Matt Cerra jumped onto Sales Ops Demystified to share his knowledge and experience in Sales Operations, including sales operations KPI’s used at cube19.
- Is sales experience necessary for sales ops success?
- How cube19 personalize sales
- Matt’s biggest sales operations challenge
Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operations Demystified here.
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Tom: Hello and welcome to the next episode of Sales Operations Demystified. We're joined at the offices of Cube19. Cube19 was a part or brother company to Ebsta. I've actually met Matt before in a meeting where we were chatting about marketing stuff. Matt is actually pretty experienced on the sales side, and sales management, and sales operations, which is going to be super interesting, because we had a whole range of sales operations, people on the webinar/podcast, some of which have had no sales experience before, burying the operations role, some wish have come through in the sales journey.
I find this really interesting how-- but actually, one of the questions we're going to go through it, is sales experience necessary. We'll get into that shortly. As an admin, I think everyone knows the webinar/podcast is now live on iTunes. If you Google search, Sales Ops Demystified iTunes, you'll see it there. I want to thank everyone for attending, and everyone for listening. We're going to jump into the questions. Let's kick off, actually probably with more of a aggression to you, Matt, in your kind of journey to where you are today. Also, we've in Cube19, because I do want to talk about them as well. You could take it away.
Matt: Yes, not a problem at all. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me as well. Yes, again, my name is Matthew Cerra, I'm head of sales now at Cube19. While I'm just head of sales by title, I actually manage all of our systems and sales enablement tools, as well as our process, our company, global pipeline, then all of the things related to operations as well. Quite an expansive list of things that I'm accountable for.
How my journey really began, I got into tech sales back in 2010. I joined a company called NewsGator, and at the time, they were Microsoft North America partner of the year; small company, made about 70 people at the time. When they built a social sharing platform based on SharePoint, which is in the Microsoft stack. Ironically enough, I had taken a step back from being a full-sales cycle, and managing that to just doing business development work because I was really fascinated by the product, and what it was doing for the clients in the market. I joined with them, and within about a month of that, Microsoft bought our biggest competitor for $1.4 billion.
Tom: Oh, really?
Matt: Immediately, as you can imagine, when Microsoft says stop calling NewsGator, people tend to listen. While that was a tough pill to swallow, for a lot of us, it actually opened the door to a lot of opportunities. From that, people started leaving your organization going to other places, obviously, because of the circumstances. As people left the organization, I was able to take on more accountability, responsibility and diversify my skill sets and competencies. At that point, I started doing sales operations, I started managing the business development group, and then also doing sales as well. From that, there, we had a well-defined sales process, because we had somebody was dedicated to that. It was--
Tom: [unintelligible 00:02:58] kind of view that was somebody else.
Matt: It was somebody prior. Yes, his name is Dave, great guy. He'd really laid the foundation of success for us, it was more or less letting me dip my toe in the water and see what he had already done, and how it worked and just make incremental improvements on that. From there, kind of an interesting story. A woman named Rebecca had been trying to recruit me for months and months to join an organization. I kept telling her no, that I was dedicated and loyal to this organization, I'm going to stay.
She finally convinced me into a phone call, and on the precipice that will help us define what we should be looking for, what should somebody be doing in the first 30-60-90 days, if they're going to start a new sales organizations, or just sales organization, as well as all the process, and operations, and sales enablement tools to make that effective and efficient. Little bit I know, the CEO was actually on that phone call. Immediately after that, they called me back and asked if I would come to an interview.
Matt: The must've--
Tom: Yes, they guess so. Yes. I've always been a very analytical and process-oriented person. I always want to know the why behind what I'm doing. I think that's critically important. I could talk about that a little bit more detail. But essentially, yes, the next day, I met him on a Saturday and like out of the film, we sat there and talked for an hour and a half. Then he grabbed a napkin and wrote an offer on it, and passed across table and began my journey into more sales operations.
