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Building Relationships and Using STRONGMAN Strategy to Close Sales Cycles with Bion Behdin, CRO and Co-Founder of First AML

In this episode of the Revenue Insights Podcast, host Lee Bierton is joined by Bion Behdin, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder of First AML, a Regulation Technology company providing end-to-end Customer Due Diligence solutions. Bion is passionate about building relations because relationships help to close deals. The episode is filled with insights on how to build relationships with the right personas. Bion also does a deep dive into the STRONGMAN strategy for managing the critical areas of the sales cycle. 

Bion Behdin is the Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder at First AML and has over twelve years of experience in Enterprise AE and Revenue Operations. He has spent over six years at ANZ Bank, where his customer-centric roles taught him the value of building strong and robust relations. At First AML, he leads the revenue team and focuses on AE attainment.

Time Stamps:

  •  00:20 – 02:22 – Bion’s Story with FirstAML
  •  02:41 – 03:28 – How FirstAML works with Enterprise customers
  •  03:51 – 04:36 – How FirstAML multi-threads deals
  •  04:51 – 05:51- The process for targeting priority accounts
  •  06:20 – 07:21 – Using deal qualification to accelerate deal velocity
  •  07:40 – 08:22- Templating the multi-threading approach
  •  08:30 – 09:20 -Why it’s vital to nurture at least three relationships at enterprise accounts
  •  09:47 – 11:40 – Scaling the revenue team over the past 18 months
  •  11:58 – 12:59- Bion’s biggest regret of not having revenue operations at the start
  •  13:17 – 14:20 – Where FirstAML get value back from revenue operations
  •  14:46 – 15:59 – Using incentives and commission to improve the adoption of RevOps processes
  •  16:35 – 17:35- Using deal qualification to improve results
  •   12:18 – 12:53 – Bion’s Book Recommendation – Barbarians At The Gate by Burrough, Bryan, Helyar, John (2010) Paperback

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Transcript


If you’re speaking to a technology lead, which will be leading the integration of the technology, they actually have a very limited understanding of the compliance side of things. They’ll say stuff like, oh, we’ll just grab a few data points and automatically verify someone where it doesn’t really quite work like that.

It just depends on who you’re talking to in either that initial discussion, but making sure you have that mapped out and then bringing in the other stakeholders and making sure you talk about what matters to them is so important. Welcome to Revenue Insights. Every week, we’ll be joined by revenue leaders from some of the most successful and highest-growing companies.

Together, we explore how they built their revenue teams, the journeys that they’ve been on, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Revenue Insights is brought to you by Epstor. We’re a revenue intelligence platform designed to help revenue teams to build more pipeline, close more deals, and retain more customers. Hello there, and welcome to Revenue Insights. Today’s guest is Bion Baden, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-Founder of First AML.

Bion, it’s a pleasure to chat with you today. Great to chat with you, Lee. I’m intrigued to learn a little bit more about First AML. I know you guys are based over in New Zealand and are really growing a lot at the minute.

But for everyone listening who hasn’t heard or met you guys before, what’s your story?

Yes. Just to give you a bit of background about me, I spent a lot of my career in finance and corporate lending, where it was a lot of relationship building and very relationship sale. We would win a client, we’d do a big flashy pitch, win a client, and then proceed to put them through one of the most horrendous onboarding experiences of all time.

A big part of that was doing anti-money laundering checks. Making sure these corporations weren’t laundering money and making sure that all of their documentation was in order. At the bank, it’s a horrendously manual process. I remember sitting there going, God, there’s got to be a better way to do this. That’s essentially what came at First AML.

About four years ago, we decided, hey, let’s get out of finance and make that onboarding process easier for what really is some of the most expensive purchases people make. When you’re borrowing 10, 20, 30 million dollars, why is that experience more painful than if you’re signing up for Netflix, essentially.

We really decided to focus on corporate KYC or corporate customer onboarding for financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and real estate, because that’s some of the biggest transactions you’ll ever do, and the way they currently onboard their customers is subpar. If you’ve ever had to sell a house or do anything like that, it’s quite painful. We launched the business about four years ago.

