Recruiting and retaining sales leaders with Jason Andrew, CRO, BMC Software
Devin Reed: Welcome to the show. You are now part of 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. It's an unfiltered view of your customer reality. In other words, making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guess work.
Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars. People success, deal success and strategy success, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week, we interview senior revenue professionals, and they 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, I want to congratulate you, because you just recently hit your four year anniversary at Gong, so congrats, confetti.
Devin Reed: Thank you. Fully vested, first time ever.
Sheena Badani: On that note, I'm curious, Gong, and looking back at your other experiences, what has kept you at a company? And let's take money, the salary or commission and stuff out of the equation.
Devin Reed: I'm going to go with the first two things that came up in my heart or mind, which was winning. But the first, first one was like, am I getting better? That's what it was. I didn't say the word learning and development, though that's probably how it gets coined. It was like," Am I getting better in my role, or at this company?" It could be at a different role. And then the next thing is winning. And I think that could be a derivative of my development, but also, I want to be on a winning team. I want to be around people that are better than me, that I can learn from. So those are the two things that came up. And it goes back to sports days, where I don't have to be the best player, as long as I'm a good, happy player on a good team. What about you?
Sheena Badani: A lot of what you said resonates, for sure, like the learning side of things. Maybe another way to phrase it, how I would phrase it, is the impact that I'm able to have on a company. I want to be in a place where what I'm able to do is going to have an immediate and long- term impact on the business. That is something that I care about a lot. And then the other piece has to be the people. Who am I working with? Both the manager, the people on my team, just the folks that I get to interact with on a day- to- day basis, do they inspire me, and am I learning from them?
Devin Reed: People you hang out with a lot that inspire you. Sorry, it's burning my throat.
Sheena Badani: So check, and check, and check, on all of those right now.
Devin Reed: I love it. Well, we talked about a trend happening. Now, I noticed in the interview, I said it two different ways, so I don't know if there's a right one, but I said," whether you call it the great reshuffle, or the great resignation, maybe one led to another." Either way, we hung out with Chief Revenue Officer of BMC, Jason Andrew, who's, as you pointed out, been there for a quarter of a century, so he's done came up. And what we talked about was how to retain top talent during the reshuffle. And what was cool, at least my favorite part, was how end- to- end he gives you... Like if you're an aspiring first- time sales manager, here's what to expect when you get into that role. It's not all roses. If you're in a leadership position, you want to rise to senior leadership, here's the type of impact you need to make, and the way that you need to be perceived in the business. And if you're senior execs listening to this, C- level SVP types, he does a great job describing what to look for, and how to retain top talent. So across your whole organization, how do you identify and test people to make sure that they're ready for the next level? It was a great session.
Sheena Badani: And I really enjoyed the beginning of our session, where... He's very adaptable and can interact with a lot of different kinds of folks. As you can tell, in the podcast he was able to speak to a lot of different folks. In the beginning of the podcast, he's like," I need to turn my camera off for a minute." And he was wearing a t- shirt for BMC, and then he opened up his drawer, and he had 20 different shirts that said," Believe," in all different languages. So depending on who he's speaking to, he takes out the shirt, which is written in Mandarin, or in Arabic, or in English. I love that. I thought that was amazing.
Devin Reed: Quite a showman, to have an outfit change ready to start any call. Well, it was great stuff. Like I said, if you are interested in getting into leadership, or the next level of leadership, and you want to know how to retain your top talent, you're going to enjoy this session with Jason, so let's go hang out.
Sheena Badani: Jason, well, great to see you again. We're super excited to talk about, I think, a topic that's top of mind for every single revenue leader in the world today, which is really about how do you retain top talent? It's been such an interesting time. There's opportunity out in the world, and that also makes it challenging for a lot of folks to keep the best of their best. That's what we're going to go deep into today. But before we do that, I was really impressed, just looking at your profile on LinkedIn, and the deep experience that you've had at BMC, almost a quarter of a century, if I can phrase it like that.
Jason Andrew: January the second, 25 years.
Sheena Badani: That's amazing. Tell us more about that and your path to CRO at BMC.
