The power of planning: How sales leaders strategize for success

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This is a podcast episode titled, The power of planning: How sales leaders strategize for success. The summary for this episode is: <p>They say, “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”, but business is no different. As Chief Sales Officer at Compass, Chris Aker understands the need for thorough yet flexible strategies. Change is inevitable and how your company reacts makes all the difference. In this episode, Chris shares how data influences his biggest decisions. And with two IPOs under his belt, you might want to take notes. This inspiring episode will have you planning in no time.</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>11:31 - Core ideas to focus on when planning</p><p>16:41 - Data Breakout: Using data to improve sales planning</p><p>19:27 - Ensuring you don't lose sight of the customer throughout the planning period</p><p>21:11 - How to prepare a large team of sellers</p><p>25:46 - When is it okay to change your plan?</p><p>30:01 - Lessons in financial planning</p><p>34:28 - Micro Action: Communicating the why of your sales strategy to your team</p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Connect with Chris Aker: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Core ideas to focus on when planning
05:08 MIN
Data Breakout: Using data to improve sales planning
00:52 MIN
Ensuring you don't lose sight of the customer throughout the planning period
01:23 MIN
How to prepare a large team of sellers
02:30 MIN
When is it okay to change your plan?
03:06 MIN
Lessons in financial planning
01:40 MIN
Micro Action: Communicating the why of your sales strategy to your team
00:51 MIN

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: Sheena, at the time of this recording, on Monday. Today's Friday. In a couple of days, we are going to have our marketing second half of the year kickoff.

Sheena Badani: Which reminds me I need to make my slides.

Devin Reed: There was a pause. There was a pause there of like... I saw the wheels turning and then a light bulb clicked. I think that's where the light bulb might've been. So, perfect. You're in the midst of it, still. I'm curious... I'm going to give you an option here. Option one, what is your favorite part of planning? Or B, what is your least favorite part of planning?

Sheena Badani: I think my favorite part is thinking about the potential. Envisioning and imagining ourselves, our entire team, like where we're going to be six months down the road. And what helps me do that is by just doing kind of a look back at the last six months. It's always just amazing... Sometimes, we're just so wrapped up in the day- to- day, we're moving so fast. We don't take enough time to really just appreciate what we've been able to accomplish together. And so, taking kind of a look back and then I'm like," Oh my God, we're going to do that and more in the next six months." Just that possibility is what excites me the most.

Devin Reed: That is exciting. What could be can be very exciting. Yeah.

Sheena Badani: But I didn't totally answer like the... There's a lot of tough parts of planning.

Devin Reed: There is.

Sheena Badani: I think there's a lot of back and forth kind of level setting, not just within the team but with other teams. You may put together a proposal, and you get pushed back from finance, from here, from there. Those parts are not always as fun, but you work through it.

Devin Reed: Yeah. That's where some grit comes in. Grit comes into play there. Well, we had a pro. Another pro. You're a pro too, but we had another pro join us on the show today, which was cool because he's the second person to join us from Compass. We've had Matt Rosenberg join, CRO at Compass. And then today, we had Chris Aker, who's CSO, chief sales officer. And fun fact is you'll hear as I'm quite playful with Chris in this interview. I know Chris pretty well. We worked together at Eventbrite. I sat right behind him. He knows my dog very well. They still text. So it was cool to hang out with Chris and hear how a company who just went public, how the head of sales goes about planning. And it was cool because if you're listening to this and you're interested in getting... It's like a high- level overview of how you can be better at planning, but then he also gets really granular in ways to prep your team, to mobilize your team before you actually mobilize your teams, how you prepare them, and all the ins and outs of how he goes about enablement and training. Aside from seeing a good friend again, it was cool to get that deep into planning as we are doing it ourselves.

Sheena Badani: Exactly. Good timing.

Devin Reed: Let's go hang out with Chris. All right. Chris, it is always a pleasure to hang out with you, to talk to you. So I appreciate you jumping on Reveal with us.

Chris Aker: No, thank you for having me. I'm excited to do this.

Devin Reed: I know the world is getting in a better place because we've rescheduled a few times. Now, that's not to guilt you. It's a good thing because you've been traveling again, which means the world's opening up, you're visiting, hopefully, buyers and buying prospects. So I'm excited that you're on the move and the world's heading in that direction again.

