Old School Selling Techniques Are Back

with Andrew McNealy,

Head of Sales, Hex

In this episode, Pete is joined by Andrew McNealy, the head of sales at Hex. Together they discuss how Andrew got into his role today, the challenges Hex is facing, and how selling strategies are jumping back a few decades.

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Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Andrew’s background and career journey (0:56)
  • Where Hex sits in the funding rounds (2:53)
  • How Andrew got into his role today (3:35)
  • About Hex (5:23)
  • Challenges Hex is facing (10:15)
  • How selling strategy is changing (12:59)
  • Vision for the next 12 months (16:31)
  • Andrew’s favorite leadership moment (26:00)


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 everyone, welcome back to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. I’m your host podcast, Pete and today’s special guest Andrew McNealy, head of sales at Hex. Welcome the show, Andrew.

Andrew McNealy 0:17
Thank you. Appreciate you having me, Pete.

Pete Thornton 0:19
Awesome to have you on. This call was no different than any other call when I have somebody interesting on and like the precast is what we call it the precast if that would have been recorded, extremely interesting. Precast. So we just hope to mimic the precast with the actual podcast on this one. Okay, let me bring you right into this one with like, like just a little background. So head of sales. Interesting job title, Hex interesting company. So would just like to know a little bit more about Andrew, yourself. So like, kind of what you do growing up? How do you kind of make your way over into this role?

Andrew McNealy 0:55
Yeah, I won’t go back into ancient history. But got my start starting the data science base at a company called dominant domino data lab. I was pretty early their top 20 employees very early market very early on the go-to-market team. And back in 2016 2017. This is when there were a bunch of articles about data scientists are the sexiest job out there. But no one really knew what they were what they did. They were just really smart, highly paid people. And we had really the first enterprise data science platform in the market. And it was a really interesting and challenging time, figuring out how to sell, like high ASP deals to a bunch of people who had historically never had budget it had purchased for them. And they were the sort of new up-and-coming role. And it was a challenge. It was really hard. It still is hard selling in the same space. But I fell in love with the industry. The conversation is very, like both a really nice balance of business focus and technical focus. And I just I got pretty deep in the space. And then I bounced around to a couple places. But two years ago, I actually got connected with our CEO Barry McArdle just talking about bringing the early data science product to market. And he jokingly asked me if I was ready to come to Hex and they were a little early for me when I turned him down. But I regretted that and a year later. So basically last summer he called me again and said, Hey, we quietly raised a Series A, we’ve got some revenue. Are you interested in coming and getting sales motion off the ground? And I started last August. So been here over a year. And it’s been great since then.

Pete Thornton 2:36
Yeah, fantastic. Okay, that’s awesome. I’ve been watching those growth. And not just a Series A at this point. So maybe just for the audience, where you guys sit in the in, you know, in the raise in the funding rounds that sometimes indicate kind of where you are as a company.

Andrew McNealy 2:52
Yeah, we really hit the ground running in the second half of last year. And we had some really nice growth, we had some really nice tailwinds in the venture world that have since cooled off, but we were fortunate, really timing as well. We were able to raise a series B at the beginning of last year, or at the beginning of this year, I should say, led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from both Databricks and Snowflake ventures, which was really cool for us.

Pete Thornton 3:19
That is awesome. That’s awesome in the data space. All right. Yeah. Congratulations on that one, too. You chose wisely.

Andrew McNealy 3:26
We’ll see we, we got a lot of work to do still up.

Pete Thornton 3:29
Right. All right. Before we dive into that work, your background you go to do you go to did you know from an age of seven, maybe eight, nine years old that you would be a technical slash and business-minded data scientist sales leader?

Andrew McNealy 3:46
No, but tech sales is in my blood. My old man was in tech sales. He was early mainframe sales. And he had a long career at Sun Microsystems. So I’ve been in and around the tech space for most of my life. A good chunk of my family works in tech. So it was sort of preordained in that sense.

