15 minutes with Katy McFee, Founder and Principal of Insights to Action. Helping new, aspiring leaders who are stuck in their career get to the executive level. Distractions. Balance. Lack of patience. Work when you work best. Show up as the person who want to be today. Creating focus and intentionality. Do less to do more. Focus on data, structure and process. Ask yourself 3 questions daily: What is the goal? What is the bigger picture? What has been successful in the past?
21 insights. 7 rapid-fire questions. Show transcript.
Here’s what Brandon Fluharty said about Katy:Katy McFee, out of Ottawa, Canada. I've recently come across Katy on LinkedIn as of a few months ago, and I've been really impressed with her voice, particularly around empowering other females to step into a leadership role, in a go-to-market role, sales role. She's done it herself. She's done it successfully, and I think it's a really important voice to highlight and put a spotlight on, because I think it's an area that needs improvement in the sales and go-to-market space. There’s still a male dominated voice in the go-to-market world, and I think bringing diversity is just good for business. Ut’s the thing to do as human beings, but it's also good for business. So, she's an awesome one to bring onto the show.
What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?
1) Content. Yeah, so first it'd be content. I post on LinkedIn every day, and that has been probably the biggest source of leads. Just people, inbound leads, based on content that's been posted and interacted with.
2) Free help. I'm going to call it free help. This one was kind of accidental, actually, but there have been times where I've offered a free 15 minute call to help someone work through a negotiation, or a quick chat to help them think through a problem, and lots of those have actually led to deal flow.
3) Community. So, just building a community with like-minded individuals, engaging with their content, getting to know them just in a really genuine, curious way has been really big for creating new connections, people referring individuals. And so those would be my top three.
What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?
1) Getting involved in LinkedIn. The first one actually is related to the first question, which is getting involved in LinkedIn. Posting original content, posting videos, that is something that I have never done, until the end of January. The first time I ever posted an original post, that came from my brain, and I found this very daunting as someone who I'm extroverted, but I'm also shy. It was a big leap for me, to be able to put my ideas out in the world, to record videos of myself and then share them with a whole bunch of people. That was a big one for me to overcome.
2) Creating the focus that I wanted. When I initially decided to launch Insights to Action, my plan was to do a number of different things. I was going to do some sales consulting. I was going to help with business strategy, maybe even some sales training, and then also leadership training. But what ended up happening as I got into it, as I started to really launch the business, is I realized I wanted to niche down a little bit. I wanted to find my sweet spot, my passion, and really devote myself to that. What I ended up coming to was working with aspiring leaders, new leaders, who were kind of stuck in their career, and especially women, who are trying to get to the executive level, and who are hitting barriers, and who are having trouble getting to that next level. That is now the sole focus of my business.
3) Managing my time as a solopreneur. That's something that's new to me as well. I'm managing a number of different clients at once, a number of different types of activities. Just having to manage that sheer volume of different types of tasks, I found a little bit challenging. What I've done for that is just simply color-coding my calendar. It sounds really simple, but I have different color-coding for various different types of activities. It's really effective for letting me know where I'm spending my time. Am I spending too much time in a certain area? How can I be more efficient that way?
What are 3 roadblocks that you’re working on now?
1) Distractions. First one, I'm going to call distractions. Again, this ties into me creating a focus for my business. I get a lot of interest and inquiries for things that are outside of my mission and outside of my vision. Forcing myself to say no to those things, because they can eat up a lot of time. I've noticed that sometimes I slip up and say yes, and then I regret that. So that's one. I'm still working on it every day.
2) Balance. I am big on the anti-hustle thing. I believe that you can be a strong salesperson, be a strong leader, be a strong entrepreneur, and still maintain that balance in your life. For me, though, that is, again, something that I continuously have to work towards and remind myself why I'm doing this and what's important to me in life. I'm getting much better at protecting my time and creating healthy boundaries.
3) Lack of patience. I tend to want to be like 20 steps ahead. Just enjoying the journey, and this is something I talk about too, and I post about this, it's taking my own advice and really embracing the journey and not worrying about where I'm going to be one year, two years, five years from now.
What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?
I love this question.
1) Work when you work best. By that, I mean, understanding yourself, knowing what types of tasks, maybe you find more mentally draining, and when you do your best work. For me, I schedule flow tasks in the morning. So, when I want to be creative, maybe I want to write content, maybe I want to work on a presentation or my website, I try to do those things in the morning, because I know that I am mentally sharpest in the morning. If I leave those things for the end of the day, then I'm going to really struggle to create quality work.
