Episode Summary 

MASTERs OF MEDDICC

EPISODE 3 - TRAVIS PATTERSON


In this episode of Masters of MEDDICC, Andy talks to Chief Revenue Officer at Imply, Travis Patterson, about hiring, sales, and recruiting. 

Prior to Imply, Travis led the sales organization at SignalFx who was acquired by Splunk in 2019 for over a billion dollars.

Travis has over 20 years of experience working in enterprise sales, having taken up roles at Opsware, Aviso, SignalFx, IronKey, PTC, BladeLogic, and Mesosphere. 

Today, we explore what makes a good seller, how Travis goes about finding these sellers, the importance of good leadership, and the emphasis on constantly learning. 

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Key Takeaways 

  • “Through the course of your career, you’re trying to over index for learning. I want to learn. I want to be in a situation where you’re not the smartest person in the room.” 
  • “It only feels like it was a fun experience after it’s over and you get to read the book, but when you’re in it, it’s a lot of work, stress, and focus.” 
  • “Bad people don’t tend to stick together; only good people.” 
  • “Part of the pride of you getting to a certain point in your career is that you’ve worked with a lot of good people, and you’ve been able to help people further their career as well.” 
  • “We can go recruit all we want, but the really great sales people that we want to hire have to want to work with us.” 
  • “Intelligence allows you to be creative. It’s a really important thing that you can’t fix as a leader. If the person you hire doesn’t have it, there’s not much that you’re going to be able to impart.” 
  • “If you’re smart and you work hard, but you don’t take feedback, it’s going to be hard to grow in the way that we need you to grow.” 
  • “You want a competitive team. Everyone in your team wants to be number one, but they want whoever is in second place to be just $1 behind them.” 

TRANSCRIPT:

Andy Whyte  0:00 
Hey, I’m Andy Whyte and welcome to masters of medic. This is the show where we get to talk to the best of the best in enterprise sales. In this episode, we’re talking to Travis Patterson, the chief Revenue Officer at imply, Travis is the guy that the folks at Andreessen Horowitz have on speed dial when they need someone to lead revenue for their companies. It’s been a sales leader for over 10 different companies. And I really think you’re gonna love hearing

Hey, Travis,

welcome to masters medic, it is an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. I was blown away when you agreed to talk to me today because like looking at your resume, your background, your experience in this one for the sales. You know, it’s it’s, it speaks for itself. So thank you, first and foremost, for taking the time to talk to me and the audience. And perhaps I start off as we always do with you telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came into this wonderful world of enterprise sales.

Travis Patterson  0:59 
Well, first of all, thanks for having me, Andy, really appreciate it. Look forward to spending some time with you this morning. Uh, let’s see. So yeah, like most out of college, just looked at a lot of different things to kind of do and I live in Dallas, Texas, went to graduate school there and kind of got bored with grad school and started looking at different roles, you know, different different opportunities going on interviews while I was in school and figuring out kind of what what fit best and I came across a company. This is an early 90s called physician sales and service and they were selling medical supplies to doctors offices. So I joined there got a territory in East Texas moved to Tyler, Texas of all places for two years. And, and so, you know, medical supplies to doctors all across East Texas, which was a you know, at first these Texas was not where I want it to be but but over time, it really you know, came to love the people and and the opportunity there got got an opportunity to go into management pretty early, move to Phoenix for a year and then move to the Bay, you know, in medical moved to the Bay Area in the mid 90s. As a as a manager, you know, kind of leading a team of doing that here in Northern California had never been to the Bay Area never been to San Francisco never plan to kind of be in the Bay Area. But it doesn’t take long being in the bay and, and and meeting different people in the sales world to to decide that, you know, medical is probably not the right place to be I actually met a guy named Carlos dilatory, who a lot of people that are watching this will know Carlos. He’s had a great career and fantastic sales leader. And he was at PTC and he said, Hey, you know, you should come interview with us. And so that was it. That’s how I got an enterprise sales through Carlos and an interview at PTC in 1995.

Andy Whyte  3:02 
Ah, yeah, the ever famous PTC the ground, no ground zero for quality quality sales, leadership talent. You know, I think that’s, that goes without saying fascinating stuff. And one of the things that I’ve come to sort of know from PTC at that time, a lot of the people I’ve spoken to who who started their sort of careers in enterprise cell technology sales at PTC, didn’t, it was just that, that they started technology cells there was, was there. Do you think that’s part of the strategy at PTC to find sort of talent from other sales industries and bring them in?

Travis Patterson  3:41 
Yeah, certainly, like, at the time, if you wanted to be in technology sales, there weren’t that many options, right, PTC hired, you know, essentially alpha males from from lots of different backgrounds. Right. You know, a lot of the folks came from selling printers copiers. You know, myself on the medical side, a handful of us came from that background. And you didn’t have to have a technology degree. You know, at the time, I think most most folks that sold technology had a tech background, a computer science or electrical engineering type background. And then they kind of went into the sales world. PTC was one of the first to say, look, we’re gonna go hire young, aggressive, smart salespeople, We’ll train them how to sell technology, we’ll invest in their development on the technology sales side, what we want, you know, we want aggressive salespeople. And so the place was just packed with hyper aggressive, you know, alpha types that obviously, you know, went on to do some really cool stuff.

