Key topics in today’s conversation include:
The SaaS Ramp Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at www.saasrampmedia.com.
Pete Thornton 0:06
Hey, everybody. Welcome to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. Very special guest today, somebody already known been able to speak to, in times past friend of a friend and now just friend for this is Grace Elliot at Fleetio. Welcome, Grace.
Grace Elliott 0:18
Pete Thornton 0:19
Good to see you again. We’re recording now. But that was all the plan like, hey, we have these conversations. Let’s put one on air. So that’s kind of like the genesis of how this one started up. What I’ve done poorly in the past is jump right into it, so let’s kind of break it down. Grace, as if everybody doesn’t already know (because that’s how this works), what do you do for a living?
Grace Elliott 0:40
I am the sales enablement manager at Fleetio.
Pete Thornton 0:44
Okay, awesome. So sales enablement manager. Very common theme here. What about Fleetio? What does Fleetio do?
Grace Elliott 0:51
We’re a modern fleet management software. And we help companies and organizations around the world better track their fleet operations. When I say fleet operations, by that I mean maintenance management, safety and compliance tracking, overall cost tracking for any fleet of vehicles or heavy equipment.
Pete Thornton 1:09
I love that value prop with context included. That was well trained, actually, right there.
Grace Elliott 1:17
I’ve done that a time or two.
Pete Thornton 1:19
Yeah, yeah. When they’re coming in, you’re like, Okay, accountants, et cetera.
Grace Elliott 1:22
Also, if you ever need me to— If you’re like, okay, that was way to rehearse, just tell me to do it again.
Pete Thornton 1:27
No, no, I liked it because it was the value prop. It was like, we do this for these people. And then it was followed up by that little contextual piece it was like, so what that means is, and then, of course, you’re speaking to people in the industry. So every one of those pieces will actually roll off to that as I like to, I like to go okay, then before we go into like back go and backstory, because it’s always interesting to find out how people make their way to enablement. But first, so for Fleetio—just to kind of compare and contrast to some of the other guests who have been on and kind of told us about their organizations—what’s the growth kike their? Is it already a publicly traded company? Is it non-members, and you’re the 10th? Like, where do you fall within that?
Grace Elliott 2:05
Yeah, it is not a publicly traded company. We are privately owned and operated. We were founded in 2012. I joined the company in 2018. Amidst a lot of high growth, we grew to make it technical. We grew from 2017 to 2020. We grew 400%.
Pete Thornton 2:32
Okay. What’s that done with the headcount?
Grace Elliott 2:37
It has grown exponentially. So yeah, to put it in perspective, when I started in September of 2018, I was the 43rd. employee, and now we have roughly 180 employees in 2022.
Pete Thornton 2:48
Okay, okay. Awesome. And then as far as serious funding rounds, are you in the alphabet?
Grace Elliott 2:57
Yeah, so we have finished our series B at the end of 2020. Our previous series A was in 2019. And that was for 3 million. And before that, we were privately funded.
Pete Thornton 3:09
Privately funded, like a little pre-seed round. Yeah, that’s good to know. I’m actually curious about how you came to the 2020 piece. It’s not for this podcast, but it’s like, I have to do my kids age. I’m like, oh, yeah, she was saying that but I’m just like, not sure. Like how does everybody work the calendar backward in their head?
Grace Elliott 3:25
Yeah, so I was thinking of it through I knew 2021 was a really high growth hiring year. We hired a ton of people last year and I knew that that started right the year right after we got that last round of funding so that’s how I did it in my head.
Pete Thornton 3:40
Okay, okay. Okay. Yeah, you actually working it backward through the company. Oh, see, look that company is your baby. To that end, and it may not be relevant to a lot of folks if your Bay Area-based. You guys don’t seem to do the pollen as much but we are actually both down here in the southeast. I’m located in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the moment. And then why don’t you go ahead and put out the HQ location of Fleetio?
Grace Elliott 4:00
Pete Thornton 4:02
Yeah, so when the pollen is ready here, the pollen is ready. It’ll give the throat to take off for sure. Oh, yeah. Okay, so then back to the story because nobody got a bachelor’s degree in enablement and then came on into their first introductory role, so always got to know how you landed here.
