B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year ago

106: DARE to Grow: Establishing Alignment Across Revenue Teams w/ Mike Simmons

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Misalignment stymies the development of your business. If your sales, marketing, and customer success teams aren’t working towards the same goals, it leads to friction and inconsistency in the customer experience — and that ultimately takes a toll on growth.

Mike Simmons, CRO of Cybsafe, has developed a methodology he calls DARE that tackles the issue of alignment and he breaks it all down in this episode.

We talk about what DARE stands for, how to get teams to work together towards an overarching goal, the biggest challenges with alignment, and how to measure alignment.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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You were listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to beat be revenue acceleration. My name is Dan Steve Brook and I'm hit to day with Mike Simmons, cur side safe, I might. How are you be DA, and I'm doing great. And how are you? Yeah, I'm good. Thank you very good. Cool. So some Mike, Thanks for joining us today. The the main topic for today's conversation is around the Acron in that you've develop the specific topics actually dare to grow, establishing alignment across rednue teams. We'll dive into that and your acronym and that you've developed shortly, but before we do that, can you just give us a bit of background on itself, as well as your company side safe. Yeah, so I'm I'm based in the states, background in operations what in the past would have been called account management or implementation success and today now would be more customer success. To spend some time as an individual contributor and the sales side have then had an opportunity to lead sales teams and build sales teams and I've recently joined side safe as a Crero here in January. So I'm just coming out of my first days and side of new Yorkization, which is always a always an interesting and fun time period. Cool. Yeah, absolutely, and and Interem of your company subject. So what exactly you do? Yes, we're British cyber security and data analytics company. Are Primary focuses on reducing ambiguity when it comes to human cyber risk, and that's both at an individual level, so what people know, what what people do, how people think, and then at an organization level, how the organize it? What what's known across the organization? What kind of behaviors for seeing across the organization and how is the organization think as it relates to security? Our software helps to D risk. Organizations are reduced risk and organizations by working leveraging behavioral science to help change behavior over time. And on the data side we improve insight. Were addressing the cyber security challenge from a human perspective, which is a really, really important focus. Yeah, it is, and I think this the two facets to that from. From my perspective, one facet is just a general lack of awareness, the lack of cyber awareness at the at the non technical employee level. I'm going a friend network for this God who's saying to me that he's constantly getting, you know, fishing eglou and officing emails that company scent fishing emo almost the trick ...

...the employeed into clicking on them too as part of that training. There's that side of it. But then as the other side of it, which is a still shortage within the CIDER department, which is which is another with it, another issue to the lot of cyber departments are facing and just the industry is as an old thing to be faced. To be honest, that's a it's a it's an interesting and evolving threat that will continue to change and, you know, I think there's a there's a lot that we can do be be doing a bit differently, and that's by one. I'm excited about being a part of the industry and excited about what we're doing in the space. Yeah, and I think you know, humans are humans. Right. There's, as always, that the products that can be put in place to solve challenged, but the reality of humans have emotions in there. That one momentary lapse of concentration can be the biggest issue in a in an organization. Just think about what we run into with our sales teams. Like we all know, we train teams. They know what they should be doing. Yet you get into a situation where someone asks a question, you're under a high stress, you share a bit of information or you jump out a couple of steps ahead. It's not that you didn't know what to do, it's that the the operating environment that you were working in created a scenario where you didn't do the right thing. And anything we can do to help help people slow things down, both the other through what they know or just general wearing a support's happening around them, can help. And I think that applies not only in security but also on the sale side. And to your point, humans or humans, whether we're talking about Guian and fitness or we're talking about sales behavior, we're talking about security behavior, that behavior a piece. Follow us all the way through. Yeah, and actually that's a that's probably a nice segue into diving, you know, more into the conversation that we're going to have today. So mentioned about humans, whether it being in the south side where the security started doing the right thing and I think you've been a big proponent in your past career around helping teams align, helping teams work together to go to do the right things and and and obviously move businesses in the right direction. I always think about it. I think it was a it was a quote by Daniel Pink which is about he was saying. You know, you want to get the right people on the bus, then you want to get those people facing in the right direction, then you want to get the bus driving in the right direction. And and I guess that's a lot about what your kind of methodology and a background being around. More specifically, my understanding is that you over the years of developed an acronym which is there, so dare so could you, can you explain more about that? I don't know if an acronym is doing a disturvice or whether it's a methodology. We can you give us some some background on that and and what the you know what impacts that have in the importance to have them seams being able to work to...

