Not Letting Perfection Get in the Way of Progress

with Mark McWatters,

VP of Sales, Ambition

It’s expensive to hire, so why not set them up for success when they come in the door? In this episode, Pete is joined by Mark McWatters, the vice president of sales at Ambition, to discuss just that.
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Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Ambition’s biggest challenge (1:27)
  • Mark’s best leadership moment (3:50)
  • The one thing an org has to get right to grow (7:05)
  • Advice for aspiring VP of Sales (13:36)
  • Why Mark recommends college (17:29)
  • When Ambition brings the most value (27:33)
  • The context for hockey stick hypergrowth (34:59)
  • Thanking you for the journey so far (37:10)
  • What SaaS(ramp) means to Mark (38:50)


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


Pete Thornton 0:06
Hey everybody, welcome back to The SaaS(ramp) Podcast. I’m your host podcast Pete here with special guest today in Chattanooga have had a little bit of a Chattanooga back and forth over a few years been really really interesting to watch their rise. This is Mark McWatters, VP Sales at Ambition. Welcome to show Mark.

Mark McWatters 0:24
Thanks for having me on, Pete. Yeah, Ambition is Chattanooga based. Now I am a Nashvillian. Although I love Chattanooga, too.

Pete Thornton 0:32
Yeah, well, you have to come to Chattanooga, so that you can visit Tennessee and because otherwise, you’ve just you’re hanging out with all the Californians who have come in.

Mark McWatters 0:39
A lot of California neighbors here in Nashville, that’s for sure. And I think Chattanooga is not far behind. I think they’re probably experienced a little bit of that, too.

Pete Thornton 0:49
100%. Yeah, really interesting. The last place we were in was down by Main Street. And not to make this all about Chattanooga, but the people who are coming in, there’s Boston, two doors over California across the street, you know, one or two blocks from the choo, everybody seems to find ya find their second home and Chattanooga.

So let’s maybe kick this thing off. You’ve been running a long cycle with Ambition doing great, great things there. But we’re a little bit about challenges on the show. So maybe what’s been the biggest challenge of the last two quarters, six months, and, and just kind of understanding where the organization is at as far as the challenges you’re facing?

Mark McWatters 1:25
Yeah, biggest challenges. We’ve doubled the size of the company in the last 12 months. And for us, that’s going from about 40 people to a little over 100. And in the last two quarters, specifically on the sales side. 80% of the team is new. And so in our space that is very like budget creation, initiative, creation, outbound evangelical type sale, bringing in a lot of new salespeople is a challenge. And we have some that we’ve promoted up from SDR that have never been in a sales role before we have others that we’ve brought over from another SaaS company and in adjusting, or bringing those new hires and balancing like the veterans who had been here for a while, and those new folks and blending that team together. While it’s been a lot of fun is a big challenge for a sales leader like me.

Pete Thornton 2:18
100%. So I’m in the enablement space, we’ve done the same thing, growing a team from myself to nine individuals over the course of that time. That is extremely difficult thing to do. And it’s the mix. It’s the onboarding of new folks coming in ongoing tip of the spear of training over the course of time. And it all falls to yourself and maybe some of your frontline managers.

Mark McWatters 2:40
I’ve definitely got some help for sure. I don’t want to give it illusion that it’s all me. Yeah, I’ve been an ambition for six years. So kind of a jack of all trades, if you will, on the sales side, I’ve been individual contributor. I’ve led all of the team, I’ve led sales development, the rolled up into sales right now focusing primarily on enterprise and strategic accounts. And so while my current focus is there in the enterprise strategic space, still have a pretty big influence, if you will, on just overall sales direction. And in trying to get a refined process in motion down where we can continue to scale around the right sales process the right people, and continue to build on the momentum we’ve had here over the last two quarters.

Pete Thornton 3:29
Yeah, yeah. That’s great. That’s so interesting. So like having those stepping stones throughout the organization throughout those that number of years. What’s the best leadership moment from all that? It doesn’t have to be let’s not like I will pigeonhole you there. Maybe you have like a camp counselor, like leadership moment that you can’t get past.

