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A Smarter Approach to Sales Hiring with Sales Recruiter Amy Volas

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Hiring the right people is mission-critical for all companies, of all sizes, and in every stage. Get hiring right and you'll people on board who can help you build something great, while the wrong people can sink the whole ship. Amy Volas has a lot to say about sales recruiting and sales hiring, and we talk about her approach to finding great salespeople and sales leaders. 

Up next…

Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual. 

Connect with Amy Volas online:
Amy Volas on LinkedIn
Amy’s company, Avenue Talent Partners


A Smarter Approach to Sales Hiring with Sales Recruiter Amy Volas:

Full Transcript

Amy Volas:
When the market changes, which it is, this is going to be a course correction. And what I’m finding is there are people that are thrown into sales leadership roles because the leadership team or the founders or whomever it might be, they just don’t know any better. Maybe they know how to hire an incredibly strong engineer, but that’s not the same as sales.

Amy Volas:
And so, they’re trying to save a few bucks and they think, well, this is a top performer on our SMB sales team. We’re going to go upstream, we’re going to pluck them out, and they’re going to be the sales leader and hire a bunch of enterprise sellers. That doesn’t work out so well. That then contributes to that turnover rate. And it’s not just sales leaders at 19 months and shrinking. It’s also sales in general churns three X more than any other role in the marketplace, and a lot of it is foundational back to, it’s not a one size fits all.

Liston Witherill:
That’s Amy Volas, CEO of Avenue Talent Partners, her sales recruiting firm. There’s an art to hiring the right people. Do a quick search for recruiting tips and you’ll see answers all over the board. Google famously has one of the longest, most in-depth recruiting processes ever created and they still only keep people around for a few years. That’s because finding and keeping the right people is hard. That’s why you see junk science emerge in recruiting, like personality tests, which are a $500 million industry by themselves.

Liston Witherill:
Personality tests and HR departments and all the software in the world still haven’t solved the problem. But still, having the right people on your team is mission critical. That’s why it’s such an important topic and that’s why I brought Amy on to talk about her approach to recruiting the right people, why some of the industry best practices never worked, and how to think about bringing on the perfect people at your company.

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast that’ll help you sell more by understanding how people buy. I’m your host Liston Witherill, founder of Serve Don’t Sell, and I dig through academic research, interview people inside and outside of sales, and nerd out on psychology, economics and neuroscience to figure out how people make decisions. And I am on a mission to change the way 100 million people sell so that buying B2B services can feel just as good as a home cooked meal. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Liston Witherill:
If you’re listening on Spotify, hit that follow button so that you don’t miss an episode. And if you’re listening on iTunes or Apple podcasts, please subscribe and leave an honest review, as long as it’s five stars. It helps me get the word out for the show so that we can together change the way 100 million people sell. Thank you in advance for your help. Now to the show.

Liston Witherill:
My track record of hiring, honestly, is not that great. I’m going to be totally transparent with you. I’ve had plenty of people helping me out over the years and some of them have succeeded, but most haven’t. And I take almost all of the blame for that. Sometimes I should have chosen to leave a position vacant instead of bringing on the wrong person. And other times, I just didn’t have a good process to interview or vet candidates. Other times, you get it. I suck at hiring.

Liston Witherill:
Amy Volas has some ideas for how to make me and you better at hiring. Her expertise is specifically in sales hiring. She’s been a frontline seller, a sales leader who built and managed her own teams, and now, a sales recruiter who helps build teams for her clients. What’s her take on what so many people get wrong in the hiring process? That’s coming up right after this short break.

Liston Witherill:
Hey there, welcome to Modern Sales. It’s Liston Witherill and I’m here with Amy Volas, who is the CEO of Avenue Talent Partners and a sales recruiter. And I brought Amy on to talk about not only sales recruiting and how she thinks about finding the best sales leaders, but also how does she think about the differences between selling services and selling products, a recurring topic here on Modern Sales. Amy, welcome to the show.

Amy Volas:
Thanks, Liston. I appreciate it. I’m excited to break this down together. So thank you, thank you.

Liston Witherill:
I love it. I’m sure we’re going to solve the entire question here in the next 30 minutes.

