Navigating Interviews, Networking, and Business Insights with Amy Volas
In this riveting episode, we dive deep into the world of sales with none other than Amy Volas, a trailblazer in the industry. As the landscape of sales evolves, so does the approach and strategies. Join us as Amy shares her invaluable insights on:
- The importance of relationship-building in sales
- Embracing new tools and technologies, including AI sales
- Autonomous prospecting and its game-changing implications
- The challenges and triumphs in her sales journey
Whether you're a seasoned salesperson or just starting, Amy's perspectives will provide fresh viewpoints and actionable takeaways. Don't miss out on this knowledge-packed episode!
Listen on :
.. or watch it on Youtube !
About our guest:
Key Take Aways:
1. Understanding Market Cycles: Markets operate in cycles, consisting of both highs and lows. Currently, a reconciliation period is being experienced. There are opportunities even in recessions, and to win in a leaner economy, one must adapt to full-cycle selling. Amy emphasizes adopting a pragmatic and realistic approach, inspired by real-life experiences shared within her professional community, Better Together.
2. The Need for Enhanced Sales Strategies: The traditional, more passive sales strategies no longer suffice. Salespeople need to engage in meaningful business conversations and deeply understand their customer’s challenges. Effective selling requires understanding customer pain points and articulating value propositions clearly. The era demands proactive, thoughtful selling that goes beyond just talking and focuses more on conversational engagement.
3. Hiring Challenges in a Saturated Market: Despite market saturation with available talents due to layoffs, effective hiring remains challenging. Successful hiring hinges on achieving alignment between availability, business needs, experience, and competency. Amy emphasizes seeking genuine alignment and warns against considering only available talent, highlighting the importance of specificity in questions during hiring processes to seek out truly aligned candidates.
4. The Importance of Specificity and Clarity: Clarity and specificity in communication are invaluable in sales and business. Being succinct and specific in articulating problems, solutions, and values set professionals apart, making interactions more meaningful and effective. It is crucial in sales conversations and interviews to be clear about problems solved, outcomes achieved, and the involved parties.
5. AI as a Facilitator: AI is a potent tool that can enhance thoughtful approaches and introspective thinking but won't replace them. It amplifies existing input quality, and while it accelerates processes, the onus is still on individuals to maintain the originality, credibility, and quality of output. Effective utilization of AI avoids inauthenticity, which is easily detectable by prospects, and relies on genuine, quality input to produce desired outcomes.
6. The Complexity of Hiring Go-to-Market Professionals: Hiring go-to-market professionals is challenging and requires a thoughtful, unhurried approach focused on long-term alignment and fit rather than just immediate needs. Amy stresses the importance of deep understanding and alignment in the hiring process and warns against rushing and making misguided hires, which can be costly. Realizing that hiring is a long game, and focusing on strategic alignment, are pivotal for successful go-to-market hires.
Perfect. Hey, Amy and everyone nice that you can join us today. So super excited about this one Like I said, my name is Gotham Rishi co-founder CEO one shot. And today we are joined by the brilliant Amy Varlas Amy has had an amazing career She's started way back in the day 15 20 years ago has seen the changes in the recruitment market in the startup market Releases some absolute phenomenal content on LinkedIn. So I'll let you introduce yourself Amy
and it'll be great to get into it after that.
Thank you, Gotham. I'm excited to be here. You have made me younger than I am. I go back almost 30 years. So thank you. Thank you for making me younger. Thank you for helping me find the fountain of youth. I appreciate that. Yeah. So Amy Bolas, founder and CEO of Avenue Talent Partners. We are an executive search firm that works with early stage founders, helping them get out of their way to hire right for the VP plus level sales and CS.
But my background, my first business love, you and I have some common threads here with enterprise sales. I've sold both services and products, and I'm really grateful that I started selling services first, which we can talk about that later. I'm an LP at Stage 2 Capital. I'm writing a book. I host a community called Better Together, which is meant to help people get out of their way for all things career and job searching. And yeah.
We are launching, Taryn, my partner at Avenue Talent Partners and myself are launching a podcast as well. So show me the way, I'm excited to be here and I can't wait to talk shop. So thank you for having me.
Thank you, thank you. Yeah, I wouldn't learn from me, but there's some definitely, so I'm super interested. Like you've kind of mentioned, you're doing a few things there. You're writing a book, you have your own kind of, you're helping early stage companies, I see you advise at several companies as well. Um, what is a, what does a week look like for you? Is it different every week or do you have like, okay, I'm just focused on this for today or what does a normal week look like?