When I joined that organization, there were three people, they had in their sales group, right out of university. When I walked in, they're all on Facebook, of course. They had absolutely no process in place. They had nothing done in the CRM, which at time was sales force, they had no other tools they're using whatsoever. It was pretty much a clean slate. From that I grew that organization with the help of many of the people, obviously, from three to 35 reps and from the initial annual run rate of about 200,000 to an annual recurring revenue of, upwards of 15-20 million, something like that.
Tom: Your role there was specifically operations.
Matt: It wasn't actually; I've always straddled the fence. It's one of those things, when people think you're good at something, they're going to keep asking you to do it. I have a hard time saying no. I was in charge of Initially, I had my own individual quota. I managed the sales organization.
Tom: At the whole time, you had your own [inaudible 00:05:07].
Matt: Yes. Well, halfway-- and then just manage the sales organization, both in terms of operations as well as sales enablement, leadership as well.
Tom: Yes. Nice. The end of that role takes up to which year.
Matt: That took us up to 2017. That was about six years of that, three years there and a couple years and three years at the NewsGators as well.
Tom: Why did you choose to leave the second one?
Matt: Well, quite frankly, it wasn't a lot of challenge left. My CSO was actually one of the investors in the company. There was no more upward mobility for me. Quite frankly, I'm one of those people, even if I'm really good at something, if I'm not being challenged, I can get quite complacent. There was a day where when I was sitting with one of my representatives, and he asked me to help him write this email, and about five minutes gone by, and he's like, "Why haven't you written anything? He's like, "You've written this email 10 times [unintelligible 00:05:57]." I was like, "That's the problem." I'm no longer being challenged. I think at that moment, he looked at me and said, "You're going to quit, aren't you?"
There's a lot of other circumstances as well, they're a great company, they treated me very well, really appreciate all the friendships and colleagues I made over that course at the time there. But always wanted to work overseas as well. I really want to get that international business experience and the company had also grown from 30 people, was number 30 to 250 Plus, I really enjoy that seed funding all the way through, Series A and B, and then to exit. When it starts to get a little bit too big, and there's a lot of, not allowed of creativity left, that's when I kind of decided to make a move.
Tom: For the role that you have at the moment, did that start off as head of sales?
Matt: The role here, in Cube19? Yes. the title was always head of sales. Again, one of the things that they were really looking for was to codify their entire process, really make sure that they understood, from A to Z, what they do to drive efficiencies within the business and how you can focus on the right activity at the right time. I can use data essentially to work more effectively and smarter, not just as hard.
Tom: Head of sales operations.
Tom: In answer to the question, how did you get celebrations you actually that first role within the field that you've been doing everything: management, sales, and operations, throughout your whole career.
Matt: Yes, pretty much.
Tom: Right now in the cube row, if you had to try, this might not be possible, but try to split your time between those three areas in terms of percentage, what chief spend time setting what- spend time managing and then operating.
Matt: It's a good question. I think in any, role time management is probably one of the things that everyone struggles with from time to time. For me, when I first came in, there wasn't a whole lot of process that was well defined. Everybody had been just getting on by doing it their own way. We didn't really have a well-defined structure even for, when should an opportunity be an opportunity. When should you close out an opportunity, just some basic stuff, right, and then everybody was going on gut. Well, I think they're going to buy one day, it's like what you think, that's great. I'm glad that you're optimistic. But let's put some actual evidence behind that.
For the first three, six months I was here, I actually just focused on reviewing what they actually had in place. Because there's no sense in changing things that are already working, you don't want to convolute the process; you don't want to make too much change at once where people just throw their hands up and feel overwhelmed. Focused those first three, six months on just purely reviewing their current CRM, which is Salesforce, looking at that process, all the way through and how it also has knock on effect to CS, to implementation, to all the different groups and business units within Cube19.
Then basically, since we've got that foundation laid, and we've done all the documentation, and we've made all the necessary changes within those systems, then reviewed all the sales enablement tools, but those into more of an optimal position to be used. Then from there, now it's more focused on looking and analyzing what we're doing, seeing if the process is correct, and then seeing where their gaps might be. Then also having spot coaching for individuals where they excel in one area, but may need a little bit of help and support another.
