The Importance of Making Friends Before You Need Them

with Erica Markham,

Senior Manager of Field Onboarding, DocuSign

Onboarding is hard enough as it is, but throw in rapid growth, remote work, and multiple timezones, and you have to rewrite the game. In this episode, we sit down to hear exactly how that was done by Erica Markham, the Senior Manager of Field Onboarding at DocuSign. From challenges to solutions, here’s how you can bring in a lot of new recruits without losing a personal touch.
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Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Erica’s background and career journey (1:14)
  • Finding your place in enablement (5:08)
  • The challenges of remote work (12:26)
  • Into the weeds of DocuSign’s hypergrowth (20:16)
  • Scaling enablement through one person (26:29)
  • Personal touches within rapid growth (30:49)


The SaaS Ramp Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at


Pete Thornton 0:00
All right. Welcome to the SaaS Ramp Podcast. Today we have special guest, Erica Markham at Docusign. Welcome to the show, Erica.

Erica Markham 0:13
Thank you happy to be here.

Pete Thornton 0:15
So I haven’t introduced yet. And there’s a lot to say. But will you just let us know a little bit about yourself where you’re at what company what your title is right now? Just a little bit.

Erica Markham 0:25
Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Erica Markham. I am the Senior Manager at field onboarding at Docusign. And I live in Denver, Colorado. So not next to one of our home offices. I definitely took advantage of the remote world, actually, right before COVID, but lived in Denver and working at Docusign.

Pete Thornton 0:43
Yeah, wonderful. Okay. I know there’s more to unpack there. Because the first time we had engaged in met, it wasn’t a DocuSign but had been done to sign before. And it’s been a ride and enablement ride. So yeah, maybe we can just dive all into that. So this will take a minute. But if you would go all the way back to the beginning. Tell us about yourself personal professional experiences that kind of bring you to the current opportunity at DocuSign right now.

Erica Markham 1:11
Yeah. I think this question is so fascinating because nobody is born into enablement. No one begins their career when they’re 22 years old and enablement, unless, potentially, you had an internship. In fact, we have many interns at DocuSign who then joined the enablement team. So I guess those folks aside, most people come in by way of a different path. And so I think it’s fun to learn about other people’s journey. So let me share mine. I am the daughter of an architect and interior designer. So naturally, I thought in school, why definitely need to go to some type of design had to be in the title. And when I was going through the list of majors, I realized that I really wanted to get out in four years, which was really important to me. Don’t ask me why. So that scratched off architect and interior designer, and I heard about instructional design. So a professor kind of took me under his wing and all through college, I studied Instructional Design Technology. I used to work in the Distance Learning Technology Lab running the Wimba classroom, if anyone remembers, and maybe this is still how we do it, Distance Learning Technologies, where there’s a whole classroom, although I think, zoom, I have taken over that. And then helping the teachers learn Blackboard Vista. So that was my first experience into just instructional design. And then from there, I got a job of working as a contractors in a company called mosaic of working for pg&e, which you may have heard of, they’re in the news, not necessarily for the best reasons. They have fires. And we’ve had a couple of fires with pg&e. But anyway, I digress. Working at pg&e, I was brought in to help build apprenticeship programs. So for the first five years of my career, I built training in a very instructor-led environment, a very hands-on environment. And it was it was fun and different and interesting. And I wear a hard hat to work almost every day. And then from there, I thought, Gosh, I’m living in the suburbs. I’m in my early 20s. I really want to experience what the city is like. So I moved from the Bay Area into San Francisco City, and got a job working at DocuSign as an instructional designer and facilitator in sales enablement, which was my path and so I came in with no experience in sales. I sold Cutco knives when I was 18. Did you sell those too, Pete?

