The Revenue Engine

Accelerate Your Sales Velocity with Elay Cohen, Co-Founder of SalesHood

May 13, 2021

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.

Strap in for the next 30 minutes as Rosalyn catches up with mover and shaker Elay Cohen! Recognized as one of the world's top sales experts, Elay not only co-founded SalesHood, he also authored top-selling books Enablement Mastery and SalesHood! Elay is on a mission to impact sales revenue with sales enablement and improve the working environment's future! Elay really walks the talk – this month, the team at SalesHood is unplugging and recharging with two days off as a big thanks for the hard work the team puts in! Anyone else pulling out their resume???? Who wouldn't want to join an organization that not only looks after their team, but also reduces time to ramp, increases quota attainment, accelerates sales velocity, and drives growth and revenue outcomes!

Tune in and try to keep up as Elay recounts his remarkable journey, from learning sales skills from his dad to VP of Sales Productivity at Salesforce, sharing lots of pro tips to fire up your revenue engine!

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Elay Cohen

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 that the revenue engine are. You ready? Let's get to it.

As the market category for sales enablement, and really revenue enablement continues to grow, evolve and become a strategic differentiator in an organization's ability to drive revenue growth. What should companies be thinking about? What are the messages. Revenue teams make in their approach to enablement.

We tackle this topic and learn so much more in this episode of the revenue engine podcast with Elay Cohen, the CEO and co-founder of sales hood. Elay was the senior VP of sales productivity at Salesforce during a period of growth where they were onboarding 50 to a hundred sales reps every two weeks.

Every two weeks, the company grew from 500 million in revenue to over 3 billion. So grateful for Elay's time and for sharing his perspective on how to power the revenue engine.

Excited to be here today with Elay Cohen, the co-founder and CEO of sales hood. Prior to founding sales hood in 2013, Elay was the senior vice-president of sales productivity at Salesforce. Enabling the team during a period of growth where the company grew from 500 million in revenue to over 3 billion.

For anyone who's not familiar with sales hood sales hood is the leading all-in-one sales enablement platform. Designed to help organizations reduce time to ramp, increased quota attainment and accelerate sales velocity. Hyper-growth companies like Demandbase drift RingCentral Tealium United way and Yext you sales hood to drive growth and better revenue outcomes.

So welcome Elay. And thank you so much for joining me. Super excited to share your story and learn from your journey.

Elay Cohen: Great to be here. Thanks for having me. Thanks.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you. So let's start by talking a little bit about your journey prior to sales hood. So you have had an impressive career in both product management, you know, both Oracle and at Salesforce prior to moving into more of a sales productivity role.

So can you share a little about your career journey in product management and then maybe how that led to the sales productivity role at Salesforce?

Elay Cohen: Yeah, I, I love building and I've been fortunate to have a, a kind of a creative builder mind and, and been given great opportunities to build products. And, uh, you know, I moved to San Francisco because I wanted to get close to tech and I wanted to build internet solutions and internet products, way, way back when.

And, um, and so I started my career as a product manager here in Silicon valley. And, uh, unfortunately, uh, Salesforce came knocking on my door. You know, while I was at Oracle and they said, Hey, we hear you're the PRM person, no relationship management. That was my specialization before I really dove into sales enablement.

And so what was interesting about my early days at Salesforce was that as a product manager, I was very sales focused, very sales minded. My dad taught me how to sell. My dad taught me the importance of coaching. And so as I was building the product and as we were launching it, I was rolling up my sleeves.

With the sales teams with the RVPs. And I got recognized by Marc Benioff, any, after we launched a product, he calls me up at an all employee meeting and says, let's recognize you, let go. And one of the best product launches ever. And, uh, and you know, it was, you know, it was a big deal back then. And, uh, to be recognized, it was awesome.

And then he said, and now we're going to promote Elay to vice president of sales enablement. And I think it was a super interesting time. Uh, but, uh, because, uh, I had done such a good job enabling the teams are around, uh, are selling this product. The organization felt like I'd be suited to help build this new role all around sales, enablement, sales, productivity.