Fast forward to today, we’re in three countries, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We’ve done our Series B round of funding, which I think in total we’ve raised about 23 million pounds of venture.

Obviously, a lot easier about a year ago than it is now, but luckily we did our Series B about a year ago, so that’s good. Amazing. I’m guessing the type of customers that you’re working with, enterprise size, big companies, long sales cycles.

Could you just give a bit of, I guess, an overview of the type of companies that you’re typically working with, and I guess how you’re working with them?

Yeah. We actually work with a lot of venture capital firms, mid-sized, mid-tier banks, and high-end law firms. It is very much a relationship sale. A lot of trust needs to be built because we’re in regulation technology, and they have to be really comfortable with the process we run. A lot of these companies, this is their first go at a digitization of this process.

There has to be a lot of trust built before they’ll buy.

So yeah, medium to long sales cycles, generally multi-threading, whether it’s selling to the technology lead, the compliance lead, and then the chief operating officer usually.

So yeah, it can get quite complex, but it just depends on the size of the client. You touched on it there in terms of multi-threading some of those deals and how it will change based on the client.

Could you give a generic overview of what that process looks like?

So is it you’re identifying a target account and then working out who the stakeholders are that you want to be speaking with?

Is it slightly different to that?

Yeah, no, that’s a really good description of that. It’s about figuring out who the right stakeholders are and what their biases are. So when you’re talking to a head of compliance, generally they’re the one that set up the original process. So they’re not that happy when you tell them, hey, there’s a much better way to do things.

If you’re speaking to a technology lead, which will be leading the integration of the technology, they actually have a very limited understanding of the compliance side of things. They’ll say stuff like, oh, we’ll just grab a few data points and automatically verify someone, or it doesn’t really quite work like that.

So it just depends on who you’re talking to in either that initial discussion, but making sure you have that mapped out and then bringing in the other stakeholders and making sure you’re talking about what matters to them is so important.

What does that look like in terms of your go-to-market teams then at that point?

I assume making the assumption, do you have your sales marketing teams running side by side?

What does it look like in terms of starting to penetrate those accounts?

Yeah. So we multi-threaded and via obviously our SDR team, our BDR team, but as well as we do quite a bit of account-based marketing. So mapping out the accounts, understanding who the key stakeholders are is really important. Then it’s a multi-pronged approach where depending on the size of the firm, someone like a Deloitte or a PwC, there’s just hundreds of stakeholders around different areas and that sort of thing.

So basically peppering them with that stuff. But even during the sales cycle when we know that, hey, that other people will need to get involved. We have a lot of targeted ads going to people within that firm, even before they’ve heard about us because as soon as that conversation comes up, there’s a little trigger in the back.

Yeah, I’ve heard about them.

They’re meant to be quite good, aren’t they?

So getting really focused in terms of how you’re reaching out to all these multiple parties, whether it’s active reaching out or more passive, targeting on ads and things like that.

Is there perhaps maybe one tactical technique that sticks out in your mind that really works in terms of getting a foothold in one of those accounts in my world, in B2B SaaS, it began getting a demo request, right?

It comes in high intent, great, off we go. In enterprise, obviously, you can imagine it’s quite different.

So is there perhaps one thing that really stands out to you to really start to get traction with those accounts?

Yeah, so the highest impact sort of close rates we see are when we have stakeholders engaged really, really early on. So before we’ll even book in that meeting, the SDR does a lot of qualification in terms of who is the person that’s booked that meeting in and then make sure they get the right stakeholders involved in that initial conversation.

Now, obviously, that’s easier said than done. A lot of times people will be like, hey, now you just need to talk to me first. But when we say, hey, look, if we look loop in your COO and you really like the product, then hey, we can move this a lot faster for you, Mr. Compliance Lead, who has been really struggling with this.

So yeah, that’s what we’re training RSTs to do a lot more of.

It’s hey, when you’re qualifying an inbound lead, actually really dig into who they are, what’s important to them, and then who else can they bring along to that initial demo.

So yeah, there’s a lot of work that goes into that, even when an inbound lead comes in.

Is that quite a bespoke approach or are there ways that you can almost template it?