Grace Elliott 4:20
I studied business and Spanish in college. Right after college, I randomly enough got a job at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska. So Alabama, born and raised and moved out to Nebraska to work at the railroad where I was in marketing and sales. I then had a little bit of a shift in my career, I decided I wanted to live abroad and practice my Spanish so I moved to Madrid, Spain, where I got my teaching English as a foreign language certification and taught English for two years. So that’s where the teaching background comes in. Interesting. Yeah, so after my time in Madrid and back to Birmingham, where I’m originally from, well, I’m from out had a Birmingham and looked for a job where I could use my sales skills and also my Spanish skills, ended up getting a job at Felitti. I was an account executive, and then always had a passion for helping others learn and specifically new hires, I realized we had a gap in our onboarding. Well, our onboarding didn’t really exist at the time. So I worked really closely with our VP of sales to establish what we called sales Academy and build out our sales onboarding program. And then my VP of Sales actually, as he introduced me to enablement and said, Hey, this is something that’s happening in the SAS world, I think you’d be really good at it. And from there, eventually transitioned into a full-time enablement role.
Pete Thornton 5:40
So interesting. So many similarities, it’s almost starting to be like a path unto itself. So have an interest in business because you degreed in business and things like that, but then into a teaching role. So at that point, you kind of have a little bit of business background, but you actually have that teaching experience, and probably more so than the actual curriculum or experience, maybe just like the heart to do so. It takes a lot of patience. There are other ways to make whatever money teaching will ever pay you, speaking firsthand on that one as well. And then into an account executive. And this is the portion where, like, almost everybody has, has a similar bent unless you came through instructional design, the having done it, and then you find yourself enabling anyway, that’s super interesting right there. Because enablement, but you’ll have to let me know how you feel about this enablement is happening no matter whether somebody has that role or not, like somebody’s left holding the bag of like showing other people whether it’s tip of the spear continuous enablement, like new resources needed to be created for customers or for prospects, sales cycle anything all the way back into the Academy are speaking about like new hire ramp, some somebody’s responsible for it. So did you basically put yourself in that position? You’re like, oh, somebody said, “By the way, that’s a job. It’s called this?”
Grace Elliott 6:59
I did. Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what happened when will approached me with enablement and said, I think he’d be good at this. Now, the time that from when he told me, I think you’d be good at this too, when we actually established the enablement department was two and a half years.
Pete Thornton 7:15
Oh, my goodness. So you were doing double duty for two and a half years?
Grace Elliott 7:20
I wasn’t doing full double duty. There was a part when I was and then there was a time when I said, Hey, I, this is a lot and I don’t feel like I’m doing either thing. Well, so I stepped back from enablement a little bit and just focus on being an account executive. And that I think that was what catapulted the actual department creation into motion because at that point, no one was picking up the bag, so that’s when we got the approval, and we and the enablement department was born. But I want to go back, Pete, you said something that triggered my response to another question, you’d asked me about the challenges and enablement and like growing in enablement team, and actually segues really well, from what you just said about, if no, or being an account executive transitions really well into enablement, because you’ve done the job before. Yeah, one thing I’ve learned in my experience in enablement is that it is very helpful if you yourself are a SME, if you are a Subject Matter Expert. And I think in the beginning, a lot of us find ourselves in that scenario where we are the SME and we don’t have to consult anyone to put together our content and our training materials for the team because it’s just in our head. But then I think that that also becomes a challenge because, if you start out that way, then that’s the motion that you’re used to doing, just producing content based off of what you already know. But as we all know, there comes to a point where you can’t do that anymore because you yourself have been removed from the actual sales function, and then also you have more of a team to train so you as one single person, can’t share your knowledge with everyone. You have to have a team of people who are facilitating content and delivering it out to the team. So I think one of my challenges has been not only educating myself, but also educating the company, how the true function of enablement works, so that I can get those resources that I need. I do need some ease. I do need subject matter experts who are not myself. And I need them really plugged into what enablement is doing and willing to dedicate their time and essentially borrow those resources from other teams and have the buy-in from those teams to be this me so that I really can deliver the content the way that’s most effective.