...get it towards an objective. It's one of those things were you just kind of stumble upon it when you're writing things up on a whiteboard and you realized, wow, the the the makeup of the team actually spells a word. And so the focus here is demand. So what are we doing to generate demand in the marketplace? From maybe a one too many, a one to one, leveraging channel partners. So demand is the first first letter, and then in the middle of we acquisition. And if we're not for not acquiring customers, we're not going to be in business very long any business out there, unless you're going to be going down the constantly funded route, and even then, in order to get funding you need to be able to demonstrate an ability to acquire acquire customers. So demand is the first category. Acquisition is where money comes into the organization, and then we move into retention and expansion. So how do we how do we make sure that we keep those customers that we bring on board? And one way that I found throughout my career to keep customers is to have them expand. And it's rare that an organization that you're working with turns if you're expanding the things that you're doing inside the organization, whether that's delivering additional products and services inside the organization or increasing the scope of the audience that you're reaching out to. And I was on a video conversation with a member of the team and is were were. These are three buckets that we've been focused on for years. The acronym just kind of popped out. So we started saying, okay, how do we make this a little bit more simple, how does it become more clear across the organization what we're doing? And there's where the day or to expand and grow came from. So demand acquisition, retention and expansion. Traditionally speaking, a lot of organizations would look at this as marketing, sales and success or account management. There's a lot of bias that comes with some of those words and some misalignment that comes with some of those words. So we've been very deliberate, or I've been very deliberate, in focusing on demand, acquisition, retention and expansion. Okay, okay, cool. And you mentioned about those three those three teams, three departments working working typically, as part of that process, a set of mopping and customer success or operations or a comrade and whatever excluded in a given organization. But in terms of getting those teams to buy into go work to get a I mean, how do you when do you start with that? I think the the first place to start is clarity around what it what it is is that were trying to do and why we're trying to do it, and then who were trying to do it for, and that's...

...more on the business side. So what do we do? Why do we do it? Who Do we impact? And then, flipping that Lens around and looking at it from customers perspective, what problems do they have? Who Cares about those problems and why do folks care about those problems? And if we understand the WHO, what why from both perspectives, we can then start to identify patterns inside there and see where those dots start to connect. We can connect those dots, we can create better alignment between inside our organization and the interactions that we have with customers and ultimately reduce friction as we look at ways to help solve those problems inside organizations and ultimately grow. So that's that's one perspective. What why? Who? Or what? Who? Why, depending on which, which which Lens we're looking through the other side, I think is really important. A common mistake that organizations make, as we tend to overcomplicate a lot of the work that we do. We come up with our own jargon, we have our own set of processes. We try to apply those processes both across the business, inside the organization, across teams and over to our customers, and we forget that there's multiple perspectives that we're looking at here. Those perspectives are the customer, what they're going through the business, but the business is doing, whether it's from a forecasting perspective or just a general execution perspective, and then the wrap the the person who's actually engaged with the organization day to day. So we can simplify if we if we can be clear about our perspective, which lends we're looking at the problem through. We can be clear about our perspective around the area focus inside the business, and then we can simplify the tools and processes we apply. We can create better alignment across all of those teams and more consistency rather than talking past each other where in one instance we're calling something, and I'm struggling to find a word here, but one instant area I might be calling this a marker that I'm holding in my hand, an Xbo mark or a dry race marker and then in another instance, I'm someone's calling it a pen for a whiteboard and then another instance somebody's calling it something to write with. We are talking about the same thing, but we're talking past each other. We're creating confusion, we're creating a misalignment that creates potential friction and create some challenges inside the organization. It's about understanding perspective, applying tools and really working to keep things simple. Yeah, yeah, now that that's very interesting and and I think the point you mentioned are around simplicity, just not over complicating things. Using simple language, using consistent language with within Your Business and with your customers is...

