May 17, 2023

Episode 273: Adam Baker, Co-founder & CEO of

Adam Baker is the founder of 3 SaaS companies with 2 exits and $20M ARR, bootstrapped. He has also held sales leadership roles at Salesforce and Intuit.

Adam is the CEO of, software giving sales teams a process to align with their buying teams and win more of the deals they work on.

Julian: Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today I have Adam Baker, co-founder and CEO of, a software givingsales teams a process to align with their buying teams and win more of thedeals they work on. Adam, thank you so much for joining the show. I'm soexcited.

Not only. As a,seasoned founders yourself, kind of the experience that you've shared the wayand, and what you've learned from that, and to uncover and share that with ouraudience. But also, this particular interesting ecosystem around sales haschanged a lot, especially as companies, sales teams and budgets are, are, are,constricting.

And it'sinteresting how, companies like yourself are cr making more efficient, creativeand, and actually, hire converting waves for sales teams to actually win andengage. So, Curious to hear about how you're, able to do that at DOPA or dpa,excuse me. But before we get into all that good stuff, what were you doingbefore you started the company?

Adam:Yeah, hi Julian. Good to be here. So I, I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've this ismy third software company that I've found. And my, my background is, is prettymuch in sales, in software sales. Yeah, and I, I, I started out at Intuit. I'vebeen a VP of sales at Salesforce. I've been the chief sales officer of.

Three 70 millionARS SAS companies. And sandwiched in between that experience I've founded threesoftware businesses.  

Julian:It's so fascinating. Thinking about the evolution of, of what you've seen softwarebecome being like the hyperscale hyper growth sell at all costs, SaaS modelsversus now, and describe the transition in are how are companies kind ofrealigning their sales goals and how has it changed since you've been in andand what's particular different about now?

Adam:Yeah, I think, well, I mean, in lots of ways, right? I think software hasbecome a lot more advanced. I mean it's, it's now software as a service,whereas, right. I guess if you go back 20 years it wasn't as a service. Yeah.And, and, and so, it certainly software wasn't as ubiquitous as it is today.

If you, if youthink about every department of every company they use software of somedescription. Yeah. That, that definitely can't be said. 20 years ago. And whatthat's done is that it's done a couple of things. I think it's crea obviouslyit's created more demand, but it's created more competition.

So, it, it'stougher to sell software these days than it ever has been. Yeah, I also thinkthat buyers of software are a lot more sophisticated than they've ever been,and they've got more choice, which has forced them into kind of building outvery specific intentional evaluation.

Frameworks. Yeah.If, if I'm buying software for a, I dunno, a hundred k plus, maybe even lessthan that 50 K plus, yeah. I'm not just gonna talk to one vendor. I'm gonna, asa buyer, I'm gonna talk to three or four, maybe five vendors to kind of figureout who's got the best solution from why to solve my problem.

Does it integrateinto the, the kind of workflows that, that I need it to? If I'm gonna do thatas a buyer, I really need to make sure that I'm almost a professional buyernow. I'm not an ad hoc buyer, and so that for a salesperson, Adds a lot ofcomplexity to the process. Mm-hmm. And now got it's multi-threaded.

It's very, veryrare that your, your sell software today to a single buyer. There's usually abuying committee, a team of influencers, people that will come in. Verysporadically, only maybe once. But you've gotta find them and you've gottaengage them. You've, they've got to become an advocate.

And if they're notyeah. Or if they prefer the competition for whatever reason, that influencecould sway a, an ultimate decision. So I, I think that software generally hasbecome, yeah. A lot more sophisticated on both sides.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. And one thing that also comes to mind too, in, in terms of theevolution of it is, is this relationship between, the, the, the technology andwhat it means for business outcomes and how that's really changed in terms ofthe impact I think software has on, companies, corporations, even obviouslypeople.

One thing I workedat an independent pharmacy and we, we changed system POS system so many timesthrough, but there was less kind of, And, and, and as we kept changing, therewas more impact on the business as something became, better or moresophisticated, how's that relationship between companies and, and softwarechanged in terms of their reliance on how much that impacts their actualbusiness decisions?

Have you seen achange at that? Or, or is, is it the same relationship?  

Adam:Oh yeah, no, for sure. I, I think, everything comes from from, I, I guesslearning, right? So we've seen how software has made. Teams, people,organizations are a lot more efficient. They can move a lot faster. They can doa lot more with less.

And once you startto see that, and, and that took some time because initially software wasclassed as a, as a, as a kind of a, a CapEx investment. Yeah. And it was like,well, we're really gonna spend this much on software. And now it's like we haveto spend this much on software because, we are gonna get left behind.

We can't move asquickly as, as our competitors, or we can't do what we need to do in the shortspace of time. Look, I mean, particularly for. For software companies, thepressures on them are pretty unique, right? Mm-hmm. You've, you've gotta showthe kind of the J curve, the hockey stick.