Pete Thornton 9:27
Yeah, okay. So it’s a great point. You’re almost like, like, if I had to theme that whole piece it’s like building the function zero to one. Yeah. And then and then scaling the function one to 10. It’s like, yes, it’s building the building, but it’s so hard in a way because nothing exists. But then, but then you cheat, like respectfully cheat, but it’s like, it’s like you’re opening up your laptop and be like, great. I created these seven things for myself. Now, I will officially put the stamp of approval on the company of the company on them, like roll them through leadership, whatever. And then we will push them out. But it’s from your it’s your brainchild at that point. And then you bring people in, you have to kind of create this job description start to like, bring together some kind of categorization of how this team is going to function. The company has grown, as you’ve already said, 400% During that time, so it’s not like things have stood still so that you could like organize and orchestrate. So at that point, going from one to 10. That’s the that’s like, so when we touch base with people or something like that. It’s usually like, Hey, who do I hire? What would the job description be? Like? How does? How should we start this? And the other? The other conversation is like, how will we build out? Because there are a lot of different ways to build out. That’s what I was curious about it Postman as well. Like, we’re at nine people now. 10 people now. Moving on from just one person, how do you move out to 10? And how have companies like really big companies done it? And they all seem to do it slightly differently, too. So those are interesting places. Let’s do the scale thing then. You kind of gave us the numbers before, which is nice in the opener to kind of understand about the numbers, what the hypergrowth will be. What is it that’s going to kind of keep that growth coming? Like, are you preparing for every year to be kind of like the same? Are there indications that you’re going to have to grow a bunch? You always have to tell management and leadership what you’re probably going to need for the future? Are they coming in and saying, hey, it’s looking like you’re going to need through three hires? Like, how are you managing up? How are you knowing where growth is going to head?
Grace Elliott 11:24
Yeah, a couple of different ways that we’re thinking about that today. So to get to your first question about do we expect to continue to see this high growth? Yes, we actually heard our CFO and all mines today say that we’re our growth goals are aggressive. So get used to it is basically what he was telling us. But a couple of ways we think about it. One, we do have a master plan, called our go-to market plan, TTM plan. And that plan, we’re thinking about what is our headcount, how’s our headcount growth growing year over year? What is our retention look like? What is our attrition look like? What it from an enablement perspective? What is the ratio of enablement support to fully ramped salespeople and ramping salespeople? So we do everything with data, if we do so we are definitely looking at the data literally looking at our plan and at the numbers. For me, and my team, not only am I recommending what that ratio should be from sales support to sales reps, but I’m also thinking about what functions my team or what functions will need to be created as the product continues to grow. And as the organization continues to grow, because as we hire more people, and as the organization evolves, different roles are evolving as well. So enablement, growth has to be aligned with the company growth, our function is to provide resources and materials at the time of need, and that need and the time of need depends on the roles that we’re creating for the company. So that was a long winded way of saying, we’re thinking we’re looking at the rest of the company and how they’re growing. And we’re trying to get ahead of that and think, what function? What resources, what deliverables, will the enablement team need? What will we need to be turning out? And how can we align our team to be able to do that?
Pete Thornton 13:17
Yeah, yeah. What was the answer? It’s like, you’re talking through all that and trying to like understanding, like, all the data and all the things that are coming down the pipeline, like because it is kind of like the question like, first of all, it sounds like you actually know that you have like a pretty steady growth pattern, like you heard from them, like it was going to be on this, on this trajectory, kind of have the same postman is on the product lead growth path. The number of developers in our case that are utilizing the platform, how many are utilizing it free either of the two sales or I self-served tiers, and then there’s going to be a sale serve quota that it’s pretty natural flywheel. So we do a similar thing. But then after that, there are all the functions in the headcount that are coming. But in enablement, it kind of seems like some teams are moving role-based. So it’s just strictly it’s like a global enterprise sales enablement team, a global inside sales enablement, team, business development, and then they connect on the back end a little bit share resources, etc. Maybe customer success has something because there are some 20-member enablement teams out there. Yeah, left, right. And sideways. There’s a lot of very big ones. And some of them are just very vertically driven. And then some of them I’ve noticed kind of go the other way. They’re almost like horizontal. So they’ll, they’ll have a function like they’ll have instructional design team will have LMS learning management system admins, they’ll have continuous enablement, leaders, and there’s like a pass back program back into the new hire programs. Because I know you’re on the precipice of having to make those decisions for your team. And we were kind of having to will restructure and try to figure that out for ourselves again for H2. Like, again, we’ll have to do this after six months and trying to reorganize. So I’m curious where you came to.