And that was kind of how I got into it.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing. Amazing. So you spent five years really leading sales and partner productivity at Salesforce during a period. I'm sure of significant growth, right? Both in head count and in revenue. So what are some of the key achievements or lessons learned from that time in that role?

And how did that experience lead you to your decision to create sales? Yeah,

Elay Cohen: I, I said I was very fortunate, you know, from, from that, from standing on that stage and being recognized and being promoted to you, literally getting called into Marc Benioff's office within a few days. And, uh, and being, you know, kind of taught and guided and coached.

Here's what sales enablement should, could look like for us. Here's why sales enablement is important to And in those early years, we were, we were maniacally focused on. And mark had a vision and his vision was let's get the teams aligned on messaging. Let's make sure everybody is conversationally competent, and let's make sure that no matter where you are in the world, folks are following the right sales plays, and folks are like on message with his message.

And, and that was his vision for winning. And he said, oh, by the way, we're going to keep hiring and hiring and hiring. And so I think really embracing messaging. As a way to drive top level revenue growth was one of my big lessons, one of my big, amazing lessons and being able to work closely with mark and the leadership team, Franklin being at all, and Jim Steele, Linda Crawford, it was amazing to be able to really, you know, we, we, we did sales element.

It was like the first time folks were doing this. And, uh, uh, and, and I guess just a last thing is, uh, you know, to think that. Onboarding between 50 to 100 people every two weeks. Oh my goodness. I just want you to internalize that. So we had to, we had to bring them in, get them coach, get them trained, get them certified.

And then we had to let them go in the fields and then we have to follow them around and make sure that they were continuously being enabled huge feeds. That was a crazy, crazy thing.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, my gosh. I can imagine 50 to a hundred, every two weeks. It's like a whole company and a whole small company, every three weeks. ,

Elay Cohen: But it paid off right?

Like Salesforce and look at the investments they made in enabling their teams. And by the way, it came from the seat. Right. And so that was a big lessons. Sales enablement is a top line revenue, uh, can be a top line. Revenue growth will be a top line revenue when you've got alignment across the C-suite.

And that was a big lesson that I learned, which really kind of started guiding me to, you know, what this is, this is something there, there needs to be a platform for, this was kind of that first moment of clarity for me back in 2012, before I left.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. So, so that kind of leads me into the next question then.

So when you and your co-founder Arthur, D is it Dell or, yeah, I decided to start, you know, in business together, like what was the initial goal or vision for the company and how has that changed right over time? Cause it's been like, to your point, sales enablement has evolved quite a bit. So how, how has that vision changed that.

Elay Cohen: Right. So like just 2008, if you Google, uh, sales enablement, there is no, no one was even searching for it in 2007, when we were starting down that path. And in 2012 and 2013, when I started realizing that there was an opportunity and there's, there's a white space in the market to provide a repeatable, scalable solution to help companies boost their productivity, their teams using technology, using video, using data, use mobile.

Peer to peer. Like that was something that was out of. I had this clear vision of what that, of what that could and should be. And, you know, I found that Salesforce, I started speaking with other leaders with, with technologists and I was really fortunate to get introduced to Arthur. And, you know, when I sat down with Arthur during that very first meeting, after we got introduced, You know, he said, okay, what do you, what, what sales should I I'd had the name?

Right. And I said, sales is a platform that's going to help organizations replicate success at scale. And, and, and it's going to be outcome-based and it's going to be a video learning video, coaching, video sharing platform, but it's going to replicate people's best practices and, and, and. No one else knows how to do it.

And, and I'm saying that super humbly, because we did it at a scale that no one has ever seen. And so we're going to take all the best practices from the processes and the programs that we ran in Salesforce, and we're going to package it up into a platform. So we can basically democratize sales enablement around the world.

And he said, I'm in, let's do it. And we've been together ever since.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Wow. That is amazing. Um, so you've obviously seen that sales enablement from really from nothing and not really being known until now. Right now. It's like one of the hottest areas for sure. Everybody's talking about enablement and engagement and everything else.