Chris Aker: Yeah. No, thank you. Yeah. It actually felt really good to get back out there. I had a rep who said," Hey, I've got a couple of big prospects. I'm going to line up meetings," and before they even finished the sentence, I was like," Yes." Flight is booked." Oh, you want it on Zoom?"" No, it's face- to- face now. We are going live."

Devin Reed: That's why. They're emailing you like," Chris, are you going to be on the Zoom link?" And you're like knocking on their door. You're like,"No, I'm here. I'm here with launch if you crosstalk.

Chris Aker: Yeah. I would normally ask a bunch of questions to determine like," Is it really worth my time? Is this a real opportunity?" I was like," No, let's go. Let's knock up the cobwebs here."

Devin Reed: Well, let's get into what those meetings look like a little bit because you are the chief sales officer over at Compass. And for those who might not be familiar with Compass, can you just give us a really quick rundown of what you're all about and what you're focused on as a CSO?

Chris Aker: Yeah. We are a real estate tech firm. So what we do is we provide a technology, programs, and support in a single platform for real estate agents to empower them to really save time, provide a better experience for their clients, as well as grow their business. That is singularly our core focus. So whatever we can do to make a real estate agent's life easier, we will do it. As chief sales officer, what I do is I lead the growth team nationally. And what we do is we reach out to prospective agents, walk them through a sales cycle, and ultimately sign them up to join Compass.

Sheena Badani: And we have to wish you congrats on an IPO earlier this year in March. Our congrats to you on that. This is actually the second company that you've led towards the successful IPO. The first being Eventbrite. So what did you learn this time around? Anything surprised you that you didn't come across last time?

Chris Aker: There's a lot of similarities where there's a lot of prep and anticipation for it. I think, with Eventbrite, we were very open about it internally and very maniacally focused a little on it. You know, company meetings. It became a lot of part of what we did was IPO. At Compass, we did a really nice job of not distracting the team with it. Everyone knew that," Hey, there was a possibility of that happening with any certain period of time." Everyone knew that," Yes, the metrics that we're driving towards will eventually lead to this outcome." But what we didn't want to do is bog down the team with having this extra stress of I have to achieve this in order to get. Which I think worked really, really well, which is really exciting. The other piece that, I think, really differentiated was the amount of runway and space we have to continue to grow. As we were going through this and after talking with investors, and you just learn more about your business and yourself as you go through one of these processes, it reaffirmed for me that we're just barely scraping the surface of the potential of what we can do. Which is incredibly exciting and invigorating versus getting to an IPO and then going," Okay, what's next?" or" Okay, let's just maintain mode." And that's not at all what we're in. We're still in heavy growth mode, how do we continue to conquer the world and deliver a great service while doing it.

Sheena Badani: That's so great. I love the perspective that you all took at Compass on that front. I think a lot of folks... Especially if it's like their first time being at a company when they're going public. Like that's the end game. Everyone's just like working for the IPO, but actually, there needs to be a mind shift where... That's actually, in many ways, the beginning like you said. It's just capital to keep the business growing and building to that next step. What is the next evolution of the company? So I think being able to keep the employees, the team laser focused like" Keep doing what you're doing. You're doing great. Keep doing that," is highly, highly critical.

Chris Aker: Yeah. On day of the IPO, I called over a hundred people. I just timed out in the day to be able to call that many people that were on the team and thanked them, congratulated them, but then to your point, also reinforce that message of," Everything that you've done has gotten us to this point, but we're still at the beginning. We're still in the first setting." I think that was exciting for them. It was exciting also to be able to make those calls. It was just such an honor to also have that conversation and share that moment with so many people.

Devin Reed: I'm curious, Chris. I remember in Eventbrite days, it was Randy, CFO, business guy, and he would constantly like," We're shooting for profitability. When we get profitability, we're going to go public." I remember I was in the stands. I remember seeing him on stage. I remember these moments. And then you said Compass was like the opposite of that. I'm curious if that's your new philosophy. So in 10 or a hundred years, whenever you leave Compass, and you're at a company that's projecting towards an IPO, do you think you'll take the Eventbrite approach, the Compass approach, or is it kind of just depends on the team, depends on where the company's at?

Chris Aker: Yeah. I think it's hard for me to predict and say," This is what I will do." I think I would probably err more on the side of the Compass approach. And that's not to say that we weren't transparent. We were very transparent with our intentions. We're very transparent with the business metrics, but we didn't apply this additional pressure we must in order to. We built a plan and executed to it. And we knew if we did that, then the outcomes would what we would get there. And so, I would probably err up more on the side of Compass and allow the team, the space to breathe and operate, make the decisions freely to do what they believe is the right thing for the business in the long- term health of the business versus a short- term goal to achieve and this lingering IPO thing looming over their head.