Grace Elliott 15:00
Yeah, I’m really glad you asked that because that was a question that I asked myself six months ago before or when I was still a team of one. There are definitely different ways to do it, we have decided to align by role. So by Sales Team role rather than function so and the way I think about it is I want my enablement specialists to have the same stakeholders for the content and the resources that they’re providing. So, for example, we have a sales enablement specialist who’s focused on our SDR team. Since they have those varying functions onboarding, ongoing training, they might need resources like email templates, or they might need content to send out to their prospects. Her stakeholder, or stakeholders are the same for all those activities. So it’s the SDR team leads and SDR manager who is Shane coincidentally, who connected us. But it’s easy, it’s easier for her because she can have that weekly or BI weekly sync with them, and cover everything at once. Rather than having onboarding and then having all the SDR, the mid-market AE manager, the SMB e manager, all three of them needing to be involved in the decision, she can just have this one group of people with the same objectives. All their objectives are to have the SDR team be successful. And they’re thinking about that role and what they need. So it’s easier for her to align with their needs. And then also, to me it segues easier, more easily if she is creating something for onboarding that’s really helpful for the STRS Well, chances are if the fully ramped, STRS did not go through that lesson, or they didn’t experience that training. Chances are it applies to them as well. So we can she can also easily deliver that content then because she’s already working with that team.
Pete Thornton 16:46
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, totally makes sense. Yep. Okay, cool. So you’re going onboarding, ongoing, enablement, based on role as you expand the team, and just saying kind of one-to-one essentially at that point.
Grace Elliott 17:00
Right. I will say we are looking at having creating an arm for product enablement. And that person won’t be really aligned with a specialist, but I’m thinking of it as the specialist being the sales enablement. So there would be enforcing the sales function, those sales skills, those qualitative skills, and then also the sales knowledge that they need to have a far more sales methodology. But the product enablement specialist is focused more on how to demo and they would be the product expert and our, our, our product market and our customer persona expert. So that might be giving a little bit more into the functionality, piece of it, but they would still work really closely with the easy and also the STRS. So maybe I’m going back on what I said. But to me, it’s easier if I think of it as like your stakeholders, you need to have the same stakeholders for everything you’re doing. Because that way, it’s easier to turn out content and make sure you’re producing the right content.
Pete Thornton 17:50
Yep, yep. Okay. Yeah, it makes sense to me. And, yeah, it helps to have a narrow focus at that point, so that you can go by roll, probably one of the differences is that we’re supporting all the customer teams. And so there are about 17 specific teams. And then we have a few that are just outside of our realm that we still support. So it’s about 20, and all. And so with the scope of sales, like if you come back into three or four roles, I think it makes much more sense to do it that way. We’re kind of having to stretch out over the course of that mini rolls, it was kind of like, okay, what, what, how can we go side to side, but again, this was some of the people that we support, the leaders that we support, they now have 110 people in their organization. And so it did not start that way started with 33. And that’s in one of the two organizations that we support. So, again, I think this, these things will collapse in and it will move back into a roll by roll. Okay, so that’s definitely one challenge: how do you just organizationally structure to support all the teams that you support, get them the resources that they need, when they need it? If you look up enablement in the dictionary, it’s like to help, it’s like to help. It’s so broad. And so that that is that in itself is a challenge, because what you said was like, we give them what they need when they need it. And it’s like a great soundbite, but it just means we do everything exactly when they need everything done.
Grace Elliott 19:10
I can give you my mission statement. I’ve put it into words the best I can.
Pete Thornton 19:16
Oh, let’s go.
Grace Elliott 19:19
Okay. Our team’s goal is to provide our sales team members with the knowledge actually, I mean, let me change the word our goal is to equip them with the skills knowledge and materials that they need to be successful and their respective roles.
