Remote work has been thrown around everywhere this last year!
As a sales person, whether your preference is that you work from home or are in the office, many companies have been following a remote work model for years – and many others are moving in that direction. But what comes next? And where where is the industry headed in regards to remote sales work?
Our panelists got real about what to expect in the next 5 years at The Future Of Remote Sales Work.
Event Recap: The Future Of Remote Sales Work
Joseph Fung: Hey everyone! Welcome so much to the future of remote sales work. We have a wicked wicked panel of conversations here. This is going to be a blast, you can see Caitlyn, Alyshahn, Luiz, myself. We’re gonna have a fun conversation about the future of sales work.
We have a couple of pieces of information we want to hit before we get started. But let’s dig in first house rules. This is for the panelists, points for sharing opposing views, we don’t have a conversation while we all just agree, watch the chat in the Q/A, so for the audience, if you have questions for all the panelists specific panelists or you want to take the conversation in a new direction toss it into the chat, toss into the Q/A, I’ll be watching for that closely as well I’d invite everyone to be sure to share the live stream URL that’ll show up in the chat on twitter, LinkedIn with your networks because folks who aren’t here in the zoom room can join us live or catch it after the event and then finally this is more house rule for me, we’re going to finish on time.
This is a 60-minute conversation. I promise to wrap up and get everybody out so that you can all enjoy the rest of your evening. But with that said, let’s actually dig in. I’m going to stop sharing my screen. We’re going to get these videos up and we are going to get our panelists to introduce themselves. So, let’s, give me a moment right here and get rid of this and bring our panelists right up.
There we go. Thank you everyone for joining us. This is going to be such a fun conversation. I’d love to start off if I can get each of our panelists to introduce themselves, your name, your title, the company you work for and instead of the plain old, here’s what we do would love you to introduce yourselves and share what’s the weirdest fashion that you’ve ever rocked and I’ll start that off, Joseph Fung, Co-Founder, CEO at Uvaro and yeah back in the 90s, I had one of those terrible undercuts, you know where we got the hair all hanging over its buzzed right up on high and I owned that like no one’s business.
So, using the same order that we had on the slides, Caitlyn, Alyshahn, Luiz can you introduce yourselves in that order and then we’ll dig in.
Caitlyn Ngu: Awesome! Thanks Joseph and thank you so much for inviting us to be here today. So, my name is Caitlyn. I’m the Founder and CEO of HireUp which is a new recruitment tool that helps streamline and streamline the hiring process.
So, I’d say the strangest trend I’ve been a part of had to be way back when the Spice Girls were popular. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had a pair of the White Platform Shoes. So, I don’t know where they are now I kind of wish I still had them but that is unfortunately a semi-traumatizing childhood memory.
Joseph Fung: I don’t know if that’s unfortunate. That’s a pretty badass one. Thank you for sharing.
Caitlyn Ngu: Oh no problem.
Joseph Fung: Alyshahn.
Alyshahn Kara: My name is Alyshahn Kara. I am Chief Revenue Officer at GooseChase. We are a mobile application for scavenger hunts used for everything from festivals to onboarding new employees to education in the classroom you name it and crazy’s fashion trend, I don’t know if it’s like did rock or but I tend to change up my hair quite a bit like so I had a man bun shoulder-length hair.
I had blonde platinum hair you can still see some of the remnants of the platinum in my hair still. So, yeah just like to keep it fresh and keep people guessing, I guess.
Joseph Fung: I love this know that like your distant throwback. So, that’s you were rocking that recently. Nice! Luiz.
Luiz Cent: It’s amazing. Hey, everyone stoked to be here. Thanks, Joseph, Christina for putting this together. So, I am the Head of Sales at Mailshake. We are a Sales Engagement Platform and the craziest fashion trend that, when I lived in Bali, I wore a Sarong instead of wearing you know shorts or pants.
And it was totally okay there and I tried to bring that back to Austin and it lasted for about a week before, it just did not work. So, Sarong is like a you know like a long skirt but you know it’s fine in Bali not okay in Texas.
Joseph Fung: But, what about in Miami, would it work there?
Luiz Cent: I haven’t tried it yet. I’m really considering now that you made me think about this.
Joseph Fung: So, there’s the challenge. That’s going to be the future of remote sales, you know, the Sarong in Miami. There we go. Nice. Okay, let’s dig in, I promised we’d keep it to 60 minutes and for those in the audience, we have a ton of questions lined up.
I really do invite your questions from the chat, but don’t worry we’re going to keep this moving and I know we don’t have the time to get through everything. So, let’s really dig in, our panel has such a great diversity of experience. I’ve got a specific question for each of you just to help frame up you know some reference.
So, Caitlyn first for you, you’ve got this wonderful interviewing hiring platform and you’re using video for it. What was the real event, the trigger that made you realize you needed to solve this problem?
Caitlyn Ngu: Yeah, so there are a lot of reasons why I started working on HigherUp. But, I think the main moment where I decided that this was something I was going to go ahead and build was I was actually at an event at Mars and I was watching this promotional video and then suddenly in the video.
I saw somebody that I knew and around that time I hated my job. I wanted to work elsewhere, I was so unhappy and I just sat in the audience thinking gosh, I wish that she could see me sitting here, like I wish that she knew I was looking for work, like, what if I could just pitch her on hiring me and so that’s when I kind of decided how come that doesn’t exist why isn’t there a place where video resumes live and so from that point on.
I started working at some of these tech companies to learn more, so I worked at Zello, which I used to be career cruising, worked at Top Hat, I’ve worked at Wattpad and what’s interesting is that after going through as many interviews as I’ve gone through across all of the different companies and just companies throughout my career, one of the things that often happens is you encounter someone and they’re kind of just there to make sure you’re an okay hire, do you know what I mean?
Like you have couple a couple people who sit in on interviews that are just to you know give a thumbs up and I started just pitching people, like they didn’t know you know oh they didn’t really have a chance to see my resume maybe they did but they’re busy and I said you know, do you want me to just talk and tell you about myself, and they were like, fantastic, right.