If you are VC or PEbacked, you've got a two x three x revenue yeah, you've got some fairly, highdemands that you've gotta meet. You've gotta move quickly and you need othersoftware to better do it. And so, excuse me. And so I think that just from the,the, the, the fact that people have seen how software has been able to helpinnovate, me being able to help organizations move so much faster, become muchmore efficient.

Yeah. Everybody nowhas software and, and it seems ridiculous saying that because obviously it'sobvious that that's what software does now, but if you went back 20 years, itdefinitely wasn't.  

Julian:Yeah. And where do you sit in terms of how sales has changed? Are you in thecamp that the, the, maybe the, the players and the variables maybe havechanged, but the mechanics of sales is the same?

Or is it a wholedifferent landscape? Are we selling it a different way using differentstrategies, tactics? Where are you, what camp are you in? Are, are you sayingyou know it's the same kind of same ship but you know, different crew or is ita completely different ship?  

Adam:It's an interesting question. And if I'm honest, I'm gonna give you a prettyvague initial answer in that cause I'm on the fence with it.

Cause I think it isthe same. Right. There's a lot of things that we've all done for many, many,many years that we continue to do. What's what has definitely happened thoughis, and e and look, sales is continually maturing. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And, anditerating. And as a salesperson, you have to, you have to iterate as well.

And I, I think thateven since Covid, when everybody was locked down, pre covid, these bigenterprise deals would get done through relationships. You'd take, a customerout for. A nice dinner or whatever. Yeah. Right. Or you'd go into an office andyou'd sit in front of a committee of people.

Nowadays it'sstarting to happen again, so you can, it's likely that that could happen now,but it's also very likely that most of the interactions you have are gonna beremote. Yeah. And, and that really, that really changes the game as to how yousell, right? Yeah. So that's the first thing I think.

Secondly, I thinkthat the kind of theora of tools that you've now got at your disposal softwarethat you've got at your disposal to be able to do anything at scale. So I can,I can prospect at scale I can outreach at scale. I can. I can write, I can nowhave my sales copy written by Chat bp, chat gbt.

There's a, there'sa ton of things I can, can do now. It means that as a salesperson, I need to beable to keep pace with, technology and software and the capabilities. That aregonna enable me to be a better salesperson, more successful salesperson. Yeah.And I think the third element is just how you how you interact and engage withyour buyers.

So as I saidearlier, buyers are a lot more sophisticated than they ever have been. And soyou now need to think really carefully about. How you personalize youroutreach. Mm-hmm. Because buyers now get emails with dozens of emails a dayfrom, from SDRs and people reaching out to them, how are you gonna stand outfrom that noise?

Go back five yearsas an sdr. You didn't need to really think intentionally about how you're gonnago and, and, and get a share of voice from that buyer, because I didn't have.These dozens and dozens of touchpoints that all these sellers are trying tokind of reach them on. Yeah. And, and it makes it much more difficult forsalespeople to become effective.

If you think aboutif, if you, you think about discovery, right? It's a term that really has onlybeen coined in the last five years in, in sales, right? But actuallysalespeople have been going on discoveries since they've, since the day sellwas, was, originated, originated right?

But because this,the whole, the discovery piece is now so big. There's a process to it. It's it,there's a science, right? It's, it's about finding the pain. It's about how doyou help the buyer uncover it? How do you discover that? How do you align yoursolution to solve that pain? And it's not about selling anymore.

Selling is notabout sales. It's a, it's about educating the buyer. It's about taking thebuyer on a journey. It's, it's about. It's about showing that buyer what theworld could look like. Not necessarily just with your solution, but what theworld could look like and educating them and bringing them in that way, andthen aligning your software to part of that world.

Right. And, andthat wasn't the case necessarily, 10 years ago. We've got, we've become muchmore value centric, which I think is great. It's, it's right, it's. If weweren't, if we weren't selling against value 10 years ago, then I'm really,really thrilled that we are now because yeah. It's a much nicer, much betterway of selling.

You can align onlots of different things with your buyers easier, you can also increase thevalue of the opportunity As a salesperson, if you're not being stuck onfeatures and you're not being stuck on price and you can really focus onoutcomes, then you know you can start to increase the value you get.

So I think it's.The world of cells has morphed into something completely different in the last10 years. But it, but it's a great change. Yeah. And and I think that it's, I,I, I, I think if you asked a hundred cells, people, if they've had to level upeven in the last three years, yeah, they, I would be really surprised.

If any of them hadsaid they hadn't, and if they, if, if they do say they haven't, then I don't,I'm not sure they'll be in a job for long. I wouldn't, that's for sure. You,you, we've been forced as sell as sellers. You are forced to level upconstantly. Yeah. These days. And I think that's that's really, really good.

And think about thebuyer experience. In doing so in, because sellers wanna become bettersalespeople, they wanna be more successful, they want to close more deals, theywant to book more revenue. Right. In doing that, they've actually helped thebuyer. Mm-hmm. Right? The buying experience now is front and center of mostsales approaches, and the way that buyers buy is far nicer far less frictionthan it used to be for them.