Jason Andrew: Yeah, so I've been very fortunate, very blessed. I've had a magical run. I'm from New Zealand, and I started with BMC, first of all, as partner down in New Zealand, and then I got my first gig with them in presales, actually, software consultant in Australia. At the time, there were seven people in Asia- Pacific doing presales. I think when I left, about three years later, there were like 600, this massive growth. Launched BMC in China and Korea, helped grow the business in Japan, Hong Kong, Asia, so I got a really good APJ view of the world. And then got offered an opportunity to move into R&D, which was like getting a lobotomy for me. I literally had no idea what I was doing, but I managed to bluff my way through it. Did a couple years in Houston, doing that, that was head office. Heading back to New Zealand, and we acquired a few companies, and I helped run them in APJ. And then 2008, 2009 got an opportunity to come back to the States and work with John McMahon and his little promotions. And then I ran marketing for a while. And then I had an opportunity to go and run ENEA for a bit. And each time was a bigger gig, more complicated. When I came back to the States in 2016, I was running the Americas, and I had the opportunity, we did as a company, about two years ago... For about nearly 20 years we had separate sales organizations, even though we were in totally different divisions, we didn't have a CRO. So under the new ownership, they said," Why don't we go back to having a CRO?" I was fortunate enough to get asked, and it's been a fantastic, fantastic ride. I have a wonderful team, very seasoned veteran group of sales leaders. And that's a really important part, as we get onto this retention topic, because people tend to stick and stay if they like their leadership teams. You hear the old phrase about you leave because of your manager, often you'll stay because of your manager. So I'm very lucky about that, and I've got a great team behind me as well.
Sheena Badani: That's tremendous. I wish I could follow you historically in that journey around the world, like literally around the world, which sounds amazing. What did you learn along the way that you wish you knew sooner, like day one when you were starting at BMC?
Jason Andrew: Oh my God, don't even start. First of all, you're going to make me out to be older than I am, but it's so many times I'll say to myself," Geez, I wish I knew that back then." But the thing is, that's the reality of experience, right? You're putting together chapters in your book for your career. And each chapter, or location, or job that I had, was creating a profile. I'll often have people say me," Why didn't you leave BMC?" Well, if you look, every two or three years I was doing something very, very different. And I think at least three of those changes have been major transformations, or driving transformation. I think from a sales leadership point of view, if you've driven a successful sales transformation, you understand what it takes to get through that, whether it's taking something from nothing, through a startup, to being a high performing sales organization, building it from scratch, or taking something that's broken and re- engineering it. I think the biggest one, it sounds really, really basic, but problem identification, or actually working out root cause of problem. Having seen so many different geos, and different roles, and different jobs inside the company, I feel like now that my spidey senses are more tuned in to seeing issues and problems. So understanding that problem statement, and then rather than getting fixated on a symptom, sales leadership might see something... Let's take retention again, they might see something around attrition, and they might think one or two people have left, there's a symptom. It's not the problem, it's the symptom, and they try to firefight the symptom. And all they're really doing, they're not actually fixing the problem, they're putting out little fires, they're not actually taking the fire completely away. I think one of the biggest things I've learned in different roles is, be a great listener, understand what it is people are going through, and what they're doing. Take inventory, take stock, don't do anything in a rush. Many times I'd be going to a job, the person above me would say," You need to fire that person, and fire that person, and keep those two." And then you'd find six months later, you'd done the opposite, because the two they wanted to fire weren't given a profile, or the opportunity to actually do what they can do. And the two they wanted to fire were actually bluffing, or they weren't actually driving good practice, or culture, whatever it is that was foundational to you building a great team. I feel like a lot of what I do now is about paying it forward. The leadership team I have is amazing, all of them could be CROs, but don't recruit any of them, if you may be listening. They are, in their own right, veteran professionals. Just recently, I've taken all the authority of approving deals, quotes, expenses, travel, I've given it to them. I don't need it. I trust them, and they're good at what they do, and they know what they're doing, and they feel empowered, because I've given them that ability. It's very simple, but it was actually a no-brainer to do it.
Devin Reed: I love that. And speaking of, even if you try to head hunt Jason's execs and his leaders, let's talk about why they'd stay. Attrition is a big challenge for sales leaders all the time, but right now there's record numbers of employees resigning. And that's given us that nice coined statement, that great resignation, or great reshuffle. What's your take on this shift, Jason?