Amy Volas:
No pressure.

Liston Witherill:
Right, no pressure. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Amy Volas:
So, for me, sales is something that I care deeply about. I come from the school of being thrown into it without any training during the 2001 dot com bubble. So I’ve been through a few downturns that don’t look anything like what we’re going through today. But that’s when I got into sales, always enterprise sales, and I came from the background of you had to do everything yourself. So that’s setting your own appointments, that’s doing your own research, that’s having your own meetings. And this is before the word demo existed.

Amy Volas:
And at that stage in my career, it was selling services. And so, there was a lot of thought about landing and expanding, and post-sale engagement and all of that. I’ve been very fortunate. I count my blessings for having done all of those things, because it’s really served me well throughout my entire career. And through that, so I’ve always been tethered to the HR tech recruiting talent acquisition space. And along the way, I fell into the whole startup ecosystem and that quickly became my second business love.

Amy Volas:
And so through the years, I’ve had, I couldn’t even imagine how many it’s been, but I’ve had countless conversations with all sorts of companies trying to tackle hiring, specifically sales hiring. Whether it’s a big company, a small company, regardless of the location, regardless of what they do, they’ve always struggled with one main thing. They don’t have a problem seeing people or getting people coming their way or talking to people, but they have a really hard time getting the right people for their business and then keeping them for the long haul.

Amy Volas:
So that was never lost on me. And as I went through my own ranks of being an individual contributor and building out teams, and I’ve been a sales leader as well, and I’ve been part of startups that did something magnificent. So I was at Indeed and was employee number 20-something through a billion and plus exit, which was, that’s like a drug. That’s amazing. You want that to happen again. To other startups that really didn’t have that same remarkable story.

Amy Volas:
And through that and through my experience with my clients and my own mistakes made, I quickly realized there were some common themes about when you get it wrong, what that looks like, and when you get it right, what that looks like. And I started my company more than four and a half years ago now to help startups get their sales hiring right the first time. So for enterprise sellers through executive sales leaders, and those are two different dynamics that when you get it wrong, it can be really, really painful. And so, that’s my whole mission in life is to apply all of that, put that in the blender and out comes my methodology and approach to getting it right the first time.

Liston Witherill:
So one thing that stood out to me is a stat that I’ve seen thrown around a lot and it’s on your LinkedIn profile, which is that most sales leaders only last about 19 months. And you make the, I’m sure, very attractive promise that you can find people who will stay around longer than that and beat the average. What, in your opinion, is required for a sales leader to stick around longer? What’s the difference between people who succeed and don’t succeed in that role, because ostensibly, they’re both qualified?

Amy Volas:
Qualified perhaps in very different ways of being qualified. And I think that’s the number one place of where it starts and where it gets screwed up. Meaning, not all businesses are created equal and not all sales leaders are created equal. And so, depending on what the company does in their stage, and I know we’re going to talk about this, selling a product versus selling a service, and I’ve done both, those are different things. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t do them, but it means that if you’re jumping in for the first time, if you don’t have that DNA of bridging that gap or the landscape in which you’re entering doesn’t understand that there’s a gap, you have a gap of expectations and a major communication breakdown. And so, you could have a really great business and a really great leader, they just shouldn’t cohabitate.

Amy Volas:
So I think it starts with the hiring process and it starts with self awareness and it starts with open, collaborative communication. And I know I’m using like all these big buzz words, but it’s really foundational to being intentional of, if I’m a sales leader, what is it that’s my sweet spot?

Amy Volas:
So we were talking before this about someone that you’ve had on your podcast before, Justin Walsh. I know him well and I have so much respect for him. And one of the things that I really love about him is he’s not trying to be all things to all people. He will be the first person that tells you, “I am an SMB, high-velocity sales leader to build teams. I’ve taken teams from zero to 50 plus million and that’s what I do the bass, that’s what I crave. That’s where I can be the strongest and the most helpful.” Versus him saying, “You know what, I’m a vice president of sales. I can do anything and be all things to all people. And so, I’ll lead a customer success team, I’ll lead a enterprise sales team, I’ll lead the marketing team.” Those are all very different things and sometimes people bite off more than they can really chew, and they don’t have the resources or wherewithal to bridge those gaps. And that’s why it goes, amongst other reasons, but those are some of the common themes.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So let’s go to Justin, because I think this is a great example, because I wanted to challenge you on something. Because essentially, what you’re saying is some people are better in some situations, obviously. Totally agree with that. But you’re also saying look at past performance in order to judge or use that as a rubric for how successful they’re going to be. In Justin’s case, he started doing slow, long plotting, complicated sales, and he totally failed at that. And at some point, someone took a chance on him and said, “Okay, we’ll plug you into a different situation.” Granted, he didn’t start as a sales leader, that came later.