Mark McWatters 3:50
The one that comes to mind first is actually how I got the sales leader job. I know that a lot of your listeners are in these early like series, a series B, I was an individual contributor. And I first came to ambition for the first two years and our sales leader at the time, who I liked a lot, and was learning a lot from left. And he left right before q4. And I previously had led teams kind of like my whole life, been the guy who’s the captain of the soccer team and the president of the fraternity and like, I love leading and so when he left, I went to our founders, and I said, Hey, this won’t cost you $1. But we don’t have anybody to step in, in the interim, like, I’m the best person to do it right now. I know you’re going to run your full search, you should, I’m sure we’ll find somebody amazing. But in the meantime, I’m gonna play or coach the team in q4 Because we need somebody to do it. And they were like, sure. The reason they said sure as I de-risked it right and cost them any money. I was basically committing the two jobs. But what I wanted was the story. I thought they’d go find somebody else and ultimately, I became In the bar, and they had trouble finding someone that they trusted more than me. And by that time the team had really rallied around me. And so that moment is certainly a game changer for me. And one of the sales reps on the team actually encouraged me to do it. Forever thankful for him. He’s in Chattanooga, Dan Nice. And so that moment really was big for me. And although that was now four years ago, it’s certainly something I talked to others that are in this space, it’s like, put your neck out there, ask for the additional responsibility. Stop being so short term focus on getting an extra dollar to get there. Go get the story, the stories, the value the stories, what makes you money, the stories builds a career, think long term.

Pete Thornton 5:48
I love that. What year was that? You said four years?

Mark McWatters 5:51
So it’s 2021, so it would have been 2018, I guess.

Pete Thornton 5:56
Okay. Yes. So two years before that prior to that I was making a career change from education and coaching soccer Parsis, Harker love. Let me since eyes Nice. By the way, I was coaching in a little place in North Georgia. So you’re basically teaching like, how to play for the first time in a title makes it sound like what the but I remember going around Chattanooga with a stack of resumes and not his VaynerMedia of them like oh, maybe give Gary Vee wants to hire me. You know, they’re a squid with where I landed. And then ambition and ambition had a position called Mountain-O-Sales, and I’ll never forget it was branded. And as like mountain no sales. Maybe not yet, but one day. And so you became the Mountain-O-Sales. That doesn’t make sense for anybody else. But that like puts it together for me in the spotlight.

Mark McWatters 6:42
We have some fun here. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, for sure.

Pete Thornton 6:47
That’s awesome. Yeah, so good. I love that’s a great story. Okay, what about one thing that you personally feel like you have to do or delegate in order for your org to grow?

Mark McWatters 7:02
Oh, good question. The one thing we have to get right is we have to hire the right people. And in the last two quarters, it’s been a wildly competitive market for salespeople, and specifically enterprise salespeople. I love people. I love meeting people. I love figuring out what makes you tick and what you like and don’t like and all of those things. But hiring enterprise salespeople has been really a first time for me and a challenge. Like I will admit that we have outsourced that we talked about delegating, getting help, like we’ve recently hired recruiters to go help with this, because it’s so competitive requires so much time. And admittedly, I don’t have that time. And so we’ve made a decision to go hire recruiters to help fill that in. That’s certainly something that I’ve had to delegate and something I’ve had to get. I mean, the other thing that we’ve really had to get right is, for the last four years, we didn’t have Enterprise broken out of mid-market or out of SMB. If you’re a seller at ambition in 2018, 2019, 2020, you were selling essentially the whole gamut. And when we separated out into tears, we had a mostly enterprise sales process, because that’s where we had the most success. Like we were going after the bigger fortune 500 type companies, not because they’re cool logos. But because those were our best fits. If we got into a competitive situation there, we knew we were going to win, right? And when you grow out of velocity and commercial, what we now call losting commercial is Midmark and SMB. They have a different process. They can’t run an enterprise sales process. You can’t expect an SDR to promote into a velocity roll and understand med pick and multithreading and all the different things that come with an enterprise sale. So the second thing we had to get right was process by segment. So whether it be velocity commercial enterprise, we had to break those down understand really what were the compelling events that were progressing or killing a deal. And we had a lot of help with that. The woman who runs that group for ambitions Aaron Tomlinson, so she’s been really focused on breaking that down and that that process and 2022 You know, in 2015, if you did that people were like, stop micromanaging me in 2022. The reality is great salespeople expect you to if you don’t have the process nailed, they expect that you’re working towards refining the process because they want to know what right looks like. And so we have had to get that right. It’s still a work in progress, like no sales process, especially enterprise sales process is never perfect. But if you can get the framework versus the process, you’re moving in the right direction. And you can’t let perfection get in the way of progress when nailing that process. That’s a lot of rhyming that I didn’t mean to do.