Devin Reed: Gotcha. Makes sense. Well, hey, you're already talking about it. You're talking about planning and that's exactly what we brought you on the show to talk about. I know that you have a pretty specific philosophy, some techniques that you use when planning the back half of a year. I don't know if that's the same for the first six months, you can tell me, but to get us started, what are the core pillars that you focus on when you begin planning? Do you have like a framework that you can share?

Chris Aker: Yeah. Well, I can talk through it. I'm not sure if it's a core framework, but I do have a sequence of things that I do. I think, first and foremost, before I ever get to a planning process, every single new hire, every single leader, we constantly communicate this as," We are a flexible organization and you have to be ready for change and you have to be adaptable," which can be tough for a salesperson. I fully recognize it can be tough for any individual. And sales person, you have a quota, you have a pipeline, you feed your family on it, and changing that and having massive swings can be very difficult. And so, we specifically plan in a six- month cycle. At the company level, we'll plan annual cycles and we have multi- year goals. When we roll out something to our team, the growth team will roll it out in a six- month plan. And really the reason being is the market changes way too fast. If we're doing the same thing now as we were at the beginning of the year, that just means we haven't adapted to what's happening right now and we're probably doing it wrong now.

Devin Reed: Right.

Chris Aker: We have to be adaptable to the business needs. That becomes critical is that we have a team that's flexible and understands. This is not to say that we swing the team back and forth wildly and completely disrupt their pipelines and then suddenly everyone's starting from scratch. We build in what we call as holdover periods. So in the plan, we will build over a time period for people to run through their current pipeline and finish that out while they're building up whatever the new focus may be. The new focus maybe a new market and maybe a new customer base, a new product line, whatever it is. And so, we give the runway. That works really well and people can get behind them. Whenever we go into a planning process, the first thing that I'm always asking is," Okay, what do we need next year?" and" Ultimately, what were you trying to achieve?" Because, really, a lot of the decisions that we're making right now, especially at a halfway point, are all going to impact us next year. So if I need whatever number I need next year, I know I have to hire a certain amount of people now because of the time it takes to onboard, get them hired, get them onboarded, get them ramped, and then we have that full productivity. So, we're planning for that. I'm also trying to understand, from our financial metrics," What do we need to be able to achieve?" and then mapping to which gets lost a lot is," What is the reality of the team we have and what is the reality of the market? Based on these financial metrics, what moves or initiatives or things that we have to drive?" And then," Will the current team and the current market be able to bear that?" So a lot of times, a lot of companies will get maniacally focused on," These are the metrics we have to achieve," and completely lose sight of the customer. What we're doing here is we're building for the customer. We're creating and delivering a service for the customer, and the customer knows nothing of our internal performance metrics that we need to achieve, that we apply to ourselves. And so, there's a balance of," How do we solve for both of those components?" We'll generally take two approaches. We'll take a tops down and the bottoms up approach. It's generally like you do a tops down or you just do a bottoms up. We will actually run both. And we will ask," What do we need to achieve? What do we need to do next year? What are the steps we need to do to get there?"" Okay. For that, here's the bottoms up approach. All right. Now, let's all sit down together. Finance, operations, growth, everyone, all the key constituents and let's decide. Is this the right thing to do? Do we want to spend this level of money? Is this how we want it to? Where are the puts and the takes? There's a lot that goes into it. It's a tremendous amount of work, but when we do it right, then we all have clarity of why we're doing it. We all have clarity in how we're going to do it. And then we all have belief in the metrics of what we can go to achieve. And then that makes the delivery to the sales team incredibly easy. Because I am not going to deliver a single thing in the sales team unless I can clearly articulate why. Why this is important and why it's important to both the company, the individuals, so the sellers, and the customers. If I can't explain those three things, we probably should not be doing it. And we should think of like," What is the different way of getting to the final metrics that we want?"

Devin Reed: Chris is focused on spot checking the present so he can better plan for the future. He'll ask questions like," Is the current team equipped for what we want to achieve?" And then dig into the data to find the answer. This aligns with a study from McKinsey& Company where they surveyed 2, 500 B2B companies and found that 72% of the outperforming companies were using analytics and data to improve their sales planning. These companies use data to find key market trends. What was happening in each of their deals and what was creating the best sales opportunities. All with the goal of ensuring their future sales strategies were still grounded in reality. Knowing the data lets you communicate the why and the how of your sales strategy to your team. It also helps teams adapt to change and be flexible because they know the reason behind those changes.

