162: Enabling Sales Success: Inside the SDR Academy Journey

Episode 162 October 19, 2023 00:47:21
162: Enabling Sales Success: Inside the SDR Academy Journey
B2B Revenue Acceleration
162: Enabling Sales Success: Inside the SDR Academy Journey

Oct 19 2023 | 00:47:21

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Show Notes

Special guest Lars Nilsson

 

While ongoing training is commonly acknowledged as essential for elevating sales teams, some businesses are raising the bar with the establishment of internal sales academies.

 

Get ready for this episode of B2B Revenue Acceleration, where Aurelien Mottier (Co-Founder and CEO at Operatix) sits down with Lars Nilsson (VP Global Sales Development at Snowflake). They explore the fascinating journey of the SDR Academy at Snowflake as Lars shares the inside story of how it's revolutionizing the sales world.

 

Lars and Aurelien explore the motivation behind creating the SDR Academy and how to aims to eliminate the challenges faced in the traditional SDR-to-AE transition. Discover the vital topics covered in the academy and the typical program duration, offering a sneak peek into how Snowflake is investing in its sales development.

 

Lars also imparts expert advice on designing effective sales academy programs, serving as a guiding light for companies aiming to implement their own. The conversation takes a deep dive into the strategies companies can employ to keep their SDR academy programs aligned with the ever-evolving sales landscape.

 

Discover how investing in a sales academy can elevate the success of your SDRs in this episode of the B2B Revenue Acceleration. 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: You're listening to B Two B, Revenue Acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. [00:00:11] Speaker B: Hi. Welcome to B. Two B. Revenue acceleration. My name is ORENIA Motier and I'm here today with Lars Nielsen, VP, Global Sales Development at Snowflake. How are you doing today, Lars? [00:00:23] Speaker C: I'm fired up, Aurelian. I can't wait. I've been looking forward to this. I'm very proud of the snowflake sales development academy. So thank you for giving me a. [00:00:33] Speaker D: Platform and an audience to talk about what we're doing. [00:00:36] Speaker B: I think you've developed something world class, and I can't wait to get into the details. As I was saying to you in the buildup acquisition of Operatics by Memory Blue, I'm actually in DC at the moment working with the local training and development team with the local managers, trying to understand what we're doing. So we are deep down that topic. So hopefully I can steal some of your ideas to make me sound a little bit smarter to that crowd this afternoon. [00:01:05] Speaker D: I hope so. [00:01:06] Speaker C: I've been a partner, a referral partner, an advisor partner to Memory Blue for going on ten years. [00:01:14] Speaker D: And I'm a huge fan of what. [00:01:17] Speaker C: That team has created and what they've built. [00:01:19] Speaker B: Yeah, the human capital development is a big one, and obviously, with the passion you've got in academies, it's probably something that is close to your heart as well. So I can understand that. Just before we get cracking, could you just tell us a little bit more about yourself, Lars, and your role? I mean, I think your role kind of speaks for itself, but what you've been doing at Snowflake for how long you've been there, share a few numbers of the people that have gone through your academy, and also great stuff, please. [00:01:47] Speaker C: Yeah. So, again, I run the global sales development function at Snowflake. We're close to 300 professionals, individual contributors, probably 270. We have at least 30 frontline sales development managers and six second line sales development directors. Also, a very key part of the organization is an organization dedicated to the onboarding enablement, training and operations function for. [00:02:16] Speaker D: The SDR team that is run by. [00:02:18] Speaker C: Travis Henry, which we'll talk more about because it's allowed us to operationalize and. [00:02:24] Speaker D: Create learning paths and the academy itself. [00:02:28] Speaker C: And we're responsible for somewhere between 60 and 70% of global pipeline for Snowflake. We also have become a very meaningful and important pipeline for talent into our sales organization. I think that's one thing that a lot of companies that have developed a sales development organization the right way realize becomes as, if not almost a more important function, is to create and grow and develop the talent that goes into carrying quota for Snowflake and taking down discrete quota. So we graduate close to 20 to 30 SDRs every quarter into other roles within Snowflake. [00:03:11] Speaker B: That's wonderful. And why did you all start with the academy. What was the pain or the issue or the spark of light that got you going with the academy? [00:03:22] Speaker C: Yeah, two real reasons. One is sales development reps. Typically, they come from two different paths. They're either younger in their career, and this is their first crack. It's an entry level role into sales, and they need to be trained how to sell. The other persona is someone who decidedly wants to change their career, right? They may be coming from the military, they may be coming from education. We have a lot of teachers, there may be former parents that were in sales or marketing earlier in their career, and they decided to do something very different. But they're coming back into the technology landscape and they want to develop themselves as sellers. [00:04:10] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:04:10] Speaker C: So the academy and again, these younger in their career people, these career changers, how to do selling today is as much about the science as it is about the