So, it saved them the trouble of trying to ask questions that made all like that maybe have already been asked and it was just kind of a big time saver for me. So, I just figured looking for a job is really tedious, there has to be a better way for us to be able to interview on our own time and also on our own terms.
Joseph Fung: Love it and especially as we think about those remote sales careers that experience is so relevant, so this is awesome. Alyshahn, on the flip side, not so much video specific but experience your team has been remote for a decade.
In the sale, so with that in mind, you know, your team’s remote in that landscape of selling, what have you seen change over the last few years? What’s really kind of jumped out to you as a difference in how sales has changed?
Alyshahn Kara: I feel like the oldest person in the world when I say this and often get laughed at by some of my colleagues, but I would say that you know I started my career at Canon and was working on GooseChase at the same time, so goose chase was kind of like a parallel business that we grew while I was at Canon and it’s just so interesting because I told you guys the story when I was at Canon.
We used to have power hour on Wednesdays and we would dial from 8 to 12 and we had to make 50 phone calls an hour just off of a list and you know there was often times where I’d call people and the person on the other line you’re asking for is passed away and the next person you call is passed away and your job when your manager comes over is like well did you get the next decision maker and that’s maybe a little aggressive right to say that the managers were that harsh.
But I think what has happened in sales and I saw this a lot when I went to sales forces and SDR after Canon is that people in sales don’t understand what it means to knock on doors and to cut your teeth and you’re wearing your dad’s suit and make thirty five thousand dollars or twenty eight thousand dollars a year because tech companies make it such a nice cozy environment for you to really have every opportunity to be mentored and to succeed and that’s amazing don’t get me wrong.
But there’s this almost this like underlying sense of entitlement of you know I need to get promoted every year enough to say that everybody has it but that’s a huge shift in sales that I don’t think existed when I started my career and I’m not sure if that’s going to persist in the remote environment because maybe you don’t have that office-based environment where you’re breeding that almost locker room type culture, so, it’s certainly interesting the you know the shift in sales you’re even in like a you know a 12-year span.
Joseph Fung: That is a great perspective and we’re going to dig into that locker room conversation. Love seeing the activity in the chat there. Luiz, I have a question for you, before I get to that a big thumbs up to folks who are tossing their comments in the chat and I already see questions showing up there, so I’m going to dip into those shortly.
But, Luiz you’ve had such a wonderful varied career e-commerce you know managing sales teams remotely, we’re going to spend time talking about authenticity. So, we’d love to anchor on that idea of what’s been your true north? You know what’s been that thread throughout?
Luiz Cent: So, my true north and the Founder of Mailshake helped guide me and bring me back to this a long time ago when I asked him to become my mentor from this online community called inbound.org so Soojin Patel brought it back to helping people and instead of focusing on making money, instead of focusing on anything else just focus on helping people and you know to quote Zig Ziglar, ‘you can have everything in life that you want, if you just help other people get what they want’.
So one of the reasons I was a MailShake customer before I actually joined the team and then I joined as a CSM because that was my previous role and then got the opportunity to go out and build a sales team. So, for me it’s been the company that I’ve always wanted to work at in terms of growth and what better company to work with than helping other businesses grow. So, for me it’s been a really a great blessing to be able to help so many customers grow their businesses.
Joseph Fung: Nice and that idea of helping out I think it’s a really nice dovetail. There’s a question already in the Q A that I think Luiz I’m going to send your way first and because you’re working remotely with a team that isn’t necessarily entirely remote. one question from the audience is what have been some of the most difficult barriers you’ve had to overcome or experience as you’re working remote? oh happy to open it up to the others on the panel but I want to start with Luiz because of his experience right now.
Luiz Cent: Yeah, absolutely so we we’ve been fully remote since pre-pandemic and we’ve always hired onboarded recruited remote most of the team, it hasn’t even because we’ve scaled so much in the last year most of the team hasn’t even met each other in person we haven’t even had those you know get-togethers that we used to do every year, so in terms of like I guess let’s go back to the question.
Joseph Fung: The obstacles, what have been the biggest challenges?
Luiz Cent: Yeah, the biggest challenges are you have certain reps that prefer the office environment and for us it’s just not it’s not the rep that we’re looking for we’re looking for somebody who can be fully autonomous and work remotely rather than you know, I’m here at a WeWork, but I don’t work with any co-workers nobody sits next to me nobody’s here motivating me.
There’s no micromanaging it’s you know you very much set your own schedule so for us it’s been you know finding people that have worked remotely in the past granted everybody you know in the last year has automatically got that remote work experience, so in a sense you know the pandemic made it even easier for us to start recruiting.
Joseph Fung: Alyshahn, Caitlyn, what about you? Does that match your experiences?
Alyshahn Kara: It’s an interesting one we’ve been we’ve been remote for a decade and I think we were lucky early to figure out pretty fast that we’re looking for raw talent like those raw skills that Luiz is alluding to are very key in our interview process you know we test extremely heavily and our interview process is rigorous there’s four or five steps depending on what role you’re applying for.
So that we’re really covering off our base basis and we’ve made hiring mistakes so I don’t think that’s necessarily our biggest challenge because we’ve had years of perfecting it I think for us it’s as our team grows the culture of remote work and trying to make sure you’re taking into consideration everybody’s feelings.
Taking into consideration the way people like to work making sure that you understand that humans are inherently social creatures and trying to figure out like, hey, how do we really bring the team together but at the same time respect the fact that people work here because it’s a remote environment.
So, you know trying to strike that balance of creating a culture that makes people want to stay but at the same time doesn’t isolate them too much but then at the same time doesn’t ask too much of them from your team. So, I think that’s probably our biggest challenge ongoing.
Joseph Fung: What about you Caitlyn? What challenges have you seen and with your client base as well? Because, they’re using your tools to hire it onward. what’s that then?
Caitlyn Ngu: So, I mean my team we’re mostly remote so we haven’t been impacted too much if anything I just kind of connect with them, like prior to the pandemic we’d connect in person a few times a week but for the most part it’s been remote.
