[Replay] How hackers are driving predictable revenue
Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal, The Revenue Intelligence Podcast, powered by Gong. We're your hosts Devin Reed.
Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue Intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality, instead of opinions. Making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.
Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars, people intelligence, deal intelligence and market intelligence. The things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week, we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.
Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight, and execute their strategic initiatives. Plus all the challenges that come along with it.
Devin Reed: If you are listening to this on Monday, September 6th, I hope you're having a great Labor Day. And if you're listening to it after Monday, September 6th, then I hope you had a great long weekend. For this week's Reveal interview, we're going to replay one of our fan favorites. Now, on this podcast, we have a lot of fantastic guests. We have some great accents, and sometimes we have last names that I actually don't know how to pronounce. And so for this week, we have all three. We have Marjorie, and she is the CRO over at HackerOne. And there is three great highlights. There's a lot of highlights, but there's three main highlights to look out for on this episode. So, first is which skills she looks for when hiring sales reps. And something interesting was she specifically looks for sales reps that want to help her build a company, not just grow sales. So keep an ear out for that one. Another great point, is she talks about building her comp plan, specifically the relationship between her sales leaders, sales ops, and finance. And another great highlight is she shares how she positioned herself to go from a sales rep all the way to CRO. So, if you're driving home from your Labor Day vacation, if you're walking the dog, if you're doing the dishes, maybe you got this playing in the background while you work on your team's comp plan, there's going to be something for you here. So let's go hang out with Marjorie. Marjorie, thank you for joining us today.
Marjorie Janiewicz: Thank you for having me.
Devin Reed: We always love to start by hearing how people start their day. So I'd love to know what your go- to morning routine is.
Marjorie Janiewicz: So, I'm a very early bird. I wake up around 4: 30 in the morning, because I need my time to think and plan the day. So, I leave at 4: 00- I wake up at 4: 30 in the morning and then I have that weird routine where I dry my hair for about 45 minutes. But the point is not to dry my hair, my point is looking at my calendar when I do dry my hair, I plan for the day. And then I drive to work and that time is just to think about what's on my calendar and thinking about what some of the key things I want to accomplish during the day. So, the key point of my morning routine is the drying the hair while looking at my calendar.
Sheena Badani: Multitasking?
Marjorie Janiewicz: Multitasking, yes.
Devin Reed: You are up in multitasking before I am up, so that is impressive. Well, you're the SVP of Global Sales at HackerOne. Can you help folks who maybe don't know what HackerOne is?
Marjorie Janiewicz: Sure, I'm very proud of working for HackerOne because it's one of those rare companies that's managed to match humans with software and systems. So, basically we have a community of 600, 000 hackers that are there to find security vulnerabilities in software. For the first time, the man may be beating the machine because the beauty of hacker powered securities, finding vulnerabilities with humans through software.
Devin Reed: How would you describe your role as the SVP of sales? As the head of sales there?
Marjorie Janiewicz: So, I've been at HackerOne for four years and it's almost feels like every year I fire myself and rehire myself for a different role. So, I'll speak about my role in the coming 12 months,. We've grown exponentially so, my role is first to really decide of a long- term strategy that's going to help us sustain our growth. And with that, it's also about hiring just amazing talents so that what used to be a very small sales team becomes something larger with great people that are going to be able to sustain our culture, our processes, and all of that. So, strategy and then hiring the right people, and then finally, a lot of it is just getting my hands dirty and participating into those large strategic deals that may give great direction to our business in the longterm.
Devin Reed: That's great. How large was the sales team when you started and how large will be by the end of this year?
Marjorie Janiewicz: So, when I started, there was a zero really sellers or one, should I say. It was important for me this time around to start a sales team from ground zero. So I would get to fully do right from the beginning and today we have about 80 sellers globally and we should be at about 120 by the end of next year.
Sheena Badani: What were some of the requirements that you had or some of the things that you had learned from other teams that you had been a part of, that you wanted to bring into the culture of your own sales org?