Pete Thornton 10:09
Some solid alliteration in there. So it’s a combination of that. Because you mentioned hiring, you mentioned process, the hiring is like, what do I have to do like to bring people in today so that I can start to put them through this machine that like, brings them to the other side? So tomorrow, there’s a, you know, it’s like any pipeline starts here, you get the payoff on the other side, at postman interesting, because we had to actually develop something we call it we kind of call it like, internally like a playbook experience pathway from the enablement standpoint, or because we’ve had to figure out like, what’s working per segment, we have three segments, same time, different names, and, and then what’s working with successful calls that we can categorize as successful, and three, why it’s working. And that actually comes through if you’re familiar with like, Yep. Okay. Yeah. So we were able to tag and track and, and just through a variety of keywords and phrases, and we can get coaching in there via scorecards, etc. And we’re able to say show in like, almost like tick tock Twitter methodology to try to just give them snippets of like, these are the highlights from the call. And then we apply the enablement, boring resources. It’s the flipping the script of like, the educational model of like, read this stack of books, PS, go get a job that has nothing to do with any of it. Like, we’re like, here’s the job, here’s what went well. And then here’s some books that you may or may not need now that you’ve seen it in action because we couldn’t keep up with that process dynamic across three because that’s just sales. And we actually fulfill for the entire go-to-market, leading all the way back to product support. So there are 17 teams that we’re supporting. And so but if they’re customer interactions are captured within Gong, and we work with the leadership team to understand what’s, you know, each of these pieces like what is success for them, now, it’s now we can drive that month over month as well because the hypergrowth motion is again so it changes about a month over month. So hard to keep up with. And sorry for the aside, but when you say that I’m like yeah, that’s where pieces of this Venn diagram are overlapping. That made me feel so comforted.

Mark McWatters 12:12
Yeah, if you come to a company like ambition and you’re expecting things to just stay the same, you’re not going to be happy, like you have to be comfortable with things are going to adjust all the time. Sounds like person has gone through a similar motion and resting Oh, like this is what works right now. Versus this is what worked like six months ago. You got to stay current we work on customers. Well, it’s certainly been a helpful tool for us to track what’s working and not working. We actually have an integration through Gong were even coach around those Gong moments and ensure that they’re getting coached upon in the right way. So big fan of what they’re doing.

Pete Thornton 12:52
Okay, okay, very cool. And you’re in that you’re having integration. That’s an interesting, epic, epic, epic peak on that side, too. Okay, this will, this will maybe will lead into a little personal journey. And but we’ll work backward out of it. Now that you’ve been through this, you have some experiences beforehand, but sounds like ambition has been like six years-ish. That to yourself 10 years ago, now that you’ve gone through all this turmoil, whether it’s been on personal/professional side, whether it’s been like, Oh, what’s that gray doing in my beard this morning? Like, whatever it is, like? Yeah, I mean, like, yeah, give it the one guard otherwise, it’s gonna show it’s the tip for yourself that would be applicable to help you that you might not have otherwise known.