And so are there ways that you can basically report on that and so you can actually see these are the types of personas to typically get involved, for example?

Yeah, so they’re pretty templated across certain organization types.

Now, the financial sector is just a massive beast. And depending if you’re talking to a VC firm, private equity firm, a bank, that can get very convoluted in terms of who needs to be involved. But something like a law firm and accounting practice, they often run in very similar sort of vein.

So being like, hey, have you thought about getting the COO involved or this person involved is a very, very easy conversation to have. And RSTs are templated on that to try and bring those people into the conversation early. Just going to throw this one out there.

Is there in your mind an ideal number of stakeholders that you’d want your perhaps SDRs, AEs to have well engaged at a target account?

Yeah, so again, it depends on the size of the account, but ideally three. So we generally see like three other decision, really the decision makers, you know, when things need to get signed off at board level, having those people within the room making that decision makes things a lot easier. Right.

So the more people we can get across that I always tell, I always tell the AEs, they’re like, oh, we have to do another demo, we have to do another demo.

I’m like, great. The more people, the more demos you do, I think it’s after like two or three demos, your win rate skyrockets to over 75 percent. So the more you’re interacting with that client, the more time you’re spending with them, the higher likelihood that you’re going to close the deal.

And when these are sort of 50 to 100000 pound accounts, that is, you know, that you want to be spending that time and you want to be taking care of them and taking them through the process. You mentioned at the beginning of our chat about raising your series B 23 million in funding. And obviously, you know, you guys started four years ago.

It’s a pretty almost like almost astronomical growth, right?

Certainly going in that direction.

So what is how was a start with how has the revenue team grown in, let’s say, in the last 12 months of time with that funding coming in and how has it changed?

Oh, yeah.

I mean, I can tell you a million things that we should have done better. But I mean, the revenue team basically doubled. So about in April is actually when we launched in the UK, we now already have nearly over 100 clients. So it’s been it’s been it’s been pretty rapid growth. But really, when we launched, it was a massive spring spring prey approach.

It was, hey, let’s find out what ICP is and what sticks. So you could see the win rate was just horrendous when we first when we first launched, because we didn’t know what sectors would really feel feel the pain in this market. So that was that was interesting. So I guess those early reps we call what I call Renaissance reps.

And they have a very different persona than than reps you hire into a new market after 12, 18, 24 months. Those Renaissance reps are ones that are sort of happy to just go flying to the wall. They’re not actually that they’re not actually that good at sort of doing the the the go to market motions on the qualification and all that sort of stuff.

But what they are willing to do is just give it a go and talk to as many people as possible and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, you know, after about six months of that, we really refined our ICP, really, really making it really, really clear on who we want to go after and where we’re winning. And I think the win rates have like doubled or nearly tripled in this in this, I guess, the four months after that initial six month period. So that was really, really good because it allowed us to learn a lot.

But depending on your your how you’re funded, a lot of people can’t afford to do something like that. I think I think we’d launched in the UK with something like 16 reps. It was like seven SDRs and seven AEs. So it was it was mental. It was mental. And they all hired to hire them all remotely. And they all started on the same day.

Do not recommend doing that unless you’re very well funded because sales team, they drain a lot of money.

Yeah, yeah, I can imagine it was kind of like carnage to begin with.

Now, you mentioned that there’s a million things that you think you could have done better.

Now, we probably don’t have time to go through one million of them. But what would be the one that sits at the top of your mind of, you know, damn, I really wish I’d done that.

Yeah, yeah. So I definitely having a better or having more resource in revenue operations before scaling up account executives and SDRs is just like the number one thing. If I if I could do the whole business again, my first hire and sales would be revenue operations. And I can’t I can’t stress that enough for any sort of first time founders and that sort of thing.

Having having that good base and then doing the founder sales, which we did to sort of two, three million revenue, having that revenue operations person there, setting all that up properly. So then when you do need to turn on the tabs, you can scale very, very quickly.

So, you know, when we doubled the size of the sales team, we only had we didn’t have enough sort of revenue operations resource. And we spent six months basically playing catch up until where we could actually see all the data and go, oh, OK, wow, we need to fix this system.

