The Revenue Engine

Accelerating Topline Growth by Putting the Sales Team at the Center with Yogi Panjabi, Co-Founder at PeopleLens

November 4, 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.

What if you could take your best performing sales executive and clone him/ her? Or at least understand the behaviors and the attributes of that person that help them be more successful than their peers?

In this episode of The Revenue Engine Podcast, Yogi Panjabi, the Co-Founder at PeopleLens shares why putting your sales team at the center of your revenue engine can help drive better topline growth, accelerate revenue, and help uplevel your sales organization.


Connect with Yogi on LinkedIn, or at the PeopleLens website.

Follow Rosalyn on LinkedIn.

The Revenue Engine is powered by Outreach.

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.
Yogi Panjabi
Co-Founder @ PeopleLens

[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.

What if you could take your best performing sales executive and clone him or her, or at least understand the behaviors and the attributes of that person that help them to be more successful than their. What are they doing differently from the rest of the team? And then start to dive into the strengths and weaknesses across your team to help elevate each individual and ultimately the entire team.

[00:01:03] Sponsor: Today's podcast is sponsored by Outreach is the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators, for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to an accurate sales forecast, replace manual processes with real-time guidance, and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win more often. Traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why Outreach is the right solution at

[00:01:41] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Well in this episode of the Revenue Engine Podcast, Yogi Panjabi, the co-founder at PeopleLens shares, why putting your sales team at the center of your revenue engine can help drive better top line growth, accelerate revenue.

And help up level your sales organization. So please take a listen and learn how to make sales more human and so much more. So excited to be here today with Yogi Panjabi, The co-founder of PeopleLens. For those of you who are not familiar, PeopleLens is an AI driven platform helping sales be more human and more intelligent.

With the goal of being more productive and accelerating. Top line. So welcome Yogi, and thank you for joining me. I am looking forward to learning more about your career journey and what you're building.

[00:02:34] Yogi Panjabi: Hi Rosaly n delighted to be in this conversation with a, with a rev ops expert. And congratulations on your new journey and your ons entrepreneurial journey. So delighted to be chatting with an entrepreneur too.

[00:02:46] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you. I appreciate that. So let's just jump into it. I mean, you've had just an incredible background. I saw you were at McKinsey for eight years. You were in leadership roles, in business transformation, marketing and insights at eBay and at HP as well.

As I saw you were a CIO as well at multiple companies. So maybe before we dive into what you're building now can you share more about. Story and your career journey?

[00:03:13] Yogi Panjabi: Sure. It, it's been much of a, a trail. So I went to engineering in, in business school and, you know, never took to, to coding.

Found myself at, at McKinsey, where I was fortunate to have mentors and colleagues who, who helped me learn much of what I know today. And, you know, from that world of, of strategy, I got lost. Inside the enterprise, bouncing around a few functions starting in the world of sales and then marketing and then product and from there to the world of, of people.

And, and it you know, I've always believed good things happen at, at intersections. So. You know, we, we truly to serve our stakeholders when, when functions come together. So I enjoyed living at that intersection of, of people in Id leveraging it to truly serve the employee. Most things, you know, employee experience, employee apps, employee tech, data sets uh, And so in each of these outings, I had to tap into my, my outsider advantage and learn from world class teams in every function to see the business and the data sets through that enterprise lens.

And, and over the last two decades I've been. Fortunate to live in pretty much every function across that enterprise as well as the, the CIO role twice.

[00:04:22] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome. That's awesome. I was just, when, you know, preparing for this podcast, I was just looking at your background, it's just incredible all the things that you have done and where it's led you you know, Many times when I interview founders here, especially on the podcast, I learned that the idea for a company, it started with identifying some kind of problem or there was some type of challenge that they were faced with.

When you and your co-founder decided to start PeopleLens, was this the case? Like was there a specific challenge that maybe you set out to solve?