Yeah. Even rev ops. So, you know, what have, what have you sort of seen in the market, right. In terms of trends? Like how have you seen it? You talked, you touched on it a little bit, but you know, how have you seen it evolve and kind of, where do you see it going?

Elay Cohen: Right. So that's at a macro level. When we started, when we started sharing people, kind of the giving people access and having instant when we were talking to some VCs in the early days, or considering taking funding, when we were speaking with, with some, some folks, folks kind of will look at us funny, like what you think salespeople are going to log in and record their videos like in a system and get feedback from there.

Who's going to do that. Right. Folks are very, very skeptical though. I knew that would work because we can. Salesforce, but we did it manually. And I knew that the impact that it could have if you get it properly. And so, you know, kind of think about that skepticism and think about kind of the pushbacks that we would get to now, what people are talking about when they say sales, enablement and sales and what platforms they're talking.

Outcomes. Right. Just like your dog. They're talking about outcomes. They're talking about, you know, the big trend that we're seeing today is, you know, the investments that we're making in sales enablement, they need to have proven, proven ROI and proven outcomes. So I think we've gone from skepticism. To, to, uh, to outcome based sales enablement systems.

I think folks are also a lot more comfortable today with video than they were when we started 6, 7, 8 years, eight years ago when we started. And so, uh, um, you know, recording a video, sharing a video, getting feedback on your video and so video sharing. And I think what's happened with the pandemic has also accelerated that whole.

Uh, aspect of folks leaning into video. And then finally I'll say, you know, the big, the big trend. Yeah. And especially now with the pandemic, I think asynchronous learning and synchronous learning and asynchronous and synchronous collaboration. It's a really big trend. So in simple words, right. Folks used to fly people to them.

These are five people to San Diego or whatever that location was. And think a week long training is going to do it. And we were saying, actually, you got to do training and learning and coaching, and it needs to be a process that happens every single moment. Every moment is a learning moment. Those are some of the big trends that we've seen.

And, uh, and it's been great to see it accelerate all those trends have accelerated with the pandemic. Uh, and, uh, and so those are some of the benefits of what's been happening.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing. Yeah, definitely seeing a lot more video for sure. And everybody's kind of getting their backgrounds and such set up. I remember when there was a shortage to buy a camera, a webcam,

Elay Cohen: You remember completely sold out, but I think people are getting more comfortable and they're getting, they're getting.

You know, I think better at recording video messages. You know, I think LinkedIn even just released LinkedIn video prospecting inside their messaging app, which I think is amazing video is, is, is the communication medium of the future. It's just, it's it's happening at a scale that we never anticipated to happen so quickly.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing,, so what are some of the, I guess, you know, talking about sales enablement, like what are some of the biggest mistakes, right? That you're seeing revenue teams make when they approach sales enable.

Elay Cohen: Right. So I, I started with the big trend saying that sales enablement is now all about outcomes, revenue outcomes, right?

And so it's about, you know, being able to align, uh, you know, the programs and the investments that you're making, uh, for sales enablement, with the revenue outcomes. So you can actually measure the impact that it's having. That's kind of like the biggest trend that we're seeing and it's huge. Even bigger in 21 and beyond the biggest mistake companies face is not doing that is by taking, you know, investing in sales enablement and not, and not aligning it with companies go to market priorities and not measuring the impact that their investments are making.

It's a waste of money, right? Companies today are spending hundreds of millions of dollars, uh, investing in their people for training and coaching and playbooks. But for the most part. They aren't able to actually correlate the impact and know what's working and what's not working. And so to me, that's the biggest mistake.

Don't waste money. Don't spend money until you actually know the problem you're going to solve benchmark the problem. And then, uh, and, and, you know, you know this right? You've been

Rosalyn Santa Elena: 100% it's music to my ears right now.

Elay Cohen: I think the, I think of ops and sales ops and sales enablement, and revenue enablement, it's all coming together and it's a beautiful thing.

It wasn't always kind of together when I was at Salesforce, there were, there were separate, there were siloed. Now, you know, you got to work super closely. Both teams and the data and the metrics and the KPIs and the impact will bring them even more, more closely together, faster.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome. So many enablement offerings, you know, kind of focus on one aspect, right?

