10 Takeaways that will transform the way you sell
10 Takeaways that will transform the way you sell
The best way to level up? Surround yourself with A-players. To celebrate hitting 100 episodes, we’re sharing the top 10 insights that will inspire you to take your career to the next level. These tips come straight from the minds of Mark Roberge, Kevin Dorsey, Matt Rosenberg, Marjorie Janiewicz, and Dan Shapero (aka the sales leaders who are breaking the mold and winning their markets). Plus — if you’ve ever wondered what Chris Voss’s ringtone is… you’re going to need to tune in. This is one revenue-boosting countdown you don’t want to miss.
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: Welcome to a special episode of Reveal, the Revenue Intelligence Podcast.
Sheena Badani: It is a super special episode, not just special, Devin.
Devin Reed: Super special.
Sheena Badani: And the reason why it's so special is that we hit a really, really exciting milestone. We actually just hit our 100th episode of Reveal, the Revenue Intelligence Podcast. 100, Dev, can you believe it?
Devin Reed: We done made it. No, I can and I can't, because it's not I was counting down the days to Christmas. I wasn't at 97, 98. But I was talking to somebody, I think it was Casted, and I was like, " We've been doing Reveal for about two years now," and then right afterwards, Jordan who helps us run the show was like, " Hey, we're prepping for the hundredth episode." And it was like, wow, time flies when you're having fun podcasting.
Sheena Badani: It's so true. I think it got me just thinking a little bit about our journey and how, really, when you put your mind to something, what you can achieve. Okay yes, we know that, in theory, we talk about that stuff, inspirational talk, but this was just a little idea that the two of us had and we wanted to test it out. And we started, it just, the two of us, we were doing all the things and now we have a team. It's just amazing. And just the responses that we get from listeners on how much they love the show, the value they get. It really, it's worth taking time to pause sometimes.
Devin Reed: Absolutely. It is, and it's one of the few things I think we really dove into the deep end. I remember not knowing anything except for how to listen to a podcast. So yeah, from figuring out our strategy to topics, guests, learning about metrics, and, of course, always just, the whole goal was just to help revenue leaders be more effective by learning from other leaders. And I didn't expect it. Maybe it was very obvious, but I have learned so much in the last two years from these interviews. I always viewed it as this is for others and I'm going to be facilitating, but I've learned a ton. And we've talked to so many cool people, from Chris Voss to Arianna Huffington, go- to- market leaders at what, Amazon, LinkedIn, IBM, SAP. I'm not reading from a list, Slack, HubSpot, Netflix. The people we've got to talk to is masterclass, buffet style, and people I, frankly, would've paid to get coffee with.
Sheena Badani: Oh yeah, hundred percent, hundred percent. We would really love to hear from you. Maybe you have a favorite guest, a favorite episode, a favorite takeaway from Reveal. Send us a note, just tag Devin and I on LinkedIn, let us know what your favorite part of Reveal has been since you started listening to the show. We'd love to hear from you. And similarly, we thought we would recap our favorite parts of Reveal since the show started. So that's what we're doing today, we're going to recap some of the key highlights that we've taken away from some of our guests.
Devin Reed: Yes. And this is, it's both, we have our favorite takeaways and we also looked at the numbers, looked at what people have been reaching out, and we have our fan favorite takeaways. So no guest this week, but instead you get 10 guests, because we're doing the 10 favorite takeaways from the entire podcast in the last two years. And so you get 10 for the price of one, which is free. So you get 10 for the price of free. How about that?
Sheena Badani: I'm glad we use the data, because I think if the two of us just had to pick our favorite top 10, it would be ridiculously hard. So data comes in handy. So we're going to do this countdown style. We're going to start at 10 and go down to number one. So here we go, inspirational leader, number one. Devin, take it away.
Devin Reed: All right. Someone who I got to meet by having this interview, which came from our event, the Revenue Intelligence Summit back in 2019, someone who I liked, someone who I actually talked to on LinkedIn and I've kept in touch with, which is really cool, even though I haven't met him in person since that event. But we have Ed Calnan, CRO at Seismic.