Pete Thornton 4:05
No lie. Okay. Okay. Interesting. That is interesting. I keep tabs on this. It’s like four in a row, by the way, go to market leaders, like yo, actually, and I’m just like, because before that, we’re just like, No, no fine arts degree. It kind of fell into this.

Andrew McNealy 4:19
No, it was pretty deliberate. It was always the plan for me.

Pete Thornton 4:23
That’s awesome. Okay. Okay. Very cool on that one. And is there any indication throughout college or anything like that, like any piece of your education whatsoever that led you to this or like there was had any kind of correlation? Or is it just all on-the-job training? Like, is this 100% Like learned in real-time?

Andrew McNealy 4:40
No, I mean, you couldn’t get a sales degree that Miami of Ohio where I went so the closest thing to that was marketing. So I majored in marketing with always with the understanding that sales was sort of the long-term path for me, but not most, I think I got to where I am now largely sort of school of hard knocks I don’t think much of that was directly transferable to what I’m doing today.

Pete Thornton 5:04
All right, well, that’s awesome. So tell me, tell me about Hex then like you guys do, what whereabouts are you like everything about that organization? And why did they keep coming back and, and saying, here’s a Series A, here’s a series B, there’s something there that I’d love to know about.

Andrew McNealy 5:22
Yeah, like, so one of the things we call ourselves as the front end of the modern data stack. And I’m old enough to remember in the data space, when people were screaming about data being the new oil back in 2010. And things like Hadoop and big data platforms, were going to transform the way organizations like, fundamentally operated. Well, a lot, a lot of CIOs have egg on their face, still to this day for making massive investments in that Hadoop infrastructure, and sort of that big data craze. And I think a lot of the reason there was that the infrastructure hadn’t caught up, it hadn’t thoroughly modernized. And a lot of people didn’t really get the value that they thought they would have on those early investments. And if you look, in the past, I don’t know five years with things like Snowflake and Databricks. And the modern data stack, as we like to talk about, you know, with things like Fivetran getting data out of your source applications into the warehouse DBT for doing data modeling, on top of that, the core infrastructure in the modern data stack has come a really long way in the past five years, and like finally lives up to the hype that different companies were promising in the late 2000s, early 2000 10s. What we don’t believe that has gone up to that is sort of the front end of that modern data stack. And you still have a lot of legacy sort of BI tools, or data science analytics tools that are sitting on top of these modern data stacks that have been built out over the past half-decade. And so hence, we’ve built what we believe is the most modern application for analysts, data scientists, machine learning engineers to extract value out of all those investments that they’ve made at the data infrastructure level.

Pete Thornton 7:05
Okay, so like, break that down further. This is like Michael Scott moment of like, okay, now tell me, that was third.

Andrew McNealy 7:13
Yeah, I forget, I’m not talking to a data guy here. I spend all day talking to data folks.

Pete Thornton 7:18
This is my secret superpower as like an enablement person or podcaster. I’m like, you know, I don’t know about that. Tell it to me easier. So I can turn around and tell everybody else that way as well build them on up.

Andrew McNealy 7:28
Yeah, sure. And we’re working on messaging right now. So a little in the weeds on this. Basically, we our product philosophy is it’s a low floor high ceiling. And we serve a big constituency of people who are building analytical products and supporting the business and key decision making. And we integrate natively with all of the investments that you’ve made in and around the data space, so that you can bring a large, very diverse constituency of data folks, some very technical on the machine learning engineering side, and some who are less technical might just be analysts who are SQL or Excel users under one platform where they can collaborate in a, like a real-time, like a Google doc like interface, and all of the data assets that a company has built out.

Pete Thornton 8:15
Okay, is there any kind of like, like, what did they want to know from it? Like, is there some kind of like query return kind of action on it and stuff like that?