For sure. Yeah.And, and so, it, it, it's actually a, an ecosystem that I think has worked isworking really well now. Yeah. And, and companies that don't align with theirbuyers and don't really make their, their kind of have a buyer first process,they're gonna struggle.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. A couple questions obviously come to mind is, is one, obviously.

I'll start with onequestion. If you're a founder right now and you're looking to build out a salesteam, you got your MVP up. You know what? What do I need as a founder to notonly just justify, but to enable a strong sales team to even be effective?Because I think a lot of founders fall into the, mistake of hiring a sales.

Team without,understanding whether or not it's, it's their customer kind of pain points asmuch their, their, the reasons why they buy. The timing of it, kind of thewhole ideal process going through it themselves. And then just trying to kindof patchwork that into their sales team. What would you say would be a, a, amore effective thing?

What should I focuson as a founder? Before I bring on sales team to actually enable them to havesuccess. Is it, a whole marketing engine? Is it the right tools, theconversations, a script, what in particular would you advise founders on toreally actually enable, sales teams being that they actually need more,materials, assets, brand kind of recognition to actually be successful.

What would you sayis important, most important, when you're first building that sales team?  

Adam:Yeah. One thing above everything else is the founder should be the salesperson.The founder should be the one prospecting, the founder should be the oneclosing those deals. Yeah. Yeah. You, you can't, the danger is you'll, you'll,you'll build a business full of founder led sales.

But I, I, I thinkthat if you look at most companies at that stage, 90% of the deals are foundled. But how can, how can you hire anybody? To sell your product. If youhaven't sold it yourself, how can you coach them? Mm-hmm. How can you know?How, how can you tell them, well, look, if you do this, this is a great hook.

This is a wowmoment. So, talk about it. This is, yeah. This is the process. If you bringpeople in without a process, without a framework, without an understanding ofactually what works, it's gonna be a really expensive mistake to make. Yeah.Because those salespeople won't be successful most of the time.

I mean, there'll besome outliers. But most of the time won't be successful and it will take yousix months to, to really realize it. And by that time, you've, you've sunk, alot of your, a lot of your cash in these sales people that haven't worked out.Now you've gotta go back to the drawing, boredom, rehire, you're gonna make thesame mistake again, because actually now you think it's the salesperson and notyou, not the business product, right?

So the only thing Iwould say, forget marketing, forget collateral, doesn't matter if you've gotany of that. The, the one thing that founders should do is to sell themselves.Focus on it. Yeah. Don't outsource it to anybody else until they are absolutelysure that when a new person comes in, they know exactly how to coach them inexactly what to say to them.

They've got, if nothundreds, then tens of sales. Medium recordings. Yeah. That they, they, so thatthe incoming salespeople can listen to this is what good looks like. Yeah.Right. Yeah. And there's a process and there's a framework. If you don't havethat, then keep doing it yourself and Yeah. You, you are, and, and as afounder, particularly in that early stage, you'll learn so much.

It's, yeah. Becauseoften it's not necessarily about the product, it's about the value proposition.Yeah. Right. It's about, how you position this. It's about your ability toreally focus on a painkiller. Not a vitamin, you wanna focus on a painkiller,and often it takes, a whole bunch of attempts to be able just to pitch the sameproduct in the right way.

I haven't changedmy product, but I'm now able to sell more because going through this customerdiscovery of, of, of sales calls, these live sales calls where I'm askingpeople to pay for my software, I'm discovering that my, what I was saying tothem was a vitamin. Yeah. Nice. Have, and it's taken me, 50 different cellscalls to realize that actually it's a, this is the painkiller.

This is, yeah. I'mseeing it every single time. I mention this now. So when I hire somebody, I'vegot, I've got a formula that I can, I can talk about. That for me is the numberone thing. It doesn't matter how much marketing material you've got, doesn'tmatter how many, one pages you have. Doesn't matter how many sales people youhave, if, if the founder hasn't gone for that process themselves.

Yeah. In myexperience, from what I've seen myself, but also from lots of other companies,nine out of 10 will fail.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Shifting gears here, thinking about the process a little bit more,talk about deal padd. What in particular, inspired the idea you had runcompanies before you were working at large, corporations like Salesforce andIntuit.

What in particular,made you cash that startup bug again, and, and, and what you know about thesales process? Do you find that, Dealpad is a addressing that is, is not beingaddressed by other products?  

Adam:Yeah, so, so Dealpad is the tool that I wanted for my sales team. If, if youthink that let, let's just look at the sales stack, right?

Every sales teamwill have a crm. Whether it's Salesforce or HubSpot or whatever it is, right?They'll have a crm. Now, today we were talking about software earlier. And,and, and scale and automation. Most teams will have sales loft or outreach orsome similar tool to kind of build out email sequences.