Amy Volas:
Correct. So that’s why I’m to challenge you back, that intersection.

Liston Witherill:
Well, but I think the point stands, if you only look at past performance, he never would have gotten the chance and now he’s thriving in a totally different situation. And so, are there aspects of personality or drive or fit that you also look at that would overrule past performance?

Amy Volas:
Absolutely. One of the main … so you’re not really challenged me after all because we’re in agreement, I think for different reasons. So I’m not here to say that because you haven’t done it before, you can’t do it. We’re talking about the context of a sales leader. So that’s a very, very different thing. But yeah, at some point you need to have a chance taken on you. For Justin to be able to do the things that he was able to do, it wasn’t just about taking a chance. It also was about what he put in, which is your point.

Amy Volas:
So yes, there’s two separate schools of thought that I think about. There’s skill, which falls into the experience bucket and all of those things. And then there’s will. Nobody gave me playbook for getting into sales. I had to figure it out and I was thrown into it and it was a great opportunity. But I would have never stayed in it had I not tried to figure things out along the way and learn from that and get better and seek out mentorship and seek out information that wasn’t readily available to me through my company. That doesn’t mean that the company was bad. That was on me. Not everybody thinks that way, Liston.

Amy Volas:
And so, that’s what I look for is, if you haven’t done it before, and in my world, you have to understand, clients pay me a lot of money to give them what they’re looking for. And so, using a recruiter to bridge that gap is probably, just to be a hundred percent upfront, using a recruiter to bridge that gap, probably not your best bet. It’s about what you’re willing to do for yourself to pave that way.

Amy Volas:
You cannot teach somebody, every startup talks about grit, right? Natural curiosity, a zest for learning, all of these things. And I agree with that. People get caught up in the words and they don’t look for the application of how. I pay attention to all of the above. So yes, there are certain skills that you absolutely have to have. And there might be clients of mine that say, “We don’t have the time, patience, or energy to even think about somebody that comes from services. We sell products and that’s our thing and that’s our hard line.” Okay, I can work with that.

Amy Volas:
But then we start thinking about the DNA, and we start thinking about the things that may or may not make sense. So I think we’re saying the same thing for different reasons. I do think though, a sales leader, especially if you’re coming into an already established sales team, if you have not done that before and if that established sales team is super meaty, complex enterprise sales with a buyer journey that takes 12 to 18 plus months and you’re used to high velocity sales, you’re probably not going to be able to bridge that gap in as fast amount of time that you need to to make an impact.

Liston Witherill:
Right, which is pushing down that 19 month average, I’m assuming.

Amy Volas:
There’s so many things that are heartbreaking because you’ve got, what we’re going through with this market is really, it’s going to be interesting. I’m fascinated by it already for a lot of different reasons. But I was saying this before and I’m documented saying this on several podcasts. When the market changes, which it is, this is going to be a course correction. And what I’m finding is, there are people that are thrown into sales leadership roles because the leadership team or the founders or whomever it might be, they just don’t know any better. Maybe they know how to hire an incredibly strong engineer, but that’s not the same as sales.

Amy Volas:
And so, they’re trying to save a few bucks and they think, well, this is a top performer on our SMB sales team. We’re going to go upstream, we’re going to pluck them out and they’re going to be the sales leader and hire a bunch of enterprise sellers. And that doesn’t work out so well. That then contributes to that turnover rate. And it’s not just sales leaders at 19 months and shrinking. It’s also sales in general churns three X more than any other role in the marketplace. And a lot of it is foundational back to, it’s not a one size fits all. And because we’re treating it as such, it is directly correlated to these stats that you and I are talking about.