No, I wish I could be like the gurus online talking about time blocking. That's not me. Because every day, so when you have, all of the things that I do are bound together. They're quite synonymous and it has a lot to do with trying to leave the startup ecosystem better than when I came into it. And that starts with people. And so the book that I'm writing, the podcast that I'm doing, the early stage advising, the LP work at stage two,
And most importantly, the work that we do at ATP or Avenue Talent Partners is all about leaving that indelible impression. And so when you're dealing with people, which my business is centered all around that, whether it's my customer or whether it's the lovely gems that trust us with their careers, there are new things that pop up every day. So I do block some time out on my day that people can't get to it. So I have opportunities to think, to respond.
to ideate, to reflect. I'm a big journaler. And so if I don't have that time, I run too hot. And I am a self-professed workaholic. And every day my husband looks at me and he's like, are we going up or down? And that means what part of the roller coaster ride are we on? And it literally is, you know, it's like, I think about outcomes and all the things that it takes to get to the outcome.
and it's not this clear line, it's like this blurb of zigs and zags, and that is my day every day. And I wouldn't have it any other way because I get super bored.
Yeah, I am. I like prior to this, I was like, I was like running sales teams. I was VP of Amir, a kind of growth company. And I can, it was the same thing that I do a forecast call on a Monday. I go run some deals. I have these. And you kind of just get bored. And I think going into that founder world is like, it's just crazy, right? Every day there's something new. There's good stuff happening and then it's good. Bad stuff happens the following day and then it's just endless. But then.
you're learning and you're developing faster than you ever were.
I find it interesting. Everyone says they're a people person. They love people and they're passionate about people. But like looking back at your background, I think you genuinely are. I think you've been doing it for so long. You have to be, right? I think what, I'd be interested in your current take of like the market right now. There's some great companies growing like crazy. You know, this AI, gen AI space is growing like crazy.
But that's, I think, a small representation of the entire market. I think the market in general, especially software, is going through some challenging times. VC money is drying up in certain areas. What's your view? You have a very different and unique view to a lot of people. What's your current take of the current market today?
I don't think it's all doom and gloom. I think that we're in a reconciliation period, quite frankly, and when I think about what that means, I know this is gonna be hard to hear for folks that perhaps grew up in tech and in sales in the last, like, let's call it 10 years, because you haven't seen anything like what we're going through now. And the fortunate part of this story for me, and it's why I'm trying to use my voice to...
I don't know, equalize some of the hype that I read about, is that through dark, there's always light. And even in the worst of recessions, there's opportunity. There are companies that innovate. There are companies that create. There are companies that are still hiring. And I think what people don't realize and what I'm seeing directly is there is still opportunity. It's just not BS as much. And so when I think about this reconciliation, you didn't have to be that good.
to produce results. You didn't have to be that good. Heck, you didn't even have to have a product to get a big round of funding. And those days are no longer here. And I think the reconciliation is we had a market that was really bloated. We had a lot of vitamins, not painkillers, in the sense of companies really doing something germane to their market, to their customer.
And I think that the market speaks the loudest and the market is speaking about you can't go on that hot streak of nonsense without a boomerang coming back and kind of knocking you in the rear end. And I think that is a hard lesson that many are learning. It's a lesson that I'm reminded of. I grew up in the late 90s in my career and I went through 2001.
I went through 2008, that's when I started my first company and I got my rear end handed right back to me where I had to e-crow and go back to Yahoo. And as much as I'm grateful for that, that really sucked, that was really hard. And so I think we're going through some of the hard now where it's leveling up our profession of sales, where there is technology in the way of AI that's really challenging.
the way that sales is going to be thought of, I believe in the future. I think we're going through a period of understanding a drum that I've been banging the entire time when it comes to, we have over segmented the sales function and I come from the Ilk of full cycle and learning all of the things. And when I was a sales leader, my team did all of the things. So it was.
Netnew, it was retention and it was expansion. And I am forever grateful for that masterclass because if you can't open a conversation, how can you close one and vice versa? And I think that's what I mean by reconciliation of realizing that it's not just about where are my inbound leads. That's glorified order taking. It's about having meaningful business conversations showing up accordingly and having something that does something for or with something.
someone or something to do really good B2B business. And we lost sight of that. And so while I'm not excited for people's pain, I am excited to get back to the foundation of where good business happens, where good business grows, and where good business is sustainable. So from a market perspective, I'm seeing that from a talent perspective, we've had a lot of layoffs. I see this specifically in the Better Together community.
where there are people that are still willing to do more than what they once were to stand out and that creates opportunities. That also creates opportunities in your sales career. These are not dissimilar concepts, but people are still getting opportunities. It just takes more and it's a little bit extra. But when I think about what employers are going through, this concept of, well,
there are a bunch of layoffs, and so I'll have the pick of the litter and hiring will get easier. If you did not know how to hire well before, you still don't know how to do it now. And just because there are more people to talk to, doesn't mean that those are the right people for you. And you could very well be holding your business back, your team back, spending a lot more time and money than you need to, when you can't make a decision, you're afraid to make the wrong decision, and you don't have the right people doing the right work. That is my long diatribe of what I am seeing in the market.
