The Revenue Engine

A Steering Wheel for the CRO to Drive the Revenue Engine with Hayes Davis, CEO and Co-Founder at Gradient Works

January 14, 2022

The Revenue Engine

Each week, Revenue Operations expert Rosalyn Santa Elena shines the spotlight on founders, CEOs, and Revenue Leaders from hyper-growth companies and dives deep into the strategies they implement to drive growth and share their learnings. Rosalyn brings you inspirational stories from revenue generators, innovators and disruptors, as well as Revenue Leaders in sales, marketing, and operations.

Customer account ownership matters. And customer account ownership is a lot more than just rules of engagement, roles and responsibilities, and handoffs. Customer account ownership affects customer experience, customer retention, and ultimately revenue velocity and growth.

In this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast, Hayes Davis, the CEO and Co-Founder of Gradient Works, shares why customer ownership matters, how it is important to not only give your CRO data and insights, but also the steering wheel - and the pedals - to power and drive the revenue engine.


Connect with Hayes on LinkedIn or at the Gradient Works website.

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The opinions expressed in this episode are the speaker's own and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Sales IQ or any sponsors.

Rosalyn Santa Elena
Host @ Revenue Engine Podcast + Founder & Chief Revenue Operations Officer @ The RevOps Collective.
Hayes Davis
Cofounder, Gradient Works

[00:00:00] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Welcome to the Revenue Engine podcast. I'm your host, Rosalyn Santa Elena. And I am thrilled to bring you the most inspirational stories from revenue, generators, innovators, and disruptors revenue leaders in sales, in marketing. And of course in operations. Together, we will unpack everything that optimizes and powers the revenue engine. Are you ready? Let's get to it.

Customer account ownership matters, and it's a whole lot more than just rules of engagement and roles and responsibilities. At the end of the day, this affects customer experience. Customer retention and ultimately revenue velocity in growth today's podcast is sponsored by

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In this episode of the revenue engine podcast, Hayes Davis, the CEO and co-founder of Gradient Works shares why customer ownership matters, how it is important to not only give your CRO data and insights, but also the steering wheel.

And the pedals to build and power the revenue organization. So please take a listen and learn from this engineer turned revenue operations leader, turned CEO and founder. So excited to be here today with Hays Davis, the co-founder of gradient works. Gradient works is building the operating system to have.

B2B CRS increase revenue velocity. So welcome Hayes. And thank you for joining me. I'm super excited to learn more about your journey.

[00:02:23] Hayes Davis: I'm super excited to be here. Hopefully I can share something useful. Definitely.

[00:02:28] Rosalyn Santa Elena: We're going to learn lots from you. I mean, you have such an interesting background, right? I saw you were actually computer science major in college, and you've been a founder more than once.

And I was really happy to see you. You've been led re operations, which is near and dear to my heart. So maybe before we talk about gradient works, can you share more about your backstory, you know, talk a little bit about your career journey and maybe some of the previous companies? Yeah,

[00:02:50] Hayes Davis: absolutely. So you're right about the computer science piece and I I was a software engineer for a long time and it's a, it's a passion of mine.

I absolutely love. Building software. I love building things. And that's what led me to really down the journey of, of starting startups and starting companies. And so I My startup that you're probably referring to is a company called union metrics and at union metrics. So we did social media analytics and you know, it was a fantastic experience.

We, we built that company and ran it for about 10 years until we until we sold it to a company called TrendKite. And one of the things that that happened as a result of that is Ultimately TrendKite ended up getting sold to another company concision. If you've ever sent a PR Newswire press release the company behind that, and they also have a a number of other products.

And so what happened was you might be asking like, okay, software and then startup founder, and then running rev ops for city, like what happened there? So the thing that happened there was. We never really got sales working the way I wanted it to at union metrics. So you didn't metrics was a as a positive and a really successful outcome, and I'm super excited about it.

But one of the things that we struggled with was to build the sales organization that really was able to capture some of the product line growth we were experiencing and accelerate that. And so when we joined TrendKite one of the things that was super exciting to me was that TrendKite had a really strong sales culture and a really strong sales.