art. When I went through my onboarding training at Xerox Corporation 39, almost 40 years ago, I got taught how to negotiate, how to close, how to present. There was a lot of art, there was a lot of kind of energy and creativity. I think what I've seen in the last ten years is how much science, how much revenue, technology, sales, technology, marketing, technology has come in to help sellers and marketers find the right people at the right companies at the right time. And so learning those tools and learning how to kick off those selling and marketing and prospecting motions for a person that's maybe never used them before takes time, it takes energy. And that is very much what the academy is all about. So we wrapped up an onboarding training that used to take two weeks, and we extended that by another two weeks. So the sales development academy consists of three pillars. The first one is this month long onboarding. So before you actually get to go and pick up the phone or start to write cold outbound emails, you go through this course, you go through this onboarding training, which is purpose built for these people. In other words, we're not putting an SDR into a sales onboarding training, marketing onboarding training. We're putting them into a training that is delivered by SDRs, SDR leaders, SDR influencers, and they're learning the day to day of their role, not someone else's. [00:05:56] Speaker B: That makes sense. And do you have different paths based on their background? You mentioned you would have potential parents coming back, teachers, you would have military, you mentioned. But then I would assert you also have maybe like a white canvas, someone who's never worked before, maybe a graduate coming on as well. So do you adapt that first month, or is it the same onboarding for everybody? [00:06:22] Speaker C: Yeah, no, good question. It's the same for everyone. I'm actually looking we don't necessarily want people that have done the job before. [00:06:30] Speaker B: Right. [00:06:30] Speaker C: We want a blank canvas. We want someone who has not developed these skills somewhere else because the ODS are they didn't get the right or the proper or what we believe is the professional way to develop a sales development rep. We want Raw. We're really looking for someone that we have what we call at Snowflake fire in the belly. They're a self starter, they're a self motivator. And while we probably could throw them into the deep end and let them see if they could get their way to the top, we give them not just the training, but we also give them a team. Right. They're going to end up going through the training and ending up on a team that has anywhere from six to ten individuals that are going to embrace them and become their buddies and show. [00:07:21] Speaker D: Them what really good looks like. [00:07:23] Speaker C: We're also going to give them a manager, a frontline, professionally developed SDR manager that has continued to care about them and continue their development and coaching and mentorship. So we don't want to leave much to chance. We're going to give them every opportunity to go through a learning path and then as they enter into and they graduate from the academy, there's other learning paths. So as they reach certain milestones in their career as an SDR and they decide they want to go down the path of a corporate account executive or they might want to go into marketing, maybe selling is not something that they. [00:08:03] Speaker D: Realize this after a year and a. [00:08:05] Speaker C: Half to two years in the role. And so we have other paths. We have one called Snow Track. We have another one called Snowbound and these are learning paths that then embolden and layer on other skill sets that they're going to need when they carry a quota. So negotiation, training, handling objections, things like that. [00:08:25] Speaker B: That's wonderful. It's maybe not your role, but I'm sure you will have an idea. It's probably more your talent team, but I'm always interested so we do the same. We don't like to recruit people who've seen the movie before. They may come with bad habits. They usually demand more money as well, which is less practical for us because we're middleman and every penny counts if our margin. So what are the characteristics that you look at for someone to onboard the academy? Because I always look at it as number one, you need to get the right talents in. Number two, you've got to make sure you give them all the tools, all the training to make them successful. And number three is kind of the reporting and all the tools that you get to understand what's happening. And it's more like the revenue ups type of things at the back end. But on that point, number one, what are the criteria that your talent team are looking for to bring new BDRs SDRs salespeople to the platform? [00:09:21] Speaker C: Yeah. So that's another kind of not a dirty little secret, but we don't have. [00:09:26] Speaker D: A talent team that we get to leverage. [00:09:29] Speaker B: Okay. [00:09:30] Speaker C: Snowflake. All of our inbound recruiting, outbound recruiting efforts are done by our organization. So SDR leaders, SDR directors, we're constantly and that is the main reason for the academy as well. It's not just but we've created a. [00:09:51] Speaker D: Microsite on our career section that's dedicated. [00:09:55] Speaker C: To sharing and educating people what the. [00:09:59] Speaker D: Academy is, and it's become a draw. [00:10:01] Speaker C: We now have twelve SDR centers around the world. In India. In Sydney. In Amsterdam? In London. In Denver. [00:10:09] Speaker B: Wow. [00:10:10] Speaker C: Now Toronto. And this is now becoming a thing at universities. Right. We are spending a little bit of money and whether it's indeed or handshake glassdoor, we're putting ads and promoting that. As an entry level