No, that's yeah, I think that was super interesting. It's two parts, right? One is the reconciliation which I find fascinating is what I've seen. I started selling 2004. So it was kind of like I started when there was a bunch of sales guys like talking about all the money they made and the dot-com boom and they cleared off their mortgages and I was like, oh, I wish I was five years older. I could have caught some of the dot-com boom. Now I definitely don't wish I was five years older.
And this was pre 2007, 2008, but you had to learn how to business case sell. You had to learn what the ROI was when you were selling to the product. You had to navigate complex sell cycles. There weren't hundreds of leads coming in, but we kind of had that again in. 2000, what 15, 14 onwards for the last seven, eight years, tons of VC money, tons of like.
money going on Google ads, LinkedIn ads, SEO, huge marketing teams. Um, so people were just taking orders, right? Tech companies were selling to other tech companies as well. And so people got lazy. It was like one-on-one, one SDR to one AE. The SDRs are just putting people into cadences, putting people in sequences. They're actually not understanding about what's my prospects pain point. What are the challenges they're facing? Why does this company need this solution? It was
set them up, qualify, hit my 10 meetings for the month, get commissioned, move on. So yeah, I've seen it firsthand and I think this is great. I think especially for young people starting their careers, they will learn how to actually sell. They'll learn about value propositions, how to articulate pain points. So it's interesting and you touched on the market from a hiring perspective. We're hiring at the moment so I find it interesting.
I get told there's some great talent out there. There's no better time to hire because there's so many great people on the bench right now. I haven't seen that as much by the way. Maybe it's in the UK, maybe it's different in the US, but. Yeah.
the U.S. too, Gotham. Thank you for proving my point. Carry on. I can't wait to hear what you what else you have to say.
Yeah, I've just found that, yeah, as hiring has come on, and there's people who've, I find there's people who are scared to move. So there's great talent who are like scared to move and make the risks that people have less appetite for risk. I've seen, I've also seen good talent who have been on the bench for two, three months, and they're kind of starting to lose their confidence, they're losing their mojo a bit. And so as a hiring manager, you're not, you're not talking to people who've just done 200% of target.
where they have that confidence, that swagger. So I'm finding, I haven't seen the flood of great talent out there that people are talking about. I'm not like seeing 50 resumes a week of these like A plus players. I've seen some good people with good resumes and once you start getting under the skin a bit, like, oh, talk to me about this deal. How did you win it? Talk to me about some of the challenges. I just haven't seen the depth. So I haven't seen that quality that people have talked about. Maybe that's just me.
Um, but yeah, how have I'm interested from your standpoint, are you seeing there's a 10 X in people available? Are you seeing that the talent is there? I'm like, what is that looking like today?
just because it's available doesn't mean it's good for you. You know, and I think that we've seen a swell of people that are available, but I had this conversation with someone that I think very highly of. He is wicked smart, he is an investor, he's an advisor, he's a board member. And I just, when he talks, I tend to listen and he always challenges my thinking. And he said yesterday, I just talked to him yesterday and he said, the ability to get specifics snuffs out the BS.
Now I use the full term of BS, but for those of you here, I will never swear on a recorded session, but I totally agree with him. And so you have a lot of people that can have lots of conversation with you and that have some experience, but there's a difference between a resume or a person being available. That's the stuff that you can see. And then there's a difference between
the context of that person available against what you're looking for and where your business is and the needs of your business. And then the biggest takeaway is the competency to support that, to do something well together. And so the best hiring, in my opinion, regardless of the market, is all about seeking true alignment and A plus, like true A plus players.
what an A plus player for you Gotham looks like versus one of my clients, it's gonna be different, right? Depending on so many different things, it's going to look different. What I find is excellence always creates opportunity and true A plus players are not the low hanging fruit on the tree. And so that requires a different muscle if you're hiring to either.
Get help from somebody like me that has a network that can illuminate and create conversations, given professional reputation and how they approach things to confirm or deny if there's alignment and to really hear a person. Because I think that's the thing about recruiting is it's just like sales, there's so much pitching being done that people are immune to that. And so like your best buyer, if you're just pitching to them, they shut down and they go somewhere else. That's why the profession needs to level up. We've done a lot of talking at, not talking with.
Same thing with recruiting. And so those true, true gems, maybe they're available, maybe they're not, but regardless of market conditions, people that are really good at their jobs aren't looking for jobs nine times out of 10. And that doesn't mean for anybody that's listening, it doesn't mean that if you're on the bench, you're a horrible person.
It means that you could have been really excellent. Maybe you lost your mojo because losing a job and being in the market is a really hard thing to go through. And the longer you're out, the more it gets to you. This is why I created Better Together. Not trying to shamelessly plug anything, but I talked to plenty of remarkable people that don't know what to do, that are relying on what they did back in 2020 and 2021, where you could just blink and have 10 offers.
