Welcome back to the final episode of Sales Leaders Spotlight, Season One. If it's your first time listening, in this podcast series we spoke with key players who are sharing their experiences and insights on the current sales landscape.

In S1 EP6, we have a special double-feature with Jacqui Murphy, Vice President of Marketing and Mercedes Geimer, Director of Business Development at Auvik Networks.

In this episode, we will dive into why the Auvik BDR team reports to marketing, their sales success metrics, and the tools they use to achieve clean data!

"The other thing that is there's a real culture of caring about each other, and I think that shouldn't be understated. When you truly care about the people that you work with, I think people are motivated to put in that extra effort."

Check it out below!

Listen here:

Joseph Fung: Jacqui and Mercedes, thanks so much for joining us. To warm things up, maybe you could help us out with a bit of an introduction. You know, what are your backgrounds and what brought you to Auvik?

Jacqui Murphy: What brought me to Auvik was Marc Morin. I worked with Marc at a company called PixStream back in 1999, in the dark ages, the Internet bubble. Marc was one of the founders of PixStream, and it was such a great experience that when he reached out to me about Auvik, I jumped at the opportunity. I had done a little bit of a stint in venture capital in between the two opportunities, 10 years worth of venture capital investing, and so I have an idea of the type of company that I want to work for after seeing how many different companies are out there. Auvik met all of the criteria. Nice large market, receptive customer base, great team, growing market, and talented engineers. So I jumped at the opportunity to work with Marc again.

Mercedes: It's really interesting how Jacqui says that Marc is what brought her to Auvik because the reason I came to Auvik was because of Jacqui. I used to work at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and a colleague of mine volunteered with Jacqui and she said, “You know, if you were looking for an incredible manager to work with, and to learn from, and to grow with, you need to talk to Jacqui Murphy.” And she said, “It does not matter what you do. If you are on her team, you will be better for it.” I said, “Okay, sign me up.” It's probably the best choice I've ever made in my career, to move to Auvik and to work with this team. I feel incredibly lucky.

Jacqui Murphy: I'll slip you that $20 later Mercedes

Joseph Fung: You're not the only one that's lucky. We're so thrilled to be sitting and chatting with you. We've heard amazing things about your team. I know that we've seen amazing work from the company, and from yourselves, and looking forward to learning a little bit more about how you guys run your ship.

Jacqui Murphy: Awesome.

Joseph Fung: One of the things that we bump into regularly, as we talk to sales leaders when they're building out a development organization, or maybe they've just made the move to stratify their organization, or they're moving into a new market, they often start off with their development reps reporting into sales. Whereas, at Auvik, the BDRs are reporting to marketing. Can you comment a little bit about what that structure is like?

Jacqui Murphy: The nice thing about having the BDR team reporting to marketing is it adds a certain level of accountability for the marketing team. So the BDR leadership sits around the table with the marketing leadership and if there are any issues in terms of lead volume or lead quality, we get that feedback almost instantly. Also, from a marketing team perspective, it makes our metrics so much more concrete because we can actually track that first part of the funnel. Since we are accountable for that first half of the funnel, we can see exactly how many qualified opportunities are being passed over to the sales team. It's our team's responsibility to qualify those opportunities and we have a quota associated with it. So it's very concrete as a metric.

Joseph Fung: Can you tell us a little bit more about some of the specific metrics, and do you differentiate between leads that come from your BDRs versus leads that maybe come from other channels?

Jacqui Murphy: We have a pretty singular funnel, we have a number of different lead sources that come in. We have leads that come in through search engine marketing, we have leads that come in through events, and then we have also a database of people that we've talked to in the past who've expressed an interest Auvik. So those are our three primary lead sources at this point and all of those leads are worked by the BDR team. So, all of the leads are generated by marketing, and then all of the leads work through the BDR team before they get to the sales team. So all leads flow through the marketing department before they get to sales.

Joseph Fung: Often the question about the role of a BDR or a development team comes in when we talk about alignment. You know, “how do we keep marketing and sales aligned?” We'd love to hear your comments on what do you think are some of the things that happen, what are some of the consequences when marketing and sales fall out of alignment?