[00:04:48] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. Uh, so I got to, I got to Palo Alto Networks in, in 2019. You know, pre Covid had been there for a few months. Leading up basically the, the people technology and analytics teams, you know, focused on employee systems, employee experience across functions.

You know, our new CEO had had just started as well. He had built out his exec team, brought in a bunch of great folks, and. At the board. And he knew pretty much that we wanted to broaden our footprint from this firewall centric appliance play to become a, a cloud centric cybersecurity leader that we, that we are today.

And so, you know, off we went on the acquisition trail acquiring you know, two product companies about a, a quarter. And we did that for five, six quarters, bringing in engineering and product teams into the business while, while leaning on our homegrown reps for our go to market engine And. You know, our product portfolio evolved from a firewall centric play to the world of analytics and ai, and then iot.

And we made all of this technology cloud centric, you know, working our way towards becoming a truly SaaS company. And this, this grand vision began of payoff. But then we really missed our numbers. Two quarters in a row, the stock went the the opposite direction, and there were a bunch of questions being asked of the leadership.

You know, like every good. , We tried a few things, you know, more, more customer insights, more sales ops, more strategy consultants. Everyone's sort of scratching their heads. Nothing seemed to to to go right at that point. And so what did we do? We then, you know, shifted focus and we put the spotlight inward, you know, on our sales teams, on our people and our reps.

And we looked at the key competencies, the attributes of individual reps, whether it's consultative skills, sales techniques, network. And we helped each rep, one rep at a. You know, make that transformation from the world of a box seller to the world of a SAS seller. For Mike, for example, you know, it was consultative skills, it was product knowledge.

It was, it was mindset. We helped him make progress on these fronts, and we saw him transform from, you know, selling 50 K boxes to, to seven figure SAS deals. And, you know, that's when we saw the top line really began to, to reac accelerate, you know, And our mission became clear to make. Rep better. And in addressing that pain, you know, PeopleLens was, was born and so, so grateful to Palo Alto Networks for initiating this journey in, in many ways.

And, you know, we were then blessed to assemble a team of machine learning wizards and, and go to market advisors and, and get to work. And, you know, my co-founder is a, is a 10 year Amazon data scientist. You know, he's improved operational outcomes across a million plus employees in, in that world of Amazon with a focus on people science.

And, you know, one of our advisors is, is Rhonda Larson, a stellar sales ops exec from the world of Snowflake and, and LinkedIn.

[00:07:35] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome. That's awesome. I love that. You know, on your website, this actually comes right into play because you talk about making sales more human. Right. And I love this because sales is about, sure, it's about selling a product or a service, but you are selling to a human and we all know how people buy from other people.

So maybe can you talk a little bit more about this and share what the thought or vision is behind this goal?

[00:07:59] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. Great. Great, great point. So, you know, from our observation would, we would be looked at as we, as we zoomed out a little bit over the last two decades. You know, we've learned from Akins such as Bezos and, and, and Penny of, and, you know, it's been really about customer delight in the, in the B2C world.

And, and customer 360 in the, in the B2B world. And, you know, while the CRM has become centerpiece in, in sales, the lens is, is solely on the, on the customer. What we observed is that, you know, the rep is, is left out of the equation in many ways and is sitting on the sidelines and, you know, they spend.

Give or take, you know, eight to 12 hours a week, you know, on their 15 plus tabs in their crm, serving their manager with, with data and with with reports. And we really wanted to just flip that, you know, we wanted to serve the reps and their managers with insights and execution plays, and we wanted to do that with their own lens.

So, you know, if we truly apply first principle thinking in the world of sales, we have a buyer on one end and the seller on the other end, and. Product at the center yet, you know, today almost all the energy, the data sets that are, that are existing are built around the, the buyer or the customer, you know, the rep is, is that underserved audience in many ways.

You know, they're seen in, in many places as this code occurring entity. And the rep's current toolkit offers them limited insights on their own personal journey. They're living with those fragmented experiences and, you know, we are really trying to reframe that. Conversation, putting the sales team at the center, helping them with that manager 360 or with that rep 360, and serving them with exactly what they need as they serve customers.

