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Eric Martin

Eric Martin

Head Of Sales, Vanta

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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
As the first GTM hire and sales leader at Vanta, hitting our weekly revenue target was the absolute most important thing that I could do for myself, for the company, and for my CEO. Yes, you read that correctly, I had a weekly revenue target that I had to hit (and that we exceeded on a weekly basis for the first few years). Why weekly? I think it came from some YC guidance. :) If you're taking on a first sales leader role where there are literally no sellers, it's critical that you first roll up your sleeves and prove (on a repeated basis) that you can close deals and hit the revenue targets. Once you've established that you can get the job done, it'll become obvious to you when it's time to start scaling. And if it's not obvious to you, it might be obvious to someone else, like your CEO. To put yourself in a position where you're ready to start adding bodies, be sure to not overlook investing in key systems (i.e. buying your CRM) and processes (i.e. creating an AE hiring loop). If you're taking on a first sales leader role where there are already butts in seats, your primary responsibility is still to hit the number, whatever it takes. Rather than immediately rolling up your sleeves and learning how to close a deal (though this is something you should prioritize), you might instead start by doing an audit of the sales org that you're joining. Doing an audit should help give you a better sense of how strong (or weak) of a position you and the team are in to hit the revenue targets. My advice, communicate up (to your CEO) your findings as they come, and with full honesty. As the CRO of Snowflake once told me, "Sales leadership is a single elimination tournament, if you miss your number, you should expect to be replaced." It's a bit extreme, but it's also not wrong.
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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
The answer to this question depends on the sales leader (i.e. me vs someone else), the product that the rep is selling, the stage of the business, etc. The list goes on. I personally am always looking for candidates who have these two attributes: 1. Innate curiosity 2. Persuasiveness The first is (hopefully) obviously critical. The more curious the rep, the better they should be at discovery. The better they are at discovery, the more time you can spend helping them execute the back half of their deals. The second is also hopefully obvious. I know plenty of reps who excel in sales through discipline and structure, but I'd take a rep who is also persuasive (on top of those things) any day of the week.
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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
This is a great question and a task that I was asked to take on for Vanta twice over the past two years - first helping us break into the mid-market, and later helping us break into the enterprise. My first piece of advice is to make sure that there's cross-functional alignment in your company around the desire or need to move upmarket. It's really important that the entire company is on board with this decision. From there, I'd have representatives from GTM and EPD take a long hard look at any "upmarket at bats" that your company has had to date, listening to Gong calls, reviewing Salesforce data, etc to see what's working and what isn't working. You'll want to have the best assessment that you can have on whether or not your product is ready to move up market, where the gaps are (or might be), and whether or not those gaps can be resourced and built. You'll also want to make sure that you have the best initial pulse possible on who your upmarket ICP is. i.e. How are they similar or different to your current ICP? You probably won't know this initially, but you'll figure it out. Finally, you'll want to make sure that you're being thoughtful with how you (in sales) are going to approach generating and working these deals - probably setting aside a small team of sellers to help with the testing. Moving upmarket is generally a tough assignment from my experience and one that really only has a shot of "working" or "feeling good" if your company allocates real cross-functional dollars and resources to it.
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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
It's a great question. I believe that all reps are continuously motivated by earning potential and career growth opportunities, regardless of the stage of the company. To get more nuanced, you'll see earlier hires more motivated by the combination of equity and cash, and you'll also see earlier hires hoping to leverage their early arrival to accelerate their career growth (vs later hires). As an aside, one of the real joys of leading and scaling sales teams is rewarding those deserving early hires with promotions, additional equity grants, etc. We've had the opportunity to do a lot of this at Vanta. More broadly, my advice is to spend a lot of time thinking about the design of your compensation plans (revisiting them at least annually) and also to map out levels and definitions for career growth sooner vs later. Make sure that you're putting your team in a spot where they believe they can hit their goals, and where they understand intimately what career growth means for them, and how to unlock it. Easier said than done. :)
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514 Views
Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
First off, I'm going to assume that the question here is whether or not I have any advice for a "junior seller" who is a first sales hire. My advice is to ask your company leaders to help you find a sales mentor or sales coach. Asking for something like this is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of maturity. Your company leaders clearly see something in you (that you also hopefully see in yourself). You should operate from a place of confidence, but also seek out someone who you can also continuously learn from. As a junior seller in a first sales role, you should also assume (if your company is smart) that future sellers will probably have more experience than you. That's a great thing! If you're the legacy rep who's been finding a way to get the job done, and who has enough humility to know what you know and what you don't know, you're going to be incredibly well respected as the team grows.
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497 Views
Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
This is a good, and interesting question. Like many of the other questions, answering this properly requires more context, so I'd ask that you DM me to find some time to chat. A couple of questions that come to mind when reading this question include: How similar or different are the ICPs for these two products? What are the ACVs of the products? How do their sales cycles compare? Are your product and marketing teams investing in both of them equally? Etc. While many might know Vanta as automating SOC 2, we have many products that our sales team sells today, and all of those products are pretty complex (the world of compliance is about as subjective as it gets). One thing that we've seen in asking reps to sell multiple products is that they're going to focus on the products that are easiest to sell, and the products that will make them the most money. The art and the science here is being really thoughtful around pricing and packaging methodology, and also sales compensation incentives, so as to drive the results that you're looking for. Once again, hard to answer this one directly without more context, so please reach out to me directly!
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483 Views
Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
This is a great question, and how we have done this at Vanta has evolved over the years. Being thoughtful about how sales communicates updates to the rest of the company (and vice versa) is so critical. Today, we have a number of public slack channels where sales or GTM-related updates are regularly shared. We also host a public GTM All-Hands once a month that the entire company is (optionally) invited to attend. We also have monthly business reviews where GTM and EPD (engineering, product, design) representatives are asked to report on progress on key cross-functional company initiatives. All this to say, there are any number of ways that you can (and should) communicate sales updates to the rest of the company. Sometimes even a weekly email is enough to do the trick. H/t to my CRO for sharing that idea!
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479 Views
Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
First off, congrats on the big gains in ARR & ACV, and also for putting some key processes in place. Like many of my other responses, let me say here that "It depends." We should find some time to chat about your situation. At Vanta, we had a repeatable sales playbook from the early days, but we didn't implement a formal sales methodology when we were around 200 employees (and had a GTM org of around 100 employees). Why did we do it? Not because we were struggling (sales were humming), but because our newly hired CRO had seen firsthand how adopting a sales methodology early better enables a GTM org to scale for the long run. We ended up hiring Force Management to lead us through Command of the Message (CoM) training and it was worth every penny. For those unfamiliar, many of the fastest-growing sales teams today use CoM. Besides bringing a new structure to our GTM motion, our in-person training and onboarding with Force Management also served to realign the entire company around our core values and mission. Once again, to answer this question well for you and your company, I think I need a bit more context. I'd love to hear what sort of "hard data" have you presented, and what do you mean by "plateaued"?
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Eric Martin
Eric Martin
Vanta Head Of SalesNovember 28
Great question. The way that we've thought about shared KPIs has evolved over the years, and continues to evolve, as I think is true of most companies. One of our mottos here at Vanta is to "never win alone" and that also applies to all things demand generation. While we can cut the data a hundred ways, sales and marketing are still very much on "the same team" and hitting the company pipeline goal trumps everything else. As for which KPIs sales teams often miss, it depends. I've been at companies where "marketing" often misses and companies where "sales" often misses. I will say, being in the sales org, we think a lot about outbound SDR and outbound AE-sourced pipeline, and how we can continue to drive efficiencies there. My advice, focus on the things that you and your sales team can control.
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Credentials & Highlights
Head Of Sales at Vanta
Top Sales Mentor List
Sales AMA Contributor
Top 10 Sales Contributor
Knows About Sales / Product Alignment, Sales / Customer Success Alignment, Scaling a Sales Team