Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve
Co-founder & CEO @ Alan
15 déc 2020Jean-Charles' Newsletters

JCNews #50 - Monter une équipe Sales.

Chers amis, fans de bonnes lectures,

Bienvenue aux 65 personnes qui nous ont rejoints depuis mardi dernier ! Si vous lisez ceci et n’êtes pas encore inscrit, rejoignez vite les 2 655 personnes qui ont déjà eu la bonne idée de le faire. C’est juste ici !

Cette semaine encore, je vous propose mes lectures les plus intéressantes, en mettant notamment l’accent sur un article principal et en vous partageant mon avis dessus. J’espère que cela vous sera utile.

Ecrivez-moi pour en parler, sur Linkedin ou sur Twitter.


💡Must-read de la semaine

Chaque semaine, je publie un must-read, que vous choisissez.

👉 Monter une équipe commerciale : quand, et les maths qu’il faut suivre (David Sacks) (a16z)

Faut-il une équipe commerciale ?

  • Vous aurez besoin de créer une équipe commerciale. Au début d’Alan, j’étais persuadé que nous y arriverions sans jamais avoir de sales. C’était une erreur (malgré une très belle croissance self-serve), et je pense que nous avons recruté nos premiers commerciaux 6 à 12 mois trop tard :

“Do we need top down sales at all?” And the answer is yes! (...) As the company starts to scale, relying purely on self-serve often results in an asymptotic flattening of the growth curve, resulting in linear or worse, declining growth. (...)

And when top down sales acceleration is combined with bottom-up driven momentum, “it’s worth all the money”,

While it is possible to layer in top down sales too early, putting it off can be even more detrimental to the business. One sales executive said, “If we had operationalized the sales funnel earlier, we would be a billion dollar company already.”

Dans quelles conditions commencer ?

  • Chez Alan, nous avions besoin de nous prouver que nous avions une très bonne croissance naturelle, du bouche à oreille, de la rétention, c’est-à-dire un premier market-fit avant de se dire qu’il fallait construire une équipe commerciale. Nous avons aussi passé beaucoup de temps à nous demander quelle culture serait compatible avec la nôtre pour le “sales”.

Sales leaders agreed, however, on two conditions that every company should meet before layering in top down sales:

1) The bottom up flywheel is working: While the exact threshold will vary by company, there is a surprising amount of convergence that achieving between $20M to $30M ARR in bottom up-driven sales is a strong leading signal. (...) When paired with the right penetration heuristic, the bottom up motion serves as an important pipeline generator for the most successful top down sales.

2) The business (not the user) is demanding more: When weighing whether to add certain enterprise features, it’s critical to remember that individuals don’t buy enterprise features, businesses buy them. (...)

Building features for the business buyer, instead of just the individual, can be a big mindset and cultural shift for product-led companies. In the early days of Github, the strong market demand for enterprise features initially clashed with a developer-first product and engineering organization, leading to lost deals.

Quel type de leader recruter ?

  • Nous avons cherché dès le départ des sales, et des “leaders” qui étaient capables d’éxécuter bien sûr et aussi de penser stratégiquement car tout était à construire sur le plan du modèle commercial, des messages, et de certaines nouvelles fonctionnalités produit pour entrer dans de nombreux segments.

Four attributes rose to the top: 1) Collaborative decision-maker, 2) Analytical and technical orientation, 3) Long term relationship builder, and 4) Enterprise sales experience.

“Stripe was uncompromising in hiring sales leaders with both strategic and analytical thinking.”

Comment faire travailler les sales avec le produit ? C’est l’enjeu majeur du succès de l’organisation. Si les sales demandent des fonctionnalités sans prendre de recul, le produit va arrêter de considérer leur demande. Si leur produit est trop loin du terrain, ils vont mal comprendre les enjeux. L’objectif est de trouver un moyen de communication précis, et analytique qui permet d’expliquer ce que peut débloquer une fonctionnalité, tout en se posant la question de la complexité supplémentaire qu’elle peut générer et surtout de son applicabilité à d’autres clients.

How to explain to the product team: ‘This is the feature I keep getting requests for. I know it’s not on the near term roadmap, but if you build it, I think it opens up an opportunity of $X size in the next six months because we have seen good product market fit.”

Mutual trust is further enforced when the sales teams follow through on winning those deals. Sales leaders also noted that inviting the product team to join enterprise customer calls to hear new use cases and customer rationale firsthand helps illustrate the importance of a particular feature and leads to collaboration on the final decision.

Over time, companies might also consider creating a separate enterprise product team to resolve sales-product team clashes and facilitate stronger alignment, a technique that was used effectively at Slack.