Tom: In terms of the actual amount of time you spend setting in the moment,
Matt: Probably 30%, not much. We have a really good team. We hire really good talent. Where I usually come in is around strategy. When we're going into a discovery call, or what do they want to get out of that discovery call, how are you going to wind on next steps, putting in together and negotiation strategies and things like that. I'm not doing any demos or anything like that at this point.
Tom: How big is the sales organization that Cube19 at the moment?
Matt: At the moment, we are 10 right now. When I started, I think it was about six. We hired entire business development group to help territory map. The market we serve, which is the recruitment industry. It's pretty expansive, and there's an extremely long tail the market. Out of 20,000 recruitment agencies just in the UK, a majority, if not 60 to 70% of those are sub 10 users. Obviously, you can't buy the data, see which CRMs they're using which we're built on top of from an analytics perspective.
Tom: Interesting. Question. I think we may have alluded to this already. What you think makes a really good sales operations person?
Matt: It's an easier question that's going to sound, but really helping people understand the why behind what they're doing. When I first started my career in 2007 on a university, my boss told me to do something; I just jumped and did it. This is like if you don't do it, you're going to be in trouble. Now we've grown up in this generation of a media scene, we have access to information at our fingertips. Inevitably, the first question most people get when they're told to do something is why? Why should I make a hundred calls? Why should I send these many emails? Why should I use this tool?
It's really about not just telling them what to do, but helping them understand that if you do this now, you're putting yourself in a position for success later and so that you can start to build that commitment and accountability across one another. Instead of just telling someone that, "Hey, you need enter information into the CRM so that we can track conversion rates across stages," for example, explain to them why that's important. It could be something as simple as, "We want to measure loss rates."
We all know we want to win quickly but we want to lose more quickly. If you've not done a really good discovery call and you're holding onto it, you've got happy years thinking that you believe they're going to sell, you end up spending an exorbitant amount of time working with deals that may close, but the probability of that could be 20 to 30%. Whereas, if you just get people and organizations out of your pipeline that aren't committed and aren't serious or don't have well-defined use cases, then you're just going to be wasting your time quite frankly.
Tom: What you're actually saying I think it's the manage is probably like influence, which is in my mind like part of management is really important to be able to get the sales team that you're working with to change the way they work. If you can't do that, then they're not going to listen to anything you say.
Matt: Exactly. From a sales operations perspective, you can't measure what's not there. You can put documentation in place and you can have it very accessible for everyone to go back to and refer to, but quite frankly people tend to stick to their habits; they fall back into those bad habits. It's about just helping them understand that if you can give us this information, I can better analyze where we can win for you in these areas. Really helping it be very specific to the individual.
I think it's important instead of just saying, "You need to make sure that this feels updated," or, "You've done this," "You've sent out this many emails," or, "You follow up on these inbound process." It's also just as important to explain the why behind everything we're doing because then people buy into it more when they understand what the value is for them and how they can provide value.
That's the two things that most people look at is the Vs, like I want to be valuable, they don't want to provide value. If you can explain how they can do that, they're going to be in much more better position to carry that ball forward and keep doing it consistently.
Tom: We are fifth question with [unintelligible 00:12:56]. It's interesting because some people focus on the, I'd say, hard skills like they need to be an analytical, or you need to do this, and other people are more like, "You need to be able to influence and work with people feels like the soft side and it's like the hard side." I find that really interesting how the role, you really need to be to know your numbers and analyze data, and you also really have to have this almost management and inference skills, right?
Matt: Yes. Effective communication, I always show up with people although I've always been really good at external selling, I think I'm better at internal selling; getting people to buy into what we're doing and why it's important to them instead of saying that the business is asking me to do this. The more you can effectively communicate, what you're asking people do with the benefit is to that more like a better position.
Tom: Next onto my favorite question in this whole podcast is, do you think sales experience is a necessity to be an effective sales operations person?
Matt: No. There is, I think, some intangible benefits.
Tom: One of the benefits?