And so we grow our top line by focusing. On your frontline.

[00:09:41] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. I love that. You know, similarly, you know, what are you seeing organizations maybe doing right and maybe doing wrong when it comes to incorporating this human aspect into their go-to-market motions?

[00:09:52] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. Yeah. I think again these are, these are great questions.

I think the organizations in general are doing a, a lot, right. By wearing that, that customer lens, you know? But on the other hand, as we look at it, we believe most companies and tools have. Narrow focus on the customer data sets and you know, for them that rep is a, is a customer facing coda carry entity and we are really, really just, you know, zooming out.

We are widening that aperture and including the org and people data sets to augment the rich. Customer focus and the customer data sets that are already in play. And so if we, you know, consider a, a sports analogy there are, you know, a million data points to measure. Perhaps Steph Curry's every move, you know, in the arena or, or at the Chase Center, but none to focus on his own.

Overall match prep, basically the other 90% of his life. And so we believe that, you know, for a sales rep, being prepared isn't half the battle. It is their battle. And yet today, almost all of the solutions put the spotlight, you know, solely on the arena, i e, the, the customers. And, you know, not so much of that match prep or the, the insights.

And so for us it's, it's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light, or it's, you know, our customers have said it perhaps better is if you have a sales so that cares about, its. You know, PeopleLens is perhaps a, a great fit.

[00:11:17] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. Oh, my husband's gonna love the Steph Curry reference. He's such a fan

[00:11:21] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's pretty popular, you know, in, in our household as well as I chat with my, with my kids and I'm trying to explain to them what I do. That's, that's my attempt at it.

[00:11:31] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Yeah. Yeah, we're big Warriors fans for sure. Being here, growing up here in the Bay Area, so, Definitely. Well, so let's talk about.

Right. I mean, as a go-to market revenue operations, I'm always looking for ways to, you know, help that, help the go-to market team be more connected and be more efficient. You know, I think one of the key areas of enabling the team is. You know, being able to understand what behaviors or actions yields the best outcomes.

You know, ideally we want to clone our best performers. So from your perspective, you know, how should organizations be thinking about this? Like, what should they be doing to better understand the behaviors that they want to replicate or to do more of?

[00:12:12] Yogi Panjabi: I Love that question and, and I think there were so many deep. The way you just narrated that Rosalyn completely echo that. So, you know, today most sales organizations and and vendors have that customer-centric focus, rightfully so, but the, the data sets as well are, are limited to, to the customer-centric data sets and, and they miss that rep's growth that you just spoke about, their performance, you know, and all their associated data sets.

For most part, what we observed was that these data sets sit. Of the world of sales. And so we bring that holistic lens and the data sets to every manager and every rep. And you know, believe that the market we are serving is this white space. You know, on one end of the spectrum we have the, the CRM and the sales analytics and the sales intelligence folks.

And on the other hand you have the HCM or the H R I S, so the, the people systems and the people analytics vendors. And there is this massive, massive, unaddressed opportunity at the center, which is where we are focused.

[00:13:06] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. Are there maybe specific insights or metrics that you think everyone should be tracking to provide some of those details into what's working and maybe what's not?

[00:13:17] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah, what, what we learned a a again, this is really pointed area. So what we learned, you know, at, at a bunch of places and, and a few customers that we've been at, is it's really important to capture every attribute competency and activity of a sales manager and. and to really tie that to sales outcomes and that of the enterprise.

So for some folks it's consultative skills. For others it's product knowledge. For others still, it could be their time allocation or their, their mentors that they have had on their journey. And for others it is really around their, their pipeline discipline. So our insights go well beyond the world of training and and coaching, and it puts the focus on that person inside the salesperson.