Ed Calnan: When I started my career a long time ago, it was more you'd hear the characteristics for a seller are, who's the most gregarious, who's the most outgoing, who's the type- A personality, who's fearless and tough? And I think it's all changed because 20 years later, it's more about who's analytical, who can diagnose the customer situation, who can use the right content, who can use the right data to drive the right conversations? So you still have to be tough, you still have to work hard, you still have to be competitive. You also have to be smart and you got to think through every single interaction. Selling today, the buyers have become more complex. If you read the analyst reports, they know 70% of the buyer's journey is done before the sales rep shows up. Right? So they know who you are, they know what customers like you, what customers hate you, what your price points are. And if you don't use that to your advantage, you're going to lose a lot more than win.
Sheena Badani: Oh my gosh, hearing that clip, it just reminds me of being in this glass room that we had built at Celebrate, which was in person at that time-
Devin Reed: I remember that.
Sheena Badani: ... and sitting downand interviewing him. This was early days. This was, I had just joined Gong at that time.
Devin Reed: I do remember that. I remember, because I hosted, so I remember it was" Sheena, you got this." I know we have not done a single interview yet, but you're just going to take them off stage and go do a little interview. And then later I saw this, yeah, this glass, plexiglass thing that we created, that as you heard from the clip, worked. Not the best thing probably we've ever done, but it was cool to, like I said, here Ed onstage. But the thing that was really cool from his takeaway was hearing his perspective on winning the deal before the sales cycle even begins and that digital presence that people have, or that companies can create to help win more business.
Sheena Badani: Yeah. And just the way that he talked about what skills represent a salesperson today really resonated with me. I've been asked a couple of times, how I would describe sales in one word. And I know at least on one of those occasions, I've said strategic. And I think that's sums up a little bit about how Ed was describing it as well.
Devin Reed: Absolutely. Absolutely. All right, Sheena, take us to number nine.
Sheena Badani: Number nine. Okay, this sales leader, she joined us to specifically talk about diversity and how diversity is critical to building a high- performing sales workforce. She has built an exceptional digital sales team over at IBM. To introduce her, Rakhi Voria, director of global digital sales development at IBM.
Rakhi Voria: We were under pressure to hire quickly, and in those instances, we wanted to get the best and the brightest. And oftentimes, in order to have a really high- performing sales team, you need diversity. And it's not just culturally, but you need diversity of thought, age, background, perspective, gender. And unfortunately, not all of those populations come to you. You have to take the extra staff and go the extra mile to be able to attract them. And so, when we were hiring some of those people, unfortunately, we weren't getting a lot of women applicants, for example. And so you have to really think about how do you recruit from non- traditional sources? Make sure that you are demonstrating that sales and technology is a place where women can succeed and grow, and that it's a worthwhile profession and all of that.
Devin Reed: Sheena, what makes me very happy hearing this clip is that it was almost a year ago, but the topic hasn't died down. If anything, it's picked up. I mean, hiring a diverse sales team, diversity in tech, diversity in B2B, has continued to gain momentum and mind share. And I loved hearing her personal story from the full episode, her personal experience building diverse teams. And I just love that we were able to meet with her and hear how she personally is evolving sales to become an even more inclusive profession.
Sheena Badani: So true. And I think another thing to take away is that you can't just sit there and wait for diverse candidates to come to you, that's not going to happen. It really starts from your corporation, your corporate- level strategy. What decisions are you taking to attract this diverse group? So one small example that I could even think of that we did at Gong, was we were initially supposed to open our second US hub in Salt Lake City, which for many reasons is a great place to have a second hub. But in 2020, we decided that for business reasons, as well as to support our diversity and inclusion efforts, we decided to open our second hub in Atlanta. And it's been proven to be great for attracting new talent that maybe otherwise wouldn't have come to Gong.
Devin Reed: And I am very excited to finally make it out to ATL. I have not been there and there's a bunch of Gongsters that I need to meet and hang out with.
Sheena Badani: Let's do it.
Devin Reed: I'm looking forward to it. Maybe we can take Reveal on the road, do a little road show. Hopefully next year, that'd be great.
Sheena Badani: I'm in.
