PODCAST 96: The 4 Levers of Sales Velocity w/ Pete Crosby

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Pete Crosby, Chief Revenue Officer at Ometria.

Prior to Ometria, Pete has been growing SaaS revenue teams for almost 20 years. He’s run revenues at the Viadeo from Series A to IPO, and most recently took Triptease from $2 million to $10 million in a successful Series B in just 18 months. He’s one of the three founding members of the London Revenue Collective. Today we’re talking about the management track, employee motivation, and the levers of sales velocity.

If you missed episode 95, check it out here: PODCAST 95: How to Nail Your 1-on-1s w/ Matt Cameron.

What You’ll Learn

  • Why not every top-performing SDR is cut out for management — & who is
  • 2 Frameworks for motivating your employees
  • The 4 levers of sales velocity & why this number baffles the board
  • Book recommendations & shoutouts galore

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:00]
  2. About Pete Crosby & Ometria [1:33]
  3. Transition to Management [10:42]
  4. The #1 Mistake Managers Make [13:28]
  5. Motivating Employees [16:31]
  6. The 4 Levers of Sales Velocity [27:53]
  7. Building a Successful Outbound SDR Org [34:36]
  8. Sam’s Corner [46:49]

Show Introduction [00:00]

Sam Jacobs: Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. We’ve got a great show for you today. Pete Crosby is the Chief Revenue Officer of Ometria, which is a marketing technology platform. Pete’s a longtime veteran of the SaaS world and the sales world. We hear about his story, but most importantly we hear about motivation, coaching, and the four levers of sales velocity. It’s a really inspiring conversation.

Today the sponsor of our show is this company calledOutreach. 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 Pete Crosby.

About Pete Crosby & Ometria [1:33]

Sam Jacobs: We are incredibly excited to have on the show today Pete Crosby. Pete is one of the most well-known revenue leaders in the London area. Currently he’s the Chief Revenue Officer of a company called Ometria, but he’s been growing SaaS revenue teams for almost 20 years. Prior to that, he ran revenues at the Viadeo from Series A to IPO, and most recently took Triptease from $2 million to $10 million in a successful Series B in just 18 months. He’s one of the three founding members of the London Revenue Collective, which we’re incredibly excited about. He’s run teams all over the world, including China, Singapore, Latin America, United States, Africa, Russia, and of course Europe. He lives with his family in North Wales. So tell us about Ometria first. What does Ometria do, and how did you find the company?

Pete Crosby: Ometria works with retailers, so we’re a martech platform, which allows retailers to create marketing experiences that their customers will love. We’re very focused only on retail and what it means. We very recently launched into the US. In fact, our office just opened this month in January 2020 in New York.

Ometria found me. I was working for a hospitality startup. We’d just done that in run from, $2 to $10 million really fast. And Ivan was looking for a COO that could do that for him. And he heard me speak at a conference and took the Mickey a little bit, because he asked me a ridiculously stupid question. But it did get them on my radar, which meant I remembered him. And then he got a connection to me. The following day we had a chat and I joined very quickly after that. So they came looking for me.

Sam Jacobs: Obviously, I have to ask, what was the stupid question that he asked?

Pete Crosby: He said, “I’ve got 18 direct reports. What should I do?” I said, “You need to hire a Sales Leader.”

Transition to Management [10:42]

Sam Jacobs: One of the common things that we talk about is some top-performing salespeople do not make the transition successfully to management. What, for you, are the key skills that are important as somebody moves from being an individual contributor to a frontline manager, and then to a manager of managers?

Pete Crosby: The very first thing for me that made it really work was that I realized that I just loved people. And that’s the same reason that I believe I was good as a sales person. I’ve just become endlessly fascinated by the individuals in front of me. What I did learn is just love people and love what they are interested in. When you become a manager, what you have in front of you is an individual who has dreams and hopes and a family and all sorts of dimensions beyond their role — and learning how to listen to that person, help them to improve and get better has a been one of the things I’ve most enjoyed as a manager. If you can treat someone like that, then ideally, they will become motivated and inspired.