Most teams willhave. Other tools like, I don't know, Lu or Apollo to, to get data so they cannow, build out their base of context to, to, to own prospect too. And then moresophisticated companies will have tools like Gong so they can start to coachand, have more of a kind of intelligence across the sales layer.

Okay. That, that'sgreat. And all these tools are really important, but there's nothing before theiPad that will actually help you close a deal. Yeah. When I'm, I'm, when I'msending my sellers into market, right? And I'm ask, and I'm asking them todeeply align with their buyers, what have they got to be able to use to be ableto do that?

Yeah. Right.They've got a CRM to document stuff. They've got gone to record things and havethat layer of sales intelligence. They've got outreach to prospect to them,but, but actually the most important part of any sales process at the end ofthe day is the revenue. Yeah, but we're not in this because we, we, we like,well we probably are in this cause we like talking to people, but ultimatelywe're in this to book revenue and, and before Dealpad there wasn't a tool thatwould help you actually win deals.

And so I left andset Dealpad up and it's proven with all the companies that we're working withnow that I was right. You there's a gap and, and, and companies need this tool.And, and so back to your second part of your question is what DPA solves. DPAsolves the alignment with people Yeah. In the buying committee.

So if you thinkabout why most deals close don't, don't close, right? Or most deals slip frompipeline. It's, it's linked to people, right? Yeah. I don't have access tobuying authority. Right. There are people in the buying committee that I don'tknow about. There are decisions being made that, that I, I'm not privy to.

Right. Right. I'm,I'm following a buyer's process, so I don't know when this is gonna close. Mybest guess is X. Right. Lots of different things, but all linked to people.That's what the Oppa solves. The oppa makes it super easy to. Centralizeeverything into one place for the sales team and the buying team.

Mm-hmm. And to gothrough the process together. And yeah, one of two things will always happen,not any exception either. You'll get really deep engagement from your buyingteam and you'll be able to understand buy-in intent really early, and you'llthen, Be able to go through that process in full alignment with them and say,this is gonna close on the 30th of May, because we, we've got all the, we,we've collaboratively checked off all the tasks that need to happen.

We've brought allthe people in and we've locked dates in for everything and nothing slips yet.So I think I'm really confident this is gonna happen, right? So we are gonnaclose this deal. The second thing that could happen is that the buying teamdon't engage. Yeah. And so, they, they proved there's no buying intent.

Now, if I hadn'tunderstood that really early, I would've, my team would've waited hours talkingto people in those in those businesses and, and those deals wouldn't haveclosed. Now, collectively, if I've got a sales team of 10, and each one ofthose salespeople are wasting a hundred hours a year, In deals that they're notgonna win.

And, and theydidn't realize it because they're still in meetings with people where, there'sjust, no real pain, no urgency, no access to authority or, or no realengagement from the buyer. Mm-hmm. No real intent. That's a thousand hoursacross the year that my team could have deployed into deals that we had abetter chance of winning.

Yeah. And whatwould that have done for our revenue? Right, right. If we, if we could havereally spotted early that these, these, these, these buyers just weren'tengaged enough for us to go through this process with them, we could have twoor three x the amount of revenue we built that, each year because we wereactually focused on deals, we knew we had good engagement in and we could win.

Yeah. Yeah. And,and so that's what the does.  

Julian:Yeah. And one thing you mentioned is particularly peak, my curiosity was youmentioned if I don't have, if I'm, if I'm in the selling the process, the, thesales process and I have a buyer who has strong intent and there's some missingplayers that we need to align with some stakeholders that are decision makers,that will be a part of it.

How, how are youable to collaborate or get them to collaborate in this ecosystem? Are youusing, tools like Apollo? So, Hey, so and so, who's the head of marketing? Weneed your head of sales. We need your chief of revenue to be on the call too.And then I pull that information from Apollo.

Now I have themqueued up. I create an email chain. Is that kind of what you're doing ordescribe the process a little bit more in terms of how you're getting thesepeople who aren't in this ecosystem into this collaborative mode when. I mean,for me at least, that's sometimes the biggest issue. Things get lost in emailchains.

We're trying togather everyone we need to make a buying decision, but it's challenging. Howare you able to actually get those people to collaborate?  

Adam:Yeah, so with Dealpad it's actually a lot more powerful than that. So we, so,we use Apollo actually is a tool and it's great. It really is great fordiscovering data.

Sure, sure. Thechallenge is, Right. If I'm selling into Proctor and Gamble and I want to findsomebody inside Proctor and Gamble that I think I'm gonna need to get accessto, and I go to Apollo and find that person, yeah, I've now gotta reach out tothem. Right now if I reached out to you, Julian, and I said, and you'd neverheard from me and I said, Julian, we're talking to Greg.

Having greatconversations. I see that, you you look after the SAP side of, of of, of, ofProctor and Gamble would love to show you how we integrate into sap so we cantick that box off now. Yeah. Right, right. Would you come back to me? There's achance, a higher degree that you wouldn't.