And that's not the case now. You have to do more. And the thing about what creates opportunity is you mastering your craft and you being able to speak to how you did that. Not that you can, not that you could, not that you did, but how. And being able to pay attention to what you're doing, Gotham, to connect those dots, to make it easy for you to understand just like in our sales careers.
Yeah. I always, I always find that I've got a couple of questions here, but first I always found that when, when hiring people, I always start with a super casual question. I like, I try and get people's defense systems down. I just ask them, Oh, like, what do you know about one shot? Um, let me know what you know. And then I can kind of fill in the blanks from there. My expectation of that question is actually really high. Um, but the way I position the question is kind of like, I'm almost trying to find out
that they haven't researched. So, and you get two or three types of responses. You'll get the response where, oh yeah, well, the recruiter only told me about it quite late. So I had a quick look at your website. I can kind of see you do this. And like immediately I know that within five seconds, they're not the right person because they've probably spent five minutes on the website just before the call. They've not researched the organization. They've not researched the hiring people.
And so I just know that's literally my immediate qualification where you get the opposite end of the spectrum, where they've read the website, they've looked at your competition, they've understood about the hiring person, their background. They're already positioning in their head. How are they going to sell for this company? What are the potential challenges? What are the potential risks? What are the opportunities? Where does the marketing? And so that the interview, so I can just tell within that, just that one simple question, how seriously someone takes that process and if they're doing it.
that part there they're going to do it for their customers they're going to do it before they prepare for a meeting. I looked at some of your posts on LinkedIn and you mentioned actually around chat gpt being a really good use case for if you just got turned down for a job but you really like that company go and use chat gpt to look for similar companies and then maybe see if they're hiring and go through the same process. I thought it was a really good
Another really good prompt use case. Um, what's your opinion of AI track GPT in your industry in recruitment? Um, what impact do you think it's going to have?
I mean, I think it's the same as sales. And I think that it's the same with recruiting. So remember, my first business love is sales and somehow I found myself into this world. But it's interesting because they're not dissimilar. I think it's going to thin the herd of mediocrity and ick. And I'm okay with that. Not mad about that at all. I think it's going to help enable.
Notice how I'm not saying replace, enable thoughtful approaches, introspective thinking. But I think we're so early because, the way that chat GPT works is it crawls information and there's a lot of bad information out there. And the thing about inputs, your outputs are only as good as your inputs. So this is what I mean by thoughtfulness and introspection and
really being intentional about the foot that you put forward, that's for recruiting and that's for sales. I just played around with a different tool. It's not ChatGPT, but it's kind of like ChatGPT for people. And I was very specific with my input about, show me the top VP of sales in SaaS, early stage startups in this particular geography. And I got...
team leads and I got account managers. I mean, so that shows me that, well, wait, that's a problem. Now, where it's interesting is some people would just take that list, load it in and blast it out. And notice how I didn't do anything with that list besides validate, I either need to tweak my input or this tool isn't ready yet. And so I know a lot of people are using these tools and have really smart inputs.
that generate seemingly really awesome outputs. But if you start sounding like everybody else, and if you can't have a well-informed opinion of your own on the output that you're getting, you're going to be revealed anyway that you shouldn't have a seat at that table. So this is true for recruiting. So if all of a sudden I use a little fancy tool and I reach out to somebody,
And I assume that what I see is real and I make this big statement and it's not, that's not gonna work, just like with our buyers. And so I think it's, what is interesting about it is it can help me go faster, can help me get to some of the places I wanna be in a shorter amount of time. But then it's up to me to connect the dots, right? And that's where the difference comes through.
and the way that I'm thinking about it in my competency. Remember, there's a difference between content, context and competency. So if I can connect the context, the relevance and the competency, I now am having that seat at the table in a way that now it's up to us together to confirm or deny whether we are aligned. But at least I'm having the conversation. And even if it's a no thank you, that's okay.
I didn't leave you with an icky taste in your mouth. And you never know where the paths are gonna cross again in the future. So I'm here for AI, I'm playing around with all sorts of tools. I'm subscribed to a few different newsletters that give me an idea of all the things that are happening. Stage two definitely has their eye on the prize of a lot of things that are happening with go-to-market for AI. And I'm paying very close attention to what's coming out and I'm playing with some of this stuff. Cause a lot of these companies,
They have free trials and I'm playing around and I can see easily within a few different tries, is this not fully baked yet or is this actually gonna be something that helps me? So that's what I'm saying.
Yeah. I think I've not thought about it from the example you've given, the validity, using the data, using that output in a certain environment where you may be talking to people with like 20, 10 years experience who know that problem inside out, but someone's quickly gone and tracked GPT, tell me the problems here. And they just, they're just going to repeat them to that person. And that person who has a deep expertise is going to be like, well, now it's completely incorrect.