Jason Andrew: Well, first of all, it's real. And I guess probably, before we start, last year, for all of us, was probably a year where none of us really had attrition. Last year was shelter in job, or shelter in place, and people did it. They were worried about what was really going to happen with the pandemic. They were on health plans. They, for various different reasons... Probably everybody in the industry had no attrition, or very little attrition. But towards the last six to nine months, the IPO markets, I think it's 46 new IPOs in the last four months, which means they're having a growth, sales organizations. I'm just inaudible for software selling. The market is white hot again. And what people have done, they've come out of shelter in place, or shelter in job, is they've gone the opposite. It's just," I just need a change." Even if some of them are really happy and comfortable, they're looking at their life, all aspects of their life, with a different lens, and they're wanting change. Now, some organizations may be implementing return to office policies that others don't like. I don't know if the pandemic itself, or if people mandating change in the organization is causing an issue? It's more just people looking at their lives a bit different and saying," I want a fresh restart." And I get that. By the way, we're not perfect, we've got attrition like everybody else. So what we're doing is looking at, again, it's problem, not symptom. So you look at, who are you recruiting? You've got to go all the way out the string, and work on this. When you onboard an employee, what's that first time initial experience?
Devin Reed: Did you know the sales employee turnover rate is 35%, compared to an average turnover rate of 13%? That's nearly three X compared to all other departments. These stats come courtesy of HubSpot's research on the sales employee turnover rate. You might be wondering, why? Well, for one, we know sales isn't for everyone. It takes a lot of perseverance and mental toughness to be successful long term. While some level of attrition is natural, you have to be intentional about retaining your best talent. To overcome attrition, leaders need a solid recruitment plan in place to backfill employees who leave, or else growth is jeopardized. Luckily, Jason is here to help. Let's get back into the conversation and hear his advice on keeping employees engaged for the long run.
Jason Andrew: When you're looking at retention, why do people stay? What makes people come to your organization, and then what makes them stay in your organization? I think there's three different ways of breaking down the major problem. Recruiting, you're going to always have to do that. I think right now you've got to recruit differently. Again, it's a white hot market. So you don't want to recruit someone, and onboard them, put in investment, and then they're gone in 12 months. There's a lot of people thinking in this space, because it's very fluid, you've got to recruit properly. I think alternative recruiting methods are interesting. There's a lot of work going on out there. I probably won't show you that it's from the Harvard Business Review around how to spot talent, and it's saying," Hint, experience is overrated. Because problems are different, they're from maybe the mindset of how you fix them needs to be different. Early stage talent, and identification through university programs or whatever, they'd still want to be in the sales industry." Then why do they come to your company? They believe in what you're doing. They believe in the vision, the strategy. They love the manager that's recruiting them. And then for most other sales people, what's my client, what's my territory, and what my comp like? Those five criteria. Do I love the company I work for, and believe in what they're doing, and the culture? Who's my manager? Client, comp, territory. Whichever way you want to mix it. So how do you retain them? First of all, I think creating a culture of learning, you get good salespeople, they're highly coachable, so you've got to want to teach them. And this is what I was saying before about pay it forward. It's not just individuals that you're recruiting if you're recruiting management teams, or retaining management teams, they want to stay because they're getting developed. They're learning something new, they're doing something new. It's interesting when I look at the younger generation, these millennials that we're recruiting, it's not necessarily just about the money, it's about what am I going to learn, and what am I going to do, and how am I going to make a change in the organization that I'm working with? Whereas, maybe some of us older dogs, it's more just," Show me money." So you've got to get that right retention balance. We put a lot of effort into training programs. And I'm not talking," Let me tell you about my product," I'm talking about training you to be a better sales professional. So how to manage a first meeting, handle a difficult conversation, etiquette around presentations, presentation skillsets, and learning general... It's interesting, but learning sales skills through understanding and using role- play as a form of educational training. And even through the pandemic, even by Zoom and other online mechanisms, constantly giving the team the ability to learn and train, not just in your product, but in becoming a better professional, develop their own skillsets. And I think even more so for leadership teams, it's understanding... We run programs, we call one of them The Seven Wonders of Selling, so we teach the sales managers how to recruit, onboard, and develop employees. And then we teach them forecasting skills, pipeline skills, operating system, and cultural skills, so the Seven Wonders to integrate. Just giving them that vehicle where they say,"I'm always learning, and I'm always getting two- way feedback from working with this," is really key.