Right, right.Because you don't know who I am. You haven't had this verified by anybody inyour team yet, right? Yeah. And so I'm, now, I've got the data. I'm able toreach out to them, but I still don't get a response, so Dipa. Actually helpsyou discover stakeholders that you knew nothing about because your buyers bringthem in.

So when my, so if,if, if I said to you, Julian great, let's go through this process together.What's the next step? And you said, well, one of the steps is we use sap, weneed to look at your documentation. And we need to kind of verify that you canintegrate well into sap. And, and we'll say, I'll say, great, well look, whydon't you bring the people.

That need, thatneeds to happen into the process, you would then reach out Yeah. To Greg,right. And you would say, Hey Greg need you to do me a favor. Can you jump on acall for 30 minutes? Speak to these guys. Let me know. Yeah. If you think thatthey integrate well into SAP in the way that we need them to, and Greg willsay, of course, Julian, no problem.

Right? Yeah. And soyou then bring Greg in. So now as a salesperson, I've got access to somebodythat I knew nothing about. Yeah. I'm discovering a new stakeholder. I don't, Idon't need to find data anymore because actually my buying team are bringingthem in for me. Yeah. Yeah. And that's super powerful because they're gonna beengaged because it's you and not me.

That's invited theminto, into the process. Yeah. Right. It's you that's asked 'em to do somethingand not me. And as a colleague and peer and somebody that's, pulling in thesame direction as them for the same goal. They are ocracy. They, it's not,they're not even more likely to do it. They are going to do it.

Julian:Yeah. And are you doing, in, when you're getting those buyers to pull in otherbuyers as well, or other stakeholders or team members, how do you, how do youincentivize them to do that? Is it, is it all based on the value propositionthat you initially set out to, to propose or? What, what about Dealpad is kindof giving you a different strategy or tactic or, or information?

What in particularam I gaining, as a salesperson to get, my prospect, my buyer, to thencollaborate and incorporate people versus just asking them to bring in otherteam members?  

Adam:Well, I mean, like, like, like I said, I think if, if you ask it, it doesn'talways get done, right? Sure. Yeah.

Yeah. And I thinkone, one of the, one of the scariest things for salespeople is that buyers godark. And, and you, you lose visibility of anything they're doing, even ifthey're working in the background, on and evaluating you, you don't see it. Andif you don't see something, it's, it worries you.

And so, again, inthe padd, you can see what they're doing. You can see how they're engaged andhow they're interacting. Yeah. Through the materials you're sharing with them,through the, the plan that you've created together, right? Mm-hmm. And, and,and so, where the, the, again, where the power of the apad comes in is thateverything is centralized.

Not just my processas salesperson, but the buyer process evaluating me. It's centralized insidethe apad, right? Yeah. And so to, to, to answer your question specifically, thewhy is if I'm gonna buy software, I know that I need to go through a process.Right. Yeah. My, if, if this software needs to integrate into sap, somebody onin my, in my company needs to help me evaluate this.

Otherwise, we'renever gonna better buy a software from anyone. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And so, sothere's a buying committee. Got it. Yeah. Yeah. And so in a, in a buyingcommittee, you might have 12 people. You might have, you'll usually have your,executive sponsor who's gonna sign all this off and approve it.

And, and they'rethe ones that will either get the budget agreed, or, or can just give thebudget. You'll have a champion who's the person you'll speak to the most.You'll have a coach. And coaches and champions are very different. Yeah.Usually people are confused by that. And they'll, they'll have a coach and achampion that's the same person.

Yeah. Yeah. Andthen, and then you'll have people that are peripheral, like the SAP guy, likelegal procurement. Mm-hmm. Security, compliance, you're probably gonna meetthem once, but if you don't meet them, that deal is not getting closed. Yeah.And, and so, but as a buyer, I know that I need these people in my team tosupport me.

In, yeah. Inpurchasing software. And if I can't get that person, then it means I haven'tgot enough gravitas. Yeah. And so as if I'm selling to you and you keep sayingto me, well, I, we don't need to have, Greg at the table yet, or I can do thismyself. Right. Yeah. I'm gonna pull out. Because I, I'm, software doesn't getsold at mid-market or enterprise level.

If they're spendingkind of 30 k plus, it doesn't get sold typically by one person. Right. Orbrought by one person. Right. So if I, if, if I can't get you to give me accessto your team that I know you are gonna need to be able to get this approved,then I'm out. Yeah. And Dealpad helps. Dealpad helps you get to that.

Am I gonna dive indeep or am I gonna pull out pretty fast? Yeah. And that's one of the biggestvalues that we offer because going back to my previous point, you're notwasting hundreds of hours in these deals. Yeah. Because it, it's a, it's arabbit war, right, right. Yeah. You're gonna get sucked into meetings withpeople that actually can't influence on everything that you, you need them tobe able to sign off on.

