The Revenue Architect

Founder-Led Selling, with Peter Kazanjy

March 25, 2021

The Revenue Architect

Join host of the show Jeff Ignacio, as he dives deep into incredible businesses and their Go-To-Market capabilities.We’ll explore how founders, executives, middle management, and RevOps leaders & practitioners achieve their success. The podcast is not only an inspirational guide for those looking to start or scale a business, but also serves as a practical companion to building a world-class revenue function.

Welcome to the very first episode of The Revenue Architect Podcast with Jeff Ignacio, powered by Sales IQ Global.

In this amazing episode, Jeff speaks with Peter Kazanjy, the founder of Modern Sales Pro and Author of Founding Sales - The Startup Sales Handbook.

Connect with them here:

Peter Kazanjy

Jeff Ignacio

Sales IQ Global

Peter Kazanjy

Jeff Ignacio: Welcome to the revenue architects. I'm your host, Jeff Ignacio in this podcast, we're going to bring incredible business athletes together. We'll explore how to build a go to market capability for businesses. No matter the size or shape we'll remix content from a bunch of different. Bring in guests, deep dive into incredible topics.

So with that in mind, I want to thank you for joining us. And now onto this episode of the revenue architects.

We havePeter Kazanjy joining us today. I first met Pete. When I was living in San Francisco, we met at a modern sales pro event and I had just broken into sales ops when I joined the modern sales pros. So I was really keen to meet the members of my local chapter there in San Francisco. I remember Pete as the man who asked for open feedback on his.

Founding sales. I believe it was this rather extensive Google doc. And I didn't know how books were published, but it seemed like that's how the pie was made. So, uh, crowdsourcing go-to-market wisdom at its finest. And so to me, you know, Pete, the legend in building what a community is all about with the rise of micro-communities, especially during the pandemic modern sales pros pointing back to those years when I met people in person.

Uh, it was very near and dear to my heart. So a brief introduction of Pete, uh, he was a founder of Talentbin, which was then acquired and sold to Also the founder of modern sales pros. If you're not a member, encourage you to join, he's also the founder of his current venture atrium, which you can visti at

And since I've said all that, and I'd like to call him also the protector of the realm. So Pete, welcome to the show.

Peter Kazanjy: Super stoke. Jeff, I'm glad you're doing this. You have so much, uh, so much sales ops knowledge to share with the world. This is another format by which to do, although you pretty much killed the LinkedIn game.

So the bar is kind of bars kind of high, man. We're going to see if we reach it.

Jeff Ignacio: Right. Yeah, for sure. I feel like the LinkedIn thing is that more recent invention. Uh, you may know Justin Welsh online is a former boss of mine and he posts every single day and I kind of ridiculed him for it. Cause I thought, Hey, you're like competing with your company brand.

This whole idea of a personal brand scene seemed way too different for, uh, for someone like him. But yeah, totally embraced it. Loved it. Um, but let's talk about you. So. You've gone through a couple of ventures with talent Ben with eight grand. And so as a founder, uh, you know, it's one thing to be, to work, to join a startup.

It's one thing to build it. I'd love to hear from you, you know, what is that go to market engine look like, you know, are you thinking about that first? Are you just starting, starting to solve product market fit?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. So the, the way to think about it is there's definitely like a step wise process there.

And I have a. Deck that I present on this quite a bit called founder, led selling. If, if you're people who are listening, just Google founder led selling, they'll find like some stuff on YouTube and other places, um, where I've presented it. But it's really like, there's a series of kind of initial steps that need to be taken where, um, if you kind of get out ahead of your skis, it's going to be a problem.

Maybe if you try to go to market with something where you actually. Or you don't know exactly what the problem is that you're solving, um, or moreover you haven't proven that the thing in question delivers utility, you're gonna, you might be able to sell it, but you're probably not going to deliver utility and you're probably gonna have a churn problem.

Right. So th th the stages there, um, is kind of the first stage is, do we know what problem we're solving? Right. And do lots of people have it, uh, the mechanism by which you validate that as customer. Yeah. So, um, for the people who are listening, who maybe are, um, are more on the sales side of the house way to think about a, uh, a customer interview is it's kinda like a disco call or like a D like the discovery part of, uh, of a sales conversation, but there's no pitch.

Like, you're just, you're just doing disco. Um, and so it was really just focusing in on. W do you have this problem? Like I hypothesize that you have this problem. Do you have it? How do you solve it right now? What's unsatisfactory about that key quantify how unsatisfactory that is. How have you tried to sell him?

Like, you know, how big of a pain is this for you from a prioritization standpoint, if you do do that, then you kind of earn the right to progress, to like, try to build something to solve that. Right? That's that's like the, usually the, the way that startups kill themselves is by. Uh, solving a problem that people don't really necessarily have.

