The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 37: Why you might consider a sales gig in Hong Kong feat Rick Smolen

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Why you might consider a sales gig in Hong Kong feat Rick Smolen

Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the revenue collective podcast. I am your new co host, Brandon Barton, and you are listening to Is this a good time show where I asked revenue Collective members some really basic questions, and they have incredible answers in a short, 15 minute or 17 today. Conversation programming note. We will be coming to you Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, so make sure to smash that subscribe button. Hit it so you don't miss an opportunity to learn from members of the RC community here, any of whom could be your future boss. Our guest today is Rick Smolan, one of the O G revenue collective members who is the head of sales at loopy. Oh, and we get into why moving overseas and becoming uncomfortable might be the best possible thing for your career. And before we get going with questions, I wanted to tell you a little bit about this one sponsor six cents six cents. The number one account engagement platform helps you identify accounts that air in market for your solution. Prioritize your efforts, engage buyers the right way with highly relevant messaging and measure what actually matters with the six cents platform, you're able to get into more deals. Improved win rates, increase overall pipeline and optimize budget spent toe. Learn more. Visit six cents dot com. That's the number six cents dot com slash revenue Collective. Alright, let's do this. Episode two of Is this a good time? Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Rick Smolan, who is the head of sales at Rubio, as we do here we are all meat, No fillers. So, Rick, let's jump right in. So give us a little bit about what your current role is. Current company and how you got here. Cool, Brandon. Yeah, thanks. Very excited to be here. Love, podcasts and love being a member of the revenue collected so awesome to participate in these two coming together for sure. Currently I am the head of sales at loopy Oh, we streamline RFP response so that you can focus on growth. I think it's an amazing company. You know, no one enjoys completing, like, RFP s our...

...security questionnaires, but it's a vital part of the process. And if you can really Oh, by the way, no one Yes. Yeah, I love doing, RFP said. No one ever right. But it's a vital part of the process. So if you can reduce the time it takes while ensuring that it's like the highest quality and accurate responses, it allows you to focus on the good stuff, which is the things you enjoy delivering value for customers, building relationships, strategizing internally so that you can win the deal. All those different elements. So just really clear value for customers. So I was really important problem, and it's been a great company, so so loved being there. But before that, you know, my first sort of entree into being a sales leader for a company was with Greenhouse software during my time. Is VPs sales there We went from like 20 million in air, are over 65 million in air, are so a lot of growth and learned a lot of lessons along the way. But recently, Greenhouse had a great exit, and so that was like a nice milestone for the business and in the career. Prior to that, I sort of grew up in sales at a company called Intra Links. Yeah, you are interested in Tech company. The document sharing before sort of like Box and Dropbox came along for specific use cases in financial services like mergers and acquisitions. I did 12.5 years at that company, so that's really where I grew up in sales. I started as like an you know, junior and, you know, individual contributor on all the way through to sort of, ah, leader of North America business, you know, in all facets of they're different businesses. And then really, I didn't leave intra links until the company was like fully sold at the end of 2016. But that's really where I grew up in sales. And then if I think about like my specially and like, where I get the most passion as a sales leader, it's really around elements of the sales process. So I was a customer of a participant in workshops run by Force management. It was really like a customer engagement methodology for the entire organization, and I found like I got a lot of value out of that when we...

...brought it into intra links when we brought it into greenhouse, and I've actually spent time working on behalf of force management as a facilitator, partnering with companies to help determine a what's our value proposition? What are the key problems in the market that we solve, and then our differentiation? How do we actually do that better and differently than other options that are out there? And how do we consistently pull that together so that our whole companies aligned around? It's all the different functions there, sort of, you know, marching to the same beat. And then as we bring on sellers into the organization, there's consistency in the way we execute. So I have a lot of passion for sales process, for sort of scaling the best of talk tracks and then doing that in the in the organization. That's cool. I didn't know. I didn't know all that. Damn. You are a busy, busy gentlemen. Well, look, you know, we know here on the revenue collective podcast. It takes a little bit of luck and a little bit of hard work to get, you know, to a successful place, given example of each in your, you know, illustrious career. Yeah, so? So if I think about Okay, how did I end up getting into a position toe lead sales organizations of high growth companies. I get asked this from time to time, and and the main thing I think about is if I think back on my career, and what I would tell others is, do something in your career that is totally out of your comfort zone, totally out of your comfort zone were like most people that are in a sales role get comfortable engaging with customers. So how are you going to do something completely different that's going around your skill set out in some new way. So for me, it was geography. I went to Asia and started doing, you know, sales and B two b work there. So I lived in Hong Kong for almost three years, and I will tell you, for me personally, everything was impossible. I was taken completely out of my comfort zone. How you engage with customers, how you in collaborate internally how you get stuff done. How do you do hiring when you have expats and, you know, local hires to consider everything is just impossible. It's like amped up times 100 versus what...