Like you obviously have no experience or knowledge of this and you've immediately shown that within a few seconds. Yeah I find some really same as you I think there's a ton of great product and yeah everyone's jumping on the bandwagon there's a ton of smart people building some great tech but maybe don't have a deep understanding of the problem they're solving so it's some super cool tech they market in a super cool way but is it solving the problem? Like we've been building the product for like I'm not selling the product here we've been building it for two and a half
And it's been a gradual process of, you know, we advance it, we hit a roadblock. But because we have a deep understanding of the workflow, the problems that are associated, the real life expectations of users, it means we can go into it. Where if you get, you know, some super smart engineers who see a gap in the market, they build a product, it might look cool for a day or so, but, you know, ultimately is it solving the long-term issue here?
Well, it goes to that vitamin versus painkiller, right? So you can have a fancy veneer, but if the whole back end is busted, that's not going to stick around for very long. It's why I like. Um.
tools and companies like Lavender. So that's AI all day long, but the force isn't writing for you. The force is here's where you're taking a misstep as you're writing to think, to get better, to learn. And there's a big difference between writing something for me and actually helping me think about what I'm writing because the AI assistant is calling things out and correcting and in, you know, if I use Lavender every day, if all of a sudden I'm in the tool,
And it points out like, this is the biggest issue that I have, I will own it. Your girl loves a run-on sentence. I have a lot of ands, I have a lot of commas and Lavender will be like, no, you need to be more concise, thank goodness. And if I get stumped, there is an AI assistant that can reformulate the sentence for me, which sometimes I use, but it still is my sentence.
See how there's such a big difference. And I think that's what I'm talking about here of helping and enabling not replacing. Cause if you can't have a thought, right? Like if you really go down the AI, like scary rabbit hole. So if all of a sudden all of us can be replaced and all of our buyers are replaced, then bots are just doing things with bots and there's no more people. Well, people aren't extinct yet. And the thing that makes us, you know, it's like a magnet. The most...
Powerful magnets do two things, they repel and they attract. It's how you show up and all the stuff that we're talking about that is gonna be the repel or the attract, right? So I could go on and on, but.
Yeah, I like fully it's going to enhance everything that we do. I think people are going to be able to just get a lot more done. The quality of work will get higher. I think when people talk about replacing humans, I just can't see that for a long time. I see a lot of manual tasks being automated. These are the tasks that no one likes to do anyway.
So, and if you're replacing those tasks and maybe you have super junior people doing those tasks, maybe those super junior people will up level, up skill to start doing more complex tasks and learn more. So I don't see, we're just gonna, it's great technology that will be controlled and used by humans and they will improve their quality. Well, I use it as a good example, like, yeah, lavender is a great product and it helps you write emails, it helps you like work out.
what way you're going wrong. Again, I think we've all, if I look back at some of my sales emails I sent 15 years ago, 20 years ago, I just remember I literally would write an entire proposal on email. So a solution summary, a product overview, a technical overview, it would literally be a two page email. I'd be so proud of myself. Like I've just sent the best email in the history of the world. And no one ever read it, no one ever responded to it. I just thought it was great. But again, I think like to the point, it's about...
keeping people informed relevant, keeping that context relevant. You touched on your advising companies and so you're seeing, what are you seeing the difference between companies that are growing today and companies that are maybe laying off a ton of people or not growing as such? Is it market timing? Is it the way they're run? Is it the core team they've built?
If you could pick a few things, what are you seeing between the difference?
Oh my gosh, this is a multi-layered approach. It's a few things. I think first is you raised around in like 2021, early 2022, and when you raise that, you have the strategy that I'll be able to raise another round and you can't now. So that's one. The other thing is you're not fully baked yet. So you have a good idea.
but you haven't really identified the true problem that you're solving or the true thing. It's not always about problems, by the way, but the genuine way that you can help. You think you have product market fit, it's really problem market fit. You have product market fit, you have no idea how to go to market. You got caught up in the growth at any cost game.
and you just threw bodies at a problem and now you have too much bloat and you're burning too hot and your business can still grow but you can't sustain how much you're spending. So that's like one side of the coin. The other side of it is you don't know how to hire go-to-market professionals and here's the thing and this is not a judgment it is an observation.
technical founders, first time founders that I talked to. And being first time doesn't mean you're technical, it could be either one of those buckets. This is your first rodeo. You're thinking about things in lovely ways, but oftentimes it's just about the outcome. And like I said earlier, to get to the outcome, you have to think about a lot of different things. So if I'm more linear in thought, just thinking about the outcome, and a sales leader, for example,
is going to be thinking about that outcome, but they're also going to stop and remember that, whoa, to get to the outcome, I have to do, Gotham, you are a sales leader, you wanna get to the outcome, we have to do all these things. And that language that the sales leader speaks in that moment is very different than the language of the founder. And so if the founder has gone from founder led selling to now I need to hire.
could be a variety of things from the go-to-market perspective. It could be marketing, it could be sales, it could be leadership, it could be whatever.