Pete Thornton 3:31
No, but listen, I had the from my experience in education like that was that was there was plenty of my former athletes. I don’t know what it was always the athletes. Not necessarily like my science students, but like the soccer players as it were, they’d go off to college. And then I think it was the time period is just super popular there for a period of time, and they show back up to like, coach, would you like the world’s sharpest knife? I’m like you with cut kung fu? And because there’s like a hierarchy of them. Later on, four years later would have the juniors and so my whole soccer team was selling Cutco knives. So anyway, that’s why it makes me kind of laugh a little bit. You’re just much more— I know I’m breaking in here, but like you moving straight into instructional design and then moving into enablement is probably the most straightforward pathway into enablement I’ve actually heard yet because it is when you made mentioned that like nobody goes to school for enablement, sales enablement, customer teams enablement, whatever happens with like, that’s, that’s completely true. I’ve not met anybody who’s like done that. So the path into instructional design is straight through is about as straightforward as somebody moving into maybe an account executive type position into management, and then taking the step over into enablement to expect to scale out the aid that they’re given within the management position. So I don’t know kudos to you on actually doing that straight on through. And that’s the first time you landed at DocuSign. So that was round one into DocuSign, into sales enablement.

Erica Markham 5:02
It was, and what’s interesting is there were not a lot of opportunities at that time in sales enablement. The only shop when I was searching for instructional designer and you’re right, they do align because instructional design is the study of how adults learn. How do I design training that resonates with my audience? And so there’s a whole science behind, how do I put together thoughtful training? How do I understand what I need to train on? What is the gap, right? All the, how do we measure what I’m doing in this organization? And so it was so easy when it was a hands on task, right? I can go inspect, did you put the meter together correctly? Or not? Did you leave a hazard graphic, I can check for gases gas leaking? If we have simulated energy modules, where would they line up with climate pole? Did you climb the pole efficiently? And did you get fake zapped? And if so, you failed. It’s a lot harder in this world. And I think that’s why the word if you search for instructional design technology back then it was rarer. And so the options when I was at a time were Docusign. There’s a car company that was looking for structural designers to build out some maps. And Tesla was the other one that was hiring actually a lot at that time. And I and they offered me a job and I decided I wanted to try tech. So I said no, but they were hiring designers to build meaning for the car mechanics. If you wanted to learn how to rebuild a Tesla after a car crash, your body shop had to go through Tesla training in order to be certified to rebuild a Tesla. So it was just very interesting. You entered the world of sales enabled me think about training in general, it’s all there are a lot of different paths in the world related to training, instructional design, specifically in sales enablement. And it just wasn’t a thing yet. And but DocuSign DocuSign caught on early, which was fun to be a part of and I will say I mean, I joined. There were seven people on the team one was an intern. So six and an intern. There are 60 people on the team now, in six years.

Pete Thornton 7:07
Wow. How many total employees at Docusign today?

Erica Markham 7:11
That’s a great question. I just read I think it’s over 8,000 somewhere.

Pete Thornton 7:16
Yeah, I was like even ballpark, right, though. Okay, that is interesting on the sheer numbers because you’re always wondering about the ratios and things like that. The first of the DocuSign, though, this is obviously pre-pandemic. This is like there’s going to be remote or field sales reps. But there’s going to be a lot of people still coming into headquarters, I imagine. It won’t just be like, the world has gone remote and 90% stayed remote?

Erica Markham 7:40
Yeah, absolutely. So entering DocuSign at that time, and I entered on to the onboarding team, right. It’s instruction designer and facilitator. So half of my job was to help facilitate, we had a monthly bootcamp and what, what has been interesting, and I’m thinking through the challenges of where the company is now and kind of looking back to why we’re where we are now when it in relation just to onboarding. We had a great in-person bootcamp, we used to fly in the entire country to Seattle and have an in-person training, complete with snack room with gummy bears and m&ms and pretzels and apples. And I’m sure if any of you guys have gone back to the office, hopefully you have your snack rooms. I admittedly, that was I think one of the coolest things in my mid-20s. Joining a tech company is like free lunch.