That's the kind of the first thing. And like Paul Graham talks about this, like build something that people want. Right. So the way that you do that is not necessarily to say like, oh, this idea that like something that would be helpful for me, you have to validate them. Lots of people have that. So that's the first step.

Then the next step is build something, you know, ideally in a minimally viable capacity that, that demonstrates that you can use technology. You can take use technology in some sort of capacity. In order to, in order to resolve this problem and deliver utility to the customer in question. And so, and of course that's our earliest really product development.

And so what you're trying to do there is, is just demonstrate that this thing that you've built, um, helps one of those, those KPIs that you're, that you're trying to resolve there. And so the best way of course is doing that is, is really, you know, is in B2B sales or sorry, B2B software. Uh, beta beta is really great.

There were. And if you, and one of the things that can happen here is you can join these things together. So say you do like 50 or a hundred customer interviews with like your target market. Well, some of those people are going to be really excited about the fact that you're trying to solve this problem.

And if you're able to like aggregate together 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 of those folks to kind of bring along with you and be beta customers. Well, now you're in a really great spot, right? So then once you've demonstrated proof of utility, Right. Like, let's use some examples here. So like, you know, use ACM as an example, right.

We make, um, data-driven sales management software. It's like extraordinarily easy to set up and, uh, you know, it takes 90 seconds to turn on and, and lo and behold sale, like sales managers, that's the, our managers are managing their teams with data. Okay, great. So what we would want to prove is that, Hey, you turn this on and then lo and behold, Sales managers are managing the rest of their SDR teams better.

And opportunity creation goes up, right. Or activity levels go up or whatever. Those would be the KPIs. Um, same with like upkeep, right? You can like, oh, you know, the, the, the time it takes to, to send a work order or whatever goes down by this amount of time, et cetera. So you'd want to prove that utility. So then, cause once you've done that and you've proven that utility, well, guess what?

Now we can charge it. Right? Cause you can quantify it and say like, Hey. Let's use up to you guys, an example, we're saving you this amount of time and, and your, your field reps or your field service personnel are able to do like this many more, uh, visits in a day as a result of that. And so, you know, in aggregate across like the 20 field service reps that you guys have, you know, over a year that adds up to like, you know, $300,000 of extra.

Of extra field service. That's getting done. Cool. You should pay us 50 grand for that. And they're like, yeah, you know what? You're right, Jeff, I should. Right. And so like at that point, that's where, you know, like, that's the point at which you want to start doing what I call like early stage founder led selling or initial proof of, of like value exchange where you we're giving you this software or the solution you're giving us this money back.

It's a fair trade. Um, you're happy. I'm happy. You're, you're getting to success. You're, you're retaining and expanding and, and, and referenceable it, et cetera. And so that's, it's really at that stage, that's the point of which is like, okay, cool. This stuff's working now. We can build that engine right now.

Maybe, maybe now we can have 2, 3, 6, 10 account executives. And that's when that's when like optimizing the go to market becomes a more important thing. Literally figuring out, can this even be brought to market? Is it being like, is it delivering utility

Jeff Ignacio: A lot to unpack there? And one, I appreciate you giving upkeep.

A shout for folks who are listening. Upkeep is the company I work at. We're the number one CMMS system plug, but a lot to unpack here. Um, a couple of things. I love the idea of a customer interview. I find that a little paradoxical with some folks. Build something for people who may not even know what they're looking for.

So on the other side, what also works is why don't I have a conversation because misery loves company. What pains are ale, someone might just spill out of their mouth and you might be able to pattern match from those conversations and then build from there. Um, I find that dichotomy a little bit with pattern matching because you mind trend and then as you're starting to build.

Famously here, startups making the big old P to pivot. Um, so, you know, I'm curious, you know, have you had to face a pivot, uh, with your product market fit at times, whether that was talent Ben or atrium, and if you did how'd, you know, that you needed to make that pivot. Yeah.

Peter Kazanjy: So I think that just to go back to the first thing that you had mentioned around building things that people don't necessarily know that they want, um, versus, um, you know, them telling you what they want.

There's a little bit of a subtle distinction there. Cause there's the joke where, you know, the Henry Ford joke. If I asked customers what they are, if I ask my customers what they wanted, they would've said a faster horse. Right. Um, and that's fine. Right. But like, just because somebody wants a faster horse doesn't necessarily mean that you have to build them a faster horse.

Right. Um, because what they're saying is like, I would like to get places. Right. And so the important, and this, this there's a sales lesson here too, which is it's about, because it's about asking people what their problems are and what's problematic about them and like, you know, and how they've tried to solve them, because then if you can show them a new way to solve that, like, well, you know what, I know a faster horse for you, man, but I got this thing right here and it'll get you places it'll get into the grocery store and it doesn't poop everywhere.