seller, you can come to Snowflake, learn how to sell technology and potentially leverage commissions into lots. [00:10:34] Speaker D: Of money if you're money motivated. [00:10:36] Speaker C: So again, the brand that is Snowflake and the brand that is the Snowflake Sales Development Academy, we are using to. [00:10:45] Speaker D: Attract people to come in. [00:10:47] Speaker C: We're getting hundreds and if not thousands of inbound resumes every month that we can sift through. And it's the job of my frontline leaders to go through those and to screen. And we are exactly we're not looking for someone that's done this job before. [00:11:05] Speaker D: And maybe gotten laid off. [00:11:06] Speaker C: We want raw talent, people that feel in their heart that this is what they want to do. They've gone through. And again, if you've been through a layoff or you've been through a riff, you've been through maybe a failure, but you want to pull yourself back up and learn. Put these career tools in your bag. We're a great place. Whether you're 22 and just graduated or you're 53 and you're coming back from maybe a 35 year career in teaching K through eight middle school. We love teachers. [00:11:40] Speaker B: But in the screening process, are you looking for specific traits of characters? Like, for example, us? There are things that I think are based there are things that are kind of coded into you which are probably coming from your education. Like curiosity, coachability sometimes. I mean, people can become more coachable. Are you looking at things of that nature before someone comes in or you're really agnostic as well in term of the criteria of the people and you want to mix back? [00:12:10] Speaker C: I would say that we're looking for people that have decided that this is what they want. In other words, they're not just looking for a job. [00:12:18] Speaker D: People that I need a job, I. [00:12:20] Speaker C: Need to punch a card and I need to get paid so that I can go home and do whatever it is. We're looking for people that have already asked questions of others, gotten not just curious, but they're singularly focused, wanting to learn how to sell. [00:12:37] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:12:38] Speaker C: And what I'll say is, if we get an inbound and through the screening process and the interview process. They're interviewing with Amazon Web services. Maybe Databricks and maybe Salesforce.com and Snowflake. And when I ask them why those four companies, they will often say, well, I spent a lot of time talking to my mentors. I've spent a lot of time talking to others. And I know that I want to learn how to sell technology for a company that is selling a commodity, a. [00:13:09] Speaker D: Cloud data platform on CRM. [00:13:13] Speaker C: But they want to leverage. They want to learn how to sell technology. And they know that I don't want someone who's kicking the tires. [00:13:22] Speaker B: Absolutely. You want someone with the way I would put it is, and I used to be quite brutal about it. So when I was still interviewing, when we were like a 50 men company, I think every single recruit would still come to my office to speak to me, at least the last part. And I remember my technique was what I call it's a very terrible name. I call it the shit sandwich. So I'm going to tell you the reason why you should join us, because there is a real reason why you should join us. We can support you over one year, two years to work on two, three, four different technologies, okay? So you will learn from four different clients, their value proposition. You'll work with four different teams. You'll be interacting with four different systems, four different cultures. You're going to grow four times quicker than the guy who works for only one company. That's number one, okay? Number two is the fact that there is a career path. That's why I would say, look, here is a door. If you're just looking for a job, you're going to be found out. Because when times are tough, et cetera, et cetera, you probably give up and move on to the next one. So go now. If you're looking for a career and you are ready to push yourself to progress, and you're ambitious and you want to do more and you want to earn more and learn more, and you're ready to go through the pain because with growth come pain, then you're in the right place. And the beauty is that we have done that. So we have a very similar culture to Memory Blue in the sense that if you interview at Operatics or if you interview at Memory Blue, you probably speak to someone who's done the job, has been promoted two or three times already. And you look around, all the people come from the bottom. Okay? Everybody has been an SDR BDR, so the proof is in the pudding after. And I think that's a great environment to recruit people. Now, we have been working maybe we are probably, I'd say not maybe a year and a half, but maybe a year and a quarter into the Academy here at Operatics. I think the guys at Memory Blue have spent a little bit more time than us. They've got something that is a bit more sophisticated. What were the mistakes that you had at the beginning? What were the things that you got wrong when you started the academy that you've sold since? Anything that you would put forward for people who actually want to also build an academy for the ISDR and create that conveyor belt of talent? [00:15:37] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:15:38] Speaker D: I consider myself extremely fortunate because while I may have had the idea from my onboarding at Xerox 40 years ago, we have at snowflake visionary sea level executives. Whether it's Frank Slutman or Denise Pearson, my the person I report up into our CMO, they understand the power of building this kind of talent network and pipeline for the company. And so Denise, our CMO, became the executive sponsor right