There’s an amount of culture clash that is inevitable as a new sales motion is introduced into a high-functioning product-led organization. However, founders that support, rather than resist, these changes while respecting the product roots of the company are most likely to set their sales team and companies up for success.

Comment rémunérer votre équipe ?

  • Là-dessus, nous sommes allés à contre-courant avec un 100% fixe à des niveaux différents qui dépendent de la performance. C’est une question philosophique, et on croit que cela génère une performance supplémentaire grâce au travail ensemble, au fait que les sales sont rémunérés sur un modèle similaire du reste de l’équipe. Il faut pour cela avoir une transparence totale sur la data et la performance.

The vast majority of the sales leaders we spoke with unequivocally recommend approaching sales compensation with a traditional 50/50 split (50% base pay, 50% commission). While great entrepreneurs love to innovate, he warns that “before you innovate on sales compensation, make sure you understand the strengths of the old system.”

Il reste très important d’aller très profondément dans les chiffres, et le retour sur investissement : quelle contribution à la marge apporte chaque sales en fonction de son niveau.

The typical quota will equal 10x base salary. I call this the Rule of 10. (in a world where 50/50 split between base and variable compensation is typical)

The typical table
CellSales table

L’onboarding et le training : Les programmes de “training” de sales sont primordiaux, et très complexes à mettre en place.

For new AEs, the industry-standard time to hit productivity is 4 months, but this can be longer or shorter depending on how long it takes to learn the product and develop a pipeline.

Comment définir les quotas et mesurer la performance: Savoir quand continuer à investir dans son équipe commerciale est très important à mon sens. Pour cela, il faut se poser la question de la rentabilité de celle-ci, du payback, et d’est-ce que c’est le meilleur levier pour accélérer la croissance.

  • The average team attains about 70% of their QC, so some over-capacity is needed to hit your goal. (“Quota Capacity” (QC) refers to the total team quota. For example, if you have 10 AEs with quotas of $500k each, the team’s quota capacity will be $5 million.)

If the team is hitting over 80% of QC, that’s a sign you can hire more AEs. In fact, anything above 70% could warrant additional hiring as long as you have enough leads being generated at the top of funnel.

If an AE is unable to generate at least $400k/year in New ARR (implying $80k-100k OTEs), a sales-driven distribution strategy may not pencil. Since OTE is 20% of sales, the fully-loaded cost of an AE will represent about a 25% cost of sales.

Sales overhead (management, operations, sales development) will typically cost another 15-25% of sales. That means you can spend about 50% of New ARR on Marketing CAC (lead gen) and still keep your payback under 12 months.

Of course, these are just rules of thumb – be sure to check the actual numbers.

Rétention : Avoir une équipe d’account management tôt est très important. C’est quelque chose que nous n’avions pas fait et nous avons perdu deux clients à cause de cela. C’est maintenant corrigé :)

Nearly all sales leaders we spoke with wished they had focused on retention sooner. Instead of treating customer success as an afterthought, the function should be built up alongside the sales effort

That said, many agreed that the traditional customer success model of handing over the customer account immediately after landing the deal doesn’t work in a bottom up-driven organization, where net expansion is a critical driver of growth.

🏯Construire une entreprise

En plus d’articles triés sur le volet, je partage un principe de leadership d’Alan par semaine. Le même que je partage en interne et à nos investisseurs tous les mercredis.

👉 Nous aidons les Alaners à grandir (Healthy Business)

  • Comme tous les six mois, c’est la période des reviews chez Alan. Elles sont essentielles à l’entreprise car un feedback de qualité est un élément essentiel de l'épanouissement personnel. J'ai personnellement appris tellement de choses à chacune de mes évaluations, et j'espère qu'elles m'ont aidé à changer.
  • Les reviews permettent aussi de garantir un système de rémunération équitable. Les Alaners évaluent leurs performances et celles de leurs pairs par rapport aux besoins de l’entreprise, et aux objectifs fixés lors du roadmapping. Cela nous aide à faire en sorte que les personnes puissent régulièrement progresser dans notre grille de niveaux, ou sachent comment passer au niveau supérieur.

👉 Le CEO d’Okta partage des tips sur son IPO (twitter), quelques morceaux choisis :

Concerns pre-IPO:

  • Being public would make it harder to invest in the long term.
  • We’d be constrained, no longer agile & aggressive.
  • Employees would watch the stock price & lose focus.
  • Less intensity after “reaching the goal” (which is why you have to move the goalpost).

Benefits of being public:

  • Helped us tell our story (biz press interested in @okta in a way they never were before).
  • Gave us stability & “validity” (which customers appreciated).
  • Gave us access to capital markets (raised $2B in 2 quick fundraisers).