Andrew McNealy 8:25
It really depends. It’s extremely horizontal platform, which is really good because it gives us a broad addressable market. It’s challenging at times, because some of our customers are doing like churn modeling. Some of them are doing fraud detection. Some of them are doing marketing optimization, or marketing, attribution. It really depends. It’s pretty common for us to go initially sell to a large data team, and it’s sort of a shared service supporting the rest of the organization. And then over time, we get folks who are embedded in the business supporting him specific domain within that business. So it’s, we’re not a verticalized platform, it’s extremely horizontal.

Pete Thornton 9:04
This is a pure tool, like this is like, this is like it’s a Keras form. This is powerful. Go use it.

Andrew McNealy 9:10
Yeah, it’s like saying like, what are we using Tableau for X, Y, Z company, like each department uses it for their own particular KPIs and business metrics. X is sort of the next-generation version of that.

Pete Thornton 9:24
Okay, okay. Okay. Yeah, I got it. Got it. Got it. That doesn’t make sense. And that that would make sense all the people like me as well. So good, good messaging, even though we’re not your ICP whatsoever, either. No. All right. So that’s helpful in the heck side and understanding that so you guys are sitting there, you kind of gave the background of speaking to begin to your founders very and then and then mentioned in like, hey, there was early days, there were a series a raise some revenue. Now you’re in the series B and I, I assume that that means trying to take it even further and go to market motion. Where do you guys stand to De and maybe what are some of the challenges you’re facing? You know, quarter over quarter as you’re trying to build it. You already mentioned some messaging, trying to come up with some messaging, like having some iterations on the value messaging, I’m sure. But yeah, if you could start to unpack that for us.

Andrew McNealy 10:14
Yeah, I would say up until recently, our Northstar metric was logos paid logos. And we’ve, we’ve kind of gotten, we’ve proven that we can acquire logos at scale. And we’ve got pretty good product market fit. So very recently, we started, we’re not pivoting to the enterprise by any means. But we’re starting to explore a different avenues and channels to start calling on larger customers will be a mid-market business for the foreseeable future. But we definitely plan on exploring the enterprise, we have a number of enterprise customers today, we’ve got a pretty nice pipeline full of enterprise customers. So moving upmarket is something that is very top of mind for us at the moment. The other thing that we want to do is really double down on that mid-market space. So I would say most of the A E hire I’m doing is is in that space, we’ve got a product and emotion that’s working exceptionally well, we need to quantify that and figure out how to roll that out as at scale as we continue to hire more and more at ease.

Pete Thornton 11:16
Okay, okay. Got it. Yeah, that’s helpful. Any of those, like particularly sticky right now? Or is everything just like there’s a plan, things are moving along like, these? Are these are rolling forward? Or is there anything that’s like, Hey, this is problematic, like this is going to be this one’s going to be a sticking point for a while.

Andrew McNealy 11:35
When I talk to other revenue leaders out there, pipeline generation, is the big challenge that these macro headwinds. And what we’ve seen is that the further upmarket you go, the more resilient the pipeline has been. And just like us, just like every other prudent SaaS company out there, we’re seeing pullbacks largely in venture-backed tech. Hiring is slowing. Sash spend is being more heavily scrutinized steel cycles are like an A. So figuring out what the right balance here is how we diversify our revenue stream across different market segments is something that we’re spending a lot of time on at Hex.

Pete Thornton 12:14
Okay, okay. Yeah, that’s, that is interesting. You kind of you can’t take up peruse throughout through LinkedIn without kind of seeing any of these numbers that are coming arrows. Yeah, yeah. And then, you know, yeah. sociated.

Andrew McNealy 12:29
And when you’re a C-based licensing model, like we are like, there’s contraction is going to happen automatically when customers are laying off big parts of their workforce. So So managing that being able to predict that is something that yeah, we’re spending a lot of time on right now.

Pete Thornton 12:47
Okay, well, let’s dive in there then like for you at Hex, like how is how is selling strategy changed this year, the second half of this year, or what you see in the foreseeable future?