Pete Thornton 8:29
Oh, yeah. All the Costco things were just lined up, like anything you could ever have from Costco. You were in Seattle, too. That was the same in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I joined my first SaaS startup. So it was the same thing. And it was cold calling and it was in business development. And everybody would complain because it’s cold guys, business developments very difficult. And there’s a lot of rejection. And I had come from the educational space, as I mentioned. And so everyone’s like, this is the worst. This is so hard. This is like 30, 60 calls per day. And I was over there like Have you tried the cashews though? The cashews in the lotion? Yeah, I’ve been in education, like you get so much. It’s like a Teacher Appreciation Day, once a year. So yes, something to be said for that little snack are in there. And there’s good commodity camaraderie that happens and people can go and there’s osmosis or diffusion I guess maybe that happens in the atmosphere where you’re physically around people, you can look on people’s screens next to you. Not everything has to be so structured and aligned to give it like an individual unique digital experience. So those boot camps can start to come back now, but there’s been a period of time that they’ve they’ve just evaporated. Another way had to be found. That was such a pleasant experience, I will have to say though. I’m reminiscing a little bit with you.

Erica Markham 9:43
You’re so right and I for the companies that are bringing them back I’m so excited for you to be able to have increased that experience again because it is fun. It is so fun. But what we’ve gone through with COVID It hasn’t been two weeks. It’s been two years and so people’s lifestyle As I have changed, my lifestyle has changed. I’m in a position where I’m not going to move back to San Francisco in and go to the office, I’m not gonna move to Seattle and go to the office, I do expect to be able to work remotely. So what does that mean for running an onboarding program? How do you create an environment? Yeah, virtually. And that’s something that I think every company is challenged with, it’s I’ve probably made me sick of hearing, like, how do you fix it, but at the same time, I’ve learned so much from other companies, what they’ve done, and what they’re looking to do. And I’d love to share some of the pain that I’m recognizing now. And DocuSign, it’s, it’s interesting to have left and come back and see, oh, we took our in-person boot camp, and we put it online when COVID hit. And that’s it. So we had a global team that used to fly into Seattle, and everyone was in the same room, and it was great camaraderie, once a month. Now, we did the exact same thing. And we do create, we have really unique ways that we’ve helped bridge the gap on how do we get people together to do something fun and creative during boot camp, and we’ve come up with those things. Those are, it takes a lot of legwork on the team, I will say there’s a lot of behind the scenes, I want to put some of the development reps together and have them do some pre-work. And now they’ve got a friend that they can talk to and maybe their friend is— In the offices we went from two or three to hundreds, everyone’s office is that in yonder, me I’m in my kitchen, right? It’s everyone’s offices all over the world. So we have created some of those, those things. But I look at the team, and we’re running that global program three times per day for three different time zones. And that’s three hours at a time. That’s nine hours of just facilitation. In fact, we’re in it right now, this week is a facilitation week. And it’s, it’s crazy, it’s hard on the facilitators, and it’s hard on the students who are coming in and they might get like, worn out Erica, right. Like, it’s my third time of the day, it is morning in Singapore and in Tokyo, and then Australia and Sydney, but I’m on my third group, I’m like drinking tea, trying to massage my vocal cords.

Pete Thornton 12:12
That, so that is backup to two steps. Because it may seem obvious because the role you’re in and what you’re doing all day, every day, but you have a very distinct, and it’s in the same company because again, we can go back and hit that the middle chunk or whatever, but you were at Docusign previously, at Docusign again, and in between, remote work went viral. Everybody’s doing it, especially in tech or we are more equipped for it than everybody else. And it just it accelerated something that was already naturally happening, especially with field reps being located in various cities and GOS across the globe. So what were the challenges when you returned? And like which and like, could you categorize them as like, this is like post-COVID life. And this is just like DocuSign has moved to an 8,000-employee organization, which is part of the growth and which is part of the remote lifestyle?