So, yeah, that that is like the number one thing that I would I would do differently for sure. I love that. Could you perhaps give some maybe a few examples of specifically now you’ve got it set up, you know, the value, I guess, that you’re getting back from it.

You know, what was it specifically that they came in and did?

I’m assuming you’ve got revops now, right?

Yes.

You know, what they’ve been able to come in and do that’s really changed things for you.

Really, really, really simple stuff. So simple stuff like each having their own dashboard. Right. And with with, you know, I drew up all the metrics that I wanted everyone to focus on because, you know, this is their own business. That’s how they need to be treating it.

So seeing where they’re spending their time in terms of activities, seeing what their win rate is, seeing where they rank again amongst their peers, all of that sort of stuff is also important for a rep to realize, hey, am I doing well?

Am I am I what where do I need to improve?

And it’s and it’s all very it’s all very mechanical in terms of, hey, I’m spending too much time doing this. I need to be spending more activity on the top of funnel. And it’s and it’s really, really easy to it’s really simple stuff to see. But unless you have that set up properly, you know, it gets lost in the weeds. People think they’re doing a lot better than they are.

And I close three deals.

Yeah, but we fed you 20 opportunities. So maybe you should have closed six. So just just those simple things. Visibility, I guess, is how I would sum that up.

It’s so, so important. And that was a big change for us. How do you once you’ve something that always comes up is, you know, you got the data and now you’re getting the insights through.

How do you then take that and start to weave it into the sales process?

You know, in my experience, it’s not enough to be like, here you go, Mr. or Mrs. A. Here’s your dashboard and having the knowledge of how to interpret it.

Some do, to be fair.

But in in your world at first AML, how do you go about actually taking that insight and build into what you’re doing on a day to day basis?

Yeah, so it informs a lot of our sort of our behaviors in terms of how we set things up. I think I think we have to remember that salespeople will always do the easiest thing because, look, that’s just how that’s just how they’re wired. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

So you have to set up your incentive schemes and incentive structures to reward to reward them enough so that they do the things that are, I guess, harder because that that’s what you need them to do. So so things like for our STRs, you know, giving them, you know, we were seeing them a lot of leads come in, but, you know, they weren’t high quality.

So actually, well, we’re going to change it to sales accepted leads. So what you’re going to get paid on now is when AEs accept your lead, that’s when you’ll get paid immediately. You see high quality deals come in and you can actually see the win rate, the win rate improving.

You know, we’re telling AEs, hey, you need to have a win rate of X or, you know, this is where you need to hover. So they get a lot harder on things they accept from the STRs. So all of a sudden, just those small changes and you can see when rates go up by two, three, four percent.

And when you when you’re talking about, you know, the deal values that we’re talking about here, that’s hundreds of thousands of pounds overnight in change.

Yeah, I’m really interested to know you touched on it there. It sounds like you’ve got a great kind of approach to, you know, finding those small increases. And obviously, I don’t know specifically how big your deal size is, but by the sounds of it, you know, pretty huge.

Could you perhaps give a bit of insight into maybe one or two other factors that you’ve found that have helped you?

You know, there’s marginal gains to improve your win rates and shorten the sales cycles. So just just it’s really it’s really simple stuff like at the end of the first meeting, having that next meeting booked in. So you can’t actually move a deal through the through the through the funnel now unless there is that next meeting date booked in.

So, you know, really, really easy things like that actually improve win rate significantly. We do we do a lot of we use we use a sales methodology called Strongman for qualification of deals. It’s you know, it’s one of those ones like spin or anything like that.

Strongman’s a bit a bit more intense in terms of finding holes in your transactions, like, you know, is there a timeline in place?

You know, what do you have buy in from the right the right stakeholders?

And it allows them to then look at their deals and assess, hey, have I have I answered these these questions?

If not, then I’m not actually being that realistic on when this will close. So we look at close dates, for example, as a major, major factor.

Like, hey, if you’re pushing transactions out when you said they’re going to close this month, that’s a really, really big problem. Something that I’m really interested to know a bit more about, you mentioned Strongman there and the use of deal qualification. I’m curious to know there’s a lot of talk right now about deal qualification.

