From Army Sniper to Tech Sales — Steven Broudy @ Mulesoft
The Army Ranger Regiment is considered “The Army’s premier Special Operations raid force.” Steven Broudy spent nearly six years in the Rangers serving, amongst other positions, as a Sniper Team Leader. Over the course of five deployments (two to Iraq and three to Afghanistan), Steven learned and refined his leadership skills.
As you know, I’ve been interviewing top sales development leaders. Steven Broudy is one of these leaders. He and I spoke about his background and his philosophy. Steven has been leading the North America Sales Development org at Mulesoft — a highly-impactful, rapidly-scaling Team.
In weighing his career options, he settled on the role at MuleSoft because it fit his criteria — he wanted a company that valued:
Trajectory over altitude
When I asked Steven to explain what he meant by that, he said he wasn’t looking to land at the largest or most-established company today. He was looking for a high-growth opportunity at one of the great companies of tomorrow. Furthermore, he wanted one that recognized raw talent, and the potential to be impact (versus experience). He was seeking a company where leaders truly invested in developing their teams. MuleSoft perfectly fit that criteria.
What are your Top Challenges
“I feel like a fraud if I don’t know EVERYTHING about what I’m doing.”
I’m sure a lot of you can empathize with this perspective. Often I assume I’m supposed to know everything, or close to it.
I love that quote because it is so honest and it rings so true for me too. The reality according to Steven:
“I can’t help but laugh, thinking about what I knew early on, versus what I know now… and how much more there is to learn.”
What Have You Been Focused on Over the Last Year
Steven wasn’t looking for a cakewalk. Rather, he was looking for a unique challenge that flexed his existing skill set. For the last year, that has meant remaining laser focused on hiring top talent. The North America Account Development org has grown 3X since Steven arrived.
Hiring at Mulesoft (like most growing companies) is the #1 challenge Steven is facing. I’m sure you’re wondering what he’s looking for in sales rep. If you want to know what it takes to get hired at Mulesoft, here are a few insights.
Steven is looking for a mix of new graduates and sales reps with some experience. 3% of applicants actually get hired, so do everything you can to stand out above the rest. The top three keys:
- You need to be an “A-Player,” and you need to be able to actually “prove” it. It’s not enough to just be a awesome, you need to be able to quantify it, and demonstrate it through your body of work.
- Be a winner, who motivates the team around you to also win: this can be in whatever area you’ve focused your efforts — be it: sports, academia, or early employment.
- You have to be a “Good Human being” — i.e. don’t be a dick.
They aren’t looking for any lone wolves.
“Truthfully, a lone wolf in sales can be successful, but lead gen is a team sport. We’re looking to develop the next generation of leaders here. Lone wolves don’t lead, even if they do succeed.”
What is Your Sales Philosophy
Steven and his team at Mulesoft don’t take sales lightly. From their perspective, you have to activate the most successful methods, techniques, and tools to build a killer sales org.
For them, one of those top methods is Account Based Sales (ABS). ABS focuses on identifying those companies that would be ideal customers and reaching out to them holistically. This stands in contrast to lead based sales, where you are going after individuals rather than companies.
ABS came out of the Team’s desire to foster a highly collaborative environment. No longer does each rep hunt for their own opportunities. Account Development Reps and Account Executives work jointly, as part of an Account Team.
Steven promotes collaboration as a valuable trait. He is also looking for reps who are driven to win and willing to inspire each other to be the best version of themselves.
For Steven, a focus on professional development is key to driving his team forward. He actively seeks to understand the wants and needs of his team members, helping them achieve both their short term, and long term goals. He considers this:
“Vital to having the kind of culture of top performers — one where reps actually want to come into the office every morning.”
He also attributes this focus on each Rep’s career as key to keeping employee churn low. As a manager, Steven believes career development needs to be the overarching lens through which everything takes place.
What is Sales Development
At Mulesoft, Sales Development reps (or Account Development reps) are the “Demand Gen Consultants” for the rest of the team. They are considered the company’s thought leaders for all things demand gen within the org.
As you may already know, sales development can be a difficult role full of tireless pursuits and thankless work. However, sales devs are filling the top of the funnel and therefore driving revenue for the whole company.
Pro Tip: Have weekly 1-on-1s w/ each sales dev rep. Tell them what they did well and let them know what they can work on. Most importantly, help them envision and understand how their role plays into the big picture — how does their “book of business” impact the broader business?
Steven sees Account Development reps as the primary talent bench for the rest of the org, but not a 2nd class position. For an Account Development Rep, advancement is based on what their desired next role is. Reps can move to marketing, customer success, sales operations, or account executive roles depending on what their short and long term goals are. It’s this kind of flexibility and professional development that helps boost reps’ performance and advancement.
How has the Industry Changed & How will that Effect your Business
The older way of splitting the sales role was that sales dev owned lead gen and AEs owned closing. Steven sees this as fundamentally flawed, as it doesn’t foster collaboration. Furthermore, it leads sales development reps to work in a more transactional way — spray, pray, move on. For his org, “Account Teams” jointly own account penetration.
The sales org is broken out into teams that include both sales devs and closers. They work hand-in-hand to attack and close specific accounts. This is a subtle difference, but it produces marked differences in how teams interact. There is no longer a blame game between roles or a break in the feedback loop. Both parties are now fully responsible for prospecting into and closing accounts.
This way the team is working as a whole and each member has an equal seat at the table. As Steven put it:
The second an org begins to view the team that owns 3/4 of the pipeline as 2nd class citizens, something is fundamentally wrong
This philosophy leads to Account Development Reps being highlighted as MVPs in their region on a regular basis. His highest performers prospect as a function of quantity and quality. Broken down — a balance between velocity and quality, driving high value touch at scale.
Not only is each Account Team focused on specific accounts, but the way they sell into those accounts is also in sync. They drive an outcome based sale, seeking to directly connect the value that their product provides to what the prospect is looking to achieve. In a sense, they’re not selling a solution, but a direct business outcome.
In case you’re wondering (I was), this is Steven and the team’s sales tech stack:
- SalesLoft Prospector
- Lead Gen Engine
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- SalesLoft Cadence
+ big data analytics tools
As always, if you have any questions or comments, hit me up on Twitter @DGSpitz.
Looking for more: check out The Future of Sales Development w/ Sean Kester @SalesLoft
Originally published at thestartupsalesguy.com on December 4, 2015.