Andrew McNealy 12:58
Yeah, a couple things is one. I’ve always sort of like, been a little skeptical. And we are a plg company through and through. And I’ve always done a little skeptical of the term. I think depending on who you ask, they’ve got a definite different definition on it. And I joked that I want to write a blog that plg is dead, long live ELD enterprise-led growth. And I say it mostly in jest, but I look around, and I think plg became the sort of fad in Silicon Valley over the past, I don’t know, three or four years, where it’s like, Hey, we’re gonna make our product super easy to buy, and everyone’s just gonna buy it. And for some companies, they did. And I wonder how much of that was a function of the product was just easier to buy, versus like, venture capital, money was free. And budget owners, economic buyers were not scrutinizing SaaS stand in a way 18 months ago that they are now. So I think there’s this interesting combination of like, really cheap money, versus really easy ways to procure software. And I think a lot of companies got really used to that selling motion. And I think a lot of that is going away. The traditional enterprise selling motion— maybe not the same way I used to sell 10, 15 years ago, but some derivative of that is coming back where we almost have to assume the economic buyer is the CFO. We gotta go in and do value-based selling. You can’t do feature function selling anymore. It’s what are the use cases that we’re driving towards? How does that impact your business? Those conversations are going to come back in a way that they haven’t been around the past couple of years. And I think sales organizations and sales leaders need to recognize that and reimplement some of those older school selling techniques.

Pete Thornton 14:48
Yeah, it’s a good point, because somewhere along that PLG journey anyway, in the product offerings, there is going to be a place where you have to cross the chasm to the enterprise. As at that point, that’s not necessarily going to be your ground-up or like grassroots users swiping a little credit card for 43 cents a user or something like that. It’s a real deal. It’s going to require MSA isn’t NDAs and everything that tonal he will fail cycle. So it’s, it’s plg is dead long live ELD. Is that the phrase?

Andrew McNealy 15:20
I don’t know that I’ll get that provocative on the website. But like, I can look, it’s not dead that I say that in jest. I think that plg motion has afforded us insane growth over the past year that I’ve been here and I’m grateful that we have it. Um, but what I’m seeing is, especially even in mid market, larger mid, my larger mid-market deals out, are starting to feel the way enterprise deals have felt just like how you operate, how you need to navigate those bills, cross-functional alignment, all of that.

Pete Thornton 15:55
Yeah, yeah, that doesn’t make sense. I still think is a good tagline. Those things are always provocative. He’s like, it’s clickbait you get in? You’re like, oh, they are a big company. Yeah. Okay. Awesome. So, kind of moving forward with that you kind of mentioned some of the challenges. Anything interesting, you’re looking forward to doing moving forward? Like what what’s the vision? Maybe the next 12 months? Where would you want to see your you can pick them off one at a time. So big open-ended question, but like people product, been here a year, have another year in the seat moving forward? You know, what’s that? What’s that look like?

Andrew McNealy 16:31
For the team 12 months from now, we’re going to need to at least double the team size. And with that comes implementing process. And I think generally, at Hex, we’re very conscious about not over sciencing things not over-processing them, and running really stage-appropriate process. And so like I’m really, really careful about not implementing the same sort of deal desk rigor that they have in Oracle X right now. And then figuring out like, when, when we can, how we how, what the right balance is a minimizing process, so that we can continue to move fast. And I think velocity is, is our biggest strength that Hex and over-processing is going to slow that down. So that’s, that’s the big thing I’m thinking to right now. And then, as I talked about just getting more value-based in how we go sell our products, and more use case driven, more ROI driven. We just got out of our QBR last week. And you know, at five, AES, we’re starting to implement the first version of lightweight medic for us that I think is a good stage appropriate, still allows us to explore the space figure out what works doesn’t what doesn’t work, and not be overly regimented. And then how do we codify what we learned into best practices and do away with the stuff that isn’t working for us as a big challenge. And then the last thing, that last big theme out of our QBR was champion enablement. I’m spending a ton of time this quarter, putting together packaging to empower our champions to go have sales conversations asynchronously. on our behalf when we’re not there, I think that’s gonna become increasingly important. And, frankly, somewhere we’ve underinvested X over the last year.