Marjorie Janiewicz: So for me, the first big objective was to have a vision of what the sales team would look like over time, what the processes would look like over time and try to make some investments, either in people, process or systems sooner rather than later. The other component was also making sure that we have our hiring profile quite nailed at the beginning. So the type of people you bring on today maybe people that can help you scale the sales team over time. So, having a good idea of the culture we want to create and therefore the type of people you want to bring in as early as possible. Having a consistent framework to create a common language between sales, marketing so, we did that quite early at HackerOne, so that from the beginning, the voice of the customer and the prospect is a core of our framework and the way we go to market, not only in sales, but across all very important departments at HackerOne.
Sheena Badani: When you identified those first reps that you hired, what were the qualities that you saw in them that helped you know that this is somebody that I could envision on my team today and in four years when we are an 80, 100% org?
Marjorie Janiewicz: What was very important to me is to make sure we were hiring people that were here not only to make money because it sells, but people that were here to really build a company. So, company builders, so people that would have the endurance to see the ups and downs of an early stage startup. So making sure that we had folks that were hungry, driven, but most importantly, people that were very much mission- driven, that believed into what we're going to be doing for the world. Our mission is to make the internet safer. This has really helped us differentiate ourselves against our competition in the market, having reps that are really there to problem solve with our customers, creating a new industry because hacker-power security didn't really exist before HackerOne started the business. So, a lot of those folks today over the last four years have been promoted to leadership or higher segments in the organization and sometimes as people are very current operated which is great, but if you match that to being mission- driven and wanted to build a great company, I think you get magic at the end.
Devin Reed: Well, I was going to say, besides closing Q4, what else are you working on maybe to wrap up this year or perhaps what are you focusing on for 2020?
Marjorie Janiewicz: Yeah, I actually, this year has felt quite different because our mission this year is to have plans out by January 1.
Devin Reed: I am sure the team appreciates that.
Marjorie Janiewicz: The team is believing in our ability to get there. So we've been doing a lot of planning for the past, 90 days. So a lot of it with electing the right metrics that we want to go after, starting to think about ways to segment the team, thinking about rules of engagement, the company is now global. So starting to think about how are we going to show presence to our customers across multiple regions? So a lot of it is really planning metrics comp plan, always. And then as we go deeper into the enterprise, I think we are also evolving your ability to prioritize accounts. We want to go after. So a lot of it has been building the fundamentals for account scoring and really deploying sales teams based on where our market potential is. So a lot of planning.
Devin Reed: What Are some of the metrics that maybe you're changing from and moving towards, or at least why are you making some of these?
Marjorie Janiewicz: Yeah, I think over time, everybody gets a little bit more intelligent about how they use metric and metrics. And I maybe there's a secret sauce, but I think it's more of a continuous learning than kind of an edit state. So we always start from the basic metrics of number of deals, ESP, number of accounts, a targeted time to close and all of that, I think where a lot of the continuous learning is coming from is starting to understand where the pipeline is coming from and how do we start having predictability in that conversion from pipeline to opportunities, to deals based on different sources. So adding a lot of systems to help us get there, we are transitioning towards account based marketing and selling. So I think with that type of metrics we look at are a little bit different. And then also there's a lot of reflecting back between the metrics we had planned for this year and where we landed, trying to understand how more predictable we can get over time. We've added a ton of tools at every step of the process to help us I guess get more visibility. We spent a lot of time in the past six months guiding the sales managers on what data to look where and when, so that we don't get overwhelmed, but that's massive amounts of data we get nowadays. So it's a net against dance between using data, but also being agile and changing how we use those metrics to drive decisions,,
Sheena Badani: What does that relationship look like between sales ops, you as a sales leader, finance team and your CFO in terms of like determining what are the right set of metrics looking at what's important, then determining the next recommended steps on how to take the business forward based on some of those insights?