If they haven't stopped to consider what the work is, what success looks like, do they really have product market fit? What is that validation? Is this documented? Is there a process? Is it repeatable? Are customers staying or going? All in so much more, right? If you don't understand that now, you have a real big mismatch. And so,
Those are the problems that I live for, right? That's what I am here to do. That's why I exist. I made these same mistakes. I also have learned and I have created a methodology that helps to reduce that margin for error. A lot of it is assuming that sales leadership is the same, assuming that sales is the same, assuming that, and I don't do marketing, but I know this to be true, assuming that marketers are the same.
assuming that customer success is the same. Heck, people can't even understand the difference between CX, CS, account management. There are 50 shades of gray in all of this, and it is okay. Being a founder is really hard. You know this Gotham? It's a hard, thankless, lonely, pressure cooker environment. Nobody expects you to have all of the answers, especially when it comes to the most critical task of, it's starting to get bigger.
than me. I am too far in the business. I can't be thinking about the business because of this, and that's a problem. So now I need to get help, and I have to hire people. If you don't know how to do that, if it hasn't gone well for you, repeating the same thing or making assumptions increases your margin for error in a major way that I have a customer, and luckily they're really cool about talking about it with me, before we help them hire
their leader that is doing a good job now, they spent two years on a leader that wasn't, it's cost their business over $3 million and counting. And so these are real things. And I find that what I'm seeing on the other side of the coin that we're talking about is that assumption of a butt in a seat and sales is a universal thing, and it is not. So a long diatribe over a very short thing,
Hopefully those, the two sides of the coin was clear because it is important. And I want people for anybody listening to this to understand some of the signals or some of the pitfalls because this stuff is hard. And if the market is serving you your rear end back to you and I've had that happen to me before, you don't know what to do. But what I can promise you is just hiring for sales because somebody told you that they went to president's club and they Forex this and they did that. If you can't quantify and qualify how.
Let's go back to what that brilliant person told me yesterday. Being able to get specifics snuffs out BS like it's nobody's business, right? So you have to know how to do that. And if you don't, it's okay to get help.
Yeah, yeah. And we've struggled and I've struggled with this in the last few years is hiring for now. Like these are the specific problems our organization is facing today. And we need to solve these problems right now because this is the biggest pain point in my business. I'm losing sleep over these things. I'm overwhelmed by it. But then I also need this person to like, I'm not thinking six months, nine months, 12 months. Like I know, okay, great, we'll hire someone.
Realistically, we'll probably solve that problem in three months. And then once that problem is solved, I'm like, ah, we should be doing these other 20 things. These other 10 things. Oh, why is this person not doing these five things, these 10 things, these 20 things? And then I realized, oh, I've not hired for that. I was so short-sighted with this hire. I've only been looking at solving that problem that's giving me a headache today. And actually that problem was always going to get solved, whether it was myself or time or someone else.
So yeah, I think one thing that we've struggled with is like, and we're getting better at it. And I think you've mentioned it there. It's like validating the process, working out the playbook, working out what's going to happen after. I don't think we spent the time on that. I think we were just, crap, we need to hire, let's get someone in and let's move really quickly. But we didn't think, you know, three months, six months, 12 months down the line. So yeah, I think anything like that. And do you have information, I just have interest, you have information available on.
some of these frameworks you're discussing. I'm assuming that's something you've made available or something.
Um, it is a service that we provide. I do have information available and you know, here's the news Gotham. You're not alone. And that's okay. Like, it's a brave move to say, uh, and part of that thing that you just described of like getting so caught up in the here and now and just responding. So there's a difference between planning and responding. Right. And when
your rear end is on fire and you're scared and you've got a lot of pressure and you've only got a certain amount of time and money to do this, it is this thing that creates and perpetuates what we're talking about. But I live and die by slow, smooth and smooth as fast. And taking a little bit extra time isn't gonna hold your business back when it helps you make a good decision. And so in my mind's eye, it's very clear to me, part of this is realizing that
If you don't look at the short and the near term, you're not Nostradamus, and I don't want you to get so caught up on vision where what it's gonna look like in 10 years from now is not gonna be today. But part of this perpetuates the bigger problem. So I'll talk to founders all the time. They'll wanna hire a VP of sales, and they'll tell me they're at like 3 million in ARR, right? And they're like, I need that person that's gonna go from three to 100 million. And I laugh every time, and I'm like, they're out of my entire career, almost 30 years.
I've only seen one person. His name is Nolan Ferris. He went from sub 10 million at Indeed, we work together at Yahoo and Indeed, to a billion and a half dollar exit. When we exited, he wasn't CRO yet. He was promoted after that. And he stuck around for 14 years to take the company global. To tell me like his career is miraculous and it's marvelous and it's excellent.