...you're used to, you know, working on a New York or wherever and learning how to get comfortable in this impossible situation. So patients, as it related to customer engagement and just knowing the deal was never done and not trying to find shortcuts around it. You know, it was around like internal collaboration. I'm in Asia H Q. 12 time zones away. If I send an email at five o'clock, you know, and I get questions in response to that email. By the time I respond to that, I lose the whole another day because of these times who I have to get a lot better at, like writing the questions that I have. Why I'm asking what questions I might get returned so you just get better at internal collaboration and then just some of these situations are just impossible. And so, just like maybe it's humbling and knowing that you can't have the answer to everything. But I knew what time it was in London, New York and Hong Kong at all times, top of mind. And so you end up working around the clock, one of the things for me it was like I had toe know how to put, like, work down for a little bit so that getting out of my comfort zone. Both built a whole bunch of new skills and just, like, was forced to learn a work ethic that was far exceeds your sort of normal 40 hour work week. And when I come back, you know, the way I describe it was like that was like Green Beret training for sales leadership, like it was so much more comfortable in any capacity. I actually got promoted when I came back and started running North American businesses and everybody brought all these problems to me. And I found these problems like way, way solvable. This was like everybody speaks the same language. This is gonna be way governing law is like New York and not mainland China. E think we could get a room and meet about this in person. Yeah, problems felt really solvable. So look, everybody's context is gonna be a little bit different. But I encourage. Like I I asked people to purposely think about what are they going to do in their career that's gonna take them very far outside of their comfort zone. And if they do that, they will have edge in the long term as being more...

...rounded, being mawr memorable to, you know, put higher. By the way, I did something similar. I didn't go across the world. I went across the country to Las Vegas at some point and was working at a Las Vegas for a year when I was doing some restaurant consulting. And I think a key here is you will know it's uncomfortable, but you will not know the benefits that you'll gain from it and like, you can't judge it and say, I know this is gonna be hard and this is all the stuff. I'm in a game. You gotta jump off the diving board without knowing where the water is. So I did that, and then how was that opportunity presented to? Is that the luck part? When somebody just walked into your office and said, We want to get you out to Hong Kong or I made a joke on a golf course on a Friday after like there was one person that was holding down the business in Asia and it was so clear that a bunch of investment was necessary, but it just wasn't a priority. And so as long as that one person held things together. We could get to it later, and that person left and I made a joke on a golf course on a Friday, saying, I guess you have to send me over there to fix that mess. On Monday, I got called into the head of sales office Thursday. I was on a plane and then three weeks later I was living in a like service department on the other side of the world, saying WTF just happened. Oh, man, that's in credit. That's a great story. I said Yes first and thought about it second. And I think that was the right thing. Is the right approach. Hey, man, if you if you jump the net will appear, they say, apparently. So that's That's a great story, man. Thanks for sharing that. So, you know, along the way you probably picked up a ton of marketing tactics. Sales tactics give us one that, like RC people can use tomorrow and what they're doing. I mean, you obviously know a times. Yeah, well, I've been observing, you know, with with some of the different companies that I've worked with or just the networking I've done through the RC. I'm noticing. Like so. I'm taking this from a sales leadership perspective, but I think it's kind of relevant toe everyone. I noticed that like sometimes the burden of sales forecasting is put on the ease themselves. And I think the tip that I would share is sales. Forecasting is not in a issue. It's not in a issue problem. It's not a burden that they should have to carry. It is...

...hard enough to stay on top of all the deals that you have going on. It is hard enough to do all the follow up to strategize internally about how toe win and so added sort of responsibility of being prognosticator and calling the number. Hey, I don't think that drives behavior be. Salespeople are terrible at it, their emotional beasts, and that's a good thing. That's what drives them to be successful. They're not objective in there, like inspection of the pipeline. That's where you know sales leadership comes in. So the responsibility for account executives should just be pipeline management, you know, opportunities in the right stage in the right amount, with right close date and then, of course, next steps and like your other sort of discipline around. But the prediction of what's gonna happen in the business is a skill that your sales leadership should have. So if all the opportunities were being managed, like in the right way, sales leadership then has the sort of dual track of both using, you know, waited pipeline, plus the sort of subjective element where they know the key deals and they know how well positioned. And there's that bit of that art form in being able to predict your business, being able to look across a lot of opportunities and understand. Okay, this is where I'm driving at as it relates to the month or the quarter or the year, depending on the sales process. And I can see if my forecast isn't what it should be. I now know I need to take action before bad news happened. And so I really think sort of forecasting is a sales leadership skill that you need to be good at and take the burden off account executives. And so that division of labor I don't see it happen enough, so I'm just sort of that's something that I'm trying to bring to bear, and I've done successfully in the past. And so that's maybe just a tip that was top of mind for I like that. You know, I'm gonna have to get you back on here and you're gonna We're gonna do the sales forecasting podcast with Rick. I'd love to teach the leaders how to do it, right, because it's easier said than done. Right? So this is our little quick fire part as we wrap up, give us a key person you're hiring for right now. Who do you need on the team? I...