Marjorie Janiewicz: That's such a great question. And I, I think it has dramatically changed and this year, particularly, even more so. So the definitions and the choice of metrics was very much decided by sales and sales ops until very recently. But our finance team is really moving towards a revenue ops model. So basically what this means is agreeing what are the core metrics we want to report on together with finance and starting having finance, being the one group that actually runs the analytics and the pools, the data to give us and give it to the board. I think it's just wonderful to start having data and analytics being run out of cells because it always felt kind of weird that we were the ones rebutting on ourselves. So I think having the choice of the metrics, the definition of those metrics started to be run more on the finance side is helping us kind of create an additional layer of accountability towards meeting those metrics and evolving them. Having that neutral place to run a sales analytics is great because then you kind of eliminate the bias of having sales look at its own data. So I think it's a great change and shift.
Sheena Badani: Yeah, interesting.
Devin Reed: So you've Been a Head of Sales for some pretty complex go to market teams like Success Factors, right? And that was purchased by SAP, Mongo DB, now HackerOne. I'm curious, what are some of the successful strategies that you've rolled out with these teams and any stories are welcome.
Marjorie Janiewicz: My biggest learning and yes, and pride over the last few years, is creating that common language or common framework between sales, marketing, customer success, product and engineering. I just think he's absolutely game changing. And from all those conversations, we then brought multiple people across the organization from sort of marketing CS, et cetera, and product in the room to really define what is that value framework? How is it that we want to go to market? Who is it that we're going to go after? With what messaging? And having that framework in the earlier days as really helped us to add the voice of the customers and the prospect embedded in everything that all departments do at any point in time. So that consistent framework I think has helped us really move faster in building a value prop and a go to market. That just resonates very much with our customers and prospects and help us just move extremely fast, which is good.
Sheena Badani: In every episode, we have a data breakout or a quick sidebar to look at the data. Marjorie mentioned a specific focus on being customer centric. So what does that mean to you? By definition customer centric is an approach to doing business that focuses on providing a positive customer experience. Both at the point of sale and after the sale, in order to drive profit and gain a competitive advantage, it is easier said than done. I know, and a lot of organizations strive for this, but how many are really executing against this principle? So in an effort to understand what types of cultures are associated with higher performance, we looked at data from CSO Insights, 2018 sales performance report in which they asked sales leaders how they would describe their culture. Of the top performing sales orgs., 50% identified themselves as customer centric compared this to only 20% of the lowest performing works. Interestingly, having a customer centric culture also had strong correlations to both higher levels of relationship and higher levels of process. So it's safe to conclude that aligning your sales process with your customer's path and not the other way around is specifically important to maximize both revenue and customer satisfaction
Devin Reed: With 2020 around the corner, we're going to hit a lot of SKOs, which means a lot of new differentiation talk tracks, new pitch decks, new demos. What are some of the tips you have for the sales leaders, listening to make sure that those frameworks that you just discussed that happened in the C- suite make it all the way down to the frontline managers and the reps in the trenches?
Marjorie Janiewicz: I think what we've learned and what I've learned over the years, is the purpose of a SKO is to bring the CS team together. And I think the worst mistake that I've seen made and I've made myself is just using SKO was just that moment in time, when you blast 150 slides to the sales team saying, here we go, this is the new product. This is the new value prop, just go at it. So we are using SKO more as a way to get people engaged. And it's a very collaborative couple of days. So there's not that much by power point where we just push out the new training. It's actually leveraging either customers coming on site to share their stories or reps sharing their wins or their losses. A lot of collaborative sessions that happened during SKO. So what this means is a lot of the practical trainings around a new pricing, new product, actually happens before that. And so we do, we have a monthly enablement calls on top of our normal bootcamp. So we, we push a lot of the, I hate saying this, but boring content before I scale and SQL then becomes an occasion to just talk live. I think people sharing, having customers sharing so that can have SQL becomes the practice versus the theory.
Sheena Badani: I think a lot of your early sales experience was leading inside sales. I'm curious, what was that transition like as you shifted from running inside sales to now all of sales? And how can folks that run inside sales best position themselves to step into the role that you're in today? What are some of those differentiators that they can really hone in on?