[00:13:59] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Got it. Got it. So we all talk. You know, insights and dashboards, right? All the time. And we know we need to get better data, better insights, and more reporting. But the real question is always, you know, what do we do with those data points? You know, how do we make them actionable and how do we leverage them to help improve productivity and ultimately drive more growth?

So how does PeopleLens, I guess, help analyze and dissect, you know, those right data points and provide recommendations to really help move the needle?

[00:14:28] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah great point. So, so today, you know, sales leaders are, are since standardized organizational dashboards. You know, they use their favorite BI tool and it's sent to their, the Connor office.

What we are really doing is, you know, bringing our machine learning models to bear analyzing the drivers, you know, surfacing really what matters for every manager and for every rep and, and contextualizing it for their goals, you know, their OKRs. And that translates, you know, to a nudge or in action, you know, on their phones or on their calendars or in their workflow making execution and that actionable feedback.

Really, really seamless. You know, essentially we're delivering a, a Netflix like experience to your favorite device as we think of it. So in this way, you know, we are really able to guide behaviors and we are able to connect it to outcomes that, that matter, creating this, this actionable feedback loop.

So we really help the reps up their game, the managers, you know, up their, their coaching elements with those precise insights. And we do it with you know, zero. Incremental admin, which, which is really, really important for, for every rep out there, this thing as well as for, you know, making sure that there is limited to no overhead for their, for their managers.

And so the impact is really, again, in the eyes of the, the customer. You know, one of our, our customers had this to say, and I will, I will code you know, we were able to really identify missing competencies. In each of their underperforming reps that they perhaps would never have seen using their call summaries.

You know, at best they would've been written out in their reps performance review six months out. And, and PeopleLens was able to surface those competencies and other insights, you know, at least two quarters in advance, and to accelerate top line then by helping those managers and those reps, you know, coach with the, with the manager's guidance precisely with what they in, in real time.

[00:16:19] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. You know, I think about, you touched on coaching in such a little bit, and I think, you know, enablement, right? Enablement of the team. So key to be able to leverage the power of those insights and learnings. And we've seen this rise of enablement right across the industry. Where do you see people enablement and training and empowerment headed and any predictions for the market.

[00:16:42] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. Again, such, such a, such an pertinent question. And, and I again, love the way you, you framed it because it's really, really about, about people enablement as you, as you put it there. So that's really it. You know, enablement is, is headed to, to empowerment. It's, it's going back to the, you know, basketball analogy for a moment.

You know, you can't really tell Steph Curry, you've gotta be at a shooting practice. It's, it's much, much more than that, right? It's truly about his 360. It's about his whole self. And, you know, that's exactly how we really think about empowerment and how we view sellers at PeopleLens.

[00:17:14] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. I love that. Are there things that maybe revenue leaders should be doing today to, you know, drive better enablement? Like, do you have any tips or advice for them?

[00:17:23] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah, Again, there there are many, many, many great enablement leaders. I, I continue to, to learn from, from so many of them. And I think, you know, the forward thinking sales enablement leaders really think of this as, as empowerment again, and they, they really truly open the champagne, not, you know, not when they see assessment and, and certifications grow, but do so truly when they see that they're helping move. The top line, go that extra mile to convert their managers to coaches, to convert their reps just to be the best versions of themselves, you know?

And for a revenue enablement leader, it's, it's really, really simple. It is to, to wear that PeopleLens no pun intended, and, you know, jokes aside, but it's to put their people first.

[00:18:07] Rosalyn Santa Elena: I love that. You know, as I think about the revenue engine and about this podcast, I'm always hoping others will be able to learn how to accelerate revenue growth, Right.

And really power the revenue engine. So maybe from your perspective, you know, what are the top maybe two or three things that you think all revenue leaders should be really thinking about today to drive revenue growth?

[00:18:27] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah, a, a another great question and as. , you know, recap and, and listen to your past podcast.

This is, this is my favorite question. I've just learned so much in, in the prior episodes, learning to, to your guests and everything that, that sort of comes through their top three. And so for me, you know, it's what I observe great revenue leaders is, is three things. You know, one is just wearing the, the PeopleLens, you know, focusing on your teams.

