23 minutes with Shri Apte, VP Revenue at Triplebyte. Starting from the outcome. MECE frameworks. Bias to action. Heavily dogfooding your product. Marketing from a position of expertise Overcoming barbell distribution in the performance of different account executives. Understanding what drives renewals. Marketing two separate products. Consistent messaging and keeping cohesion. Driving cross-product upsells.
21 insights. 7 rapid-fire questions. Show transcript.
Here’s what Patrick Coleman said about Shri:Shri Apte. VP of Revenue at TripleByte. Great guy and TripleByte is a fantastic business. We’re big fans of really anybody operating in the space to make it easier for more people to get jobs in coding and realize the benefits of the internet economy. Big, big fans.
What are 3 ways that your team converts your market into revenue?
1) Inbound traffic. The first way that constitutes a good portion of our revenue is inbound traffic. Inbound traffic is an interesting challenge for Triplebyte because we have two products that serve the same customer base, but two very different needs of our customers. Our first product, which is free, Triplebyte Screen, is a self-serve, product-led-growth go-to-market, that enables technical recruiters to incorporate assessments into their hiring pipeline. Our other paid product, which is a pure sales-driven go-to-market strategy, enables technical recruiters to source qualified engineers, who have already taken technical assessments, onto their teams and into their hiring pipeline. Being really clear about messaging, about the needs of the person that is coming inbound and routing them to the right motion, is one of the key ways that we convert our market into revenue.
2) Outbound. The other way would be outbound. Our outbound strategy is fortunate enough to be targeted towards companies who very clearly telegraph their needs for software engineers. We can drive a lot of our outbound strategy by listening to software engineer job postings on ATS, on public job boards, on a variety of data sources, and make sure that our outbound strategy is timely to when the volume of roles that a company has open for software engineers experiences a substantial increase. We can be having those key conversations right when recruiters are feeling the need for increased pipeline most acutely.
3) Making the recruiters that work on our platform champions of our product. We want every single recruiter that interacts with our product that may move onto another company, to want to bring Triple Byte’s hiring and sourcing tools into their new organization and grow the number of champions that we have out there in the market by delivering a great experience to our customers.
What are 3 hard problems that you recently overcame?
1) Finding expectations for the average performance of account executives. The first difficult problem on the go-to-market side would be finding expectations for the average performance of account executives. We were seeing very much a barbell distribution in the performance of different account executives. We weren't sure what we could expect average performance to be, that we could set goals around that were motivating to both performers that we would want to keep, performers who were going to blow the goals out of the water, and effectively manage away people who are going to consistently miss those goals. It took a lot of digging into the specific processes of the AEs, how quickly they were responding to different components and messaging in their sales cycle, listening to a lot of Gong calls, that led us to recalibrate our training programs and produce more and more account executives that were performing at the top end of the barbell, and eventually, move up the average performance of the team, and set reasonable goals for all of the individual AEs.
2) Scaling our BDR team. The second hard problem, which actually dovetails well with the first one was scaling our BDR team. A big component to scaling our BDR team that was challenging, was maintaining win rates on outbound opportunities and ensuring that AEs were treating outbound opportunities with an effective strategy that gave customers more care and attention than the average inbound account may need. Obviously, we want to care and be attentive to all the customers in the sales process, but in terms of prioritization and where incremental efforts might lead to incremental wins, we wanted to make sure that time was being allocated there.
3) Understanding what drives renewals. Our final problem that we recently overcame was understanding what drives renewals. So after a customer has been sold, what exactly are the success metrics that we need to look at, and have our customers achieve, in order for them to have a very, very high probability of renewing. Looking at all the data across our lapsed subscriptions on a normalized basis, which was quite a challenge for our data team, and marrying that with anecdotal and qualitative information provided by our account management team, led us to a really, really clear understanding of exactly the results we need to deliver through our product for our customers, in order for them to continue to see value and renew with us for their continued recruiting success.
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What are 3 roadblocks that you’re working on right now?
1) Marketing two separate products. The two products that we have, Triplebyte Screen and Triplebyte Hire, have two completely different go-to-market motions. While that's been an effective strategy for growing revenue, it does make the marketing of those two products, both on our website, as well as content marketing, as well as lifecycle marketing, extremely challenging.
2) A subchallenge of that is developing consistent messaging and keeping cohesion across the products. So that we're not pitching value propositions to one group of customers that they may get more leverage out of in another product. We don't want to tell screening customers that we're helping increase their hiring pipeline, when in reality, that's the main value prop of our hire product. That dovetails really well with the third problem:
3) Driving cross-product upsells and having customers use both of our products. Because they have two different sales motions, the type of customers that come into both of the products, and become users and adopters, very often have completely divergent profiles, and narrowing into the subset of customers that have needs for both of our products, identifying them in a scalable way, and assigning tasks to our account managers, or to our customer support team, to drive that double product adoption, is something we're still working on and refining.
What are 3 mental models that you use to do your best work?
1) Starting from the outcome. One of the mental models I find most effective when thinking through how we want to approach our users, how we want to approach decisions internally, how we want to approach our market, is starting from the outcome. So, looking at what is the output that we want to achieve from any given scenario. If it's a user, they've already paid for the product, what is it that that user wants at the end of the day from our product? If we're in an internal discussion about personnel, about allocation of resources, what is the end goal that we're trying to achieve? Having everyone kind of grounded in that thinking helps clarify, and make more efficient, a lot of the discussions and decision-making around those processes. One great example I’d give is: we were recently doing a lot of user research and brainstorming on how we could make our sourcing product more effective to our users. Starting with the outcome, our users want to hire software engineers. And, what our user research showed is at the end of the day, they don't care as much how that gets done, as long as the engineers are quality and are meeting their goals. And so if they could push a button and hire software engineers, that would be the most ideal outcome for all of our users. Sourcing Isn't something that recruiters love doing. And so, starting from the outcome here inspired us to kind of fully automate the sourcing process, which led to a feature which is actually launching today, that's going to give our customers a huge lift in the efficiency that our product brings to their workflow. Automatically matching them with candidates who want to talk to companies. Making their workflow now, logging into our platform and only connecting with people who are already interested in working at their company. Starting from the outcome gave us the ability to have that kind of thinking and drive that type of result for our customers.