Machine and powerful revenue engine, if you will. And we so I got an opportunity to really just dive head first into that and learn a whole lot about how that engine worked. And I think I, I had some reasonable success at doing that and I realized through that process that you know, at scale sales, Super fascinating to me in revenue organizations are super fascinating to me because it, it took the part of my my brain that loves software engineering that loves building you know, big distributed software systems.

And then does something really interesting, which is throws people in the mix. And suddenly you have this big kind of distributed system where everybody is trying to work together and you have people working with people. And that just adds like a whole other layer of complexity because computers are pretty dumb.

They do what you tell them to do. People are. And so you know, I started to realize, okay, this, this really like fits with a lot of things that I care about, right. You know, I had some success working with the team at TrendKite to enable the sales team to sell our social analytics product and all of that.

And so when we when TrendKite was ultimately acquired. They needed somebody to run revenue operations at Cision and decision. Just, you know, for context has about you know, they have several hundred sellers globally. They have multiple product lines, a lot of different like kind of differences in go to market with those product lines.

Some of them like press releases look a lot like transactional products, some of them. Like the SAS media monitoring and analytics product is, is more of a traditional SAS motion. There's a lot of complexity in that go to market and you know, getting the opportunity to run revenue operations, there was was just, it was a great experience for seeing at that scale and operating in that scale.

How do we combine technology and people and process successfully? And, you know, I'll, I'll admit there were some challenges there, which I learned a lot from What that really led me to was, you know, I realized that this intersection of revenue, which is the lifeblood of any company, any startup, any big company and systems and technology was really where I wanted to, to invest much of my time.

And that ultimately in the end led to led to gradient works and kind of setting off on this part of the.

[00:06:47] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. I love that. Everything you're saying is like, just completely resonating with your time and systems and process and people I'm like, love it, love it. So when you think about some of those previous companies, you know, are there other lessons learned, you know, what are some of those from maybe those experience or maybe things that you might do differently or have started to do differently?

[00:07:07] Hayes Davis: How long do you have? Because. The things that I did wrong for a long time and it helps some people you know let me, let me try to pick out a couple of things in terms of lessons learned from those experiences. So, you know, first of all, I'll say, and I don't think this will be surprising to anybody who's actually listening to this podcast, but, you know I started my career as a software engineer, like I said, and, you know, I had a very much, like if you build it, they will come mentality.

Right? Like you, you got to build something it's going to be awesome. And then people are going to show up and to some degree they did a little bit and gave me a little bit of confidence in that. But as the, as union metric matured, it it became pretty obvious that like, that wasn't going to be enough.

Right. And so I really I really ultimately. Learned a lot of of respect for the job of doing sales. Like, so setting aside all the operations and everything like sales is a hard, hard job. You are out there. You're the tip of the sphere every day. You're trying to explain to somebody, this is what this product does, and this is how it's going to help you.

I need to really quickly understand what you care about and connect with you on that. And so I learned to really respect that in a way that I, frankly, quite I didn't before and I should have. And then I learned to really understand that, you know, if you're going to be successful building a business the go to market component of that is, is just absolutely fundamental.

I think. Strong product and a strong capability of what you're delivering is absolutely necessary, but it is in no way sufficient. And so I think the the investment in what you need to do to enable your sales team to do that hard job, and then to build a system that not only gives them what they need to succeed, but then also gives you as an organization, the ability to.

Scale is, is just super critical. And so, you know, the things I would have done differently is known those things ahead of time and do a better job of building that union metrics. But you know, that's I think just really understanding that at from a startup context, which is where I am yet.

Again, I focus so much more. On go to market and, and thinking about what's our ICP what, who are the, and not just the ICP in terms of like companies we might target, but let's get down to individual personas. Let's understand who are the people who are going to be making decisions. Let's figure out how they work together and what they care about.

And I think you really can never. You can never get too, too detailed of a level on your personas and those jobs to be done that those personas have. And and I, I would've just spent a lot more time in past lives. Thinking deeply about that. And so I think that's that's incredibly important because the more you understand about that, the better job you can do designing your revenue organization, because ultimately the revenue organization exists to meet potential customers and customers where they're at and and ultimately help you succeed by doing that.