Sheena Badani: In some of your description, a lot of complexity around planning came through. There are so many teams involved. You're doing this not just for what this year looks like but what does next year look like. There are a lot of moving pieces even with the change in the market. What aspects are most commonly overlooked when you do this type of near term planning?

Chris Aker: The customer. 100%, the customer gets overlooked and what the market can bear in this current moment. We all join tech companies because we are building something bigger and greater for a need that is there. We believe we are fundamentally changing an industry or whatever it may be, a way that people operate. Gong, you guys have changed the way sellers coach themselves and, of course, correct through the way. However, when we get into these planning cycles and these complexities like I'm dealing with analysts, I'm dealing with finance folks, and you get into the math and the weeds of it, you suddenly lose sight of actually what we're trying to accomplish. And so, I work really hard when we're looking at any of this to understand," Okay, how does this impact the customer? How does this impact the company? How does this impact the individual?" And we can't always say a positive thing for all three. Sometimes, we have to make the trade- offs, but we always have to bring that lens in of," How possible is this?"

Devin Reed: You might've touched on it, Chris, which is like... You have the big ideas, your three why's, team, company, client, and then you get into the weeds of it... You know me, I don't math. I get confused very quickly with math. As you said, you get in the weeds, is that the primary reason teams lose sight of the customer? Or is there maybe like another factor or something else in play that prevents teams from keeping the customer first during this planning period?

Chris Aker: Yeah. I mean, it's a high stakes moment. I'm making decisions that are going to impact the way sellers build their pipeline and potentially make commissions, and I'm making decisions that are going to impact how competitors respond to us. We're making decisions that are going to impact our ability to achieve the company metrics, to hit longer term goals that we want to achieve. And so, it's a very high stakes moment in any type of planning process. So you have to be analytical, you have to be detail- oriented, and you have to be grounded in the customer and the market. That's my role as the sales leader and the face to the market. My role is to bring the reality of the market and the customer on the prospect. And it's finance's role to say," These are the binary metrics we must hit." Then it's operations' role to say," This is what's going to take to support this. It's great that the sales team wants to go do that, but oh, hey guys, what about us? We have to support this." And then it's the role of all of us to actually sit down, put our egos to the side and come with a plan that's achievable, that's aggressive and something that we don't lose sight of the customer on.

Devin Reed: I like it. I like it. You mentioned keeping the sales team in mind, how they're going to build pipeline, how they're going to make money. When you're planning major changes like training, new product rollouts, maybe territories, that sort of thing, how do you prepare your team of 100 + sellers and all those supporting go to market teams?

Chris Aker: Yeah. I don't think there's any silver bullet way. But usually, before the half turns, I already have a very good idea of what we need to do for the second half. And if there's going to be a shift, how do I effectively get the team in the direction we needed them to go in the short term? And then how do I start planning about what we're going to need for the back half of the half? So, Q4 in this case. Here's what I did in this current term. We knew we were going to have to shift our focus to a different type of customer and a different part of the prospect base in order for us to hit specific milestones we want to achieve. It's a great thing for the business because it catapults us in our ability to support agents in the way that we want. It enables us to maximize efficiency within the business, and there's a great market for sellers to go after. So it was like it's this great moment. So what I did in June was I ran a spiff. I ran a spiff that was very specific to the second half plan, before delivering the second half plan. It was a very rich spiff. So we had the entire team now suddenly going," Oh. Okay, I'm going to go shift over here because I want to go earn some money in the last month of the quarter after just..." We're coming out of the pandemic. It's a great moment. So now, we're running into the second half. Everyone's got this pipeline already built towards the second half without knowing it, and we're rolling out, delivering the plan in a couple of days here. And when we do, everyone will see that kind of like," Oh, the dots will click," they'll go," Okay, you actually prepared us for this." And so, that's one piece. The other piece is I pull my leaders in early and often and make sure that they're aware of how I'm thinking about it, the puts and the takes, I'm pretty transparent there, and start preparing them to start preparing their teams for what's about to come and how to think about the second half and what we need to do. No one's coming in to the plan surprised. If they are, they weren't listening during the month of June and weren't paying attention. So, we don't want any of this to be a surprise. We just want people to understand that," What's the path? How do I make my money? All right, let's go."