Devin Reed: I was on LinkedIn this week, and I saw a post from a sales manager, I think on the newer side, and she wrote," Oh, so nobody tells you how hard hiring is." That was the whole point, tons of comments and likes. And I was part of it, because I'm like, to your point," Most companies don't really teach people how to hire and recruit, and interview."
Jason Andrew: Well, let's talk about that. If you were hired to be an inside sales rep, or a BDR, not many BDRs, they don't normally get hired and say," Hey, my career ambition for the rest of my life is to be a BDR." Most of them will say, even if they're then inside sales," I want a field sales role." Most field salespeople, I'm not talking most, but yeah, it's probably most, they we say," I want to be a manager." So what takes you from being a great individual contributor to being a great manager? The point you made about recruiting is, the very first time an IC gets promoted to be a first line manager, and the very first time they have to go and recruit somebody outside the organization into the organization, they don't have a clue. Especially if they're recruiting sales people, they all sound amazing. They don't know how to read a resume. They don't know how to verify and check experience. They don't know how to challenge the person in the interview process. They just don't know what they don't know. So this comes back to what I was saying before about training and development. We offer our leadership training to our individual contributors, so before they want to become a manager, or they want to go from BDR to inside sales, to field sales, to manager, every stage there's development of them, so that they get the benefit of going to the next step. The point is, if I'm going to be an IC for a couple of years, I'm going to do really well, but I want to get trained to be a manager, now you've got a career path. Before you turn your head and look for another opportunity, you realize that," If I stay for five years, I can go from inside sales to field sales, to maybe first line management in five or six years." It gives you that career path. Most people will go for the management world by leaving the company they're in, to take a job somewhere else. And if you haven't had that training, you will fail. You won't be able to handle the pressure of recruiting and onboarding. Let's say you've got six people, three of them have been here five years, so you've got to look after and develop the long- termers, you don't want to lose them, they're highly skilled, very tenured. Three of those people have been here less than two years, you're still developing them into their role. Two of them are brand new, and one of them you just lost. As a manager, this is what you're dealing with all the time.
Sheena Badani: What I like about how you're investing in your individual contributors is, by giving them that management training, you're also showing that you're investing in them, that you believe in them. And that probably, I would expect, also helps with their retention and their desire to stay at the company.
Jason Andrew: It's differentiating. Everybody offers an OTU, everyone can say," Here's your package." Probably right now a lot people are also able to say," Here's your stock, pre- IPO, or invested RSUs." So the person that just leaves for money, or doesn't stay because of it... A longtime sales leader taught me this," Don't make a decision solely based on that pure economic state. You've got to think of the other variables, the other components." So if you hate the culture where you're going to... Again, if you don't like your hiring manager, or you don't have some sort of clarity on what good looks like. And then, lastly, how are you going to be developed, or is that the role you want to stay in forever? I become a little bit of a poster child for it at BMC, because I've gone through the journey. I've actually, I won't say I was trained every step to do it, but every time I would do it, I'd think back and go," I need to train people on what I've just been through, because the next person that takes this gig from me, I would only be as good as how sustainable it was after you left." So you're developing and training people. As I said about my leadership at beginning, I feel like I could put any one of the five of them into the role if I had to step out for a minute or two, and the business would run. And that's actually what you try to strive for, you want to get to. And it will retain people. They're getting the comp, they're seeing a future, they're being developed, they're being trained, they like the culture. Those become key elements for retention.
Devin Reed: You've got a pretty big organization existing today. How do you maybe identify the right people for first time leadership roles, or leaders who are ready to get into that senior level?