And so often it’s, you know, how do we get our teams to actually adopt it?

So what has that process been like for you guys in terms of, you know, going down the route of this is what we’re going to do.

How did you actually get your teams to pick up and use it?

Is it still an ongoing challenge?

It’s always an ongoing challenge. So with this, with anything like this, it’s reinforcement, reinforcement, reinforcement. Like every week, we’re talking about the same thing over and over again until it’s drilled into people. Like the Monday morning sales meeting is the same language as the Friday afternoon forecast. And then the same language in your one on ones.

We actually have these meetings where we have to bring a deal to the meeting and you have to bring your Strongman qualification criteria. And it’s my favorite thing to do is to tear it to shreds.

So I don’t always join those meetings, but when I do, everyone knows that, hey, I need to have this stuff down, Pat, because we see it working, right?

Like this stuff works because it allows you to understand your deal so much more.

And to me, like I, you know, if people say that, hey, this is going to close, that’s great.

But I need to know when, right?

Like we forecast on a monthly basis, we’ve got monthly targets.

If something closes two months later, that’s as good as you opening a new opportunity, right?

Like if you said it was going to close this month and it closes two months later, that’s actually not good enough, especially in the environment that we’re in now. So making the sales reps more realistic on their deals is something this qualification criteria stuff is really, really good for. It’s definitely the reinforcement side to it.

And so often I find with initiatives that you want to run, you know, it helps being able to like demonstrate the impact and the value of it.

So in your kind of with your rev ops people, your team there, have you been able to crack that nut yet in terms of being able to demonstrably show, you know, when you use Strongman, this is the impact that it’s having on your deals?

Yeah, I mean, absolutely. We had we had one that was like a hundred and twenty thousand pound account and you could see the whole the whole process was run really, really slick. So we use we do a lot of deal post mortems. So either on one deals or lost deals. And we talk about, hey, this is what worked well. This is what didn’t.

So when a rep closes a really large opportunity or even when a rep loses a very large opportunity, we will do it. We will do a post mortem in front of the in front of the team and actually talk through, you know, what we did at each stage of that of that transaction, which is really, really valuable. It’s really interesting.

Is there is it perhaps a common thread in those post mortems that you’re picking up on that’s like, you know, that’s perhaps holding deals back like particularly enterprise sized deals?

Yeah, definitely stuff around like contract negotiation when someone’s like, oh, they give me the verbal yes.

You know, that we actually have a stage in our in our pipeline called contracting, because that becomes such a pivotal part of an enterprise sale in terms of, hey, like, you know, are they going to be able to agree to these terms?

We’re going to be able to agree to something, you know, we get the like we send them a terms of engagement and they’re like, oh, actually, we have our own terms of engagement that we make supplies sign.

And we’re just sitting there scratching our heads going, what the hell?

What do you mean?

You’ve got your own one.

So, you know, that that stage is actually very, very important. And you see a lot of deals that you either thought were sure things that we’re going to close this month actually get pushed out to three, sometimes even four months in that contract negotiation stage. And until that contract is actually agreed on, you know, the win percentage isn’t higher than sort of 70 percent.

So even though the whole stakeholders have agreed to anything, we actually have that stage at only at a 70 percent sort of commit win rate, because there’s just so much that can happen in that process in an enterprise sale.

So, you know, I think I’m not going to call anyone of my AEs out, but we had one the other day today. This is going to close for the end of the month. Their lawyers just reviewing it. And I was like, that’s not going to close at the end of the month. That’s not that’s just not going to happen. Right.

Like, come on, come on, mate. You know this.

Like, it’s going to be a week with their lawyer, a week with our lawyer until until we align. This is probably an end of Feb close. So that sort of stuff is the more you do it, just the more you understand. And that’s what you really need to drill into the reps. Yeah. Deal slipping, I think, is forever going to be a real challenge. Right.

I’m curious to know, and I don’t know specifically how long your sales cycle is, but do you have an idea in your head, say it’s, for example, like 100, 150 days or something like that. If it runs, you know, you’re at 150 days and say you’re not at the contracting stage yet.