...really important. We see it in our business, where service business. We are in the business of supporting our customers to generate opportunity, Opportunity, pipeline revenue. But it's super important at the outset that we all have a clear, clear understanding with we're singing from the same in cheap as to what is an opportunity what? How do you define a pipeline opportunity? How do you define revenues? Are Fairly straightforward one. But you know what is. What does a first meeting look like? Because you know we could get three months into an engagement and think we're doing a great job. Our customer has a very different perception as to as to have successful our our program if, if we don't have that alignment, and that's one of the things are not as in our set of protest is by customers. And it's a good question. You know, in programs that are unsuccessful, where does it go wrong? And one of the first or the first thing I always say, is lack of clarity or or or disconnect around the language we're using and what the expectations are on and what both parties see as a successful outcome and, in your view, to get teams to work in alignment. Do you feel that that that as a CR Ro let's stay, because in a lot of business is crowds have responsibility for sales, marketing, account management, customer success. In some instance it Presales as well. Right, they can have overside. I Rove Bath. It's other businesses you've got to VP SES, you've got a CMO, you've got a VP of customer success. In your view and in your experience, where do you see it being? Is Is it as black and white saying well, if you've got to crow, let's say, the overseas, your functions, it's easier to get alignment and then if you have vp for different for different functions, or is it more a case of getting, you know, the right tools in place, the right language, the right processes, and actually it doesn't matter how you struct Your Business? I think it's a tough question because there are organizations who will not, who will use a structure different than the structure that we use. Its side safe and they will create a high level of alignment because they pulled together the right people on the bus. They've got the bus going in the right direction and everybody knows that they're actually on a bus. Sometimes people wonder if there are on a bus or out there on an airplane, and in those instances you can create a high level of alignment where you have high performing teams working really well together. In another way that you can do it is you can build the team together from the beginning, and whether one way is better than the other, I am sure there are more opinions than there are people out there who do this stuff that would be able to say this is why you should do it this way or this is why you should do it that way inside our organization, we chose to go the route of let's bring everything into the the...

...revenue umbrella or underneath this revenue umbrella, because it's it really important for us to be able to support customers from the point where they don't even know that we exist to the point where they are so excited and they're going to shout from the rooftops that this is the most amazing solution in the entire world and it's helped us solve problems. And if we're all part of the same team that they're working with throughout that process, we should reduce friction around some of the conversion points that happen when they move from prospect to customer to growing customer, because the people inside the organization that they're interacting with may change, will change. Likely change is we continue to specialize. The thing that doesn't change is the brand that they're working with, the technology that they're working with, the tools that they're working with on our end, and the other thing that doesn't changes them. They're still the same company. Now, even on their side, the people might change a little bit, but we've gone this route because we want to create a an experience that allows for a high level of alignment, reduced ambiguity across the entire across the entire team. Could we have done it another way? Absolutely. Might we do it another way as we go forward. Sure, their their number, a number of different ways to get me in trouble with Peter, but there's number of different ways to skin a cat. As we go through this will figure out the best way, in the right way, and this is the direction that we've chosen at the moment as we focus on the revenue side of the organization and then communicate with the rest of the organization. So this is where it's not only alignement across our team, it's a linement across the organization, a line of wing across the customer base and then ideally seeing all of those pieces kind of come together. So you can do it either you could do it either way. This is the way that we chose to go. Okay, okay, and you see, we spoke a bit about there where you know how where to start when when it comes to trying to drive a line and between different teams, and you spoke about the fact in your business you probably under that revenue number which which you if in one is something happened more and more. You know, crows, a job title of just a few years ago, just not around. It was bbcales, CMO. More and more often now that there's some kind of dotted line between from marketing into into revenue, and yeah, I'm absolutely seen that. And then, and you know, you're seeing more more phrases broke and revenue as well, and so it's constantly evolving spectrum, I guess. And on the other side of the fence, if we look at the less positive side of thing, in your experience, where there's a linement typically actually fail to happen. I think the biggest challenge with the Lineman is when people start operating from the perspective of driving their own personal agendas. So you can get in one of those instances where you talk about the organizations being separate. I do is inside one of those organizations a number of years...