out of the gate. So I had access to not only her energy and her communication up and through the organization but I also had budget to spend to reach out and get agency help on branding. We actually developed a movie using SDRs globally to share in the excitement of what it means to become an SDR at Snowflake and go through. So it was relatively easy and I think a lot of people that have been through corporate life I've operated in two very large companies, HP and Xerox. When you get to a certain scale at a company you understand the importance of organizational development, organizational design and you have to provide opportunities for growth obstacle leadership within management and I had that opportunity at both Xerox and HP and when you provide opportunities for your employees to grow in their careers, you do create never. I went through both an onboarding training at Xerox and a management training at Xerox. I didn't do that ever again until I got to HP 20 years later. Fact of the matter is most high tech companies, the startup environment, the venture backed right it's all go go and it's all lean, lean, lean they just don't have the opportunity to build something like this and you have to get to a certain amount of scale. Of course in know, I'll just be blunt and say it right here none of this would have happened unless we had a role dedicated to SDR operations and training. So if you go into most organizations aurelian you'll know that the frontline sales development leader manager is the person that develops trains onboards awesome and again that. [00:18:14] Speaker C: Is doing that over and over and. [00:18:16] Speaker D: Over and over again in addition to recruiting and hiring and performance management it's a lot. The frontline SDR leader, in my opinion, is one of the hardest jobs in any company in or outside of sales. And so dedicating a role to the onboarding enablement and training of SDRs allows my managers to be as good as they are in hiring, allows them to be as good as they are in coaching and mentoring. And so to even get started, I think you have to be at a certain scale, 25 to 50 SDRs plus, and you have to have the resources to dedicate to this function that is SDR ops. [00:19:00] Speaker B: Yeah, 100% agree with you. I think the way we see it from where we have been before, where we see our clients, the way our clients consider training us their interpretation of training means when you work with a more agile startup is basically an onboarding they want to kick off with you, they want to give you three 4 hours of their time. They tell you about the ICP that they want to go after. So the company they want to go after, the people in this organization, the pain that they face, how to translate the very proposition in those pains. Get a meeting, poke a demo and off you go. Okay? And I think sales in particular is one of those interesting world where it's the polar opposite of an athlete. An athlete will probably train 90% of the time to perform 10%. We perform 90% of the time and we train 10%. We don't really go back to training and some because people think they are too good for training. So while we know that the basics may not be met sometimes so it's always an interesting situation. But I did pick on something that you mentioned about loyalty of the SDR within the company. That's a big one. And that must resonate with lots of people. Lars because, look, this is difficult to keep. SDRs BDRs again. When you've got the scale, it's easier because they'd be part of a group. Because we've got the scale of a company. Because you've got some tailwind when you are snowflake and you are growing like crazy. There is opportunities in the business. People feel part of something special that is growing at the pace of right. You are probably one in a thousand organization at snowflake. What about the other one that may be going at a 10th of the speed or in fact at the moment flattening a little bit? The curve and fighting for every single piece of revenue is much more difficult to get loyalty. So removing the scales you mentioned that the Academy really help with motivation and retention. I just would like you to dig a little bit more around. Is there any specific reason behind that? Is it because you've developed any specific learning paths or elements of the Academy that allow you to get the people to come back for some more? It'd be good to understand some of the techniques that you've used that have helped motivation and retention. [00:21:09] Speaker D: Well, I think frontline leadership is just as important to make sure that your frontline leaders, if they haven't been professionally developed before and let's face it, many SDR leaders, if they were SDR leaders at another company were likely SDR leaders at a smaller company and they got a battlefield promotion from an SDR. And if you ask 93% of most frontline SDR leaders they have never been through professional development. And so in addition to the Snowflake Sales Development Academy, the other thing that I have implemented at Snowflake is professional managerial leadership development by an expert external trainer. You may have heard the name Kevin Dorsey. Kevin Dorsey is currently right now going through my entire organization and I'm putting every front and second line leader through a leadership training course by Kevin Dorsey. And so not only do my SDRs get know have the badge of the academy as having been graduates from, but now our frontline leaders are learning key and core skills right down to how to create and pull off an effective one on one. How to deliver radical candor, how to create culture within your teams. Just things that a lot of frontline leaders, the only place they have to learn is from their previous manager, of course. And where did that previous manager learn how to pull off an effective professional one on one? Right? They