The second part of that is to build a framework around everything. Every time you do something, ask yourself, “How did I do that, and why did I do that? Why was that person successful? How can I have lots more people who perform in that way? Why did that particular thing work in a pitch, or a discovery call? And how can we put a framework around that, and replicate it so that everything we do is endlessly scalable?” And once I learned that, it made it much, much easier to grow and scale businesses, and hopefully, be a successful manager.

The #1 Mistake Managers Make [13:28]

Sam Jacobs: What’s the number one mistake you see as people move up that path?

Pete Crosby: I don’t think the common mistake is made by the person themselves. Generally speaking, it’s made by the company. As startups, we are really, really poor at helping people to grow. It’s partly because we’re small, and we’re moving fast, and we have limited positions, and we’re probably still building out our frameworks. But the other reason is, if you have a fabulous individual contributor who’s ready to move to the next level, how are you going to help that person? Should they become a manager?

Most people want to become a manager because they think that that is the route to success. As so many people move to management because they think it’s the next step, and the moment they do that rather than really want to become a manager, my feeling is you’re setting yourself up for failure. And for the individual involved, my strong advice is, really ask yourself, “Do you want to earn less money than you were earning previously?” Because that’s often what happens as a manager. “Do you really want to be responsible for 20 people and their ridiculous problems?” Because that’s definitely going to happen. And, “Do you really want to go on a pathway which is arguably less thrilling than the thrill of being an individual contributor?” And if the answer to that is yes, expect it to be even harder than the path that you took as an individual contributor.

Motivating Employees [16:31]

Sam Jacobs: That speaks to one of the things that you referenced just now, which is motivation. What is your framework for discovering or unlocking the actualization of motivation, such that people can be passionate and enthusiastic high contributors and high performers in your organization?

Pete Crosby: The first is so simple, but I see so many companies that have failed to do this well. Whenever we hire somebody new, we take a one hour session to try and understand what their long term goal is. And that doesn’t have to be a professional goal. For an SDR it’s frequently, “I’d like to be an AE.” But it could equally be as we had with a member of my team not so long ago, they wanted to move out of the city, they wanted to be able to bring up their child in a non-urban location. So once we found a long term goal, then we look at what are the medium term objectives that have to be achieved in order to make that long-term goal. And we normally try to make those somewhere between three to six months away, and they need to be really measurable. The act of giving people a pathway through the forest, to prevent them from walking in circles, is enough to really give someone that sense of motivation. “I know where you need to go. I know the pathway to take, and I can show you and hold your hand and show you the way-finders. Let’s go.” And that in itself is extremely motivating.

The second thing we did is to learn how much activity do we actually need to do to get to a deal? We had 4% conversion. So if you make 100 calls, you’re got four meaningful conversations. And then we defined what that is. So you can say, “I had a meaningful conversation.” We followed that all the way through the discoveries, and the deep dives, and the various meetings, until we got to an opportunity, and then we got to a deal. Then we reverse engineered how much every meaningful conversation you had was worth. And we were able to say, “Hey, every time you have that meaningful conversation, even if it’s an important decision-maker telling you to go away, but you had a meaningful conversation with the right person, that was worth $2,500 worth of value to the company.”

You’re able to give people, not only a pathway through the process, but place value on each action that people are performing, which makes you feel really good when you go home, having had a thankless day, you have huge activity, and not much to show for it. But you know that it’s been a value to the company, because you’d know that on average across the quarter, you’re going to be spitting out some really interesting figures, which will drive value for the company.

The 4 Levers of Sales Velocity [27:53]

Sam Jacobs: The four levers of sales velocity, what are those, so that folks out there understand what they are?

Pete Crosby: The first is average sales cycle (ASC). For me it’s from the creation of the opportunity to the close of the deal. Our average sales cycle in our mid-market is roundabout 75 days.

Second of those is an average deal size to the ARPA, average revenue per account. And I have quite a nice chart that I show when we’ve been doing our funding rounds, which demonstrates that it’s got ARPA has gone up by about $1,000 every single quarter since Ometria was born in 2013.