Jason Andrew: So maybe I don't focus too much on the recruiting aspect of it, because everyone's got their determination, growth, IQ, EQ, coachable. They've all got their own criteria on how they weed that out in the interview process. But I think if you've recruited well, especially if you can recruit not- in- play A talent into your organization, then you can create a pool of A talent. And even when a B or C talent comes in, they'll rise to the tide, they'll rise up with the rest of the A talent. How do you identify where to go next in that talent pool? You have to be very disciplined as a management team, this if from the top down. So we do regular nine- box reviews, the nine- box structure of, top right hand corner is what you call one talent, so they're imminently promotable, done the groundwork, got the performance collateral that ticked all the boxes on the 100% here, 100% there. I like to look for, did they create an initiative? Did it become institutionalized, in not just what they do, but people around them? A good one might be, they came up with some creative way to build pipeline, or manage pipeline. They not only institutionalized it with their team mean, which means they're good at coaching and training, but did they make the ecosystem, and those above them, did it develop through the organization? Did it become part of our DNA? Performance collateral, driven and owned an initiative that became important to the company. And the last one is, how's the ecosystem accept them? Let's say Sheena was an obvious A talent. Sheena was obviously-
Devin Reed: Her back is tired, because she's just carrying me all the time.
Jason Andrew: And then, of course, we had Devin. But let's say a promotion came up, and I decided the ecosystem, in the sales team, we all love both, but in the ecosystem, Devin didn't play fair. Devin would... Yeah, you're nodding your head Sheena.
Devin Reed: Sheena's already like,"Yeah. Did you meet him before the podcast?"
Sheena Badani: I heard about that.
Jason Andrew: The channel didn't like him, the lawyers thought that he was demanding, but, wow, look at these numbers. If you promote Devin, what message does that send to the rest of the ecosystem? If you do the wrong things, and I'm going to promote you, the rest of the ecosystem goes," What?" It might not sound... I always say that going from individual contributor to first line management is a big promotion, but that role is the hardest role in sales, because you're, like you said, doing recruiting for the first time. It's when you get further up the tree, or up the stack, that those promotions send a message to the rest of the organization. They really do. So identifying top talent, giving them the right development... It's shame on you as a leader if you pick someone out of the pool because they're amazing, and you promote them, and then you sit back and watch them fail. Nine times out of ten, it's you that created the fail, not them, because they didn't suddenly overnight become bad talent. Unless they weren't coachable, there's something you did, probably, wrong in that process. That's actually looking in the mirror. You've got to look pretty tough at yourself. I've done that a few times, where I've maybe not been the promoting manager, but I've watched others do it, and then seen the poor person, who was top talent, fail. It's a travesty, especially if the person had got tenure in the company. It's a really important component, what's their performance collateral? And when they win deals, do they go," Hey, I won it, and you guys didn't help?" What sort of character do they have when they're behaving? Have they created an initiative, and made it institutionalized in the company? And what's the ecosystems' acceptance of this person being promoted?
Sheena Badani: I really love that point around the ecosystem. I'm curious to get your take on another conversation, which is, how do you determine if somebody's ready for that promotion? There's either, they're already acting in that role, they're already doing the manager level responsibilities, versus the potential.
Jason Andrew: Often you'll see potential pretty early on, especially if you've done it a few times, and you've watched it a few times. It's actually making sure they spend a little bit of time in the saddle doing the role they're doing, before you move them up and you burn them out. This is a little trick that we've implemented, and it seems to work quite well. I talked before about alternative ways to recruit. One thing that we're doing, and it might sound a little bit different for sales, is we're actually bringing in interns. And we're bringing in these interns over summer, from locations where they want to become salespeople. Not many people go college and go," All I want to do is be a salesperson." I'm glad you're laughing, I hope your audience is.
Devin Reed: I was on mute, but I would've happily laughed aloud, most because I went to school to be an English teacher. And when I graduated, the first thing I did was jump into tech sales. I'm laughing, because I'm like," That's what I did."