Marjorie Janiewicz: For me, I kind of sold in the field earlier in my career, back in Europe at Oracle. So for me, it was more of merging the experience in inside sales and the experience in the field from the past. At the end, it all comes back to understanding what is your customer profile and understanding what the different steps in the sales process are. You are dealing with a high volume of transactions. We have to break down the process in a lot of different pieces to make it repeatable and scalable. At the end, you can do that in enterprise as well. And actually you need to do that in enterprise as well, breaking the steps of the sales process in multiple pieces. The only difference between inside and field, particularly in the enterprise, is that those processes are just way more complex so that you gain a lot of discipline in inside sales around understanding the sales process itself. And once you have the discipline, it's kind of applying that to larger deals, more complex. So from a sales leadership perspective, I think the transition is actually not as brutal as it seems to be. So I think my biggest advice for people that are obsessed with can I go into the fields, cause it's so different with inside sales, whether you're an IC or sales leader, I think the key is always, just to remember that those are humans, those are customers, it's about understanding their process. And once you have discipline in doing that, you can scale that across any type of segments. I also think the world has changed. Like 10 years ago when you were a field rep, you were on the road like 95% of the time. Bottom line is like a lot of the buyers, even in the enterprise today, not necessarily want to meet face to face every day. They appreciate the flexibility to meet over video conferencing, on phone calls. So I think the line is now a little blurred. I think a lot of the field versus inside sales divisions are becoming blurry and reps at the end of the day are becoming more hybrid reps. meet more about the segments and how you go to market in that segment versus inside versus field. So if you can sell on the phone, you can sell anywhere, anytime.
Devin Reed: Along those lines, what's your coaching style when it comes to developing? Cause I imagine, your inside sales reps, are probably a different type of demographic, maybe they learn differently and they probably have different needs than your 20 plus years experience people in the field. So I'm curious if and how you differentiate your coaching, what that style is.
Marjorie Janiewicz: Yes. You definitely need to adjust it for sure. The way I would answer the question relay back to the type of people you hire. So whether we hire people that are in their second year of selling or people that have 20 years of selling. We always look for people that are eager to learn and also eager to give and receive feedback. So even if we hire a veteran in sales, at the end of the day they still need to learn the products. They still need to learn the value framework we use. So it's just that the coaching is going to be different because you may just provide feedback and give feedback on different things. But we only hire people that want to get better and that can learn. So from that, if you have that as the core, I think the coaching becomes more on the basics with the force that are a little bit earlier in their career. So components of selling is what you're teaching the reps versus for the reps that are a little bit more experienced. You're trying to coach them on how to unlock their deals. But the culture of feedback is just here every single day, which I think people that have stopped learning at young, is a little bit depressing. So we try, we try to hire people that still have that in their bellies.
Sheena Badani: And I see that theme of reflection coming back in there again. So you'll take that time to step back and see How did it go?
Marjorie Janiewicz: It's even more important for us because we are building a new industry. So it's not like we're asking people to sell something that they've sold before. So it's very important to keep an open eye and open ears on what the market is telling us. So I think there's not only the coaching side, but making sure the rep is actually curious enough, regardless of their levels to understand what works and what doesn't Because nobody has done hacker powered security before. So we also take that feedback from their side to enrich our messaging, our go to market, et cetera. Yeah.
Sheena Badani: What are some of the unanswered questions that you're currently contemplating and trying to figure out at HackerOne today?
Marjorie Janiewicz: The ones I can share. I don't know if any company has really nailed this or not, but the understanding where the pipeline is coming from an influence of pipeline over time. So marketing attribution versus outbound, but I think there is still a lot of unanswered questions, is this really accurate? Or how can we definitely make sure we focus on the right accounts at the right time? So a lot of unanswered questions about that.
Sheena Badani: I'm curious, like the hackers that you find, so it's almost like a marketplace of hackers that are now going out and figuring out is the software secure enough were there holes that actual hackers can poke into? Do you have any interesting stories of like hackers that you've been able to join the marketplace?