...back we actually had a marketing team that had goals that did not align with what we were doing from a b tob sales side of things. They had they had be TOC objectives, individual consumer objectives. So given that there they had individual consumer objectives, how much time do you think was applied to the B tob side of the equation. Now, the B Tob side of the equation was the side that was growing, growing quickly inside the organization. We felt in that operating environment unsupported. And Yeah, here I am a sales guy whining about not getting support from marketing team. But that's where you've run into some you run into some challenges inside organizations is if you have goals and objectives inside the organization that are not aligned with each other, whereas if you can shift that, and you can, everybody can kind of see how we're working toward the primary aim. We talked a little bit about it earlier, reducing ambiguity as it relates to human side at risk. That's an objective for the organization. We're all lying that. We have different ways that we go about doing it. So, yeah, where it goes bad is when, whether it's individuals or teams inside organizations allow their own agenda to get in front of the objectives of the business and when those agendas are misaligned with each other, meaning someone has goals that do not necessarily align with the with other goals inside the team. So agender's a big one. The other one that I think is really important we talked a little bit about this, but it's language, it's vocabulary. How can we use a consistent vocabulary, especially as we work across multiple countries and multiple cultures? You know, one of the challenges I run into is I use football analogies. Well, I use American football analogies, not British premier football analogies, and then I start using words like soccer and people roll their eyes. So there's a there's a gap that you have from a language perspective and that's another area where we can create misalignment and some confusion. Now those are a little bit easier to overcome and once you overcome them things start to accelerate. But think it's personal agendas, team agendas and vocabulary create a lot of challenge in alignment and that ultimately will create more friction inside the business and we'll start to slow down growth. Yeah, absolutely. I mean a very tactical example of that in terms of that misalignment. And you know your dom put around marketing being more Drin by be to see so more having success on the beach beside. We see it. See it all the toddment organizations where marting maybe a compensate to them focused focused on either an mql, as in, you know, a marketing lead, or based on, you know, impressions or based on whatever it there's something really at...

