BC Startup Sales Podcast – Scaling Sales Teams Quickly As You Go Global with Rich Liu (TripActions)
This week Rich Liu, the Chief Revenue Officer of TripActions, joined us to discuss scaling sales teams quickly as you go global. In prior podcasts, we’ve discussed how to scale CS and Marketing functions. This is our first look into scaling a sales function. We discussed the importance of having the right reasons to scale a sales team, the most common challenges and emphasis on culture. Rich studied engineering and has held several sales positions at Fisher Investments, Facebook and at Mulesoft. He is passionate about building companies that he thinks are special and whose products impact its own employees. TripActions is capitalizing on a huge market opportunity whereby it simplifies all the steps in corporate travel and offers an inventory of products on its platform.
First, we delved into scaling sales teams globally and the importance of doing it for the right reasons. Expanding beyond HQ isn’t always necessary, especially if you can sell the product and connect with customers remotely. Next, he stressed the importance of having the right leadership team that is growth-oriented and able to execute. Don’t just find the most senior salesperson, find the one who is the right fit for the scale and stage of your firm. A three-pronged approach to recruiting can be crucial. Leverage your investors, your team and outside agencies all at once to find the best cultural fit. Further, transferring a salesperson from HQ, in addition to hiring a local leader, can be key to scale rapidly with the depth of their local network and market knowledge. Lastly, Rich discussed the significance of creating a consistent culture across different offices so everyone is aligned with the company’s mission and operating model. He emphasized weekly team building discussions, focusing on employees and giving them the autonomy to scale the business as crucial to the success of a fast-growing startup.
As Chief Revenue Officer for TripActions, Rich Liu oversees the company’s field teams including sales, customer success and business development teams. Prior to TripActions, Rich was the Vice President of Global Corporate Sales at MuleSoft, building and leading the business unit through 4X bookings growth, an IPO, and a $6.5B acquisition by Salesforce. Prior to that, he held various leadership roles at Facebook, where he led the redesign of Facebook’s ad sales organization and oversaw a $400M ARR business responsible for marketing partnerships across several industries. Prior to Facebook, Rich led sales and operations teams at Fisher Investments, a leading investment management company, where he oversaw the acquisition of over $1 billion in new assets annually. Rich started his career as an engineer and has held research positions at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Genzyme (now Sanofi). He earned his degree in biomedical engineering from Yale University. Rich lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two daughters.
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