Yeah. Yeah. And,and so it's really, really important that you understand your buyer's process.What is it you need to be able to tick off? Right? What's actually absolutelycritical? Yeah. And, and then what, what are things that you would really liketo have, and then what are things that you, Be nice to have.

Yeah. And, andAlize 'em, so, okay, well these are the things we've gotta tackle. And eventhat second column, I'd really like to have this. You've gotta tick a bunch ofthose off. Yeah. And okay, great. Who needs to be part of this then? So you'vejust told me you need to do x. That's not you. So who is it?

Right, right,right. And, and you are, I'm, as a seller, I might get back, well, I'm notsure. Right. So I would then push back and say, well look, we need to establishthis. So how can I help you find this person? In my experience, this personlooks like this. They sit in this team. Yeah. They do this type of role.

Who would it be?Okay. And, and, and so you help your, your buyer navigate through their ownorganization if it's a massive organization to help them find the right people,and then they'll bring them in. And so, if, if, if, if you are missingsomething in that chain, this deal's not getting closed.

Yeah. And that iswhere most sellers fall. Sure. Yeah. In my, in my 20 years of sales, when I,when I evaluate why deals don't get closed, It's not because the seller doesn'tknow their job, doesn't know the seller, doesn't know the product, doesn't knowthe seller, doesn't know the process or how to sell. It's because the sellercan't get access to the all the right people.

Yeah. That theyneed to be able to influence this deal. Yeah. And for sure your comp, yourcompetition are probably know how to access that person. The one person thatyou can't, you might have access to everyone apart from one person. Yeah. Yeah.And that and that one person you probably only need to meet once.

Right, right. Butthis is never getting signed off. If, if, if that person needs to tick a boxand you can't reach them.  

Julian:Yeah, I love how you defined it. If, if I were to summarize it, it'sunderstanding your buyer processes is hugely important to knowing, what are thesteps needing to actually accomplish, the deal.

And then getting thoseindividuals who own those steps collaborate, collaborated into deal pad. Sothen at least, Where the process is going. Those individuals have tasks thatthey need to accomplish. You can see where things are in, in the, in theprogression of the deal flow. And then now with all that intelligence kind ofbuilt into one, ecosystem, you can actually predict if that's gonna close ornot.

Do I have thepeople you know I need to do, I know the people I need to talk to? Do I knowthe exact steps I need to go through for that procedure? It's awesome to see.How that process kind of aligns really kind of, I think what we've been doing,maybe mentally or in other CRMs, maybe Apollo in those units try to do it withsequencing tools like that.

But there's a lot ofminute information that, it is kind of left out in, and that's actuallycritical which is that the, the right people are even the right process toactually get the deal done rather than just trying to figure out who to talk toand, and try to pull people into meetings and, and, Almost like, MacGyver adeal to, to completion versus actually knowing the procedure around it.

Right. Which, whichis, um,  

Adam:You look at the best sales people, look any, any organization, any, look at thevery best, most successful sales people. And the thing they do better thaneverybody else is get access to the right people. And they, they involvepeople, they actively seek out people. On their, on their team and on thebuyers team.

They don't try anddo it on their own. The sales people that aren't very successful try to do toomuch on their own. They, they, they, they don't wanna be a time suck. Theydon't ask for support. They don't ask for access to things. They don't insiston it. And the very best sales people, the one thing they do differently isthey really.

Probe and find theright people they need to be able to get this bill done because they realizethis is multi-threaded. Yeah. And it's not gonna be one person that's gonnahelp me close this deal.  

Julian:Yeah, yeah, yeah. And like you said earlier, it's not one buyer anymore, and,and, and there's, there's not one person that's gonna make the final decision.

It's. It's acollaborative effort and thinking about the company a little bit more broadly,whether it's something external or internal, seeing that you've had a lot oftraction, you've gained a lot of, working with a lot of clients and partnersand, and you've kind of got this process really down.

What a particulardo you find is the kind of, the external or internal risk that the company orchallenges that the company faces today? What's most on your mind? Yeah. What'smost on your mind when you think about, challenges or risks? Things that could,be critical if they changed the direction of the company?

Adam:For my company? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Oh, I mean, there's lots of things, right?You've got, you've got kind of, macroeconomics the world could just, changeovernight, who knows what's, what's happening with rates. And in Europe you gotthe war and Things that could impact a, a, a, a company's decision to invest ornot, right?

Yeah. I mean that,that, that could change. We, we think about how we can mitigate those risks. Ithink, one of the biggest challenges that we face and it's real, and we face itevery day now, is most sales teams believe that they've over-invested in salessoftware and they've got enough software.

Right. And so theydon't have another budget for anything else. And yet I then question them andsay, oh, so you are, you're hitting a hundred percent your quota, are you? Andthey'll all say no, because not many are, nobody is. Yeah. And, and so there'sa gap. What's the gap? Why aren't you hitting your quota?