Liston Witherill:
Well, it makes sense. I mean, people are a messy business, right? And ultimately, selling is about people and managing people and working together. And one of the things that I found most interesting about you, first of all, you keep popping up in my LinkedIn feed. So obviously, your personal branding is working and you know something about LinkedIn. But because you’re a service provider, you’re hiring people for clients who are selling products, but you yourself are selling services. So why don’t we just start by, maybe you can tell us a little bit about, how do you see the difference between selling products and services? What is so different about them?

Amy Volas:
I think there’s a lot of gray area when it comes to selling a service, versus a product can be much more predictable. When you’re selling software, for example, you have your software, you’re signing an agreement, you know that it’s going to renew after X amount of time. And there might be other things that you can upsell along the way, additional features, benefits, et cetera. That all is expansion growth opportunity, but it’s also predictable, repeatable revenue. I know that every year if I’m doing annual contracts or if I’m doing quarterly contracts or if I’m doing monthly contracts, all of those things are things that can potentially reoccur as long as you’re keeping that client, which is a whole other topic for a different day of churn, but we won’t go there right now.

Amy Volas:
But that makes it much easier to back into customer acquisition costs, back into what needs to happen from, we know these leads come through and out of these leads, this is what this looks like, this is this funnel, all of those things. And I’m keeping it super high level, because I could go on and on about this and I know you and I only have a short amount of time together. So that makes it a lot easier, some of those factors make it a lot easier to predict.

Amy Volas:
When it comes to services, true services, and I’m not talking about services then that have products or on prem or installation or these other things that you can anchor yourself to that are very predictable. So if you buy this, this is the cost upfront and then we go into service mode. Because that service is still tethered to the thing that we installed or the thing that is the product. So that’s easier to be sticky, as I like to call it.

Amy Volas:
I’m in straight up services. And for me, what makes it so hard, and I talk to many other search firm owners, I talk to many other people in services, I came from services. It’s about when there is a need, and you can’t always predict when your client has a need. So, for example, when I was at Indeed, and this was HR tech, there were two times per year that clients really made big investments. Remember, I go back to the enterprise. And depending on whether they were on a fiscal or a regular annual calendar year determined what those times of year were. That’s when our agreements would renew. That’s when we could have the bigger conversation and all the conversations leading up to the bigger conversation of, here’s what we’re doing together, here’s how we’ve grown, here’s how we could continue to grow. That’s not this, right?

Amy Volas:
So this is not every company needs a sales leader. That’s by and large what I do. And so, it’s situational, it’s when there’s a need, and it’s also, I’m swimming in an incredibly cluttered space. It’s also managing those relationships. So it pulls a lot of different things that I’ve done in the past. But I have to tell you, when I started this company, the same things that served me really well throughout my product base enterprise sales career fell completely flat when it came to how I’ve built my business. So that’s a long drawn out way of saying the big difference is predictability. So short answer to a long drawn out explanation of why.

Liston Witherill:
I’d love for you to elaborate a little bit on the last thing you said. The things that served you so well in your product sales days have fallen completely flat in your services business. Can you expand on that a little bit?

Amy Volas:
Yeah, so I come from the school of thought that your pipeline trumps all, right? I think about my customer first and I back it up from there. So the signals of what the buying behavior was before, those are completely and totally different. Yes, we would pay attention to when people were hiring, how much they were hiring, what they were hiring for. And I certainly do that. But then it’s the how. Right? And so, I never got stuck on demos. I don’t think you should lead with a demo, but that’s just me and I’m sure I’m going to get skewered by people. I’m a big fan of meeting your buyer where they are. It’s more of the how or the application list in, and I know I’m not answering your question specifically, because the how I do what I do is really fluid.

Amy Volas:
So before, I believed in content. I would utilize it to stay engaged with my customers. How I use my content and my voice now is totally different. Right? And it really, now more than ever, it’s challenged me to think about the long game mindset. I always had that before, but I knew what would happen. I knew that at the end of the year, every buyer was starting to think about what they were going do for the coming year. Was there leftover budget? Were there other opportunities for us to do things? Here, just because somebody gets funding doesn’t mean that they’re automatically hiring a VP of sales or an enterprise sales team.

