Building Your Culture Starts Now:
How to Hire the Right Team from Day
One
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
-130 employees
-90 person sales team
-Acquired for $100 million in June 2012
-#22 on Crain’s...
The Do’s
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
The Do’s
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
And the Don’ts
HIRING
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Don’t hire before you’re ready
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
How do you know when you’re ready?
Working business model
Rep...
Do hire in groups
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Peer-to-peer learning
Bond from day 1
Do hire slow
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
100  25  10  3
Don’t hang on to dead weight
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
“No-Asshole” Policy
Don’t think you’ll get it right the first
time
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Do leave yourself room to be
flexible
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Do put more resources
behind your people
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Don’t wait to promote
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
CULTURE
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Do create a place where YOU
would want to work
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Your culture is an extension of yourself
Talk...
Don’t try to please everyone
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Homogeneity can be a strength
People like people like themselves
Don’t try to motivate your
salespeople
Don’t manage your team
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Do create an environment
where motivated people can
succeed
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Do lead your team
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
The difference between
management and leadership is
inspiration.
Leadership is the art of in...
Do celebrate the wins
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
Thank You!
@adamliebman
#saleshackerconf
adam@singleplatform.com
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Adam Liebman (VP of Sales, SinglePlatform) - Building Your Culture Starts Now: How to Hire the Right Team from Day One

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Adam Liebman (VP of Sales, SinglePlatform) - Building Your Culture Starts Now: How to Hire the Right Team from Day One

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  • -You only get one shot to get everyone to go all-in-at SP I was coldcalling for 9 months, 35 different pitches, 4 different biz models, needed to be scalable and repeatable-You know you’re ready when you have a:-Working business model, just because you can sell it doesn’t mean that you should start hiring. Is this going to make money-Repeatable process – can’t just be selling because it’s you on the other side of the table, have to make it work for the lowest common denominator
  • -We started with a class of 3 people-Every study shows that people learn best from their peers-All about groups at SP-New hire drinks, in it together, much like a fraternity
  • -When you are ready to hire, that doesn’t mean you just let anyone in the door.-We have an unbelievably high bar at SinglePlatform, particularly for an entry level sales job. To give you some numbers, out of 100 resumes we receive, we’ll phone screen around 25 candidates, have 8-10 of those come in for interviews, and hire 2-3.-A friend of mine, he used to run cross-country…his coach always said, we’re only as fast as our slowest runner-No slow runners at SP, we like to say that you can look to your left, look to your right, and you’re surrounded by A-Players-A players hire A players, B players hire C players-Lean on referrals, so much of our team at SP, I think it’s about 40% of our sales floor, they’re one or two degrees from someone else in the organization. Either they were referred or a friend of a friend referred them…when you create an amazing place to work, people will tell each other about it.=======-On an inside salesfloor, bad eggs contaminate the whole lot. You cannot have someone who will negatively impact your team-CTCT actually has a “no asshole” policy, and that’s one of the things we loved about them -Wiley always said, when you start to have doubts, they’re no longer doubts, get those people out of your organization.-It can be compelling, especially when you invest so much in people, that you don’t want to just cut bait. You want to find a way to make it work.-But those people in your organziation, they’re taking up your time, and you have to think yourself, and the time you have to spend with your team-You have to think of it like Warren Buffet. When can you invest your time, where it will have the greatest return. And it’s not with the assholes. It’s not with the bottom 10%, it’s with your new hires, and it’s with the people who are good, but not YET great. That’s how you can optimize.
