We were back again this week for another episode of the Bowery Capital Startup Sales Podcast and brought on our friend Phil Harrell to talk through sales productivity. This topic comes up frequently within the early stage SaaS ecosystem and being effective at sales productivity usually means the difference between a good SaaS company and a great one. Phil is probably one of the best practitioners and advisers on the topic having spent the bulk of his career in senior sales roles and now working at Forrester to help Chief Sales Officers with the sales productivity problem. We hope you enjoy the episode and special thanks to Ryan Mettee (who was also a prior guest on the show) for making the introduction to Phil.
Phil Harrell is an industry thought leader in sales and marketing with more than 20 years of experience building and leading high-performance b-to-b sales teams worldwide. Before joining Forrester (fka SiriusDecisions), Phil was vice president of sales at HubSpot, a SaaS provider of inbound marketing and sales solutions, where he was responsible for building the mid-market and enterprise businesses. He also spent almost 10 years at cloud services provider Akamai Technologies in multiple leadership roles, including vice president of sales, vice president of application performance solutions and vice president of channel sales. Phil was a key contributor to Akamai’s growth from a pre-revenue start-up to nearly $1 billion in revenue by leading sales teams to consistent overperformance, heading up the company’s entry into online video streaming and developing the company’s worldwide application performance solutions business. Phil began his high-tech sales career at Pegasystems and also worked as chief revenue officer at Firecracker and vice president of sales at Kaminario. He has been an active angel investor for the past 15 years and serves on the boards of directors of Read to a Child, an education nonprofit, and Viddler, an online video company. Phil holds a BA in public policy and Slavic languages from Duke University and is a graduate of MIT Sloan School’s Greater Boston Executive Program.
In this episode, we start pretty general and give definitions to help listeners understand sales productivity at a high level. We cover some of the basic concepts, the metrics, and how this gets set up and grows within companies. We then dig in around when to set up a sales productivity function and when makes no sense to do this. We also cover why companies tend to think about sales productivity when it is too late and how to instill this into the culture of the organization from the beginning. Phil then talks through a lot of the quantitative around instrumenting a successful sales productivity function. This is so important as developing a true sales machine really requires understanding all the data and inputs. Phil shares some of his research from Forrester on successful CROs and what they do from a sales productivity standpoint. We cover a lot of ground and I won’t give it all away here but it was a great episode full of tips and tricks for listeners.
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