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. I’m your host podcast Pete here with a solo podcast, want to answer a question I get very frequently. And that is basically the how-to question. How do you execute on enablement? But we have to pare that down a little bit. Because by the way, I mean, that’s going to be a few episodes. So why don’t we do how to execute a new hire ramp program.
So I find that enablement has two sides, onboarding and ongoing enablement. Onboarding is the new hire ramp piece that everybody’s familiar with. Because you’ve done it you have been a new hire at multiple companies, especially in SaaS, you’ve seen team that seems to move frequently, if you’re on the go-to-market teams, you move even more frequently, statistically speaking, and then ongoing is a little bit more traditional. Like that is how do you help create resources and disseminate or operationalized resources is really what you should be doing for leadership, as time marches on, as the motion moves forward. So let’s look at the new hire and ramp side because that’s the part I get the most questions about because that’s the part that’s like an emergency, like, like you’ll call a plumber because you have something broken, it’s when we have to hire 50 people, 100 people this year, and they go to market teams, and we’re going to overburden the management team, we can’t manually do this, how do we create that quickly and effectively. So let’s do how to execute a new hire ramp program.
We do this a certain way. I like to letters. I like to keep it simple, social, and successful. These are the three things we always do no matter the program: simple, social, and successful. I’ll explain that. And then we have five Rs. I should make this, like a pirate’s favorite recipe of rapid ramp or something like that. But there are five Rs in the rapid ramp recipe. So again, just keeping it fun. So why don’t we talk about simple social successful first and then I’ll go into the recipe of how to actually create this because there are five steps and it’s actually good for any interaction you’re going to have with a systematic flow, new hire ramp being primary.
So simple, how to keep something simple why to keep something simple, is simple, because there’s so much information that somebody has to take in in a short amount of time, whether you’re telling them about your product, or you’re telling them about all of the pieces and processes and people that they’re going to need to learn about, you’re going to have to simplify things only for the time being, it doesn’t mean you’re going to take the complex these out forever an assistant you have to create a file in somebody’s brain in order for them to take in more information, the whole phrase of I’m drinking through the firehose, it’s not a good thing. Like people are proud of that just like they’re proud of like working through their weekends and all night long. But over the course of time, it’s unsustainable. So good to do a sprint, I love moving into a new role. And sprinting for three months, I just this way to set expectations for myself and my family. But again, that’s not the way to ultimately do your life. So let’s talk about how to simply simplify things make them concise and efficient.
Social. Social is the next one. So keep it social, like the people in go-to-market teams are social human beings, or social in general. And sometimes it’s software development companies that can be slightly forgotten because there are nuances to personality types. But in general, if you’re going to speak to people for a living, you are a social being. So it’s good to put people back and forth to have a mentorship programs have places for people to move back and forth to give feedback, take feedback from others to watch additional interactions, and do enjoy each other’s company, especially in a remote setting.
And lastly, successful how do we keep this successful? There I’m very, very this is maybe my one thing, a program is only successful if you know where the hell it’s going. Okay, so you have to have the outcomes, you have to understand what is the result we’re looking to attain, you have to have a road map with a destination. If you don’t have a destination, it doesn’t matter what you’re enabling, you’re just going to drive around the city. So let’s have a destination. And what you’ll find is if you give a destination if you show what success is, oftentimes these super talented, expensive people you’ve hired will actually find their way there with less help than you think you just have to provide that one piece we’d like to provide it all but that’s the major piece of the puzzle.
Okay, so that is simple, social successful. Let’s do the recipe. Let me unpack the recipe from a high level like just all of them all five and then let’s break them down one by one.
The first thing offer the result. I just talked about this. I called it successful or success. What is the Northstar goal outcomes and milestones to success? We’ll talk about that. That’s result for a starter. Second R: reveal. Display examples and artifacts of successful achievement. Okay, reveal, like reveal what that looks like. Here’s where you go. Here’s what should look like. Third one review. Deep Dive the competencies deep dive the playbooks like now that they know where They’re going and what they need to learn to get there. Let’s go ahead and point them towards some of the resources for rehearse, rehearse. So this is rehearsal. So this is as old as it gets for anything you’ve ever wanted to do repeat the successful motion. And scenario-based simulations do it in a safe environment before you do it in a live environment. Some people like to skip straight to live, because they’re, they feel like I get it. But they have rehearsed somewhere, even if it was in the shower that morning, as they prepared for work, okay, you rehearse somewhere, let’s make it official. And five, five out of five, reward human beings. It’s how it works, you do all this work, you need another rewards worth it at the end. So there’s a lot of ways to reward that the ultimate actual way to reward that is with them doing their job, they actually get a sense of that. That’s not what anybody wants to hear. But when you set the first meeting, close the first deal, had the first positive customer interaction creates your first account plan, like that’s a reward unto itself, because these are very ambitious people that we’re hiring for lots of money. And the reason why they’ve made it to this point in light in software, especially in a hypergrowth environment, is because they want to do their job and they want to do it right. That is the ultimate reward. Now, that said, we really like to have like just pilot on award certifications for new hire achievements, their swag pieces, you can throw in Yuki, you’re really cute on this. It’s really fun, actually.