  • -When you are ready to hire, that doesn’t mean you just let anyone in the door.-We have an unbelievably high bar at SinglePlatform, particularly for an entry level sales job. To give you some numbers, out of 100 resumes we receive, we’ll phone screen around 15 candidates, have 5-7 of those come in for interviews, and hire 1-3.-A friend of mine, he used to run cross-country…his coach always said, we’re only as fast as our slowest runner-No slow runners at SP, we like to say that you can look to your left, look to your right, and you’re surrounded by A-Players-A players hire A players, B players hire C players-Lean on referrals, so much of our team at SP, I think it’s about 40% of our sales floor, they’re one or two degrees from someone else in the organization. Either they were referred or a friend of a friend referred them…when you create an amazing place to work, people will tell each other about it.========-On an inside salesfloor, bad eggs contaminate the whole lot. You cannot have someone who will negatively impact your team-CTCT actually has a “no asshole” policy, and that’s one of the things we loved about them -Wiley always said, when you start to have doubts, they’re no longer doubts, get those people out of your organization.-It can be compelling, especially when you invest so much in people, that you don’t want to just cut bait. You want to find a way to make it work.-But those people in your organziation, they’re taking up your time, and you have to think yourself, and the time you have to spend with your team-You have to think of it like Warren Buffet. When can you invest your time, where it will have the greatest return. And it’s not with the assholes. It’s not with the bottom 10%, it’s with your new hires, and it’s with the people who are good, but not YET great. That’s how you can optimize.
  • And it’s ok that you have to cut bait with some people. This isn’t supposed to be easy-Don’t think that you’ll get everything right the first time.-When I was starting at SinglePlatform, I was cold-calling, by myself, for NINE months. I went through 34 different pitches. 4 different business models. We didn’t get it right the first time. We didn’t get it right the second time. They say third time’s the charm? IT WASN’T-The CEO of Fab just published an article, This is a fucking startup. Why are you here. This is HARD, they raised a ton of money, everyone thought they were the toast of the town, this is hard, they didn’t get it right-It was a long process, but I understood that part of that process was learning what didn’t work, and sometimes learning what NOT to do, can be just as valuable as learning what TO do.-So don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. It’s ok to learn as you go-One of the biggest areas I see things get wonky is around commissions. ======-You want to incent people the right way, and you also want to make sure that you’re giving yourself room to be flexible if things don’t perform as expected-especially with commission, it’s all about underpromising and overdelivering-remember, when it’s the firswt plan, these people are blank slates, whatever you tell them is whatever they thing is going to be awesome-one of the things that I’m most proud of at SinglePlatform, when we started, we used a quarterly commission schedule so that we could retain the funds for longer, and at plan, a rep would earn $2k a QUARTER-Today, we’re on a monthly commission schedule, and reps earn not just $2k a quarter, but TWENTYFIVE HUNDRED a MONTH!-We were able to grow into paying our reps even more, as we learned more about what we could expect from performance.-Additionally, we made product improvements, raised prices, quotas, and it all felt good, because everytime, we were able to have a positive impact on the bottom line for the rep. If they sold the same number of deals as before, they were going to earn MORE, FASTER
  • And it’s ok that you have to cut bait with some people. This isn’t supposed to be easy-Don’t think that you’ll get everything right the first time.-When I was starting at SinglePlatform, I was cold-calling, by myself, for NINE months. I went through 34 different pitches. 4 different business models. We didn’t get it right the first time. We didn’t get it right the second time. They say third time’s the charm? IT WASN’T-The CEO of Fab just published an article, This is a fucking startup. Why are you here. This is HARD, they raised a ton of money, everyone thought they were the toast of the town, this is hard, they didn’t get it right-It was a long process, but I understood that part of that process was learning what didn’t work, and sometimes learning what NOT to do, can be just as valuable as learning what TO do.-So don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. It’s ok to learn as you go-One of the biggest areas I see things get wonky is around commissions. ======-You want to incent people the right way, and you also want to make sure that you’re giving yourself room to be flexible if things don’t perform as expected-especially with commission, it’s all about underpromising and overdelivering-remember, when it’s the firswt plan, these people are blank slates, whatever you tell them is whatever they thing is going to be awesome-one of the things that I’m most proud of at SinglePlatform, when we started, we used a quarterly commission schedule so that we could retain the funds for longer, and at plan, a rep would earn $2k a QUARTER-Today, we’re on a monthly commission schedule, and reps earn not just $2k a quarter, but TWENTYFIVE HUNDRED a MONTH!-We were able to grow into paying our reps even more, as we learned more about what we could expect from performance.-Additionally, we made product improvements, raised prices, quotas, and it all felt good, because everytime, we were able to have a positive impact on the bottom line for the rep. If they sold the same number of deals as before, they were going to earn MORE, FASTER
