Talks about #sdr, #saas, #sales, #startup, and #leadership
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Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show.
Today we have Kyle Vanvok.
He's the c e O at Voris.
Kyle, welcome to
Kyle Vamvouris: the show.
Thanks for having
Kevin Horek: me.
Yeah, I'm excited to
have you on the show too.
I, I think what we're gonna talk
about today, well, let's be honest,
anybody, any business on the planet
basically struggles with this and, and
hopefully is trying to get better at it.
And, you know, the teams that
actually really figure it out,
in my opinion anyway, are the
ones that are truly successful.
But, but maybe before we get into all
that, let's get to know you a little
bit better and start off with where you
Kyle Vamvouris: grew up.
I grew up, um, for the most part,
I was born in New Jersey, but
for the most part I grew up in,
uh, the San Francisco Bay area.
Kevin Horek: Okay.
So walk us through what made
you move to the Bay Area?
Kyle Vamvouris: family.
Yeah, so I was actually a kid,
so I, I was born in New Jersey.
I probably moved when I
was around four or five.
And, um, you know, my dad, uh, came out
here for work and for the most part grew
up in the, the San Francisco Bay area.
I went to high school here, um, and,
uh, middle school, elementary school.
So my whole life, I grew up in this area.
Kevin Horek: Very cool.
So walk us through the rest
of your education into your
Kyle Vamvouris: career.
So, um, I was, you know, going to
high school like , most good kids do.
After I graduated, I went to a junior
college and I spent probably about a year
and a half to two years there before I
decided to drop out to do standup comedy.
That was my real passion.
Uh, throughout, uh, high
school I did a lot of theater.
When I was 17, I started doing standup.
So at a certain point I was
failing most of my classes anyway,
so I was like, you know what?
I don't like this anymore.
Um, actually I never liked it so , I'm
like, just gonna stop doing it.
I'm gonna start doing standup full-time.
And in order to do that, I got
a job at, uh, a gym, selling gym
memberships and it was perfect cause
Kyle Vamvouris_ Building The Future Interview (2022-11-15 12_29 GMT-7):
Kyle Vamvouris: could sell during the
day and then at night I could do standup.
And I can go deeper into the,
kinda the story after this, but
I'll, uh, I'll kind of just tell
you how I got into the tech sales.
I was selling gym memberships at
this, uh, at this gym in the East Bay.
And my boss actually left the gym to
go work at a company called Intuit.
They make QuickBooks, TurboTax and
sure, he called me up and was like,
Hey, you need to get into tech sales.
This is gonna change your life.
You can't just sell gym
membership your whole life.
Uh, and I think you'd be really good at
this, so why don't you come and interview?
And the problem was Intuit
required a college degree.
So I was like, Hey, I don't think I
can, they ex they need a college degree.
And he was like, ah, I, I think
they'll overlook you cuz you know me.
It turns out he was trying to get
his, uh, his referral bonus for, um,
referring somebody who gets hired.
And, uh, they ended up overlooking it.
And I did a really good job on our
mock, uh, on my mock cold call.
They took a chance on me and
I'm forever grateful for that.
I started as a, uh, as an S G R.
So cold calling.
Kevin Horek: That's amazing actually.
That's, so I, I'm curious
before we dive into a little
bit deeper, how do you think.
Kind of public speaking and well, being a
standup comedian really helped with sales.
Kyle Vamvouris: asked this a
lot and it's not as obvious
as you would, you would think.
Uh, the main thing it helps you
with is handling, uh, rejection.
Yeah, I was gonna say . You get
rejected a lot as a comedian and
you get very, very good at it.
And what's really cool about it
is when you have a bad show and
standup afterwards, there's this
culture of reflecting, Hey, how
could that joke have been better?
What could I tweak?
How could I improve it?
And that's applied when I started
as an S C R cold calling, cuz
after calls I didn't go well.
I would do the same thing
and I almost disconnect my.
Uh, kind of my own person, uh, me as
a person from the activity and I can
start looking at it more objectively.
And the same thing is
with when you do standup.
Like I don't get off of a
stage if I do a, a perform.
If I perform somewhere and I
do poorly, I don't get off the
stage and say, God, I suck.
I go, huh, that joke didn't land.
And then let me work on that.
And the same thing applies with
cold calling as far as like
having a good sense of humor.
That's helpful for interpersonal, uh,
connections, but there's not anything.
I mean, I think that's a pretty big
one, but there's not anything more than
that, uh, just from my own experience.
Kevin Horek: No.
Uh, so walk us through the
rest of your career up until.
Kyle Vamvouris: Flores.
So I, like I said, Intuit start as an sdr.
About 10 months later I get promoted Okay.
To, uh, to an account executive.
So I'm actually in a sales role
and I would still get called back
to like, work with some of the
newer, often struggling SDRs.