He's the only one I've ever seen do it. And so part of why this happens is what we're talking about where it's like these milestone hires where it's like, I only need this for right now. And it's like, we're doing a disservice to your business and to the profession of sales because when somebody tells me I want that person like a Nolan, they don't exist because we don't have that patience because we haven't thought about the work and.
and taking that work and what your business needs and why and forget about what everybody else tells you, but you have the answers. You just have to listen for yourself. And then baking that into your hiring process and then using that as your North Star for every interview and being intentional to confirm or deny alignment because alignment is the thing where retention blossoms. Our customers
our hires, what we're doing together. If we're not aligned, we're not gonna stick around with each other very long. So why use a hiring process to try to figure out what you need or say, oh my gosh, I have all this pressure and I'm so scared to then react to one part of a bigger issue that's gonna be six months off from you. So that was a lot there. So you got my.
Yeah. No, no, I was like, no, I think that's like a hit a chord with me. Cause I think we, we've kind of gone where you're, what you talked about is definitely ahead of where we are. I think where we are, we've gone through a lot of that pain. We've just learned through that. And I've hired loads and loads of people, like tons of salespeople before. I think as a founder, um, it becomes different. Like I, and I think the reason is just cause you get so into the weeds of the
the day-to-day business, like are we running finance, running marketing, closing deals, like working with investors, fundraising. And so, you know, looking, you just look so short-sighted. And then, you know, you can over hire and hire some great talent with 10 years, 15 years experience, but they're just not great for the company right then. They need, you know, you need people.
who are going to operate, action people who can deliver on a daily basis. They don't need a team of five people to deliver because you know, startups probably can't hire that large team at that stage. A couple of final questions. I'm super interested. Like a lot of people out there today, looking for roles, unsure. They've been on the bench for a while. What would you do today? Let's say you've been out of role for.
months. Let's say you didn't have a great network, you didn't have this network, you didn't know all these people. What would you do in the next couple of weeks to help secure yourself a job? Is there anything specific that you would do, knowing what you know today, knowing the market, that you know someone who hasn't got a great network could potentially do and implement today?
Yeah, I think you have to get very clear on yourself, first and foremost. Can you answer? Because if you've been out for three months and you've been interviewing and you're not getting off the starting block, so to speak, then that, you're the common denominator, right? It doesn't mean that you're wrong or you're bad. It just means that there's something going on that you need to solve for. And so first and foremost, I talk about my obsession with a Windex bottle.
I love Windex and here's why. I don't know if you have Windex in the UK. I don't know what it's called in the UK, but it's basically this blue stuff that you spray on a window and it makes it very, very clear. So think about if you, in the UK, you get a lot of rain, right? And you have doomy, gloomy, sad little weather. We do too here in the Midwest in the US. And I am in my office, you can see it's very bright. I am surrounded by three walls of windows.
I love to look at birds. Like sometimes you'll see me glance and I've got four feeders right in front of me. I want to see this, right? I don't want the water marks and the dirt that comes down off the roof if it's been a dry summer or whatever the case is. So what do I do? Get out my little baby Windex bottle and now all of a sudden I can see. The same thing for ourselves, right? And so when I think about getting clear, it's...
in an interview, and I guess this is the common theme for today, maybe it'll be in the show notes, I don't know, I can't wait to see what you do with this. But that ability to get specific, to make it so easy to understand what you're all about, why you do what you do, what you've mastered, what you're excellent at, how you've helped, what the outcomes are, who was involved.
If you know that like the back of your hand, you show up to the party in a very different way than most. It's that theme of the ability or inability to get specific weeds out the BS. And so if you're struggling nine times out of 10, when I talk to somebody and ask them these questions, I'm on some magical mystery. I don't even understand what you're doing, what you're good at. Or you say.
You know what, I'm willing to be an individual contributor. I'm willing to be a manager. I've done both well and I can sell ice to Nesquimone. It's like, no, you can't. And I think that's the thing is the realization of there is no perfect answer in an interview. It's why I very rarely talk about questions you should ask. I don't know. I'm not in the conversation with you. I don't know what's important to you. And it's more about what is important to you.
Part of the process, and it's also for hiring Gotham, that'll help you make really good decisions is the scorecard. We use it with every single one of our clients, and I've written about it, and it was, I really needed to do it when I made really bad decisions, and I didn't want to make those anymore. So I think the first step is get clear. The second step is use a scorecard. The third step is look for common themes and patterns. This is where...
that piece of content that you saw that I wrote, I think it was yesterday or the day before about chat GPT, if there's a company, even if they said no, thank you to you and it lights you up, there are other companies like them, beep, boop, beep, go to the interwebs and save yourself time instead of having to look through and do all the manual research and say, I interviewed it one shot, or you don't say I interviewed it one shot. What companies?
are similar or compete with or are relevant to one shot and who was hiring in sales or whatever the role it is that you're looking for, that helps you go faster. But I think it's that clarity and that ability to get specific and you said it more than I ever could, straight from someone's mouth that is hiring, that has hired many times over, many people over.
how you show up in that interview. I think so many people are so caught up and I just wanna get the offer and then I'll figure out the rest later. And it's like, no, no. That's why we have a problem here. Maybe that's why you're not working. Maybe that's why if you are working, you're miserable where you are. And the same thing happens on the hiring side. You're just worried about the outcome because you feel the pressure and you miss all of this stuff in between. Instead. Low down.
