The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

What Test.io Does Differently to Find and Equip the Best Outbound Reps w/ Max Schultz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

“He told us one of the co-founders of our competitor parties with Kanye West, and brought a picture like a private investigator.”

The candidates that really stand out to Test.io are the ones who can find out under the surface things about their industry and competition that they couldn’t have simply googled.

Max Schulz is the Head of Sales in the US at Test.io.  He joined me on the podcast to talk about what Test.io has done differently to equip their SDR’s and how they find the best candidates for hire.

Test.io was founded in Berlin in 2011 and in 2016 launched a customer success office in San Francisco.  The sales and success team has gone from then being just Max to now an office of 20 and a mostly outbound organization. There is very little inbound that they rely on.  So Max has had a front-row seat to the building and scaling of sales teams.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot ioh, the leading sales engagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engaged with buyers and customers in the modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes resources in the book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode. Hey everyone, welcome back to another incredible episode of the Sales Engagement podcast. I am your host, Jovi Nollo, senior content managing editor at outreach, and we are joined today by Max Scholtz, head of sales in the US over at test dot ioh, and he's going to talk about scaling sales teams, how to find good outbound reps, some of the missteps that he's seen companies take and how to you know if one thing's working for one rep, how to make it work for three, how to make it work for ten? Before we get into that, I'm going toss it on over to Max, who can introduce himself tell us a little bit about his background and what he's doing over at test in. Max, thanks for being on the show, hey, thanks for having men. Yeah, so I guess give you a little background. We started out here in the US in two thousand and sixteen. Test I was found in Berlin and two thousand and eleven ran sales and and worldwide operations are up until that point, and then we launched a sales and customer success office here in San Francisco and been building the building the sales and customer success to him since then. Gone from just myself as the the rep in the US to now we have an office going on twenty people, mostly outbound driven organization. We have very little inbound that we rely on to hit the number and we've built up some cool processes and stuff along the way. Awesome. So you have definitely had a front row seat in building and scaling sales teams. Yeah, definitely. We've ...

...definitely seen the ups and downs of that. So talk to me about starting that out right, starting that process from the beginning. You were the one person doing sales here in the US. What are kind of the first steps that people need to take when really scaling their team? Well, I think something that we see a lot in sales leadership is vpiece of sales moving around, heads of sales moving around, going in and hiring is there is their first step. They you know, maybe they have reps that they've worked with in the past and you obviously got to bring those people over if you have good, dependable folks. But something that we, I think, did especially well up front was getting our hands dirty, and myself included, before I hired our first St are here. You know, our first move really was we had put outreaching place in my last company. First move was proving that we could do outbound in a way that our German office had really explored before. From Germany there are public databases for companies and public filings that companies there have to do. That provide phone numbers you can direct dial into the executive suite. We don't have that luxury here in the US. No, nor would those people really pick up the phone. Yeah, right. So we had to launch kind of from the beginning a whole new process to take on this market, and that started with, you know, emails Linkedin all the all the stuff. But we figured that we needed to prove that out fully before we brought a staff on and just have, you know, people sitting around. Especially we had planned to hire newer reps, people out of college, and we wanted to make sure that we had a solid process in place, that we knew that works, that have had some proof and traction before we before we scale the team. So it's kind that's kind of opposite of most dpiece of sales, like you were saying, is that you know, you realize the need to scale the team, you hire a bunch of people and then you figure out the play books and processes you are you're saying, kind of flip that on its head and get everything in place before you bring in your first trip. Yeah, I think as far as notoriety with the...