...mean, I feel like I'm everybody else. We have SDR, So we're hiring six or seven str Enterprise account executives were going up market and we have a lot of opportunity. In fact, our top of funnel is better and enterprise and it is another segments, which is like the first time I've ever seen that in a company. So that's really exciting. One role that highlight is we're hiring a solutions consultant, which is like presales, and I've really seen the nature of that role change. It used to be pre sales was really techie. You had to know sequel or coding and and today it's much more about sort of like a solution. Architectures like the technologies are often much easier to use, their much more intuitive and so pre sales is now like a little bit. It's a different type of problem solving. It's truly understanding the customer requirements and then truly adapting your demo or your solution or your sandbox for the trial to the specific needs of a customer. And that overlay to a great seller could be incredibly powerful combination. So if there's AH, solution consultant or pre sales person out there, that's expert at understanding customer needs and then applying technology to solve those in what you know in novel ways, depending on the industry or the customer that that's, ah, you know, a role that I think moves the needle and when we're hiring for I like that you know, those folks often get all the benefit of hearing the happiness from the customer that you're solving their problem without the struggle of getting the deal closed right. They get to slip away, and they don't have to close it. But they know that the product is great and they know that what they set up for that customer matches. But ironically, they also the ones that have to fill in the RFP s. So you know, we help with that as well. The good comes of the bad man, all right, so some shout outs, who you're following for content that that you love listening to and hearing and whose inspirational to you. Yeah, so maybe a few that come to mind is, I don't know if people follow Jamaat Pallotti A. But I find him entertaining and forward looking as it relates to tech and impact on the world. I get a big kick out of following pretty much anything he says, or interviews or...

...investing. Jason. Linking that guy's ability to deliver insights out of SAS businesses is unbelievable. It's always good and interesting. At the individual contributor level. We have an account executive at loopy a named Zack Farber, who's like the magician on Linked In, and It's just Gold. His social abilities coming into LinkedIn and blending work and fun is like nothing I've ever seen. So Zac's somebody I follow regularly, and then I don't know this individual. But there's a guy at sales loft Jay Warden who did the zoom personalities during the pandemic. I was just unbelievable. When he'd come out with a new one. It was like That was like as exciting is like a New Sopranos episode of a new game of Thrones episode like I Was so pumped up. So those are some of the folks that I've gotten inspiration from. This might indicate how little fun we were having during the pandemic Lincoln personality or anyway, Jamaat, especially I've been following his fax lately, which have been crushing it by the way stock tippler dam. And what about some up and comers that, like people we should be on the on the watch for in terms of their success and people coming up? Well, you know recently with greenhouses exit, I sort of just some of the leadership team, you know, came to mind for me and ops, like Tory Moss is somebody I still go to toe like operating rhythm data. Com plans all kinds of elements around that Mo Moran. I mean, str leadership at scale Best practices Career Path thing, just like unbelievable skills. A leader, Natalie LeBeau on just account Executive Support and Accountability and Team Building and Culture and then Enablement Whitney see, because over at outreach right now, just like the best business, as far as enabling teams to be awesome at scale. And then on the consulting front, I got to do some work with some of the folks within our C. Fred Mather and Jessica Wilkie sin on go to market projects. We have so much pressure on us as sales leaders to deliver high growth and so infrequently...

...do we go ask for help from the outside. Those were two of the best at helping find gaps and go to market and then help solving them. So just like those air folks that come to mind that I think are up and coming in what they're doing and the impact that they could have on the community, that's that's awesome. Freddie, obviously just like us did not mention were both original R C members from back in the day when there was no R. C Fred as well. If you don't know Fred, if you listen to this and you don't know Fred, you should just reach out to that guy and tell him you want to grab a virtual coffee because he's like the Godfather for us and and, of course, I as you know, I'm a restaurant guy. That's only reason I joined this thing because we were having free dinners together and the revenue collective. What's what's a spot we should go check out? Well, I'm going to give this one a shot just from because of the pandemic. So I lived downtown and at the downtown Four Seasons restaurant called The Cut and the GM guy called George. I think that's his name. And I watched that guy hustle all summer to try to keep, like a pretty big restaurant afloat. Amazing, like creativity in a take out menu, adapting the outdoor seating, you know, for for, you know, when it got warmer and just generally hustling to keep like a restaurant, fun and active during like impossible times. And so I started going there just to, like, support the GM. That's super. And so you know that's dried recommend like I want to give that restaurant business because I just respect the hustle as a sales leader and got to observe it sort of in real time. Was that nothing else to dio, you know, walking around downtown New York, that is that's phenomenal. Well, Rick, so awesome to have you here. I totally appreciate you coming on. And I think we got some more con. We're leaving a little bit on the bone for next one. Sounds good, Brand, and I like it. Let's do it again sometime. Thanks, man. Something. All right, That's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review in the apple podcasts or Spotify app. Send it to some friends and make sure to smash that subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by six cents. Powered by AI and Predictive Analytics.

Six cents helps you to unite your entire revenue team with a shared set of data to achieve predictable revenue growth. Had fun today. Hope you did, Thio. Now go crush your numbers.

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