  • -As you start to figure things out, make sure you’re putting as many resources behind your team as you can-show them a career path-teach them things outside of their functional area, teach them things outside of sales-for us, we have a 1 year program, we call the DSDP that is essentially a lot of bright lights, at the end of very short tunnels-in your first year at SP, you’ll be promoted 3 times, get more than a 10% raise on your base, and at the end of month 12, earn TWICE as much in commission as month 1.-one of my favorite quotes, this was floating around linkedin for a while…cfo says to the CEO…we’re spending all this money on professional development, what happens if we teach people to be great, and then they leave? The CEO’s response…what happens if we don’t invest this money in our people, and they stay?-The employee-employer contract is different than it was 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, especially here in NYC, and especially in sales. It’s a new ballgame, and you MUST put resources into things like a continuing education program, mentorship, and other non-monetary benefits to keep your employees loyal.-I promise you, if you invest in them, they’ll stay. As long as they feel like they’re learning, and also getting the opportunity to take on more responsibility (however small it may be), they’ll stick around====-And to that end….don’t wait to promote. When I say put more resources behind your people, that means putting people resources behind your people as well. -I’ll never forget, we wanted to take our best salesperson off the phone at SP, and we wanted to make him a manager to help me out, but we didn’t do it until I was basically drowning in work. And when I say drowning, I mean DROWNING. I had 34 direct reports. An enterprise team, an outside team, and a direct team, all reporting individually to me with no manager. As you can imagine, it was pretty much a shitshow, and it’s hands-down, the number one thing I’d do differently if I could go back in time. -Although it may be scary to take top performers off the phone, or add another line item to your cost center…you have to do it. Once we promoted our first manager, performance took a great turn for the better. -We saw it again, in our training department. Last summer, we decided that instead of our normal 10 to 1 ratio, we’d throw a second manager in the mix to help ramp our new hires up even faster. Our June class was one of our best ever. After another strong July, we put even more fuel on the fire, and added a THIRD set of hands to help provide even more coaching to people just starting out.-It couldn’t have gone better-When you take great people, and you allow them to influence not just their own perofrmance, but the performance of others, it’s a very powerful thing. -Don’t be scared to promote, all it does is get your team excited, and force them to stay hungry to earn a shot at more responsibility.
  • -As you start to figure things out, make sure you’re putting as many resources behind your team as you can-show them a career path-teach them things outside of their functional area, teach them things outside of sales-for us, we have a 1 year program, we call the DSDP that is essentially a lot of bright lights, at the end of very short tunnels-in your first year at SP, you’ll be promoted 3 times, get more than a 10% raise on your base, and at the end of month 12, earn TWICE as much in commission as month 1.-one of my favorite quotes, this was floating around linkedin for a while…cfo says to the CEO…we’re spending all this money on professional development, what happens if we teach people to be great, and then they leave? The CEO’s response…what happens if we don’t invest this money in our people, and they stay?-The employee-employer contract is different than it was 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, especially here in NYC, and especially in sales. It’s a new ballgame, and you MUST put resources into things like a continuing education program, mentorship, and other non-monetary benefits to keep your employees loyal.-I promise you, if you invest in them, they’ll stay. As long as they feel like they’re learning, and also getting the opportunity to take on more responsibility (however small it may be), they’ll stick around====-And to that end….don’t wait to promote. When I say put more resources behind your people, that means putting people resources behind your people as well. -I’ll never forget, we wanted to take our best salesperson off the phone at SP, and we wanted to make him a manager to help me out, but we didn’t do it until I was basically drowning in work. And when I say drowning, I mean DROWNING. I had 34 direct reports. An enterprise team, an outside team, and a direct team, all reporting individually to me with no manager. As you can imagine, it was pretty much a shitshow, and it’s hands-down, the number one thing I’d do differently if I could go back in time. -Although it may be scary to take top performers off the phone, or add another line item to your cost center…you have to do it. Once we promoted our first manager, performance took a great turn for the better. -We saw it again, in our training department. Last summer, we decided that instead of our normal 10 to 1 ratio, we’d throw a second manager in the mix to help ramp our new hires up even faster. Our June class was one of our best ever. After another strong July, we put even more fuel on the fire, and added a THIRD set of hands to help provide even more coaching to people just starting out.-It couldn’t have gone better-When you take great people, and you allow them to influence not just their own perofrmance, but the performance of others, it’s a very powerful thing. -Don’t be scared to promote, all it does is get your team excited, and force them to stay hungry to earn a shot at more responsibility.
