The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

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


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

Hello, everyone. And welcome back tothe revenue collective podcast. I am your new co host, Brandon Barton, andyou are listening to Is this a good time show where I asked revenueCollective members some really basic questions, and they have incredibleanswers 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 tosmash that subscribe button. Hit it so you don't miss an opportunity to learnfrom 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 whois the head of sales at loopy. Oh, and we get into why moving overseas andbecoming 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 aboutthis one sponsor six cents six cents. The number one account engagementplatform helps you identify accounts that air in market for your solution.Prioritize your efforts, engage buyers the right way with highly relevantmessaging and measure what actually matters with the six cents platform,you're able to get into more deals. Improved win rates, increase overallpipeline 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 muchfor being here. Ladies and gentlemen, we have Rick Smolan, who is the head ofsales at Rubio, as we do here we are all meat, No fillers. So, Rick, let'sjump 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. Veryexcited to be here. Love, podcasts and love being a member of the revenuecollected 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 sothat you can focus on growth. I think it's an amazing company. You know, noone enjoys completing, like, RFP s our... questionnaires, but it's avital 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 ofthe process. So if you can reduce the time it takes while ensuring that it'slike the highest quality and accurate responses, it allows you to focus onthe 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 Iwas really important problem, and it's been a great company, so so loved beingthere. But before that, you know, my first sort of entree into being a salesleader for a company was with Greenhouse software during my time. IsVPs sales there We went from like 20 million in air, are over 65 million inair, are so a lot of growth and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Butrecently, Greenhouse had a great exit, and so that was like a nice milestonefor the business and in the career. Prior to that, I sort of grew up insales at a company called Intra Links. Yeah, you are interested in Techcompany. The document sharing before sort of like Box and Dropbox came alongfor 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 contributoron all the way through to sort of, ah, leader of North America business, youknow, 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 endof 2016. But that's really where I grew up in sales. And then if I think aboutlike 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 aparticipant in workshops run by Force management. It was really like acustomer engagement methodology for the entire organization, and I found like Igot a lot of value out of that when we...

...brought it into intra links when webrought it into greenhouse, and I've actually spent time working on behalfof force management as a facilitator, partnering with companies to helpdetermine a what's our value proposition? What are the key problemsin the market that we solve, and then our differentiation? How do we actuallydo that better and differently than other options that are out there? Andhow do we consistently pull that together so that our whole companiesaligned 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 theorganization, there's consistency in the way we execute. So I have a lot ofpassion for sales process, for sort of scaling the best of talk tracks andthen doing that in the in the organization. That's cool. I didn'tknow. 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 littlebit of luck and a little bit of hard work to get, you know, to a successfulplace, 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 leadsales organizations of high growth companies. I get asked this from timeto 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 istotally out of your comfort zone, totally out of your comfort zone werelike most people that are in a sales role get comfortable engaging withcustomers. So how are you going to do something completely different that'sgoing around your skill set out in some new way. So for me, it was geography. Iwent to Asia and started doing, you know, sales and B two b work there. SoI lived in Hong Kong for almost three years, and I will tell you, for mepersonally, everything was impossible. I was taken completely out of mycomfort zone. How you engage with customers, how you in collaborateinternally how you get stuff done. How do you do hiring when you have expatsand, you know, local hires to consider everything is just impossible. It'slike amped up times 100 versus what...'re used to, you know, working on aNew York or wherever and learning how to get comfortable in this impossiblesituation. So patients, as it related to customer engagement and just knowingthe 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 timezones away. If I send an email at five o'clock, you know, and I get questionsin response to that email. By the time I respond to that, I lose the wholeanother day because of these times who I have to get a lot better at, likewriting the questions that I have. Why I'm asking what questions I might getreturned so you just get better at internal collaboration and then justsome of these situations are just impossible. And so, just like maybeit'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 forme it was like I had toe know how to put, like, work down for a little bitso that getting out of my comfort zone. Both built a whole bunch of new skillsand just, like, was forced to learn a work ethic that was far exceeds yoursort of normal 40 hour work week. And when I come back, you know, the way Idescribe it was like that was like Green Beret training for salesleadership, like it was so much more comfortable in any capacity. I actuallygot promoted when I came back and started running North Americanbusinesses and everybody brought all these problems to me. And I found theseproblems like way, way solvable. This was like everybody speaks the samelanguage. This is gonna be way governing law is like New York and notmainland 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 alittle bit different. But I encourage. Like I I asked people to purposelythink about what are they going to do in their career that's gonna take themvery far outside of their comfort zone. And if they do that, they will haveedge in the long term as being more...