Erica Markham 13:05
Yeah, and you make such a great point that maybe we were already training in this in a remote world anyways, right with technology, the more technology we have in the world, the more able we were able to work remote, I went remote, right before COVID Actually, right. So it was an option, maybe not to everyone, but it was an option for some roles to be remote. So now coming back, gone through COVID and figuring out how do we improve what’s going on now? One of the biggest ones is we went straight to how do we recreate what we were doing in person virtually. And we didn’t bring in the other regions to say, and can you facilitate in Australia? And can you facilitate in Brazil? And can you facilitate in Ireland and in London. And because of that we have an onboarding team, the way the team is structured and the expectations of the team are such that you will deliver onboarding because you are the onboarding team. And there’s a flavor to that. That’s true. Like, absolutely, we are the only team that is our job. And is it working? Is this what makes the most sense that I’m delivering training to an audience and I can’t speak Portuguese, right? So when we’re speaking with Brazil, it’s how much of that is translating versus someone being able to speak in the local language? So I think a big part of COVID that we haven’t come back from it and I don’t see DocuSign moving back to the in-person boot camps right now at least. I don’t know if about never I don’t have a crystal ball. But right now, I don’t think that’s going to happen. And that’s okay. So how do we plan for, for boot camp to continue in onboarding to continue where it’s regionalised by how do you do that in a way that the regions haven’t just gone haywire like, okay, I’m gonna go build now but onboarding by now that’s not happening that’s that would be chaos because we do have one CEO one vision one set of company goals and so how do we make sure that we have the same breathing the same oxygen in all the different countries. So that’s something we’re working through right now. And it’s been a really fun challenge. In fact, that is the reason I chose to come back to DocuSign. If you guys were looking for jobs a couple of months ago, and maybe still now, hot job market enablement might still be really hot. So, in trying to make a decision on where to go, it was I was excited about the opportunity to figure out how do we, how do we develop onboarding in a way that people are really excited to go through it. And it feels really good because it is such a fun time in your life when you’re joining a company.

Pete Thornton 15:37
So when you’re talking about the global challenges and things like that, first of all, it was like, Okay, we’ll just Oh, good, good. We’ll just recreate that in-person experience. But now we’ll do it virtually. Because it seems like others might actually have just salt an issue for us, because otherwise people are going to have to be in these different geographies to do it in person. So like there’s a uniformity that might be able to happen to drive, like new hire ramp across the globe once everybody’s remote, but then there’s uniqueness. Like, there’s always been uniqueness of role, like the sales team is going to be different than customer sales team, different business development team, for example, but he’s talking about Portuguese versus like Russian versus English. So that’s, that’s just a whole nother ballgame. That’s, that’s very interesting. Like, it’s not the quick solution. Like there are still unique solutions that have to be delivered. And you’re gonna have the challenge of virtual delivery.

Erica Markham 16:29
Yeah. And you had asked, what’s the COVID issue versus like, an expanding issue and pre-COVID? I think we, we, at least in my experience, we were hiring mostly English-speaking individuals from all over. And that made delivering a live bootcamp when everyone flew in Seattle. Easy. Now, because we’re not really going back to that environment. It’s okay, in the company has evolved in a way that we, we can hire those who just speak the local language? And now because of that, because of that growth? How do I now pivot the onboarding to meet their needs? And right now, I don’t have an answer right now. It’s working with my colleagues in South America to say, hey, here’s what we’re doing today. What’s the quick fix between now and developing a whole new program? So, since I’ve been back, it’s been a lot of what are the low-hanging fruits? If there are those who can speak English, can we get them? Can we arrange smaller group sessions with a local lender? They’re right. That’s a quick fix. And then the long-term fixes, how do you develop a global onboarding program? When everyone timezones alone, working in zoom is hard, right? I’m up early to talk to Dublin, and then I’m up late to talk to Tokyo and to talk to Australia. And so I’m actually in the middle of working to get everyone in person just for a few days, right? Do a lot of pre-work before this in person, but just in three days, what can we accomplish Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and, and I think that that investment will be huge. So we’ll see what happens that’s coming up in a few weeks from now. So I’m very excited.

Pete Thornton 18:14
Your enablement team gathering, so you can actually work with them.