Other takeaways from going public:

  • It’s not the fastest path to liquidity. After the IPO, there's a 6-month lockup, then your stock sales are public/scrutinized by investors. M&A = quicker, but wasn't for us.
  • Limits what we could share internally. Transparency gets harder

Netflix est un excellent exemple sur comment maintenir la transparence interne même si c’est très dur de manière externe.

Can't forget the roadshow. In venture rounds, you might meet with 2 or 3 $1B funds. Pre-IPO, it was 8 meetings a day with $5-20B funds.

Cela a l’air d’être un vrai marathon.

Got the crash course in IR: it's all about being consistent with your message & setting reasonable expectations, then exceeding them. This is the foundation of a stable predictable business.

C’est l’enjeu de toutes les entreprises, et comment définir des objectifs raisonnables, et les battre.

How I benefited from @okta going public:

My control of the company increased significantly.

Preferred shares rights & preferences go away as everyone converts to common.

My shares along with VC converted to super-voting shares. As VCs sold their shares, my voting % went up.

Super intéressant pour le contrôle de l’entreprise.

How my job has changed:

More time in board meetings (committees, recruiting, communicating with, etc).

More time on IR & with investors (earnings reports, conferences, 1on1s - might sound repetitive, but you often learn interesting & unexpected things

Je pense que c’est un des principaux problèmes sur la “distraction” que cela peut représenter pour le CEO.

👉 The Dumb Idea Paradox: pourquoi les idées excellentes commencent par avoir l’air idiotes (Andrew Chen)

  • The dumb idea paradox is what happens when an idea sounds dumb, and yet you have a (usually very small) group of people highly engaged in doing it. And maybe that group of people seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

👉 Les 4 mythes du bundling (Shishir Mehrotra) 5 myths of bundling

🗞Dans l’actu

📱Monde des technologies

👉 Google crée des vidéos automatiquement à partir de pages web (Google AI)

  • URL2Video, a research prototype pipeline to automatically convert a web page into a short video, given temporal and visual constraints provided by the content owner.
  • URL2Video extracts assets (text, images, or videos) and their design styles (including fonts, colors, graphical layouts, and hierarchy) from HTML sources and organizes the visual assets into a sequence of shots, while maintaining a look-and-feel similar to the source page.

👉 Comment la nouvelle app de Facebook (Theads) a été détournée par ses utilisateurs pour créer des vidéos TikTok (Casey Newton)

  • That’s when the company introduced a feature that automatically adds animated text captions to selfie videos taken inside the app.
  • One reason why Threads took off on TikTok is that the selfie messages bleep out many curse words, replacing them with #$%^&-style gobbledygook. It turns out that, if you are a teen, it’s very funny to see your mild curses imperfectly bleeped out by an algorithm.

👉 La Federal Trade Commission américaine cherche à démanteler Facebook. (Casey Newton)

  • The Federal Trade Commission voted to sue Facebook for illegally maintaining a monopoly in social networking, arguing it has used acquisitions and harsh restrictions on third-party developers to prevent competitors from ever gaining a foothold.
  • If successful it could force the company to divest itself of Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • The agency reproches to Facebook to have nipped the competition in the bud as well as the potential benefit for the consumers.

🏥 Santé

👉 Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, et leur approche de l’assurance santé (Fierce)

  • If they own the data (via their hardware), analytics (via their cloud software), and distribution (via their consumer platforms), insurers are at risk of being commoditized or disintermediated.
  • Amazon is working with Cigna to provide convenient healthcare access through its Alexa smart home devices. It also teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to integrate its PillPack offering into the insurer's member app.
  • Amazon already provides telemedicine, medication delivery and app-enabled house calls for its own employees. On top of this, in April 2020, Amazon sent a survey to its e-commerce sellers, of which there are 900,000 in the U.S. alone, asking about their current health insurance needs and pain points, according to CB Insights.
  • Apple smartwatch now measures the oxygen saturation of users' blood so they can better understand their overall fitness and wellness. ... The company is a flagship partner in John Hancock’s Vitality program and UnitedHealthcare's health plans.
  • In August, Google announced it was forming a subsidiary health insurance company called Coefficient Insurance. In partnership with Swiss Re, Verily plans to provide stop-loss insurance by leveraging its expertise in hardware, software and data science to offer a new data-driven solution for employers.
  • There is the potential for these companies to take more ambitious steps, such as becoming a licensed insurance broker. Amazon has already done this in India with Acko, the report said.
  • But the historical returns of the insurance industry are lower than the technology markets these companies primarily target, which makes it unlikely for tech giants to become direct competitors to insurance incumbents.


👉 L’importance du delight(Grow Fast, Now What?) : je parle expérience client avec Franck Sebag et EY !

DelighterJCS x EY

👉 Les JCNews parmi les meilleures newsletters tech d’Europe (Sifted) : et c’est grâce à vous. Merci !

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