Pete Thornton 18:24
Okay, okay. Yeah, those are all great initiatives. And it’s so interesting like this, these progressions happen so quickly. So I remember when we were doing those exact same things at postman LightWave version of medic rolling out, we never really did move to any specific value messaging like us, you know, there’s the schools of thought and the different camps and the challenges and the Sandler’s and the force management’s and things like that. Do you have a favorite or something that’s worked? And in the data space that you kind of lean on? They’re very similar. I mean, like, there are flavors?

Andrew McNealy 18:58
No, not really. And that’s why medic is the one where I think people are most classically trained on it seems to be the most ubiquitous. We’re gonna give that a shot here. Let’s see how it goes for a couple of quarters.

Pete Thornton 19:09
Okay, that’s cool. And last light, stupid, tactical thing on that. Medic with one see med pick, like what are we? What do you have a preference for? Because there are so many little versions of that again, all of a sudden, that just how far out you’re stretching it?

Andrew McNealy 19:23
Yeah, well, so we’re actually paring it back. And we’re only focusing on three letters for the original implementation. The first rollout fits the metric, try and quantify the business impact, find the pain and then the champion. So it’s actually Mike is our first rollout and we’re gonna be pretty, pretty disciplined about that. And then we’ll think about layer in other stuff down the road.

Pete Thornton 19:48
I actually really liked that because that is the one thing like you’re like, hey, we’re just going to start with this. But then like, just starting with this is like seven criteria, essentially. And then you’ve layered into Salesforce fields that you had just kind of otherwise streamlined and like, oh, we just made everything super heavy immediately, which is not the point, the point was like, start our process, you know, have a common language.

Andrew McNealy 20:10
And the thing I’m worried about is like, I didn’t want this to turn into the way I had always treated medic in the past, which is just like filter things out in Salesforce. So people don’t ask you about it, like, we’re really conscious about, like, this needs to be helpful, this is gonna be a way for people to be honest with themselves about where their deals are to identify gaps. And I think there’s a fine balance there. And one of the things we talked about in our QBR was like, Hey, you’re not gonna have full coverage here, you’re gonna have deals in the yellow, you might even be able to close some deals in the red, but we should aspire to have all these boxes checked and have things in the green. But like, do not think that they’re requirements because when people think they’re requirements, that’s when they start filling out BS in these things. And once we’ve done that, we’re like, the whole exercise and sort of been corrupted. So yeah, I don’t know, it’s, I’ll let you know how it goes. Next time we do one of these.

Pete Thornton 21:05
They’re very cool. We could do one of these every six months, and there would be completely new material just at this stage for sure. I mean, like a and d. It’s just so fast. You mentioned double team size, like are you only do you focus only on you focus on your sales team? What will it be like adjacent departments that are created for the first time? Or like, will they scale at the same rate? Do you have SES your AES do it all themselves? How’s it work?

Andrew McNealy 21:29
Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’ve got a so AES, that sort of the, in our headcount model that’s like, that’s the leading everything else kind of skeins down from that. So that’s how I think about our growth. Well, yeah, well, more than double RSC team right now, putting our strategy together for what post sales and ces would look like over here. That’s been an interesting conversation is just how CSR orgs are evolving, and like how different companies are taking different strategies. I don’t think we’ve aligned on that internally. But we know we need to do something.

Pete Thornton 22:04
This is a huge topic right here. And like, I mean, you’re a sales leader. So that will sort of be said, it’ll say that on the podcast, everybody will already know that that will be your your your viewpoint on it. But as a PLG company, is there, like do you have a CS team now? And do they handle any part of that? So no, okay. So there is no pre-sales motion happening? Because you don’t have any—

Andrew McNealy 22:27
Pre-sales, yeah. Pre-sales. So we have an SAE team that pairs with an AE.