Marjorie Janiewicz: Yeah, there's a lot of a great stories. So we have 600 hackers on our platform and you're very correct, it is a marketplace. It's almost like the Uber of security. There's always a elegant dance between, are we a marketplace? Are we a software as a service platform? We're kind of both. Ten years ago, it was illegal to hack. And even to this day, when people ask me or others at HackerOne what do you do? Well we have hackers finding security vulnerabilities on systems. People are like what? Isn't that illegal? Basically HackerOne in the past really six to seven years has been on a mission to show the world that there's a great opportunity in having people that have great skills that are good hackers, white hat hackers, to be engaged through the platform to find vulnerabilities. But then you get those stories. When this happens, I'm like, oh my gosh, I can't believe this guy is saying this, but there's a story of a great hacker called Tommy. Tommy today is a$ 1 million hacker on our platform. So he got paid a million bucks on HackerOne finding vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, this morning, he got a job offer to join Wells- Fargo full- time in their security team. But the story is that 10 years ago, he was literally arrested by the FBI for trying to hack into a computer system. So he went to federal prison 10 years ago. But the guy is just gifted in finding security vulnerabilities. He wants to, to help the world and do good, but 10 years ago hacking was illegal. So those are great stories just to show how the world is changing. And our mission is just to make the word hacker a good word so that you don't have to say white hat or black hat every other day. We launched in the past five years, a few exercises with the government. So even the Pentagon is asking hackers to hack the government, to find security vulnerabilities. And that's when the government, as hundreds of thousands of security specialists at the government.
Sheena Badani: What would be your recommendation for sales folks in terms of what skill they should focus on in 2020?
Marjorie Janiewicz: The number one skill is just to always have a nose for what is the business problem you're trying to address. So I think if people can just continue to focus on understanding what is the business outcome those companies are seeking through your services or your platform. I think a lot more sales people would be very successful. So business outcome is my skill recommendation for ICS. And then for sales leaders, I would just, if you can combine hiring the right people, sales leaders, hiring great frontline managers who are then hiring right ICS, and then combining them with being data driven and systematizing their sales process, process hiring the right people and then culture, is probably the three things I would keep in mind.
Devin Reed: The holy trinity for Marjorie.
Marjorie Janiewicz: The holy trinity, that's for sure, yes.
Devin Reed: All right. Well, last question. We'd like to ask most people, how would you define sales in one word
Marjorie Janiewicz: Execution.
Devin Reed: Execution, no hesitation with execution.
Marjorie Janiewicz: Yeah. I think sales is just all about making it happen.
Devin Reed: Well, Marjorie, thank you for joining us. You delivered, and this was fantastic. Thank you
Marjorie Janiewicz: Thank you very much for having me.
Sheena Badani: Every week we bring you a micro action. It can be as simple as something to think about or an action you can put into play today. Let's think about execution. It's what all sales teams pride themselves on. Can you actually get things done? In an effort to constantly improve, it can be challenging to prioritize what to focus on now. To help, start with your why. Your most important goals for the year. Will optimizing conversion from discovery to demo make the biggest impact? Or should you double down on how you score and hand off leads from marketing to sales? Another great exercise to get your team brought in and mindful of where they can improve their execution is by asking them. Ask your sales reps to list out their strengths. Where are they great at executing? Where can they improve? To help prompt them to get past surface answers, ask them to think about a deal they won. What did they do especially well to win the deal? Now reflect on a lost deal. Where did they miss step or where could they have executed better? Bonus points if you can get the whole team to share, to create a sense of ownership and value in development.
Devin Reed: Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.
Sheena Badani: And If you really liked the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.
Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.
Sheena Badani: And if you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us at reveal @ gong. io.
HackerOne sells a slightly non-traditional product: hackers. Marjorie Janiewicz, Chief Revenue Officer at HackerOne, shares how she uses data to build and validate her go-to-market strategy. (Luckily, her tactics work regardless of what you sell.) Plus, you'll hear how she went from sales rep to c-suite. If you want to make moves in your career, this is for you.