Matt: If you've lived that role, how tough it can be and how many different balls are up in the air at one time and how many times do you have different feel just must be entering information into. From a sales perspective, you get the cloud that they're living in every day and how do you drive organization attention to detail follow up and follow through it the highest quality possible. It's about understanding how you can mitigate all the noise.
You as a sales operations person maybe ask them to do this thing, but they've been asked for 15 other things that stay, not just by their internal colleagues, but then 15 things by the prospects that potentially working with your existing clients. One of the things I always do with people is they come and ask me for something, I'll say, "More than happy to do that. Can you explain the use case?" If they can explain it articulately well, then I say, "Okay, here's the 20 things I have on my list right now. Where do you think it should fit in?" Then we come to an agreement on how we can drive that together, but in the meantime, what should you be doing to be self-sufficient as well.
Tom: We get that as well with the marketing team. We have a trial board, because in the marking team I was like, "Yes, you need to do this and this." Then put in the [unintelligible 00:15:04] and then we can process. Totally, I understand that.
Matt: Sales ops is one of those things, if you're analytical and your process-oriented, you can do really, really well. It's about sales people are little bit crazy, to be honest. If different mindset, so it's about being a leader in that mindset.
Tom: It can be useful to have-- I have always been in a mindset before EG, I've been in sales before, so you can understand that. It's also not impossible to do the role without being able to understand it even if you haven't done it before.
Matt: Definitely, not.
Tom: Got it. Cool. Current or favorite. I shouldn't [unintelligible 00:15:42] tech stack that you guys are running?
Matt: A part of our Martech Stack is we're a business of sub 50 people, so obviously as you get into large organizations, it's much bigger. We currently use for our CRM, which is Salesforce, we obviously use Ebsta for email campaigns and integration into Salesforce to track all those activities, those metrics and do business development work and basically manage the sales cycle and communication.
We also use Jiminny, which is a conference tool. Really good tool, we use it for coaching as well, we create playlists so that people can listen back to different segments of a sales process. We've been created an entire onboarding platform within that, so we just basically hand on the playlist and say, "Start to listen to new hire."
Tom: It sound like extracts from real customer calls and notes or someone speaking about how it was good, that's really cool. Whenever someone joins you, you should come out to them?
Tom: That's really nice, we should link out to Jiminny.
Matt: It's good tool. Then we also use Cluster for analytics.
Tom: We've had Rory on podcast.
Matt: Nice. He's good man. He and [unintelligible 00:16:51] work with.
Tom: What does Cluster do for you guys?
Matt: They do all the analytics. They read all the data that's been in our CRM Salesforce. We have dashboards for each individual, for each team.
Tom: In Cluster?
Tom: On top of Salesforce, and give you more insights about what we were doing.
Matt: Yes, exactly. If anybody knows anything about any CRM, you can get the information, but the biggest problems with data are either you can't get the information, I can get it but I can't get it in real time, or I don't trust the quality of the data. Then every decision we make in sales operations is based off of flawed reasoning and block data which means we're going to further exacerbate or go to market strategies.
We use Cluster to help not just manage performance and set targets. We're not a very hit-you-over-the-head business. We have targets of like let's say 40 calls, but the real target is how many ops have you created in the business development group, how many of those have moved on to a certain stage within the process for sales qualified.
From a sales perspective it's about the optionality in the pipeline as I refer to it us. You don't want to have just a couple big deals in your pipeline. At varying stages, you want different side fields that have different philosophies throughout the sales process. Cluster helps us read time and stage they help us any metric you really want. They can help surface for you, Neal, to identify where things are happening, they do inflow and outflow too.
When you look at it a new month and you're like, "Oh, I've got a million quid in the pipeline." Well, how much of that flowed and pushed from the last month and how much it's still viable? Really getting this behind the information, which is key, instead of just looking at a vani metric, which is one million in the pipeline. We use Cluster for that. We also use Get Except for our assigning our contracts and track and measure, and all that.
