The lines between sales, marketing, CS, and product are more blurred than ever. This means sales and revenue leaders today are challenged not only with hitting big revenue goals, but also collaborating cross-functionally.
Clearly, the bar is high for startup sales teams today. So we called in veteran revenue leaders from Figma, Metadata, and Scratchpad to share their experience and tactical advice in a masterclass on How Today’s Revenue Leaders Win!
They answered burning questions such as how to balance your sales-assisted process with PLG, structure your team, and approach hiring in this competitive job market.
Meet the experts:
- Kyle Parrish, VP of Sales at Figma
- Olivier L’Abbé, President at Metadata
- Oscar-Wyett Moore, Director of Customer Experience at Scratchpad
Watch the full masterclass and get the key takeaways below!
1. With the blurring lines between sales, marketing, CS, & product, what’s important to focus on?
Whether you’re an early stage startup, a scale-up, or a large organization, communication across teams and across leadership is critical. That’s more true than ever today, as roles and functions between departments are becoming more and more blended together.
Ultimately, Kyle says, when you lose the lines of communication between different teams, you start to see that disconnect show up in the customer experience as well. You need to be thinking about providing a seamless, delightful customer journey, and cross-functional collaboration is key to making that happen.
“Don’t be confined by the traditional roles of sales, marketing, and CS,” said Oscar. “Start with the customer, and don’t be boxed into one way of thinking.”
At Metadata, Olivier says, they have a revenue meeting each week involving everyone who touches revenue. “It’s critical as a leader that you explain that everyone is responsible for revenue, even engineering and product.”
Overall, encouraging and facilitating cross-team relationships and collaboration should come from the leadership level.
2. How do you balance a sales-assisted process with product-led growth?
There’s room for both a sales-assisted process and product-led growth (PLG), Kyle says, which is what they’re doing at Figma.
The Figma team really leaned on their champions and product advocates early on, which helped them deeply understand designers and figure out their buying process. That enabled them to build a sales team and culture focused on being consultants and partners to customers.
“From SMB all the way to enterprise, our job is not to make arbitrary friction in the sales process,” said Kyle. “We have a velocity-driven sales motion that’s also focused on getting the customer in the product, because then they get value faster and discover use cases that we might not have found on a sales call.”
3. How do you structure your sales, account management, and CS teams?
Each of the panelists shared the unique ways they’re structuring their teams:
Scratchpad is working on building out its CS team now, but historically, they’ve had a Revenue Workflow Specialist team that has been completely focused on driving value for Scratchpad’s end users.
By giving unconditionally, making end users’ lives easier, and building an experience that exceeds expectations, they create advocates for their product who naturally will tell others about it.
Metadata’s sales team is focused on net new customers, while the CS team handles renewals and upsells. Since CSMs generally have a closer, more trust-filled relationship with the customer, it’s easier to train them to do upsells.
Metadata also just rolled out their first Account Management position, which goes after new stakeholders and business lines at current customers’ companies. Olivier recommends not adding account management until you have larger accounts.
Figma focused on building out their mid-market and enterprise AE teams to convert new customers at those tiers, and also added a role unique to their organization: Design Advocate. Similar to a sales engineer for a technical product, Design Advocates are from the Figma community, designers by trade, who already love the product. They help support live demos and one-on-one deep dives of the product for different personas.
Figma eventually started building their Account Management team as well, which supports renewals and drives expansion. They don’t have traditional CS, Kyle says, because they wanted to prioritize having one main point of contact for customer relationships to reduce friction.
4. How are you approaching hiring and building a strong team?
In today’s crazy competitive job market, it’s harder than ever for leaders to hire top talent quickly.
The panelists shared two key pieces of advice about hiring and building your team:
Be open to diverse backgrounds
Scratchpad has team members who were previously professional chefs, therapists, in the retail industry, and other non-traditional backgrounds. “Not being confined by resume or school or industry has helped us a lot with finding stellar talent,” Oscar said. “We’re more interested in their motivations and competencies.”
Olivier agrees: “The things I’m looking for are drive, hustle, curiosity – things you can’t teach.”
Be empathetic and personal
“We have to understand that a lot has happened in the world in the last few years,” Kyle said. A lot of people made major career changes during the pandemic or shifted their priorities – wanting more flexibility or wanting to try a different path entirely. Leaders should be open to these changes and work to understand why the decisions were made.
And in terms of setting your company apart during the hiring process, a little personal outreach goes a long way. Olivier said that at Metadata, their executives personally reach out to candidates during the process (and we do the same at Accord!) Showing your team and candidates that you care and are invested in their success can make a big difference in hiring and retention.
How do you decide whether to give a trial of your product or use a free tier?
Free strategies are a great way to generate leads – the question is whether to use a functionality-based or time-based paywall model (Freemium vs. Free Trial). The short answer is it depends on your product. Highly recommend reading this article about when to use each model!
What types of employee enablement do you have in place that have been the most impactful, especially in this remote/hybrid world?
At Accord, we’re remote first, with our team members spread out across the US & Canada. Because of that, we’re flexible about when and where our team works, and we have an “async by default” mindset – relying on thorough documentation and communication across teams. (One of our core values is “Radical Collaboration” – we believe everyone does their best when we work, win and grow together!)
Other ways we enable our team to be successful:
- WFH stipend to set up their home office with everything they need
- No meeting afternoons twice a week for uninterrupted focus time
- Social contracts where each team member outlines when and how they prefer to work and collaborate