Alright, so let’s unpack them one at a time, starting with number one: result. Okay, for the result, here’s how we unpack this at Postman today, we do three things. First, we illuminate the North Star goal. The North Star goal is is the goal that the leader to 99% of the time will report up. Okay, so let’s do sales because it is simply the easiest sales is going to report up the number one thing Annual Recurring Revenue, ARR. This is the revenue number the sales leader is ultimately responsible for that is the Northstar goal. It’s thing if you told them, they could only have one slide with one data point. That’s what they would display to the CEO and the board every single time, the Northstar goal. Now this can be different for different teams, let’s move over to a support team. So a support team. Say it’s a product support team there, there would be a Northstar goal, it could be anything from time to first response to ticket closure, there would be one thing that they would ultimately pick from all their support ticket types, that would be their Northstar goal. So you can see this in any variety of manner. And it’s up to you to work with the leadership to understand what that Northstar goal is. The next thing is what we call outcomes. Outcomes are the sub-tasks. There are the bullet points under the Northstar goal, typically three to five outcomes, this is the number of things that you would actually do along the way. It works really well with a sales cycle, you would start with an account plan, like what would you need to know in order to create an account plan? Creating the account plan would be the outcome is actually an execution? It’s a verb, like like, what do you do, like, negotiate and close a deal might be the fifth one out of those five, if you had five in a sales cycle, and you’re gonna move through step by step, you might drive deep discovery, right? You might demonstrate value, like there’s going to be things that you’re going to do along the way that you should unpack, you should start to say like, yes, we’re going for annual recurring revenue, it’s not that easy. Let’s do these five things to get there. And then under the outcomes come the milestones. These are questions. How do I…? When should I…? What should I…? These are all the questions that if they answer, they can achieve the outcome. That’s where the curriculum will be derived. That’s where the rubber meets the road on what they’re doing from morning to night, every day in their job. So that’s the Northstar: goal, outcomes, and milestones. This spits on a nice infographic on one page of a PDF. This is your white paper to your internal customer displaying exactly what they’re responsible for. And let me tell you one more thing on results since it’s my favorite. And if I had to do anything, I would simply stop at result if I can only do one of the five hours, and I would be done. And I would say here’s where you’re going, why you’re going there the questions to ask along the way, because the smart people will find their way. But we’d like to display these in a quarterly business review and ask are we changing anything for this quarter in a hypergrowth environment? Something will change with those outcomes every single quarter? Probably not the Northstar goal, but the outcomes most likely and the milestones for sure. So check on these quarterly and didn’t agree on the goalposts for a quarter because again, we do have to have a snapshot in time so we can create the content and resources for it. But quarterly is fair. All right, that’s result.
Next one, reveal. Reveal is excellent to begin if I can only do two things in the five hours. I would do reveal next is display examples and artifacts of successful achievement. My favorite, favorite way of doing this is through call recording software. So I’m a personal fan favorite of gong.io. Chorus does a good job as well, chorus.ai. That’s where it is. And what you can do with that is you can auto record all customer calls you do not have to rely on your sales and customer success representative to then ask for the ability to record with Zoom or a screen sharing software, it’s automatic, it’s compliant, you click through to get there. And so you automatically have all these recordings on the backside. So much to talk about and unpack there, again, for a different podcast. But the main thing is that now when something goes extremely well, or even when 30 seconds of one call goes extremely well, you point them towards that everybody wants to say, hey, change this, change this, change this. That’s fine. That’s for later for now, for the new hire, show them what it should look like this quarter, like what should that look like? And then you’ll have some superstar people who are already doing this well, or who do at least one of the five things you want done, well show them that and give them credit for it, and show them how this person already did it. There’s so much nuance there, the interactions back and forth, that if you can just give an example of what it should look like after you’ve told them where to go, again, you’re so close to having this thing tied up just right there with that. Call recording software is expensive, by the way. But again, there are two software’s I’d recommend, it would be learning management software, which is cheap, but dense is very heavy, very manual to lift, you need content creators for it, and it needs to be maintained monthly. And then there’s Call Recording does not need to be maintained, is really just really self-serving an excellent and it’s really good across the organization, probably is probably eight times as expensive just for heads out there. Okay, so those are the two those are my two favorite.