Pete Thornton 19:33
Skills, knowledge, material to be successful. So oh, I’ve got one to share with you, too. But first, that word “successful.” I love that word successful. Like we try to make everything we do simple social successful, but how do you define it? And better like how do you confirm those definitions with with with leadership essentially?
Grace Elliott 19:55
Well, in sales, it’s really easy, because everyone has quantitative goals and targets So when I say successful, and I’m thinking of the broader results of the sales team, I’m thinking they are successfully hitting their targets, they’re successfully hitting their sales goals.
Pete Thornton 20:11
Okay. So measured annually or measured monthly? Quarterly?
Grace Elliott 20:16
We’re monthly. We focus on our monthly target. That might change in the future, we’re always talking about how we measure things and whether it’s the most effective way. But today, our account executives and our STRS are evaluated on a monthly basis.
Pete Thornton 20:31
Okay, let’s do one more than because there’s this chasm in between when you measure somebody even monthly, and it’s, it’s for the new hires that new hire ramp period. So how do you measure like new hire ramp success?
Grace Elliott 20:44
We have ramping targets, our STRS and AES they have their first month is they have a $0.00 opportunity target. And then it goes depending on the role, it can go 25% To target Well, STRS are not three months or eight years, or on a six-month ramp on their six-month they’re fully ramped. So firm and market for example, there’s a 00 2550 75 100% to target and then SMB, it’s a little bit. Their first month is a little bit aggressive. It’s zero. Well, hopefully they’re not listening. And they are hearing me say it’s aggressive. So Rs, our SMB, I had some account executive executives, there’s goes zero the first month and 2525 5075 100. Okay, so by their six months, they’re expected to fully deliver on their fully ramped target.
Pete Thornton 21:38
Okay. And so is there any goal that’s like first deal done, like time to first deal done, or time to account plan? Is there like time to discovery call time to demo any of these pieces?
Grace Elliott 21:53
Yeah, it’s luck and stuff with that target. So we’re expected, we expect the SMB AES to close their first deal, really, the goal is within the first two weeks of their second month. And then mid-market, AES, it’s really their second or their third month, because it’s a little bit of a longer ramp that they, they’re, it’s a longer deal cycle. So it’s a longer ramp time.
Pete Thornton 22:17
Interesting, okay, I really liked putting times on that. Because for one of our two teams were broken into what we call center of excellence, which is the onboarding side, as well as the continuous enablement team, which is kind of like tip of the spear resources, things that are being created new on the fly, as needed. Our Center of Excellence team has a value proposition, and I call it vapourised. Kind of like a mission, I guess our mission has been number of new hires that will ultimately help or that’s our mission and vision in a sense, but we have a value prop based on those types of numbers that you were just rolling out. So it’s we increase revenue by $162,500. It’s like this specific number, because it’s based on the per new hire, by accelerating time to ramp by 45 days. So it’s essentially based on these very standard benchmarks like SDR three months good. This is more based on strategic sales reps and enterprise sales reps. inside as well, we’re taking an average of all the quotas, and then it’s usually 180 days to get to full ramp, like 1.3 million is like kind of the average ranges from one to 1.6 million on the quota. So every 30 days is 108,000. So we pushed it to the point where from our initial benchmark, we’ve gotten to 162. So like at that point, you have something some way to measure ROI for the enablement team, especially for new hire ramp, because it’s a lot of input on a new hire. And traditionally, onboarding, because enablement didn’t exist until really, I mean, sales enablement, spin around a bit tied to the Chief Revenue Officer or lead of sales, they’ll have somebody who kind of helps them. Maybe it was at a Reb ops or something. But then a lot of its come from HR, HR onboarding, maybe like, get some people some tools, give them some compliance, like security, compliance, give them some benefits, health care, that kind of thing, and then increase the culture, if possible, send them on their way at the end of that first week, but it’s always this 90-day thing. But it’s 90 days, and this is made rubbing on HR, but I think we’re allowed, it’s a day 89 It is easier to let a new hire go because it’s not fit. On day 90, it’s much harder. So that’s like the genesis of where this 90-day plan kind of comes from. So we just gave it a thought experiment of like, what if we just toss the days and we put these certification pathways into place and just see like, how long does it actually take them to get there like this time to productivity, how long to get this job done? Whether it’s arbitrary and we make up the number or not, or whether we just say it’s the first deal like you’ve done every step to close one deal. So like measuring those times and not putting so many restrictions on the on the days and everything.
