October 26, 2021

How To Unlock New Revenue By Empowering Sales Leaders in 2022, According to HackerOne CRO

We recently had the opportunity and pleasure of sitting down with Marjorie Janiewicz, CRO of HackerOne. In this exclusive CRO Fireside Chat with BoostUp CEO Sharad Verma, the two discussed how to unlock new revenue in 2022 by empowering your sales leaders.  Points of discussion included:

  • What data to track to expand SMB, mid-market, and enterprise segments
  • How do you know you are ready to expand geographically
  • How to forecast across multiple business segments
  • Empowering Sales Leaders with data
  • How Sales Leaders should use data to drive sales success
  • Merging coaching, deal inspection, and forecasting

The Role of the Modern CRO

The role of the modern CRO is changing. They care about front-line productivity, the efficiency of selling, enablement of their managers and reps, use data to drive predictability in forecasting, and partner with sales and revenue operations to be their co-pilot to drive consistency and predictability in sales.

There is an art and science of approaching sales motions. I really believe selling is a process you can measure, predict and tune. This gives you the opportunity to look at data, slice the data in various ways with the ultimate goal of driving growth.

Marjorie Janiewicz, Chief Revenue Officer, HackerOne

Sales leaders must drive front-line success but now have a higher-level responsibility. They must transition from the role of the scorekeeper to the coach, says Majorie. In the past, sales leaders had to be experts at inspecting a forecast, but now they must merge forecasting and coaching into one. 

No Two Organizations are the Same

No two companies are the same, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to expansion, growth, and scale. Starting points, strengths, weaknesses, and end goals are all different.

The key to a successful growth strategy is collecting, measuring, and tracking the right data for your business, empowering sales leaders to drive change. But, the data you capture depends on where your business is and where you want to go.

We tried to build strong sales operations and enablement muscle to architect growth and ensure that we have the right tools to enable growth for the business. 

Marjorie Janiewicz, Chief Revenue Officer, HackerOne

Programs to Drive Growth and Scale Effectively

The most important foundation to drive productivity at the science level is to have a consistent sales process and sales methodology embedded into your systems. Sales need to be trained and accountable for understanding the methodology and following the process. Mapping this information into your sales process helps sales understand what is needed to move the deal forward. This helps managers and reps shorten their time to hit quota.

We track an important metric at HackerOne, and that is how fast it takes reps to hit their quota the first time. The first time to quota is our definition of sales productivity. We then look ahead 12 months and further segment this by region and business to understand our future opportunities. We do this quarterly, and this is the foundation of our capacity planning.

Marjorie Janiewicz, Chief Revenue Officer, HackerOne

Criteria for Capacity Planning for 2022

This is the time when everyone is doing next-year planning. Capacity planning looks at the market, growth, productivity analyses to drive proper and strategic planning. 

Capacity planning is the stepladder that gets you from the current state of the world to where you want to be, let’s say in a year from now. Capacity planning involves measuring and quantifying the current capability of your sales team and then comparing that against your sales goals. Then, from that, create an action plan to bridge the gap.

Up until now, every rep and manager was given the sales number of accounts and opportunities. However, reps have different capacities, and we are seeing numbers like effort, engagement, time spent in the account becoming a factor in capacity planning exercises.

Sharad Verma, Chief Executive Officer, BoostUp

Establish a Discipline to Create Predictability in Forecasting

When you have an enterprise and SMB business, you have to use a different approach for forecasting, in terms of forecast cadences, metrics you are tracking, and how granularly you look at each opportunity.

An essential metric to HackerOne CRO, Marjorie, is estimated conversion rates for enterprise and SMB businesses. Growth analysis and AI for forecasting are important for forecast accuracy as well. Looking at how deals typically move through the funnel, how the sales pipeline progresses down the quarter, new pipeline generation, and conversion metrics are all significant indicators for forecast accuracy. 

This allows HackerOne to break down the data and look at the average time to close by the business segment - enterprise vs. SMB. In-quarter pipeline is a big trend evolving in this hybrid sales model. 

As with whatever forecast model you use, it is critically important to refine the process, track the metrics, and look at sales behavior as an indicator of sales accuracy. Marjorie looks at specific pipeline generation targets and conversation metrics across marketing, sales, customer success, BDRs as another critical indicator of predicting their forecast.

In Summary and Closing Advice

As we close down the session, what advice would you give an up-and-coming sales leader or CRO if they want to be successful? Marjorie indicates that you need to get on the same page as the CFO and understand what metrics are most important to the business, including customer acquisition costs (CAC) and the long-term value (LTV) of the customer. Additionally, she shares additional advice to be successful in 2022.

Probably the number one piece of advice I would give is to never compromise on talent. Having the right people on the team drives the right processes, investments, and decisions for the company. Hire curious people who want to build a beautiful business not just for the next quarter but for the future of the business.

Marjorie Janiewicz, Chief Revenue Officer, HackerOne

So in closing, hire the right people, never compromise on talent, implement a data-driven process to make decisions, and have a long-term perspective.

To get the full recording of Sharad’s conversation with Marjorie Janiewicz, click on the link below.

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