  • Now you know how to get the people in, but what are some of the ways you can keep them around….
  • -This might go without saying-But your culture will end up being an extension of yourself-At SinglePlatform, that means hashtags, nerfguns, and trips to lasvegas-For you, it might be ice cream socials, laser tag nights, ping pong tables, or all night games of cranium-But whatever it is, throw yourself into it-At the end of the day, you spend more time at work than ANYWHERE ELSE. Your bed, your apartment, nowhere, and no one gets more time with you than your office and your officemates.-There’s a common story people tell at SinglePlatform…they start, and all they do is talk about work with their friends. And their friends have boring, “normal” jobs, and they say, stop talking about work. -WRONG. OF COURSE YOU SHOULD TALK ABOUT WORK. It’s a huge part of who you are. It doesn’t define you, but it’s certainly a big piece of your life. Create a place where people want to talk about what they do, non-stop.========-But creating an awesome place-Doesn’t mean a place for everyone-Our sales team is a relatively homogenous group of people, and that’s worked really well for us. 0-3 years out of school, little to no sales experience, outgoing personality, and a strong competitive spirit. -People like people like themselves. It’s ok to have a fun, goofy environment, if you’re a fun, goofy person. -Your culture is an extension of yourself. And you should never try to be something you’re not.
  • -This might go without saying-But your culture will end up being an extension of yourself-At SinglePlatform, that means hashtags, nerfguns, and trips to lasvegas-For you, it might be ice cream socials, laser tag nights, ping pong tables, or all night games of cranium-But whatever it is, throw yourself into it-At the end of the day, you spend more time at work than ANYWHERE ELSE. Your bed, your apartment, nowhere, and no one gets more time with you than your office and your officemates.-There’s a common story people tell at SinglePlatform…they start, and all they do is talk about work with their friends. And their friends have boring, “normal” jobs, and they say, stop talking about work. -WRONG. OF COURSE YOU SHOULD TALK ABOUT WORK. It’s a huge part of who you are. It doesn’t define you, but it’s certainly a big piece of your life. Create a place where people want to talk about what they do, non-stop.==========-But creating an awesome place-Doesn’t mean a place for everyone-Our sales team is a relatively homogenous group of people, and that’s worked really well for us. 0-3 years out of school, little to no sales experience, outgoing personality, and a strong competitive spirit. -People like people like themselves. It’s ok to have a fun, goofy environment, if you’re a fun, goofy person. -Your culture is an extension of yourself. And you should never try to be something you’re not.