Amy Volas:
So the triggers are different. And so, I’ve really shifted from a heavily weighted outbound focus to more of an inbound focus. And that was something that was really, really new to me when I started my business, because I was always an outbound girl. I’ve had to embrace and take some pages from those books, but it’s not the playbook. And a lot of it is the inbound versus outbound mentality.

Liston Witherill:
So I have two sides to my business. One is, I sell services. I have a sales program and coaching and advisory services. But then I also sell advertising on this very podcast. And so, when I prospect for podcast advertisers, it’s very much like direct response marketing, right, where I’m going to them and saying … For example, right now in the pandemic, I said to them, “Hey, I bet you no longer can go to any conferences and that may be a hole in your marketing strategy. If you want to reach a sales audience, you can come onto the podcast.” Right?

Liston Witherill:
And I can tell you how that works. That doesn’t really work nearly as well in services which tend to look, in my opinion, a lot more like brand marketing, where it’s more about the long game. It’s more about educating them about who I am, about how I think. And that’s usually comes first before I talk about exactly what I could do for you, right? They need to trust in me and believe that I’m someone who has something valuable to say, an opinion, that I’m worth following.

Liston Witherill:
One thing you mentioned was, you’re in a crowded space. There’s a lot of recruiters. I’m aware of a handful of other large sales recruiting firms, as I’m sure you’re aware of all those. How do you think about differentiating yourself in a space that is crowded and where everyone else is on LinkedIn too? How do you separate yourself or think about separating yourself?

Amy Volas:
Because, and I’m going to sound like such a douche bag and I don’t mean to be, because it’s really the truth and it should be for them too. I purposely, by design, did not structure my firm to be a huge sales recruiting firm because, quite honestly, over all of the years that I’ve been around this block and it’s been 20 plus, I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve personally witnessed the bad behavior. And not everybody is bad, by the way, but there’s a reason why when you Google the term external recruiter or recruiting agency or staffing firm, which makes me cringe too, you don’t get a lot of good things, right? There’s a reason why that stereotype is there, and by and large, a lot of those things tend to happen.

Amy Volas:
So to answer your question, for me specifically, it ties back to being me, really. I mean, my voice on LinkedIn is going to be completely and totally different than anybody else’s. And what I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten a stronger and stronger voice, more and more people in my space are starting to come around me. They’re starting to rip off my content, they’re starting to do these different things. And I look at it as you could rip off whatever you want to rip off. That tends to be obvious. But also, you need to know how to apply it.

Amy Volas:
And so, it’s really about … I’m a huge fan of Simon Sinek and I’m so stinking heartbroken because I was supposed to see him on March 13th live in Chicago, and he had to cancel because of this terrible pandemic. And if that’s the worst thing that happens to me, I’m going to be just fine. But I was really, first world problems, right? They’re way bigger things out there going on and I realize that, but I was really excited to see him, simply because I am totally bought into the power of why.

Amy Volas:
And I started my company, if you would have talked to me six years ago and you would have said, “Amy, I know what you’re going to do six years from now. You’re going to own a sales recruiting firm.” I would have been laughing you out of the room and being like, “Yeah, right, gross. I don’t want any part of that.” But then the more I thought about it … and this is my second company, I started my first one in 2008, which we’ll leave that where that is. And that was another services-based company.

Amy Volas:
But what’s interesting is when you know why you’re doing something, and for me, I started my company because I care deeply about the ecosystem that I’m a part of. I care deeply about sales. I cared deeply about startups. I care deeply about helping people fix things that I have the expertise to help them fix. That automatically creates a different kind of voice. But layer on top of all of that the fact that I’ve done the job myself, I speak that language fluently, I know those problems firsthand and I’ve cracked the code of how to solve them, that makes me very different for the right kind of buyer that I want to spend time with.

Amy Volas:
Because I know one of the great things about sales or makes great salespeople is when they do the work to understand like the back of their hand what their ideal customer profile looks like, what their territory looks like, what their total addressable market looks like. And they put together a rock solid plan to think about that, to execute, to be closely tied to the community in which they want to do business with, that they understand their buyer, that they back it all out from the buyer back to their process. That’s the stuff that made me really successful and speaks to my soul.