[bctt tweet="The nice thing about having the BDR team reporting to marketing is it adds a certain level of accountability for the marketing team. So the BDR leadership sits around the table with the marketing leadership and if there are any issues in terms of lead volume or lead quality, we get that feedback almost instantly." username="kiiteHQ"]

Jacqui Murphy: Certainly, efficiency is the biggest thing I would say that we focus on in terms of the sales and marketing alignment here at Auvik. We're constantly looking at things like conversion metrics, and we have the front part of the funnel conversion metrics, we have the second half of the funnel conversion metrics, and then we have that pass off between the marketing team, BDR, and sales. Looking at the conversion metrics as leads flow from one team to the next team. From a metrics and reporting perspective, we keep a really close eye on those types of things, but even beyond that, it's really the human element that's critical, right?

When you talk about sales and marketing alignment, at the end of the day, we're all people and we all work together. We're all on the same team and we really try to not segment our groups as much as we possibly can. One of the reasons we actually have the BDR team in marketing is to make our metrics more similar to the sales metrics, so that we are all aiming towards the same objectives. But, we don't want the BDR metrics to be so far removed that they're out of their control. For example, our BDRs, their variable compensation is based on the number of qualified leads that they passed to the sales team, as opposed to MRR, because they can control the number of leads that are passed to the sales team. Beyond that, it's related to the control whether or not those opportunities convert. So while the metrics are aligned in terms of they're all heading in the same direction, they are still within that control of the BDR team.

But, from a social perspective, we do things like training together. We have a sales and marketing gathering that happens every couple of months where we get both teams together. Alex Hoff, who runs sales here at Auvik, and I work very closely from a strategy perspective, and really try to keep our teams aligned.

Joseph Fung: So, human processes don't always go perfectly smooth and sometimes you have bumpy relationships. Maybe between individuals, or organizations. What would be some of those concerns/complaints that you've seen as you handle those handoffs or the transitions from marketing sales?

Jacqui Murphy: Within any organization, there are obviously speed bumps. We have absolutely had those. At the beginning of last year, we were a team of 30 and now we're a team of 120. So going through that kind of growth is pretty crazy, I haven't experienced that for a while. So watching that growth and seeing all of these new people join the company so quickly, you have this small team of 30 that has the culture and the feeling of the company ingrained in them. Then you have this big whack of people who join all at the same time, all of whom are amazing people with great vision, great intelligence, and ideas to bring to the table and they want to start delivering value right away.

So they jump in, and they're super enthusiastic, and the people who have been there up until that point say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don't change everything all at once." And so there is a little bit of tension as you're growing that quickly. One of the things that we did as a team was really trying to manage the discussions that were happening around that time.

As there was tension, we nipped it in the bud. We'd get the people together. We'd try to figure out what the root of the issue was. We'd try to get that communication going and smooth that out as quickly as we possibly could because here, we have the set of tenants called the Auvik way and we really truly try to live by them, and anytime we see that someone is violating one of the Auvik tenants, we action it very quickly, and try to preserve that culture.

On the other side of that massive growth now, we've slowed our hiring a little bit, although it doesn't feel like we've slowed at all. Because we added seven more people last Wednesday, so I'm not sure that it's actually slowing, but it seems like we're much better able to manage that growth now than we were before. Although I hear that at every stage you go through the same kind of growth and growing pains, so I expect we'll see it again fairly soon.

Joseph Fung: You talked about how you work very closely with sales. When you're doing strategic planning, as you think about your growth plans, keeping the BDRs underneath the marketing umbrella, how does that impact the strategic conversations when you're doing your planning and your forecasting?

Jacqui Murphy: We just went through a really interesting planning exercise. So, funny that you should ask this question. In the past, our key metric for marketing has been the number of meetings booked per week and up until a few weeks ago, that was a fantastic metric for us because it made again the accountability very, very clear. Each BDR knew that they were responsible for booking three meetings a day, 15 meetings per week. It was very, very clear.

We did notice though that from an MRR perspective, our deal size was decreasing a little bit, and so we were trying to think about how can we continue to have our deal size increase over time, and we realized that number of meetings booked isn't a great indicator of what your revenue is going to be, right? Because deal size affects your revenue as well.