Andy Whyte  4:42 
Yeah, that is fascinating. Do you think that, that a similar strategy like that, where those types of characters would work in today’s world?

Travis Patterson  4:51 
Of course, it works in today’s world? Yeah. Yeah. We did the same thing right now we hire SDRs. For example, right? To right out of college, and, you know, we look for a lot of the same attributes that were successful, you know, in a cellar in the mid 90s. At PTC, those same attributes are the same attributes that we want today, right? We’re not hiring computer science majors. Even though we sell a fairly technical product, we’re hiring young, smart, aggressive, folks that want to want to pursue a career in sales, maybe they, maybe they waited tables, maybe they sold door to door, I just, I just talked to a candidate, an SDR candidate who’s graduating in December. And he spent the last two summers he’s got a statistics degree, but he spent the last few summers selling pest control, right in suburban Las Vegas knocking on doors 12 hours a day, and he found that he loves it, you know, he would love to do that and pursue a sales degree than then go and be a statistician or today or a data scientist. So you know, those things that worked in the mid 90s work today. And I think if you look at a lot of the successful sales organizations, that’s, that’s what’s happening.

Andy Whyte  6:07 
Fascinating. And so taking that example of the SDR candidate, how did you how did you find that candidate? Where are you? How you How are you finding these candidates that find you with that kind of experience?

Ah, that’s it. Yeah. So

Travis Patterson  6:21 
there are recruiters that specialize in that right. So there’s a you know, if you’re here in the Bay Area, you probably know better recruiting. Right? They are the de facto sort of primary focus for for recruiting SDR candidates, young folks right out of college. In this particular case, it came from a referral right actually a referral from from Mark cranny so small world here, but Mark introduced me to this candidate, he didn’t have a space for him on his team and said, Hey, you might want to take a look at this guy. I think you’d be a good fit.

Andy Whyte  6:55 
Yeah, well, that’s it. That’s a pretty, pretty good endorsement to get from from Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I it’s funny, because that was actually a little bit like my, my entry into the lot of sales, I was going door to door commission only sales job was my first ever sales job. And when I kind of wanted to get into b2b sales, I was kind of met with this classic catch 22 of like, you know, we, we like your background, we’d like your approach. But can you come back when you’ve got some b2b experience, which is obviously a catch 22 in itself, so, but what I’ve always thought and said senses, there were things that I learned out on in that job, you know, that I have never seen the opportunity to learn in b2b sales itself, but that actually, you know, have driven me to, to find success in b2b sales, you know, it’s just funny things like, you know, if you are knocking on doors, and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s eight o’clock in the evening, and you, there’s one house that’s just separated from the others, you’re going to have a conversation with yourself on my cars back that way, I could go home, it’s cold, it’s wet, and then whatever. And one thing you learn is that, that, that if you make that call that was difficult to go and knock on that door, you are 100%. In my case, I was making appointments, making an appointment for myself to go back. And you know, I may not, I may not get the deal, but you would always get that person’s name and a time in your diary to go and see them. And I think, you know, if you if you take the, the mental approach that comes with that, that sort of mind over matter, the positive app, you know, positive affirmations of it, that, you know, things like that you don’t get to do in in b2b sales so much.

Travis Patterson  8:39 
Yeah, certainly. I mean, we, I love seeing candidates with that kind of a background, right, knocking on door selling knives, selling encyclopedias, or I guess that’s older, but, you know, selling pest control in this case, right. You know, there’s LDS kids that went on two year missions to South America to convert folks to, to that, that religion, you know, that’s, that’s hard. That’s hard. You know, it’s really tough. And so once you do that, and you understand the, the work ethics, that that’s involved, the ability to communicate, that’s necessary, the ability to have empathy to listen, you know, to the value of cold calling, like you said, right, knocking on that last door when it’s easy to go home. those are those are the early lessons that you can learn in your career that become really valuable to you as you embark on an enterprise sales role for sure. And we love finding candidates that have that kind of a background.

Andy Whyte  9:39 
Yeah, and I think there’s one other positive thing that that experience gives you is that you in my role, especially I guess, it’s the same as same person from you are getting several like multiples of b2c sales cycles in a very short space of time. I would do you know, free for sale cycles a day, you know, I’d go I booked them meeting and I’m going to try and, you know, do the demo the pitch the value proposition and close it, you know, in the enterprise sales, you know, you do, you know, I know the averages, but maybe the one a month one one deal a month type thing. And so yeah, it’s getting that not so much relevant to b2b experience about how organizations by understanding the emotional reactions and how he can promote respond. Yeah,

Travis Patterson  10:24 
I would. Like I would also say that the things that made you successful, right, what were you selling when you were knocking on doors, please?

Andy Whyte  10:33 
This is going to the people in listening in the UK to this, it sounds very cliche, it was double glazing. So it was like, doors, right?

Travis Patterson  10:40 
I saw that Netflix, there was a Netflix on that where the guys were knocking on doors in the UK selling double glazing I forget the name of it,

Andy Whyte  10:47 
like gold, white gold. Cold. Yeah,

Travis Patterson  10:49 
that’s a great one in the 80s, right.