didn't. They did it from their manager and then it just goes back all the way and you realize that in high tech, in venture backed B to B, there's just not a lot of us that have been through professional development and training. And I think when you're an individual contributor and you see what really good looks like on your leadership team and your frontline leader is aligned with your second line director, is aligned with your third line VP and they're all saying the same thing, you get a feeling of comfort that you are at the right place. Now Snowflake, we also happen to be working for a company that's still growing tremendously, right? We're one of the few technology companies that has not gone through a reduction in force. We're growing. I'm still hiring all over the know that resonates and we talk a lot about that on the team. And we're trying to create brand in the LinkedIn community, in the handshake community, in the Indeed community. Our doors are open for business here at Snowflake. Whether you're a career changer, you're a graduate or you're someone that wants to get into leadership and be developed as a frontline SDR leader. [00:24:01] Speaker B: That sounds good. And you mentioned quite a lot of things just to unpack a few skills that you mentioned about how to set up a culture. It's kind of the soft skill that we technically, normally don't teach managers. You get promoted as a manager, we give you a set of reporting, we give you a set of KPIs set of targets and off you go. But then having tough conversation is an interesting one. Emotional intelligence, listening to signals, striking that balance of radical candor respect. But being firm and all those things are very difficult for newly promoted manager. Particularly if you are newly promoted manager from your own band of browser and your own promotion because you've done extremely well. So you spend a month going through something with someone in the onboarding. Then you go off to do different roles in the business, and then you end up managing people that were your friends. You've got to adapt. And I agree with you. And for that what we've built on our side, I'd be curious to see what you've got. We actually built a scope of competencies where we assess people against all those competencies. Competencies that you should have for the role that you want to go for, which then allow us to appreciate the gap in competencies, which then allow us to tell our the training to the individual. Because that's another thing that we've seen in academies. We try different product and we made mistakes ourselves. And our first mistakes was, hey, one size fits all. Here is the training. Put it into the machine that's it done. But what we realized, we realized that actually what we need to do is to have a bit more of an individualized approach, a bit more of a repetitive approach, but without being repetitive. So yes, I was curious to understand, for those softer skills of managers, do you also build competency frameworks? How do you actually go about helping those people to progress? Because I'd love to also speak to you about the SDR to Ae progression or the SDR to manager of SDR promotion, which is always an interesting topic, because a good BDR, SDR may not be a good manager or a good Ae. So how do you mold them and make sure they've got the right competencies versus them doing it? Because they think it's actually the only path they've got? [00:26:08] Speaker D: Yeah, and that's the reason we invited Kevin Dorsey. And Kevin Dorsey just spent the last two years, you probably know, jocko at winning by Design. [00:26:17] Speaker C: Yes. [00:26:18] Speaker D: And that's where KD just came out of. And we are reaping the benefits of the methodologies and the frameworks of a program that he put together there. So that's one aspect of it. The other aspect is, and I believe this in my heart of hearts, SDRs, I believe, deserve to be together. In other words, we are not remote. We don't have SDRs scattered all over the world working from home. We have centers. We are a hybrid work environment. But three to four days a week, our SDRs are in an office with their peers and with their managers, and they are in a bullpen. And there's energy. There's a lot of energy. And when you have that environment, you can do contests, you can do spiffs, you can do challenges. The other thing that it allows for is we don't like in our Denver office, there's not one manager and ten reps. There's eight managers and 80 reps. We're at scale a lot of our centers. I happen to be in Bellevue, Washington. Right now. We're just onboarding our third manager here. Within the next year to two, we'll be five to ten managers and 50 to 100 SDRs here. Just are now opening up SDR centers in London and Toronto. And again, we'll never have just one manager and a small group of people. We're building for scale in certain parts of the world so that these people can be together, they can feel the energy. And really, when you're in a bullpen, when you're in an environment where there are many like you, there's a competitive spirit that is positive. It's a co op petition where we're about to launch our quarterly, yearly, but third quarter Avalanche Brachatology double elimination tournament. It lasts for six weeks. We pair a North American SDR with an EMEA based SDR, with an APJ based SDR. They all get to learn of each other. They all get to get to know each other and compete together from different. [00:28:25] Speaker C: Parts of the world. [00:28:26] Speaker D: And there's all these things that little by little, help create culture. I want my leaders to travel from office to office, and we do a lot of team building events. I myself travel all over the world making sure that my managers and my directors get leadership from myself. And I think that's an important thing. We at Snowflake are asking our