What do you think about that? Right. So I think like, Talking with people like doing customer interviews as required. You don't have to take as like gospel. What the person, what the customers are saying, because that's your situation, like, that's your thing, you're the technologist, like, you know, oh, you're asking for a better horse.

Cause you don't understand internal combustion engines and metallurgy, but I do. Right. So right. Like, and that's the kind of thing that I like. They bring the pain to the party, you bring the solution, the solution. So that's like one thing I would, I would think about there in terms of pivots. Yeah. I mean like our last offer company, we had a pretty big pivot and usually where that comes in.

Is is oftentimes insufficient customer like insufficient customer research is usually the, the kind of the crux in B2B. It's usually the crux of that. So at TalentBin we actually started at. Uh, we started as a company called that was trying to do a community generated, um, reputation kind of like Yelp, but for professionals.

Right. Um, so instead of it like being class store, we're going to review this, this company instead. This was like, it was like community source, um, community source performance, uh, performance reputation for interview. Um, at the time it was like very controversial. But the funny thing was is that like the problem wasn't that people like left bad reviews or negative reviews or incorrect reviews or whatever, it was just still like, nobody cares.

Jeff Ignacio: Imagine that Yelp reviews getting scrubbed or people just waxing and waning over it.

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. It's just like, people just didn't care. Right? Like they got more important things to do. And. And so that was fine. Right. And, and so, and, and largely the reason why was because we didn't go about things and like, you know, test these tested in a minimally viable way to see like, Hey, would people like actually leave anonymized reviews over the folks?

Like people got too much stuff to do, man. Like they got Instagram to check out or like, you know, Twitter to goof off on, or I guess LinkedIn to goof off on, on now. And so what we did was we pivoted to talent bin where we were like, okay, well, we're trying to help people hire better. So, yeah, in this case we were, we were thinking about like reputation and kind of like, you know, background and what have you, uh, like background checking.

And so we're like, okay, well what about like the top of the funnel? And so we ended up talking with a bunch of recruiters and saying like, Hey, what are your biggest challenges around hiring? And they're like, well, you know, my biggest problem is like, you know, software engineering hiring is my biggest pain.

Um, oh yeah. What's, what's the big problem around that. Oh man. Just like getting people to like, you know, finding the, finding the relevant people. Engaging with them, communicating with them by email and getting them to respond to us. It's really problematic. Oh, okay. Interesting. How do you do that right now?

Well, you know, LinkedIn is super picked over, this was like eight years ago, but like LinkedIn is super picked over and people have like really crappy profiles on there. So I'm going to use, um, get up, right. So like, don't want to get up and, and, you know, I look at, I try to find profiles of people. Who are contributors to different open source projects and what have you.

And then I try to find their, I, you know, I try to find their email address. Oh, okay. Well that sounds like a lot of work. Like how many of those are you able to do an hour? I don't know, like three she's, right. Like, yeah, but it's kind of worth it because nobody else is on there. And then moreover, um, you know, nobody responds to LinkedIn InMails anyway, but they respond to their email address.

Okay. Well, what if we crawled all of GitHub and put it in a database and made it such that you could search it, and then we put it like a little bit of like recruitment, uh, marketing automation, kind of like drip marketing email on top of that. Would that be useful? Hell yeah, that'd be useful. All right, cool.

Right. And so like that was so that, and that, and that's what eventually we made with, with Taliban, right. Where we called get up and stack overflow and meetup and sacrum, sorry, and Twitter and all these different places where people engage in professional behavior as well. And created like a database of that.

And so like, as a result of these customer interviews, so like we pivoted, but, but really what we just did was you like went back and did the thing that we should have done from the get-go. Right. Rather than building, you know, building something that didn't necessarily like wasn't solving the problem that people.

Jeff Ignacio: Imagine that a beautiful soup crawler on a, in a place where folks are putting all their information, a bright cause they're essentially contributing to open source projects and you can kind of. Prove the veracity of the quality of software engineer to the code. That's that's unique. I was just thinking about the faster horse and essentially it's now, are you solving the right problem or re framing?

It reminds me of this story of the elevator maintenance company who receives kind of complaints. Hey, this elevator is really slow. So the facilities management company comes in and installs them. And instantly off the complaints go away. So they just read, they just reshifted the problem. The problem wasn't that it was slow.

They just hated being in the elevator, staring off at eight.

Peter Kazanjy: Hmm. That's funny, man. Yeah. Vanity is an important thing.

Jeff Ignacio: You can put a mirror in an elevator and everyone will be happy. Um, so we talked about founder led selling. I'd love to ask you, you know, when does the founder let go? When do they bring in an operator or a seller as to say, well, what does that mean?

Is it a VP of sales? Is it their buddy that they went to college away? You know, what does that mean?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. Uh, well, so, so when I talk about founder led selling and I talked about this in my book, founding. Usually like the first person who should be selling the first dozen, half dozen, dozen couple dozen deals.

