move into a director of sales roles, looking overboth mid market and smb for Kanji. I got here pretty uniquely. I was at astartup, you know, it's a great company, was wasn't really enjoying it. And so Icalled 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 aprior startup that had said good things...

...about me. So though it was a coldmessage on linkedin, it was an easy entrance because of luckily arelationship we have built in the past. How many, how many cold messages didyou send out to people? Was it just want, you could, you could, you couldtell us the truth. Don't just say It was just 1 to Nathan. Oh shit, Get outof 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 clearly11 for one is not not the typical path for people. You had you had a you had avery 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 startedas one of the first 50-account executives. There was a small littleoffice in San Francisco and then Left as a director of sales, helped open upour Phoenix office and did some training as well. So we had anywherefrom 20 to 70 A is on boarding every single month. And so just whatattracted you to Yelp, I mean like we've had a couple people on the, onthe pod that have worked at Yelp, it's just such an interesting thing becausethe early days, by the way, somebody I forget who it was was telling wastelling me that it's not, yelp does not stand for yellow pages, which I nevereven 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 joinwhen 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 intowhat everyone. Let's go, let's go right into your luck story. That's that'swhere we are. I had worked at a recruiting firm for six years, it wasmy internship in college. I really enjoyed it, but I decided that I didn'twant a job finding people jobs. So I took a two month sabbatical, luckilythey gave me a nice little severance...

...because I hadn't worked there for solong. I went to Japan for a month and then came back and started looking forjobs. One day I slipped on a soap sponge and broke my leg and I was infinal talks with somebody else and it was about to accept the job, but thenhad to go and get a cast and everything like that. And luckily yelp had reachedout in between that time and so I took an interview with them and decided togo with them instead of the other company. Shut up. So if you hadn'tslipped on something in the shower, I'm assuming, you know, we have like alaundry room connected and I was Mid 20s playing soccer in the kitchen witha soap sponge. With my buddies slipped, fell and broke my uh my leg when Istarted to Yell. And and clearly you were at before I. P. O. And thenthrough the I. P. O. Right through that time. What is it just, you know, youare director I think during that time maybe or whatever, what is it likebeing in, you know what I would say is more middle management, right? Likeyou'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'sI. P. Owing? I mean like is that is that just an it's not a lot of peopleget to go through that. Is that an insane time? Do you do you think thatthat's something that people should seek out? Go find a company is likelyto I. P. O. Because it's just such a cool ride. And whatever I can say thislike when I got married, two of my groom's men were from yelp. Probablyhalf the friends that were there were from yelp. And I think when you work ata place for more than a couple of years you start developing thoserelationships that become more than just like work friends but like actualreal friends who I still hang out with to this day um and still have a hugeimpact on my life. And I think everyone talks about like the money you make andthe excitement around the I. P. O. But they don't talk about like the peopleyou need in the relationships you build, It will last for 30, 40 years becauseyou went from building a company that was competing against yellow pages andgoogle to actually I. P. Going and you...

...know the money is nice, but therelationships are just as great. So that's what I would say was the bestpart of it and why people should go for it. Cool, I'm gonna throw you acurveball 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 toget a beer. This fucking companies crazy. I'm out of here in a month orthis manager such and I feel like you're far enough away where we cantalk a little shit because help is controversial to consumer or tobusiness 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 thatrestaurant 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 myglass and I'm going to give you a review um like that for like thosethings are equal on yelp, and in some ways I know the algorithm probablydoesn't make them equal, but whatever to that, but just like was there, wasthere dark times where you were like damn, this is never gonna work, sure Imoved to phoenix while I was dating my now wife and we were doing longdistance for two years and that was really fucking hard, I think I cansquare because you're swearing like a sailor today. Yeah, yeah, it's fine, wecan say, you know, I was there, I was in phoenix for two years by myselfwithout my girlfriend at the time, didn't have a light at the end of thetunnel. After a year and a year and a half, some people moved back to sanFrancisco and I did not get to do that which motivated me to keep gettingbetter, but it's hard to balance that, especially if you have someone thatyou're really truly think that like the long term is gonna fit paid off becauseI'd also say that moving to phoenix was one of the best career moves I did andgoing 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 darkdays in phoenix where I was missing my...

...girlfriend or missing san Franciscobecause I loved it. There were worth it. Nice. That's probably a good pro tip isif your company is going to I. P. O. Figure out why you should be in thecity with your headquarters during that time. That's where the party is goingto be if you don't realize it. Yeah. Yeah. Very very cool. Well look we'vegotten into a little luck, we've got into a little bit of your career, youknow, give us a tactic, you know, give us something else that you think. I'mreally curious because you know, who do you guys sell into today? I should askin your carnival. Yeah sure. So we sell into my team manager specificallyworking with Apple products, basically any Apple device that a company has canbe managed by our MDM. We are trying to become the modern MDM um and sellagainst Jam, which is our biggest competitor. They basically built thespace and we're trying to do a few things different than they are. And MDMmatters a lot. I mean, I actually, our company works with them with MDMbecause we have devices for digital ordering all over the country and likemy gosh, we could not actually support what we do without without that. Socool, so that's different. So it's B two B sales, but I was actually goingto ask you about SMB sales right? Like you spent so much time probably hand tohand combat getting people to, you know, small S and B s to realize that theycould do promoted stuff on yelp and therefore make more money or get morevisibility. 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 thenon decision maker. The person who picked up the phone just as importantas 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 thedental office. The office manager could be the wife or husband of the dentistand they're just as important to the decision making process and how youtreat them as you treat the owner. And...