So I think I would have a. You know, sum it all up is. Go to market is is the thing that you have to figure out and spend a ton of time on because no amount of other investment in product and and even really just messaging is going to change actually make you succeed.

[00:10:39] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. Yep. I love that. I love that.

I think that's super incredible and advice. So let's talk a little bit about grading works so many times, you know, I see when I talked to other founders, you know, businesses kind of started when they're trying to solve a problem. Maybe there was some kind of aha moment. Right. So how did the idea for gradient work start and maybe what was the vision originally for the company?

[00:11:03] Hayes Davis: The idea for gradient works really evolved through all of the things that I've been talking about. One is, is not building the revenue team that I would have liked to build in a previous life. And then to seeing the challenges of dealing with revenue organizations at, at scale really helped me understand that there are some missing pieces here.

And so, you know, I spent a lot of time in, in my past. Roles with you know, senior sales leadership, really working hand in hand with them to develop our go to market process and how we're going to serve customers. And for me, what really became apparent there was when you get to a certain scale your problems become systems problems.

You need to, you need to really be thinking about. How do I appropriately design an organization to be effective? And then how do I manage the execution throughout the customer life cycle of that organization? And one of the things I, I saw without getting too many into too many details that might get me in trouble really difficult to do well.

And so one of the things that you know, I think the Genesis for me, Look, there's a way to apply a systems level, thinking to revenue organizations that's, that's missing. And when I started thinking very much about who needs to apply that thinking, it really it's the CRO. Now the, the rev ops person, you know, rev ops team is going to be.

The you know, the person who is often doing the execution there and often provide and helping form the strategy around that. But when I started thinking about what does CRS need to be successful? What I really saw was. There's a lot of people out there who are trying to give CRS dashboards. Like here's where your deals stand.

You might have some tonight spelling it already with that. But I really felt like there's nobody out there giving a CRO the steering wheel and the pedals to help them actually drive how their organization succeed. So if I see in my forecast that, Hey, we've got a short for. Or we're not quite where we need to be the actual act of, of adjusting my organization and trying to course correct is one that's really, really challenging because it filters through all these levels of operational issues, technology issues, personnel issues, all of those kinds of things.

And so part of what we're trying to build at gradient works. That steering wheel for a CRO. And what I mean by that is we think of it as the CRO operating system. And what that really allows for is part of what we're doing right now is we are helping organizations automate and optimize their rules of engagement.

Right? So in what I, what that ultimately means is. Part of what we do is things like lead routing. That's the first thing a lot of people think about when they want to say like, oh, okay, you're automating processes that are in a revenue organization. Well, okay. Let's get a lead from point a to point B. But what I realized in my time previously is that that's only just a subset of a larger problem, which is how do I actually orchestrate.

What all the resources across my sales organization are doing at different points in time throughout the customer life cycle. Right. And so if I did that in my sales work where I have, you know, STRs that are doing outbounding. Right? How do I know what accounts my SDRs are working and how do I ensure they're working the best possible accounts that are the right fit for the ICP, right?

When they're setting demos, whether those things are coming from inbounds or whether they're doing outbounds, how do we get those those opportunities in the hands of the. I used to go close those. And then once that happens, do we need to pull in sales engineers, or maybe products, you know, specialists, things like that.

And then once we actually close a deal, how do we assign and orchestrate getting the customers to the right account managers? And so that entire customer life cycle. Really is something that you need a way of managing in a centralized way. And that's where we're starting with gradient works is you know, rules of engagement automation.

And the way I view that as, as coming back to providing value for the CRO. If you have a platform that's managing the allocation of all of your opportunity across the customer life cycle. Then if you need to make a change because you see a shortfall, one of the things that you can do is start to adjust how you're assigning opportunity.