And then like a fewthreads come out from the back of that, right? And, and so it's. One of thechallenge for me is that sales organizations really need to understand thatthere's a gap in their sales stack. I haven't, I haven't seen many companiesthat don't have a gap in their sales stack.

Yeah. And are theyinvested in the right, the right type of software? Of course, you have to havea C R M. Of course, it's great to have a prospecting tool, right? Yeah. Youwant gong or, or the equivalent or whatever it is, because you can coachbetter, right? But you are, you are missing quotas. So what's happening here?

Yeah. Right. Yeah.You're, you're not forecasting Zachary as you want to, so what's the, what'sthe cause effect of that, and it's, that's a challenge for us, I think as well.Really, it's, it's, it's making sure we innovate. And, we're a, a youngcompany. We've been around for just over three years.

Yeah. And we needto continually move fast and innovate and think about, be customer first andthink about what, what products our customers are asking us for, where they seethe most value and continually talk to our customers. Yeah. And that's achallenge for us because, we're a small team.

Yeah. And, andwe're. We are thinking heavily on a few areas at the moment that I think couldbe very impactful for our customers. And as a result, us as a company. Mm-hmm.And it's about how we execute that we've gotta execute well. Yeah. And, andwe're, we're in a fairly embryonic category and so, there are a dozen.

Vendors in thismarket right now. Yeah. And in my experience, if I, if I think about anycategory, typically as it matures and it flattens out, you've got two or threekind of leaders, and then you might have two or three kind of challenges. Yeah.But it's very rare to find a, a category, a well-defined category with morethan six players in it.

Yeah. And right.And right now ours has at least a dozen. Yeah. And so a challenge for us is tomake sure that, we want to be one of those two or three leaders. Yeah. And weare at the moment. And so that's really, really great. But we need to make surewe stay there.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I love this next section.

I'll call it myfounder faq. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and we'll seewhat we get from you. So, first question, just a softball what's particularlyhard about your job day-to-day?  

Adam: Icare too much. Yeah? Yeah. I, and I care and, and I have to care abouteverything. Yeah. I, I can't stop caring about the smallest things across thewhole business and Yeah.

That's, that's achallenge.  

Julian:Yeah. One, one thing you mentioned earlier, which was around kind of the, thephilosophy around selling and really focusing on, what would make a buyer kindof a buyer, customer centric people use many different words to talk about it.How do you. Train or coach or, or identify how to, approach that being that alot of times, sales teams will focus on, why their company should work or whytheir product should work at x, y, Z company versus why should x, y, Z companybuy our product?

How do you kind oftrain that philosophy?  

Adam: Iit takes time. I, I, I, and again, this is where if you, if you're an earlystage company and you're a founder, this is why founders have to sell. Becausefounders will very quickly discover this and then they'll be able, they'll beable to kind of build a foundation of that philosophy and that culture from theGetGo.

But it, it takestime if you are, if you've got sales people that aren't used to selling themthat way you have to reeducate them. And that's a challenge. Yeah. You oftenhave to find one, one person in your organization that, that champions this.And they will be the most successful salesperson if they do it.

Yeah. And thenother people will look at them and say, how are you doing this? Why, how areyou being successful? And, and then it cascades through, but it has to comefrom the top. You have to build leadership that really believes in outcome andvalue. Yeah. Selling and, and drives that principle through.

But it's, if youhaven't got that in an organization today and, and you are a, a fairly wellbaked, mature organization, it is, it's a shift and it, it's obviously, it's,it's doable. Clearly I've done it three times in, in, in the companies I'vejoined. And we've, we've gone from 70 million to a hundred million in, in anumber of years, right?

Yeah. Were they,were, were, were they, were the sales teams doing anything wrong before I joinedthem with 17 million revenue? Well, no, not really. But were they leaving a. Aton of revenue on the table and missed opportunities. Yeah, absolutely. Andthat's what this, this, this does, it helps you maximize the potential of yoursales motion.

Julian:Yeah. What's something you're good at now as a founder that you wish you werebetter at earlier on?

Adam:I, I think judgment. Yeah. I've got better judgment than I had before, and Idon't just think that comes from experience, I think it comes from maturity.And patience. And, just having a different lens in the way I look at thingstoday than I, the way that I did 10 years ago.

Julian:Yeah, yeah. What's one thing that, if, if you were to wave a magic wand thatyou would want right now is that, are you fundraising?

Are you looking toscale your teams? Are you hiring? Like what in particular as a founder is topof mind right now?  

Adam:I'm trying to think about which one. Yeah.

Julian:Acquiring customers. Yeah. What's particular? You're like, if I could have thisfixed today, I could work on 10, 10 million other problems that we have.

Or not problems,but other, other ways to grow. Yeah.  

Adam:Yeah. Look, I, I think that most of our, most of our customers, if not, well,98% of our customers are in North America right now. And it's, it's such a bigmarket for us. And We, I'm looking to build out a team in North America, and,and so hiring, making two or three key hires Yeah.