Mark McWatters 13:34
Yeah, see one big difference. I was actually talking to a guy on a flight this weekend is interested in getting into software sales, and he’s graduated from college and he sounds like this like, big-time achiever. And, and I’m telling him that man, when I came out of college in 2009, the role of sales development rep did not exist. And I was an appointment setter, it was basically that for a mobile home company, like a real luxurious stuff. But I was telling him that go find an SDR job sales development Rep. John, at a software company that in the interview process, they can talk you through the process of how a sales development rep is successful. Good companies should have that figured out. If they have that figured out. Take the job for the experience. Yes, you need the money, you need to have enough to live on all of those things. But 2009 Mark ended up taking a job with AT&T that was it’s part of my past. It was very helpful. I learned a lot. But I took that job because I was going to make like $5,000 More than going to take the other job that probably had the better experience. Instead of the lesson here to a college kid and like what I will tell my kids are they’re coming out of college they’re like below five right now. So I got a lot of physic, prioritize experience So when you’re young, you are so much more flexible than you realize in terms of getting the experience you need to build a career. And so if you’re wanting to get into software sales go get an SDR job at a company that can give you a really tight SDR process. It’s investing in the tools that make you successful. When people interviewed ambition. Our SDR team is like, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but they’re incredible. So anytime someone takes that job of like, you’re so damn lucky, you decided to take this job and we’re lucky to have you. Like, you’re gonna learn what right looks like in an environment where you are encouraged and accountable. And that is going to set you up for serious success down the road. So yeah, it’s go get an SDR job. We’re trying to get a software sales and prioritize experience over money. Because that I love it when you’re 35 like me, like that’s what matters most is that you have the experience to build upon not that you made an extra 5k coming out of college.

Pete Thornton 16:04
Yeah, yeah, that’s a great story. That’s completely my experience as well that that that little door-knocking session ended up in for is like 25 is 25 resumes, 11 interviews for job offers. And I took the lowest paid one and it was with his cold calling. And it was with with with squid. And that was the best experience of my life, the most grueling 16 months ever, and all you’re trying to do is claw your way out into inside sales. And against a crew of like, now they’re all enterprise sellers, or they’re running. They’re running Reb ops for your order. Yeah. Yeah, like, I mean, whatever. I mean, yeah, there it is. We’ll timestamp that one out. Like we got you dog. Yeah, it’s a great organization, great position to be in because you’re linked up with the sellers as well. And like you’re passing them things that but you’re mixing with them like you’re they’re rubbing off on you, these people are coming around and showing you and that isn’t highly complex task of the organization and the number of tools you need to utilize to keep that many contacts and companies in, in flow. Like if you can do that the actual next step is a lot easier than you think. And then the jump like the leaps that you can make in software for the 5,000 that you’re looking for. There just is table stakes at that point. So we’re really a great career path. I love that.

Okay, then we heard a little bit about your story. Will you fill in the blanks? And why you’re going to recommend college to your young ones because now you’re in a place where I don’t know if you’re leveraging your college career. Can you sprinkle that in. That’s for my education background.