...team, you have a huge advantage if, a you have done the job yourself and you are not relying on them to prove out something that is so far not proven. And so you know you have to lean on you have to lean on your team eventually to to move the needle forward and to perfect these processes. But we we also live in a slightly different environment than maybe some some of the other companies in San Francisco, being that were we're private equity backed. We really make decisions based on data and knowing that things are going to work, that if we hire this person, they're going to have that contribution to the to the number, and so slightly different model than than high or high high with that, with the VC money, but it is yeah, we could only really justify this, this expansion to the board when we could prove things out incrementally, and that's probably an approach everyone should take. I mean we all love to move fast and break things and and, you know, throw things the wall and see what sticks. But ultimately, I mean we have business goals we need to hit and we can't be continually tweaked. I guess you should be continually tweaking as you move forward, but but it's good to have those process he's in place that are known to work. So, yeah, it's so sorry and it's not to say like the the first process that we put in place. You know, we spent two months really hammering process up front and I think you know, in the future I will, I will do that every single place that I go just because of how effective it was here and it was it was the same way. It was the same way at our last company. Would do this with we knew by the time we were hiring the first person that we had a version one. And, like you said, you have to continue iterating, but instead of having to build up that first version of a of a handbook of objection handling, of sales copy, the things that just are not the best time for a salesperson to be spending their time on. Those people should be out selling, most people should be sending emails, those people should be fielding...

...the reactions of the market, and so we saw a huge return having at least the V one that we could iterate on once we have other people involved. And what are some of those things? So if someone is listening to you going yeah, all right, this all sounds great, I want to do this before I start hiring people, what are some of the things that go into that? That v one of the playbook, and you mentioned objection handling. But let's really get down into the tactical stuff. Yeah, I mean we basically started Tommy, our cofounder and in Berlin had done a lot of the leg work by building up an awesome demo process and you know, luckily we have some we have some special things. We have kind of a productives demo process where we can show the value of our product before we're even under an engagement with the company. So that was a first advantage but I think having a TEX stact ready to go that's not getting gutted as you're going in the first six months with your reps. you know, we pulled out half of the tools that the that the German team was using in order to optimize for the more heavily email centric, linkedin centric type of outbound that we were doing. You know, down to simple things like having sales and navigator in place, it was just you have to have those things ready so when they walk in they're enabled to do their job. But how this took form was just form of long form handbooks for for each level. So originally we built out account executive and str and these basically have a flow of tools break out on what each one of those do, kind of from a higher level, how they weave together and then operationally, what you're expected day to day looks like. So we did that both for the both of US r level and the count executive level and to this day worth two years in now, with with fourteen people on the on the sales team alone, there's probably not a single week that those those documents don't get modified and updated. With the...

...the most recent process. We're always trying to tweak things at in we hear about new competitors, we hear about new objections. Each rep can contribute to those. So it becomes kind of you know, we're crowdsourced testing company and we can we can kind of start crowdsourcing our documentation. I think that's an important takeaway there is that these these things are constantly being updated so that you are adapting to the market place somewhat of a living document. I does kind of throw me off a little bit when you say everyone can contribute, because you never know. I mean, I guess you track changes on these Docs, but but when everyone's thrown stuff in and get have you seen it get muddled? Yeah, definitely, and that was a learning process of how people can contribute. So we've gone back and forth from you can straight out of the document. You can comment. You know, we run it all on Google docs so we have the full history and we can revert changes if we need to. But ultimately these documents really benefit everyone. So they're pretty everyone's pretty careful if they're if they're going to make any changes and if they are going to make more structural changes or they want to make big ones. We run them through together. The St ours meet specifically on a I think every other week with the our SD, our manager, who is tweaking the outbound sequences that we have using, you know, the the data that we get from outreach on on what is effective, and then we're updating the process that goes alongside that with updated qualification processes. Were doing an account base transition right now, and so they're definitely living documents and we we try to stay ahead with the documentations so when we bring these new people in that are generally in there maybe first or second job out of college, they at least can come in on day one and have a fairly clear picture of what exactly is expected of them and how they can get to that point of promotion. And that's...