At that point, are you allowing those deals to continue on or do you actually have a process in place?

Because I know as enterprise, it can run a lot longer, right?

You could have a huge deal in there, but it’s taking a lot longer than it normally would.

So do you still go chasing after those or is your approach now, you know, our time is better spent elsewhere?

Yeah. So I guess we call them like stale opportunities. So unless unless there’s an actionable next step within those opportunities, I always ask the rep to close these out and then reopen it if they’re able to reengage that account, because it’s so, so important. Our sales cycle isn’t actually as long as you’d think it would be.

It’s about 60 to 70 days because because there is a sort of a lot of mid-market transactions that are that bring that down quite nicely. But there’s nothing worse when I see when I see something in there for 120 days and it’s like a 10,000 pound transaction.

I’m like, why is that in there?

Why is that clogging the pipeline?

So, you know, that’s in that that we see all of that very, very clearly. And I’m really hard on reps when when they’re over 100 days and they’re they’re small, they’re small accounts. Like this is just clogging your mind. You need to you need to either get the yes or no or move on. What we find works really well, actually, is break up emails.

So if someone hasn’t replied for a while, they’re saying, hey, just FYI, you know, this doesn’t sound like it’s the right fit. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Just going to close the file on my side. If you want to reengage later, please let me know. And you actually get a lot of people going, oh, no, actually, no, let’s keep this conversation going.

Actually, sorry, I was really busy for the last couple of weeks. So little things like that actually, actually move deals along really well. I’m really interested to know how does this it sounds like you’ve got a lot of good process in place.

What is the knock on effect then on your on your forecast?

Because it sounds like you’ve got a good handle on, you know, we have a good handle on when deals are going to close, whether we’re actually going to whether it’s actually going to land at the end of the quarter or not.

So what does the forecasting process look like for you?

Yeah, it’s forecasting is the bane of my life because, you know, it’s we’re just always trying to get the reps better, better at this. But sort of we have a Friday forecast meeting where we literally look at every transaction that is set to close this month and then the deal stage they’re at.

So, you know, it’s the twenty fifth of the month month right now.

Basically, anything that’s not in what I call the commit stage is probably not going to close.

So, you know, I can see in my pipeline right now, people have things in pricing proposal, which is, hey, we’ve given them pricing, you know, we’re in the feedback stage. And I’m like, guys, that’s not going to close before the end of this month. So depending on the deal stage and the time in the month, you know, we get really hard on that. And it’s a Friday afternoon thing.

We have a beer or wine.

And then we go through we go through the forecast and we’re always like, hey, what is the next step with this deal?

Did they say they’re going to sign before the end of this month?

Do we have a sharp sort of anything in place for them to get to, you know, what’s their incentive to close before the end of the month?

But this happens every Friday.

It’s we all sit down in our inner room and go, what are we working on for the end of the month?

What are we working on for next month?

What is realistic?

What is it?

And it’s still not perfect, but we’re getting there. No one’s perfect. And if you do crack it, please, please let me know. We’ll get you back on the podcast. All right. A penultimate question.

What is the challenge that you’re working on right now that you’re perhaps still struggling to solve?

What’s the biggest pain in your world right now that you’re still not able to get over other than forecasting?

Yeah, so it’s quite interesting for us. It’s for us, it’s a skyrocketing that win rate. Like we’re getting we’re getting to a point where it’s like, hey, if we did a few things slightly differently, the knock on effect of that is like, you know, 20 or 30 percent more more revenue. So we’re super, super focused on things like a attainment at the moment. And that’s probably my biggest my biggest issue I’m having.

I’ve got some people that are significantly overperforming and then I’m trying to figure out how do we get everyone up to that. A attainment, I think, is probably the number one thing, in my opinion, that every chief revenue officer needs to focus on for the next 12 to 24 months.

There’s no point adding more staff if your attainment is below like 65 or 70 percent, because then you’re just you’re just throwing more money at something that you’re just not going to be able to solve like that.

If you’ve got limited resource, the number one thing you need to be able to do is either, you know, whatever threshold you set it at, we set it at 70 percent across the board is where we want to be. So people under that probably need to move on.