employees to come back into the office. They need and want leadership. And so we're showing up for them. And you have to have fun aurelian in this job. We work our tails off. We ripping dials, and we are sending out personalized emails, all in an effort to build Snowflake one meeting at a time. [00:29:11] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:29:11] Speaker D: After a long day, sometimes you just need to blow some steam off with your colleagues down the road at the local watering hole, and that's fine. Or you go home and do whatever. [00:29:22] Speaker C: It is you do at home. [00:29:23] Speaker D: And that's fine, too. [00:29:24] Speaker B: Yeah, I agree with you. And then coming back to the SDR, two A you mentioned as one of the reason why you build up the platform to create that path of hey, this is a great source of talents for A's, because SDRs are difficult to find. A's are also difficult to find. Good ones are difficult to find. What challenges or gaps have you identified or identified in the traditional journey from SDR to Ae? [00:29:54] Speaker D: So the gap from SDR to account executive is very often too far. The distance is too far to graduate an SDR into a full blown account executive. And the good news at Snowflake, and again, we're at scale. We have what's called a corporate account executive team. In many other companies, they would call this an inside sales team. They are not going out and traveling all over their patches. It's a phone based sales role. But they carry discrete quota and they are selling Snowflake's full line or our cloud data platform. But they're just into smaller companies by revenue and by employee count. We've segmented strategic verticals enterprise, and we have this corporate account executive. Other companies may call that section commercial or SMB. We call it. Corporate. And these are often exciting, high growth companies. They're just not doing seven, eight, nine figure deals. And this is a great place for an enterprising SDR that has gone down the career path internally and hit the different milestones that we require and put themselves in the position to interview for the CAE role. At other companies where they don't have this, you may have to create an organization. At my last company I operated at Cloudera, this gap was too large, and so I created a renewals team in order to grow an SDR from just pounding dials and trying to qualify and prospect to working with account executives in closing deals, but in existing accounts. And so whatever your strategy is, if you don't create a path internally for your SDR, you're going to lose them. And after 18 to 24 months of training an SDR to do the job, to understand your company, your product, do yourself a favor and begin to think now what you can do to make sure that your SDRs have a place to go that can continue their education onboarding enablement so that they one day can carry a quota and close deals for you. Because that is where the force multiplier is. [00:32:15] Speaker B: Great. And could you highlight some of the challenges you faced during the setup of the SDI academy and how you overcame them? [00:32:23] Speaker D: I got to say, we didn't have too many. Everyone got it from the beginning. Everyone at Snowflake realized the importance investing in. [00:32:32] Speaker B: So let me rephrase that maybe last. So did you come with a blueprint already? Because okay, we spoke about Xerox, we spoke about HP, we spoke about Mean. Do you have a winning formula which showed you to kind of replicate some of the learning? So maybe I should rephrase my question, which is, but through your experience, what were the key items or IDs that help you to get it? So right? [00:32:58] Speaker D: So, I mean, we reached out across into field sales. We wanted to make sure we understood what did they want? What did Good look like on the corporate account executive side? So that we were enabling and training our reps at month twelve to 18 and 18 to 24. [00:33:17] Speaker C: So that when they finally differentiated themselves. [00:33:21] Speaker D: Enough to interview for that role, they could compete with externals. [00:33:26] Speaker B: Right. [00:33:26] Speaker D: Again, reaching out to the field to understand what is it you're looking for when you hire an external. We want to make sure that our SDRs have the same background. Maybe they haven't carried a quota before, but they're going to have a learning path in months 18 to 24 where they're going to learn from you and your managers. So that was a very important thing. The other thing is, at the time, I had at least 20 frontline and four second line leaders. We got together as a team and created We Brainstormed. What are we going to do? It was a fun project to put together because we had insights from managers that come from salesforce.com, they had come from Oracle. And again, those two companies alone probably have the most developed onboarding training for SDRs. Very few other technology companies have any of this. So we had inputs internally, we reached out externally, and then again, I had the experience of going through this myself, albeit 40 years ago, but I'll never forget it. Aurelian I can look back on the best frontline leader I've ever had in my career, and I've probably had ten to twelve. Bruce Roberts, my first manager ever, was still the best manager I've ever had. The team that I got hired into the culture that that team had still today was that team in Long Beach District in Xerox. I can look back and I can honestly tell you the best team I've ever been on, the best second line director I ever had. Diana Monroe, Long Beach District. And again, I got to see what truly great looked like right out of the gates. And what the Snowflake Sales Development Academy aims to do is to show these career changers and these young individuals coming out of college what truly