Devin Reed: One of those signals, it's probably like," Wait, there's a spiff?" That's when you're like," Oh man, that's not good."

Chris Aker: Oh, yeah.

Devin Reed: We're all shifting to the left.

Chris Aker: They all figure it out,"Wait a second, is this coming out? What are we trying to do?" But if I can reward folks for making the shift and pushing them, I'm going to do it every time and create those moments.

Devin Reed: Well, spiff is usually used for like... I don't know. I mean, maybe just in my experience, I feel kind of like motivation or like team morale. It's like," Things are good or great, and let's see if we can do more." Like," Who can dunk on 11 foot hoop? I don't know. Let's find out." Basketball hoops, usually 10 feet, for anyone who's uncertain about that one.

Sheena Badani: Thanks for clarifying that.

Devin Reed: You're welcome. Sheena, it wasn't just for you crosstalk but some people might be like," I don't understand why you said that." But it's interesting to hear how you can use spiff strategically, to kind of warm up or get people rolling in that direction. That's interesting to me.

Sheena Badani: Yeah. It's like getting them out of their comfort zone to try something different that maybe the company or the business wants to try out. I kind of see it that way too.

Chris Aker: Yeah, absolutely. And we explain," Here's the spiff and here's why we're doing it. Here's why we need it." Anything new that we rollout has to have a very strong why. We have a very high performing team that once they connect the why, they understand and they'll run at it.

Sheena Badani: So we talked about change, like change in the plan. Think like when you were planning for 2021, you had an annual plan in place. There was some goals, things that you were driving towards, then something shifted. You had this new shift on this new prospect base. What warrants a change in the plan? Are there certain criteria? When is it okay to change the plan? Is it something that's subjective and based on your gut, you think that we need to evolve something? What are those like criteria for when it's okay to change?

Chris Aker: Yeah. I think it's hard to say," This is the criteria." One of the things we look at is... In our industry, we're very... We're many times beholden to the real estate market and that dictate a lot of our company metrics. It doesn't necessarily dictate our sales, our growth metrics because we can adjust and adapt and accelerate or decelerate based on how the market's operating to have a very strong command and control over our growth rates. This year, as an example, real estate market is wild. It is very competitive environment. So if anyone's out and tried to buy their home, or Devin, probably your second or third home, you've probably realized it's very competitive, and you have to pay well over asking. So, that impacts us in how we think about where we need to focus our time. One thing I would add is, I think it's irresponsible of a business not to change the plan and not to shift. The world moves way too fast. Everything that we thought would happen in'21 and November of 2020, there's no way for us to be able to predict it. We're making our best guess. Once you get new information, you should act on it, and it'd be irresponsible not to act on it. Another thing that I would hit on is when I'm looking at the long- term plan. So what do we need to achieve in the long term? What are the kind of big bucket items, things that we're going to have to do in order to get there? And what I'll look at in the context when you say," What can the team bear? What's the current skill set of the team?" I'm sending training plans in place now and coaching plans in place now to prepare the team for what we need to be accomplishing in'22, in this current example, or even'23, depending on how big of initiative it may need to be. So then, when'22 happens and we get to that moment, we don't have a team that's flat- footed and not ready for the moment and not ready to just dive in and jump in. And so, a lot of what I'm doing is understanding what are the skillsets that are going to be required in order for us to do that, whatever that thing is. We've all been in many sales organizations and many different sales models, and we know there's... Someone who's phenomenal at a transactional model may not be great at a relationship building enterprise model or vice versa. And so, what's going to be required to be successful? What is our model? And what do we need to adjust and change and adapt to be able to get there? Do we even need to spin off separate motions, which we've done, and created multiple teams or whatever it may be.

Sheena Badani: Yeah. That really pulls in the human side of planning where it's not just numbers. You're not just looking at numbers of people, but what are the skills? How can I help you? How can I grow who I have there in place today? Or what am I looking for in that next hire? That's such a vital part of looking at the more qualitative side of planning.

Chris Aker: Yeah, absolutely. How can I help every individual grow in themselves and their career and their skill sets, and how do we do that in a way that helps us achieve the ultimate company goals and drive success for them?