...been the point of promotion is a key part of the document too, but that's that's been something that's more recently than been out of that was that was not on our minds and in the getting. I think that's great. I mean as an str you come in and especially these days, people want to advance quickly. They we're recognition and they want to know exactly how to do that. So the fact that you've built that in now to your process. I think is a big win on your end and we'll probably help you recruiting a lot. Everyone listening. Go work for Max. There's a way to get advancement there. Let's talk about those New People that maybe have no experience or have on sales job. Where do you find them? Why do they who do they look like? What are the traits that they have? Yeah, so, I mean we have a crazy bunch of SDRs. We have we have former athletes, we have gal with a masters from Oxford, a guy with the masters from cal Berkeley. I would say our number one out Bote we just look for is is raw intelligence and are we've really developed an interviewing process that calls that trait out and kind of we have to mottos just throughout throughout the US office that we that we say all the time GSD and Fio, get shit done and figure it out, and that's that's really what our whole interview process is built around. And then what we expect in the office. You know, those are the key things to the path to promotion if you can really contribute, get your job done and figure things out on the fly, because in a startup environment we can build process all day and it's definitely good to have of those documents in place, but they don't cover everything. They're never going to cover everything and if they do, you're probably spending too much time there. So we we try to key in on that early on in the interview process to screen for those people. I'm tempted to have you put me through the raw intelligence test, but out out a little late last night. I don't want to fail. This's the podcast, but...

...but maybe give us a little taste of kind of some of the things that you do during an interview. You make sure you find the right people. Yeah, absolutely so. I think the the biggest thing that we have done that has screened people out five minutes into into on site interviews, as well as how does walking out at interviews, knowing that we are going to write an offer shortly thereafter, is putting in a standardized exercise that is that is similar to what we expect the the strs to do. So a lot of these people have no sales skills, no formal sales training coming out of college. Most of our folks are coming out of college. So starts with a standardized phone screen where we're talking about things like what was your first success that you remember? What was the first time that you took a risk? Do you consider yourself competitive? You know, the most interesting thing that you have learned lately? That kind of digs into the intellectual nature of the person, if they're if they like exploring new things, that they like digging into things that they don't know about. And then so we generally do first level screen with best Y, our manager, I do the second level and then every time before we hire someone, we have them do this this on site exercise. It's a bit grouling. We have our CEO comes in on some of them, my boss in Berlin will come in on some of them, and it basically goes we give the Canada, you know, a background on the types of companies that we that we work with, and they have to prepare a list of, you know, three to five companies that they would reach out to, the people will they reach out to and the mess jdging, something that we see and have really been able to screen for with that was college students just aren't taught to send business emails, you know, they're not taught to communicate. They're not taught to communicate how people communicate, and that becomes that becomes really difficult to you know, it's something that you can teach...

...over time, but the people that are coming out of college with that skill, that understand that they are talking to humans, really have a key advantage in this process. So we do a couple questions that are a little bit out of the box, and I'm I'm just just pulling up the exercise here. How these like like the Google questions they used to do for interview process. It's like how many pianos are in Chicago? Not, I mean not not specifically. We leave it actually pretty open ended, you know. We say like we like. We talked about the we asked why this company would be a good fit for test io titles, how you reach out to them, and then we ask some just general market information and how you think the market is trending and why we fit in. And then this is the single question that probably I'm going to get get take some heat for Sandus, but I'm not going to have to leap this out later, I don't think so. But I'm probably going to take some heat for divulging this one, but it is it is tell us something about our market competitors. We don't know or couldn't easily find out, and that is the single question that really lets us know if someone kind of matches that figure it out mentality in the office, because you know, it is a really hard question. If I asked you on the street right now to tell me something about the market or test I oh that that isn't easily accessible. Yeah, you can go find some things in Google, you can do the baseline, you know, search our website and find some obscure blog article, but the ones that have really really stood out have been really under the surface. Response is where someone has, you know, maybe talked to one of our competitors or found something found something out about individuals or leadership at our competitors or general market trends that are not surface level things. And if they can do that in an interview setting without knowing much about test Ioh it's a really good sign that they're going to be...