In that market for,for us would make a big difference. Yeah. To my life as well. Cause I'm doing,lots of cross atlantic kind of time zone. Yeah. And it's, it's, it's difficult.Yeah. So, yeah, I think that for me right now, if I could solve a problem wasthat there are two or three critical hires that we have Yeah.

In North Americathat we, I'd love to find great people for.

Julian:Yeah. I always like to ask this next question cause I love how founders ingestknowledge from any or extract knowledge from anything that they ingest, whetherit's early in your career or not. What books or people have impacted you themost?

Adam:Hmm. Well right now I'm reading a, a book called a hundred Million DollarOffers.  

Julian:Same actually, yeah. Are you all Yeah, I'm in the process of it right now. Ithink I went through chapter one, but I, I, I do the audio book, so I'mactually I'm, I'm, I'm moving through it. Brilliant book. It's,  

Adam:it's good, isn't it?

Yeah. Yeah. And,and again, it, it almost. Comes back to what I've just described, right? Yeah.It's, it's, it's being outcome driven focus on your offer and, and your, yourcustomers will pay what you ask. Yeah. It's, it's, it's an interesting concept.I what else have I read? One of my favorite books of all time, it's not a salesbook, but it's called Thank You for Being Late By, by by Richard Friedman.

And it's it's a,it's a kind of a fusion of. Evolution. Yeah. Technology and future. And lovethat he just merges those three topics together brilliantly. It's a fantasticbook. Yeah. I'd recommend that. And I, there's a book called Unqualified SalesLeader sorry. I'm quite like qualified sales leader which is a, which is a goodbook if you are, if you are a, a sales leader.

Yeah. It teachesyou a lot of things you already know, but it's a good refresher. Yeah. So Ithink for books that, that's they're the books that I, that I, I wouldrecommend in terms of people have influenced me. There's a lady called TrishTutsi. I dunno if you've met, you've, you've, you've come across Trish, I'veheard, but she's quite active on LinkedIn, but she's the author of the Salesdevelopment Playbook.

Yeah. And that'show I know her. That's She's been around. Yeah, she's been around for yearsand, and is one of the most knowledgeable people on software sales becauseshe's just been in the trenches for so long. She shared some really insightfulstuff on LinkedIn and And I, I, I started following someone years ago calledJill Conrad.

Hmm. I, I, Iconsume less of her kind of updates now, but she's, she's great. She's been insoftware sales for years. And, and an obvious one that most people know isSimon Sinek. Yeah. I think that he's, his, his, his way of thinking, hismethodologies are, or were, but still are, very cutting edge.

The, whether hethinks about things. So I, I like to I'd like to be influenced by him.  

Julian:Yeah, I love that. And, and yeah, I like what you said about, in your responseto Simon and if you do it right too, and, and if you really can answer that whyquestion? It, it really does change the association with your customers, yourbrand, your strategy.

It really kind ofcomes really cohesive. At least I've seen on, on my team.  

Adam:Yeah. Well, I mean, when, when he went, I mean, apple really came out withthat, didn't he? But he, he picked up on what Apple had done really well.Right. And I dunno how long, long ago that was, but it's, I wanna say 10 yearsago now, and, or maybe longer, but it was almost like a revelation when, whenhe came out with this, focus on the why, right?

And, and, andeveryone was like, whoa, okay. Because we did, we focused on the what, right.What is this? Right. And, and, and the how, how does it work? Right? Right. Butthe why is the most important thing. Start with the why. Because why doessomebody want this? Right? Doesn't matter what you do or how you do it, whatmatters is why they're going to want it, why they buy in from you.

What's the outcomethey're looking for? And then, and then align that back to what you do and howyou do it. It's yeah, so I, yeah, exactly Simon, yeah. Ahead of his time andthe way he thinks.  

Julian:Yeah. I know we're a little bit over time, but it's been such a pleasurechatting with you, Adam, and, and last little bit is I'd like to make sure wedidn't leave anything on the table.

Is there anyquestion that I didn't ask you that I should have? Or is there anything that wedidn't chat about that you wanted to bring up? One more little time? Yeah.Anything we left on the table here today?

Adam:No, not at all. I think we had a good conversation. It's been great. I think ifanybody wants to follow me, my LinkedIn is Adam L. Baker and is our,is our website, if anyone wants to check out what we're doing.  

Julian:Yeah, amazing. Adam, you beat me to it. Thank you for your plugs and Idefinitely will share that with our audience. Such a pleasure. Not onlylearning your journey, how you think about sales, how you think about theprocess, how companies can actually make changes today in knowing more abouttheir buyers to actually have better outcomes.

They can use dealpads to align, all, not only the sales team, but their buyers and everyone'sincentives. So it's exciting to see what you've built now and and where you'regoing. But Adam, it's been such a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed yourself andthank you again for being on Behind Company Lines today.

Adam:Thanks, Julian. Appreciate it.  

Julian:Of course.

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