And so that starts to get to this idea of a steering wheel where you can say, okay, we need to adjust the types of leads that are going to these types of reps, because we think that's going to provide coverage to cover our shortfall that we think we're going to have in six months. Right. So that's the that's the type of steering wheel that we're building right now in, into this operation.

[00:16:10] Rosalyn Santa Elena: No, I love that. And it's funny cause it's, it fits perfectly right. Having that steering wheel to drive your revenue engine, which is really your org. I love that. And we didn't plan that ahead of time. So that's good. So you touched on a lot of things around that. It really touched my world too, right around revenue operations.

Cause you talked about people process, you know, tech obviously. And being really aligned to that customer journey, right. Building that infrastructure or that operating system to support that. And you touched on a little bit about the rules of engagement and handoffs, right? Because I mean, that's something, I think all companies really struggle with around the organization.

Right. Because it is complex. There are a lot of people really involved with the customer journey. So maybe can you share maybe some more thoughts on some of the rules of engagement handoffs? You know, what are you seeing? You know, companies really do. Doing wrong, I guess, but also doing rights when it comes to this wrong is always the, kind of the easier way.

But what are some of the things that they're doing wrong or right. Well,

[00:17:07] Hayes Davis: one of the things that I learned in software engineering is that there are no right or wrong answers. There's only trade offs. Right. And when you're dealing with a really complicated system, right. There's no you're fundamentally trying to optimize for something and you're never gonna, there is.

Pattern that you can just apply and say, my revenue organization is right, right. And that doesn't exist. But one of the things that that I see, you know, with that said, one of the things that I see companies not necessarily do right, is, is actually kind of fascinating to me because when we engage with a company who's going to use our platform.

One of the first things I like to ask is like, you know, I'd love to see any kind of document you have about your rules of engagement and you have everyone because I found it kind of fascinating because no one will share their rules of engagement document for, for one of two reasons. Not because it's proprietary and they're like, this is, this is our super secret sauce, but they won't share because they're.

Embarrassed that it is. Right. So that's always the first thing it's like, well, we've got something, but you know, it doesn't really reflect like what we're doing today. Right. Or you know, or they're embarrassed because it doesn't really exist. Right. And I think that, so what that leads to, I think, And look, I, I get it.

And that's one of the things that, that was a real challenge for me in some of my previous roles is, you know, you come in and you're responsible for running revenue operations. Like I was, and. You realize that the rules of the game are living in this person's brain over here and this person's brain over here and like, oh yeah, that guy he's been here for, you know, six years.

And he's just the one that assigns these things out and nobody's ever asked why. Right. You know, whatever. And then or my favorite. I asked a question on LinkedIn a few days ago about like when back periods. Right? So you have a customer that churns then does that go back to new business? Right?

When can you business do that? And so I. I have been in where if you ask three different people, you get three different answers about that. Right. And and I lived in a world where I was the adjudicator of rules of engagement, and that was a real big challenge. So the thing I would say that that companies need to realize that, that these things impact.

The customer experience the impact, the, the experience, because it has a huge impact on them. And then ultimately they impact your revenue velocity because too many rules and too much like the specification of everything means that you're probably not maximizing your velocity because everything gets like stuck in approvals or something like that, but not enough.

And you've got just sort of barely controlled. Chaos. Right. And so I think it's, it's really important to recognize that these things are important. So then the question becomes what to do with that. Right. And so it's better to write it down than not and to have a document, whatever that looks like, I've found a lot of success with.

Diagrams because people sort of absorb those better, especially for things that are more process oriented. But here's the issue with that. Everybody has a rules of engagement document and it's perpetually out of date.

So here's what I would say. You want to do two things. One is you should document these things and you should regularly revisit them. And you should try to have a process with whatever minimal level of formality is appropriate to get those things updated and propagate like that so that people know how it, how it changes.

But I think more importantly is, and this is something we try to do at gradient works is you want to build the processes. Into the technology that everybody uses every day and the rules into the technology. So that basically your, your business process is kind of self-documenting right. Like the truth of what happens is what actually happens.

And what's implemented because I don't know how many times, like. You have that shortfall. I was talking about it and you say, okay, you know what, we're going to change this wind back period from 90 days to 30 days, because we believe that, you know, the AM's are not very well equipped to go after these deals after they turn.

