PODCAST 101: Ownership Is Dead: 7 Mantras for Recurring Revenue with Luigi Mallardo

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Luigi Mallardo, Chief Revenue Officer at Woffu.

Luigi is a long-time CRO and sales leader in the European community, and he’s also the chairman of the Barcelona Revenue Collective. Woffu is an HR SaaS platform for time optimization in companies between 100 and 2,000 employees. Let’s hear from Luigi about the subscription economy and the subscription business model!

If you missed episode 100, check it out here: PODCAST 100: Succeeding as the First Marketing Hire w/ Nicole Wojno Smith

What You’ll Learn

  • Why all companies are SaaS companies
  • How 7 mantras can teach the concept of recurring revenue
  • Bundles & subscriptions are everything!
  • Even larger than a mantra is… attracting & keeping talent

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:02]
  2. About Luigi Mallardo & Woffu [2:19]
  3. Non-tech industry opportunities [12:38]
  4. Luigi’s 7 Mantras [18:37]
  5. Larger than a mantra [33:55]
  6. Sam’s Corner [42:50]

Show Introduction [00:02]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today on the show, we’ve got Luigi Mallardo. Luigi has a lot of brilliant insights and knows a million different languages and has worked all over Europe. He was a professional basketball player, but mostly what he talks about is the subscription economy and the subscription business model.

Everything is turning into a subscription — the way that SaaS B2B salespeople sell. There’s frankly a tremendous opportunity for people to take their experience doing B2B SaaS sales and go to market leadership and translate that everywhere. It’s a really interesting conversation. So I hope you enjoy it.

Before we get to the interview, we want to thank our sponsor. Our sponsor is Outreach. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth. By prioritizing the right activities and scaling customer engagement with intelligent automation, Outreach makes customer-facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results.

Now, without further ado, let’s listen to this interview with Luigi Mallardo.

About Luigi Mallardo & Woffu [2:19]

Sam Jacobs: Luigi is the Chief Revenue Officer at Woffu, an HR SaaS platform for time optimization in companies between 100 and 2,000 employees. He is a long-time CRO and sales leader in the European community. Prior to his career in SaaS and early stage companies, he was a professional basketball player. He’s also the chairman of the Barcelona Revenue Collective. Luigi, welcome to the show.

Luigi Mallardo: Hi, Sam. Thanks for having me here.

Sam Jacobs: We like to start with a little bit of a baseball card where we sort of contextualize your expertise. You’re Chief Revenue Officer at Woffu. Tell us, what is Woffu?

Luigi Mallardo: Woffu is a SaaS platform for time optimization for companies. The concept is that people are the most important assets of a company nowadays, and time is the most important asset of the company. So likewise has been done for customer engagement only marketing and sales technologies, now it’s time of the employee customer journey. And therefore if you don’t take care of your employees’ time, you won’t have the possibility to grow. We’ve been growing 200% every year in the last three years. The company grew between 2 to 25 people between sales market and customer success. Now the company is around 50 people and aiming to add another 10 to 15 this year.

Sam Jacobs: Walk us through a little bit of your background. It’s really interesting for us over here in New York to learn about how European revenue leadership develops and grows.

Luigi Mallardo: As you said, the first life I had was a professional basketball player in Italy. Before getting into the startup world, I spent 10 years in corporations like Kellogg’s and then Kantar, which was in 2019 sold to Bain Capital at the valuation of $4 billion. From Kantar in 2010, I moved to Affinnova as a VP Europe. The main gig for the last 5 years has been Whisbi, where I did an early stage journey aiming from $1 to 10 million in AR. I built the SaaS organization. When I joined Whisbi it was a transactional business with an advanced video chat, then we built the SaaS business.

It is different scaling up from Europe, especially from continental Europe. Lack of talent is the global issue, as we have discovered several times with the Revenue Collective. For Europe it is even more difficult, as you need to attract people from other countries.

Non-tech industry opportunities [12:38]

Sam Jacobs: One of the things that you’ve been talking about is that five years from now, the best professional opportunities for revenue leaders will not be in tech industries but will be in non-tech industries. Tell us a little about what you mean by that?

Luigi Mallardo: That’s a combination of some work experience I had, especially in the last two years. First in a business school, because I’m doing classes three, four times a year to non-tech entrepreneurs, or CEOs of traditional industries where I teach about SaaS. And the second, as you know, there is this fantastic book from the founder of Zuora, Subscribed, that shows clearly how the subscription offers are invading the world. There is clearly a huge shift in all types of industries including mobility. Everyone talks about Uber but I think that it is really interesting that a CEO of Volvo recently stated by 2023, one out of four or five cars will be delivered via subscriptions. Companies are realizing everywhere that this is a big thing.