We have LinkedIn navigator as well; obviously for whole host reasons. Then a new one that we just implemented, should have been implemented in a while ago, we are using now Vidyard, which is video messaging tool. It's probably the one I'm most excited about right now, just because it's new. It's not new to me, I've been using their free version for a couple years. Especially with what we sell, which is we sell growth analytics and data to recruiting industries, or agencies. What we find is that it's really hard to call someone up and say, "What are your growth objectives? What are you looking to accomplish? How are you using data do that?"
I go, "We run reports, we're on a KPI business, but yet we track CV sent, first interviews in your metric-driven business." But I think for us, being able to show software to get them be interested right then and there has gotten us a lot better engagement, a lot better conversion. When we were still on the free trial, one of my sales representatives, Tom, he actually sent out a Vidyard, just complete pitch, two and a half minutes, sent it out; the guy who wrote back, "Great pitch. Call me."
Tom: I think the Vidyard-- sorry to jump in. Really sweet soft screen recording videos with your face [unintelligible 00:19:58].
Matt: Of course. Then with the actual paid version, you can have libraries of content. Basically, I can carousel videos, I can gate them, I can have a call to action at the end of them. I can integrate it directly into our website; within a micro site essentially so they can transverse from my email that goes out, they click the link on the video, it'll have a personalized message from me. Then it'll roll into whatever you want. Maybe it's used case we solve for, maybe it's the customer testimonial, maybe it's a product feature; not a huge fan of showing product feature, but tied something, it can be useful.
Essentially then they go to the website, they watch this and then they can click right into anything else about the organization and try to call that through Pardot, which is our marketing automation tool. All that information gets fed back into Salesforce along with Ebsta scores, along with everything else that we collect from these different tools.
Tom: Out of all of there, your favorite one or the one that's really like crushing for you at the moment?
Matt: We use Ebsta to the most, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise. Essentially, what I have a-- our business development group doing is they have two active campaigns running it all times and anywhere. I let them have some freedom with this. Set up the cadence, try it, let's A, B test it. Nobody ever is going to be a hundred percent right all the time, so let's see if something works. We'll do a series of three to five emails about through Ebsta and in between those, we have calls that are going out and following up on that, we also now are integrating the Vidyard into Ebsta. When we sent out in Ebsta, the Vidyard's right there, it's just all automated.
From that perspective and also because the industry in which we serve, none of these people have voicemails; emails, best way to get all of them. I mean, because we can call so many times and they're just so busy running around putting out fires, are going to meet clients or whatever they might be doing that these managing directors and executives are rarely at their desks, so the best way for us to communicate is through email and then within the email, through video messaging.
Tom: Nice. We touched on this earlier on the data quality piece. What do you guys do around data quality and how do you deal with the policies?
Matt: I'm laughing because we all know that that's a never-ending saga or battle. It's one of those things, again, going back to explain the why to people; why it's important they do this. Between Cluster in between some native Salesforce reporting that I've set up, I have fields that allow me to quickly spot check and see, "Okay. If this hasn't been updated, there's more likely more things within the set account that haven't been updated." I kind of put out my own like early warning flags or like tsunami buoys out there, make sure that I can't be everywhere at every time and people are always going to have parts that they miss; I'm guilty of it myself. It's best what can I do to make sure that I at least can get an understanding of what starting to go wrong before it's gone wrong. I can't then affect a positive outcome.
Tom: In the, like specific reporting have in Salesforce, so they'll flag when on an account, some field is not there and that normally first to you, okay, maybe that's [unintelligible 00:22:56]. Maybe I should go in."
Matt: Yes, definitely. Usually, it's as simple as creating a next step field on any opportunity. If somebody is not updating the next step, every time they speak to an account, there's probably other things going on, because I mean the next step is supposed to be incredibly the next thing that you're going to be trying to accomplish and what do you want to get out of that next meeting and everything like that. If you're not doing those things, there's probably other things that have been missed in cycle as well.
Tom: That's really nice little tip is if you don't have a [unintelligible 00:23:24] Salesforce?
Matt: Yes. Just the opportunity level. I just created a field with a text box. Basically, it's a little bit archaic, I guess, it sounds like when you describe it. Basically, what I have them do is they should be updating or touching their accounts at least once a week; even if they're not actively engaged, let's say you've had a discovery call with someone and they can't meet three weeks, well you shouldn't just like three weeks go by before you get to that next meeting and then say, "Hey, how's last three weeks been?"