So when you say to us the days and are just looking at how long, what are you measuring time in?
So it’s still measuring time, but instead of telling them what to do each week, week by week. We’re just giving them Like the targets, the end goals, and then giving them pathways to kind of have a simulation like so they have a, they have a simulated environment in which to do it, which is a certification. And that’s just a scenario. And we say, hey, given this scenario, etc, we’re able to put that through asynchronously, through our LMS. And a lot of cases, and some of them are live takes a lot of planning and coordination to get the managers together with us. And with the new hire, and they prep for it. And they pretend to be a customer, we give them a scenario. By the way, all the customers we ever put in this scenario, close within three months, it’s like this. It’s this magic, like, it’s like, because some new hire has been practicing it and like saying the name are like, great, we agree. And we’re doing this fake scenario. And then all of a sudden, these deals come through one of them was like a $1.2 million. I was like, Hey, who wants the next scenario? Because we rotate it if the deal closes.
Grace Elliott 25:52
Wait, so you created a scenario based off of the real opportunity that was being worked?
Pete Thornton 25:57
Yes. It’s product led growth to like all the people that were folks, already customers at some level, but they have not come to the enterprise offering yet. There’s somewhere in the, in the offering anywhere from free through to these other tiers that we have, so we only sell the professional, the enterprise tier, so they are all in salesforce.com, or CRM and Looker, our business intelligence tool, but we give them a real account, or they can choose their own. Now we’re trying to have a little bit more of a choose-your-own adventure. So it can be one of their accounts. Because we’ve seen it so successful that we’ve put it in an account and there and they simulate the experience that it like closes very frequently, afterwards, that we like we want to actually replicate that whole thing to say there’s a time to productivity, if they can do these five particular things for sales and customer success. It’s three. And they’re these milestones, these little checkboxes that are more like the competency based things, they’re questions, how do I do this? How do I do that? How do I do this. And so for the strategic reps that really want to get after it, they have like 20 years experience, they come from a similar industry, they can just blow through these things. And they have this almost like testing out of the program, because they’ve just, they’ve shown themselves confident, competent in these five things. And then we just measure their time to job done, which is them closing the deal. Like they have these, these artifacts of their job done. And that’s what we’re measuring right now. So we’re not necessarily requiring the content in between, although if you can’t certify, it means that you need that content, and will go backward. So it’s an experiment because some people like more structure, they would rather know exactly what to do on Tuesday of week three, and it makes it easier, organized for us. But for others, some people like I don’t do onboarding, I just go like, great test out of it. You could be done by Friday, Billy, or what whoever? Like, it’s fine. Like, we’ll work with you as far as that.
Grace Elliott 27:47
Yeah, that’s smart. We’ve talked about that, too. We are moving more toward the skills and competence competency-based certification, rather than just Did you check the box? Did you ask this? Or is that we’re also migrating more towards? Like, did they demonstrate the skill or the competency? And if so, do they demonstrate it to your point, if they want to skip the lessons on and they feel like they already know how to listen, and they already know how to run an effective discovery call, then, maybe they can skip those lessons and do the certification? And if they can demonstrate those skills, then they’re good to go?
Pete Thornton 28:19
Yeah, yeah, works better. But we have we are finding because I know you mentioned STRS. And your it works better with the more advanced reps, of course, like yes, well, listen, I have a thing I do, I just need the value proposition. I just need the access to the enterprise decK, etc. And then but by doing that, and pointing them towards the outcomes, they then go dig that stuff on their own, what we’re finding is they’ll penguin certification lesson, we’ll see them hanging out in there for a little while. And then eventually, we’ll see them go in and grab one by one the things they need. So it’s almost them going to the end and then finding out they needed that stuff after all and going to get it versus putting that through step by step until they get to the portion at the end. So it’s kind of the exact same thing, but it’s just freedom of choice a little bit. Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it. I wouldn’t recommend it. Highly for SDR team, it’s just better to say come on in, like, let’s do this. This is more of an introductory role, but it’s a difficult role. So so that that direction being better. always curious on those things, though, because these are just experiments. And like in every team is different. And you guys have an office that you’re working out of sometimes. So add a question on that one, like, Are most of your hires in person? Are you still having kind of like the pre-pandemic environment at Fleetio? How’s that different maybe?