Devin Reed: Next, number eight, we have Dana Feldman, who at the time when she joined our show was the head of enterprise and mid- market sales at Amazon Business. And I don't know if it's causation, correlation or happenstance, she is now an enterprise sales leader at Gong. We dove into one of my favorite topics which is running effective one- on- ones. Let's hear from Dana.
Dana Feldman: I actually think not a lot of thought goes into one- on- ones. And I think where it gets even more interesting as a leader is I have this point of view that when our reps, and even if we're co- selling with them, when we go out to have that big deal call, it's hours of prep and mutual agreement on agenda. And we're role- playing, and we're getting ready and we're doing research on the people involved, and we bring all this insight and this information, and just an incredible amount of preparedness for that meeting. And then when you think about it, the people that we lead are responsible for driving our revenue. And I think a great question for managers is, how much are you preparing for those meetings with your team that is responsible for driving that revenue? And why is there such an off- balance in terms of how much we prepare for that client meeting, but how much we are preparing for the internal client meeting?
Sheena Badani: I think listening to Dana, I was just thinking of how many hours we spend in one- on- ones per week. If I took my calendar, at least 25% of my time is spent on one- on- ones. But how much time am I spending preparing for those? There is definitely room to improve.
Devin Reed: Yeah. I definitely had some, I don't know, self- awakening, some self- awareness after that interview, which is the same thing, right? Which has always reminds me, I know it's probably overused at this point, but you've probably heard, " Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." And I've noticed, too, there's weeks where you just don't have the time you wish you did to really put the thought and care into prepping for a one- on- one. But what really motivated me to make sure to do that, aside from, obviously, hearing from Dana, was feeling how much, I won't say worse, like less effective they are when you don't get that chance to prepare, right?
Sheena Badani: Oh yeah.
Devin Reed: Even if it's 10, 15 minutes. When you really go into those one- on- ones knowing what you want to cover, questions you want to ask, topics you want to make sure you hit on, you feel more fulfilled. And I have to imagine the person on the other side of the table, or today, the Zoom screen, feels the same way.
Sheena Badani: Yeah. It's just about bringing that intentionality to everything that we do at work, at home, personal lives, too?
Devin Reed: Yeah. One thing, Ryan Longfield, our CRO said, it was awhile back in one of the leadership meetings, but he essentially said something to the effect of, " I expect myself to bring my best self to every one- on- one, because my employees deserve that." And that was really powerful.
Sheena Badani: True. All right, let's take it into number seven. This sales leader was the former CRO of HubSpot and he's currently the managing director at Stage 2 Capital. He's a good friend of Gong. We have a common HBS connection. Let's hand it off to Mark Roberge.
Audio: It is a title that's getting a little more standardized. It was described as a lot of different things. I think it primarily came out of the fact that you need to better align marketing and sales and customer success through the customer journey. And that was the job of the CEO, unless you have a CRO who can align it. So I think that's probably the purest definition. Other drivers where you did see a lot of companies getting substantial revenue from non- human sources, like, Freemium, et cetera. So that's not really sales, that's revenue. Those are other pieces there. I would say the first part of overseeing the whole go- to- market, and when you move into that role, just department alignment becomes critical. And you don't see much of that when you're, say, a VP of sales, when you're CMO, when you're running customer success. It's very clear what your function is and how to measure success. But once you get to the CRO, it's just much more of that leadership, strategic, corporate governance perspective of, how do you align very different roles? And the best CROs start with the buyer journey, right? Sometimes you can get into an internal view where it's, " Okay, here's what an MQL should be defined as, and then we're going to call them six times and we're going to close the customer and write something up in the CRM, and then we'll do a meeting to talk about the onboarding..." Hey, what's it feel like to be a customer going through that? And that's when the great CROs shine as though, Okay, let's start with the customer comes to the website, what do they see? What catches their eye? If they download this, what would they want to have happen? And then if they do have a meeting with us, what would they want to talk about? And if they sign a contract, what do they want to do next? You know what I mean? So that would be my advice, is to think it from that lens. Right, makes sense. What are some of the big shifts that you're seeing as you've grown and developed in your sales career, and the market is different, the environment is different. Would love to hear a little bit about that. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, you said it when we were talking earlier about the demands on customer experience and the empowered buyer. And that's definitely the pattern I'm seeing across the board, but especially in the earlier- stage growth environments is, in general, I think we, as an entrepreneurial community over- index on top- line revenue growth and under- focus on customer success, value creation and retention. And that's the pattern as I dive in with a company pretty deep, every month. And that I've done it, 20 of them over the years, and that's the one pattern that I see that, either they rocket ship or they don't, is how consistent and quickly they're creating customer value? And here in services, I think they're branded as aha moment. It's like, what can you observe in the first two months of a customer's life cycle that if that occurs, they will be a long- time customer, and if it doesn't, they will probably churn?