Pete Thornton 22:31
I’m sorry, customer success is when I’m referencing no like, thing and PLG. We’re like, they’re already a customer, but they’re not an enterprise customer. Also, I see I see the post-sales handoff to CS, sometimes in PA senior. There’s this idea of a customer, they’re just not at that level, but they’re still being offered like customer success, you know, backing support, etc.

Andrew McNealy 22:58
Yeah, we do. We call them our product experts. So they’re super supportive. And they’re, like, all of our expansion revenue and our growth like, is them in our product organization. And they, we provide really first-class support to our customers, but it tends, and we don’t really discriminate. Are you a paying customer or trialing customer? Are you a Community Edition? What we what we’re working out now is like more traditional ces where it’s like, hey, proactively reaching out doing monthly account plans or quarterly account reviews, all of those things are still sort of an open question for us.

Pete Thornton 23:35
Okay, okay. Yeah, I got it. So a little bit more on the traditional side, I like it super support. I need to go back and tell a few people about that. And like, you know, how we’re going with product support. There’s a cooler term, if you want it super supportive. Super support. Alright, I think that was it on on those right there. The last thing, like you mentioned about velocity, like there’s this duality, I think I remember it even from one of our emails, like when you’re like, hey, I want to go fast. But like, at some point, I would like to stop, find out what worked, and shape it back together? And like, Do you have a duration of time that you prefer for that? And do you have a process behind? Like, when do you stop and try to like, you know, shake loose the cobwebs or like, realign on, on what’s worked, what hasn’t?

Andrew McNealy 24:20
This is hardly like a, like, well regimented, documented thing, but like, I’m a big believer in like, don’t try and get 100% better at anything, get 10% better at the thing you’re worst at. And when you’re done, move on to the next thing that you’re worse that get 10% better and move on. And that kind of affords us the opportunity to just constantly reevaluate. It’s like you’re not spending eight weeks on one thing when like, three weeks would have gotten you there. And then you can kind of move on and that often means coming back to something. But it’s always like, what’s the burning platform with like tactically solve that and being Oh, okay with accruing some debt, it’s something we talk a lot about internally like there’s good debt, good debt and bad debt when we talk, you know, bases famous one way to versus two-way doors and like, I am more than okay accruing some near term debt, if it allows us to move faster. Now, if it’s going to stunt our growth in the future, or just be a huge ball of wax to unwind, like we’re going to be much more deliberate about that. But being okay, with moving fast, at the expense of other things, and something, we have a pretty high tolerance for x.

Pete Thornton 25:33
That’s cool. Man, the titles, the titles for this show, which just keeps on rolling in, like the 10%. Better good debt, bad debt, it’s all in there. That’s probably taking the lead. So I might get in trouble with that one. Okay. Awesome. Awesome. Been really, really helpful to kind of unpack those things, or they’re helpful for me personally, it’s why I do this. Okay. Then you are your sales leader. So you’ve been doing it a couple orgs. So do you have a favorite leadership moment?

Andrew McNealy 26:00
Yeah, a guy I used to work for at confluent, one of the best sales leaders I’ve ever worked for. He was two levels above me. But like, honestly, he would just call and like, you know, when the boss’s boss calls yet, you’re like, oh, boy, I gotta pick this up what’s going on? And you’re like thinking, what deals do I have in the forecast? Like, where are we at as a stage two, stage three? And he would just call just to check in to how are you didn’t want to talk business, like didn’t want to talk pipeline, or deals or commits? How’s your family? How are you doing? Anything I can do. And I can’t remember when we’re working for anyone who was like, genuinely like that genuinely interested in like me as a human. And it’s something I’ve done my best to emulate here at Hex, although, not nearly as effectively as he did. But it just really struck me and even to this day, and I still texted him. I texted them the other week. And I just thought that was really cool. And something that isn’t done enough in corporate America.