...the top of the funnel where sales and and the whole business care about revenue and even pipeline. Right thankfully, I'm seeing more and more organization Folkus marketing on a pipeline number or revenue number, which is which is a much more meaningful metric to track. But we still see it right where marketing teams want to go to trade shows because they know that they're going to get a thousand leads from that trade show or they want to run a Webinar because they know that they're going to get a thousand leads from that. Women are be in reality, are half those people sat in their bedrooms and, you know, just just wanting to know more about the solution? So it's their historically, there has been a massive disconnector, I think, in how marting have been focused themselves have been focused. Thankfully, it seems to be be reducing. One of the reasons for that historically, I think, has been around compensation, which is probably the biggest, biggest driver in a lot of instances. How can people selfishly earn more money. And so when you spoke about that misalignment, who do you think is to blame for that? Do you do you feel that you know, let's say you've got a marketing leader and a sales leader in an organization and the CEO or the CFO at the top have been responsible for putting together compensation plan? Do you feel it's a simpler saying well, you put together the wrong commission bland guys and that's driven the wrong behavior, or do you think there's a little bit more complexity to it than that? Yeah, I think there's a little bit more complexity to it. These are these are leadership problems inside organizations and we create them as leaders inside organizations. The reason we create them is because of a lack of clarity, lack of clarity and lack of focus and helping helping people inside the team maintain a level of focus, and that, to me comes down to decisionmaking. So when choice comes up, when something new and shiny comes up in front, do I start working on that new and shiny thing or do I pause before I start working on it and say, how does this actually aligned with the thing? My ultimate aim within the organization and if it doesn't align within my ultimate aim inside the organization, should I really do it? Well, if it can help drive the broader objective, maybe I should, or maybe I should, maybe, maybe I should do it at some point in the future. If it doesn't align with the ultimate objective, then I absolutely shouldn't do it. I should put it off to the side and maybe we have a conversation around it. I think this is it's a leadership challenge inside organization where leaders get distracted by the thing that's happening inside the market. So we a lot of it comes into the we need to do this. So we need to do x, Y Orz, whatever, whatever the we need to do more events, we need to spend more on ads, we need to well, as leaders inside the organization, we've got to ask the question why. Why do we need to do it? What's the actual impact going to...

...be inside the organization? How will that connect directly to the things were trying to drive, whether it's reducing ambiguity or driving revenue? If it's if it's doesn't align with each of the either of those things, do we really need to do it? Or is it some shiny thing that we're bringing into the organization just because we saw somebody else do it, because they've decided to go down this down this path. So I think it's this is a leadership challenge that gets created inside organizations. A lot of times it's driven by lack of alignment across objectives inside the organization. Sometimes it's driven by a lack of confidence fear that hey, if we're not doing those things, we're going to be left behind. So we need to start doing those things and this is why it's really important to have strong leadership teams inside the organization who can push back on ideas and concepts before we start implementing those ideas and concepts. So I think it's a leader I think it's a leadership challenge. I don't necessarily believe that it's a complant challenge, but it depends on how your complaints are created. If your complants are created in their driving behavior that doesn't align with the objectives of the business, then you have to do revisit those complants and because a lot can happen with complant creation. Can't plant design, complant analysis and you can drive some behavior with the really doesn't have a positive impact on the business. So I bring back to the leadership. Leadership challenging and so the organization and our capacity for liking to follow see shiny things and say hey, that sounds call let's go ahead and do it. What do you think? What I think is necessary? If I bring you back to our business, I you know, I think there's a couple of things. I think the first thing is similar to what you said, not not kind of getting distracted by the new or the shiny toy that's comes along in the short term, which it ineptedly does. I mean I'm more on the sale side of our business. But then looking at looking at marketing right it's market is historically like new they like disruptive, they like shiny stuff, they like to try things down and have a budget where they can often do it. So so I think is easier perhaps for marketing to get distracted at times, and it did sales. I think in businesses more and more again, something it's becoming more and more prevalent it's having is having frameworks to manage the whole business and ensure everyone's moving in the right direction. So, for example, in our business we use the OKR framework, which is the developed by, I think, John D John Doa for pronunciation probably, but he least a book measure. What matters. Early investor in inteil and Google and a lot of these large technology companies running their business ban it and by US having an overach and objective on a quarterly or annual basis and then having three or four key result that contribute to that overall goal or, you know, impact that overall goal that...