Mark McWatters 17:44
Yeah, I love this topic and I should like Asterix Iona my wife agrees. But so my dad is in sales. And I knew in college, I wanted to go into sales. I watched my dad, who’s just remarkable salesperson, he was great with people. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. So I got a marketing degree because it was the easiest one to get into business school at Tennessee. And I also studied Spanish because I really liked Spanish. But do I use my college degree in my sales job at ambition? No. If I interviewed two candidates, I can say wholeheartedly, I don’t care if they went to Harvard, or they went to UTC and Chattanooga, to me, I care about your experience and your potential as a salesperson. And so the education is also I don’t care if you went to college, like the experience is what really makes a difference. And so I will not mandate if the decision is up to be the let’s call what it is my wife is the decision maker, the decision is up to me like college won’t be mandatory. It’s like pursue something that my brother-in-law’s an accountant, it makes 1,000,000% sense that he went to college right? But if you want to be a salesperson, go work at a startup that you can build upon and buy yourself some time before you get there. This gap year concept I’m very much into Alright, so I hit on some college, not not a requirement. Got it. But as far as my personal journey goes, came out of college took a job with AT and T in a leadership development programs basically this they train you for six months and they send you around the country flipping stores that are profitable. So they send you to the worst ones, you flip them. They move you on to the next one ended up being in Fort Lauderdale while I lay it out for Lauderdale and Dallas in for four and a half years with him. It was awesome because he got a ton of responsibility really early. I mean, I was 22 Managing 30 people and most of them were older than me. Like that is wildly valuable experience even if it is really hard. So I did that for a while that I knew I wanted to get more into the b2b sales side. We had moved back to Nashville. And I really didn’t want to go into b2b sales. For at&t, I just knew some people who were in that role and didn’t really feel like it was the fit. And so I ended up taking a b2b sales job at a company called Work Institute, the Work Institute is a employee feedback, retention play that I would sell to senior HR people, exit interviews, stay interviews, engagement studies, and I really liked what we were selling, because I very much believed that we were making work better for the employees at that company, and Work Institute had a unique way of getting at the data and ensuring it was trustworthy. And that was a really fun time. Like, that’s where I cut my teeth on. Being a b2b seller. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was primarily an enterprise b2b seller in that role. So I was doing that for a few years. And then my two of my good college buddies started ambition where I am now. And they came to me and said, Hey, we’re at a point where we need to hire like a legit salesperson, we have one, we hope you would join and be number two. And I told him, No, my wife was pregnant with our firstborn, and ended up saying yes, and joining them to be really like the second salesperson at Envision. And so why did I make that jump, I really believed in what they were doing, like I believed in the concept that ambition was applying to gamification at the time was really like the core offer. And this idea that gamification was going to be more baked into the day-to-day of our lives. I was very sold off. And now you look at your Apple Watch your peloton, your Garmin and Strava, whatever it is, like gamification is all over that you may not be build that way, but it is right. So I joined there as a frontline seller and then told the story about getting the VP job. And, like kind of the thread throughout a lot of my professional career is I have asked for more responsibility. Sometimes when I wasn’t ready. And that’s okay. Because when you ask now, the people who make the decisions know you want more, and now there’s an obligation for them, in my opinion, to help invest in you and develop what you’re wanting more, they may not be willing to pay you to do more at the time when you’re learning it. But again, like get past the short-term mindset, get their responsibility, get the story, because that’s how you continue to build your career and build more of the stories that will benefit you long term.

Pete Thornton 22:42
Okay, very, very cool. Couple of things from all the way back. One, I had never met so many people in sales until recently. And as at this VP level of people whose parents were happy, like b2b sellers, or even in technology, I’m like, your dad was in technologies again, you know, is going back and it was like, Okay, so there’s this thread of like, three, four, right in a row of like, they’ve seen it. It’s like the doctors, kids, like, you know, become doctors, they know the medical route.

Mark McWatters 23:06
I very much feel that way. My dad sold HVAC equipment, so it was not in software. But then he led teams and like, my dad was the kind of guy that he could fire you and you would hug him all the way out because you believe so much in how he was trying to help you. I didn’t realize that growing up, but now as a sales leader, like I think about how compassionate my dad was with his team and, and people would run through a brick wall for him. And so I don’t know that I’m at that kind of status yet. But I certainly think about man, I want people to work with me to feel like Danmark wants me to win. Like he really wants me to be successful. And I think something that everybody wants is they want to work for a leader believes.

Pete Thornton 23:55
Yeah, that’s awesome. That does rub off for sure. The AT&T experience like that is an interesting show. That is not actually what I expected. When you would kind of reference at&t a few times like that is a very like for a 22-year-old light coming through. It’s been in for five years going and trying to turn over things that aren’t working into something that works. It’s a hard job. And an interesting and interesting gig My cousin is in cybersecurity software. And she runs a runs a team. She started AT&T still they’re actually in the cybersecurity division but started out in Dallas, and then had to spend some time down in Fort Lauderdale. So there’s like a route that’s been run and she has high-level executive like she kills it and like good job cousin. And so they do have some kind of like leadership-esque program that that that works and sets a foundation, but it seems to have sent you into more of the hypergrowth, SaaS, small startup phase after that because you’d seen that. Like some of these people who have seen SAP and then they end up in an eight-person organization afterward. It’s like they’ve seen the top of the mountain and now they’re coming to try to build it from the beginning. I’ve seen that a lot lately, too.