Andy Whyte  10:52 
Just love the shade like that. So yeah,

Travis Patterson  10:55 
yeah. So whether it’s selling double glazed windows, or, you know, tongue depressors in East Texas, or, you know, Pest Services, or, you know, you hear these guys that sold, I never sold copiers, but running around big buildings, getting chased by security, right, trying to make the copier sales, you learn some things that are absolutely transferable into enterprise sales, right, which is, you know, it’s, it’s still a math game, right, you still have to go make the cold calls. If you show the product, you will sell the product. So demoing, you know, if all else fails, like get the product in front of the customer, you learn to listen and do objection handling on the fly. So you get very good at understanding objections. And, and the repetition of doing that as a b2c, you know, when you’re doing that selling the that thing in your early career, those skill sets are absolutely transferable, it still is the thing that will make you successful in selling, you know, whatever type of software that you’re selling.

Andy Whyte  11:59 
Yeah. So going back to PTC, where you’ve come in doing medical sales, and you’ve obviously gone into BTC, which is, you know, much fame is a great place to learn, you know, probably one of the best, and how different Did you find going from medical sales to technology sales

Travis Patterson  12:16 
a lot, right, you went from, you know, being in your car all day, which is what we were doing, you know, and going literally like driving into Someone’s knocking on their door going in and making a sales call to, to being in an office, on the phone, you know, back in and you know, kind of date myself here. But you know, at the time, in order to find leads, you’d get the San Jose Mercury News and like kind of go through to help one ads and figure out who was who, you know, what company in your patch was hiring mechanical engineers, and then you’d start banging the phones and trying to get meetings, this is all even pre email. And then email came along. And that that became obviously a way to do outreach. But it was a, it was a pretty big transition as far as like how you spent your day. But but certainly this again, the same skill sets, right, the cold calls the you know, getting demos showing the product, it was a very visual technology. And you know, in the early 90s, anyway, or the mid 90s, PTC was so it was all about getting the product in front of the customer, you know, we had a better product, so we drive everybody to a proof of concept validation event, and then try to close, and that was the sales process, that same sales process, with variations on it is still essentially what we use today, right? That sales processes has been tried and true. And it works today, if you execute it correctly.

Andy Whyte  13:41 
That and that in itself is always fascinating to me, when when I speak to sales leaders like yourself who say that, you know, regardless of what I’m selling, or the industry I’m selling to or the technology I’m selling, the playbook remains very, very similar. Did you find that’s what you’re saying? You know, your your playbook stays the same.

Travis Patterson  14:02 
In broad strokes, yeah, absolutely. Right. So the the big, the big blocks of of that have stayed the same. Right. What has changed is the tech stack has changed quite a bit. The the approach to to SAS obviously is changed things quite a bit. How do you get leads? How do we how do we work the market itself, but But certainly, you know, showing the product still matters, right? Doing the cold calls still matters, driving the customer to a validation event, qualifying that validation event effectively, you know, getting to the economic buyer and making sure that you’ve got that thing qualified. All of those key pieces are absolutely transferable from you know, the mid 90s to today for sure.

Andy Whyte  14:48 
Yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s fascinating to me that that that has been the case. Do you think it’s because the the wave fundamentally that organizations are buying like you say that There’s differences in the business models, as you know, old perpetual licenses to SAS and those types of thing. But fundamentally, the way that organizations make decisions has stayed similar.

Travis Patterson  15:13 
Well, it’s certainly gone from a top down decision making to a very sort of democratized bottoms up decision making in certain industries. Right. I mean, you know, I, you know, Okta and some of these other tools may be more of a CIO approach for us. And mostly what I’ve been selling, whether it’s DevOps tools or data tools, a lot of the decision making has been pushed down. And, and that’s been the case on the West Coast for a long time, right. tech companies have tried to push technical decision making as far down the the org chart as they can. So you still have to win hearts and minds, right, that hasn’t changed. You’ve got to go in and show the product, you got to go win hearts and minds from the technical decision maker, you need to understand, you know, thinking of the value pyramid, you have to understand the key players in middle management and what they care about, and you have to sell at that level. And then you have to have an executive sales strategy. So being able to sell at all three levels, whether it’s the user level, the VP, Director level, or the sea level, in understanding your value pyramid for each of those levels is is really important. How you validate and how you go through a sales process is similar. But being able to sell it all three levels, that that obviously aligns with your technology and how you assign your technology or your critical capabilities and your technology into that value pyramid as it changes with the product. But but is consistent across products, right? The company that did that probably the best of all is app dynamics, right? They sold APM solutions. I never worked there. But I’ve hired a bunch of folks that that have worked there, they were absolutely pros at delivering that value pyramid message and aligning their critical capabilities with customer outcomes, and that and that value pyramid. So those are those are some of the techniques that we’ve adopted that we use quite a bit that maybe have evolved quite a bit from the the old PTC days but but are really valuable in today’s selling environment and how customers buy.

Andy Whyte  17:17 
Right. And where’d you where’d you you mentioned, changed a little bit from the PTC days. And obviously, you’ve had a wonderful career, which we can come back into in a moment. But what do you do? Was there another moment in your career where just like in b2c, you, I’m sure you learn so much, Was there another role you had where you kind of would say that there was like a similar sort of shift in learning and approach that you took on?