...able to bring out the types of insights that when I'm going through my email in the morning and I see ten str emails, if someone really digs into my background and finds under the surface, you know, top level surface stuff, probably not going to you know, I see your head of sales that's probably not going to do it. But if someone goes through and really really gets to know me and talks to me about why this their solution could help, those are the kinds of people were looking for and that's that's what that process helps us identify. Yeah, I mean it not only is a fantastic indicator how they're going to perform with their job, but really that's just a skill you should have when interviewing for sales positions. You need to do your research. Yep, absolutely, and you I mean this podcast mostly. He'll be listened to by sales leaders, but it's it is no surprise to any of them that a lot of times it is a surprising proportion of candidates that do not do their research well enough for interviews and end up costing themselves jobs. And I think screening for that up front and the willingness to commit some time and effort to an interview process. It's interesting that that is a differentiator for candidates, but it really is. And you see the you see the polar opposite sides of the spectrum as you interview at skill. What are some of the weird things people of uncovered about either your company or you during the interview process. They bring up that, you're like how, how the Hell did you find that out? We found out that one of the one of the CO founders of our one of our competitors, parties with with Kanye and there was a picture that was that was brought and printed and pushed across the table. We have like a private investigator, you know, something like now. Some really is a really you know, verging on creeping, but we you know is it was. It was a funny one. Gosh. What are some others? Yeah, I can't think of any off the top of...

...my head, but but they're that one. That one was a that one's a highlight. That was talked about for a while at the company. And did that person get the job? Person got the job and that person, that person, is still with us. I was waiting for and that person is me, or something like that. Max. If our podcast listeners could take one thing away from this episode, What would that be? What's the message you want to leave them with? I think you know, as we talked about, the getting the process in early is hugely important, but you got to find the right people. So those two things are handinhand. I don't think one is more important than the other. Make sure that you have your hands dirty and that you know that things are going to work and that you're setting those people up for success. No one has left the company on their own volition since we have started hiring here, because we enable people from day one to be successful and to be on a path promotion in throughout the sales team and throughout the customer success team. So I think if you give if you give smart people an opportunity and you give them the tools to be successful, it's been a winning success formula for us. I just want to touch on that a little bit more. No one has left a company since putting these processes in place. That's that's incredible, because the average ten year of an SDR is like fourteen months, and same thing with a he's like that. That's just something that you should be super proud of. Yeah, it is. It is definitely something that were that we take a lot of pride and you know, we've had it's been a couple people that have not worked out, just performance or you know, sales was not for them. But from the core are our metrics for success and for retention. Are Our way above the the industry. Standards and I think, you know, that goes that goes to the culture that we've built and and just the general, you know, nature of we really, really take a lot of pride and enabling people for success and and invest a lot in the smart people that we...

...bring on board. I think that's a whole other episode. I think you have to have you back on to like dig in to just I think people would be amazed to hear or to experience the level of success you had and like fighting off attrition and having people hop jobs. I think that's fantastic. So maybe we should have you back on to just talk more about that. I'd be happy to this and been fun. We will have our our SDR manager come on to just so he can hear a few things. Max, to people wanted to get ahold of you. How can they do that? Yeah, probably, hopefully. Hopefully, don't regret this one, but Max at test I, Oh, nice and nice and easy, nice and short, always happy to help, especially on you know, we we've been longtime fans of outreach and we have seen just a lot of value. I don't think, I don't think we could have done a lot of what we have done without, without the data that that has allowed us to to act on. So and just so everyone knows, we didn't tell him to say that. We know not paying him to say that. That's UN solicited compliments and thank you, Somebody Nice, big fan boy. Well, I appreciate you being on the show today and I want to thank you and I want to thank our listeners for tuning in once again and we will see you next time on the sales engagement podcast. Thank you all right. Thank you. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement coming soon. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach die Oh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (331)