2) MECE frameworks. A second mental model that suppots this, is MECE frameworks. So, it's a bit of a consulting buzzword, but I actually think it's really effective in breaking all the components of a journey into mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive pieces. Mutually exclusive means that there's no overlap between these pieces, and collectively exhaustive means that together, they kind of paint the whole picture of a funnel, of a customer journey, of a internal process, whatever it might be. And the reason I think this is a powerful mental model is because it really drives you to fully understand every component of a funnel, or a process, in order for you to claim that it's mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. You have to do the work and really dig into, for example, if you're categorizing a customer base, what does a customer segmentation across a particular behavior really look like? That leads you to, “Well, why is that behavior so different in these two different segments of our customer base?” And so, thinking through that framework really helps to uncover like more lines of investigation and brainstorming that can eventually help you deliver more value to your market and eventually grow your revenue.
3) Bias to action. The third one, which powers the prior, is a bias to action. This is something that you definitely want to screen for in your hiring processes. It's something we really value at Triplebyte. Once you have that categorization in place, it's pretty clear which of those categories are good and which of those categories are bad, having a bias to action to immediately try to convert some of the customers, some of the prospects, whatever object it might be that you're dealing with in a negative state, and take action to move them to a positive state, can help, overall, increase the velocity with which your company moves and eventually delivers value to your customers and grows.
What are 3 techniques that GTM teams need to try?
1) Heavily, heavily dogfooding your product. So one thing we are able to do here at Triplebyte, and I would highly encourage other teams to do if it works with the product that they're selling, is heavily, heavily dogfooding your product. Triplebyte’s paid product is a marketplace to source engineers, and we have sourced the most engineers on our platform, bar none. So, we source all of our engineering talent on there. This gives us a really good idea of what our marketplace looks like, the composition of it. It gives us really good insights into, as we release features, what's broken and what's not. Having people at your company be day-to-day users of your product gives you another level of information that you can't really get any other way. The one caveat to that is sometimes you can get over-biased to power users. So, because you're kind of having these people in the product day-to-day, you start to think more like a power user rather than the average user of your product. So, that would be one like cautionary tale. You want to make sure that you're getting like that color from customer feedback and keeping a tight loop with your customers, as well. But, would highly recommend dogfooding the product whenever you can.
2) Developing and communicating marketing from a position of expertise. Another technique that can be informed by dogfooding is developing and communicating marketing from a position of expertise. So, because we have such high close rates on engineers in our own hiring processes, because we're so efficient at recruiting engineers internally, we can take that, and leverage it in our product marketing. That gives us a way to reach customers who, regardless of whether or not they end up using our product, are genuinely curious about what things we might be doing differently that enable us to get the types of results, both with our product and in the general hiring market, that are addressing pain points that they're feeling pretty acutely.
3) Insights marketing. If the activity on your platform can serve as some kind of proxy for a larger market. So in our case, the market for hiring software engineers but in other customers cases, or in other companies cases, proxies for payment volume in the market. One big thing during the supply chain crisis was freight companies were talking through what trends they were seeing. That can also bring people who are really interested in that market into your sales process and help you close more deals.
So, those would be the three techniques I recommended go-to-market teams try.
What are 3 question that you love to ask and why?
I don't know if I can answer this well, to be honest with you, because they would just be the flip of my mental models. Whenever I approach a new situation:
1) What are we trying to do? What is the outcome here for a customer, for like the sales team? What are we trying to drive to?
2) What are all the pieces and steps between where the current state of the world is and what we want our outcome to be?
3) What actions do we need to take to eliminate those steps or make it a very, very high conversion from one state of the world to the other?
So, those are always my three questions when I like see something new or I am trying to explore a new product problem. They served me well so far.
Who are 3 operators that should be our next guests and why?
1) Cynthia McGillis. So, the first operator is a good friend of mine, and she may be too busy right now, but I have to shout her out. Her name is Cynthia McGillis. She leads Revenue Operations at a company called Vercel. She is one of the most adaptable and resilient people I've met. There's never been a problem too big or too small that she hasn't been able to tackle, both in the traditional go-to-market sense, managing revenue operations workflows, but also when we worked together at Lambda School, now known as Bloom Tech, handling a lot of the more unconventional market-to-revenue funnel flows, namely the admissions and operations associated with admissions for students. Seeing someone excel in two very different areas is extremely impressive. But, she's swamped right now, so I don't know if she’ll be able to be a guest in the near term, but definitely someone you should talk to.
2) Anshuk Gandhi. The second person is someone who works at Triplebyte. His name is Anshuk. He's the VP of Growth here at Triplebyte. He fully manages our screening product and has taken that from zero to hundreds of, and near-thousand, monthly active users. He was, before, at LinkedIn, helping with their certifications team. He has a really, really broad depth of experience, and one of the best approaches to experimentation I've ever seen on a growth and go-to-market side.
3)Trey Knowles. Trey Knowles also works at Vercel, and we also worked together at Bloom Tech. Similarly, someone who excelled in kind of developing a sales motion for getting partner companies at Bloom Tech and is now selling a developer platform tool and leading a team of account executives. Being able to outperform at two very different markets, very different motions, and move from one to the other with unflinching enthusiasm is something really admirable. So, he would be the third person I would recommend.
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