Learning, coaching, or messaging. But I know that your product focuses on all of the above, and you've actually talked about this even during our conversation right now. So can you share maybe a little bit more. Sort of what your vision was or mission here, you know, how is your product differentiation mean?

When has it really helped in accelerating revenue growth and sort of expanding your customer base?

Elay Cohen: Right. Well, I appreciate the ask. And, and so from day one, we've always been a purpose-built all in one sales enablement platform. And, and, and our bElayef is that, uh, peer to peer knowledge sharing and that, uh, uh, people will learn from the best.

And so being able to replicate, replicate success, uh, and, and really, uh, being able to get teams to learn. Through micro learning, micro coaching, micro assessments. And that's really been something that folks have been saying, wow, we love that. Right. If I look at companies like RingCentral that we've been working with for over four years, you know, they've seen, you know, shoot 20 X increase in their stock price.

And it's because they've leaned into enablement as a top line revenue goal. And like she Von batcher will say, you know what? I. The micro-learning and the micro coaching. And I love the ability to correlate that to performance outcomes. And, uh, and I love it that it's purpose built for the use case of enabling my teams.

And so that's been something that has been from day one and, and. Look at sales hood and they compare us to other systems out there, or they look at other alternatives. What they say is the following, right? There's nothing out there like it it's bite sized. It's really easy to access on their mobile or the desktop, but there's something special about sales side.

I think of the name sales center. It's a community, it's a neighborhood it's it's it's sales people learning from each other. And the peer-to-peer aspect is what stands out as unique that we have compared to, because it was purpose built from the ground up. Because just from my experience at Salesforce, the idea that the teams were learning from each other, and that was one of the secrets of our success back in the day, I just wanted to provide a system to do that at scale.

And that's what makes us unique. Thank you for it.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, no, that's awesome. Definitely want to highlight that. Um, if we talk about sort of this new way of selling, you know, selling from anywhere, right? Because we've all been, you know, obviously impacted by COVID you talked a little bit about the pandemic, you know, we're all affected from a business perspective, as well as from a person.

Perspective, right. Teams are now ramping working, selling, and trying to motivate remotely with this new way of selling. Like what advice do you have, right. For organizations who maybe are struggling to train their teams, keep them engaged, keep them aligned. Like, what are some of the top things that they should be thinking about?

Elay Cohen: So, you know, I think, I think it's important to be clear on, on. You know what it is, if you want to enable your teams on. And, and so being able to clearly answer the why and always, always, always the kind of the whiff of the what's in it for me. Right? So if you're a rev ops leader or you're a sales enablement leader, or you're a CEO and you're getting ready to roll out a new pitch, or you're getting ready to roll out a new product or getting ready to roll out whatever, you know, when you're communicating the why I think that is what's going to get everybody to kind of mine up.

Kind of do the work and really want to be motivated to kind of learn with you and it'd be enabled by the programs that you're rolling out. So I think, I think it's so critical and it's so critical today. Even more than ever to really explain the why, because, you know, people have very short attention spans right now because everyone's remote and all that.

But, uh, I think, uh, I think also what I would be really focused on is. You know, whatever you're rolling out to your teams, whatever you're rolling out around the world, make sure that you are following these kinds of best practices of learning today. Right? Everything needs to be bite-sized. You want to make sure that you're creating an experience for your people where they can learn a little bit of time, but they also want to be able to learn it.

It needs to be accessible. Uh, and, and, and then. When they're going through their learning experience and when they're being enabled through your systems and through your tech and through your everything, just be mindful about that when you're creating the content. Right? So you can't just create content in the old way.

You got to create bite-sized content and make it available. So folks can learn it in small little chunks and then access it when they need it most. And, uh, and then remember everyone's. Yeah. And so they may learn in the morning, they may want to consume content in the evening. And so that's why it's even more important today to have a, uh, a real system that is purpose-built for these use cases.