Travis Patterson  17:42 
I don’t know if there’s been anything that’s been sort of Earth shaking from a change perspective. You know, I just, you know, I think about the leaders that I’ve worked for, and the things that you can learn, you know, and you try to pick up along the way, right, whether it’s a CEO, that you’re able to kind of watch and understand how they operate, or a sales leader that you watch and understand how they kind of engage with the customer or the process that they teach. And really, you’re trying to through the course of your career, you’re trying to over index for learning, right? I want to learn I want to be in a situation where, you know, you’re not the smartest person in the room, right? You’re going into a meeting, and you’re learning from your peers, from your leaders in the organization, you try to pick up key pieces from that in your career and turn it in, turn it into what works for you. So like there’s not a single thing that has changed necessarily, or was kind of as as sort of transformative as going from medical sales into PTC. You know, certainly I always think about going from a small company to a big company, I’ve been through a couple of acquisition that can be pretty, pretty dramatic and will rock you a little bit, or going from a large company into a small company can do that to you. But mostly, it’s just about trying to pick up best practices from everywhere, right, from from sales reps, you know, I’ve seen sales reps that do champion building better than I could ever do it like, like, that was awesome. Like you guys did a great job of building a champion. I mean, we’re just doing a wind report with a with a on a deal that we closed. And the SE was talking about how he built se champions or technical champions in that customer. And some of the work that these guys do is phenomenal. And so as as a leader, you’re just trying to pick up what what can I learn from each of these and then how can I bring that into my toolkit and

Andy Whyte  19:42 
try to reuse it? Now I love that. I love that you talk you talk a little bit about champions that I have to ask the question asked everyone else what’s for you, you know, obviously champion has an element of medical med pick, which is which is the element of of medic that he You think is the most important, the most imperative to selling?

Travis Patterson  20:04 
Well, there’s only one answer to that, which is the champion, right? Having a champion, building a champion, developing a champion, you kind of have to, you know, define them or build them, it’s a little of both, right? You have to find somebody that’s capable of being your champion. And then you’ve got to build them in when I say like, I’ve actually seen salespeople do a really good job of this is their ability to not only find, but then really develop a champion, right? Have that, you know, champion conversation, right, pull them aside and understand, what are they doing from a career perspective? What matters to them with their family? What are they trying to accomplish? And then asking very, you know, direct questions, hey, this is what I expect from you as my champion, right? You’re going to go into this meeting, I’m not going to get invited to that meeting. When you go into that meeting, can we roleplay this, let’s talk about the questions that you’re going to get asked, Are you capable and willing to step up and act as a champion in that meeting. And so the really, the best sales reps are not afraid to have that conversation and be really direct with with their champion or the person that they’re hoping is their champion, and asking tough questions to make sure they’re, they’re ready to go when that when that meeting happens, because there’s always we always think there’s always that one meeting, right where you don’t get invited as a seller, your assays, not in the room, but the customer is sitting down and trying to make a decision on which way to go. And you’ve got to have that champion who’s willing to stand up in that meeting and pounding the table for you. And so you want to you want to get in front of that, right? And you want to you want to pull that person aside and say, hey, you’re gonna go into this meeting, you’re gonna get these questions. Are you ready for them? Can we roleplay those questions? Are you are you willing to kind of stand up and fight for us? And the best sellers are really good at doing that?

Andy Whyte  21:48 
Yeah, I cannot agree more that actually, and I don’t know what it is. But I do find that some sellers have a, almost like an apprehension to have that approach. And I almost put it down to this sort of feeling that, that the salesperson almost that there seems to be, I think in maybe the last sort of decade or so in sales, almost like this, this activity to try and hide the fact that you’re a salesperson, you know, you see it in LinkedIn titles, you see it in these different things where it’s, you know, I’m a, I’m a value consultant or something like that. And I think it leads to these situations where, you know, you actually, as a salesperson are causing yourself a load of problems, because you if you if you it’s not like you’re going to be a Trojan horse, you know, sneaking pretense that you’re going to give value.

Travis Patterson  22:38 
Right? Right.

Andy Whyte  22:39 
I want I want the customer to know that I’m there to ask for that business. Because Sure, you know, it’s what better way of qualifying my time than that? Yeah. But I love to hear the stories of you know, you mentioning about the best sellers there that the make it very, very clear of the champions role. And actually, we’ve you know, for me, I think we’ve actually medical med pick itself, I always think about it like this, if you sat down with with your champion, and you say, oh, by the way, I use this thing called medic, and let me tell you what it is. And you took them through a medic review with them. sure of it, they will be like, okay, you’re approaching this exactly the right way. And yeah, I’d love us to, you know, as an industry, I’d love us to lean more into that not necessarily telling the customer medic, but being more more, you know, bold about what we’re here to do.