Jason Andrew: Yeah. I'm an accountant. There are programs now, there are quite a few happening over in Europe, but they're popping up here too, where universities are offering graduate programs to salespeople, and some of them are world class. Let's say you go and you pick these interns up. So let's say, again, Sheena is a high performing individual contributor that's got aspirations to be a manager. Devin doesn't. So Sheena has done this early stage training, so we've got these early development... when I talked about Seven Wonders of Being a Great Sales Manager. So we've opened Sheena's eyes up a little bit to, this isn't as easy as it looks. And often when people go through this training, the first thing that happens, Sheena, is they go," That's why you asked me to do that," so you have an aha moment. So you're getting this development, and we're working with you, so lets prove this out, let's test this out. Let's bring an intern on. And Sheena, as an individual contributor, now has to manage an intern. It's only for eight weeks, that's all it is. You've got to set goals, create a plan, train them, put up with them, whatever it is, you've got to go through that process. That's one little test. The second one is, managers take holidays, believe it or not. We do take breaks, so why not have test windows? This is in Europe, they take a month off in July or August, and when they take the month of August off, who's their backup? Who sits in for them? We as a management team, how are we going to pressure test that person? How are we going to open their eyes up to it? They're tests, but you can see the potential coming. You can understand the things, and test them about performance collateral initiatives and ecosystem acceptance. You can give them little roles, like own a small team. Give them a project. One of the things we've done from a retention perspective is we've created... You can't have a project called culture, but we actually have a culture project called Destination BMC. Now Destination BMC, which is things like this, is no manager owns an initiative, all the initiatives are owned by individual contributors. So the Women in Sales initiative, we have a cooking class initiative. There's a buddy program, so when a new person comes into the company, who's your buddy? And you volunteer to be a buddy. There's all these different programs, managers don't own any of them, they're all owned by individuals. And you can watch people perform, or take on responsibility, because ultimately when they become a manager, that's what you're going to ask them to do, is take on a group of people with a set of personalities, and some corporate responsibility. So there's little tests you can take to identify potential in your organization. How do they perform in a QSR? Are they a coach? Are they constantly engaged? Do they drift off, sit in the corner and eat peanuts from a jar? What are they doing when they're in these... Because again, the minute you promote them, everyone is going to go," Well, that guy Devin is a clown. The last QVR we had, he sat in the corner and ate jelly beans." Little tests that you're doing along the way, being a sales manager is a really complex job, especially if you're a first time first line sales manager. Because again, if you've got six ICs, and two of them are tenured, two of them are getting there, and two of them are new, you're having to manage all this movement in your team. And when you get the surprise departure, so then you've got to go and recruit, and you've got to leave them alone for a bit, so you can recruit. So you're always trying to spot and pick out whether the RSM, or the person above, who's your successor? Who is developing into that role? Because it might not necessarily be the team sales reps. I have reps here that are 20 years of selling, that are Ics, individual contributors, they don't want to be a manager. They're professional sales people, that's what they do.
Sheena Badani: What I love about what you described, is that identifying potential is not something that is just you feel it in your gut, or that person looks like me. No, you laid out specific tests and opportunities for the person to prove out that potential. So I think that's what's really great about what you describe.
Jason Andrew: And it's amazing how many times... In a 12 week operating rhythm on a given quarter, there are windows that everybody has in their operating structure. So if you're doing pipeline generation, or you're doing your QSR, or you've got a week six deal review, give the IC that you think has got potential, a challenge." Hey, we've got a PG event coming up in three weeks time, that's going to be based around this topic, with some training, I want you to get with the enablement team, I want you to structure and build the training. I want you to run the PG event." Some of them will, again, if they're professional ICs that just want to stay in that world, they'll say," Not my gig. I'm selling for me. I'm driving my number. I'm going to beat my quota." Others will say," Here's my test, here's my opportunity. I'm going to go for it." One isn't right, and one isn't wrong, it's just helping you qualify the talent that's coming through the system.
Devin Reed: Well, yeah, and you don't want a whole team full of folks who don't want to go to management, and you don't want a whole team of folks who just want it, and vice versa.