Third, review. This is deep dive the competencies and playbooks necessary to achieve this specific success is really important, really heavy lift here. This is where the rubber meets the road with enablement. So now we’re going to take those milestones, and we’re going to unpack them, we’re going to start bringing them out. So you’re going to start asking those questions like the milestones each asked a question, usually about three milestones per outcome analysis, we’re gonna start providing the content that will answer those questions they go through, this is where you’re using the learning management system. This is where you have the little assessments at the end. This is the teacher stuff, here’s where you’re going through, you’re creating curriculum, and you’re driving new hires through this curriculum. To give you an example of this, but this includes certifications as well. But at Postman, our strategic sales team has all of the playbooks outlined throughout their new hire ramp period, as well as certifications to rehearse, we’ll talk about in a minute, it is 17.6 hours is less than 18 hours total. That may sound like a lot. But when I speak to other enablement, leads, it’s between 40 and 50 hours typically. And so what we like to do is give them just enough, but leave them bandwidth for creativity, leave them bandwidth to engage with their teams, leave them bandwidth to review more calls, if it’s because we have those call customer calls recorded. And that is really, really helpful. So we just want to keep it simple, remember social and successful. So on the review the deep dive in the competencies and the playbooks, you can go ad nauseam. Once you create content, it’s very hard to trash your content because it’s so difficult to create and lift that you tend to keep it around. But listen, it’s like streamlining your home, perhaps or looking in your closet, you’re never going to wear their shoes again, throw them out, give them to Goodwill, right? Same thing with this keep that review streamlined and driven to those outcomes. So it’s always very specific to that person who’s going through this role-based training. Okay, that was three.
Four, rehearse. Okay, here’s a really cool thing: using the learning management systems, you can actually have reps and you can do this live too. But you can have reps upload their various pieces of simulation, and then you can have the managers great. So I just want to give you some examples. So for the rehearsal piece, we want them to repeat the successful motion in a scenario-based simulation. So for everything, we want them to do it once in a safe environment and turn it in. Before that you go and do it with a customer. This can be as simple as account planning, create this account plan using this template using this give them a live account. Hopefully it’s their account. If it’s not, that’s okay too. And then say Create an Account plan using these tools. Maybe you have a BI tool that they utilize we utilize Looker, maybe they have a CRM Of course you do we utilize Salesforce. Maybe you have Zendesk ticketing for any problems in the past. If it’s a current customer and they’re up-leveling, we’re product lead growth. So that’s often the case. So you can give them access to those three things, create your account plan, what’s your value hypothesis for this person based on the data you have, and turn it in. And then you can review it as enablement. But if you’re overwhelmed, if you’re one person and you have hundreds of people coming in, or 10s of people coming in even, then you can have the managers help you, that’s a good checkpoint. And they can get they can meet with their new hires in a, in a very practical scenario, so that you’re going kind of 60/40 with the manager 70/30. So that’s a rehearsal. And then, of course, the discovery calls, have a customer team like you, the manager, perhaps you and the manager is really, really good and really helpful. Maybe a pal a mentor, “postmenot pal” is what we have here at Postman, it’s what we call a like-for-like role that helps them along throughout the first four weeks. And then they can actually rehearse, they can get a simulated environment, some information, and then they come to the call, and they do a discovery call with you, that’s a very popular thing to do a mock call, of course. So that’s a rehearsal. So what we like to do is we like to drive to every outcome with a rehearsal of some sort a live simulation, and then we certify based on that, we can actually certify within our learning management system, get the badge for them. And what they accumulate all the badges for an outcome than they have, they have made it to that outcome they have, that’s how we measure their time to productivity. As I spoke about in another podcast, when we talked about our results, by the way, our time to productivity is like 27 and a half days, that’s about how long it takes us to move through all of these pieces.
Okay, last one, the reward. I talked about this a little bit at the beginning, no need to linger too long on it. But essentially, you can award certification, you can award badges, like we mentioned, but the real reward is them actually attaining to that successful outcome. And what we want to do is make sure we hang with a new hire, stay with a new hire, until they have reached their job done. That is the minimum viable product and minimum. Yeah, like an MVP, or proof of concept of them doing their job. In sales, it is still going to be to close a deal, but does it have to be the $1 million whopper? It doesn’t. It doesn’t need to be something that’s just like a one license uptick either, but it needs to be somewhere where they do all the process steps required to move through their job done. They could do it again at a bigger race. So like, if you can run a mile, then good. Now run the mile faster. But we’re just trying to get them to that first checkpoint where we know that they can do the entire job. And some people are like, oh, well why not a million-dollar deal? Well, look, you could always make things better and more excellent all the time, but this is new hire ramp. There are new people coming. There are managers in place that can kind of take over and do this. So we wanna be efficient with our time, too. Once they can do a $10,000 deal (making a number up), then they can probably do the $1 million deal, too. It’s just gonna take a little bit more scale. So again, it’s why you ever graduate school because somebody arbitrarily had to say there are this many grades now move on into the world.
Okay, so a review: result, reveal, review, rehearse, reward. We do that here at Postman. We do it in practical ways. This is not like an idea. This is an actuality. This is a practicality, and so if you ever have any questions on it or you have a better way— that’s what I’m actually looking for. I’m like, Hey, do you like my five Rs? If you hate it, good. Tell me why. Tell me how we can make this thing better. That’s the ultimate goal. Thanks for listening. As always, Podcast Pete. SaaS Ramp Podcast. Looking forward to communicating with you otherwise, thanks so much.