Hunters and Unicorns shares the playbooks from leaders, founders, executives and investors from high growth technology companies.
In this special edition series The 33 CXOs we investigate the greatest success story in the history of software sales. Discover how thirty-three sales execs from one organisation, BladeLogic, became CXOs in the world’s 100 fastest growing technology companies. We uncover the stories and playbooks of the most prolific sales leaders in the industry.
( https://www.somuchsoap.com/the-33-cxos )
Hunters + Unicorns | The Founders Edition - Pavel Dolezal #004
Pavel Dolezal, CEO and co-founder of Keboola. Our anticipation is high to learn more about the remarkable initiatives they are pursuing. Pavel’s story is quite unique; although many companies typically originate from the West Coast or places like Tel Aviv, Kaboola’s roots trace back to Eastern Europe. Join us as we delve into the beginnings and shed light on the evolving market dynamics, highlighting the emergence of companies like Keboola from that particular region.
Hunters + Unicorns | The Playbook Universe - Olli Krebs #0013
🎙️ Insights from Olli Krebs: Navigating 30 Years in Sales 🌟
In our latest Playbook Universe episode, we had the privilege of speaking with Olli Krebs, a sales veteran with three decades of experience. During this time, he achieved notable milestones including 15 President's Club recognitions, involvement in five acquisitions, participation in one IPO, and membership in two Chairman's Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) circles. Notably, Olli was an integral part of the initial Blade Logic crew and was among the earliest hires in the European market.
Here are some key takeaways from this enlightening conversation:
1️. European Expansion: European software and SaaS companies are making waves in the US market, challenging Silicon Valley's dominance. Innovation hubs are emerging across Europe, fostering tech growth.
2. Value of European Investors: European investors offer guidance and experience, beyond capital, to startups.
3. Cultural Adaptability: Sales strategies vary due to cultural differences, emphasizing adaptability and understanding local markets.
4. Sales Training: Sales training should emphasize mastering the craft and understanding the company's ethos.
5. Managerial Transition: Transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager requires a delicate balance of relationships and authority. It's complex, requiring guidance and coaching to lead effectively.
6. Understanding 'Why': Emphasize understanding the 'why' behind methodologies, focusing on collaboration and individuality.
7. Sales Fundamentals: People buy from people; honesty and integrity are paramount in sales. Align with customer needs, provide solutions, and build strong relationships.
8. Key Traits: Confidence and adaptability are vital for sales professionals, especially in dynamic markets like cryptocurrency.
Olli's wisdom underscores, that sales, at its core, is about understanding customer needs, offering solutions, and building lasting connections. It's a journey of evolution, from traditional relationship-focused sales to a consultative approach, especially for enterprise solutions. Success lies in embracing change, upholding ethics, and embodying confidence. Thank you, Olli, for these invaluable insights! 🚀 #SalesLeadership #BusinessInsights #HuntersAndUnicorns
Hunters + Unicorns | The Founders Edition - Anant Bhardwaj #003
The Hunters and Unicorns session with Anant Bhardwaj, Founder and CEO of Instabase unveiled an extraordinary journey, starting from humble beginnings to becoming the visionary founder of a groundbreaking AI company, Instabase.
The emphasis on developing applications around real-world use cases struck a chord, highlighting the need to identify broader relevance beyond a specific scenario for achieving impactful market fit.
1. Early Life and Education: Grew up in a rural part of India called Nalanda, Bihar, without modern amenities. Initially struggled adjusting to a city environment due to a shift in language and educational medium to English.
2. Career Aspirations: Initially wanted to join the Army like family members but was rejected due to colour blindness. Had an interest in literature, poetry, and writing but was discouraged from pursuing it as a career.
3. Academic Journey: Accidentally got into computer science during college in India and discovered a passion for programming. Moved to the US for a master's at Stanford but felt pressure to start a company during this time. Pursued research projects at MIT, one of which was Data Hub, exploring abstracting complex data for diverse applications. Faced challenges with visa status and legal issues but was supported by MIT during this period.
4. Formation of Databricks: Founded Databricks without a clear commercial application but had an academic focus initially. Initially targeted academia, providing free products to professors and students at various universities.
5. Discovery of Commercial Use: Identified a commercial use case with companies like Zenefits and Lending Club needing data extraction from diverse sources like PDFs and images.
6. Product Development and Market Fit: Iterated the product based on market needs and feedback, eventually finding a product-market fit in data extraction and analysis for various industries. Emphasized a fearless and experimental approach to adapt to new opportunities and discover viable product uses.
7. Key Advice from Martin Casado: "Use cases precede the product; product precedes the platform; platform precedes the ecosystem." Don't build a product without understanding the use case it solves. Don't build a platform without a real product. A platform allows value creation by someone other than the creator.
8. Discovery of Product-Market Fit: Understand the key drivers and drags for customers; drivers are critical to why they buy. Find the one or two core drivers that make customers want to buy your product. Prioritize features that cater to these key drivers and address critical pain points.
9. Approach to Product Development: Engage in parallel experimentation to find both the use cases and the right product. Engage early customers to help validate and define the product, ensuring it addresses their needs. Focus on problems applicable across a wide range of industries to have a broad market impact.
10. Building a Platform: Allow customers to create value by building their own apps on your platform. Separate the product from custom services and prioritize building a scalable product. Be open to iterating and adjusting the product based on customer feedback and use cases.
11. Ecosystem Building: Move towards creating an ecosystem by enabling third-party developers to build on the platform. Aim for apps built by one entity to be usable and valuable for another, promoting a broader ecosystem.
12. Early Growth and Funding: Achieved significant growth from $250k to $5 million in a year, gaining investor interest. Raised funding at a $1 billion valuation in 2019 due to perceived strong product-market fit.