What we’re actually working on right now which I can’t say too much about it there will be a press release next week, but we’ve actually kind of been working more so on the job seeker side of the platform. So, giving people an opportunity to create what is essentially a video resume.
One thing that’s been like heavily impacted and where I think you know remote can be a little bit damaging is more so when it comes to networking events right. I have to say most the jobs I’ve gotten have been from attending a networking event simply because you have the opportunity to kind of speak up you know speak for yourself and introduce yourself to people.
So, what we’re really excited about I see everything’s changing, I want to give people the tools to be able to get out there, so, kind of went on a bit of a ramble there but.
Joseph Fung: I love the comments about the video resume kind of helping the job seeker side of things. But, let’s also you know kind of flip around you know on the hiring side of things. Everyone here has been hiring. Where do you think you’ve stumbled? Like, what’s changed in the hiring process? And we’re hiring remotely. Where are we making mistakes? Oh, you know what do we get wrong? And if no one wants to jump in I’ll pick someone.
Alyshahn Kara: I mean, I’ll start I can definitely start with that, because I think this is something that’s very top of mind for companies, you know, so and at the risk of being contentious, I’ll just like,
Joseph Fung: Important points for that come on.
Alyshahn Kara: It’s really important to us. So, I think we hear a lot of people saying it’s really hard right now to find jobs really hard right now to you know get in front of interviewers to get an opportunity but at the same time then we hear companies that are like we can’t find anybody to hire and we have so many job openings available and if you look at LinkedIn or Indeed or Monster or any of these sites I’m sure HireUp, there’s lots of opportunities out there for individuals to go out to get.
But I think that there is this almost like disillusionment with the hiring and interviewing process where you know hiring managers are frankly pretty frustrated to get interviews that don’t answer the job application and that really turns them off to wanting to review job applications and I think people feel like they can’t get in front of interviewers because they’re writing cover letters that aren’t granting them job applications.
So you have this like weird bashing of heads that nobody can figure out and the majority of our sorry, Caitlyn, you seem to give a point.
Caitlyn Ngu: No, I just want to respond to that I completely agree with you. One of the things that kind of frustrates me the most about the hiring process and this is not just having to do with remote but just the hiring process in general is like you put up this job post and then everybody goes and tailors their cover letter to meet that job post requirements and then at the end of you know let’s say that person gets hired and three months later they’re unhappy the employer’s unhappy.
Everybody’s unhappy because we kind of pretended to be something we weren’t, where I’m trying to get with HigherUp is that if we have this like database of people where they can answer their own questions, tell their stories and be honest about what they’re looking for, I want employers to be able to input like search criteria and what they’re looking for and be matched instantly and kind of show people as they are instead of having people see the job post and then conform to that job post.
I don’t know if that’s a little bit difficult to understand but I want to get to a point where we can just meet people that have not been impacted by the job post yet so they’re not pretending to be something they’re not.
Alyshahn Kara: It’s interesting because the majority of our hiring comes from referrals or outbound sourced so we like go and find the people that we’re interested in in order to reach out to them to see if they’re interested in working with us to find candidates.
So, it’s an interesting point, I guess I would wonder with all the other responsibilities that I have you know hiring is not my only responsibility as a startup. How much time commitment is required of me to go and watch these videos and then you know what else am I missing from the video because they may not answer the questions that I’m looking for so I think the idea is good but I would I would hesitate just knowing how much time I have to invest in the practice anymore.
Caitlyn Ngu: Let’s put it this way let’s say you’re in an interview that’s going poorly a lot of people will sit through a 30-minute one-hour long interview because they want to be polite right.
I’ve gone to interviews I’ve been on both sides of the sides of the table and you’re sitting there and you’re like wow I don’t want to work here or wow this is going very badly with what we’re trying to do is we have people answer standard questions, those questions total of about seven minutes so if you want to you know see a few answers and get to know the person a little bit better you can and you can do it on your time.
The person doesn’t have to schedule anything and then instead of sitting through, you know, a 15 or 30 minute phone screen you can spend a couple of minutes getting to know someone. So, that’s what I’m trying to give people the opportunity to do similar to like a job fair.
Alyshahn Kara: There’s almost a comment in there about, sorry, like I’m just like,
Caitlyn Ngu: No! No!
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah, I think there’s a comment in there about society more than there is about the job and interviewing process and like societal norms right of like what the expectation is and it’s almost like why is that the expectation, like shouldn’t we set the tone as interviewers and interviewees at the start like if this isn’t going well let’s just be honest with each other and move on quickly standard question thing. I think it’s a cool idea if it’s an integrated piece into like an ancient technology which I’m sure you’re gonna do it.
Caitlyn Ngu: I think the problem is that we have prioritized bulk, right and like volume so like if you’re on Indeed and you post a job post and you get 400 applicants it’s kind of like okay cool I got 400 applicants.
I might not even be able to afford three quarters of these people, but, that’s not entirely clear. So, we’re playing this pretend game on both sides where it’s like job seekers are too afraid to ask for salary ranges quite often and employers don’t want to put salary ranges out there necessarily because then it kind of like you don’t want to tell someone what the top end of that range is right so instead we kind of play this game where like we’re not going to talk about salary we’re going to kind of sidestep that a little bit.
I went to an interview once many years ago where I think we’d gone to like the third interview and I was sitting in their office and we sat down and salary came up and they were paying like half as much as I made and I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked because they had now put in how many hours to bring me in. I had spent hours trying to be available skipping work calling in sick like all this nonsense and it’s like it’s just madness, it’s like this, it’s just such a waste of time for both sides but.
Joseph Fung: I had the risk of jumping in I love yeah, I love the discussion on the hiring and we’re gonna come back to this. But, I also want to continue it along that work journey, it’s like the hiring we’re talking a lot about job seeking, but once we do find that match onboarding somebody and being on boarded is really tough as well, because sales especially, I mean I’d love to see a quick hand from the panelists who’s seen a sales room where they’re like yeah we have this you know boiler room you sit beside someone and you listen to their calls and that’s how you get onboarded like we’ve all seen it.