  • -this may sound counterintuitive. -don’t motivate?! What? I thought that’s what great managers do?-well first of all, you DON’T want to be a great manager, you want to be a great LEADER-but secondly, motivation is internal. You have to hire for motivation. -hire for desire they say-we try to scare our candidates off, we let them know how difficult this job will be-but you can try to motivate, and you don’t want to manage people-no one likes to be managed, and a tendency for you companies, no one likes to be micro-managed as well-some of you are just starting teams, starting small teams…you’re going to want to do everything yourself-you HAVE to give up control. You HAVE to allow for autonomy. Hire great people, and let them do their thing
  • -DO create an environment where motivated people can succeed. -That means a clear communication of goals and objectives, along with the path for how to get there-hire great people, and turn them loose! Let their internal motivation carry them to success-Be there as a guardrail, but let them drive the car-at singleplatform, we empower our salespeople to be great. -we challenge them to be great-we fill our office with positive energy-I’ve never been much of a stick guy, I’m all about the carrot. And about 3 years ago, I saw a ted talk that changed my life. It’s by a guy named Shawn Achor, and it’s called The Happiness Advantage-has anyone seen this talk or read Shawn’s book?-well it turns out, that when the brain is net positive, it performs better than when the brain is negative, neutral, or stressed.-it makes sense right?! Well that’s what we focus on at SinglePlatform. We’re a glass half-full kind of company-And you know what, I’ve never seen someone make less sales because they were in a positive mental state. -So that’s what we preach-And how do we preach it? With leadership-I was at the AA-ISP conference a couple weeks ago, and at the end of the first night, we got to from hear retired three star general Dan Christman.-And boy oh boy did he have some great stuff, but there were a few things that stood outLeadership is the art of influencing others to complete a mission. Not doing the mission for them, but influencing them to complete it on their ownThe difference between management and leadership is INSPIRATION. And lastly, my favorite that he shared with us…MLK. Great leaders provide a vision, an inspiration. MLK said I have a dream, not I have a plan. So when you want to create a great culture, keep those ideas in mind, LEADERSHIP not management, create an environment where motivated people can succeed, and you’re guaranteed to have a great sales team on your hands
  • Leadership is the art of influencing others to complete a mission. Not doing the mission for them, but influencing them to complete it on their ownThe difference between management and leadership is INSPIRATION. And lastly, my favorite that he shared with us…MLK. Great leaders provide a vision, an inspiration. MLK said I have a dream, not I have a plan. So when you want to create a great culture, keep those ideas in mind, LEADERSHIP not management, create an environment where motivated people can succeed, and you’re guaranteed to have a great sales team on your hands
  • And lastly, do celebrate the wins-gongs-team nights out-happy hour at TGI fridays-show your team you love them every day-people stay in jobs because they love the people they work with-they put out maximum effort because they’re loyal to their bosses-go kart racing-big gaudy goals-google glass-happy hour every other Friday-trivia night-anything can be made into a contest-winning feels good-set your people up so they can get those easy wins-that’s what being a great leader is all about-and if your team constantly feels like they’re winning, your culture will be spectacular.
  • Adam Liebman (VP of Sales, SinglePlatform) - Building Your Culture Starts Now: How to Hire the Right Team from Day One

    1. 1. Building Your Culture Starts Now: How to Hire the Right Team from Day One @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    2. 2. @adamliebman #saleshackerconf -130 employees -90 person sales team -Acquired for $100 million in June 2012 -#22 on Crain’s best places to work in NYC
    3. 3. The Do’s @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    4. 4. The Do’s @adamliebman #saleshackerconf And the Don’ts
    5. 5. HIRING @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    6. 6. Don’t hire before you’re ready @adamliebman #saleshackerconf How do you know when you’re ready? Working business model Repeatable process
    7. 7. Do hire in groups @adamliebman #saleshackerconf Peer-to-peer learning Bond from day 1
    8. 8. Do hire slow @adamliebman #saleshackerconf 100  25  10  3
    9. 9. Don’t hang on to dead weight @adamliebman #saleshackerconf “No-Asshole” Policy
    10. 10. Don’t think you’ll get it right the first time @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    11. 11. Do leave yourself room to be flexible @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    12. 12. Do put more resources behind your people @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    13. 13. Don’t wait to promote @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    14. 14. CULTURE @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    15. 15. Do create a place where YOU would want to work @adamliebman #saleshackerconf Your culture is an extension of yourself Talking about work is OK!
    16. 16. Don’t try to please everyone @adamliebman #saleshackerconf Homogeneity can be a strength People like people like themselves
    17. 17. Don’t try to motivate your salespeople Don’t manage your team @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    18. 18. Do create an environment where motivated people can succeed @adamliebman #saleshackerconf Do lead your team
    19. 19. @adamliebman #saleshackerconf The difference between management and leadership is inspiration. Leadership is the art of influencing others to complete a mission. I have a dream, not I have a plan.
    20. 20. Do celebrate the wins @adamliebman #saleshackerconf
    21. 21. Thank You! @adamliebman #saleshackerconf adam@singleplatform.com

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