13. Challenges in Scaling Sales: Initially, sales were handled by the founder, but transitioning to a sales team required careful planning. Incorrect hiring and lack of understanding of sales dynamics led to a wasted year in scaling sales.
14. Building an Effective Sales Team: Hiring salespeople requires careful con
Hunters + Unicorns | The Founders Edition - Jeremy Burton EP002
Welcome to Episode 2 of Hunters and Unicorns: The Founders Edition.
Navigating the Fierce Terrain of Competitive Markets. Join us as we dive deep into the world of disrupting highly competitive markets with Jeremy Burton, the dynamic CEO of Observe Inc., a pioneering startup backed by Sutter Hill Ventures that's reshaping the Observability landscape. Jeremy joined at the inception of Observe Inc., under the mentorship of industry luminary Mike Speiser.
Observe Inc. embarks on a formidable mission: challenging established giants in the SaaS arena.
In this episode, we explore:
🚀 Strategies for Disrupting Established Markets
🛠️ Prioritizing Product Development for Mass Appeal
🌟 Winning Customers Before Your Product is Fully Cooked
🤝 The Interplay Between Sales and Marketing, plus Making Your First Marketing Hire
Jeremy Burton, a celebrated executive once hailed by Forbes as one of the world's leading CMOs, brings a wealth of experience. His illustrious career includes roles such as "Entrepreneur In Residence" at Sutter Hill Ventures, CMO at Dell Technologies, President at EMC, President + CEO at Serena Software, and Group President at Symantec. Jeremy also lends his expertise as a board member at Snowflake and serves on the Advisory Board for the McLaren Group.
Get ready to unravel the technology-value conundrum and discover how a seasoned campaigner successfully transitions to embrace the founder's grind. Jeremy answers these burning questions and more in this exhilarating episode, brought to you by Hunters and Unicorns as part of The Founders Edition. Don't miss out!
Hunters and Unicorns | The Founders Edition - Jyoti Bansal EP001
Welcome to Hunters and Unicorns: The Founders Edition.
Today we welcome Jyoti Bansal!
Key takeaways from this episode are:
- How AppDynamics became the industry blueprint for sales execution best practice.
- The relationship between Product Market Fit and Sales Motion.
- Appointing the right advisors at the right times is imperative for scalability.
- Understanding the evolution of the sales process as you approach $10m in sales.
Jyoti Bansal is a multi-unicorn founder, currently the founder and CEO of two high-growth technology companies: Harness and Traceable AI. In addition to running Harness and Traceable, Jyoti is highly involved in developing the next generation of technology companies through mentorship and investment.
In 2017 he launched BIG Labs and in 2018 co-founded VC firm Unusual Ventures with John Vrionis. The firm currently has more than $1 billion under management. Jyoti shares his incredible journey with us. His passion for the highest calibre of sales execution is profound and he reflects on the lessons he’s learned from his own advisors – industry titans; Dev Ittycheria, John McMahon, Dali Rajic, Jeremy Duggan and Joe Sexton.
Jyoti candidly opens up about his own awakening regarding giving sales the same parity as product strength. He also delves into why slowing down in order to forecast correctly is crucial to onward success and cadence. In this episode, Jyoti discusses:
- How the Business Value Assessment was a game changer for AppDynamics
- How to stimulate customer affinity - The importance and limitations of founder lead sales
- Why Business Value Realisation is the true metric for sustained success
- When to adopt a top-down sales approach vs down-top, vs the “sandwich” strategy
This podcast is full to the brim of insight, honesty and undeniable tenacity. How do you identify a good seller? When’s the right time to appoint a CRO? Is the rolodex enough anymore for a salesperson?
Jyoti answers these questions and many many more in the first edition of The Founders Edition, bought to you by Hunters and Unicorns. Don’t miss it!!
Hunters and Unicorns | The Playbook Universe - Dan Miller #012
Welcome to Hunters and Unicorns: The Playbook Universe. Today we welcome Dan Miller! Key takeaways from this episode are: • What it took to close a deal worth just short of $100m • Why he never missed his number • Why allies and mentors in GTM community are essential Dan Miller is a GTM Advisor at Loft Lab sand Observable, focusing on revenue strategies. In this Hunters and Unicorns podcast, Dan reflects on his career-defining moments at prestigious companies such as Splunk, Nimble Storage, Sumo Logic and SignalFX. He shares his experience when transitioning from an IC to a Leadership role and the challenges he faced. Dan is a force of nature within the playbook space. His list of achievements is extensive and includes; • Exceeding 100% every year • Closed the larges deal in Splunk’s history • Exposed to the playbooks of both John McMahon and Mark Cranny We loved understanding more from Dan about identifying early-stage companies and the right strategies needed for implementation. How can champions really be identified consistently? What are the real impactful metrics when it comes to sales? Dan shares with us his insight pertaining to sales as a science as opposed to an art. He also shares the inspirational story of Mark Cranney and his journey including competing with the Bladelogic team at Opsware and driving a $1.6 billion sale to HP. Dan gives us real insight to the SignalFX story! This episode is not to be missed!
What a lousy podcast
This podcast claims to discuss the greats from the John McMahon leadership clan. That may be true but it is unimaginative.
I worked for John at PTC. Most of the people interviewed joined PTC after the dominance of PTC was established. They built on the successes of PTC that were established after ProEngineer was known as the absolutely best product on the market in which case it was all about cleaning up the laggards as opposed to having true sales skill by selling a product that was very good but didn’t have a full set of features where a lot of strong sales skill was required.
The two episodes I listened to discuss people that the average listener will never know and has no appreciation for. Very little effort to discuss lessons learned and best practices.
Read John McMahon’s book (which is awesome) but skip this podcast. There are much better ways to spend your hour than to listen this self-grandizing ramble.