Travis Patterson  23:31 
Yeah, certainly, like a couple of thoughts on that. Right. One of the things that we talk a lot about as a custom value prop for the customer. And that includes a lot of Medicaid, right? What are the what are the initiatives that you’re driving? What are the strategic objectives for the company? What are the initiatives and how our capabilities support those initiatives that are going to make you successful? So we try to build custom value props, when we’re when we’re going in and doing a PLC wrap up, for example, or we’re having that that that conversation with the customer, we work a lot on, on that messaging, and it has a lot of medic in it right? To understand, you know, the customer’s pain, right, the eye and that ache or the decision process and decision criteria, certainly, as it relates to like a salesperson being a little bit reticent to be upfront about what their goals are, what their objectives are with the customer. And and to have that that really transparent conversation. You certainly see that and you’ll see that with younger sellers who may be a little tenant or reluctant to be as direct right? And so one of the things that you sent me on on email was like what, you know, Andy Sadler, like why why would you tap him on the shoulder? So part of our job right as leaders is to go hire guys like Andy who in Europe, right? If the seller is timid, reluctant, for whatever reason, like they’ve gotten the deal to a certain point, but they’re not really willing to have that conversation yet. You know, that’s what Andy’s there for, right? That’s what I’m there for. And so, we tell you We tell these guys look, listen, bring your manager, this is a team sport, right? And I don’t expect the sales, the seller to be perfect, right, but I do expect the seller to bring their manager in. And collectively, if the seller is missing that thing, that’s what Andy’s there for. Right? That’s what I’m there for. That’s what the other leaders are there for. And so you want to hire leaders who can see these blind spots at the sell the sales rep may have, and be able to cover those blind spots for them.

Andy Whyte  25:31 
I love that. I love that a lot. Yeah, makes a lot of sense. And talk about any that brings you back to something you were saying a moment ago about how you know you, in your career, you’ve tried to sort of never be the smartest guy in the room and sort of follow, you know, follow the good people around. And I think like, when I look at your, your resume, it’s it’s almost like, you know, it’s, you can sort of see, you can see the success you’ve had, and you know that as a sort of team and you can see see that how that’s how that’s moved around. Especially I think it looks like mentioned to you earlier, like Andreessen Horowitz seems to have really appreciated the work you did for those guys that opsware and imagine is that would that be fair to say?

I

Travis Patterson  26:16 
yeah. So I’ll just talk a little bit about the the Andreessen Horowitz folks, but just for clarity I, what I what I meant to say if I wasn’t clear is you don’t want to be the smartest guy in the room. That’s a that’s exactly the wrong place. You might say you want to walk in a room and you’re the smartest one there, you’re probably in a in a in a situation where you’re not growing, not developing, you want to, you want to surround yourself by folks that, you know, when they when they talk when they articulate what they’re trying to accomplish. You’re like, wow, I’m learning in this situation. So yeah, you don’t want to be the smartest guy in the room. You did nnn Andreessen Horowitz, you’re, you know, you’d be hard pressed to be the smartest guy in the room. In those meetings, for sure. Right there. You’re just, you know, they’ve done a great job of collecting talent, that’s extremely high level. So, but I can certainly talk about that. Right. Like,

Andy Whyte  27:12 
like, um,

Travis Patterson  27:14 
I’ll just, I’ll just say, without without any question, right. Ben Horowitz and, and Mark cranny have been better to me in my career than then I’ve deserved right. They’ve done a an unbelievable job of helping me, you know, get the next role of make sure that I’m putting the right you know, position been supportive of me from a reference perspective, from a career perspective, probably way more than I deserved. So they’ve done a great job and I huge shout out to both those guys. Yeah. And then Martine casado who sits on our board. You know, there’s a there’s a phenomenal team over there. And I’ve enjoyed working with him for

Andy Whyte  27:57 
right right. I think I think many people listening to this maybe like me that no opsware from the book that kind of I think made it semi famous. The hard thing about hard things. Have you have you read that book?

Travis Patterson  28:10 
I’ve got it in a bookcase right back here, of course, is it I was in a few of those scenes. I didn’t get any any ink mark out all the ink. But yeah, there was a few I was like, Okay, I remember I remember that conversation, which has got a cool

Andy Whyte  28:22 
yeah, that that would be very cool. But I also sort of imagined it if you know a lot of your that the theme of the book in itself is you know, hard thing about hard things is they weren’t easy times you guys you guys were up against it. And somehow you know, which which is makes I think the fascinating read it is came out on top.

Travis Patterson  28:42 
Yeah, I don’t like maybe there’s situations where it’s easy, right where the things just running and and the purchase orders are coming in. And and it’s easy. But I almost never feel that way. Like when you’re in it and you’re working on a on an opportunity. So you’re you’re at opsware or blade logic or PT even PTC or signal FX, which is the latest opportunity that we we had a good outcome on. You know, when you’re in it, you’re working in a day, in quarter to quarter. It’s never easy. It always feels hard. It always feels like you’re one quarter one month, you know, one deal away from blowing the whole thing up. Right. And so, it it only feels like it was a fun experience after it’s over and you get to read the book. But when you’re in it, it’s a lot of work and a lot of stress and a lot of focus. And you know, then when you look back on you go Craig that was that was actually fun and interesting. And I really enjoyed it, but when you’re doing it, it just ends up being a ton of work.