2) Intentionality. This is something I talk about, whether it's in your life, whether it's as a leader, whether it's as a business owner. Being really intentional about how you spend your time, how you communicate with people, what you're prioritizing, and keeping that end goal in mind. To me, being outcome-driven, and being intentional, are very closely linked. Intentionality is something that I really apply across all areas of my life.
3) Future continuity. What that means is showing up as the person you want to be, or the leader you want to be, today. I think that's a really powerful mental model that you can use, really to connect your future vision, or your future state, with where you are now.
What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?
Three techniques that go-to-market teams needs to try:
1) Do less to do more. One thing that I'm really big on with respect to, especially to sales teams, or really to anyone, is “do less to do more.” So, really understanding what activities are going to move the needle, and focusing time and resources on those activities. I think that's really important because especially in the SaaS space, there's always a lot happening. I've been part of hyper-growth companies, and there's oftentimes 15 competing priorities. I always would ask my team, “What's going to move the needle? What's the one thing that's going to move the needle?” That's number one.
2) Data focused. Second thing I'm big on is, and this might not be something that's new for people to try, but really becoming data focused. This is still something that I see with companies that I work with, where they want to scale their sales org, and yet, they don't have a handle on what their core sales metrics are yet. So, becoming really data focused, as early as possible. Understanding what your core sales metrics are, what things you need to focus on, and really investing in those resources early on. So, an example I can give you: when I was running a sales team, I was supposed to hire a number of AEs, and I gave up one of those head count for a sales operations person, because I knew the importance of having access to that data when I was making business decisions.
3) Having a focus on structure and process. I think a lot of more mature companies get this, but depending on where you are in your journey, I am a big believer in putting the right structure and process in place and the sales will follow. You want to create a system where you can hire an AE and it's very clear to them what they need to do, how they need to do it, what your ideal buyer looks like. That is really the best way that you can scale your revenue org.
What are 3 questions that you love to ask and why?
Three questions that I ask myself, and that I also encourage other leaders to ask themselves:
1) What is the goal?
2) What is the bigger picture?
3) What has been successful in the past?
I really find that when you're stuck in something, if you're stuck in which way to go strategy-wise, if you're unsure about a hire, or a direction, or whatever it might be, I always take a big step back and ask myself those three things. So, what's the goal? What's the big picture? What's been successful in the past? I used to have it in my calendar. As I was moving into senior leadership, I actually had a reminder in my calendar every morning that would alert me and ask, “What's the goal? What's the big picture? What's been successful in the past?”
Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?
1) Darren McKee. So one person I was going to recommend is Darren McKee, and I reached out to him. but I believe you know him because he mentioned to me he's been on this podcast before! I thought it would be fun to just mention I was going to shout him out, but someone has beat me to the punch. I mean, he's great. He's a Director of Growth. He posts a lot of really valuable content. He helps people break into SaaS, and he's just looking all around like great guy who helps out a lot of people and who has a lot of good things to say. So, thought I'd give that plug, even though he's been on the show before.
2) Shea Cole. So I worked with Shea at a company called Fullscript. She is the VP Marketing there, and she is a force. So this woman, she is just like a branding queen, and she took that company from very early days to like explosive, massive rocket-growth and was very instrumental in making that happen. So, I think she would be a fantastic guest for you.
3) Darren Sharpe. I met him in a sales leader peer group that was put together by The Lazaridis Institute which is an organization where hyper-growth companies are selected to be part of this program. He has just a super impressive, smart, long-time sales leader who gets it. Goes into a company, figures it out, deep dives, and like creates this huge growth for whatever company he touches. So, he's a CRO right now at SuiteSpot, but has been a revenue leader for many years, and has lots of great value that he can share.
4) Salman Mohiuddin who is an Enterprise Sales Rep. So, he's at Asana. He was previously at Salesforce, and he has built his career in enterprise sales. I met Salman through LinkedIn, actually, and I was consuming his content. He has a lot of really valuable stuff to say. He's really great at helping the community. He posts a lot about sales tips, about careers, about getting hired. All around great human. I had the opportunity to connect with him on a call a little while back and he’s got a lot of knowledge. He's a great guy, and I think he'd be a good guest for you.
Connect with Katy on Linkedin → Katy McFee
Work with Katy → Insights to Action