Happy Halloween - I thought it totally appropriate to share a little bit about how I landed at SetSail on my favorite holiday. And while I can’t promise my tale will be all that spooky, my hope is that my journey reveals a little bit about how technology has come a long way to make growing revenue far less scary… pun approved? No? Ah, well, let’s get into it.
As I think about my journey in sales — and how I landed at SetSail — I’m reminded of a series of epiphanies I’ve had about sales technology.
Epiphany #1: Engagement data was a game-changer for deal forecasting
I have a vivid memory from when I was at Litmos of the day we implemented Datahug, a pipeline management platform. I was blown away by how easy it was to see how the opportunities in my pipeline were advancing based on ‘volume’ of emails exchanged. It wasn’t terribly sophisticated in its insights, but I'll never forget how much of a game changer it was just to have basic engagement visibility across all of my reps’ deals. For the first time, I was comfortable knowing that across all my opportunities, I could reasonably assert that momentum was a decent indicator of forecast-ability.
One challenge I ran into, though, was around false positives. That is, engagement scoring was based purely on volume and did nothing to help me understand if my reps were gaming the system, if the prospect was just being noisy, or if we were actually on a glide path to close.
Just having surface-level engagement insights was, at the time, tremendously useful, simply because without it I was stretched thin trying to decode how my reps thought they were doing in their deals. But digging a layer deeper, I found I had a new, more time-consuming problem: sorting through the noise and trying to extract what engagements actually mattered in our deals.
Epiphany #2: Machine learning could supercharge forecasting
Then I learned about Clari, my first foray into using machine learning on sales data. For the first time, I was able to judge whether a deal was healthy or not based on data, not intuition or basic engagement insights. This was, once again, an absolute game changer for me because I realized that seeing engagement alone wasn't enough. I needed a way to understand if the engagement was meaningful in the context of my deal process.
In my mind, Clari’s forecasting technology set a new bar for what was possible with sales technology. If forecasting is your challenge, Clari is the best tool on the market. It’s the culmination of what sales technology has been trying to do for years: using AI to ascribe indications of revenue at an aggregated level down to the deal level.
The result was an unprecedented level of insights and visibility, but with that came a new challenge: turning insights into action. “Productivity” tools have tried to solve this, but driving adoption of revenue best practices at scale is still an expensive challenge that calls for a new approach.
Epiphany #3: Insights, while good, aren’t enough; you have to turn them into action
When I heard about SetSail, I thought “well surely they aren’t doing anything drastically different.” Upon closer inspection, wow was I wrong. SetSail, I came to learn, was not just focused on insights.
Instead, SetSail focuses on the very thing plaguing all revenue leaders: inconsistent rep behavior. It solves this by giving small rewards — “micro-incentives” we call them — based on leading indicators of success and whenever a rep reaches a critical milestone in a deal. As a result, our customers see a massive shift in how their reps engage with prospects and customers. Said more aptly, SetSail gets reps to follow best practices.
Discovering those best practices, however, is easier said than done.
Machine Learning “Done Right”
SetSail uses machine learning to analyze signals from the customer (instead of what’s reported by your reps) to uncover the best practices in your specific sales process. SetSail packages those best practices and creates incentives, giving reps a chance to earn small, regular bonuses in a competitive setting to drive the exact behaviors that sales managers, executives, and shareholders look for when qualifying the health of the revenue pipeline. And it’s all personalized to the business unit’s specific selling motion.
Mind = blown, and years of heartache finally addressed.
The Future of Sales Compensation
What really gets me excited about SetSail is that it has the unique distinction of being proven in the market. It’s not just an interesting concept; it’s proven to make a significant impact on revenue at enterprise companies in a matter of weeks after deployment.
In just a few short months of being with SetSail, it’s been more than just an epiphany. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I’ve had an awakening. I understand that this novel approach of incentivizing reps to achieve incremental outcomes that moves deals forward could very well be the way we think about compensation for all go to market teams for many years to come.
If your compensation plans feel stale and sluggish, dare I say zombie-esque, it may be time to take a hard look at how you think about the modern seller - SetSail is poised to dramatically change how we go-to-market and align our revenue goals with our customers goals and focus on leading indicators of success.If you’re as excited about this as I am, hit me up 😎
(also, my boss tells me I have to link our lead gen form, so you can go there too if you want)