So we want to get those back in the hands of the AEs, right? And then that becomes like a partially communicated thing, maybe a documents updated, but that document is sitting on the shelf. What you really want to do is ensure that any processes you have that execute automatically. That that's there and that's the source of truth.

Right. And so so that's one of the big things that I think that that company is, and I know this is it's self-serving right? Cause we believe rules of engagement are super important. And so I'm telling you a story about how rules of engagement are super important, but I really do think it's fundamental here that these are the rules.

That your reps play by the rules that your reps get paid by. Like it's important for companies to tighten these things up and, and to spend the time because. Yeah. If everybody thinks they're playing one game and then some, and then at the end of the quarter, everybody said, you know, somebody says, actually you were playing a different game and the rules were different than that.

That's a super problematic thing for everybody. Right? Yeah. So I think that's that's one thing that I think companies don't do well. One thing I think companies, one of the things I see that companies do well, Most companies are pretty agile about making change that I talked to. I mean, if you get to a certain size, no.

Right. And things kind of get like you, you kind of maybe run to the other side where like there's too many rules and the change is too slow. You know, in most companies that are scaling, I think there's this really good faith effort to say, look, we're running as hard as we can, and we're running as fast as we can.

We're changing these rules to try to adapt to business conditions and things that we've learned. And we're just getting a little bit behind in terms of how those, you know, how we're documenting them or how we're ensuring that they get implemented. And I think in those situations, I think it's just important to.

To have some checkpoints to make sure that those things those things happen. But I think it's also important to, to recognize and most companies do that. Everybody's just trying to do the right thing. And and that, you know, as long as you have one of my big things that I've always, always tell people is assume positive intent, right.

If if you're, if you're in the right place and everybody is trying to pull in the right direction, Assume positive intent make changes as quickly as possible. And and try to move forward that way. And that most companies that we work with, I think do a good job.

[00:23:51] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. The positive intent is something I, I preach quite a bit too, and I actually was just talking about that yesterday with some of the team it's just, you know yeah, definitely assume positive intent.

It's a great place to start. It's a great methodology and great approach. So let's talk a little bit about customer account ownership, right? Because we talked a little bit about rules of engagement, obviously having those clear roles and responsibilities, but at the end of the day, I mean, having clear account ownership kind of, who's got the ball who's responsible for what it really is about at the end of the day customer experience, right.

And customer value on top of the, obviously the benefits of revenue, velocity, and actually getting revenue. So, what are some of your thoughts on this part around customer experience? You know, how does maybe having this perspective of customer account ownership really helped drive that customer value and ultimately retention.

[00:24:48] Hayes Davis: And so I actually want to, this is something that I have maybe some nuanced thoughts about, so I'm like, I don't know. That you always want to purely optimize for customer experience. So here's the thing. I think there's always a give and take, right? Like if, if I'm thinking about my absolute optimal customer experience, it's probably going to be that.

I can talk to a single individual, a single human, like, you know, from the time I take interest in your company, I talked to this human, this human can help me with everything that I need to know this human can, you know, help me get through a contracting process and, and help me on board and can help me you know, be the, you know, be my point of contact forever.

Right. And, and they're amazing and no way. Right. The reality of course, is that no such human exists for any kind of like complex B2B type product. And so we, we have to think about, and I think we have to think carefully about what is it that we need to do as a revenue organization to drive velocity.

And often the tension here fundamentally is that specialization in terms of roles. Usually drives velocity, right? Like it's probably more effective. This is why we all read predictable revenue 15 years ago or whatever, and why we have DRS and A's and stuff is because if you specialize in certain part in certain functions, you're probably going to get better results.

But then you create situations where I, as a customer, have a hitch in my customer experience. Okay. I talked to this SDR and the SDR is able to help me a little bit, but wants to set an appointment. Right. And then I talked to this AEE and they're able to close the deal, but they're not able to get me on board.