Andy Whyte  29:52 
Yeah, yeah, I hear that. I hear that. I feel that I feel that very much. So you you after PTC You went to blade logic. Right? And then that was, you know, was that a, I think of a few people to say the least went from PTC to blade logic, there seemed to be a pool of talent following it. Was it john McMahon that you followed there? Oh,

Travis Patterson  30:15 
no, actually, I went there in oh three, like I was really early at blade logic. I think I was the second guy. There’s a gentleman named Mike Nakamura, who’s an SEC leader over at Splunk. Now, great guy, and he was an sc. And they didn’t have they didn’t have anyone on the on the west coast in a sales function. It’s a great story, right. And so I got a phone call. And I talked to the blade folks. And they were in Boston, and I was out here on the west coast. And they said, Look, we have we actually have a sales call. That’s going to happen in San Francisco, and we got an se going to the call, but we don’t have a set. You know, we don’t have anyone on the sales side of rap or manager anything. Can you go to the call, you get a sense of the product, you get a sense of the customer. And that’ll be your interview? Or, you know, at least one of your interviews, right. So I said, Sure, I’ll go on the sales call. I was, you know, looking at different opportunities. And I went in Mike did a demo and the customer just absolutely came unglued, right, they stood up in their chair, they went and got their management, the room filled up. They kept saying show it again, show it again. And so, you know, look, I didn’t know the first thing about systems management or selling systems management. I honestly didn’t even know what I was looking at. But I could I could read the customer room, and they were excited. And so I got excited when I saw the customer get excited. And I said, Yeah, this, let’s make this work. Right. So I that’s how I ended up a bleed logic. I was there for a couple years, I actually left there to go to opsware before john started, right. So john came in, I think three or six months after I’d already left, I never really got to overlap with john, unfortunately, he came in as the leader sort of post my departure.

Andy Whyte  32:03 
That is a brilliant story. If I was you in that situation, because I have the world’s worst poker face. When I was sort of going back to the person that had asked you to step in into that role as a sort of, you know, interview type process, I would have found it very, very hard to kind of play it cool. You know, if

Travis Patterson  32:23 
I wasn’t cool at all, I you know, I sat there with Mike and I said, Look, I’m a candidate for the sales role here. I’m more here as a spectator than anything else. Mike did all the work. He did the demo. I didn’t even pitch i don’t think i just mostly was there to watch and saw the customer reaction and said, Look, this, you know, I don’t I don’t have to know systems management to know this thing’s hot. And it was it obviously, they those guys had a great outcome. I’m a huge fan of what they accomplished. And yeah, it was good. It was good to be there. And then it was really good to compete with them. So I kind of got a chance to see both sides. And I knew brought both products pretty well. So it was a it was a fun time.

Andy Whyte  33:08 
Cool. And so was was Mark was your first time working with Mark grania opsware or did you guys works.

Travis Patterson  33:16 
I knew him at PTC. So I knew him at PTC, he I worked for him at PTC, I ran a I ran a region he ran major accounts and I ran a high tech region for Mark. We had had some success, not as much as we’d wanted to have at PTC, but we had some success this is in the later days, the oh two or three days of PTC is kind of a transition from selling canticle CAD to selling Windchill. So Mark Mark ran I think all of the major accounts at which was kind of the global 2000 at PTC and I ran a region for him so I knew mark and yeah, you know, he there’s there’s some story behind this but he ultimately said look, you know, I have an opportunity for you to come around the West, I’d wanted to manage you know, get back into management from my PTC days wasn’t really kind of getting that opportunity at at blade. This is again pre pre john showing up so that’s why I kind of switched jerseys went over to opsware got to run the west for him. And we had success pretty quickly. It was a couple of quarters in and the things started to click and you know marks a fantastic leader. He had already been there for I think nine months he’d been there for a little while as the as the sales leader so he started to kind of get things put together get the go to market and sales process put together and the teams put together so by the time I got over to opsware he had done a lot of the foundational work I just kind of came in plugged into the West and and started cranking

Andy Whyte  34:58 
okay. And from blade logic then was I’m looking at your resume was the next time you work with Mark at I’m not sure if I’m saying this right by the way is it mesosphere? Nice. Oh,

Travis Patterson  35:12 
no, I did it work Mark was Mark went after opsware I think he had one small thing and then he ended up on the venture side. So he built their, their commercial go to market team on the venture side, he you know, you should get him on your on your call, but he pretty much revolutionized how venture presents, you know, tech to companies. And he built that entire commercial team at Andreessen. I didn’t work at entry son, but I stayed in touch with Mark Of course, and, and so both Cypher cloud and mesosphere were Andreessen Horowitz funded companies, and I got introduced to both of them through through mark and Bannon and, and the crew. Again, like I said, you know, they’ve been great to me.

Andy Whyte  36:02 
Yeah. I mean, you know, you’re being I think, very modest, I would say, because, you know, someone, someone like Mark with his network, he’s not, he’s not tapping you on the shoulder just because, you know, I’m sure he does like you a lot. But, you know, it’s got to be the results during guy like that. So, you know, I think you’re being very modest there. But that that’s one of my favorite things about this industry is, is when you see these teams of people that you know, work together time and time again, and you know, it just for me, you know, if you ever see that, it’s always a good thing. If for whatever reason, bad people don’t tend to tend to stick together only good people from my experience. That’s a good way to think of it Yeah,

yeah, yeah. And I just love to see it I you know, certainly I’m sure I’m not alone, but if I’m if I’m ever considering an opportunity, I want to see within the organization especially the leadership team, you know, that that example of where you know, someone’s gone first and someone else has followed them along or they’ve gone together as is often the case is almost like a package I love to see that and I guess you know, you know no better example of that is a view going you know, from from your work for signal effects to where you are now implying you mentioned Andy Andy Sadler earlier who you know, I guess was was running a mere atom signal FX and is now doing the same imply was there was there any doubt in your mind about you know, when when you were looking to expand the team that Andy would be your guy?