So we tried to find a better representation of MRR, but at the BDR level, and we realized that endpoints under management, which is a metric that our partner customers track, was actually a better indicator of how our revenue would scale. So we switched from measuring meeting booked to measuring number of endpoints booked per month. Now we have a team quota in terms of number of endpoints, which is a much tighter relationship with that MRR number. That was sales coming to us and saying, "We have this MRR quota that we need to hit. You have this meetings booked quota that you need to hit, let's let's figure out if there's a tighter alignment there, in terms of our two metrics that we track, in order to achieve the company objectives overall."

Mercedes: It's really the opportunity to have open communication with the sales team that allows us to do that. Being able to jump into a conversation with our VP of sales and marketing and say, "Okay, so this doesn't seem to be aligning the way we expected it to. Our prediction model is a little bit off, let's troubleshoot this and turn it around really quickly." That's the great thing, actually.

This goes back to your point about the Auvik way, one of the things that I struggled with when I got here was that “fail fast” is one of the things that we do. As a perfectionist, it was terrifying. I didn't want to fail at anything, and I've really had the opportunity to say, "Okay, here's an idea. I think it could be good. I think we should try it."

The beautiful thing is at Auvik you try it, and if it doesn't go well, you've learned from it and you move forward. That's been so refreshing to me to know that we can look at the data that we have, make decisions with the information that we know now and drive forward. It's so much more exciting than evaluating things for a million years before you get anywhere.

Joseph Fung: That sounds like a fantastically healthy and satisfying culture of experimentation. That's just wicked.

Jacqui Murphy: And our data is where it's at. We have such good data now.

Mercedes: We love our data.

Jacqui Murphy: It's been four and a half years of building this and I feel like we've just passed over this milestone into this land of beautiful data. We now have enough of it, and it's repeatable, and it's beautiful, and it's accessible. We can answer any question now with the data that we have. So we're really proud of our systems at this point.

Joseph Fung: So thinking about that, what would be some of the key ingredients of that system?

Jacqui Murphy: From a foundation perspective, we're using Salesforce. Salesforce is the source of truth for everything. Then, from a marketing automation perspective, we use Marketo, and from a reporting perspective, we use both FunnelCake and InsightSquared, and we've just added Slate, which is the flexible version of InsightSquared in order to be able to take data from all different sources, smoosh it together, and then built it into these beautiful representations of the data.

Our digital team has spent a ton of time making sure that things are tagged properly, and then using FunnelCake to make sure that the data is actually clean and accessible. Then from a reporting perspective, and visualization perspective, the Slate tool has just been transformational for us. On the BDR side...

Mercedes: ...We recently switched to SalesLoft, which is a cadence planning system for sales teams. I am in love with it. It is so great. It's so much more than the dialer. It's really helped us understand how to use our messaging in the most useful way.

Joseph Fung: You mentioned that shift in measurable metric from appointments booked to endpoints under management booked. You said that was fairly new. Has that rolled out to the BDR team already?

Jacqui Murphy: It has. I was recently listening to a podcast from one of our funders, OpenView. And they've got a podcast called BUILD, it's amazing. Their last podcast of the season was about account-based marketing and they were talking about how the rollout takes 90 days. I think we made the decision to switch this particular goal from meetings booked to endpoints that are managed on a Thursday and Friday. We rolled it out on Monday, and it's a real testament to the flexibility of our team that they just jumped in and went with it. We've actually had some very successful results come out of that already.

Joseph Fung: Mercedes, you talked a bit about how fast and how responsive your team is. What are some of the ways that you enable your BDR team and how do you keep them motivated?

Mercedes: Well, we have great coffee here.  Too great sometimes. I would definitely say that I am blessed to have amazing team leads. That's so important to have people who are kind of in the space and hearing it and living it every day. That has been very helpful for me. I am a former camp counselor and I will tell you, hiring camp counselors in marketing or sales is a win situation.

There is some sort of mentality that camp counselors have that just makes working with them delightful and fun and slightly unpredictable. I would say that the mind of a camp counselor when you're managing a sales team allows you to think of fun, spur of the moment, motivational gains, and incentives. So we've done all kinds of stuff. We have locked everyone in a room and to break out of jail, you have to book a demo.

We have had chase the ace, which was inspired by our friends on the East Coast. We have had Starbucks for the whole team if they hit quota a day early. It's anything and everything, and it's small and it's quick. So, the thing that I really care about is doing the opposite of “employee of the month”. Right? You don't want to wait for a formal recognition of your success. You kind of want to see it when it's happening.