How do we make sure that onboarding is really effective and both from the company’s perspective but also you know from employee? We’ve got a lot of people in the audience here who are looking for new roles going to take on new roles. what can they do to be really successful in a remote work environment to own their own onboarding? Hey, we had Caitlyn and Alyshahn jumping in for a while there. So, I want to bounce it to Luiz. Let me take a first stab at that.
Luiz Cent: Absolutely! So, we’ve onboarded three full-time inbound sales reps, we’ve done it all remotely each time it gets better I’m not going to say that no we don’t have this, hey, listen to these demos because that’s very much part of you know the learning, but our goal is to get them leading their own demos within a week.
And that has happened for every single rep that we’ve onboarded so far and having them fully self-sufficient so that they come in and we have our processes in place, they’re learning our tech stack, they’re setting up their own Mailshake campaigns, they’re integrating with Pipedrive and then they’re shadowing other reps.
And then they’re taking notes and doing the recap emails for the reps and then they’re sending it they’re leaving it in their pipe drive ready to send on their behalf the current rep reviews their work and then gives them feedback on their recap email and then the second week they’re being shadowed by myself or another rep and getting their recaps reviewed.
Then by week two and a half they’re on board and rolling with you know with our coaching culture they continue improving and you know their close rate like our team close rate is 40 to 50 percent demo to close rate and they’re usually by minus three catching up to that in the beginning it’s you know it’s definitely not the it’s around 10 to 15 and then we’re working on improving that.
Joseph Fung: I love that I heard a lot in there around owning the setup of your own tools owning the notes that sounds like a lot of self-sufficiency. Can I write out is that a fair characterization?
Luiz Cent: Yeah, absolutely and then they’re and also encouraged to set their own hours and blocks in their day to work the most efficiently they can and then you know they work together to stagger their calendars that way the most amount of inbound leads can come in.
Joseph Fung: So, that you touched on something interesting they’re setting your own hours and last week when we were syncing up on this, we all had an interesting conversation about autonomy and how hard that can be in a remote work environment and in sales, you have to put in the hours. Any advice for the audience on how to manage your own schedule and load to be productive when you’re a remote sales rep?
Luiz Cent: Caitlyn you want to jump in? Or head this to me?
Joseph Fung: Oh, you’re unmuted Luiz so go for it if you’d like.
Luiz Cent: Yeah! So, maybe Morgan Ingram has a great like calendar set up if you google Morgan Ingram and like how he does his calendar and color coordinates it based on how you know money producing activities, follow-up activities, like he just has it down with science if you’re an SDR you’re trying to really structure your day.
For me, it’s like you know I’m tuned in at all times and maybe I’m messaging a rep at 11 but I want to give them that autonomy and say look you don’t have to answer me right away like you feel free to ignore me to do your job as needed so it’s given them you know it’s letting them know like they don’t have to be on all the time it’s just because they’re getting you know opinion slack so for us that’s you know very important in the culture and you know what Alyshahn was talking about like keeping that culture as they grow as you all grow you know we we’re still small and we’re figuring that part out so it’s good to be able to listen and learn from what struggles you all are having too.
Joseph Fung: Nice! Caitlyn can you add to that?
Caitlyn Ngu: I mean, I can tell you a little bit about how I structure my schedule like my week like my sales reps they kind of they let me know like we kind of agree on which hours they’re going to be doing dials and whatnot. For myself though one of the things that I started doing which I know sounds a little bit silly is that I kind of structure blocks in my day so 9 to 12, 12 to 3, 3 to 6, 6 to 9 and then I just kind of assign a task to each of those blocks.
And then Monday and Tuesday, I try not to take any external meetings. So, I try to work with my team very closely on Monday and Tuesday and then I try to book all my meetings Wednesday, Thursday, Friday which prior to the pandemic was super helpful because when I was going Downtown for meetings I was only running around like a crazy person on one of the days right or two of the days right so hopping from meeting to meeting.
But, yeah I don’t know like it I’m pretty flexible and I also think that like sometimes it depends on your energy right like some people are just more energized in the afternoon some people are better in the morning. I’m pretty flexible with my team we talk about you know how they’re feeling when they feel the most productive and I try to work with them and you know try to get the most out of them and make sure they feel all right.
Joseph Fung: What I heard in a lot of that is and not this is a bad thing but a lot of comments about you know blocking some time, reserving some time, got a lot of controlling. One of the challenges I see in remote selling and remote sales work is a good safe space to do the work like.
Right now we all have a beautiful we work space nice kind of office space you know decent lighting and internet connection, that means we have a certain physical location, we’ve got an environment where we maybe don’t have our kids running in or like parents or family members or facilities.
How is you think about your teams? How do you support your teams knowing that the remote work you know makes it challenging depending entirely on their means, their environment, their situation. Alyshahn, I remember you had some fun comments on how you support your team and their work life environment. Yeah, anything you can share there?
Alyshahn Kara: Absolutely. So, first of all just to Caitlyn and Luiz’s comments, I think one thing that I learned recently that I thought was really like eye-opening for me is a lot of people struggle in onboarding because they feel alienated from the culture of the organization.
And I was trying to get a sense of why that was and there was this article that really stood out for me and it was language like your company’s language is its own its own bubble and I think that a lot of people don’t realize that people feel alienated because they’re not in the circle yet.
So, I think one of the things that I want to do in my next onboarding is absolutely trying to figure out how do I you know get people caught up on the language and the words that we use consistently that will allow them to connect with others on the same level who’ve been there for five years or three years. So, just a comment because I thought that was super eye-opening and to your point Luiz and getting people demoed ready in a week, I think that is a great way to create that function because now they’re thinking about thinking about your company both from a customer perspective and an internal perspective.
As for supporting reps, I agree, it’s tough and I have two comments on this one, we spend the money, so, we give every rep a first aid tech fund 500 dollars and then we also give everybody a depending on your role so sales is 1500 and engineers are 2 000 every three years upgrade or replace your hardware.