And then, you know, people around that, they’re OK performers and then people who are at 100 percent or 150 percent or something like that are the ones we want to incentivize and keep.

So, you know, if we’re 50 percent A attainment, there’s no point hiring two more AEs. That is just not going to solve your problem. You’ve got a fundamental problem there. So you have to get that attainment up. Whereas historically, people would just hire more AEs, hire more AEs, hire more AEs because of funding environment. But that’s dramatically changed now. So getting really efficient in that metric is probably our biggest challenge.

But I think everyone’s in that boat. Yeah.

Do you know kind of what the root causes of that are for you guys?

In terms of yeah, in terms of attainment rate, it’s a mix of it’s a mix of things, a bit of inexperience. So you have to really blend. You have to get the team blend right.

You know, over the last sort of 18 months, sales tech salaries skyrocketed.

So, you know, you need to you need to, you know, if you’re if you’re trying to do things on a budget, maybe you hire an XSDR and you bring them in. To be honest, a lot of a lot of salespeople have only been enrolled sort of six months and then they’ve, you know, they’ve quite quickly gotten promoted and promoted again. So actually finding and retaining good talent is is very, very difficult.

So I think that’s probably the main cause of things. So it’s like, you know, historically, you know, even a couple of years ago, you’d get someone in there at a SaaS company for three years.

You know, they were at attainment. You’ve had to incentivize them to move them over. Great. That’s that’s a good hire.

Whereas, you know, now it’s like everyone’s CV is like six months here, six months there.

And I’m like, you know, like, how can you be at quota if you’ve only been in an organization six, seven months?

But they just, you know, they seem to be jumping and then they’ve got two other offers on the table.

So, you know, judging their quality is getting harder and harder. But I think that’s starting to change again now, which is which is really good for revenue leaders.

But, you know, getting that right. Mix of up and coming talent and then experience to talent is is really, really good. I think I think probably the best thing we did was hire a couple of people from Experian, which is a big data company.

And then, man, they put them through the absolute wringer in terms of in terms of methodology and training and that sort of thing. So being able to incorporate some of that, obviously, a lot of that is, you know, some we don’t want to incorporate because it’s sort of a bit barbaric these days. But then some of that stuff is very, very good.

So we take the good stuff from from other organizations when we can as well. Awesome.

All right, the last question to other revenue leaders.

What would be one book that you would recommend to them?

Yes. So I’m not going to say that, you know, the normal sort of SAS books and that sort of stuff. I think everyone has access to that sort of thing. One one that I read recently, which I highly recommend to to anyone in this space, is a book called Barbarians at the Gate. And that’s and that’s about the leverage buyout stuff happening in the in the 80s and early 90s.

Corporate greed, that sort of thing, and basically the fall of the largest corporation in the world, which was which was done over a crazy leverage buyout. So that’s really good. I think I think history has a lot to teach us about the present and the future. So it’s I highly recommend that to anyone. I love that recommendation. Great show.

You teed me up when we were talking kind of pre-show that it was going to be a good one and didn’t disappoint.

Oh, that’s great. It’s also in movie form if anyone if anyone does want to skip the book.

Come on, the book’s always better than the much better.

Much, much better. Yeah. All right. It’s been an absolute pleasure to chat to you and learn a little bit more about your world. For anyone listening that wants to connect with you, learn a little bit more.

Where can they find you?

Yeah. So just on on LinkedIn, you can’t miss me. There’s not that many beyond Baden’s.

So yeah, LinkedIn’s probably the easiest way or or firstaml.com.

You know, feel free to book a demo. Maybe I’ll be on it.

I tend to, you know, still jump on a few. So those are probably the easiest ways to move.

Well, we’ll put your LinkedIn down the show notes just in case, you know, they find the other the other beyond out there. But thank you so much again. And to everyone that’s listened to this episode, thank you so much, too. We’ll see you next week. Thanks. Thanks for listening to Revenue Insights. If you want to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll deliver every episode straight to your inbox.

If you have any questions, feel free to connect with us on LinkedIn. Our links will be in the episode notes. See you next week.

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