So I've got to go to somebody else. Right. And so. What we have to do is like all of this, it's, it's finding a way to optimize wherever it is, the the benefits to us as an organization in terms of driving revenue and then the customer experience. And so you want to make both of those things. And the vast majority of the time don't get me wrong is those things are aligned with each other.

Right. You know, creating an amazing customer experience, making sure the customer happy is happy. That's, what's going to drive your longterm value. But you also have to think about what do we have to do as an organization, to, to be successful in what is possible for an individual person to do.

And so I think that the balancing act that you have to get to is that You don't want to let the seams in your organization show if at all possible to the customer. Right? So every time I hand off somebody and say like, okay, I've talked to this AAE, he closed my deal right now. I'm going to talk to this onboarding specialist and then I'm going to have this account manager going forward.

Like you've got to ensure that that. Isn't a situation where the customer has to tell some new person everything. They just told this ag that they developed a relationship with. So I think it's incredibly important to think carefully about not only how many handoffs you're going to have, but what is the information that needs to be exchanged?

What is the, the level of engagement that like say the previous person is going to have after the handoff? Right. So like, and you know, most companies do this with. The AAE who sold the deal, then you logo, he attends the first onboarding session and you've got your specialist. And your, obviously I'm talking about more of like a larger B2B sales process, but like that's what many of us experience so I think that going back to the CRO.

The balancing act you have to do as a CRO, and that you rely heavily on your ops people to do, but then also your salespeople, that your ops people to help design and then your salespeople to help execute is finding that right balance between a seamless experience for the customer and the right level of specialization for your revenue, velocity, and the resources you have at your disposal.

And so I think that. That's really like at the core of a lot of, of these kinds of challenges. And so I think one thing though, that is important is as you're designing that to think about who is responsible for the customer and who is responsible for the customer experience ultimately at a given stage.

So I think there's sort of two levels to. There's a responsibility for the customer experience, just in terms of kind of the larger customer experience. So how do you design that? And that's like a senior leadership responsibility. Maybe there's a chief customer officer. Maybe it's the CRO maybe, but somebody needs to be thinking about that whole system, but at an individual level, you have to say.

We expect our, our reps to own this customer relationship for some period of time, whether it's SDR, who might own it for a couple of calls and then the aide is going to own it through a sales cycle and the am, who's going to own it forever, potentially until you reorg your territories or whatever. And you have to have a point of view about that.

And you have to ensure that you've got someone who is responsible at any given point in time. For seeing that customer from point a to point B. Right. And so I think that's where this idea for me, I kind of always talked to our customers about like, tell me about your fundamental unit of ownership.

Right? Like, do you expect an account and like see that all the way through, or are you saying if you're saying that your age is just going to own this opportunity, but not only account and I'm talking sort of in Salesforce terms, what you're implying is that they don't actually. They're not actually owning the relationship that is owning this like one transaction.

Right. Is that really what is the right experience? And so I think that's for me, that's really what it comes down to is, is trying to ensure that. That you know exactly who is responsible for that customer's experience at every stage in their life. Yeah. So I think

[00:30:46] Rosalyn Santa Elena: so I, my next question is probably, you've kind of answered it a little bit already and I kind of think I know where probably where you're going to go with it, but let's let's test.

Let's do a little test. So I'm a new CRM. Right. And so I come in and there's no CCO, but I'm the CRO and I'm responsible for managing that end to end customer journey. So what advice do you have for me to really help me manage what I need to do with the customer life cycle?

[00:31:14] Hayes Davis: Right. So, let me step back one little bit and say, you know, I do think this is a, I do think this is stage specific, right?

And it's how big of an organization you're in CRO. But first of all, I think whenever I step into any new role, the first thing, or whenever I talk to one of our customers, the first thing I try to understand is internally, at least. Stakeholders. Right. And so as a CRO, I say, you know, I'm responsible for that customer life cycle, but do I have a CMO in this context?

Right. Because that first that very first engagement in the first perspective somebody might have on the company is going to happen at that. Stage right. And then there's going to be some kind of a handoff initially where they've, they've engaged with us or they've requested information. And then, and then that has to get handed off to my revenue organization.