So we do a lot of small things, and we call people out a lot for being amazing. I have found that allowing the team to take on that role and to cheer for each other is better than me coming down from on high and saying, "Oh, you did a good job." It's really just about recognizing it in the moment.

Jacqui Murphy: The other thing that is there's a real culture of caring about each other, and I think that shouldn't be understated. When you truly care about the people that you work with, I think people are motivated to put in that extra effort.

Joseph Fung: If you were to talk to a company that was either just building out a BDR team, or perhaps looking to level it out, maybe moving out of sales into marketing...What would be some of the first recommendations to you'd get to teach them? The things for them to keep in mind?

Jacqui Murphy: It's so specific to the person. I can talk to you a little bit about the structure here if that would help. One of the things that I've tried to do from a building and overall marketing team perspective is really thinking about how the different functions within the team interact with each other and really allow them to be true to their specific function. So our content team, for example, we treat like a publishing house.

They are accountable to create absolutely amazing content, and that's it. I want the best blog, I want the best podcast, I want the best events, and I want to make sure that everybody in our industry recognizes that if they're looking for great insight about what's going on in our space, they're going to turn to Auvik. Valuable content. I want them to think that they're a publisher and, at the end of the day, they need to generate an audience and that audience is going to be worth something.

That audience is going to be worth something to our digital team and our digital teams' role is to wrap nets around that audience, in a way that is sophisticated, elegant, non-intrusive, but gets that audience to actually engage with the content and want to lean in and learn more about Auvik. So, they're capturing those leads, they're bringing the leads into our database, and then they're nurturing them over time with the amazing content.

It's their goal to capture that information about these people. Then, we have our BDR team, and the BDR team is responsible for developing those one to one relationships with these people who have leaned in to engage with Auvik. So they reach out, they have conversations with them, they qualify them, and they make sure that they're a good fit because we don't want to force ourselves on anybody.

We only want people to engage with us, if they're truly interested in learning more about the product, and potentially purchasing the product at some point in the future. So the BDR teams responsibility is to engage with those people, qualify them, and provide that grade one to one contact before passing them over to sales. So we've got these three silos that work, you know, they're accountable to each other, but they all have their specific role in that overall flow of the marketing team.

[bctt tweet="There's a real culture of caring about each other, and I think that shouldn't be understated. When you truly care about the people that you work with, I think people are motivated to put in that extra effort." username="kiiteHQ"]

Joseph Fung: Sounds like you've built quite a remarkable and efficient machine. In the middle of all of this crazy tumultuous growth that's incredibly impressive. What's the next big thing on the horizon for you guys?

Jacqui Murphy: We feel like we're just getting started. We've obviously had a lot of success over the last couple of years, but this industry that we're in is so huge that we really feel like we're just scratching the surface and getting started. We have some exciting news that's coming. I'm sure once this gets aired it will be out there, and everyone will be able to look back and say, "I know what you're talking about right now."

But yeah, world domination is really where we're headed. There are a lot of networks out there and right now they're way too difficult to manage. At the end of the day, we want networks to be as easy to manage for a company that's turning on the lights. You know, electricity is quite complicated, but it's very easy for people to turn the lights on and off. We want networking to be that easy. Ultimately at the end of the day, that is our goal and there are still lots of networks in the world that Auvik is not on. We'd like that to change.

Joseph Fung: This is fantastic, and you've shared some amazing tidbits. Thank you so much for the time today, and looking forward to hearing it or the big news that's coming out.

Jacqui Murphy: Thanks for having us on.

Mercedes: Thank you so much.

That concludes the first season of Sales Leaders SpotlightWe've had a fantastic season interviewing top B2B sales professionals. We hope you've gained valuable insights throughout these past six episodes as we have at Kiite. For more information and access to the full season, please visit www.kite.ai/podcast. Do you know someone we should interview for season two? Maybe it's even yourself. We'd love to chat. Drop us a line at info@kite.ai. Thanks for listening to Sales Leader Spotlight, until next time.

You can listen to the episode above, and we’ve also included a transcript below.  You can subscribe to Sales Leader Spotlight on iTunes (here) and Google Play, or get the latest episodes delivered to your inbox by subscribing below. 

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