And, uh, we've seen a huge uptick in, in demand. We've seen a huge uptick in our website. We've seen a huge uptick in usage, probably about a quarter after COVID once people realized, oh, this isn't going away. Okay. So now we've got to find a solution to get our teams aligned and enabled on ongoing. That's amazing.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: You touched on all the points that I was actually recently doing, uh, panel around adoption, a little training session, like a 15 minute blurb around how to drive adoption. And you touched on all the things about the bite-sized content, making sure that it's, you know, we answered the question of what's in it for me, you know, what's the value, why should they be doing it and really be crystal clear on that and then be able to have it real-time and available.

For learning, right. Because people don't learn about, it's not a once and done so interesting. Well, good. So let's talk a little bit about customers, right? Um, you know, as, as we all know, you know, buyers like me and you are expecting a lot more, right. Companies don't want a vendor. They want, they need a partner, right.

Somebody who is going to help them be successful. And I know that sales had has over 50,000 users, right. You've got over a hundred companies leveraging the product. So what is your philosophy around, you know, driving customer success, driving customer value, and then how has that sort of helped contribute to revenue acceleration?

Elay Cohen: Right. We, we, uh, we love our customers and, and, uh, and we bElayeve our customers love us. We've got such a special community. And so, and I used the word community, you know, in, in the, in the right way, we've got a community where, where our customers are sharing knowledge, they're sharing best practices. We bring our people together, uh, synchronously, asynchronously, like we, we use our own system to drive the community for our teams.

Um, but, um, you know, I think. If you were to talk to any of our customers and you'd ask them, you know, how is what's the customer success program like, and how does sales or help you? I think you would hear universally sales rolls up their sleeves. They're an extension of our team. You know, they're thought leaders, they're showing us how enablements should be done.

And so, uh, you know, kind of, I left Salesforce. To enable, uh, other companies to do enablement just like Salesforce. Cause I felt like we had to democratize sales enablement. And so that value. Uh, being a true partner and being a thought leader to our customers and being with them every step of the way is the ultimate.

Like we're, we're ultimately enabling the enablers. And so that is, we have to be the best at it, right. Because if we can enable our own people, then, then how are they going to enable? So, so that's. So I love it. I love it. You know, there's, there are a lot of great videos out there of our customers and our G2 reviews are also, customers are really, really pleased with the experience that they have, but, uh, yeah, no, they, uh, what else can I tell you about that one?

Um, uh, I'm super proud of what we've created and my team is great. Right? I think everyone, every one of the team is, is a true thought leader. And so if you're a customer and if you're listening, thank you. Uh, if you're a customer and, and, uh, you know, you should, you should be pushing it. Even more to give you more tips, more best practices, more cross-pollination of ideas, uh, when appropriate.

So that way you can achieve amazing revenue outcomes for your teams.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's great. I love that. I love that. Enabling the enabler. That is so true. Right. You've got to be ahead of the game and really be the thought leader there.

Elay Cohen: So yeah. And you can imagine by the way, like, just from a rev ops perspective and from a revenue growth perspective, like net retention has been great.

I think, uh, the, the, you know, the ad-on and the growth was in our install base has been amazing. Uh, NPS is high. And so that just has, uh, as, as the impact, sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off, but I did want to touch on that point as well. So it's it's to any founder or CEO or out there that is really looking to lean in or not on the question of community.

It pays dividends. Yeah. Absolutely.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. I mean, G2 is kind of the best, the best award as to win, right. Because that is truly from your customers. Um, so I love that. Um, as I think about, you know, the revenue engine and the podcast, right. I really hope that others will be able to learn how to accelerate revenue growth and really power that revenue engine.

All right. So from your perspective, you know, what are the key things that organizations should think about, right. In terms of their sales, enablement, strategy and execution that you think will have the biggest impact on driving revenue?

Elay Cohen: Right. So, so I think, I think, uh, folks, you know, w when you think of sales enablement, and when you think of how you can drive revenue outcomes, you've got to first ask yourself what outcomes do you want to accomplish?

Right. So if you. Focused on the metrics, right. Do you want to improve time to ramp? Do you want to improve a time to first deal with time to second deal? Right. You're in the phase of growth where you're going to be hiring, then, you know, kind of be super clear, those metrics and KPIs, and then build programs that are going to drive.