Erica Markham 18:18
Yeah, and by that I mean a regional leader in each area, who is going to own onboarding. So the first half of the conversation has been, yes, we have an onboarding team. And can onboarding team be responsible for creating the global framework? And can we have a leader enablement leader in each region can be a part of that conversation and afterward, own that piece. So while we have maybe one person in each region who can own onboarding, they can’t work on it as Iona they can’t build it for the whole region by themselves. They also can’t do all the development work by themselves. We have instructional designers on the team, anyone with the skill set in, we use storyline, we use rise to people who can quickly develop some content. And then we have other folks who are great at coming up with what’s a great in classroom activity, like, what is the breakout experience? And so just thinking about things differently. It’s been that anyway, that’s where we’re at now. That’s the journey.

Pete Thornton 19:18
I have a ton of questions about those because I am fascinated by new hire, and I love going in the weeds with that. And there’s like, even so you submitted something early, and I’ll even go back to it. But I do want to set the remainder of the context like your dark side before your DocuSign after and then there’s because a lot of what we’re doing at SaaS ramp is about this hyper growth that occurs between product adoption, enterprise motion DocuSign is beyond that. It’s just growing and growing, growing like it. This is probably what they did early stage when people if people even previous to everybody knowing exactly what DocuSign was. However, you did experience a huge dose of that at DocuSign before and then it’s your next company. So That is certainly worth telling about. I’ve not quite heard this before. I’ve seen this before. So when I was watching you and what was going on there? I was like, wow.

Erica Markham 20:12
Yeah. So let me share, share the story there. So when I was talking to DocuSign, I had an opportunity to go build out the sales enablement team, and really sales as a team sales enablement function, I should start there. And it was no team, it was a team of one, like many of you, I know and yours in your companies, right. So I joined a company called fast. And if you’ve heard of fast, amazing if you haven’t, the quick story is that fast was a was a tech company, a fintech company, and we had a one-click checkout solution. Same on Amazon. “Buy now” is that button, but for the rest of the internet, it’s cool concept really, really fun place to work. I have worked with such driven smart individuals. And if you’re working in a company like that Now, the thing I love them should the thing you love is that you work with everyone that is so driven. I mean, that is everyone is ambitious, everyone works hard. And so it’s like working on a group project. But everyone was working as hard as you versus maybe in different situations, you’re the one working hard and you’re wondering who else is pulling the weight, right? In startup world, everyone’s working really hard. So at fast, I went inbuilt, there was nothing, there was no, no enablement when I got there. And I came in with a vision of Alright, well, if we’re gonna start hiring the first gameplan, we need to develop an onboarding program. And what it how do you do that really quickly, right. And I’ve got, I think we all have really big goals of what onboarding can be and what it should be? And what I focused on, because of the quick need, right? I mean, you’re moving so fast, was okay, who are the teams that they’re working with? Who are the teams for those people that are coming into onboarding? First of all, who are going through? And United chatted about this with the themes? I called it faster, not camp? Yeah. Well, that are going through faster, not camp, right? What roles? What do they need to know to do their job right away. So a lot of that is tech companies. These have a lot of tech. You’ll have your outreach, our version about your job, Salesforce or version of Salesforce, you might have zoom info or version of zoom info, depending on your country, and how do you get them working and living in the systems as quickly as possible? And what people do they need to know to reach out to if they need help? So what are the teams that the people going through boot camp need to know? Oh, if I have a question here, I can reach out to and leverage this team. And so that was my goal in my approach to building the onboarding program and I ran it. One of the other things is you’re one person, and meanwhile, you’ve got people coming through, but you probably only have like, one here, three, here, seven here, maybe, right? It’s kind of a trickle effect. So there are some conversations I did have with HR on in the sales managers to say, if it’s possible, if we can kind of group people on maybe two Monday’s a month, that will give them a better experience, because I as one person can provide a better experience for them. And that was something that took time, and you’re not going to win every time because you don’t want to lose the higher either. But that’s that approach helped. Guide have more streamlined feeling for people coming into an org and experiencing some type of onboarding where they got to work with other teams, they got to work in the systems and tools and those and it’s scrappy, that’s the other thing I you really have to embody, I embodied it’s a scrappy world, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not go by the biggest best guys at Salesforce. And candidly, I don’t know the, I’m sure there, there are different serums. But it doesn’t have to be the Salesforce. It’s whatever drives are available. And you don’t need a learning management system. I fought for one. Should I have? I think that might have been a mistake. Probably not, probably too early. And that’s something that you gain with hindsight. So the end of that story, I guess, is or just to skip to the end, maybe I probably skipped a few chapters, is that fast. I experienced everything in a startup, everything from working all the hours with really brilliant people to producing something. I was really proud of it excited about meeting people like Pete. I and I can’t remember if we met on one of the slack groups. So in the LinkedIn groups was one of the tips.