It's really difficult for that. It can be done, but it's very difficult to, for that to be someone other than like a business founder, even a technical founder doing it. And the claim of my book is that anybody can do this. Cause it's not magic. Right. Sales is just a craft. You just. Learn it, it's not like pleasant to learn.

Right. It's kind of this different and new for a lot of people, but it's, it's not like it's not black magic. And, and so, so that's kind of the claim and the reason why is because as the founder, as like, you know, the person who is closest to the problem space, uh, and also, you know, closest to the problem space and comprehends most, most uniquely how the product has been designed in order to address it.

The, um, in order to address the problems in question you're very well. The founder is very well suited to tell that story, right? And, and it's easier to get a founder to be able to minimally sell a handful of these things, um, than it is to bring up a sales rep on or a, or a, or a dedicated seller to, to understand the problem space.

And also the, the other challenge too, is that early on. Like the product is not going to fit the market. So there needs to be a very compressed feedback loop between, oh yeah, I presented this thing and I tried to install it on. I tried to get them to use it and it had these failures associated with it. I, as the product manager or the product owner or whatever can see that and be like, oh yeah, you know what?

It turns out this, this faster horse, we should probably. Tires on it instead of a hoofs on the four edges, like the four corners. Cause like, it's just, it's like, you're going fast enough, but you know what? Maybe you could have a tires on this, right. That essentially be like a feature refinement or like by remove or whatever.

And so that feedback loop is, um, of between like market interface and product is you want that to be as tight as possible, early on. And so then though, once you get to the point where it's like, okay, look, I sold a house to half dozen of these. I sold a dozen of them. People are getting to success. They're highly referenceable.

They're stoked. They're like, yeah, you know, great. This is the bee's knees. You should talk to my buddy XYZ, et cetera, et cetera. Well, that's the point at which you want to start bringing in somebody else? Um, because the way that, that sales organizations, the way that B2B organizations get the scale is not through just like magically selling more like an individual selling like a bajillion deals.

Adding more humans who will then cap out at a certain number of deals that they're able to sell per week, per month, per quarter, et cetera. And so the first step on the way to having, you know, the first step on the way to having a hundred sales reps is to prove that you can have a sales rep, right on additional sales rep, who is not you, who is selling at least as, as well as you.

Right. And so that, that's really the point at which the, to engage in that now, in terms of like who that human is. Um, you know, usually my recommendation there is to look for a rep with upside, right. Um, so like look for more senior reps who are coming out of a category, like, uh, a startup in a category that's similar to yours.

So a good example of this would be, um, the, the, the prototypical example I always use is if you're, if you're starting a new HR tech company or a new recruiting company or whatever, Generally, you would look at former reps or like reps who are at like greenhouse or lever or, you know, or fill in the blank.

Right. Because they're, they're intimate with the space. They understand this, the sales, like the HR sales motion, et cetera, et cetera. Um, probably a similar ASP, probably a similar, similar, um, buyer persona, et cetera. And so like looking for those sorta reps who can come in, they're used to a little bit of like chaos.

They're not, you're not expecting them to make up the sales motion because you already innovated that. Right? Like you figured that out, but they like, they, they, they like they're, they're used to the sales deck being 10 slides, right. Not like 20 slides and there's not a kill slide for everything and so on and so forth.

Right. So those are, that's usually the sort of a pattern that I, that I recommend. You get that person to success. You get others to success as well. And then, you know, in 18 months or 36 months or whatever, you've got your potential future sales managers.

Jeff Ignacio: Now that's interesting because you're looking for someone who knows that the space, they got a little head space.

They're scrappy. They're not going to be the senior leader who comes in and expect a ton of collateral or decks or battlecards in place. Um, and interesting enough, you're looking at, you know, you're talking about the ATS applicant tracking system space. Um, they know the buyer because they've sold it before.

Perhaps they have not been in the manager position, but they're hungry. Right? They, they have they've had success where they were. So I actually think that makes a ton of sense. And so, you know that when we think about the founder, the founder becomes either this executive sponsor for your heavy hitting.

Coming in for that last mile or they've become this epitaph to a, you know, a founder's story that's baked in used over and over and over. Um, right. Let's talk about the operation space. When did you first notice that, you know, sales ops or marketing ops, whatever you want to call it started becoming in Vogue, at least in the SAS space.

And where have you seen its impact over the last, you know, couple of years?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. So, so where I became intimate with that was one, um, After my talent, Ben, my last offer company was acquired by monster. Uh, I was responsible for, uh, new product sales at monster. I went from having a 20 person sales organization in, at TalentBin to working at a thousand person sales organization.

And so really quickly, one of the things we identified was that in this very large sales organization, there was kind of like a low comprehension, like low managerial comprehension. The quantity and quality of, of selling activity. That was, that was going on. And this was really frustrating to us because we had been used to running a really tight shop at Adam at TalentBin.