Plus we have a professional development funds and personal development funds and our goal with this is to allow people to understand that we know it’s expensive to get set up, if this is your first remote job, we get it, everybody’s had to do it we’re not going to send you a laptop because that doesn’t make sense where would you send it back in a remote company environment there’s no office so you know use the tech you want to use all of our systems like Asana & Slack and Salesforce are cloud-based, so you can be comfortable in your technology and we find that’s important. One of our customers TD Bank did this really cool thing where they had a GooseChase and asked people to take pictures of the remote work setup and based on how bad it was they scheduled ergonomics sessions and then they actually sent people like mice and desks and chairs and it was just this like crazy delight moment for employees that they didn’t expect from their employer to show them like we care about you still even if it’s just something so small.
And I was like well like that’s so like brilliant to take something that was gamified and then make an impact on people’s lives and that really that really like resonated with me in terms of how to make your employees loyal and show them, you know, that we care about you as much as you care about the work that you’re doing.
Joseph Fung: That’s such a great campaign. I can also imagine it’s one of those ones where it’s like you know I don’t know if I really want to win that campaign, you know, my it’s kind of like that crazy fashion trend question there. I don’t know if I want to win this competition.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah or if you knew what was happening take a picture of your couch and maybe you get set up.
Joseph Fung: There you go. Yeah, this is good I know there’s some more takes but I’m also sitting on a bunch of questions from the audience, that I want to make sure that I hit so I want to I’m going to dovetail quickly over that.
There’s a few questions that I’ve touched on this but winning in sales is often so much about the team, who’s helping you on the deals, who are you learning from, how do you keep that energy, how do you foster that team dynamic when everyone’s geographically dispersed? How do you do that? Anyone want to take a first stab at that.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah, I can go over Luiz if you if you want to jump in?
Luiz Cent: So, yeah thanks a lot Alyshahn, I’ll jump in quickly where this is one of my favorite things certain about me I’ll shake we have individual quotas where you can get to your top tier quota, but we have a team goal so everybody works together to get that team goal and I recently read this book ‘Leaders Eat Last’ and then ‘Multipliers’, and both of them talk about like cultures of sharing knowledge instead of hoarding knowledge, and you know a recent example like one of our newest reps discovered a way to sell more annual deals after somebody signed up for a monthly deal.
Casey figured out that, if she just emails them and says hey why did you sign up for monthly should I sign a friend or you get all these benefits it increases our annual conversions and she shared with the team, she could have kept that for herself but she was incentivized not even centralized, she just wanted to share that knowledge with the team, so it’s you know it’s one of those aha moments I guess like our you know our culture is working.
Joseph Fung: That’s a great one and that count about the team quotas, the incentive compensation structure makes such a difference.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah take that one step further, I agree completely. I would probably say just to Joseph’s question, that we try selling as a team is less about selling as a team and it’s more about letting customers buy the way customers want to buy.
I think that is extremely important and something that a lot of sales teams and to be honest not to knock sales leaders but a lot of sales leaders miss that because you know we’re trying to teach a methodology and trying to jam customers down this funnel of buying or educating them because it’s what work for the works for the company and I get scale and all that stuff but at the end of the day we’re in the business of service and we need to serve accordingly and a lot of people forget that that’s what we’re doing.
So, that’s one thing that we really stress not just with our sales team but with everybody you know it’s a customer first mentality and then an employee first mentality so I think of them as 1a1a so we were so excited that we were finally able to implement profit sharing across the entire team this year, and what that does is, I think it gives everybody this ownership mentality of thinking about every action they do directly impacts them not in the immediate future but in forever future as long as they’re with GooseChase because you know they’re directly responsible for what they take home.
And just you know the approach that people bring to work is so it’s just very unified and I think that’s super important when we talk about like how do we create an environment of selling and not that everybody in product or design or engineering is selling, it is that they are thinking about the customer experience from the standpoint of how do we make sure that they’re so happy that it’s not a sales cycle, it’s a we love you, we want to be on your platform every day because you guys have made this experience so good for us. So, a little bit of a shift in the question.
Joseph Fung: Caitlyn, what about you? I mean you’re bringing on some massive partners and companies. How do you make sure your team works effectively as a team remotely?
Caitlyn Ngu: Yeah, so we’re about to we have a partnership rolling out it’s being announced next week but we’re going to essentially this is essentially going to give us access to about 1.2 million job seekers, so, we’re super excited about that so the way we’ve been working remotely is like just, I’m pretty organized by nature in the sense that like I you know take some time every month to organize my google drive and my folders and making sure all the resources are kind of in the right place.
So, I think the best way to kind of keep your team focused and on track is to make sure they have access to all the resources they need. I’ve worked with a lot of tech companies and I have to say that things change every single day and one of the hardest parts of working in tech is that like you know let’s say you make a document for a client and then there’s a product update like three months later you have to be mindful of all these documents that are circulating and making sure everything’s staying up to date and also making sure your team has the right information at all times so that’s kind of helped us a lot just kind of trying to stay as organized as possible doing the same for the clients so some of our like partners we like make a very customized onboarding for them as well.
So, they’re not constantly looking through folders, looking for files and then we have like a WhatsApp group chat you know so like that always is helpful too. We chit chat, we share articles, we you know we talk about things too so I think that has brought us closer as well so I think yeah the key to remote organ remote work is just staying organized and keeping in touch.
Joseph Fung: So, there’s some great comments there about like with like WhatsApp documentation that’s all great for scaling and business but also scaling around team members I saw a lot of heads nodding even in the chat there’s some great comments there about using notion and some great resources so folks make sure you check out some of those links.
But, let’s move a little bit you know documentation is great but you know that’s a digital thing and we’re all pretty used to that there’s a lot that happens in a sales function that doesn’t necessarily immediately translate to remote work and there’s a lot of folks who have had sales roles where there’s been in-person sales or the team is on a sales floor or in a sales room and if someone’s used to that in-person selling motion, an employee or a manager. One of the big things that is in person is coaching.