Pete Thornton 24:32
You mentioned that too, and I couldn’t remember if it was through LinkedIn, or if it was through like enablement squad or something like that. Like there’s a there was like the yeah, there’s a Slack group exactly. I can’t remember either, but I remember as soon as I looked and saw the company because it was that a sent that at Postman, we went from so I started in October 2020. It was about maybe 25 million ARR and about 250 people. So now it’s at like 650 people and 82 million annual recurring right revenue. So like that’s it’s 100% year over year, and that includes headcount, headcount and revenue. But fast since 2019, had reached 400 employees, and you were still a solo printer there, you had built the function but you were a single person was like, Look, if I think building this team here is quite a hypergrowth experience, like what you were doing there just settled me down. I was like, okay, it could be worse. All right back to work, everybody!

Erica Markham 25:30
It would be worse. I’m glad I could provide that for you, Pete.

Pete Thornton 25:36
So yeah, and then you said maybe a little early on an LMS. I mean, it’s all relative, like, if that many employees are coming through a function that fast, you have to have some way to digitally— And it’s all remote like, so people are coming through completely remote. So how do you scale that through one person? Even at places like DocuSign, with as many hires as you have— talking about three rounds per day, three timezones concurrently, so there’s probably a whole discussion unto itself. But what you were doing over there, I was like, Oh, you are just cranking. So I mean, I guess that has that you haven’t gotten to the end of that story or anything yet. But you got the experience, but you’re no longer there, so there’s something.

Erica Markham 26:14
Yeah, yeah. And thank you for that. It was a very fast rocket ship, all puns intended because that was, it was fast. It was rocket themed. I think one of the things as you guys are in your orgs, to think about, and I heard, actually, this advice this morning from a sales leader, they said, Make friends before you need them. And what I took that away, too, is, as soon as you join in order, maybe you’ve been there for a while, but you haven’t met the teams who will help you be better at your job. And then talking about the obvious ones, sales ops, who are running Salesforce, like really getting to know them, but also the ones that sometimes product organizations might come up with their own training or their own product feature launch announcements, here’s a demo video, really getting to know that team. Also, early on, if you haven’t already, I assume you have. But if not getting to know those people making friends in those departments before you need to call them and say, Hey, I need a favor. And the favor is related to the growth of the company, of course, but it’s just a lot easier to ask those questions when you’ve already got that connection. I think that’s what made me not go insane. While we were going through Airtable hypergrowth. And yes, the amount of training requested and needed and delivered was, was a lot. But unfortunately, the sad ending and I used fast in a past tense earlier the company through lots of different reasons. So there are tons of articles online, you can speculate and read about them online, but the company did not make it. So I got the full startup experience from leaving a major company. That was a startup when I joined startup DocuSign was kind of big when we went public, but it was pre-IPO, then leaving and going to another right like, Oh, we’re gonna grow it from scratch will be the next unicorn to the company just one day, close its doors, that was April 8 of this year. So there are a lot of very talented individuals that were let loose into the world of tech. And you if you were on LinkedIn around that time, you probably saw a lot of people get picked up. And the conversations go on, because it was a talented group of individuals that got picked up so and then that allowed me to then say, oh, gosh, I wasn’t ready for the next chapter. I was liking the chapter I was in. But I think everyone felt that way. So that was a bummer. But nothing we can do about it other than move forward. And what have we learned? So things I learned that I didn’t quite know how to phrase were things like, make those friends and work with the team. So your go-to-market team who’s the who’s in charge of strategy, who’s in charge of competition their roles in your company, you may not even know exist? And yet, what they do is so similar to you, so don’t all work on the same thing. That was a big thing that I found it fast, at least.