Grace Elliott 29:36
Yeah, I would say it’s 50/50. Lately, we’ve had more Birmingham hires than they’ve been in the office. But last year, we were hiring a lot of our mid-market account executives and they, for the most part are remote, not in Birmingham. So it’s a mix one of my sales enablement specialists is remote and I think that that helps create an inclusion with remote people because a lot of the leadership on our sales team is in person In Birmingham, so I’m glad we have her to balance it out a little bit. But she always like going with that. Oh, yeah, so basically, we it’s a remote friendly environment. So we always have a zoom option. We always have remote people on the call. But it’s it just depends. It’s a mixture. Some people are in the conference room in person, and some people are on Zoom.
Pete Thornton 30:20
We’re 100% remote. There are hubs, but their hubs gather for a day, two days, maybe, or something like that, or maybe everybody would fly out to San Francisco headquarters for a period of time for it’d be more like a kickoff time, we did kick off in San Diego, but you can count on everybody being remote. And then and then prior, you could count on everybody, and majority people field reps or have always been a little bit remote. So I’m wondering if like you’re having to host hybrid for everything? Is that a challenge? Is that a challenge just to like, hey, we have some people in person, some people we’re going to have to bring in through a zoom and just a position the laptop just right, or something like that?
Grace Elliott 30:59
Yes, yes, it is definitely a challenge. It’s much easier. I’ve learned with trainings, various trainings and activities that if you want to do anything interactive, or in small groups, it’s better just to have everyone on Zoom. Because if you want to do something like breakout rooms, it becomes a logistical, very large logistical challenge, if some people will be on Zoom, and some people will be in conference rooms, but you don’t necessarily know who’s going to be where even if you try to get that list beforehand, so that you can say, okay, these people are going to be in these zoom breakout rooms, and these people are going to be in person inevitably changes. So I might, in my experience, it’s easiest to be in one way or another, I think there are, are ways you can work around it, especially if you can plan and who will be remote, who will be in person. But in my experience, it’s definitely easier just to be everyone zoom, if some people are going to be on Zoom.
Pete Thornton 31:48
Yeah, I can see it. Kind of all in or all out.
Grace Elliott 31:51
Yeah, and that has especially become a challenge with our SK to planning because that’s one event where you want people that have the opportunity to be in person, you want them to be in person and you want them to experience that energy. But you also have to balance not leaving the remote people out of whatever activities you’re doing. So I think if you’re in a situation where it does need to be hybrid, you just have to be really, really careful that someone on the leadership team or someone that’s facilitating is also remote, so that they have that world-class experience. You have something special planned and planned for them because they are remote, and then have the in-person people doing something different.
Pete Thornton 32:25
Yeah, yeah, it is difficult. Last thing, and then I gotta get a tip from you, at least one. Now challenges, other challenges. What is tough about specifically about growth, like about how quickly this organization is growing around you? Like we’ve mentioned a few of them. So it doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list. But it’s always nice to kind of find out like, what’s the hard part?
Grace Elliott 32:49
So I wrote down a couple things, when you asked me that question, I’ll say the first thing that came to mind was finding the right people for your roles and for your company, not just from an enablement perspective, but just overall, company-wide and Sales Team wide, especially when you’re hiring at the clip that we are, you need to have to find good people, and you need to find them fast. And so that’s just a big challenge, especially when you feel like it’s some sometimes you’ve tapped your network, you’ve tapped all of the internal people’s network, because you’ve been asking them to find people or that you’ve been asking them if they have any friends for the past year. So it gets to a point where you feel like your internal network is tapped. And so you’re relying on LinkedIn, and you’re relying on your recruiting team to reach out and go find good people. And sometimes it is hard to get to know, especially when the hiring process is fully remote, it is hard to get to know people, especially people that you don’t have mutual connections with. So I think sometimes you do have to take a little bit of a risk with hiring, sometimes you do have to take a bet on people but and sometimes it doesn’t work out. But I think to your point earlier about, it’s easier to a day at nine zero, hey, this isn’t a good fit than to let it linger on. I think that is so so critical. Because if you find the wrong person, or you take a bet on the wrong person, and they’re not a contributor to the team, if they aren’t putting in the effort that you expected out of them, or they’re just not willing to learn, which is one of our core values is, is we want everyone on the team to just always be excited about learning and continuous development. If they don’t carry those same values, and it’s not necessarily a good fit, it’s really important that for the sake of everyone on the team view can have that conversation with them and say, Hey, I know you mentioned these were your personal goals and we’re not helping you get there because you haven’t been successful. So I think it’s time for us to go separate ways so that you can reach those personal goals and be successful.