Uh, and, and they're going to drive those outcomes and look for the leading indicators to help you drive those outcomes. If you, uh, if you, if you're not in a heavy, new hire onboarding, and you're looking to, to just kind of boost up attainment, uh, you want to do that. Through looking for levers around win rates.

And so you can do a lot of peer to peer coaching. You can do a lot of, uh, messaging alignment, uh, storage, where folks are able to share their, their pitch stories and, uh, and their wind stories. But, uh, I think it's so important and that's kind of the big message, right? You know, as enablement leaders, as operational leaders, we want everyone to be super clear on the metrics that you're trying to influence and the impact that you're trying to have.

And if you can get clear on that and benchmark it, then it's going to be super easy to be able to create programs are going to be tailored to meet those needs. That's right.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's right. Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. Um, maybe shifting gears to, you know, as a CEO, right. And founder, what are the things that you wish maybe you knew earlier, or maybe are there things that you would do differently, right.

If you had a chance to do it all over again.

Elay Cohen: Yeah. Well, you know, I, uh, it's funny, um, We're eight by the time this gets out and, and, you know, as this, as this has a life we'll we'll, we will have passed or eight years. And so it, it feels like yesterday when Arthur and I were sitting down in that coffee shop meeting for the first time, uh, and at the same time, it feels like, wow, ears.

Like that's that's time. There's some serious. Leading sales hood and Arthur and I have been partners here doing sales longer than my total time at Salesforce. I was at Salesforce for just under eight years and now just at about eight years. And so I love the question right there and I, and I think about it a lot.

What would we do differently? You know, I think, uh, we changed the roadmap, you know, would we have taken funding? Would we not have taken funding? Right. There's there's, there's one thing that I didn't. And I probably wouldn't have changed, you know, I think you have to go through the things that you do, but there's one thing that I, for sure, for sure, for sure.

Uh, will change and I have changed you only for me personally, right? I think hiring and recruiting has been kind of one of the biggest areas, biggest challenging areas. Uh, I think, uh, I think, uh, under, I underestimated how hard. Hire the right people recruiting the right people is in the eight years. And I think here's the one thing I changed.

Sorry, long answer, but I just want it to kind of preface it a little bit and just say there's a lot of thought that goes into this. Um, only I'd only hire people that have done the job before I think. Uh, so for example, you know, if you're looking for a VP customer success, You can't hire someone that has never been a VP customer success for a SAS company.

It's not going to end well, right. And similarly, right. Like VP marketing, right? You need, can you have VP marketing? You've got to hire someone. Who's a professional VP marketing, and even goes more specific. If you need a VP of marketing, that's focused on demand gen you gotta hire a VP marketing. That's focused on demand gen versus a VP marketing.

That's focused on product marketing, right? I share that just because over the years you're like, listen, every single person has come through the door. I love them all. It's, it's, it's big virtual hugs to everyone, but sometimes things didn't work out and it's because we thought we could give someone a shot.

I don't know. What do you think? Right. So what do you think of that?

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah, I mean, I do think that, especially as in leadership roles, for sure. I mean, you have got to get the right people who have the right experience. Um, one of the things that I always think is interesting, having worked for, you know, mid-size to large public companies, right.

Were, were huge, you know, 2000 employees, like 80,000 employees, and then working at a startup where you're a hundred people. Right. Kind of the different flavors. One of the things that I always think is sort of a competitive advantage, I guess, as an employee is somebody who has done so. Both right. Has seen a company at scale and has seen a, sort of a startup because, you know, people who work in big companies who say, oh, I want to work for a startup.

And you know, they don't really know what that's like until they've actually been there. And if you've only been at a startup, you know, it doesn't mean, you know, that you can't get to scale, but it just may take you more trial and error to get there versus somebody who knows what good looks like, you know, at a hundred million, at 500 million out of a billion.

Elay Cohen: And, and listen in a fast growing market and especially in the market that I'm in with sales enablement, time is not on my side. Right. And so, and so, uh, you know, there is no trial and error, right? I, you know, you need someone that can come in and, uh, uh, and, and it's, and I think your comment is a great one when you emphasize in leadership.