Third of those, it’s simply the number of deals that you have inside your pipeline. I look at how many opportunities I have in my forward 90-day pipeline. If you are focusing heavily on enterprise, maybe your opportunity window is six to nine months long. I do have an enterprise pipeline as well, but my mid-market pipeline tends to sit in that sort of 90 day window.

Finally I want to look at my percentage win rate. Most people tend to look at cash win rates. Volume win rate is much more important. The minute you have a bunch of large deals in there, you’re skewing your numbers toward those large deals. Whereas volume win relates normalizes your business. Every single deal counts equally.

So then, to create sales velocity, you’re looking at the number of opportunities multiplied by the deal value, and your average deal value, multiplied by your volume-win ratio, which in most SaaS businesses sits somewhere between sort of 20% and 30%, and then divide that result by the length of your sales cycle. That gives you a number.

If you want to talk about sales velocity, Sam, the really fun thing is your board doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about. And your senior management team probably doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about either. So this is one of those numbers that I use as part of my revenue leadership team, to model exactly where we going, and ensure that we’re constantly getting better and better and better. But I don’t tend to use it very often in board reporting, or in senior management team reporting, because I tend to be left with a sea of blank faces. Instead, I’m much more likely to talk about those four numbers themselves.

Building a Successful Outbound SDR Org [34:36]

Sam Jacobs: A lot of folks are struggling with outbound SDRs right now. You mentioned building repeatability into the SDR profession role within an organization. Is it messaging that you often think is the problem? Is it the measurement of activities? If I’m trying to build a successful outbound SDR organization, or demand generation organization, where would you think to start to deliver repeatability?

Pete Crosby: I would start with the quantitative stuff, and then secondly I’d look at qualitative. So the reason for that is if you just get an SDR to 50 calls a day. And then let’s map out the process that comes after. Do we have a process that takes us through to an opportunity? First of all, we need to know what an opportunity is. Let’s have a manager, or a senior person evaluate whether it really is an opportunity. The SDR shouldn’t own whether or not something is an opportunity. From those, we probably book some discoveries, and from that, we probably hold some discoveries, and eventually, that’s going to lead us to the creation of an opportunity. So I would map that entire process, and then I’d just get started.

In order to find out where the qualitative problems are, if you’ve got the data, and you’ve got the measurements, and you know what all your conversion ratios are, then you can start to pick apart where you need to devote your time. 20 years ago, I developed a method of scoring a pitch, which I’ve now rolled out into 10 different scorecards. So now we can score our discovery call. And that means that we can say to an SDR, “Hey, your intro is fabulous. We love the way you do the paradigm shift. But the way that you are dealing with the closing questions is not so good. So let’s work on that.” And those are coaching opportunities. So I split the qualitative, and the quantitative up, in order to get ourselves to that kind of position.

Connect with Pete by email at pete.d.crosby@gmail.com or on LinkedIn. Pete always has 3 breakfasts and 2 dinners with a stranger every week. He’d love to meet you in person if you’re in the UK.

Sam’s Corner [46:49]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody, it’s Sam’s Corner. A couple of things to think about and to take with you. First of all, just thinking about what is the role of management? Pete talked about his endless fascination with other people. If other people fundamentally aren’t interesting to you, or you’re just more self concerned, then you need to think twice about whether or not you really want to be a manager. Pete also talked about how the sales development function is the key to unlocking repeatability and scalability, and he talked about the four levers of sales velocity: the number of opportunities, the average sales cycle, the average deal size, and the win rate.

The final thing I would say is about motivation. How do you motivate people? And part of it is about forcing them to define some kind of plan, and then creating milestones to help them attain that plan. And that plan can be whatever their personal motivation is.

Don’t miss episode 97 next week!

Thanks to our sponsor, Outreach. Outreach triples the productivity sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth.

If you want to reach out to me as well, I’m available at LinkedIn. Thanks for listening to the Sales Hacker podcast. We’ll talk to you next time!

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