Travis Patterson  37:29 
No, Andy and I started talking before I even started right I mean, I think he came on board we were we were having dialogue about me joining signal and and have him come in and run a media. Even before I started, I think he started a couple of weeks after like, we had an offer letter ready for Andy The day I started. We were you know, he was a no brainer for us and and still is, he does a great job. Yeah, like I think it’s, you know, you see it in in American football, right. We talked about the coaching tree, right? I’m sure it’s, there’s coaching trees in, in Europe as well, for Premier League, you know, soccer, right, I’m sure there’s coaching trees, where, you know, in the US, you’ve got your parcels and your Walsh’s of the world. And you look at all of their, their assistant coaches, whether they’re offensive coordinators or defensive coordinators who have gone on to do great things. And so we think about that a lot as well here, right, which is, you know, your coaching tree, right part of the pride of of you getting to a certain point in your career is that you’ve worked with a lot of really good people, and you’ve been able to kind of help people further their careers well. So you want to have you want to be able to look back. I mean, McMahon has a great coaching tree cranny. He’s got a great coaching tree. There’s some fantastic trees out there. I was watching an interview with

Andy Whyte  38:58 
Kai forget his

Travis Patterson  38:59 
name, he runs snowflake, but he talked about the fact that when he came over to snowflake, he brought, I think, 12 people with him, right? And he calls it his team, I brought my team with me. And it’s not just sales team, but in in his world. It’s finance and others. But yeah, that’s that’s always pretty cool when you’ve got some folks that have worked with you and they’re willing to come work with you again. Right? That’s always good.

Andy Whyte  39:23 
Yeah. But you know, the other side to that is, you know, you, you aren’t always going to have the timing right on your side, your team, the people you’ve worked with before. So then you know, you have to go to the market, you have to recruit and one thing I knew from talking to Andy, you know, signal FX, you guys was like nothing I’ve ever seen before signal FX, the approach he goes, I’m sure it might be your model actually, I don’t know but the the thoroughness and the approach that I saw you were taking to to hiring was was world class I have to say and, you know, I know that’s something that you you know, you put as very high on your priorities listed. is hiring talent, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your maybe your mantra or the way you, you like to think about it.

Travis Patterson  4:09 
Well as a as a CRL, or any sales leader, you got to make it a priority, right? And you learn that earlier in management at PTC, right, you had to hire you just had to there was no other choice. And so we’ve kind of stuck with me through through this. And then I’ve you know, I watched Mark do it. So I’ve seen others how they run recruiting, recruiting is a verb, you have to go do it. You know, it’s not just hiring and hiring is easy recruiting is what you have to go do. And so recruiting is it has to be a priority. You have to spend the right amount of time on it. You’ve got to focus on it. We talk a lot about recruiting my staff call is probably half on recruiting, right, we go through and we look at how many open heads do you have? Who’s in process? Where are they in the process, we look at them on on their LinkedIn profile. We do sector, you know, where they went to uni and, and what roles they’ve had. And we talk a lot about recruiting. And it takes to write meaning, meaning we can go recruit all we want, but the good, the really great salespeople that we want to hire have to come want to work with us, right. And so you’ve got to be able to pitch the opportunity, you got to pitch the comp plan, you got to pitch the space, you got to pitch the opportunity to learn, you know, and that’s one of the things we talked about Andy a lot, you know, but that’s one of the things that I think a lot of my my leaders that work for me now. And certainly the ones that I’ve worked with in the past are really good at they, they spend a lot of time on this. And they’re very good at at recruiting as a verb right at bringing people and getting people to want to work for them. In timing doesn’t always work out. Like if you look at the sales team that we have, I mean, there’s a handful of folks that I’ve worked with in the past, but to your point, most of the people on the team I’ve never worked with, right, but that may be one level removed from someone else that we’ve worked with, but you still got to go convince them that this is the best place to be. And a lot, you know, obviously the best ones have lots of options out there. Yeah, it’s a competitive thing. Sure. And

Andy Whyte  6:17 
for those that those that are new to those that may have come through recruiter or through your own process, somehow, if you got any words of wisdom that you’ve sort of taken that you’ve learned over the years of, you know, not necessarily whether it’s like a real killer interview question, but things that you look for, not necessarily just in the interview processes in the interview itself, but the process and some things, some sort of some indicators that you’ve sort of seen over time that point to somebody coming on to be successful.

Travis Patterson  6:46 
Yeah, absolutely. Right. So So you look for an item like this, this probably works, whether you’re hiring an accountant, computer scientist, or a salesperson, right, you’re looking for a few things that are fundamentals. Intelligence is one, really, really important. Intelligence allows you to be sorry about that allows you to be creative. You know, when you when you’re faced with a challenge, to think through problems, it’s it’s an important, it’s a really important thing that you can’t fix as a leader, right? Like, if the person that you’ve hired doesn’t have it, there’s not much you’re going to, you’re going to be able to impart on someone who, you know, just for whatever reason doesn’t have quite the candle power necessary to be successful. work ethic is another one that’s high on the list, right? So you talked about this earlier in the conversation, right? That that last door that you had to talk on, right, it’s easy to say, you know what, I’m going to shut it down for the day, it’s hard to have that work ethic to go knock on that last door. And it’s funny, right? People get it from different places right there. They get it from watching their parents, they get it from from a sibling who who had a phenomenal work ethic, some people it’s just it’s a, I don’t know, if the DNA thing where they’re just, they’re just absolutely focused on making that last phone call or that knocking on that last door. So you really looking to index for folks that have that work ethic, we talk a lot about coachability, right. So you know, if you’re smart, and you work hard, but you don’t take feedback, it’s going to be hard to grow the way that we need to to grow. So we look at coachability, right. And coachability is something that you can see through the sales or through the recruiting process or the interview process, you can see if someone’s taking feedback as they move through the process, you can look at their history, right, if they played a team sport, you know, if someone played a team sport at any level of real competition, then any feedback I’m going to give them is going to pale in comparison to what their coach gave them, right. And so you know, they’re not going to hang their head and try on their keyboard, they’re going to take it and say, Okay, how do I get better, right? And so, that ability to take feedback, hugely important and something that we we try to index for when we’re hiring, I could go on but those are, those are kind of three of the top big ones that I think about, I think