Devin Reed: So maybe it's just me, but I can honestly never get too much of Mark Roberge.
Sheena Badani: He's so good.
Devin Reed: We had him, we talked about Ed being at the Lightning Strike event and that launched Reveal. Mark was also, with three episodes, Mark was one of the other ones. But the clip we just heard from was actually a webinar that we played as an episode. I think it was last year where I got to host a webinar with Mark and Anna Baird, the CRO over at Outreach. It was a little bit after the pandemic, and I thought, " Hey, who are the smartest sales leaders I can meet with and talk about deal momentum and understand how we can help sellers and sales teams keep deals moving forward, despite all the uncertainty that was 2020?"
Sheena Badani: Yeah. And I think just hearing him talk about shifting from focusing on demographic to firmographic indicators, just made me think that you can't just go with the status quo. What may have worked yesterday is not necessarily going to work today, or what worked at your last company, you can't just bring that over and implement that at your current firm. You need to look at how the market is changing, how sales processes are changing, how decision- making is changing. And that's all happening right now, especially with COVID and folks... Everything is just flatter now. So I think reevaluating some of your key processes and how things are done, that should be a continuous process. It's ever changing.
Devin Reed: Yeah. Yeah. And that topic and that concept has fueled a lot of the Gong Labs research in the last year, too, looking at how does multi- threading, building relationships with multiple people, multiple levels at a company you're selling to, how does that impact win rates? One we did recently was how does it impact your deal size? We've seen positives, charts go up and to the right, spoiler alert, when you multi- thread. So all good things. My second favorite, if we're doing runner- ups, it's got to be number six, Kevin Dorsey. He's the VP of inside sales at PatientPop. He's a celebrity, if there are such things on LinkedIn, and I really enjoyed talking to him about deal signals. So let's go hear from Kevin.
Audio: So if I, if I look back, really, through my career, I think something that has helped me a lot is pattern recognition, being able to look at things and pick on, what are the patterns? What's the pattern? What does this rep do more consistently than this rep? What types of deals seem to close faster? Which ones have a higher ACV or contract value? And so I'd always spend time looking for those things. And it really hasn't been until, say, the last, maybe four, five years, that tools started to be able to help with it. You used to have to go in and listen to every call or you used to have to inspect every single deal, and you can't do that. And so, with the revenue intelligence as a category, what it's really helping me do is pick up on patterns faster, so then I can then coach my team on the right things, or to target the right types of deals, or to work in a certain, even strike zone. What's my strike zone? Once you know the pattern, right? So it starts with awareness, then there's the pattern recognition, then there's the process, and then there's the practice, putting it into practice. So that's how revenue intelligence helps me scale, is because once I pick up on it, everything else goes to the side and we're going to double down on the things that are working.
Sheena Badani: Devin and I were just looking at our notes for what we were going to say for Kevin, and we had the exact same one- liner, that Kevin is the most data- driven guest that we've had on the show, which is super fitting. I think that's why we both loved having him on the show.
Devin Reed: Yeah. And we didn't really know it going into it either. I mentioned in the initial interview, I had known KD via LinkedIn. We've chatted and been in the same spheres but never talked to directly. So when we brought him on, we didn't know that that would be the case. But it was really cool to hear him talk about before and after adopting revenue intelligence. Before it was using his human ear and hearing his managers talk about patterns. And then, he just said he gravitated so quickly to revenue intelligence, because it let him do that at scale so much easier and let him confirm and pressure test some of those patterns that he'd picked up on, on his own.