So, think specifically from first from that manager’s perspective. What do you do to make sure your managers or yourselves are doing really high-quality coaching in a remote environment? How does that happen? No one’s going to…
Luiz Cent: I will jump into.
Joseph Fung: Okay! Luiz, thank you for saving me on that one. I was going to volunteer someone but you’re up first.
Luiz Cent: Yeah, absolutely, so, for us it’s been huge that could the coaching culture enabling the coaching culture and you know we’ve demoed it all the top software’s Gong chorus, there’s Refract, there’s Dialpad had so many intelligence systems but until you can develop the coaching culture in the organization like no tech is really going to save you.
And from the very beginning you would hire different sales coaches to come in and answer questions for our rep so it’s not only me it’s somebody that’s you know dedicated their life to helping coach and develop rep so you know Morgan Ingram was one of our first coaches and that worked out really well right now we’re using Mark and what they you know and they’ll review calls they’ll review rep talk time, they’ll pick specific things for reps to work with but what’s really been a game changer is getting our reps to do peer review and removing myself from the equation and just letting them decompress and listen to each other and get ideas from each other so now you know that’s scheduled and outlined and you know we have one of our senior reps going and leading that part of the coaching so developing that culture and encouraging them to coach each other has been in a sense easier than just listening to somebody because it’s a little more structured so like you’re not sitting next to them just you know get getting ideas once in a while you you’re coming into it with hey this is what I want to work on and this is what I want to learn.
Joseph Fung: Just to get really specific on that you know from that idea like hey let’s get our reps coaching each other or you know build a coaching mentality is it you’re telling people to go listen to two Gong calls you’re telling them to invite others to a zoom meeting like at an execution level. What does that actually look like?
Luiz Cent: Yeah, so execution wise we have its weekly like role-playing session and then a weekly one-hour long session where they review each other’s, we don’t even have any tech like we use Zoom so we record our Zoom’s we don’t have Gong, we don’t Chorus yet we’re you know at our size it’s we’re too small and we’ve just finally developed this coaching culture so we’re not even using any of the fancy things you can simply just record your call like we’re recording this webinar.
And then have your reps go and listen to it yeah but weekly role plays they fix something to role play whether it’s you know upselling annuals or working on their upfront contract or a particular part of the demo and then weekly call reviews maybe they listen to two maybe three calls from each other so we have three reps they’ll pick up a call that they want to listen to and then monthly call coaching with an outside sales coach and you know the more coaching, the better you know maybe in a month we’ll have another you know subject that we add.
Joseph Fung: Love it! That’s a great one Caitlyn. I saw you got from huge what have you got to add?
Caitlyn Ngu: I actually think that I think remote is great for sales in the sense that like, I’ve had so many sales jobs in the past and one of the biggest one of the hardest problems was that everyone sat so close to each other right, so it didn’t matter you know it didn’t matter that you had whatever headset you had.
It didn’t matter if you kind of like went off and found somewhere to sit it was just impossible to kind of find a quiet space so I’m sure if you like if you’ve ever worked I’ve worked in call centers like back when I was in university and like the tech companies have this issue and it’s just it’s sales is almost like it’s kind of nice to be at home in a quiet space for those of us that have a quiet space, so, I’m surprised that I don’t know I feel like you lose the morale part of it you know that component of celebrating as a team but you do gain a lot of quiet time.
Joseph Fung: I’m gonna come back to the celebration one because that’s an important one sorry, Alyshahn, did me to cut you off.
Alyshahn Kara: What an interesting perspective because I loved the open floor concept when I was selling because you just get this chance to almost it almost feels like other people’s talk tracks are seeping in through your skin you know and you’re just like you find yourself mimicking something that you heard somebody do and you don’t even realize that it was that good but then there’s this.
You know like I agree people have different personalities where they feel like they’re great sales people but they’re not comfortable enough to let other people hear or you know maybe they prefer quiet or they feel like they’re disturbing their customers.
So, it’s an interesting dichotomy and I think it speaks to the availability of sales as a job for all different personalities in terms of coaching Luiz like that’s awesome that you’re kind of still managing to get that peer-to-peer feedback on calls I think for us what’s really different is that you know having been in so many different sales cultures and having gone through.
So many methodologies whether it’s Sandler or challenger or spin or you know if you look at like Oren Klaff or Grant Cardone or whatever like all these sale gravy all these sales gurus one of the things that people don’t touch on a lot in those books is that the reason that you’re you make friends or you have relationships is because you have a unique aspect to you and it doesn’t make any sense to me as a sales leader to try to create robotic pictures of one another.
From a coaching perspective what we do is we try to focus on different techniques and methodologies that we want to learn and then we try to encourage people to take those and figure out what their take on it is and then test it on calls and let customers know just be like hey like I’m learning this new methodology and I thought it would be super cool to try it out and that type of like vulnerable transparency is like, hey, I’m not selling you I’m just telling you like it’s weird I get it like it’s a little controversial and a lot of people.
Luiz Cent: I love that, no that’s amazing, I love that so much we’ve been called out for doing our upfront contracts like oh yeah you’re Sandler trained you know like we’re not but you know we’ve learned this that’s so cool that no like, hey, I’m gonna test this on you.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah, you know and at the end of the calls you’re asking hey did you did you like that approach to this call or and see what happens with customers, sometimes it goes really well sometimes people say they don’t like it and that’s great for us because we get on a call as a team and we just talk it through because when you’re super busy like most sales teams are it’s hard to peer-to-peer coach or like peers feel like it could be selling so you know we try to take that into consideration even though it’s so important and we’re trying to encourage it I think it can be difficult to encourage somebody like to take time away from selling almost.
Joseph Fung: These are great and I took a bunch of notes here on ways that we could do more and better coaching and I want to come back to a couple of things that were mentioned there but I don’t want to focus just on the positives.
You’ve all hired had performance conversations let people go so I’d love you to kind of reflect for a moment and think about you’ve probably each worked with a rep in this company or a previous one that just hasn’t felt coachable. you know maybe they’ve had mannerisms or techniques that just made that really tough.