Pete Thornton 29:04
Yeah, that’s great. That’s a great set of lessons. What an accelerated learning process to go through that many growth stages that quickly. And then have a look, some people don’t get closer to what they’re working on. Like if you’re in training, and there are constant iterations, and you have like a maintenance and improvement cadence. And you mentioned it before, it’s not you have a vision for what onboarding is going to be. But it’s always been created and changing will. Maybe sometimes you like, well, close the chapter and like you get that start fresh. There’s something that was actually happened in education that I do miss in a way, although tech moves so fast, I get a little taste of it. But I don’t understand how now being in this startup world I ever existed for 10 years in an educational environment. Because it’s government work like, it’s steady. It’s going to be the same thing. But there were semesters there was a turnover. I would have hundreds of new students every single year and new athletes and things like that as well. And So there was like this, this perennial turnover, and you could modify your curriculum and move forward, try things like compare it against a lot of qualitative data. You’re just seeing how it feels you as a teacher, but yeah, so that kind of closed the door, come back into DocuSign. And then re-experience that there are things from the startup world that are really helpful for, like larger corporations, like even that hustle and that grind and being gritty and like doing things with everything’s out of the Google Suite now, because it’s free. And I have, like, but then, but then we have some people we’ve hired in from instructional design have come from like Prudential, for example. And she’s like, Hey, we should take that name out of there. And that timestamp will not function because we’ll have to update every month, every quarter for sure versus “maybe we have to update.” And I’m like, Okay, thanks for that. It’s just like, they have lived through so much growth. And like, there’s just like, it’s going to one day be too big to do it this way. So they take out you’re a little touchy feely, “Everybody come meet the new hires! You and you and you and you and everybody.” You’re bringing them into an actual meeting or something like that. So there are things to be learned from each. So that’s kind of interesting that you’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, and in quick succession like that as well.

Erica Markham 31:13
Yeah, and Pete, the thing you just said is something actually when I was talking about that low-hanging fruit, one of the things that I’m noticing here that I have this viewpoint is, wow, how many hours are we putting in before boot camp each time, right? How many hours am I spending, making sure that we have the right groups of people for this pre-work or, or any of the things that make it feel really, really good that you’re proud of and excited about? But even on this scale, yes, it’s an established company. But it is quick, and there is no time for that kind of stuff. And there wasn’t any time for that at fast. That was it, maybe I have that lens because they just experienced it I experienced, there wasn’t a time to do to show that something could be updated, right? Everything we use notion as our internal wiki and sync to blocks saved my life. So if I found a piece of content that someone else created, instead of me writing a dip, writing it in maybe a different language, I might do an intro to say the following is taken from something, please read it in there, whatever, and then sync that block that way. I don’t have to worry about changing it every time the product upstate updates. So checks like that to work smarter, not harder.

Pete Thornton 32:25
Yeah, I have a saying for that. I don’t know if it’s, I don’t know if it’s Southern, or if it’s just like to kind of just like, like, GSD. But it’s good enough is perfect, like good enough is perfect. So like, Hey, could you review this? I’m like, did you look at it? Did you review it? It’s do now good enough is perfect. Can you ship that? I like in software engineering, they say like eff it, ship it because they like they need to push out that next version. Early on early days, Postman was shipping something every two weeks. And now we’re coming into a more consolidated release schedule. But those things are happening, like so fast that those early as early stage companies. So yeah, hypergrowth makes a big difference. But if things slow down in any way, shape, or form, or things are leveraging upwards, like where you now you’re going to be speaking to only the fortune 50. And like this, the sales teams are going to be approaching them in a strategic manner. And you’re not going to be transactional, you’re going to be strategic in your approach. Now it has to be a little bit different. Now maybe you’re touching some of these customer-facing materials. And it’s going to need three pairs of eyes instead of one eye or however it works for you, and it changes so rapidly. That’s what’s been so interesting, too, about how quickly that can go from one to the next.