Sheena Badani: Right. And the other thing to think about is, don't buy a solution or a tool, to buy the tool to increase your stack. Figure out what you're trying to drive. For him, he was thinking about productivity and how to make his team more efficient and how to drive more accuracy across the requirements that they have for their deals. And that's where revenue intelligence fit in for them. So, same thing for you, if you're thinking about bringing in a solution, what's your pain? What are you trying to solve for? And then work backwards from there. Guest number five is actually not a revenue leader, but still one of the best guests that we ever had on this show. I will always remember this episode, because Devin is a huge fanboy of this guest. And I could see through the Zoom screen, how nervous he was that day, which never, never happens. So number five is Chris Voss. He's a best- selling author of Never Split the Difference, and a true negotiations expert. So let's tune into what Chris had to say.
Audio: While it's a word that's used all the time in common society, it's come to mean sympathy, the synonym for sympathy, and it's not. It's not, it's not, it's not. It was never meant to be that way. And you restrict yourself if you restrict it to that definition. Empathy is just demonstrating understanding, and you know you've done it when the other side feels understood.
Devin Reed: I tease that KD was my runner- up, because as you said, Sheena, Chris Voss was by far my number one choice, my favorite interview. And you're right, I was nervous. And I even prepared to be nervous, if that makes sense. Going an hour before the interview, I was doing laps in my apartment. I'm like, " Okay, I'm going to talk to Chris Voss. It's not a big deal. It's totally fine," and then my heart rate would increase. But I loved talking to him. He was very cool. He's a very cool guy. And I know it's funny to call people cool, but he was also very cool and collected, which, I suppose, makes sense. Because if you compare negotiating against, or for hostages compared to our podcasts, I'd say ours is a little bit easier. He definitely brought it. And before you share it, because I know it's on your notes, I want the listeners to ask yourself, think of Chris Voss. He's a New Yorker, best- selling author, FBI hostage negotiator. What do you think his ring is for his cell phone? It's a famous song. We'll give you a hint. Think about it. Sheena, we were in the middle of an interview, we're recording and his phone goes off. Remember what his ring tone was?
Sheena Badani: Oh yeah, it was Bad to the Bone.
Devin Reed: ...We're in the middle of interviewing and all of a sudden, you hear that... and me and Sheena look at each other in the Zoom, we're like, " Is that what we think it is?" And we start laughing because-
Sheena Badani: It was amazing.
Devin Reed: ...is there a better ringtone for that guy?
Sheena Badani: So good, so good. I'll never forget that day.
Devin Reed: Number four, a friend, a mentor, a previous CRO of mine, Matt Rosenberg. He is now the CRO of Compass. Let's go hear him talk about multi- level selling.
Audio: Who is my customer? How do I focus the resources I have to drive the most return for the least cost? And then, the next question was, how do you speak to them? Because each of the segments wants to be spoken to a little bit differently. The buyer personas are different, so there's a lot of persona definitional work that I think has to happen. Underneath all of that was the next exercise. I shouldn't say next, it was simultaneous, which was building out a sales methodology and process that mapped to the segments you were going after. And that had to be not only in building out the actual methodology and process, but mirroring that in Salesforce, building out the tech stack in a way that you could see the data. And not only scaling the sellers, but building a sales operations team that could interpret the data, because you're constantly iterating. You're trying to figure out what's working, what's not. You're looking at the data and trying to understand where are those signals and where they're not. And then where they're signals, lean into the signal, expand slightly from that and continue to gain market share.
Devin Reed: So I've a prefaced, big fan of Matt, really enjoyed it. He actually recruited me to go work at Eventbrite. So he was a big reason I jumped over to the event space. Never had much intention to do so. But he is just by far one of the most strategic leaders I've ever had the opportunity to work for. And it's always just, anytime I can get a chance to talk to him on the phone or interview, anything, I've always learned something. And it's never tactical, and that's not a bad thing. It's just, he's so strategic and he's always so intentional with what he does, that I really love hearing him share. At the time, before Compass had went public, because he led them to an IPO, and just hearing how he very clearly articulates his strategy, how he prioritizes his ICP, how he thinks about what resonates with him. And he just uses almost a very steady marching approach, if that makes sense, to growing the business. And he's, I mean, he led Eventbrite to an IPO, did it at Compass. I joke and I tell them, " Wherever you go next, I'm following you, because three's a charm and all. I'm happy to be on that train with you."