...what I saw was that a lot of the timespeople were just annoyed because that person is also not supposed to let youget to that person if you treat them well and they have a good opinion ofyou, you're more likely to get to the owner than you would have been if youdidn'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 thereviews, which is totally fair showing people how much business they weregetting from. Yelp was always a bit because you can show them how manypeople checked in called you map directions to your business and we evensee that with with kanji here a little bit, which is, We can show them how tobecome Sock two compliant faster. We can show them how to save them time andenergy using our product vs others. And so I think really not focusing on thefeature but focusing on what it does for the customer or the business willseparate you from everyone else. I like that man, that's great. Anypositions that you're hiring for right now, so many, so one of the, we arehiring across the board for sale, so SMB mid market emerging enterprise. wehave some of the most fantastic people and dedicated sales folks. So, soexcited 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 igniteClassy, keep tracking some really big names and some great sales leaders whoare doing amazing things that can really help you grow your career. Howmany people in the total team so far? uh we have around 30 across the threesegments, 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 followfor content? Like what they do and kind of, you know, maybe subscribe to theirkind of philosophies? Sure. one is...

Francois Bordeaux and I probably whatyour your name. So sorry buddy. But he was actually one of the first folks whostarted 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 likethat he does is he does a great blend of business and personal, but itdoesn't feel like it's facebook sharing. It feels like it's actually relevant tothe business to help. Yeah, he's a great follow. He also does a fridaypodcast where he basically has a salesperson come in and pitch theirproduct and then other people from other businesses coming critique it orgive 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 intoposting on linkedin. He does some really great content that is companyspecific to verse and what they do. But with a like fun twist, he tries tobring in humor every single time. And his content is really great. And youknow, he's trying to build out his brand as he grows as a I think he's thedirector of business development there now. Cool, very cool. We'll look outfor both. I just realized you have a pretty significant following on Lincolnhow are you? An everyday poster? I used to be. And then I started working onstartups again. And so my life has been not as easy. And then we also talkedabout how I'm buying a house and all this other life stuff. So I need to getback 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 toconnect with and sending that a linkedin requests and and seeing whathappens. My god I can't even imagine 30 40 minutes on linkedin. Um You knowduring this time this pandemic whatever you know like I know we're getting outof it but I'm still doing all for fuck ton of zooms. If I got 30 40 minutesI'm going to be off my phone. But like man I envy envy that you put in thework at some point. That's cool. Alright well any anybody. Oh yeah solook I got was going to say you know...

...one of the easy ways to do it is withsales navigator, identify the I. C. P. You want to go after. It will give youa list and you can just go and send request. The other trick that I do isfigure out who's following your company and go send them a request To uh, toconnect because those are super easy. And then the last given that we'retalking about pavilion, go find all the people on that have pavilion on theirlinkedin. Your acceptance requests will be like 95%. That's an easy way to growit. Total fair point. I actually wish there was a trigger where everybody whojoins pavilion. I would Autumn like why do I gotta do the work? Like then justgive me a feature auto sense to everybody that joins Pavilion becauselike I'm a, I don't know, like maybe it needs to be like, I'm a part or even inmy own company. It's funny we're hiring like crazy too. And it's like, oh, Iforgot 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 methe excuse of, I'm in startups shit hard and I don't have time to dolinkedin great, but that's not an excuse. Last one. Big one for me, mostimportant one. I'm a restaurant guy. Where are we eating? Give me, give meyour tidbit. Uh, where in san Diego or just doesn't matter wherever you, youtell me one spot and if it is, if it isn't a perfect taco spot in southernCalifornia, 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 ismy favorite restaurant probably in the world is the chinese restaurant calledSandtown in the inner sunset. They have the best chinese chicken wings in theworld there on hot. Uh, no, they're not, you can make them spicy, but I didn'tbecause they were just so delicious by themselves. I used to get them asrewards for teams. I would get them like post mated, like three trays ofsan tung wings. So my team knew me as the santa. I had like somebody got melike a buffalo wing sweater because of...

...it. But yeah, that's my favorite placeto 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 excitedto be connected and to to see you know where you go from here man, it seemslike a killer path. Thanks man. And last shout out is depressing who setthis up, pressing is one of the nicest and best people in the world saw theearth. So thank you Preston. Yeah, thank you Preston, I appreciate theintro. Alright, thanks, Alan, you are the rest of your day, man, that is our show. Thank you so much forlistening. 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 somefriends. Make sure to smash that subscribe button reminder. This episodewas brought to you by tripped the new way businesses by from businesses. Youcan learn more about the conversation started at drift dot com. I had funtoday. Hope you did too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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