Mark McWatters 25:04
What I observe is a lot of and I get to like career moves need to be very calculated in Yes, and you need to think about like, the experience is going to help you get to the next thing. But sometimes it’s also important that you get the experience because then you figure out what you don’t want to do. Like when I was running retail stores at AT&T work and every Saturday, unfortunately, having to like layoff quite a few people because you’re working in an industry where incredibly high turnover, like attendance problems. First day on the job, I had a guy stealing money through his own credit card when he returned a case for your phone, he was putting it on his own credit card, like you get in that. And it’s not a glamorous job. But man, I’ll tell you what I realized I liked leading teams, I don’t want to work every Saturday. And I really didn’t prefer to be in retail. Right. And then like going into this b2b sales job at Work Institute, I realized I really liked the small company. I liked the autonomy that I had, I didn’t really like selling to senior HR people. And now going into ambition. It’s like I’m selling to sales, sales, operations, sales enablement, these are my people. Like, you can ask the people if you can forecast a deal, right? Like, they get it. And so you just start and I’m still in a smaller company. And I’m leading a team now and your story may not make sense at the time when you’re going through it. But like there’s something to be learned from each of these steps. And, and I know that sounds all like, for free, but it’s true. And like just being able to take that step. Invest in yourself, like learn what you like and don’t like and then continue, you know, moving towards to the next thing, you know, internally or externally. Just a lot of value and understanding you’re on that journey for a reason.

Pete Thornton 26:57
Yeah. Okay. I love that. Yeah, the dots connecting backward, kind of like famous Steve Jobs quote, and everything that seemed to applicable here. More about ambition, then so. So you kind of gave us the ideal customer profile, like the grouping that you would sell into. What value does it bring? Who uses it? And like from an enablement standpoint, myself? When is it applicable? Like, when are you starting to see companies that are starting to get the most usage out of it?

Mark McWatters 27:26
Yeah. So it’s probably important to like back up a little bit, given I lead with kind of what it was doing at the time when I joined. When I joined, it was solely focus on gamification. It was the idea of like contests leaderboards, scorecards pushing sellers to do more of the right activities. And what that really evolved in into from our own customers was we’re working with all these sales teams, they’re highly metric driven, but there really wasn’t a way to coach regularly and document regularly on the right topics metric based in this whole, like sales coaching, what we ended up learning was totally broken. I mean, when I talked to a SVP of sales at an enterprise company, and I asked, Hey, SVP, do your frontline managers and salespeople have one on ones? Of course they did. Great. Where are they documented? They’re in a Google Sheet somewhere. Do you have access to that? Maybe, okay, so you have access to like 1000 Google Sheets, or metrics in that, you know, how do you know the right questions are being coached upon sales coaching, unfortunately, it’s just really broken at most companies, it either doesn’t happen or when it does happen. It’s a P, what do you want to talk about today, cool, like to move on. And that’s not valuable. That’s a waste of time. And so while we were in this gamification space, like driving these highly metric-driven teams, we found this hole in coaching, we built it for customers who asked for it. And really that wrapping those two together, what we talk about now is revenue performance management, like this revenue performance platform, ties the concept of like real-time data visibility, where you can see how you compare versus yourself and your peers, but also has an area where you coach on the same metrics, the right topics, that enablement or leadership lines for said timeframe. And you can create a coaching cadence to ensure that coaching happens on the right topics metric driven, create goals, contests, leaderboards off of these conversations. And that’s really where the modern sales org is moving. And why ambition has seen so much growth, is it? Companies at scale have a really hard time creating accountability and encouragement together in the same place on the KPIs that matter, most individualized, down to T roll location, etc. So these are big problems and Ambition. is fortunately very much at the forefront of solving.

Pete Thornton 30:04
Okay, that is awesome. So like, I’m starting to get a more of a visual of like, because you mentioned Golang. And like how it dovetails with Golang, I can totally see those two platforms working together, revenue intelligence, revenue, performance.