Right. So. And then from there, there's other aspects of my organization that are going to impact that customer experience and my revenue velocity. So do I have a finance organization? And what are the FA you know, what does it look like to actually get a deal closed? Right. In terms of any kind of approvals or thing that needs to happen Do I have a, I'm probably got a legal organization.

Those are all touchpoints that are going to be, you know, potentially come into play for the customer. And then of course, if we're appeal G organization, then product might actually be the core interface for the customer, right. And, and everything. So I think really stepping back for a second and thinking about two things at least as it relates to the customer is.

In reality, what part of the customer life cycle am I actually responsible for? And the parts that I, my teams aren't directly responsible for, I want to have a great, good faith conversation and develop a lot of understanding about what the expectations are between my team and these other teams that are going to be responsible for that, because it's.

Example of not letting your seams in your organization show. Right? So like if you know, if it turns out that like, you know, your, your commercial contracts team or something like that, again, big company stuff that your commercial contracts team isn't super aligned to how quickly you try to execute on sales cycles.

Right? Yeah. So those are sort of things that I think you need to be thinking about. And then. The so that's like developing those relationships with those stakeholders is, is incredibly important. I think as a starting point, but then going back to what I said earlier, which is you need to you need to have a very clear understanding of.

Your ICP and your personas that you're selling to the customer themselves, what is it that they're trying to achieve? Who are they? And you know, not just the demographic understanding and not just like, oh yeah, we sell to companies that have 50 to a thousand employees or whatever. Right. But it's gotta be more precise than that.

And look, if it's not, if the company doesn't know that. And they've been successful despite that. Right? Like I think your job is to try to try to lead the company there as much as possible. Right. You know, ideally you would land in a role and those things are figured out, but I don't think I've never talked to a company that just said, you know, we have 100% nailed their ICP and we're not learning a single thing about that ever again.

And if it does then, you know, they won't get many learning opportunities cause they'll go out of business. So I think really in this case is you need to really, and you know, when I boiled down this advice, it kind of sounds silly because it's like deeply understand your customer and deeply understand your organization which is kind of like, it feels like sort of table stakes, but I, I don't think sometimes.

The CRS or sales leaders necessarily do that. They kind of view their job as like I'm going to come in and you know, these, you know, I'm just, I'm going to manufacture dollars and that's what I'm here to do. Right. And. And that's fair to a certain degree because Sierra is one of those jobs where if you sign up, you call it your shot.

You say, I'm going to get this number. And if at the end of the year or quarter or whatever, you don't get that number. You don't get to keep your job. And so it is, you know, is your overarching concern, but I think the best way to do that is by understanding those two things that I just described.

[00:35:46] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yep. Yep.

That's great advice. I think, you know, it's funny as sometimes when people ask me for, you know, how do I do this or how to do that? And some of the things I say, I'm like, this is not going to be. You know, anything that you probably don't already know it's going to be foundational, but it's, it's that reminder and that kind of step back and not only understanding that foundational information, but then actually acting upon it.

Right. And taking the time to, like you said, deeply understand your customer's.

[00:36:12] Hayes Davis: And I think that going back to that principle of you know, really assuming positive intent, right? That is if there's one piece of core advice, I would have. Every time you talk with, with a stakeholder in your company who is involved in this process they're trying to achieve the same thing you're trying to achieve.

Right. And by and large, if you're at a good culture, that should be the case. Right. And so assume that they're trying to do the same thing and that they're an intelligent person who's out to. Right. And if you have, if you start from that, It really improves and improves things. Right. And I see too often, you know, like sales and marketing clash and things like that.

And I think that's, I'm just listening with empathy, to the things that you hear from your other stakeholders and from customers is it is a very hard skill, but it's super.

[00:37:05] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yup. Yup. Great. So, you know, as I think about the revenue engine, right? Those podcasts, I always hope, you know, as I was sharing with you early, I always hope that others will just be able to learn something, learn how to accelerate revenue growth and really power that revenue engine.