And so quickly, I, we identified that the sales operations role was responsible for that at, at monster. Um, The sales operations function at monster was kind of like the older school rendition of sales operations. So more kind of like, Hey, territory management or like compensation or whatever, versus like sales strategy and like a bunch of, you know, proactive analytics and, you know, service provide provision to the sales manager and what have you.

And so then, so that was kind of like the first inkling. And then the second thing was then when we started doing our customer research for atrium. Um, where we're like, man, there's gotta be an easier way for organizations to like instrument their sales teams and, and use data to manage their reps. Um, well, as we were doing research and try to figure out, figure out who's responsible for this who's goes about this or, and like, how do they do it?

Well, very quickly we identified that like that's where sales operations lived. Right. And that was kind of like, They're ballywick and, um, now obviously they had a bunch of challenges associated with it because like, you know, traditional BI or horizontal BI is really, you know, very heavyweight and, and kind of fragile and requires, um, you know, it, it requires BI architects to create stuff for them.

And then moreover, you know, managers are usually do a fairly poor job of, of consuming walls of charts, et cetera. Um, but like the pattern kept coming up and I open up, it was like, oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah, our sales operations function focused on that. You should go talk to so-and-so like Doug Landis at, um, you know, at box back in the day, I'm trying to think of the other kind of like sales ops folks, Alan Kobiashi.

Uh, he was at Medallia at the time. Um, had phenomenal conversation with him on how, you know, how they go about these things up managed. Uh, who, who runs sales ops at CloudFlare, all of these were like really helpful initial conversations. And, and so it's, we've, we've seen it only grow since then. And that, that was actually one of the reasons why we created modern sales is they're like, okay, there's this emerging class of, of like very data-driven modern thinking sales operator, um, who is sales operations largely, but then there's also sales managers and leaders who think in this way as well.

Well, we should, we should create a community to help them help each other because this is an emerging space and the more that they can. Chat with each other and kind of answer each other's questions, the faster everyone, everyone will learn. You know,

Jeff Ignacio: I think that makes sense. Part of it is thinking vintage sales ops, I'm thinking of sales, planning, sales analysis, these old rules that were here 10 years ago and you're right.

I think they focused on serve, uh, service-based outcomes. So, um, it would be your territory's shaped correctly. Are you running a deal desk? Um, so that way we can capture all standard items. Um, yeah. And I guess when you think about the BI and the data visualization layer, you have these data scientists today, which is, you know, powerful function, but yet they lack the business context.

And then you have the sales reps who crossed over into ops, but perhaps lack the Salesforce systems that administration and the data tools. So there's a blend between those two sets of skills, um, and where folks come from. So, you know, we talk about.

The, art of sales and the science of sales, where you, where do you fall on that spectrum?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. So I think that, so first of all, you're exactly right regarding, um, like the S the, the tool set of the manager, or, sorry, the, like the sales, operations person, like, I think first of all, it's like emerging, right? But just enough data analysis, just enough or just enough analysis, just enough strategy, thinking just enough potential CRM, um, uh, administrative capacity, just enough selling comprehension, right?

Like understand how SDR and works, understanding how closing works, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that that, like, so in, in baseball, There's like the phrase, like the five tool player right. Runs to that. Right. Like what is that? It's like runs, hits fields, uh, hits for power and I forgot what the fifth one is, but, um, but, uh, but yeah, and so I think that the, the, the, the tool kit is kind of a creative right now.

And then the other cool thing too, is. You know, baseball has been around forever. There's not like new tools, new tools that you have to be good at showing up. Whereas in our case, like new stuff showing up all the time, so you have to get good at, at figuring out like, you know, acquiring those, those new, um, those new skill profiles.

So, so there's, there's um, there's, there's definitely, um, there's definitely. Um, but, but yeah, so I think that like the, you know, sales operations as a, as a function is, is kind of like getting more mature, um, over time and, um, Yeah. And, and like, it's just like a constant evolution.

Jeff Ignacio: I'd love to hear you thoughts on moving from generalists down the specialization.

Because if I think about baseball, particularly regular season baseball, it's, it's horrible to watch. Cause everyone has an opener. Now they go one inning, two winnings. They bring in a parade of relievers folks. You went to AAA AA, maybe just, just enough to make a couple of hundred grand here. But we think about full cycle reps.

We've truncated that run in and cycle and brought in sales development reps. And yet we look at the sales operations and they're handling everything, uh, or marketing or whatever the title is. They're taking the handoff from marketing all the way to sales execution, to new customer acquisition. Do you think there's a place for specialization sales, development, operations, middle of the funnel operations.

I'd love to hear that.

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah, totally, man. Yeah. And really where that comes from is like the only place where you're going to be able to do that is in larger organizations. But yeah, for sure. Like I, uh, one of the guys, one of the early customer interviews that we did was that LinkedIn. We talked with Brian Frank, who used to run sales operations at LinkedIn about what we were doing or what we're thinking about doing an him.