Erica Markham 33:36
I was gonna say, there’s a Disney Pixar movie called Inside Out that I watched recently. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it.

Pete Thornton 33:44
Oh, I have a seven-year-old. This is what I live by.

Erica Markham 33:48
Okay. So for those of you who haven’t seen it, there’s a Disney Pixar movie, it’s called Inside Out. It’s great. And it’s all about the emotions in the brain. And I was watching it with I went home over Mother’s Day visited my mom, and we sat down and watched Inside Out. And while I was watching it, I realized that it was a great way to illustrate how emotions work, how we might intake the world around us as kids as adults. But what I was thinking about the entire time was how it depicted my working relationships. Like, I kind of felt like joy. So in the movie, when a character takes over the control panel and doesn’t he’s very protective of like, no, no, you can’t say that to the sales team. No, no, no, you can say I had all these opinions and feelings and I was almost over overdrive working. And it wasn’t until I realized that I can’t get to where I’m going unless I bring in sales ops to help me do this thing. And I have to really like let go of the reins and let them do their thing. And that realization has created for me such a different mindset shift and I had I think a bit of it while I was at fast but I really think most of it happened that Mother’s Day a month ago. So I have that perspective now as I met Docusign. Anyways, if you haven’t seen the movie, watch it and think about it and give all the characters a name, give sadness the name of your strategy guy, right? Give anger the name of your sales ops guy. And then just think about how that plays out as you’re working because it helped me think about things differently. But anyway, that’s the creative side and me.

Pete Thornton 35:23
That’s wonderful. That’s so funny. You said, make friends before you need them and that’s what I was gonna bring it back around to because it is just a little bit of an insight. It probably doesn’t matter if you’re a big Corporation. And you’re dealing in that kind of environment where it’s hard to get access to people, like there’s just so many people, or if you’re in hyper growth mode, where everybody’s new all the times, okay, yet another new person, another new person, but the making friends before you need them. And then I really liked the just that emotional tie. And it probably ties back into even the digital existence that we’re trying to make smoother, better, this onboarding, kind of like this, this piece, like that culture piece that everybody’s always referencing, but it’s kind of hard to tie it into practical applications all the time. Like, we just want great culture, what is culture, hard to define that kind of stuff. It does bring in, but that whole make friends before you need them. It’s an excellent, excellent piece of advice. And we used it, we were we still do, we do a series where we bring the new hires for just short, it’s almost like virtual instructor-led training, but it’s really just an introduction to the various departments. And it’s on a monthly cadence, so it’s okay, and it’s short. And so not every role that we bring is going to necessarily interface with the legal team or necessarily interface with the sales ops team. So in the purpose, the purpose statement for it just so it can be one size fits all for like the various roles. It’s like, come meet them before you need them. Like it, that’s the purpose statement is literally like, I’ve come to them and learn their name before you need something, because you’re gonna need something in three weeks, and it’s gonna be like, Hey, this is my name, can I have this? Like, if you want to come back, it would be good if you knew something about them or like, or you knew how they like to be reached out to? Is it in Confluence? Is it in JIRA? Is it in Slack? Is it in Google? There are so many different communication mediums. So in a very practical sense, but where you’re putting it is kind of a little bit from the heart. So yeah, that’s a wonderful side to have. That’s your instructional designer side, the whole design thing that you started with.

Erica Markham 37:23
Yeah, I guess so. We’ve come full circle. And yeah, well, mine feels good. Your practical application tip is huge. We had something called a squat selling playbook that was exactly that. And I think that that’s important to share because it’s a really great practical way to say, how do you engage with this person, what’s a case study of a time where legal was involved in it helped the sales rep. How that is a one slide per group activity that you could do during a week, and it’s a fantastic, fantastic asset. But anyway, so I like your practical approach as well.

Pete Thornton 37:58
Love it. Well, that’s a perfect wrap. Erica, thank you so, so much for all the insights, all the journey, the places. We’ll let you go back and forth and back again. Really, really interesting tale and I think everybody gained a lot of value from hearing it.

Erica Markham 38:13
Thank you, Pete. Thank you for having me. This has been fun.