Sheena Badani: And I could get that sense from him from our conversation, too, even as he was talking about rolling out sales ops and RevOps, it wasn't just to do it or to get some data, it was really a reflection of their strategy of unifying all the process and the interaction, the data, across all of the go- to- market teams. So I thought that it was unique to hear some of his perspectives on that front, too.
Devin Reed: Absolutely.
Sheena Badani: All right. We're in the top three. So number three. This is a sales leader who actually formerly worked with at MongoDB. She is a CRO, one of few females who are in this role, so I am just so inspired by her in this position. And she's currently CRO of HackerOne. Let's tune in to Marjorie Janiewicz, CRO of HackerOne.
Audio: 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 our 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. I guess, 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- powered security did not really exist before HackerOne started the business.
Devin Reed: Marjorie was one of the early interviews we did, probably back in 2019 or early 2020. Because I remember it was in- office, and we got to hang out with her, which was fun. But one of my favorite things that she had mentioned was hiring for specific types of sales reps and knowing at what time in your company maturity that you need certain types, right? And so she was like, " Hey, I'm not just looking for coin- operated sellers," which is a stereotype. You really mapped out, depending on where you are in your sales maturity, as a sales process, but also as a company, there's certain types of sellers that you need. And coin- operated folks that you can just plug and play into a proven system isn't what she needed when she was scaling out that team. So it was really interesting to hear that, and also just debunked the whole salespeople just want a bunch of money and then they're happy. That's not how, frankly, anybody actually is motivated. There's a lot of data on that.
Sheena Badani: Exactly, exactly. And the other thing that she talks about is using your mission as your differentiator to higher revenue professionals. It's the same thing that we heard from Kelly Breslin Wright when she joined our show. It's really using that to unify your team and hire the best of the best. If they're passionate and they can believe in your mission, they're going to stand out.
Devin Reed: All right, top two. We should send them an email to let them know, because I think Jonathan Frick, partner at Bain, will be happy to know that he got selected as the number two takeaway here. Which is, honestly, when I read what the takeaway is, it's going to be obvious, because we still talk about this. We hear it all the time, which is how to move B- players to be A- players. And in this case, as Jonathan broke down, what prevents B- players from becoming A- players?
Audio: Top performers and average performers, call them A- and B- players, is actually behaviors that you could teach people on and coach people to get better at. Some of it is innate talent differences. Is someone really right for this sales role or should they be in a different sales role? Some it's structural, somebody's got a bigger patch and somebody who's got a smaller territory. But a lot of it, actually, when you look at it is really stuff that you can teach people to do. Which is quite interesting because, obviously, if you could turn a significant portion of your average people into something that looks a little bit more like your top people, that would be pretty cool for most salesforces to be able to do. The other insight, which we can come back to more later, is just that it's actually really hard, though, to do that consistently, as easy as it sounds. And so there's a bit of a science around how you do behavior change.
Devin Reed: Sheena, you know pretty much everybody we've talked to on the Reveal podcast, because one of them used to work at Bain. So I know you were pumped. We had Jonathan Frick, and a couple of weeks ago, we had David Deming. So we're Bained up.
Sheena Badani: We're good. All the Bainies on. But I think what is so unique, his role is all about advocating for coaching. And I think that's so amazing. And he's going in and talking to leaders at some of the biggest companies in the world to influence them, to implement coaching at scale and in an effective way so that you can measure it.
Devin Reed: Absolutely. Bain's been a great partner. Clearly a topic that's still top of mind for sales leaders and something, speaking of Dana Feldman, again, shout out, she's the one we've been hearing a lot internally right now about this narrative around moving the middle. The biggest impact you can make when you're coaching your team isn't C- players to B- players. It's not making your A- players 5% better, it's getting your B- players to become A- players. So if you can figure that out and you can coach at scale, you're going to be in great shape for 2022. Sheena, without looking at your notes, if you haven't already, do you know what the number one takeaway is?