He's like, oh yeah, this is great. And he had us go off and talk to like five other people. And one of them was this guy named Declan McKiernan. I want to say definitely Jacqueline. He had like, obviously a delightful Irish last name as well. And he was delightful and had an amazing Irish accent. And, uh, but he focused on STR ops.

Right. And, um, And especially like now LinkedIn is a big organization. So usually where you see that sort of specialization and earlier stage operator, uh, operations functions is, um, you know, like more junior operations folks, like junior operations would choppers who are peeling off some of the, the, like the more rote behaviors.

So like, you know, um, dealing with. Right. Like deal does cause you getting a, getting a junior person to just do deal desk and run. Like we use rev ops as our, um, as our CPQ. And it's great, but like, I still am like deal tasks for my, for my reps because I only have six reps right now. And I want to make sure that like, things don't get messed up.

And, um, and, and so like that's a good example or like, you know, having somebody who maybe is like a dedicated. Analyst who like has some CRM, admin can do your data. Loading can do your data cleaning, et cetera, et cetera. That way you can spend your time doing board deck preparation or, you know, getting in fights with, with marketing around like the definition of, uh, you know, what's actually an MQL, what's actually an SQL, et cetera, et cetera, like those kind of higher value things.

So I think just usually what ends up happening is a specialization starts out with like task lists. Um, kind of taking the lower value tasks, not just similar to us, the art, right? The whole idea of around SDR is you're taking a lower value tasks or a task that can be done, you know, both by a more junior person and a more senior person.

And you're having, you're doing specializations such as the only the junior person is doing that at a lower cost, uh, which ideally the more senior person is spending their time on. On, um, on a higher output activities, not always the case necessarily they might be spending their time kind of golfing instead, because they're getting teed up by a, uh, an SDR putting ops on the calendar, but like, that's not how it's supposed to work.

Um, but yeah, when you get into larger organizations, you definitely get, so usually the architecture, there is a, um, sales, operations, business partner architecture. So like LinkedIn had this box has had this, um, you get this as Salesforce, uh, other places. Hey, here's the sales operations manager. They're partnered with these four, you know, sales, um, sales managers or the six sales managers or whatever your ratio is.

And so usually that'll kind of get partnered up like, okay, this sales ops manager is focused on these four SDR managers or what have you. And of course they just become intimate with the, the challenges there. So that's one way of doing that. But even in larger organizations, you get kind of that specialization usually ends up being around kind of like tasks.

So, um, I know there's because this is something that we deal with with atrium. Um, usually you don't get, you don't get anybody, you don't get sales operations folks who are literally dedicated to the, the consumption and interpretation of performance metrics on behalf of managers until you get to very large sales organizations.

Um, and so the it's funny, like in an organization where there's like 10 sales ops analysts who are literally literally their only job. Go through dashboards and spreadsheets and then like, uh, like regurgitate insights to the managers. If that exists in an organization, usually we DQ it because they're like, all right, look, you already solved this with like a bunch of 24 year olds.

So we're not going to try to solve it with robots, which is kind of like how atrium atrium does it. So like go with God. Um, those are only in really large organizations. And so usually what the specialization you see is more on, on those kinds of. Like skill based or like task based as opposed to like category supportive space based.

Jeff Ignacio: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. Because when I was at Google, I was a specialist, right. Building comp plans, annual plans, territory

services, and I covered two competence. That was it. And there were other folks doing the rest of them. Yeah, right. So I was one of an army of analysts, you know, basically covering the spectrum.

Um, it's interesting because the next move that I made was to be a team of one. And the incredible burden of being a team of one is you don't really know what you're getting yourself into until you. You get into that seed series, a maybe middle of your series B and you're the one doing everything from task management, all the way down to ticket support and all the way back up again. And there are later to providing insights to the board.

Yeah, totally. So I've recommended your book by the way, to almost anyone when it comes to that. So I'd love to hear, you know, what have you learned since publishing your book and what would you kind of rewrite or add back in or take out like what's changed in the context of the day?

Peter Kazanjy: So I, so when I wrote founding sales, um, I tried to write it. So the whole idea behind founding sales was one. I, so back in like 2011 or 2012, when I was first doing founder, selling myself for, for talent. I, um, you know, I went to go like, read the book on it. I was like, oh, okay. Like I have to learn how to do sales.

I'll just go read a book on how to do startup sales for non startup fair, like non sales people. And there wasn't one. And I was like, oh, this is a problem. So I read like predictable revenue and I read, um, Yeah, the challenger sale and like spin, selling, whatever, but they're all for kind of like more developed, further along organizations like predictable revenue is just about like SDRs.