Pete Thornton 34:46
Yeah, yeah, tiring is tough. My thing about the 89, 90 days is mainly that people want to force everybody wants a 90-day onboarding program and I just I just wanted to ask why. Like what what what is the why is because the is what they’re used to. So it’s like, Well, why is it always a 90-day thing? Why are they perfectly ready at 90 days, but they weren’t ready at 8785 110? And then that’s and then and then if it’s not a fit, I still understand the value there. But it’s like, oh, but this is based on data now, because we’re able to understand, are they able to move to productivity were they able to move to, but then sometimes it’s just not a fit, like it’s not a cultural fit, or something like that. It doesn’t work within the organization. And you should probably know by, by Yeah, by 90 days. So it’s arbitrary, but it’s definitely helpful. You have to pick a number for that, essentially. And so it seems to be the one.
Grace Elliott 35:38
Yeah. Well, maybe I misquoted you. But my point was—
Pete Thornton 35:40
No, no. Not at all. Anytime you say something negative, I’m like, Oh, hey, I was making fun of HR. Oh, yeah, I better qualify. And then I want to send it to them all and be like, See, I told you guys.
Grace Elliott 35:52
Well, my point was, it’s easier to identify if they won’t be successful early on, instead of thinking, Oh, maybe in six months, the behavior will change. Because, right, maybe it doesn’t change, the results aren’t going to either.
Pete Thornton 36:05
That’s true. And I do think it’s better to hire with the intention of like, hey, let’s just see if this works. Like Like, because you can’t always it’s, it’s such a guessing game on interview cycle. Everything has like 2% or 2% unemployment right now, like a lot of good people are hired. So always moving around to new people all the time. Okay, thanks for the challenge. Like these are all like, just very common thing. So it’s good, good to hear and like kind of commiserate a little bit on that one. What about a quick tip?
Grace Elliott 36:37
So one thing that our AEs have been doing and has led to, to their success and building rapport with our prospects really well, is they will change their zoom background to be a picture of the prospects fleet. So we’re fleet management software, so we load their vehicles and equipments into our software to help them optimize their operations. So they’ll put a picture of a truck or a piece of machinery or whatever it is that they will be managing in Fleetio. They’ll put a picture of their company’s assets in the background. So a shout out to our AE Stefanova for coming up with that one, but it’s got on all of our AEs are doing it now.
Pete Thornton 37:16
Okay, okay. That’s awesome. So like “the show ’em, you know show ’em” but it’s like a visual that strikes right away.
Grace Elliott 37:23
Yeah. And actually, one of our account executives did that. And there was a person, like he Googled their company name and trucks. And there was a person in the photo, and he popped up in the demand was like, Hey, guys, I’m Kevin. And the guy was like, That’s my brother in her background. That’s so funny. That’s correct. But he loved it. So it definitely was a good way to build that rapport.
Pete Thornton 37:46
I love that. That’s so cool. That’s a good one, “show ’em, you know ’em.” That’s wonderful. So I just had to share the guests like some of the insights on a podcast. I was like, Okay, great. Let’s keep this one at 25 minutes because they always run over. We’re at 40 minutes. So you got some challenges. You got some unasked-for how-tos on 90 days. Everybody’s concerned that their 89th Day of employment now that we’ve let the cat out of the bag. Great. I think our job here is done.
Grace Elliott 38:13
I think so.
Pete Thornton 38:14
Thanks, Grace. That was fantastic. Hope everybody got value out of this. See you on the next SaaS Ramp Podcast.