great looks like. You hear of nightmare stories of people jail jumping and whether it's they're going for a title or they're going for better comp plan, and then they end up at a Series C company that peters out within a year. And now they have to go and change their career and their job and their company again and get into that game. It happens a lot. We often see resumes where people have been out for three years and they have five logos, and if you look at the logos or alien, there's no companies you and I have ever heard of. It's easier to get a job at a company that is throwing title, throwing OTE at you. I think it's much harder to go for a company that actually has a learning path, a development path, and that's we're trying to sell. We're trying to sell the importance of being proud of that logo, that first logo that you have. I can tell you today that if you're ten years either older or younger than I am, when people realize that I came out of Xerox Corporation in the mid 80s, they all look at me and they're like, dude, Lars, you were at Xerox in the dad was there or I went through that training. It still carries today, 40 years later, a brand that people understand, know and respect. That is what we're trying to do. We want to be the Xerox of sales training today in tech. We want to be the Harvard right, the Berkeley of sales training in high tech. And it's having an effect because we're getting unsolicited inbound to the tune of thousands of resumes and inquiries into our roles around the world. [00:37:05] Speaker B: Yeah, it's beautiful. Yeah. But look, the Xerox training, so many times I've not been trained myself, but I've had the chance to rub shoulders with managers that have been going through this training. And I remember one of my first time going on the field to sell something to someone, obviously, who are selling professional services. And I'm sitting there with that sales guy who was at Xerox and he said, look around you. Did you look at the car in the parking lots? Do they have plans in the lobby where we're waiting? Go and ask the receptionist if she ordered the plants or if they've got the company. Do they outsource those things? Try to get some signals there. You get that everything is analyzed, everything is seen, and the way people dress and what they do and who you're meeting. And it's fascinating who actually at Xerox put the training together. Is there like some resources that can be read from our audience about actually what happened there, the methodology that they use and everything? Do you know of any? [00:37:58] Speaker D: Yeah, I mean, you can Google it. We were big fans of both solution selling and again, my mean, our onboarding at Snowflake is a month, but it's purpose built for the SDR, not anyone else. [00:38:15] Speaker B: Right. [00:38:16] Speaker D: We've got people like Beck Holland, who we've taken her materials from, flip the script. We have Ralph barSee as a team mentor. We have Morgan Ingram that has been invited to our global all hands as inspiration partner Kevin Dorsey. [00:38:33] Speaker C: Right? [00:38:33] Speaker D: Josh Braun is one of the most globally renowned cold call training experts. We have contracted with him and for the last year and a half, he's the one who delivers our cold call training. So we use internal resources, we spend money on external experts to do this. And when they graduate and they go to their teams, it doesn't take them two, three, four months to get to full productivity. We have SDRs that hit their quota in their first month. Even in their first week. [00:39:08] Speaker C: Right. [00:39:09] Speaker D: They are ready to go. They have everything they need after that month and they know how to do their job and they're not afraid. Maybe the very first cold call back in the office, in the bullpen, where they may not want everyone to hear them. So they may go into a room for a couple of weeks, but eventually they all get very comfortable because they've been through this training, they know exactly what to do and they ramp oftentimes in the first month. And that is a metric that resonates with the people running our company. [00:39:41] Speaker B: Cool. And in term of your roadmap, are you envisioning anything interesting that you can share with us from the future? Like, everybody speak about AI, everybody speak about that chat GPT, everybody speak about all those things. So how are you going to adapt to all those things? You look like your body language is telling me that you like the question. [00:40:01] Speaker D: Well, this may be where you and I can mark anye can partner. So we've developed the academy for snowflakes who go through the process. [00:40:11] Speaker C: But if you remember Xerox Corporation in. [00:40:14] Speaker D: The they white label their training. They allowed other corporate executives and corporate sales teams to go through their training. So my vision is to open this up one day. Now this is what you do. This is what Mark and team at Memory Blue does. And I've been using Memory blue most of my career. I don't know if you knew that, but I have. I've been hiring Memory Blue trained SDRs for over ten years all over the country. Not that this was supposed to be a plug for what you guys do, but there are so many young startups that don't have the expertise in house. They don't know how to hire a frontline SDR leader that knows how to put together the tech, stack the playbook in that. And again, I advise a lot of young startups, I tell them all to call Mark and get a Memory Blue SDR or two or three and try for six to twelve months because they're fully formed SDRs that have been through your apprenticeship and training and they're ready to go. And guess what? [00:41:20] Speaker B: You also 100% it's just easier to learn and to develop with a benz of browser versus being one guy, two guy working from home as well. I