Mark McWatters 30:17
Yeah, for enablement, like for thinking about your size team, typically the gong conversation is like, man, we love God. And then the reality has gone on record so many calls that are starting to be a while how many calls are getting coached on Pete, and you’re like, not enough, honestly, like, I wish the frontline managers and spend more time with Gong calls. And so where ambition comes in as we’re hosting that weekly one-on-one or that call coaching program, it’s happening in Gong calls are surfaced into that coaching conversation. So the frontline manager doesn’t have to do anything other than hop in the calls there. It can be coached upon. And now more Gong calls are front and center. So for our customers, it’s been a game changer. And definitely a big driver in Gong adoption, which Gong customers are very interested in and ambition, which documents the whole coaching journey now includes a really important part of that coaching journey, which is call recording

Pete Thornton 31:17
Where the rubber meets the road. So at that point, it’s much less about and because you’re gonna get that anyway, you’re getting like the touch point with the reps anyway, but like having something tactical for them to move forward with, like having something for them to go and see if they can replicate one piece of success or take something that didn’t work and, and try something that does like an action item to move away with.

Mark McWatters 31:37
Yeah, and the same goes for enablement. I mean, we’re doing some big coaching, what we call coaching orchestration, but really it’s around. I use Postman as the example if there was like a Postman way of selling, and you wanted to make sure that this process was followed. And this process is coached upon at scale. enablement typically has a really hard time proving that it’s happening, they have an even harder time proving that it works. So with Ambition, now the visibility exists where P can see that coaching is happening, see that it’s on the right topics. And we have all the data so you can run a report and say, okay, Mark, who’s being coached by Ginny, you know what, Mark’s not really getting better? Like maybe there’s a coaching problem with Jenny, or is this an effort problem with Mark, right? You start to really dig into what’s working and not working. And so for enablement, that’s a big driver in why enablement lies.

Pete Thornton 32:33
Man, in enablement there’s kind of like four categories from just general reaction on something that you put together up to results. And everything’s pretty nebulous until you get to results when the rubber meets the road. And so some of our favorite things to ever do is just put together an entire messaging cadence, and put it into outreach, put it into Salesforce, yeah, have it all laid out. And that’s just so we can get some kind of credit, if something goes close one, because it’ll trigger in Salesforce, and we can tie our efforts to performance to revenue. So you can prove something, but that’s like, obviously, the role has so much more to it than that, you just, that’s the only place you can tie it directly to revenue. So you’re so hungry to do that.

Mark McWatters 33:15
Enablement is so critical, and it’s unfortunate that in a lot of ways, it’s still hard to prove effectiveness right now, and that’s gonna get better and, and get easier over time. But the main reason, enablement and balanced Ambition is they want to drive a coaching process on the right topics in the right part of the process, and they want visibility to it. And they said, that’s hard to measure impact. But it’s also very easy to invest in the idea of coaching on the right topics of the right time and having visibility that it actually happens. And then when you tie the data in, it really creates the value that you’re looking for. And man we love. I’m speaking at the sales enablement soiree, this week at dream for our Atlanta, Atlanta while it’s in San Francisco. And so I’ll be meeting with a bunch of enablement leaders and very much have a heart the importance of enablement and being able to justify the ROI on their programs.

Pete Thornton 34:18
Yeah, okay, that that is that those hard numbers are so so so very helpful. Okay, that’s interesting. So I’ve seen it the Roger before. So when you when you’re kind of paying it, yeah, I’m like, Oh, they’re on the road. Here they go. Yep. Okay, so I definitely understand the platform. That totally makes sense.

What’s the context for hockey stick hypergrowth? Like what has absolutely made it made it kind of take off? Is there any like for postman? It’s this product adoption of these developers who are then collaborating in the platform, sharing it back and forth. It gained so much weight before we ever tried to go tall and sell it at the enterprise level. But what about for Ambition?