Sheena Badani: I can guess, without looking at the notes before having prepped for this session, it would have been my number one interview, my personal selection. And so, our number one is an amazing, amazing leader. He is currently the chief business officer at LinkedIn. We were so thrilled to have Dan Shapiro on the show, and this was when we were in person. So we were in our Reveal studio, in our office, in San Francisco. We had our neon light behind us, and we got to have a one-on- one conversation with him. And it was really, really enjoyable and inspirational at that. So let's hear from Dan.
Audio: I remember talking to this person and just how much they loved closing the deal and how little they cared about what happened afterwards. And that just doesn't play anymore. I mean, we're in a subscription business where every year a customer decides whether or not they value the relationship, whether or not they want to go bigger with their vendor or their partner. And it's based on a better understanding of where value's getting created. And so, I think we're in a moment where we need to rethink what sales is from a deal- closing organization to a customer- value organization. Because customer value is the best predictor of long- term success of the relationship. We see it time and time again, the customers that get value from our products, whether they're people, closing deals, building leads, learning for the organizations, those are the customers that grow over time. But if you ask the average salesperson, " What's your job?" Or, " Deep down, what do you think your job is?" It's signing paper- Close deals. Mm-hmm (affirmative).... and that's the start. Actually, I think this trend is incredibly healthy, because it aligns the buyer with the seller. At the end of the day, we care about the same thing in that world. I care about delivering value for you, because I know that if I deliver value for you, that that's going to translate into a healthy business, a bigger business and a bigger relationship over time. I mean, that's a partnership. That's actually definition of a partnership is real alignment.
Devin Reed: I remember, I think I'm going to say what I said then and in response to Dan on the show, which was, I loved hearing from... He got promoted to chief business officer a little bit after the interview, but he was head of sales, is hearing, hey the long- term vision of this client- seller partnership, it starts when the deal is signed. It's not about bookings. That's very important, obviously, but it's the beginning of the relationship, not the end.
Sheena Badani: Not the end.
Devin Reed: And, really, just hearing him dive into why it's so important and how he really centers everything around listening and being empathetic and really understanding the customer, and hearing how that trickles down to his senior leaders, his managers and even his reps, to make sure that they're delivering value on all fronts, across all their business lines, was really refreshing to use that term.
Sheena Badani: Yeah, for sure. And I would say that was a theme that we heard a lot in our conversations with sales and revenue leaders over the last year and a half, that the focus on the customer, it's not just about winning deals, but making sure that customers are happy throughout their life cycle with you. What are the processes? What are the incentives? What can you put in place in order to make sure that everyone is hyper- focused on that? At Gong, we call it creating raving fans, and every single person at the company is focused on that.
Devin Reed: Exactly. And one more quote that if we had another takeaway for Dan was is this thing he said, " You can never replace the texture of a conversation." Which was his way of saying there's nothing better than hearing the customer voice directly. I remember he said, back when he was traveling, I'm sure he found a way to do it now, but every day, I think he said, he found a conversation, made sure he listened to it, because there's so much information you can get from your customer when you hear it directly.
Sheena Badani: Love that.
Devin Reed: Well, that was a quick top 10, because that is a wrap right there. So as Sheena said, if we missed any of your favorite takeaways, give us a shout. You can tag us on LinkedIn or give us a shout at reveal @ gong. io. And, of course, if any of these highlights piqued your interest and you want some more, you can go listen to the full episode, wherever it is that you listen to podcasts, could be Spotify, Apple, I heard Amazon's got one, Google's got one, wherever it is you're hearing our voice today, you can go get the rest of the episodes.
Sheena Badani: That was such a fun walk down memory lane. And just thinking about all the times that we had with each other and with these leaders in the office, on Zoom. I really am looking forward to the next 100, and having this episode in, I guess, it'll be in roughly two more years from now. And once we start packing them in, Dev, two a week.
Devin Reed: Yeah, used to be one a day. I don't know. There you go. Absolutely.
Sheena Badani: So yeah, so much fun.
Devin Reed: Want to thank everyone for listening. If you made it this far, you care about go- to- market strategy just as much as we do. So thanks for hanging out with us. We hope you learned something today, and here's to the next 100 episodes.
Sheena Badani: Thank you.