Amy Volas:
This, no different than that. And because of that, I know that I’m not going to be appealing or good for every single company out there, and that’s okay. So I think because of that, all of those things you put in the blender, Liston, and it hopefully answers your question.

Liston Witherill:
So do you think about your brand and your differentiation strategy as primarily being based on your personality? Or is it, you also mentioned the size of your firm, you intentionally want to stay small, you want to give more personal attention, or is there some other sort of secret sauce that you rely on?

Amy Volas:
I don’t think it’s my personality. I mean, I think some of my clients would tell you I’m a pain in the ass because I care a lot about helping them get out of their own way and I’m not afraid to work with them to peel back the layers. And sometimes I have to challenge them and we have to have tough conversations, but they know I’ve got their best interests at heart. So I’ve never been, I mean, business is business, right? I have great relationships and I’m proud of those. But I’d like to think it’s based upon the merit of what I’ve done. I’ve sold over a hundred million dollars of revenue in my career and counting. And that didn’t come because I just got lucky. It came because I screwed up and I learned and I got better. And I realized what it took to be successful.

Amy Volas:
All of those things coupled with thousands of conversations with hiring authorities and companies that were scaling or shrinking or whatever the case may be, lots of lessons learned. Me, lots of lessons learned. The startups that I’ve been part of, lots of lessons learned. The startups that I haven’t been part of, lots of lessons learned. And I like to sit back and listen and curate the common themes of things.

Amy Volas:
I’m still approached, to this day, by icky recruiters trying to recruit me and I’m like, “Do you not see what I do for a living?” If I was looking for a job, that would be a very different brand that I put out. So I think it’s, I’m a big fan of meritocracy. I think it’s about the fact that I walk my talk and I’ve got the experience and wisdom to back it up. I also have a methodology that works really well and I can point to that.

Amy Volas:
And I think all along the way, if people don’t know that, what’s magnetic is the fact that I’m sharing insight and wisdom from a 20-plus year sales career that is really helpful to people. And that’s the common piece of feedback that I get.

Amy Volas:
So less to do with my personality and I think more to do with all of that. And yes, I’ve kept it small, not just to be intimate, to have these really close relationships, but part of what’s the matter with recruiting is also what’s the matter with sales. The spray and pray, quantity versus quality approach to things. That doesn’t work for the long haul. It just doesn’t. And I will go toe to toe with anybody that wants to challenge me on that. You might get a bunch of business up front, but you’re going to churn that if it’s the wrong business.

Amy Volas:
So in my mind, when you treat recruiting the same way, that also contributes to the original thing that we were talking about in terms of turnover and getting it wrong and all of those things. So I can’t do what I tout that I do well if I stretch myself and my team too thin and we’re just playing a numbers game. So everything that I do is really quantified, qualified. We celebrate discovery, we are lock in step with every single person that’s involved, the clients and candidates. If I have too much going on, I can’t do any of those things and communication drastically breaks down. So that’s why I structured my firm the way that I’ve structured it and anybody that touches a client or candidate, we have a really robust sales background, because that’s what makes us special and unique. We have done the job.

Liston Witherill:
Excellent. So one thing that I saw on your LinkedIn profile as well, and I think you’ve mentioned it here a couple of times, is that it’s important to match up sales leaders with the right stage of a business. So I was hoping we could end on you talking a little bit about how you think about different business stages and which types of leaders are most appropriate for each.

Amy Volas:
Phenomenal question and I’m glad that you asked it because that’s one of the main things that people jumble up that works against them. So when I think about stage, if you’re just trying to quantify or qualify product market fit or anything else for that matter, hiring a VP of sales, not a good idea. So I think, and it’s not always to do with revenue by the way. So I’m going to sound a little wishy washy here because there’s different … I celebrate the power of discovery and there are different factors that when they come together equal whom you should be hiring and the people that you should be staying away from.