Right. Um, and so what ended up happening was I just kind of like learned through doing and through teaching from other entrepreneurs in the first round capital portfolio. So then when I, when I went to write the book, I was like, look, I want to write this in a way where it's like the concepts of sales.

Right. It's not like, Hey, you should use, you immediately should buy a SalesLoft or outreach or whatever. It's like, it certainly talks about, you know, um, tooling and of course, like tooling changes very quickly. Um, but it talks more about like concepts, right? Like the con like concepts of discovery and, and finding, you know, finding user pain and then fitting your solution to it on a use case by use case value driver.

Basis or like talking about pipeline management, talking about closing, talking about like, uh, objection, handling things like that. And that's, that doesn't really change very, very much. Um, definitely there's like new categories of, of things, right? Like I talked about rev ops earlier, um, like there's, there's a bunch of software that previously would have been like the province of much later stage organizations like.

When, when SteelBrick was like the only game in town, you're not going to implement SteelBrick CPQ. If you'd cut like five reps, because like holy macaroni, it would take you so long. It would be such a pain in the ass. Like you would never do it. Right. You're going to wait until you have like a super high volume of, of quotes that have to go out.

And which is usually like a way more reps nowadays. If you've got like easy in software, Right. Like, you know, rev ops and other stuff you might go and implement. Um, you might implement CBQ way earlier, right. Or you might implement, um, e-sign way earlier because, you know, because it's gotten cheaper, it's gotten easier to install.

So I think I would modify that a little bit. Yeah. Because the stack, like the stuff that like you can ingest into your stack early on is, is way more, um, has it has expanded. And so it, it makes sense. And part of it is like the rise of sales operations. Like it makes sense to expand your stack earlier on to get yourself leverage.

Right. So I think that that kind of stuff there that I would add, the other thing that I would add is, you know, with the rise of PQL and kind of like easy in, um, easy and selling or like easy and software that can install, people can get to utility. Early on or like quickly and then sales gets involved.

Um, I don't really talk about that. A ton in founding sales, I wrote an article recently on linear chits he's newsletter on layering sales into a self-serve B2B product. But I think that that's something that's really fascinating to me around how, how direct sales plays in a, in an environment where people can kind of light themselves up and get started.

Yeah. Like the Dropbox is of the worlds, the slacks of the worlds, the zooms of the world, et cetera, et cetera. So I would probably would add more around that because it's really is a super power where instead of like getting an MQL coming in, right? Like, Hey, you should take on a demo or whatever. You've got somebody who's in the product doing some stuff.

Maybe they're stuck. Right. And like, they need a little bit of like human help or maybe they're, they're jamming along. Great. And we need to have a commercial conversation with them. Right. So I think that that's like a frontier that that is, uh, really an area of interestfor me.

Jeff Ignacio: I love that lead in with a free trial and somehow of looking at your product logs and looking at daily active usage, it triggers to me.

And if we can enrich your data with, Hey, this person has a higher propensity to turning more than an SMB sale into an enterprise, let's involve a sales conversation. And guess what? Expert, not a sales rep.

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah, totally. And like that's yeah, that's a really great one. I'm describing it. And, and that has actually been how, like developer tools have been sold historically, like the data dog's of the world, all going all the way back to like open source software.

This is something that David Skok from matrix hit me too. Um, cause he's one of like, he's one of my favorite authors on, um, on modern go-to-market and he actually, he was an early investor in J boss and he was taught and he, he does a lot of writing on this where it's more about like, helping, like, Hey. I saw that you downloaded some, you know, some documentations on J boss.

Right. And I saw that you have a Lockheed Martin email address. Wow. I bet you guys have a lot of servers to run Java on. Huh? Maybe we didn't die about that. Oh, weird. Huh? Right. Versus. Yeah, someone downloading J boss and they're like, you know, some undergrad at, uh, you know, at Carnegie Mellon or whatever, it's like, all right, cool.

You have followed that. I'm not going to talk to you. Right.

Jeff Ignacio: Or download an ebook five minutes later and SDR hits them up. Schedules, a meeting only to have the AE repeat the same exact questions that the SDR. The day before. So I went through a new segment. Um, we call this the Rorschach test, um, or at least some find some cognitive resonance here.

I'll say a few words and I'd love to hear the first thing that comes to your mind. You know, and give an example, um, like Marta consolidation, what would be the first word? Um, so I'm going to go through this list and, uh, you know, never proven this segment out, so let's see how this goes. You ready?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeh

Jeff Ignacio: Personalization versus relevance,

Peter Kazanjy: both

Jeff Ignacio: B2B versus B2C,

Peter Kazanjy: B2B

Jeff Ignacio: MQL real or not?.

Peter Kazanjy: Um, yeah, properly enriched or sorry, like prop with the right metadata.

Jeff Ignacio: The old velocity

Peter Kazanjy: Um, instrumentation

Jeff Ignacio: enterprise pricing?