Even in our industry we talk a lot about SDR. In my view, the big thing is that in five years the best professional opportunity will be non-tech industries, because these industries are SaaSing up. Actually, the name of the class that I give in this business school is “SaaSit Up.” There is definitely a trend towards a future where the best professional opportunity will be in this sector. In this sector, we are a changing matrix.

Most of us that grew up in SaaS industry, and it’s part of our DNA, but in this traditional industry they need to be evangelized. Many of them don’t have enough skill or experience to manage this kind of change. So a few mantras are transforming the way businesses will work.

Luigi’s 7 Mantras [18:37]

Sam Jacobs: All of the people that are working in B2B, software as a service, or recurring revenue businesses are incredibly well positioned, because the global economy desires more predictable revenue streams and as a consequence moving to more subscription based services. Is that accurate?

Luigi Mallardo: That’s one of the mantras. Ownership is dead. The economy is moving from selling products, from selling goods to selling annuities. The future is selling access to things. Therefore, this end of ownership is another mantra that for us is part of our DNA.

The second one is we are in the era of omnichannel. It’s something that has developed a lot in our world, in our sector, in our industry, while the traditional industry historically lacks that. And around this concept we could spend hours talking about that.

The third one is that the pricing model needs to SaaS up. In the SaaS industry it’s a completely different approach. It’s about the value you provide. It’s not about the products you sell, it’s about the outcome you provide.

And that’s another key mantras. Everything is becoming bundled. This is the model of the future — the McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Another mantra here is that the Go-To-Market fundamentals and the KPIs are completely changing. Where I helped to build or SaaSed up business model, the KPI changes. You start with this airline subscription offer, you don’t start from the seats sold. You start from recurring revenue. And then the second line of your report is the churn.

Organizational models also switch. All best practices here that the SaaS industry has developed in the way you communicate to the market. Now you focus on communicating the value, and how you build your business cases, and you present your product into the complex of specific use cases, specific customers. This switch from product to outcome and the way it’s communicated is another mantra.

Everything is about the conversation today — the impact that all the conversational technologies, chat bots, conversational apps, philosophies, approaches, and the practices to build and communicate value proposition is the last mantra, the seventh and probably the most important mantra of the subscription economy.

Sam Jacobs: Got it. Just to recap: ownership, omnichannel, value based pricing, the importance of bundles, KPIs are going to be different, the organizational models are going to be different, now you have to build customer success team if you’ve got all these subscriptions running, and then there’s a new way of selling.

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Larger than a mantra [33:55]

Luigi Mallardo: Then there is something that may be larger than a Mantra. It’s more fundamental that all of us have learnt to master, which is how to attract and make people happy. How to attract talent with experience. Our industry has developed in the last 10 years a lot of practices. And it’s not only about attracting people because tech is cool. If the world is starting to move towards subscription and starting to build partnerships with collateral industries, therefore the cool effect of tech will shift also to the traditional world.

Sam Jacobs: What do you think is the key to attracting top talent?

Luigi Mallardo: A great project. A great vision. A clear career path based on milestones. Now young folks are much more prepared and much more demanding, and therefore it’s important to give a structure for their career. You need to build an appealing value proposition, not only for your customers but also for your employees, for the people you want to attract. And it needs to be aspirational, very concrete, and socially accepted, tied to an emotionally gratifying cause. That’s what young folks are looking for.

Reach out to Luigi on LinkedIn or via email at luigi@saasup.net.

Sam’s Corner [42:50]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, folks. Sam’s Corner. Great conversation with Luigi. The main topic of the conversation was how the world is being consumed by the business models that show the concept of recurring revenue. There are seven mantras that Luigi was talking about:

  1. Ownership is dead.
  2. Everything is omnichannel.
  3. Value based pricing.
  4. Bundles.
  5. KPIs for the new world are going to be different.
  6. The organizational models for companies are going to be different.
  7. The new way of selling is a conversation-based sales model.

Because buyers are empowered, sellers have to be more interesting. That means your company has to have a point of view, which is really your messaging. You can’t be for everybody, you have to be for the people that are in line with your point of view. Having a point of view and then engaging in conversation about that point of view — that’s the mantra of Luigi’s perspective.

What We Learned

  • Why all companies are SaaS companies
  • How 7 mantras can teach the concept of recurring revenue
  • Bundles & subscriptions are everything!
  • Even larger than a mantra is… attracting & keeping talent

Don’t miss episode 102!

I hope you enjoyed the show. Before we go, let’s thank our sponsor. Our sponsor, of course, is Outreach. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activity and scaling customer engagement with intelligent automation. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results.

If you want to reach out to me with feedback, you can reach me on LinkedIn or email me at sam@revenuecollective.com. If you haven’t rated the show, please give us 5 stars on the iTunes rating system so that we can remain in business and continue to bring you this show.

As always, thanks so much for listening, I’ll talk to you next time.

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