Amy Volas:
So when I think of earlier stage, and it doesn’t necessarily have to do with funding because I work with bootstrap companies as well, it’s where are you in the marketplace, right? How many customers do you have? That’s early, early stage. I’m not a fan of a player coach, which is a separate topic for a separate day. So it’s like, I think that founder-led selling’s a really great way to go until you have a certain number of clients and then you think about delegating some of that.

Amy Volas:
But then it’s about how the company grows. So do you have just a BDR team? Do you have a BDR and an inside sales team? Are you SMB? Are you enterprise? What does that look like and what is the buyer journey really telling you? I’m a big fan of, it doesn’t matter what I say or what anybody else tells you, your market speaks louder than anybody else. What are they telling you, and what does that look like and what’s necessary? And given the demands of the business and the marketplace, given the stage, because the stage of company determines the work that needs to be done, is there a set process in place? Is there no process in place? Are people just flying blind and it’s the wild, wild West? Maybe there’s a CRM, maybe there isn’t a CRM. Maybe it’s the wrong CRM and it’s being used the wrong way.

Amy Volas:
There’s this whole mentality of fixing, nailing and scaling. And not everybody’s a fixer, not everybody’s a nailer, not everybody’s a scaler. Some people are really great individual contributors that can mentor, but they’re not prepared to take that on. I’m not answering your question, I think, in the way that you wanted me to, Liston, about for this stage it equals this person. I’m talking about more of the qualifying factors to think about, because it’s not necessarily just given the stage. It’s all these other things that swirl around it as well.

Amy Volas:
And what I will say, one of the leading factors that absolutely contributes to people not getting it right, businesses not getting the right leaders, is there is this big misconception about … and I’m a big fan of Salesforce, I have no problem with them whatsoever, but they think, wow, I can get this person from Salesforce. They really believe in our mission. They want to be part of a startup. They think it’s sexy. They’re in for this. They are sick of the red tape. All the right things are being said. However, they’ve never worked in a startup before.

Amy Volas:
The way that they are looking at their playbook, they stepped into somebody else’s process that was already established. You want them to build it from scratch. You want them to help coach and mentor and lead the team to success to figure out, go to market strategy. Well, at Salesforce, you get a seat at the table just because you’re Salesforce. If you’re early stage company and nobody knows who you are and it’s a cluttered space, see the difference? The work looks different.

Liston Witherill:
Right. I was going to say, the power of the brand, if you’re with Salesforce, does a lot of selling for you. Because if anybody’s in a buying cycle, they have to have Salesforce there just to tell their boss, “Yeah, of course we brought the market leader here. We need to evaluate them.” Which is an unfair advantage, I would say.

Amy Volas:
Totally.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah.

Amy Volas:
If you’re used to RFPs, which I’ve been in that world, sometimes when RFPs are written, they already know who they want to select, but they have to include different people. Well, if I know that I want to automatically bring Salesforce and HubSpot in the mix because those are two big brands, and you’re just coming out of the woodwork and nobody knows who you are, the work that it takes to even be considered to get in on that RFP, let alone be on that RFP, let alone be selected, that is such a different thing then.

Amy Volas:
I look at it this way. When I worked at Yahoo, getting a seat at the table just because I was at Yahoo was very, very different than flash-forward and I go to Indeed and I’m employee number 20-something and nobody knew who we were and they were still talking about the newspaper. Those are two totally different things. And the work that I had to do to get a seat at that table and, more importantly, then keep it, is very, very different than when I was at Yahoo. It doesn’t mean that I was better at Yahoo and I was worse at Indeed, or I was better at Indeed and worse at Yahoo. It just means that it’s different and not everybody is ambidextrous.

Liston Witherill:
Indeed, indeed.com. I know, I know. Well, thank you so much for being here and sharing some of your valuable experience. I really appreciate it. If people want to learn more about you or get in touch with you, what should they do?

Amy Volas:
Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. And to get in touch with me, I am very vocal, as you know. LinkedIn is going to be a great way to find me. All of my information is there. A lot of the content that I share is there. Or Avenue Talent Partners.com.

Liston Witherill:
Excellent. And both of those are linked in the show notes, of course. Amy, thank you so much for being here.

Amy Volas:
You’re welcome. Thank you, Liston. This was awesome. I hope it’s helpful.

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