...rounded, being mawr memorable to, youknow, put higher. By the way, I did something similar. I didn't go acrossthe world. I went across the country to Las Vegas at some point and was workingat a Las Vegas for a year when I was doing some restaurant consulting. And Ithink a key here is you will know it's uncomfortable, but you will not knowthe benefits that you'll gain from it and like, you can't judge it and say, Iknow this is gonna be hard and this is all the stuff. I'm in a game. You gottajump off the diving board without knowing where the water is. So I didthat, 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 outto Hong Kong or I made a joke on a golf course on a Friday after like there wasone person that was holding down the business in Asia and it was so clearthat a bunch of investment was necessary, but it just wasn't apriority. And so as long as that one person held things together. We couldget to it later, and that person left and I made a joke on a golf course on aFriday, saying, I guess you have to send me over there to fix that mess. OnMonday, I got called into the head of sales office Thursday. I was on a planeand then three weeks later I was living in a like service department on theother side of the world, saying WTF just happened. Oh, man, that's incredit. 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 youif you jump the net will appear, they say, apparently. So that's That's agreat story, man. Thanks for sharing that. So, you know, along the way youprobably 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, youobviously know a times. Yeah, well, I've been observing, you know, withwith some of the different companies that I've worked with or just thenetworking I've done through the RC. I'm noticing. Like so. I'm taking thisfrom a sales leadership perspective, but I think it's kind of relevant toeeveryone. I noticed that like sometimes the burden of sales forecasting is puton 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 burdenthat they should have to carry. It is...

...hard enough to stay on top of all thedeals that you have going on. It is hard enough to do all the follow up tostrategize internally about how toe win and so added sort of responsibility ofbeing prognosticator and calling the number. Hey, I don't think that drivesbehavior be. Salespeople are terrible at it, their emotional beasts, andthat's a good thing. That's what drives them to be successful. They're notobjective in there, like inspection of the pipeline. That's where you knowsales leadership comes in. So the responsibility for account executivesshould just be pipeline management, you know, opportunities in the right stagein the right amount, with right close date and then, of course, next stepsand like your other sort of discipline around. But the prediction of what'sgonna 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, salesleadership then has the sort of dual track of both using, you know, waitedpipeline, plus the sort of subjective element where they know the key dealsand they know how well positioned. And there's that bit of that art form inbeing able to predict your business, being able to look across a lot ofopportunities and understand. Okay, this is where I'm driving at as itrelates to the month or the quarter or the year, depending on the salesprocess. And I can see if my forecast isn't what it should be. I now know Ineed to take action before bad news happened. And so I really think sort offorecasting is a sales leadership skill that you need to be good at and takethe burden off account executives. And so that division of labor I don't seeit happen enough, so I'm just sort of that's something that I'm trying tobring to bear, and I've done successfully in the past. And so that'smaybe just a tip that was top of mind for I like that. You know, I'm gonnahave to get you back on here and you're gonna We're gonna do the salesforecasting 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 littlequick fire part as we wrap up, give us a key person you're hiring for rightnow. 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 executiveswere going up market and we have a lot of opportunity. In fact, our top offunnel is better and enterprise and it is another segments, which is like thefirst time I've ever seen that in a company. So that's really exciting. Onerole that highlight is we're hiring a solutions consultant, which is likepresales, and I've really seen the nature of that role change. It used tobe pre sales was really techie. You had to know sequel or coding and and todayit's much more about sort of like a solution. Architectures like thetechnologies are often much easier to use, their much more intuitive and sopre sales is now like a little bit. It's a different type of problemsolving. It's truly understanding the customer requirements and then trulyadapting your demo or your solution or your sandbox for the trial to thespecific needs of a customer. And that overlay to a great seller could beincredibly powerful combination. So if there's AH, solution consultant or presales person out there, that's expert at understanding customer needs andthen 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, arole that I think moves the needle and when we're hiring for I like that youknow, those folks often get all the benefit of hearing the happiness fromthe customer that you're solving their problem without the struggle of gettingthe 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 forthat customer matches. But ironically, they also the ones that have to fill inthe RFP s. So you know, we help with that as well. The good comes of the badman, all right, so some shout outs, who you're following for content that thatyou love listening to and hearing and whose inspirational to you. Yeah, somaybe a few that come to mind is, I don't know if people follow JamaatPallotti A. But I find him entertaining and forward looking as it relates totech and impact on the world. I get a big kick out of following pretty muchanything he says, or interviews or...