I think VP director level roles. Absolutely. Yes. I see with the right mentor, the manager, you could come in and coach him and, but then you've got to give them the time of the runway to be successful. Uh, but I think a long answer, you know, what makes sure when you're hiring you're clear on the profile.

And so the one thing I would change is I would have written that rule down and had it been a core value of the business from day one. And, uh, and, and, uh, More diligently than I did. Yeah. Discipline and more discipline.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah.That's great. That's definitely great advice. Would that be, you know, if you were to give one piece of advice to like another CEO or founder, would that be your advice or would it be something else?

Elay Cohen: Well, I listen, I love solving problems. And the thing with sales hood was, uh, when I was sitting down and having that coffee with Arthur, because I'd been working on it for a couple months, you know, he, uh, he said, uh, great. I love the idea. I love the name, you know, and let's get started. And I said, great, I've got, you know, five customers ready to go.

And it seems like what I see. Yes. I got five customers ready to go. We want to pay, we just got to build our, our, our V1. And, uh, and so my advice is, uh, as early as you can be clear on the problem that you're solving, make sure it's a problem that people will pay money for and, uh, and do that sooner than later.

So that way you can get, uh, you can, you can know if you're on the right track, right? So we knew we were onto something. When in the first year we had paying customers and, and that's how, that's how it fuel the business. And it's helped us all. Make the right decisions on roadmap, on hiring on a lot of the areas of business, because we could easily just like someone want to pay for that or that.

Okay. Let's keep going in that direction then, because they cause they're paying. That's the advice I give. Right. All too often. I think like it's, it's no, no disrespect to any other startups, but I do come across startups that have raised a lot of money. Right. We raised almost nothing. I've raised a lot of money and yet to either even be at revenue and maybe they see the world a little differently, but, uh, I think, uh, there's, there's, there's some pride that Arthur and I take in building a business that's cashflow positive, and that is solving a real revenue problem and now in a super hot market.

And so. Solve a problem. You can get people to pay for. It would be my advice.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's perfect. I love that. That's awesome. So thank you so much for joining me. Um, but as we wrap up and before I let you go, right, I'd love to know just two things, right? One, what is the one thing about Elay that others would be surprised to learn and then to, um, and two, what is the one thing that you want everyone to know about?

Elay Cohen: Okay. Something I want everyone to know about me. I love it. Well, listen, the first thing is, it's a funny story. It's a little odd. Uh, but uh, I think, uh, I'm not a big fan of McDonald's, right? Like I don't go by McDonald's a lot, right. This is personal, right? Why not have some fun, like, but there is a sandwich at McDonald's that regardless of, you know, when I used to travel pre COVID and if I'm flying through the airport and I look up and I see in the crib.

I gotta, I gotta stop. I gotta stop. And I gotta have a mid career. Right. I, and now at home, I know I've learned how to make them the graves and I can do that. And I love them when they're great. And it's awesome. Something personal, something fun. And I've said it before and a couple of other socks and then people walk up to me go, you're the mid group guy.

You heard the thought, I think, you know what I think kind of full circle to, to, to kind of something we were talking about before. But, uh, I said, I love music and, and as much as I can, you know, when I. You know, my webinars or my conferences, you know, I love kind of picking up the energy with music and I've got my, I've got a vinyl collection and, uh, you know, I'll, I'll, I'll play music all night long.

And even to the point, like before I get up and do speak, before I speak at events, like I'll pick a song and I'll start singing in my head just to lift me up. And so music's a huge part of it. And, uh, and so, uh, if anyone wants us to swap vinyl stories, I would love to do that with you. And I can't wait to get back at the in-person events because when I host our next user, our next customer conference for our community, uh, I will have my turntables vinyl and I can't wait.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Amazing. Definitely. Please make sure to invite me. I need to see that.

Elay Cohen: You will always have an invitation to any of that.

Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you. So thank you again for joining me. It's just been such a pleasure to chat with you and just learn from you. I'm so incredibly grateful for your time for sharing your story and for sharing your oh.

Elay Cohen: Thank you very much.

Thank you.

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