So, what I’m looking for what you would learn from that relationship? Because, we’ve got a bunch of people on this call who are on YouTube who are looking to succeed as remote sales reps. What can they do to avoid those mistakes and be very coachable if they’re remote and they’re never meeting you in person? What advice do you have for them to be coachable?
Alyshahn Kara: This is super topical for me because I just had a situation where I had a really amazing interview process and we had to let the rep go within 60 days, but, I think we knew it didn’t it wasn’t going to work within the first probably 15 but we really you know I think we held on too long that was that was a mistake.
A couple things that really stood out when we reflected as a team one was it’s on you as a as a manager and a leader to consistently set and reset expectations you know just because you think you’ve done that and you and you and you know you have your Asana tasks set and you have your 30 60 90 and you’ve done these processes doesn’t mean that there is a mutual understanding of what the expectation is that was a huge learning for me and I think that we failed the rep in doing that because those weren’t set.
On the rep side, I think it’s really important to listen to the direction and the question that’s being asked and not infer what you think the question is and if you don’t understand clarify because there was a lot of lost in translation stuff that happened where I felt I was being extremely explicit or you know some of my team members felt like they were being explicit with their coaching and direction and what we got back was like vastly different we’re like where did we miss so those are the probably the two biggest takeaways that I would have that would be inherently easy to fail and they’re both obviously oriented around communication and expectation setting.
Joseph Fung: Now, that expectation setting Luiz is how you added that link on being successful in your first 90 days in the chat for those who are watching the chat you might want to check that out and our team’s going to grab all the links that have been shared and stuff into the description of the YouTube video so if you missed it or you don’t have to scroll back up you can just grab them on YouTube afterwards.
Caitlyn, Luiz any anything you’d like to add about you know being coachable and being successful as a remote rep?
Caitlyn Ngu: I’m I have kind of a different let’s say perspective on this. I so, again a lot of what we do is kind of based on what my experience has been as a job seeker so I’m very much on the you know employee side of things even with or with my own company, so, what I try to work towards and what I try to like tell my team is like listen I’m not always going to have the right answers.
So, if you have a solution or a better idea, tell me about it, I don’t care which you know what your role is you don’t even it doesn’t even have to be for your department necessarily but you know we have a lot of intelligent people here and sometimes we have fresh eyes and it’s really helpful, so, when it comes to being like coachable I just think that like we need to give people the like they have to feel safe enough to be able to talk about the issues that they’re encountering, right, propose solutions if needed and I think that’s kind of really important because otherwise you’re on the other side if you don’t understand why something isn’t going well because I’ve been on the other side it’s very frustrating if you’re just told no as an employee you know you can’t do this or whatever you’re going to start to get your backup.
So, I think it’s really important to really take the time to I don’t know communicate and communicate and then be open-minded on both sides.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah that’s a great book, management philosophy wise, at any but I think what you said really resonates with Radical Candor so if anybody is not familiar or is looking for a really awesome book on Communication Strategies, that is one I absolutely recommend by Kim Scott that’s our philosophy of GooseChase is it like.
Caitlyn Ngu: I remember getting in trouble once because sorry I remember getting in trouble once because I had found the solution to this problem that another department had and it was something that essentially my solutions saved them like I want to say 40 000 hours of labour.
And I got in trouble because I shouldn’t have it wasn’t my job to do that but I did it anyway because it was something that still affected my department indirectly and I got in trouble for that and it just annoyed it annoyed me so much that I tell my team about these stories and I say listen if you have a better idea go for it and if I can be better as like a CEO and your employer please tell me about it I’m open to feedback so big fan of Radical Candor.
Joseph Fung: Radical Candor the feedback, Luiz made some comments earlier on as well okay like this idea this theme of authenticity, Candor, vulnerability, yeah this has come up several times and really jumps out to me as a theme of our conversation, but, knowing that we’ve got less than 10 minutes left and we promised everyone to get them out. I want to kind of leap forward a bit and one of the fun things about being a senior executive is that you have strong opinions and whether we’re right or not we have strong opinions.
So, thinking about what’s going to come in the next few years, the next two five, ten, everyone’s going more and more remote we all talk about the new norm? What do you think companies and employees are missing that’s gonna change? What do you think is gonna change in this remote work environment that people are just missing? And I am going to pick on Alyshahn first because you’ve got the that 10 years of working remotely as a team so that gives Caitlyn and Luiz a couple of minutes to think about their answer.
Alyshahn Kara: Yeah, this is I think a question I love this question and I and it’s so like pandemic related right because I think we’re seeing this weird people are really showing their true selves and the pandemic and really learning a lot about themselves because there is nowhere to hide from yourself I mean obviously we’re all hiding in our own houses.
But I think the biggest thing with the pandemic is there’s nowhere to hide from yourself and who you are as a person you’re seeing a lot of people you know pick up from the city and move to the suburbs and they’re happier than they’ve ever been because they’re now in a place where they’re like I didn’t really like going into the office and on the flip side you have some people who are like holy moly like open this environment back up for me to have friendship so to be more direct with your question where do I think this is going I think we go to an aggressively hybrid working environment where companies will be forced to give people an opportunity to work in the way they want or risk losing talent.
What I also think is really prevalent and you know something that we benefited from so I’m really disappointed about all this remote work is the access to talent in other locations and the equitability of salary is going to be massive in the coming years and this is a very strong opinion that I have because when you go and get talent we have a developer you know in Hungary and compare that to a developer in San Francisco and we’re talking about very similar skill sets and education the pay discrepancy is massive and that’s just because of the location of where the opportunity was or is or can be and the need for those companies to overpay to capture top talent and as a result require more funding but now that’s no longer necessary in a lot of cases for a lot of roles and so companies who lean into that take advantage will access top talent quickly but we’ll be forced from a cultural perspective to figure out how to keep them and that’s going to be a whole new change above and beyond like ping pong tables and office lunches and you know like so I think the next few years are going to be super super cool and I still think we’ll have companies in big buildings like the TD tower here in Toronto but split and hot desking and but like I said the equitability of pay and access to talent is the biggest thing an opportunity for not just employers but job seekers. I think that’s going to be super cool.