think this is on the psychological perspective, all the things that you mentioned about the bullpen having the guys in the office that sort of work out, play out mentality. Okay, we'll have a great day, we do some competition, we will have a little bit of a laugh and then you know what, everybody go for a nice beer. After that we're going to relax a little bit together, we're going to socialize with the managers, we're going to get to know each other. There is something quite interesting with a different group. They almost move in groups. So I came here this week at Memory Blue in DC. And there was like a new crew that came know, when they're brand new, wearing their oh, there's good energy, a little bit of know, they just come in, they don't really know what to do. And then they get trained and then you see them going on the phone and they are starting now they're starting we're talking about a week later. They're starting to do mockup call with each other and things like that. God, there is nothing that can beat that. I think it's a great way to learn. [00:42:30] Speaker D: It's a beautiful thing. I could not agree more. [00:42:34] Speaker B: Your plan for the future is actually to make your academy available to SDR BDR on demand. Also SDR BDR that would want to potentially look at the path of becoming an A. So you will be providing your material. That's brilliant. [00:42:52] Speaker D: Well, it's an idea, it's a vision. I've started to plant seeds, but again, we're trying to do something extraordinary at Snowflake. [00:43:02] Speaker B: I like that. [00:43:03] Speaker D: We just announced our quarterly earnings yesterday and I think we're an 8000 person company. I think we're a 5 billion arr revenue company. We have goals to become a $10 billion company in the next three to four years. [00:43:19] Speaker B: Wow. [00:43:19] Speaker D: And how do we do that? We do that by creating brand. The kind of brand that Xerox and IBM did in the kind of brand that Oracle and did in the kind of brand that salesforce did in the 2000s. We have that opportunity. We are on the move, right. We're too expensive for anyone to buy. So I think Snowflake becomes the next enterprise class software company that did what no one thought that salesforce.com can do and become close to 100 billion dollar company. One day. We have that opportunity and I want to help them do it. And I think that if we start branding, starting your career, because when I got out of UC Santa Barbara in the late eighty s, the two companies. [00:44:05] Speaker C: That were relevant for someone like me. [00:44:08] Speaker D: To learn how to sell was IBM and Xerox. And they were the two global brands. And I wanted one or the other. And I just made sure I got both, that I had choice. And I want people starting last year, this year, the next 1020 years, to think of Snowflake as the place to start your career. And if we open that up and again, I would follow in the path of people like in companies like Memory Blue, Vendition, like SV Academy, they're all doing versions of taking younger people and training them in a craft. [00:44:42] Speaker B: I think the culture that you've got of you developing where you're going is pretty much fully aligned with what operatics Memory Blue do at like, I can feel a triangle of love. I'm with Mark. I was with Mark literally an hour ago. I'm with Mark probably for lunch later. I'm with Mark this evening. I'm with Mark until the end of the week. [00:45:03] Speaker C: Give him a bear hug from Lars. [00:45:05] Speaker B: I'm going to do that. I'm going to do that. And look, if you ever need to look at guinea pigs to try your model, to try your training, to put people through as you are bringing it to the outside, I think we'd love to collaborate with you on that. We'd love to give it a go. Always open for new stuff. And you guys clearly are onto something. You clearly have the right people, the right brain around it. It's working and that's brilliant. So if we can help in any way, shape or form, we make sure that we're on your list to call if and when you are ready. We can give it a go and feedback to you on what we're saying we're still figuring out on our side. For me, it's one of those things that you never stop building. You never stop building the academy. There is always something new that can happen. It's always a new course that should happen. And if you stop building it, then you will probably slowly but surely die. So you always need to make it exciting with new stuff so people go back to it and get excited. But look, Laos, thank you so much for sharing your insight today and thank you so much for your time. If there is anyone else that would like to get in touch with you, or if there could be some candidates that are listening to this and they got I want to join Snowflake. Whoever wants to get in touch with you, what's the best way to get hold of you? Lars? [00:46:17] Speaker D: For any question on LinkedIn. Lars Nilson. N-I-L-S-O-N. Lars [email protected]. If you go to Snowflake Careers and just put in sales development, you'll see all of the roles, both individual contributor and frontline and second line leadership. We have twelve centers around the world. We're open for business and we're hiring everywhere. And if this hopefully gets put out there, feel free to put my contact information, but I would say LinkedIn is probably the easiest and the fastest. [00:46:50] Speaker B: Yeah, we'll probably tag you on that so people will find you. I mean, you're not that difficult to find. I think you're quite known as well. So I'm sure people will find you. Hey look, Lars, it was an absolute pleasure to have you on the show today. So thanks again and have fantastic day. [00:47:08] Speaker A: You've been listening to B two B revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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