Jason Andrew: It curates a bit of friction. If you promote somebody, like give them first line manager promotion, if you promote the person out of the team to manage the same team, that's a really tricky dynamic. One day you were their peer, the next day you're their boss. And if you're the person that applied for the gig, and didn't get it, then the rest of the management needs to understand you better find another role for that person, because they're going to leave. They're not going to want to work for their peer, necessarily. It's delicate, you've got to be careful with that situation. When it comes to recruiting, it's interesting you talk about that, I've got a couple of notebooks that I use. Even when I run... I do 25 one- on- ones, 30 minute one- on- ones, so about 14 hours a week I dedicate to one- on- ones, not with my leadership team. On Fridays, I call it Gratitude Friday, on Fridays I'll get the managers to roll up a list of, who do I need to thank? And I'll take three hours every Friday, and I'll ring them if I can, I'll email them, and whatever the reason I'm thanking them is, I'll do a thank you. But the one- on- ones, the skip level, or low level one- on- ones are typically based around the nine- box. If you've got 1, 500 sales people, and you want less than 10%, so that's 5- 7% of your talent, being in the one- box, imminently promotable, so of 1, 500 people, you're talking 75 individuals. Some of them might be Ics, and some might be managers. I have a rotation, a monthly and a quarterly rotation of these one- on- ones, to get at the top talent. So they get time with the CRO, but I get time with them as well. And the one- on- one is 30 minutes of what I call a 10-10-10. 10 minutes of, tell me what's going on in your life, let's just have a chat. We'll just brainstorm and muck around, talk about the dogs, the weather, whatever. We don't talk about politics or religion. And then we have 10 minutes where we talk about what's going on with their job right now, and what they're working on, and what's important. And then we have 10 minutes on what's going to happen next for them and their career. And they have to come with a one- pager that says, why Sheena? Why Devin? And then we also create an internal champion plan. And the internal champion is just, who's important to you in your career? Who do you think is important to you in your career? And then we go, does that person, can they spell your name, or would they die on the highway for you, because they think you're amazing? What that 10-10-10 gives the person is just a window to share with me a little bit about them, a little bit about their gig, a little bit about where they want to go. And then they leave behind with me, their why, and their internal champion plan. And it lets me navigate and get a view of what they're thinking. It's 25 people, but I love it, and they love it too. It becomes a culture thing. It just becomes a way of knowing the higher up. You got to have a structure... What you don't do, is you don't talk about development, but 99% of the time that's what happens if you don't... You'll put it off. You'll say,"I've got a one- on- one coming up," and you'll do expenses, and you'll talk about a deal." Oh, time's up," and you move on. You've really got to separate yourself, because there is a format for a proper one- on- one. Don't get me wrong, you need it, managers need it with their individuals, you need to have it. But the development one- on- one, or the skip level, or whatever you want to call it, that's when you're actually uncovering... it's your retention... you're uncovering what keeps them in the company, what keeps them engaged. Because some people will say," All I want to do is be a manager." I'm like," Okay. Let's pull apart what you're asking. What's your goal in life right now?"" Well, I've got to make a lot of money, I've got a mortgage and two kids under five." And I'm like," So do you think management is going to make you a lot of money? That's not necessarily the case. You're actually more in control of your destiny when you're an IC, so maybe you want to think about this management." So when you're a manager, you're now got six people you've got to look after. And it might be 8: 00 at night, or 6:00 in the morning, two little kids, trying to pay a mortgage? You're pulling up the, who are you and what do you want to be when you grow up conversation.
Devin Reed: All right, Jason, we're going to ask you the same question that we ask all of our guests, to wrap up, which is, how would you describe sales in one word?
Jason Andrew: My gut said challenging. My head said rewarding. My heart says passion.
Devin Reed: Well, Jason it's been fantastic. It is 5: 00 PM, I think your time, or at least maybe a little after, so the weekends getting started. And so we thank you. Have a good weekend, and hopefully we talk again soon.
Jason Andrew: Awesome. Thank you very much.
Devin Reed: Every week we bring you a micro action, something to think about, or something you can put into play today. Whether you're focused on retaining your people, recruiting new talent, or juggling both at once, Jason's advice inspires action. If you only do one thing after hearing this conversation, let it be this, give people opportunities to grow. People are on the hunt for more than just a paycheck when it comes to their careers. They want to grow, and to be on teams that help them learn. If you're looking for new people to join your team, considering hiring interns that, if successful, could become full- time hires. If you want to retain your current team, give them opportunities to step up. Have defined career paths and promotion plans in place. So if you're looking to grow your team, or retain the amazing talent you have today, showing people they will be able to learn and grow with your organization will go a long way. 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 like 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.
How do you identify high-performing sales professionals? Jason Andrew, Chief Revenue Officer at BMC Software, shares his tried-and-true insights.
His advice boils down to problem solving. It sounds simple but healing root causes (rather than symptoms) is key to success in sales leadership. Listen to hear more about why talent acquisition is so important and how you can retain your top people.