Joseph Fung: Fantastic Caitlyn, Luiz either if you want to jump in on your forecasting.
Luiz Cent: We are talking about the future of sales, yeah, Alyshahn great points there for you know it’s about what your goals are and you know I’ve tried to recruit people and bring them into our culture and our environment talking about how great it is to be bootstrapped and work fully remote and it’s just pre-pandemic and they didn’t want it right they wanted to go to San Francisco into the office, have the free lunch, have the camaraderie and it really depends on what their goals are and I you know at one point I can see where you know working for a VC backed company, going into the office and you know being part of a class and you know as we were talking about earlier like being you know inadvertently, like subconsciously taking in some knowledge and being able to apply it to yourself and I can see that growth like skyrocketing but I also see like the turnover and I talked to somebody who’s at a VC company and he’s been leading their sales for a year and he’s like it feels like I’ve been here for five where you know I think the burnout is going to be faster and for us it’s you know about building something long-term and sustainable more than just rocket growth so you know it depends on the goal of the per the people the goal you know so I definitely see a shift you know just like some people are going to get vaccinated some people aren’t it’s you know there’s this divide but optionality is just going to be huge and being able to be flexible.
Joseph Fung: Nice, Caitlyn, what about you?
Caitlyn Ngu: Oh, I’m so excited to answer this. So, the future of work. I think this is for I think this is a massive opportunity for job seekers because like I started working on higher prior to the pandemic and I was thinking you know this sucks, I don’t want to sneak, around I don’t want to call in sick, I don’t want to have to lie about where I am to be able to make it to this phone interview this first interview and all this, but, now everybody is at home right so all of these interviews that were already troublesome to do have just gotten significantly easier to do right.
So, I have this is going to sound crazy I’ve talked to some job seekers that are employed and actually started working a second job while still at the first which is terrible and they did it they did it for a month and I you know bad idea and I told them you know you really shouldn’t be doing this, but, it’s just now that people are at home they can do kind of what they want a little bit more like it’s easier to do that job hunt and we’re trying to help people do it at scale so their profile can kind of interview on their behalf 24/7.
But I think it’ll be really interesting because now everyone’s at home, everyone can do phone interviews if they need to everyone can speak and look around and don’t get it like I also have friends who like work at you know work at a company and literally look for jobs during their work day like it’s crazy, it’s crazy so I think right now it’s going to be interesting because I think there will be a lot of people hopping around going from company to company just because everything being remote has made it that much easier so I think that employers are going to have to work harder to keep their top talent interested and I’m really excited for job seekers because I think this gives them the freedom and the flexibility to see what else is out there.
Joseph Fung: Yeah, this was this is really good and I know that we’re right up at the top of the hour, so, I want to do kind of a quick round on kind of where people can reach you afterwards especially if you’re hiring you know you can call it to the audience but for all three of you we opened a bit of a can of worms right at the end there about really distributed workforces and compensation and items, so, we always send a follow-up email after this.
We’re gonna get your takes on that via email so we can send out to the attendees afterwards. So, if you’re on the YouTube stream or you’re in zoom and you didn’t register drop your email you can get their takes on that because we don’t have the time to dig into that properly. But, I’d love to do kind of quick around we’ll do the same orders intros Caitlyn, Alyshahn, Luiz especially if you’re hiring. what are you hiring for and where’s your website that people could find out?
Caitlyn Ngu: Yeah, so everyone is welcome to visit hiredashup.io and we’ll make sure that link goes out. I’m going to be doing weekly demos starting May 7th for those of you looking to create a video resume. So, that’ll happen every week we might even do it twice a week depending on you know what the attendee likes list looks like.
So, you can check us out there and just keep your eyes peeled we have a big press release announcing some very exciting news next week.
Joseph Fung: That’s awesome! Alyshahn, what about you?
Alyshahn Kara: I’m looking forward to seeing the press release that Caitlyn comes up with that’s always exciting we are really looking for a senior android developer I think that’s one of the hardest jobs we’ve had to hire I know talking about the future of remote work sales and then towards the end of this year we’ll be looking for pretty much all roles so goosechase.com is where you can find us we were we will be rebranding soon so what you see is not what you’ll get in the future.
So, don’t judge us yet it’s gonna be a lot different and a lot of fun and yeah we even if you’re the job’s not up there please reach out you know feel free to send me your resume everybody has my LinkedIn in the chat always happy to connect always have to chat.
Joseph Fung: Nice and Luiz.
Luiz Cent: Yes, so to tie it back to the very beginning Caitlyn my first album was the Spice Girl so I feel you on that and you can find our jobs on angel.co. I just posted a link in here we’re hiring for a VP of product management we just launched mail chimp 2.0 we’re hiring a partner marketing manager and then specific role I’ve been hiring for the last two weeks we are hiring a junior AE that is going to help us build our outbound sales process so super excited for this role we’re looking for somebody that has previous experience selling SAS and is eager to advance their career.
Joseph Fung: Oh! That’s fantastic, we’re right at the top of the hour. I’ve got a brief point of housekeeping and then we’ll let everybody go so I’m just gonna quickly share the slides on my screen again and we already covered the house rule so, housekeeping we’ve got some awesome upcoming events. if you enjoyed this conversation you’re gonna enjoy what else we have coming we talked a lot earlier about practicing and polishing we have a cold call blitz coming up so if you’re already in a sales role and you want to get some of that coaching and assistance you can join us on the 20th of April or if you’re thinking about getting into sales it’s a great event too as well.
We talked a lot about hiring and I know video resumes are great and that’s one of the creative ways you can bolster your application we have a workshop coming up with Alex parks on that and then if you really want to see some really fun progress our demo days are open and public and so you’re always welcome to join us I know I said we get us out so we’re going to cap it off for a panel so, we can stick around for a moment we’ll let the folks on YouTube go thanks so much for joining us and we’ll see you at the next event.