Peter Kazanjy: Um, CPQ.

Jeff Ignacio: All right, we'll go with three more. Um, so SDR is an inbound.

Peter Kazanjy: Hmm. Instant response.

Jeff Ignacio: Pipeline management

Peter Kazanjy: Dumpster fire

Jeff Ignacio: Cold Calling?

Peter Kazanjy: Do it.

Jeff Ignacio: All right. Cool.

Yeah, I think about my first cold call. I was in high school selling Cutco knives and maybe amazing. But you ever, have you ever owned a Cutco knife?

Peter Kazanjy: Uh, my, my wife's, uh, nephew sold Cutco knives. So, um, Uh, my wife's, uh, my father-in-law has a bunch of them. Unsurprisingly,

Jeff Ignacio: I still and have them. They they're still sharp enough that I don't have to send them back to headquarters to get them sharpened. But

I remember thinking.

I've exhausted through my friends and family list of the first five people that they told me to go sell into. What should I do now?

And literally one of my friends said, you should just start cold calling people. I was like, well, what is cold calling me? Yeah.

Peter Kazanjy: You, you sold Cutco knives via telephone.

Jeff Ignacio: Tried to. .

I can tell you my, my ratios. Weren't very good. I had to come up with a new pitch, so we literally grabbed the, um, the phone book and I started off with the A's.

Obviously everyone starts with everyone and who's has a last name starting with, Hey, you probably got called incessantly and I just went out and did a cold call script on my Cutco knives. The rate was not very.

Or the 1% or 2% pickup. And, um, I, I just started, I was more interested in tracking my spreadsheet and then I was actually selling, I think it's about cursor to moving into ops.

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah. Fair enough. What was the average deal size on a, on a Cutco transaction

Jeff Ignacio: is about $300. If I remember, right.

Peter Kazanjy: No kidding.

Jeff Ignacio: Yeah. Inflate, inflation. Today's dollars is probably a million.

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah, right. There you go. That's fascinating because I wonder if you could actually do SDR and I wonder if you get abstract, the Cutco go to market, like how, how the inside reps calling in, right.

Like maybe in, in like the Philippines or in like Pakistan or something like that. And then essentially teeing up visits. It's like, Hey, you know, do you have a knife problem, lever? And then like, you can essentially like schedule like my buddy Jonah Greenberger, uh, runs a company called, um, bright that does, um, it's like solar city.

But in Mexico. And so what they do is they install a solar panel because in Mexico, um, electricity prices are very high. And so the incentive to have, um, solar panels is much higher. And so what they try to do, you can't like go door to door to sell, um, to sell solar panels. Um, but so they try to like, they have a, like an SDR motion where they actually set up.

For somebody to go out and then, and then meet with somebody to talk with them about solar panels. Um, anyway, fascinating what the $500, the $500 transaction. Maybe you could, maybe you could do that. Although on the flip side, maybe somebody wouldn't want to like schedule an appointment to talk about knives.

Maybe it's more kind of like those things where it's like, ah, this Jeff got this young Jeff Guy, he looks, he looks like he's down on his luck and you know, it looks like a good kid. I'll just, I'll just throw them, throw him some cash for these.

Jeff Ignacio: Oh, I definitely went with the pity script and the sob story. That was one way to endearing yourself into the heart of a prospect.

Peter Kazanjy: Love it, man. There's so many people that have like grown up like selling Cutco knives actually. Um, I I'm pretty sure. So, uh, Kendall Collins used to be the CMO of, uh, app dynamics and he, he ran a bunch of 'em. He ran a bunch of, of parts of, of Salesforce, you know, it product marketing, but then also I think.

The, the head of the app store and a bunch of other stuff as well, but like, you know, he's talks about like growing up, selling Cutco knives. That's a great experience

Jeff Ignacio: For sure. A 16 year old, young and naive. Definitely a way to go. Um, hey Pete. I want to thank you for joining the podcast. Uh, where can our listeners find more about you?

Peter Kazanjy: Yeah, for sure. Uh, well, I am very easy to find because if you just go Peter, Kazanjy a, you'll probably misspell my last name, but Google will, auto-correct it for you. And then the top results will be my LinkedIn profile and my Twitter profile and probably founding sales.

Those would probably be the easiest ways to, uh, to find me if you're interested in early stages, go to market, um, check out, check out founding sales, my book it's it's available And then, um, the whole text actually of the book is available on the And if you're in sales, operations or sales leadership, you should definitely join modern sales.

It's just modern sales, You can go on and sign up for the.

Well to tell tale signs that maybe you've made it, you either have a Wikipedia page or you're an auto-suggest for correction for your last name.

Yeah. I don't know if that's like you made it or like, wow. You'll ask me. It was weird, man. Um, I think the former, so, but thanks again, Pete.

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