Should be drip feeding them information throughout stuff. We have campaigns set up to do that for people that are in sales cycle. Then we have pick lists that show us what their use cases are so that we can send out the right apps to campaign, with the right content.
Tom: With right Vidyad in there.
Matt: With right Vidyard, yes. Basically, what I have them do at that next step stage is just say what the date is of the next step when you entered it? Today, the 28th, the 29th of March-- 28th? Yes, then spoke to Tom, next meeting is April 2nd. We're going to be demoing the specific things; just that simple.
Tom: That's like an ideal. That's when I do PDR sales revenue that you're doing, right?
Matt: Exactly. It’s some of those things, like you might have it in your head, but if you're talking to like our insights team, they're working 15 opportunities a month per person, so the chances that you start to crossover between what you thought you heard from one client and what you heard from another can kind of cause confusions.
Tom: 50 ops per person. I can't imagine like how hectic that must be.
Matt: 15. We're hoping to get to 50. Actually not, I wouldn't want 50.
Tom: Too much for one person?
Matt: Not only that, but I mean again, but let's be more efficient. Let's work on losing early and making sure we're spending the time with the right people and then we can close more deals. We look at what's our conversion rate from discovery to presentation. If we do a really good job of discovery, we close upwards of 60-70%. Everybody that we demonstrate.
Tom: Nice. That's actually something that I haven't heard anyone talk about losing early.
Matt: Lose early. Lose often.
Tom: Because actually you not trying to maximize the amount of opportunities you have, you're trying to maximize the deals, right? If you are not losing early, you're spending time on opportunity much to you don't close that time wasted?
Matt: One of the metrics I look at--
Tom: Which is actually the next question, the next question, the [unintelligible 00:25:42] metric you would judge them on. Let's talk about this one and then move into that one.
Matt: That's actually one of them. I really look at time and stage. The reason why I look at time and stage, and again, so basically, you can't move to discovery until the actual-- so we have qualification, our first stage, then discovery.
Tom: Then after that?
Matt: Then after that we have presentation, then solution development, and then negotiation; contract out, contract on. It varies a little bit when we get to the enterprise level. Well, actually, you have another stage in there because there's some variances obviously complexities of business. Essentially, what we want to look at is that we know we can improve our close rates if we just do a better job than the discovery process. What I look at when I see time and stage is, I look at it by the size of the opportunity, it gets our historical records of close one. If it's our scale outside that boundary, Cluster will flag it.
Tom: I was going to say, using Cluster, right? That sounds really interesting too. You have historic closed one data of time and stage by size and then each week or whatever you're looking at and comparing it to what the ideal route for the processes [crosstalk]. That's really interesting.
Matt: Its important because you want to emulate what success looks like, but we look at when we say time in stage is, I'm not necessarily looking-- you can have some, for example, that normally let's say on a sub £10,000 deal, you're in discovery for only 10 days before you get to presentation.
Tom: On average normally for those one?
Matt: Yes. On average giving some hypothetical numbers, and so let's say one opportunity is showing that it's been in stage discovery for 20 days. Well, there might be a good justification for that. They're out on summer holiday, right? They're having surgery or they have other project priorities or you know, somebody's doing something else. They just can't evaluate the software at this point. There are some exceptions to that. However, the reason I look at time in stage is to see how well the sales representative is boxing in the opportunity and really creating momentum within the deal.
What I mean by that is that if you've just done a discovery call with someone and they are wanting to put something on the diary within the next 72 hours, there's something wrong. Unless they can justify and say that they're on holiday or they have other projects going on, there's something you missed that hasn't made it, this is an urgent priority for the business, and so you need to really start to evaluate them. That's just one way in which I look at the strength and the health of deals is how quickly the next meeting is booked and how long it's in stage four.
Tom: Then that's not the good way that you judged your rep by-- you can have report with average time in that stage every past six months by rep and then you could see the potentially, [unintelligible 00:28:30] would have maybe a longer kind of stage, is that right?