So maybe from your perspective, you know, what are the top two or three things that you think all CRS or maybe revenue leaders should be really thinking about today? To really help accelerate growth. And I think those. Items that you just mentioned, maybe those are it right. Deeply understand your customer and deeply understand that.

[00:37:38] Hayes Davis: Yeah, and I think so, but I think I would add maybe a couple of things. I think as you get to a certain scale, you need to think about systems. And I think what you really need to understand is, is systems are complicated and you have these sort of upstream and downstream effects within systems, right?

So. Let's just say, all right, our revenue is not where it should be. Okay. So I want to try to diagnose that. Right. And so initially I'd see too many people say, okay, well we just need more leads. And if I had more leads, we'd be great. Right. If we just, we just need more top of funnel. But I think systems like really thinking about the, the system you have.

Yep. All these interconnected pieces of, you know, we have these inbounds, we have this outlet, these outbounds, these are flowing into AEs. AEs are flowing into you know, onboarding. Like if you look through that system, you really need to try to diagnose the actual bottlenecks, because if your AEs aren't performing, you can port leads in the top of the funnel and nothing happens, right.

Or if your own boarding is backed up by 10 weeks, you're probably turning customer before you even know it. Right. And so. No amount of, of things that you do upstream are going to improve the outcomes if you have a bottleneck downstream. So I think that really understanding that the systems aspects of this is, is super important, especially at scale, but even at small scales, these, these things still apply.

And I think your revenue will never grow faster than your bottleneck, whatever that bottleneck is and everything, every system is. Right. And so I think really being able to understand and diagnose that as super important. And then, you know, I think that I think the other thing here is and this might this might tie into something else we'll talk about, but I think the other thing is like, It's super important that you, you think about the people that you put around you in leadership, right?

Obviously everybody that you hire matters, but you know, really strong leaders that can work with you on both operational leaders, rev ops leaders, as well as your sales leadership, they're going to make a they're there in the end. Gonna probably make the most difference. Right. To whether or not you're able to you're able to succeed.

And so I think that understanding the systems aspect is crucial, but you you also have to understand, like, who do I recruit to be part of this and who who's going to be part of building the organizational alongside me. Got it,

[00:40:04] Rosalyn Santa Elena: got it. So let me jump to, you know, I always, you know, before. I wrap up.

I always ask every guest two things and I try not to make it a surprise. I was asked, I let people know ahead of time so they could think about it. Cause I've been on those podcasts where they'd have to have rapid fire and they start asking me questions and I'm like, what book did you read? What movie did you see?

And I'm thinking like, I can't even remember what I did this morning. So what is the one thing about haze that others would be surprised to know? And the second thing is what is the one thing that you want everyone to know about you? And sometimes it's the same thing I found with some guests. Maybe the Teeter for things.

So one thing that others would be surprised to know about you and one thing that you want everyone to know about?

[00:40:52] Hayes Davis: Well, I think you did tell me these ahead of time and I did think about them. So you know, I think number one, a thing that people might be surprised to know about me who don't know me well is I'm a big. I, I watched a ton of movies. I'm a big film person. But specifically horror movies. So I'm really into I'm really into horror movies. And especially like kind of ridiculous, like hard movies from like seven years and things like that. Right. I, I, I spend a, I spend some free time. You know, watching, watching that sort of thing. So I that's something that a lot of people don't.

[00:41:30] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Okay. That's great. Thanks for sharing that. And how about one thing that you want everyone to know?

[00:41:36] Hayes Davis: You know, at in a previous role, we had a We had a thing whenever every person who started at the company shared a fun fact in front of the whole company.

Right. And so I always struggled with my with my fun facts, but I will share a fun fact is I once I once spent an hour talking about running a business with the middle Hanson brother from the Hanson. Hanson's if you're called the bop guys, so everyone should know that about me.

[00:42:08] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, that's awesome.

Thank you also, thank you so much for joining me today, Hayes, and just sharing your insights. It's such a pleasure to always to speak with you, and I really appreciate just learning from you today.

[00:42:22] Hayes Davis: Thank you so much for having me on. Thank you.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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