You know, helping your bees grow instead of letting them go. That's number one for, for us. Number two is, is. , bringing science into your, your day to day. You know, not just with with fancy dashboards, but with real drivers and with actionable feedback loop personalized for every customer facing colleague.

And, and then number three is, you know, partnering with the breadth of exec. A, around the table. At the end of the day, you know, we are solving an enterprise problem. We are not just solving a, a functional problem. So it's really important to partner with, you know, marketing leaders with people, leaders, with finance, with it, you know, that's how really teams are connected and, and solving for those outcomes as a, as a enterprise with an enterprise lens.

[00:19:40] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's great advice. Thank you, . Thank you. You know, as a first time founder, you know, although you're still relatively early, I think, in your journey, are there things that you wish you might have, you know, done differently or maybe that you knew earlier? You know, knowing what you know now?

[00:19:55] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. So this is, this is a, a fun journey. You know, you, you only don't do it. If, if you're having fun, it's clearly the toughest journey I've, I've been on. But, but without doubt it's, it's the most fun. So, you know, one thing we learned in our prior roles you know, as advisors or investors, it's, it's being deliberate about our, our culture.

So we are founders with a, with a lens on character chemistry and competency. And, you know, we are really excited about culture and people so excited that we, that we put it in our name, and we, you know, refer to our values. As our lens. So our team is guided in our journey with, with our lens, by our collective principles to really serve sales teams with that, with that deep rooted empathy.

And so, you know, one of the, the elements that, that I'm learning and, and, you know, still really, really continue to do is while we got into this journey, you know, fail fast was a, was a pretty recognized mantra. You know, pretty conventional founder mantra. . And for me personally, it's a little counter in my startup journey.

You know, I'm observing. My conviction is test. And my patience is, is truly rewarded. Yeah.

[00:21:02] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Huh. I love that. . That's a great saying. I'm gonna have to go back and write this, that one down. So as we wrap up and before I let you go, you know, I always asked two things. One, what is the thing about you that others would be surprised to learn?

Two, What is the one thing that you really want everyone to know about you?

[00:21:20] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah. So again, these are, these are so, so fun questions. So as I think about this, you know, The, the surprising element. So my wife and I, we have, you know, two teenagers. We do the regular stuff on the weekend, we do the chores, we , we hang outdoors, all, all the regular stuff.

But, you know, I like to spend my Sunday afternoons with a bunch of fifth graders. Oh, . And I've watched a little bit of the show, you know, Are you smarter than the fifth graders? And every Sunday, you know, I remind it. I'm really, really reminded. I am, I am not . And so I go with each. You know, I've been a, I've been a humble learner, let's say, since I left school, but I'm beginning to become that, that humble teacher in the company of these super talented fifth graders.

[00:22:03] Rosalyn Santa Elena: That's awesome. That's awesome. What about one thing that you really want everyone to know about you?

[00:22:07] Yogi Panjabi: Yeah, so my, my journey has been that trail we were, we were chatting about, and so for me it is, you know, where you stumble. There you treasure lies. So I've been guided in my journey by my failures.

Over time I have learned that these are my true defining moments, my lessons and my learnings, and. You know, I ignored them in the, in the classroom and they're being taught to me in the meeting rooms and, and virtual rooms. So it's been a, it's been a fun ride and there have been lots and lots of treasures along the journey.

[00:22:35] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Oh, I love that. I love that. That's great. Well, thank you so much, Yogi, for being on the podcast. I really appreciate just your insights and learning more about you and about what you're building. And obviously love the people aspect of everything that you've shared.

[00:22:49] Yogi Panjabi: So thank you so much. Thank you, Rosalyn. This has been, Fun and, and doing this with an expert. Thank you. You made it really easy.

[00:22:56] Rosalyn Santa Elena: Thank you so much.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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