Devin Reed: I imagine, as someone who's been a head of sales for many moons, but not too many moons where you're gray, you look great, that you have surely learned something. Every time you do the six- month planning, you learn something new, whether the hard way or the easy way. I'm curious, so if you can share like, what did you learn in the front half of this year? Was there something that you learned from that financial planning?

Chris Aker: Every time I roll out a plan, I always have this grand vision of how it will go and how people will receive it.

Devin Reed: Perfectly. Without a flaw.

Chris Aker: Yeah. Everyone's going to love it. Everyone's going to fully get it, and it's going to fully connect. I think, one big lesson that I had, I can't remember how many moons ago, to your question, that I've implemented, which is... We have a big national rollout plan. We always want the local teams and the local leaders and the frontline leaders to then have a fast follow up, which is either the very next moment or the next day after people have had time to digest. And they have their kickoff. And they actually review a lot of what we did in the national, and then connect it to specifically their team and then connect it specifically to the individuals. So, whenever we do a rollout, it's not a big rah- rah. Everything's amazing. I get off of, now, the Zoom excited and feeling great because I feel like I did a great presentation. I'm immediately calling every single local leader." How do you think it went? What was the chatter? What do we need to clean up? In next week's meeting, in our national call, what do we need to reinforce?" And so, everyone's coming with that. So it's not just a single point in time. Really, it's a broader strategy of how do we do it nationally, then how do we bring it down each individual team, then how do we bring it down to each individual, and then a week later, what do we need to clean up. Where did I mess up and what do I need to clarify or adjust? And so, it's never just a moment in time, that type of thing.

Sheena Badani: All right. Chris, we asked every single one of our guests that joins us on the show the same question. So we'll ask you the same, which is how would you describe sales in one word?

Chris Aker: One word.

Sheena Badani: Ideally.

Chris Aker: One that just immediately came to mind without me trying to edit or filter it, I guess, will be dynamic. Because when you're prospecting, you have to be open and dynamic to what you've learned to adjust your approach. When you're in a prospect conversation, if you try and run it through a script or run a black and white decision tree of if they said this, so then this, you're not going to be as successful as you can be. You have to be dynamic within the conversations. You have to actively listen. You have to understand what's happening and map those connections. And then, for people like me who like to change the plan once every six months, you also have to be dynamic in your ability to manage a business. Being in this podcast today, that that was the very first word that came to mind. So I figured I should be true to the first thing that came to mind versus trying to give the answer that what will make me sound smart.

Devin Reed: That gut answer made you sound smart.

Chris Aker: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Sheena Badani: Exactly. I think you should add dynamic to any job rec that you put up for your team. You want to make sure that all your future sellers that join your team are dynamic.

Chris Aker: That's such a great point. It's always funny when I'm interviewing folks and they put words like that in their tagline, whatever it may be. Just words like" world- class,"" best in class,"" dynamic," those different pieces. It's dangerous because I'll latch onto it and I'll ask," Okay, give me a situation where you were dynamic." So many people get caught flat- footed where just goes to," Okay, this is potentially the type of seller there."

Devin Reed: Yeah. I was going to say, maybe in your interview, you could ask people," How would you define dynamic in one word," and see if they have the same inaudible. I like yours better. Yours is like, " Give me an example," where I'm like, " Oh, I didn't know you read my cover letter. Let me think about it for a second." Fantastic. Chris, always a pleasure, man. Thank you so much for hanging out with Reveal. As you might've seen me, I was typing a bunch of notes down, a lot of great takeaways for our audience. So just want to say thank you.

Chris Aker: No, thank you for having me. It's a pleasure being on.

Sheena Badani: So much fun. Thanks, Chris.

Chris Aker: All right. Thank you, both.

Devin Reed: Chris discussed how important clarity and transparency are for sales teams, especially in stages of rapid change. He said it's important for his reps to understand the why of their role from a fundamental level to metrics level. This week, think of how you can best communicate the why of your sales strategy to your reps. This can include telling them why they're doing what they're doing, how doing it drives the business forward, and why is each sales metric in place. Communicating these with your team will help create more transparency and buy- in across your team. It'll also make adjustments to roles, metrics, et cetera, easier to approach because they'll understand how it's helping grow the business. 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.


They say, “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”, but business is no different. As Chief Sales Officer at Compass, Chris Aker understands the need for thorough yet flexible strategies. Change is inevitable and how your company reacts makes all the difference. In this episode, Chris shares how data influences his biggest decisions. And with two IPOs under his belt, you might want to take notes. This inspiring episode will have you planning in no time.