Yeah, like that clarity, that I think being specific, I know it's been a theme, but that's literally it. I think knowing what you're good at, what you enjoy, what you will excel at, what you're, you know, you're committing to probably the next three to five years of your life, like with hundreds, thousands of hours, right? If not more.
And every day in the role and you sell the best. When you ask that seemingly benign question straight away, you have a purpose for that question. And I find that most people that are hiring think this, how you do one thing is how you do everything and how you're showing up in this interview is gonna help me understand how you're gonna be with me, the team, our customers, our partners, whomever else, right? And this stuff matters. And so if you show up and you're not
intentional. You're not prepared and you're merely doing window shopping or a drive-by. You're now wasting your own time and you're not creating opportunities and you're shutting, you're getting that door sort of shut and you're wasting the other person's time too. And that's when you're not invited back.
And it's funny actually, as you talk through this, like one thing, like I'm not interviewing for roles, but one thing we do as a founder is we're fundraising. And you're always speaking to new VCs and coming out with a sales tool, competitive, there's thousands, millions of sales tools out there. And VCs want you to be very specific. What's a very specific problem you're solving? What's the consolidation? What's the cost savings? What's your TAM? What's your ICP?
And VCs, you know, they're talking about investing millions and millions of dollars into you and your business. So it's an interview from the first moment they meet you. And if I don't know my problem statement, if I don't know my ICP, if I don't know my competition, like these guys see what hundreds, thousands of deals a year. And so if I can't be very specific and it's the same for a job. Yeah. So, yeah, it really resonates with me from a both from a fundraising perspective and hiring. But, Amy.
It's a what factor, Gotham. If you can't address the what factor, you're not gonna be hanging out. And by the way, I will say this, and it's gonna be a shameless plug, and I don't mean it to be this way. If anything that we've talked about, or you wanna know more about the how, on the hiring side or on the interview side, that's why I created Better Together, to help people understand their blind spots and to give them actionable things that they can do in a very supportive, safe, private place.
to make heads or tails out of this career stuff. That's better together. You can join that and there you go. On the flip side, part of what we do at ATP, it's not executive search, but what happens if you don't need us, but you wanna know the framework, you wanna know how to do this well. We started this thing called the Studio that helps you figure out, and it's a five-part framework, how to do this so that you can reduce the stuff that we're talking about that creates an hourly outcome.
Anyway, I had to say it. I'm sorry. I did it.
No, I was going to ask you, like, if people want to, like, get in touch or have a conversation with you, I guess they can connect with you via the ATP website, LinkedIn, and if you're not following Amy on LinkedIn, you should 100% start following Amy on LinkedIn as well. Is there any other ways? Just basically connect with you on LinkedIn and ping your message. I think that's how we got hold of you. So it seems like you respond.
I am, as long as you approach me the right way, yes, I am very responsive. If you don't, no. So don't use some bot to be like, this just happened to me yesterday where this woman was like, as a fellow Latino, and I'm like, I'm not, what? I'm not Hispanic. What are we talking like? What is this? So as long as...
that approach is not bot-like and it actually is thoughtful. Yes, I'm here for it. And I think LinkedIn, Twitter, avenue-tallentpartners.com and even if you don't need help from what we do, hopefully the content that I share is helpful because truly I care about leaving this place better than when I came into it.
Nice. Amazing, Amy. And actually, final bit for me, window lean. That's what our Windex equivalent is called in the UK. It's scratching my head. What do we call it here? It's window lean. Yeah.
Oh, oh, okay, well, I have to show you this.
Wendelene, we call it Windex, and one of the members of Better Together, because we talk about it so much, over the holidays made this ornament for me where it's a North Star and a Windex bottle. I have it all the time because it literally reminds me of the power of that. And when she did this, she had a marvelous offer with a marvelous company where she is doing marvelous things.
Oh. Brilliant. Yeah. Good karma. Yeah, and good clarity and good focus. Yeah, I love it. Amy, thank you so much for this. Yeah, I could have gone on for hours with this. I really appreciate it. You've given me a lot of things to think about as well, actually, from a founder perspective that I should be thinking about more. But Amy, thank you. Appreciate your time. And we'll get this out.
Thanks. You're welcome. Thank you.