SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Haggai Levi, CEO at SetSail

What are some of the top sales metrics that sales teams need to be focusing on today and how can sales leaders use gamification or better training to boost their sales efforts? Haggai Levi, CEO at SetSail shares more in this chat:


Tell us about your journey through the years…we’d love to hear more about the SetSail Platform and why you created the company.

I have always had a passion for helping people arrive at the right answer using data. That passion has over the years led me through advising and leadership roles in the world’s most data-driven firms – from McKinsey to Google. It was at Google that I realized that no matter how ubiquitous data and technology become, they alone aren’t enough to drive meaningful change in B2B sales. That realization came from an experiment we conducted, which turned out to be one of Google’s most successful revenue acceleration projects, where we combined data science with behavioral science to increase quota attainment across thousands of sales reps. It became clear to me and my co-founders that we have a huge potential in front of us to empower every sales rep in the world to behave like a top rep. That’s when we decided to quit and launch SetSail.

Can you share a few thoughts on what key metrics should be driving sales and marketing evaluations through 2021 and how this has changed since the last few years and especially 2020, due to the pandemic?

Today, we have the embarrassment of riches when it comes to sales data. The proliferation of sales tools like call recording, email integration, forecasting, and APIs, have created a sea of revenue data that we feel compelled to create many KPIs out of.

But more data creates more noise. We are at a point where we are building dashboards over dashboards to make sense of all the insights coming our way. Not much of that is really able to solve the thorniest of problems in sales, which are: rep attainment (20% of reps drive 80% of the revenue) and ramp time (6+ month average ramp time hurts bottom lines everywhere). So if the sales organizations can focus on just those two metrics, they can make a big difference. To do that, lagging indicators won’t cut it anymore. You have to focus on leading indicators

– what are the activities your reps are doing early in their time with your company that you need to be paying attention to? Here at SetSail we are all about those leading indicators of sales success. The new advances in AI have fully moved the predictive metrics from wishful thinking to something that every company should track to compete and win better.

There’s been a lot of focus on gamifying training and upskilling initiatives and in today’s largely remote working world, sales and marketing training is key and has to be done with a renewed purpose: what are some of the top trends you’re seeing here?

Sales gamification hasn’t lived up to its hype. A lot of companies are realizing that gamification tools are easily gameable. If you are a rep and you can win by making more calls, who says that you have been careful to call the right people with the right message? That’s why a key trend I’m seeing in gamification is bringing more of the intelligence around the buyer into those systems. Did the buyer respond with positive language? Did they send an NDA? Is their title a VP? Those things you cannot easily game. So rewarding customer behavior, not rep activity is the trend I see.

As sales teams expand in some companies, what are some of the key onboarding tactics you feel sales leaders should be following today?

Early activity around pipeline creation is important. 85-90% of training has no lasting impact. So onboarding training is good, but you need to get reps prospecting and creating opportunities as early as possible. There again you need to focus the reps on small wins that lead to their big win. Incentivize milestones like opportunity creation, adding new contacts to the system, or reducing the time between emails from prospects so they follow up more thoroughly. Those are key on-the-job ramping tactics that can reduce the rep’s time to revenue.

Can you offer a few thoughts on what you feel the future of sales in the tech market would look like, given current dynamics? 

More automation for sure. If you think about it, today, it takes a room of analysts, enablement, and marketing people to launch a new sales play to reps. You should be able to automate and scale those tactics – from building dashboards to training and guidance – in a smart intuitive system by now. I think that’s going to be the big wave of next-generation sales ops transformation. Rapid changes in the business and economic landscape bring frequent strategy shifts. I am imagining a rep to be able to ramp on selling to a new buyer or a new segment in a matter of days, not months with the right amount of automation – of knowledge, guidance, and of course, the customer’s buying signals.

A few must-dos that every CEO in SaaS should follow through 2021?

2021 is going to be a year of the new normal. CEOs should think long-term about their remote working, employee engagement, and customer relationship strategies. What kind of a company do you want to be? Virtual, global, local, or a combination of all? How do you want to engage with your community of employees, customers, and partners in this new digital-first world? That’s top of mind for me right now as I think of the next phase of SetSail’s growth. Those are pivotal choices that will determine what our culture and impact on the communities we serve will shape up to be.


SetSail is the first signal-based selling platform designed for the digital age. It uses AI and behavioral science to transform sales data into buying signals and rewards that drive more revenue. 

Haggai Levi is the CEO at SetSail

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