Pete Thornton 27:03
I know somebody like that, that is really, really interesting. I’m trying to like get the minute I was like, minute 28 And like, submitted 28 to this person in my mind, like, hey, you know, the thing you do, this guy had a guy too. That’s cool.

Andrew McNealy 27:16
And it’s so cheap. As a sales leader, it costs you nothing. And like people remember it. And it’s, it’s just it’s a great way to build loyalty. Again, I want to emulate that as much as I can.

Pete Thornton 27:29
Yes, Tiller is a great reminder right there. All right, that one’s coming up. Let’s see, have you ever the book The one thing, like the one thing and it’s like, it’s just it the whole premise of it is super simple.

Andrew McNealy 27:41
I could probably do this.

Pete Thornton 27:44
And then chapter after chapter of beating you over the head with it. And like various aspects of your life or business or however the chapter happens to go. But in hypergrowth, it’s really hard to apply, like super hard. So it’s a good exercise. I try to narrow it down to three typically if I do with my team, but like, is there any one thing that you know, you have got to get right? Like you personally, like it’s on your shoulders, you’re the DRI, the directly responsible individual for this one thing in order for Hex to grow?

Andrew McNealy 28:15
Yeah, I mean, like one of them is headcount planning is just really difficult, especially in this market. And I think, getting to Flink, I think the thing I’m more scared of getting too far out in front of my skis and overhiring. And, you know, we could have a q1 QBR with a bunch of AES running around looking like those sad emaciated polar bears because there’s no ice and like, and I like, I don’t I want to hire commensurately with the pipeline that we’re generating. At the same time, I know that there are very lofty targets for us to hit next year. And I can’t do that with the team that I have in place today. And that so in some ways, like the investments, the hiring investments we make in q2 this year, or second half of this year, I should say, we’re setting me up to have that on target first half of next year. And then so, So balancing that with the pipeline that we’re generating is something I think about a lot. And then the flip side is you wander higher and like you want to, you might have to run your AES a little hot, your SE is a little hot. And while they would all love that from an earnings potential, like no one can go out there and sustainably run at 200% for any prolonged period of time. So then we start dropping balls and now we’re not making the most out of our opportunities. So figuring out how to thread that needle is something I think about a lot and one of our investors told me like the good news is you’ll never get it right. You’ll always be there too far ahead or too far behind. It’s just a matter of how far and how far behind you get.

Pete Thornton 29:56
It does take the pressure off to like actually hear that that’s interesting, but oh yeah. By the way, you’ll screw this up like, Oh, good, because I was worried about turning it up. Turns out, that’s good. That is not the answer. But like when you unpack it, it makes perfect sense because that one falls squarely to you. Like, they’re looking for your recommendation on how to do that. And then you’re gonna have the hiring quota to do it. And again, a lot of things that will come back to you that really nobody else can go do or make the decisions on.

Andrew McNealy 30:23
Well, but then all the supporting casts from support people, ses CS, people, like, like there’s marketing demand gen and pipeline, like all of those trickle down from what that a econ is. So yeah, we get too far ahead of this. And like, we’ve got a lot of people sitting on the bench, and that’s expensive.

Pete Thornton 30:40
Okay. Yeah, it makes sense.

Andrew McNealy 30:42
Did I not answer your question the right way, though?