Andy Whyte  9:15 
the coachability one is huge. Because you know, like you say you, especially if you’re, you know, you if you’re trying to hire, you can you know coachability almost covers a lot of the other things you’re looking for because you know, if someone hasn’t got the experience that you necessarily want to but they’re very coachable they can get where you want them to be, whereas vice versa if they’ve got the experience, but they’re not gonna be able to learn your product or necessary or approach or that sort of thing is never gonna work. That’s right.

Travis Patterson  9:44 
That’s right. Yeah. And like you know, you want to you want to try to find those folks that are coachable and it can be frustrating to to watch somebody and make the same mistake over and over and they’re just not taking the coaching that’s that’s a tough thing to watch. Right? So you know, Folks that actively seek out, hey, you know, the sales calls over how could I have done better? What can we do better? How do we prep better next time? That’s, that’s really what you’re looking for.

Andy Whyte  10:12 
Yeah. And how do you how do you look for that in the interview process?

Travis Patterson  10:18 
Well, like I said, there’s a couple of things. One is, you know, you look for a background of potentially team sports, right? Because again, you know, any coaching that I’m going to give is going to pale in comparison to what they got from their their coach. And in a competitive environment, team team is important, because it’s a, you know, like, like, if you were a highly competitive swimmer, highly competitive golfer, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a really good salesperson, don’t get me wrong, but you know, you’re looking for someone who understands that, that that sales is a team sport. And that being part of a team means that you, you know, you work with other folks aren’t in the organization to further the goal of the team. And so those folks tend to know how to work in a team environment. And in coachability, through the process, right, so if you give someone feedback and say, listen, you’re gonna, I’m gonna, I’m going to, I’m going to present you to the next step in the sales in the recruiting process. And I’m going to introduce you to my manager, who’s part of the recruiting process, but here are three things that I want you to go read or learn or present, right? And if they take that coaching and that feedback, and they actually go do that, and that’s actually a positive sign. So those are some things that you can do to, to kind of tease out right, is this person coachable or not?

Andy Whyte  11:39 
I love that. I love that you actually reminded me when you’re talking about one of my, one of my favorite sayings, that I actually, I picked this up from one of my SDR managers, but actually, I don’t know whether it’s something that I never asked him, I should, but we’re saying he coined or whatever he’s picked up from somewhere else, which is that you want to have a competitive team you want you know, you want everyone on your team to be number one in sales, because that’s kind of the Spirit you need. But what he said he was actually answering the question in an interview for an AV candidate who asked about our culture, what’s the sales culture? Like? Can you explain it’s very competitive and all the right things you’d want him to say. But then he said this one thing that stuck with me and I’ve wanted to, I wanted to encapsulate in every team I’ve had since which is that everyone will everyone in the team wants to be number one. But they want whoever’s second place to be just $1 behind them. And I love that idea. Because it you know, especially in you know, you know, so much of your experience as well, where you’re almost category creating, or you’re, you know, you’re you so much of your success as an individual contributor, counts on the success of the individual contributors around you to create those reference customers, that fly will go to market flywheel effect. So yeah, I absolutely love that. And I should really ask him about whether he came up with it, so I can credit him accordingly. That’s great.

Travis Patterson  12:53 
Yeah, I want to be number one. And then I want to I want number two to be $1. Behind me, and number three to be $2. behind. Right. That’s, that’s great. I never thought of it that way. But yeah, that’s, yeah, that’s when you’re performing as a leader. You know, I think back on the times where you took your whole team to president’s club, right. You know, those are the those are the fun. The things that you remember.

Andy Whyte  13:15 
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. So listen, Travis, this has been incredible fun for me. Thank you so much for giving up your time. I am really, really excited to get this out. I think, I think particularly talking about recruiting and hiring is something that you I have this sort of funny feeling around elite sales leaders like yourself, you’re so often so busy doing that people don’t get to unless they get the pleasure of working with you and your expertise. They don’t get to see this stuff. So for me, you giving up an hour of your time to talk to us today and share some of this insight, especially on the recruiting is going to be super, super valuable. So again, thank you so so much for giving up your time. It’s been

Travis Patterson  13:53 
awesome. And it Thank you. Thanks for Thanks for having me. And good luck and I appreciate the questions. It was it was a good use of the hour for sure. Hey, so

Andy Whyte  14:04 
that wraps up episode number three of masters of medic thank you so much for listening. And if you liked what you heard, then please leave a rating and don’t forget to subscribe.

 

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