...we can measure and track and and focus on. I think that's the key and actually results typically follow. So, you know, our North Star might be in our business, right, we want to be the best one generation company for software companies. But what? What are the three or four metrics it can measure that can contribute to a boards? That revenues one of them. You know, maybe number of enterprise customers is another, but it's a bit bit. But the alignment probably come from what your North Star is and then how you set up those key results for the different departments. And until your point, I think that's bigger than complants. Right. I think the complant should be relatively easy to actually put together off the back of having properly structured goals and focus. If for the business and each team within the business. So I'm on the same page as you just coming. I guess this is probably the the final point for us to touch on it here, which is you know how, and maybe you can touch on it within your business or give some examples. But how would you go about measuring alignment? That is you know. I think it's when you ask questions. I don't know that. I don't know that you can measure alignment in something like a crm. Maybe you can, maybe there's a way to do it, because the things are improving from a speed perspective. That might be an output or the impact of alignment. You can survey data. You can use surveys as a way to as a way to gather information and start to look at specific indicators. Are we do we use the same language when describing the problem that exists out there? Do we use the same language when describing why customers elect to do business with us? Do we use the same language when talking about why customers aren't the right fit or why they might not do business with us? So some survey data which ends up being a bit qualitative? Yeah, I think the I think survey data would help. I think getting out there and having conversations with people about. Do they enjoy the work that they're doing? Do they feel like they're having an impact on the business? Do they feel like they're having an impact on on the companies that they work with? If they don't feel like they have that impact, then you probably are misaligned someplace. Either have the wrong people in the wrong in the wrong place or your not clear about what kind of impact that we're having. But I think the measurement is I don't know if you can measure it. No place where you'd be able to say a look at a dashboard and the dashboard would show some key result that indicates a specific alignment. I think it's a it's it's kind of like culture. It's the gets this, this, these indicators that you...

...have inside the organization that there are things that are coming together and not completely disconnected. So I don't know. I don't know if, as I'm going through and giving a really bad answer to this, I'm realizing that I don't know that you can measure it in with traditional measurements. You actually have to go back out and do a lot of the things that many of us are struggling with. Over the last twelve months or so you've got to get into this management by walking around or by wandering around. You've got to go and engage with your team people and start to see, hey, are we excited? Are Are is our internal are employee net promoter score high or is it low? If our EMPS is low, why is it low? As it low? Because there's a lack of alignment side the organization. Maybe that's an indicator of of alignment inside the business. Great Question. I'm I'm gonna have to think about it. then. How about you? Do you have any anything come to mind? How could I get better measure in alignment? You know, I'm sure you can. I guess it's a bit of a I'm not sure it's the best question. The auto basically what I measure to everything, but I'm not sure as we're speaking here, you can. You can measure it right. I think there's certain things in business which aren't necessarily be measurable. They're probably more so feeling and and you know there's probably other elements to your point which you can measure. The kind of give the feeling that the teams are aligned and that we're going in the right direction and maybe that having that north start knowing exactly where you want to go to. The business are the are the other, you know, leading and lagging indicators surrounding that north start going in the right direction. If so, that's probably a good indication that the teams are aligned. I also think there's there's an element of, to your point, around, you know, Employe satisfaction, employe culture, lack of churn in the business. Probably a pretty good indication that teams are aligned. Team to enjoying their work, team to being productive, but to but, but yeah, I think you're right. I don't know. I don't know that there is a tool set or a metric out there suggested for but for alignment within business in and maybe we need to try and do some research around that and I'll get back to on it. Okay. So, anyway, my so we're kind of moving towards the end of our conversation here and really enjoyed it actually. It's been been great to chat to you. I'm sure there's going to be other people that want to know more about this. So if that is indeed the case, how do you suggest they get in touch with you or indeed your company? So I'm on Linkedin. It's Mike some and some on Linkedin. If you just do a search for Mike Simmons and side safe, you'll see me there. Happy to conect with folks on Linkedin. Best Place to go is side SAFECOM. That's CYB SAFECOM, and those are the two two great places to connect with us as are live. Chat on the side safe site. That you can, that you...

...can, you can click on as well. Okay, great, wonderful. Thanks agetting, Mike. Great speeding to thanks. So Mike has in faded in Arizona. So I'm in the UK's's one hundred and forty one here. Five hundred and forty one am. MICS times that very early. So thanks for getting up early in and speaking to us that have a great rest of the day then. It's been awesome. Thank you. Did might. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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