Mark McWatters 34:59
Yeah, I mean, the move to work from home as a standard, or hybrid has been really great for ambitions use cases, why? The pain around culture and visibility with through the roof is still through the roof. When people are remote, I’m all for remote work. But it certainly makes it harder to have visibility into my salesperson who lives in Washington State. Right. So being able to have more of that visibility that ambition provides has been a big driver in our growth and certainly been, we’ve gone from this company that was really great for big inside sales teams, to wow, we’re pretty great for just about everyone now that’s metric driven, given their remote and those culture problems exist, essentially everywhere. So that’s been a big reason why we’ve had success.

Pete Thornton 35:53
Yeah, I’m absolutely not surprised by that at all. It’s just such an overwhelming change that will never completely snap back. In fact, I am grateful for my in-person experiences when I had them because this not going to happen again. You know, like, yeah, I can try to force it in there, I can go to a place and make it but then the other people won’t come. It’s just going to be a little different.

Mark McWatters 36:16
I’m a connector. I love seeing people in person, like the high five, I want to be there. But that’s just not the reality of where we are right now. And so we have to accept that and be effective with that. And so, you know, now I usually work on my back deck. That’s not a bad thing, either. I sit outside, so anyway.

Pete Thornton 36:38
Beautiful. Okay, I know we’re on a timer. I always aim for 25 and when it’s interesting, it’s never 25 minutes. So got a couple of questions to wrap up with

You’ve mentioned a few people’s you can recycle them but if you prefer but couple people to thank maybe for like the journey like along the way, anybody who helped you or, or gave you an insight at the right time or even your sales Buddy, he goes, you take it man, you go I work for you like whatever.

Mark McWatters 37:08
Yeah, I’ll give you to here. That guy, I mentioned his name earlier, Dan Nice. He was really the first sales guide and mission. He nudged me to do it. And I’m forever grateful. He said that right like that, that that gave me the confidence to say yeah, like, I’m definitely gonna do it. The second person is another guy named Mark Marcos aglow. So he longtime sales leader at Outreach. If you’re familiar with outreach, I mean, incredible growth, you know, multi-billion dollar valuation company. And the reason I say him is, he always helped and he never asked for anything in return. He never even said like, Hey, Mark, just go pay it forward to the next guy. He was just like, Sure, man. And we’d hop on. And he’d say, Yep, I’ve been there. Here’s what we did. They work there. Here’s what we did. It didn’t work. Mark always is super helpful. And so I certainly think about that a lot. When people reach out to me legit guidance, like I want to be helpful. I want to continue to pour into somebody else so they can pour in elsewhere. Being ahead of sale sounds like a really sexy gig. And don’t get me wrong, I love it. It’s fun, but it can be lonely. Like you’re the guy or girl. You’re supposed to have the answers, right? And building a network of other sales leaders is really important. And Mark is just a great example. I’m sure there are 100 other people who would say the same thing about him, but really helpful.

Pete Thornton 38:37
Okay, that’s awesome. It’s great to hear. That’s very cool connection right there. And finally, this is The SaaS(ramp) Podcast, SaaS and ramp. What does SaaS(ramp) mean to you?

Mark McWatters 38:50
It means providing new hires with very clear metrics-driven expectations during their ramp period. So they know if they are on the right track, or I think ramping in the SaaS environment sometimes can be a little chaotic, you may not know where you stand. And that’s a disservice to a new hire. Like they’re never more engaged in the day they walk in, like that is the time they’re most fired up, to give them clear expectations. And you can, you can, you can take that being fired up and elongate as much as possible. And when you can keep them on the right path, clear metric-driven expectations. They’re gonna win. It’s so expensive to hire these people like why not set them up for success when they come in the door?

Pete Thornton 39:39
Right, I love it. That’s fantastic. I always get a different one and they’re always applicable. That one’s kind of like where my heart is. We call it day one to closed one. Oh, like that. Yeah. It’s just it’s the minimum viable product is that proof of concept of you can do this as long as you can replicate that day. That close one success? Yeah. Yeah, it’s awesome. Okay, thank you. Brilliant, thanks for the participation. I know the journey is gonna continue on, so cheers.

Mark McWatters 40:06
All right, cheers. Thanks for having me.