Ryan Cush, Chief Revenue Officer at data.world highlights more on what it takes to create effective selling cultures in B2B:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Ryan, tell us more about being CRO at data.world…
Thanks for having me for this Q&A! Since starting as data.world’s CRO back in 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to build our sales and services teams and think about how we want to make ourselves stand out in the competitive market of data cataloging and governance. As the CRO, I’m overseeing both our sales and customer experience teams, so an important aspect of my role is making sure that both existing and new customers are satisfied and knowledgeable about our products and services.
We must also make sure potential customers understand the rapid changes underway in the data management space and how we can help them build a modern data stack. Right now, just about every company in the United States is considering a migration to the cloud or is already well underway. For many, especially those who are used to doing things the “old” way, that change can be incredibly daunting. Our job is to help make that process as simple as possible so that businesses can effectively use their data to grow and thrive.
How have you been seeing the role of the B2B CRO change today, what are some of the top skills and best practices that you feel CRO’s today need to hone in on?
While the scope of a CRO’s role can vary, I’m seeing more CROs whose purview includes the post-sales experience in addition to sales. I think this is absolutely critical because it ensures that sales is selling good business, while keeping implementation and customer-success tightly linked to the changing dynamics of the market. Setting good expectations early in the customer journey is crucial for building successful, long-term relationships.
Something else that’s critical for CROs, especially in this job market, is finding the right people to join your team. There’s really no such thing as a simple pipeline of talent anymore with so much competition for folks going into sales. CROs need to find people who fit the company’s culture, want to help your company grow its business, and sell your company and its vision for the future to attract the right customers. Bringing these people on board creates a team with buy-in, and in today’s market, that buy-in pays dividends when it comes to acquiring new customers.
Lastly, it’s getting increasingly difficult to cut through the noise of outbound prospecting. It’s really important to drive inbound interest in your company and solution, which can really complement your outbounding efforts and make them more effective.
Take us through some of the core processes that you follow closer home at data.world to drive output and also, a little dive into the kind of salestech and revtech that you use to power your goals/efforts?
We have a well-documented sales process that captures all of the key aspects of our selling motion and forms the basis of all new hire training. We make sure that this document also stays up to date so that we have one source of truth. Generally speaking, we keep things pretty simple. We use MEDDPICC as our qualification framework and have a limited number of pipeline stages. We introduced Forecast Categories several quarters ago (separate from pipeline stages), which greatly increased the accuracy of our near-term forecasting.
At data.world we are fortunate that our executive team and our Product & Engineering leaders are all extremely customer-focused, and are very active in sales cycles and post-sales customer work. We truly compete and win as a company. And everyone in the company is bonused on the same two metrics, which reflect growth and customer success, keeping us all highly aligned.
We have implemented the Predictable Revenue model, with a stellar team of BDRs and SDRs helping drive lead flow and prequalification, so that our AEs can really focus most of their efforts on selling & closing. This also means that new AEs can start taking initial meetings and building their pipeline as soon as 15 days after starting at data.world.
In terms of tech stack, we keep it simple there as well. Today we use HubSpot for our CRM but are exploring a migration to Salesforce for sales at least – marketing will likely remain on HubSpot for the foreseeable future – and we use ZoomInfo for lead enrichment. The most popular part of our stack is Gong, which is great for everything from training to market intelligence to product research.
In what ways do you feel B2B sales will evolve in the near-future?
Sales has always been about meeting potential customers where they are. In the past, this was primarily at dedicated meetings or conferences. As more and more people, especially in the technology sector, turn to online platforms as their main mode of communication with peers, that is where sales will transition as well.
Slack channels and dedicated forums for data analysts are now a primary way that people communicate with their peers, and thus, the main way that they hear about business partners. Effectively targeting and marketing in channels like these will be critical to the future of B2B sales.
A few thoughts on the top trends you feel will shape online marketplaces through this year…
In our sector, we are seeing customers place a high value on platforms that integrate multiple competencies, versus buying several best in breed solutions and integrating them. We are also seeing an increase in consumption-based pricing, made popular by Snowflake, among others.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up!
This is definitely an exciting time to be in B2B tech sales. There continues to be great innovation in sales tech, and for a company like ours whose platform was cloud-native SaaS from the start, we benefit from incredibly fast product innovation – which every sales team loves.
data.world is the enterprise data catalog for the modern data stack. Its cloud-native SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform combines a consumer-grade user experience with a powerful knowledge graph to deliver enhanced data discovery, agile data governance, and actionable insights. data.world is a Certified B Corporation and public benefit corporation and home to the world’s largest collaborative open data community with more than 1.6 million members, including 90% of the Fortune 500. The company has 48+ patents and has been named one of Austin’s Best Places to Work six years in a row.
Ryan Cush is the Chief Revenue Officer of data.world, where he leads the company’s sales, technical services, and customer success teams. data.world is the enterprise data catalog for the modern data stack. Its cloud-native SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform combines a consumer-grade user experience with a powerful knowledge graph to deliver enhanced data discovery, agile data governance, and actionable insights. data.world is a Certified B Corporation and public benefit corporation and home to the world’s largest collaborative open data community with more than 1.6 million members, including 90% of the Fortune 500.
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