Pete Thornton 30:44
No, it’s perfect. Like, it’s probably like, it was gonna be like, there’s head of sales. This is revenue-related no matter what, it’s a dumb question. Because he just goes, Yeah, revenue like that. But it’s like, that’s interesting. Because like, I mean, that maybe that’s the of course, or like you had held on that, because you have your reps pushing there, and they know what’s going on. But the headcount answer is like, yeah, because that is falls squarely on your shoulders makes this new question. I’m gonna keep that one in there. I like it. Alright, to wrap then. And this is like, just because this is a journey. And this is like a different kind of thing that like brings you into this particular org, because again, the hypergrowth people are a different bit of a different breed. And you have to like it’s high risk, high reward, you’re an intrapreneur. It’s like, it’s different than moving into a corporation, where you kind of like, have the processes all set up and everything, but to do the job you’re doing today, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago, just like to chill out cool out, you’re going to want to know XY and Z, learn these skill sets, like, enjoy it as it’s happening, because you’ll look back, you know, there’s all kinds of things, but this would be for yourself, but 10 years ago, if you can even picture it.

Andrew McNealy 31:48
Yeah, and it’s something I’ve talked to a lot of people about today, it’s like, and it’s, I’m gonna say it sounds kind of crazy, but care less. And when I was younger, I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with my job. And it was like, the only thing that mattered, I locked, I lacked a ton of perspective. And like, deals coming in or not, like, I got way too high, and I got way too low. And I just had an epiphany one day, and I was like, Hey, man, like, you know, this is part of life. And like, you just gotta relax. And I think my blood pressure probably came down 30% hasn’t really risen much higher, since then. And like the pressures of the job change as you take on more responsibility and more span of control. But I think like, caring less and having more mature perspective about what it is that we’re doing, and like the impact I’m having on, on the world, and in society, in general, has definitely been helpful for me.

Pete Thornton 32:48
That’s interesting. That’s such a good one, too. Yeah, that’s definitely a good one. I got this a couple times have changed roles a lot. And I’m a career changer. I was a teacher formally. So high school science teacher, and it’s pretty early. It’s like four jobs all rolled into one coaching, like varsity soccer and things like that. So it’s a lot going on. And then I went ahead and retired like a year in advance, it was 10 years. So you retire, you’re just tell them like, Hey, this is the last one, you signed the contract. I’m gonna do one more guys. And then I’m out, gonna go off and figure it out. What are you gonna do? I don’t know, I read the sales book. Maybe I’ll play literature. That’s how my sales career started. And I went and got my job on a snow day from school in the south, like the like snow days, like if it’s in the forecast. And like, I got up like, Oh, we’re not even going to school today. Awesome. And I put on like a suit, which you’re not supposed to do for tech, and then went out and like, try to get a tech sales job knocking on doors, which, you know, people were in the office then at least thank goodness, but like, the pressure came on. After that I taught so what that last year was like my best year teaching ever because it was like 100 Guard. Like I had 55 days that I could have taken that I was not gonna get paid for it. Take any of them like no pressure. I was like, coming in every day was like, Guys, we get this biology lab today. You’re gonna love it. You’re gonna freak out for this, but we’re gonna have to catch the frogs first before we, you know, it was like crazy stuff we were doing. It was good. It’s a good one. And people don’t oh, by the way, this is another title too. So like these are all kind of like these tyrannosaurs, terrible, terrible titles that people are gonna have to watch the whole episode to know what’s actually—

Andrew McNealy 34:14
No, I just think that’s not to say that especially in sales, and even more so in sales, leadership, there’s always pressure, but it’s not like existential like your life is over if you don’t hit your number pressure and 1010 years ago, me didn’t have that perspective.

Pete Thornton 34:31
They say when you’re trying to like hit a ball or something like that, or for me, it’s soccer. So it’s like, it’s like just striking the ball with your foot but it’s like 80% Because you need a little bit of like looseness in there. You have to have a little bit of like, like elasticity to be able to manage all that. It’s like whiplash I guess so. So it’s it’s a totally overlooked one, two. Really fantastic interview. Really appreciate your time. Thanks. And we should do it again in six months because everything will change by then.

Andrew McNealy 34:57
Let’s do it, man. Appreciate you having me on.

Pete Thornton 34:59
Awesome. Thanks, Andrew.