Matt: Correct. Yes. Because usually what will happen for newer reps, they'll get to the end of the discovery call-- the good one is the end of a product demonstration, and you're like, "So what do you think next step should be?" From a sales perspective, you always want to say typically based on our experience, if you want to talk next steps, we would set up a time within 72 hours of today. Give you some time to think it over, have internal discussions and if everything is aligned with us being able to help solve your use cases, goals and objectives, we can talk about ROI pricing, implementation, everything here after; and you pick the date, you say 72 hours. Let them push back and if they say, "No. Can't do that, we need more time." That's fine, but when you leave it just completely open-ended, inevitably somebody's going to give you a very artificial time frames like, "Oh, call me in two weeks." Then there's nothing on the diary. That's the next [crosstalk]
Tom: You lose on [crosstalk] of the deal.
Matt: They got to start asking yourself as the representative, why is it that they don't want to just, they're blowing me off and just saying two weeks. Red flag should be going off in your mind.
Tom: It's a sales market [unintelligible 00:29:32], it's not just sales operations here, right. I'm [unintelligible 00:29:35]. Do you have any questions come through? Okay, what do we got from James Nolan? What are the best metrics that provide coaching opportunities for junior sales? Thank you, James.
Matt: Good question. It depends on what you're looking to accomplish, so when people first started our organization and the first three months, we give them soft metrics; we're not asking them to actually set any opportunities. They do great, we'll give them credit for that obviously, but it's more about learning our process. We actually will give commission's out if you just follow our process. It's ironic that in sales you get paid a basic to do just your job and then we'll putting you on top of it, just to do your job but it’s because we really want to drive the right behavior from the onset.
Tom: Metric-wise, how do you know if someone's following the process?
Matt: Basically, we sell the targets in everything within Cluster. We look at all the typical KPIs; calls to prospects, emails, how many active campaigns are running, how many people you have in those campaigns, what's the percentage of conversion rate across those? The reason why that's important to us is I let them kind of have some creativity so that if they want to create some messaging and it works really well, great, we'll emulate that across the business. Those are pretty standard.
Some of the other things we look at though are [unintelligible 00:30:51] territory mapping. What we can look at is I can run a report in Salesforce and say, "All right. Show me all these accounts that have these missing fields." Basically, I don't know who the manager director is, I don't know their CRM, I don't know these basic principles on whether I can even sell to them maybe. We then have them targeted on that being able to uncover new opportunities in the marketplace. We also target them on creating and finding new opportunities that aren't in the CRM. Really helping kind of coach them in business developments set up.
From a sales perspective, the first things that we start to look at are, from a metric standpoint, we look first at how well they can best be demo certified and discovery certified before we let them actually ever take a phone call but what we're really looking for on those metrics is how quickly do they convert a discovery call to a presentation. As time kills all deals, right? It's really about that last five minutes of conversation is almost always the most pivotal, and so the first five. People tend to know what they want to show based on what they learned the first five minutes.
They just think that at the end somebody's going to say, "Let me buy." That's never going happen in most cases. We look at time to get someone moving through the process and the velocity of those deals, I think that's the big one for us and then also how many opportunities they create, and then also importantly how much optionality do they have in their pipeline.
Again, if you've created five opportunities and our average deal size let's say £10,000 and these are all hundred thousand pound opportunities, I'm going to say congratulations but that's six to nine months down the road you've got nothing right now. We target them specifically on outreach to different size and segments of the market. When I look at activity and I say, "Okay. You made 40 calls, that's great but those 40 calls go to?" You could have made 40 calls from one client; that's can be very productive. You can make 40 calls to 40 different people, probably also not that productive, we look for a concerted concentrated effort around accounts.
The other thing that we do to answer question, James, is we create short lists in Salesforce, prospect list one, prospect list two and then a short list. Essentially every week they come in and they say, "Okay. I'm going to put 20 accounts into the prospect list one, 20 accounts into prospect list two." There's an eight to 10 touch outreach campaign with that over the course of two weeks. They alternate between prospect lists one and prospect list two every day, anyone that engages with any of the content moves to the short list and that becomes something that they're more proactive and actually making more calls these and things like that.
