SalesTechStar Interview with Jane Kelly, Head of Growth at Retool

While sales leaders and sales teams focus on maximizing their data sources and customer insights to drive sales conversations, they need to always remember that too much data is not what leads to better sales; Jane Kelly, Head of Growth at Retool shares more on the importance of actionable insights for sales and marketing while taking us through a few B2B sales best practices:




Hi Jane, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years…tell us more about your role as Head of Growth at Retool?

My job is to help identify opportunities for Retool to grow its user base. At a relatively early stage company like Retool, that normally means having a really good understanding of the people trying Retool for the first time all the way through to renewals and expansions. I am always trying to identify where our biggest gaps are, where our biggest opportunities could be, and then figure out how to do targeted work in that area so we know if and how we should invest more.

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We’d love to hear about some of the top sales and customer data challenges you / the team faced at Retool over the years, what processes and tools did you focus on putting in place to help with this?

As a developer-focused SaaS company, we’ve definitely had a few customer data challenges. First, our target audience is technical builders—a cohort that commonly uses ad blockers and monitors tracking. This makes advertising attribution a bit trickier and forces us to think about new ways to cohort leads.

Another challenge we face is giving developers immediate access to our product while collecting enough initial data to understand who are the right prospects for sales. There are many events we could be tracking, so it’s important to decide what to ask for, what to rely on sources like Clearbit for and what to gather from early usage to provide the sales and other GTM teams with the insights they need.

We offer two ways to use Retool: on the cloud or on-prem. When customers choose to deploy on-prem, we need completely different approaches to measuring product usage. Afterwards, we need to figure out how to standardize and segment data across both options.

This is where we’ve relied on the flexibility provided by Twilio Segment’s customer data pipeline, as well as tools like dbt and Retool, to solve these challenges. Because the pipeline is flexible we’re able to pipe events between different sources, and join it all in our data warehouse before sending insights on Salesforce, HubSpot and Retool (of course!) for the team to use.

Tell us about some of your top learnings you’ve had from fixing common sales and customer facing challenges in your time in tech?

Over the years, I’ve noticed that more data does not always translate to less problems or better results for customer-facing teams. When most sales teams are ramping up, almost everything they need lives in Salesforce, so it seems logical to keep adding data points to Salesforce.

However, as you acquire more customers and grow the team, a long list of data points on a customer page can provide more distraction than insight. Having an endless scroll of data in Salesforce does not improve sales, but having actionable data and clear focus can make a huge difference. So one lesson I’ve learned is to stop and think-> what data can we share with teams that will create clear, actionable insights for them….How can I partner with sales ops to best fit into the sales flow…

What according to you should sales leaders be focusing on more in today’s business environment?

I’ve found that having technical operations experts across different go-to-market teams can make a huge difference for sales leaders to drive more ROI.

When each GTM team has an expert in their discipline who can also do basic data collection and modeling, you can bypass a lot of inter-team friction that happens as teams grow. At Retool, having operations leaders on sales and marketing means we have a highly unified stack, high confidence in our pipeline, and the right data to make sales and marketing better.

As B2B data trends evolve, what are some thoughts you’d like to share on the future of data-driven marketing and revenue strategies?

One trend to keep in mind is product-led growth. More and more companies are giving people product access early, letting them explore, and understanding their use cases before ever reaching out.

Taking action on product behavior, finding ways to personalize your marketing and sales approach, and finding the right queue and time for sales to reach out will be an interesting area of development. There’s still a huge gap between the promise of personalized customer outreach and the tooling most companies need to turn it into a reality. The leaders of tomorrow are the companies that do a great job implementing a process where they can act on that data quickly.

A few thoughts on what Revenue and Sales leaders need to be doing more of today to align team and business goals?

One thing I recommend for every sales leader, particularly one who is joining a new company, is to ask their peers and counterparts: what insights have we learned over the past 6 months? What’s one thing we’ve learned about our customers in the past year?

You’d be amazed at how much insight and data you can tap into without starting from scratch. Too much analysis at companies starts from scratch instead of building on existing knowledge and cross-functional teams. When you are genuinely curious about what other teams are learning, you are more likely to use the same source of truth, more likely to invest in keeping that source of truth accurate, and more likely to arrive at aligned perspectives faster—so you can focus on action.

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How do you see the role of the typical B2B sales leader or Growth Marketer / Head of Growth evolving?

Growth is a very interesting discipline. It’s incredibly cross-functional, and often it is very specific to the business needs and the person leading the charge—are they a technical expert? a marketer? data wrangler?

Growth teams are usually created to fill a gap for the business, and evolve to solve new gaps once the initial one has been fixed. I imagine the role will continue to be ambiguous, but I also think that is an exciting opportunity for people who want to constantly solve hard business problems.

Retool provides quick and easy ways to build your own custom internal tools.

Jane Kelly is the Head of Growth at Retool

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