...investing. Jason. Linking that guy'sability to deliver insights out of SAS businesses is unbelievable. It's alwaysgood and interesting. At the individual contributor level. We have an accountexecutive 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 andblending work and fun is like nothing I've ever seen. So Zac's somebody Ifollow regularly, and then I don't know this individual. But there's a guy atsales loft Jay Warden who did the zoom personalities during the pandemic. Iwas just unbelievable. When he'd come out with a new one. It was like Thatwas like as exciting is like a New Sopranos episode of a new game ofThrones episode like I Was so pumped up. So those are some of the folks thatI've gotten inspiration from. This might indicate how little fun we werehaving during the pandemic Lincoln personality or anyway, Jamaat,especially I've been following his fax lately, which have been crushing it bythe way stock tippler dam. And what about some up and comers that, likepeople we should be on the on the watch for in terms of their success andpeople coming up? Well, you know recently with greenhouses exit, I sortof 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. Complans all kinds of elements around that Mo Moran. I mean, str leadership atscale Best practices Career Path thing, just like unbelievable skills. A leader,Natalie LeBeau on just account Executive Support and Accountabilityand Team Building and Culture and then Enablement Whitney see, because over atoutreach right now, just like the best business, as far as enabling teams tobe awesome at scale. And then on the consulting front, I got to do some workwith some of the folks within our C. Fred Mather and Jessica Wilkie sin ongo to market projects. We have so much pressure on us as sales leaders todeliver high growth and so infrequently... we go ask for help from the outside.Those were two of the best at helping find gaps and go to market and thenhelp solving them. So just like those air folks that come to mind that Ithink are up and coming in what they're doing and the impact that they couldhave on the community, that's that's awesome. Freddie, obviously just likeus did not mention were both original R C members from back in the day whenthere was no R. C Fred as well. If you don't know Fred, if you listen to thisand you don't know Fred, you should just reach out to that guy and tell himyou want to grab a virtual coffee because he's like the Godfather for usand and, of course, I as you know, I'm a restaurant guy. That's only reason Ijoined this thing because we were having free dinners together and therevenue collective. What's what's a spot we should go check out? Well, I'mgoing to give this one a shot just from because of the pandemic. So I liveddowntown and at the downtown Four Seasons restaurant called The Cut andthe GM guy called George. I think that's his name. And I watched that guyhustle 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 keeplike a restaurant, fun and active during like impossible times. And so Istarted going there just to, like, support the GM. That's super. And soyou know that's dried recommend like I want to give that restaurant businessbecause I just respect the hustle as a sales leader and got to observe it sortof in real time. Was that nothing else to dio, you know, walking arounddowntown New York, that is that's phenomenal. Well, Rick, so awesome tohave you here. I totally appreciate you coming on. And I think we got some morecon. 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 youso much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review in theapple podcasts or Spotify app. Send it to some friends and make sure to smashthat subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by six cents.Powered by AI and Predictive Analytics.

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

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