Tom: Nice. You really think you can tell you [crosstalk] any more question or [inaudible 00:33:28]. Okay, if you find a question. Is there's someone out there who really look up to, specifically in the sales operation or who taught you stuff about that before?
Matt: It's interesting because when I first got into sales operations it was by way of people leaving the business, I didn't have the mentor but as I mentioned, Dave had already set up a really good process. We were such a close-knit group of colleagues that I would call him up and I can still rely on him to be like, "Why did you do this? How do I change--" I literally taught myself Salesforce from YouTube videos, which is scary for anybody to think that I have sysadmin rights and own our CRM but I very cautious about what I do and I make sure that it is outside of my competencies and I get someone else but other than that, I've really- honestly, for sales operations relied on sales people.
I would go talk to them like what do you hate the most, what do you like, and just seeing what they wanted why an understanding and then telling whether or not they were right and we make this more streamlined but then I'd say in addition to that, there's a lot of good resources online, a lot of good people you can learn and connect with. Jake, he's gentleman out here [unintelligible 00:34:37].
Tom: Who is the next to Jake.
Matt: [unintelligible 00:34:40] Rory.
Tom: I think that [inaudible 00:34:40] to have Jake line up for the [unintelligible 00:34:43].
Matt: Perfect. He's a fantastic guy. He's really smart and switched on. I actually have been try and schedule lunch with him, tick his brain for a little while. [laughter]
Tom: Also, well, if anybody is interest-- or if anyone works for a recruitment company and they're not currently using Cube19 then I highly recommend reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org?
Matt: That is correct.
Tom: I highly recommend reaching out. Thanks so much for coming on. I felt like I learned a lot about both fails. I love that the spiel that you do at the end and also sales operations, I really like the thing about using Cluster; actually shout out to Cluster making a sweet tour comparing what best-in-class for you guys or the normal flow is and then comparatively using that to judge your the deals in pipeline. We have a question, okay, we have one more question. Jay. Maybe we will-- this look like a big one. Jay is actually on the line.
Matt: Hey, Jay.
Tom: Hey, Jay. How do you leverage the Cluster to forecast for the month or quarter? Do you ask your reps to forecast and use that or use analytics and conversion rates to make your earn the forecast? Now, Matt, we can answer this if we can content like don't want to overrun into 60 seconds, are you confident?
Matt: I could do that.
Tom: Sweet. Thank you, Jay.
Matt: You know in America, we talk a lot. Thanks, Jay. We do it within Cluster and I always have the team first take a step at what their forecast is, both in terms of commits in best case on a month and quarterly basis because I want them to take some own responsibility and when they come to me and their like, here's my number, we pick it apart; why is this a deal you're committing? Let's start with those ones that you feel really strongly about and then see what risk may exist in the deal and how we can mitigate against that.
We also look at time and stage. If you're committing a deal to me that's been sitting in presentation for 50 days, I'm going to say, "What makes you think they're going to engage with you now?" Right. I know you did all this work and they said they were excited but they've gone dark on you now; something's going on there and then what strategy we put into play for that. Then we wait the pipeline, obviously. Each stage has a different percentage of probability to close now. Some people counter argue that and say, "Well, you can't get a percentage of the deal." But also especially at the inside level, we have deals they'll come in and we'll close in four days.
You can't really forecast that because of those situations, you have to wait the pipeline and we have enough optionality across the pipeline, we have 10 deals across five different stages, I'll take the average of those, add those up and say, okay, you're going commit this number, you're not necessarily committing a deal at the beginning of the month, this is for inside field, and enterprise obviously they're very specific but for inside, it's again, just committing based on the number.
Tom: Nice. Awesome. We will finish. I think that it was that 60 seconds. Matt, again, thank you very much. Anybody interested in Cube19, go to Cube19.com or email Matt at matt@cube19. Thank you so much for coming up.
Matt: Thank you.