So, and, and I know what it's like to
be that I know what it's like to be an
SDR with, with, uh, inadequate training
is trying to be as successful as I can.
So I, I've always had kind
of one foot into that world.
And what ended up happening,
this was around the time if.
If anybody remembers listening,
when Zenz was really blowing up
another kind of Silicon Valley
startup, they were exploding.
And the word around the, uh, around the
office was, Hey, you gotta go to Zens.
Zens is the best.
Uh, the, so I call it getting bit by the
startup bug cuz everyone was all excited.
So I ended up going to
a different startup.
I didn't go to Zs, but that was sort
of the genesis of this idea of like,
Hey, maybe I should go somewhere else.
It's more of a startup and I can
catch, you know, the next Zs.
That was kind of the idea.
, um, of course Zs ended up blowing up
for anybody who remembers that story.
But I went to a company called Talkdesk.
I was there for about a year,
um, an know closing world there.
Afterwards I wrote, um, a book
called Cold Committed, that's
a book on how to do outbound
prospecting for SDRs specifically.
And a big reason why I wrote that book
was because at Top Desk, the s d r team
really struggled that I spent a lot
of time trying to help them improve.
and uh, I had always thought about writing
a book cuz there wasn't a lot back then.
There was actually no book
when I was an SD r Wow.
That I could find.
Now there's, you know, infinite, uh, so
I wrote the first version of the book.
From there I ended up running the sales
development team at a company called Fork.
Was a financial tech company
based outta San Francisco.
Scaled that team from three people
to 14 and we went from 120 million
in assets under management to over
a billion in less than 20 months.
Um, so I was very fortunate to go through
that experience and all of our business
was generated through our outbound, uh,
SD R efforts, or I shouldn't say all.
We had one person on inbound.
The vast majority of the business
we did was through outbound.
Uh, after that I went to go repeat the
success at a company called Intuit.
I also rewrote the book called The
Committed Around this Time, um,
cuz of the first version I didn't
think was structured very well.
I wasn't a good writer back then.
So I rewrote the book.
Uh, and then I ran the inside sales
team at a company called Bloom Global.
It's a global supply
chain software company.
Uh, we did incredibly well there.
And then Covid hit and it hit the
supply chain really hard, right?
So they laid off my team and they
gave me a different role at the
company and there was a huge pay cut.
So I took what was a side consulting
business, Boris and I started
working to get more consulting
clients, kind of offset the
reduction in my income and smart.
It ended up going well and kept
getting customers, couldn't manage
the two and went full-time with Boris.
A li uh, a little over
two and a half years ago.
Yeah, it was a lot of fun, really.
Uh, you learn a lot when you
kind of go through each of
these different experiences.
Each job that I've, I've had, um,
I've been able to take away something
and not only do you learn a lot about
yourself, but you also learn a lot
of skills that become valuable later.
Kevin Horek: Totally.
And I love the fact that you
basically didn't just like quit
your job and started something like
you were doing it as a side hustle.
Something unfortunate happened
to you and then, you know, you
just kind of scaled that up.
I think that happens to more
people than they're willing to
Kyle Vamvouris: admit.
And one thing I'll add there
too is it's okay to do that.
Like it's okay to, to work on a
couple things on the side and.
Just have it as something that's
on the side until you're ready.
Like I started the business when it was
the right time for me to start a business.
A lot of people get all fired up
and they try to take their side
hustle and make it their main thing
as quickly as they can cause they
wanna get out of the nine to five.
I didn't have that mentality, you know,
I had a side consulting business and
I would do while I was driving to,
uh, to work and then I would be in
the parking lot for the remaining 30
minutes of, um, whatever, you know,
coaching session that I was doing with.
Um, I was mostly, um, consulting with uh,
founders and then sometimes they would
have me do coaching for their managers.
An hour, you know, an hour call.
Half of the driving, the other half
would bb me sitting in the parking lot.
I'd get into the office at seven
30 in the morning cause my clients
were on East coast and I didn't
have a huge desire to try to blow
up some, you know, other company.
I wanted to sell some copies of my book.
I wanted to have a blog and
build an audience and do a little
bit of consulting on the side.
And then when it became the right
time, that's when I decided to do it.
Kevin Horek: No, I, I think that's,
that's actually really good advice
and just making it work for you.
And, and whatever that means, right?
Like in your case it was, you know,
while you were driving and just
sitting in the parking lot, right?
Like, that happens all the time.
But like, nobody talks about that.
Or not a lot of people talk about
Kyle Vamvouris: that.
Yeah, it's totally true.
And, and also you need to be ready.
If you're really young in your
career, like you probably need to
get good at something before you
start helping on something , you
know, if that's the route you end
up taking just my 2 cents at least.
Kevin Horek: No, I hundred
percent agree with you.
So let's dive deeper into Boris.
What exactly is it and what made
you actually decide to start
Kyle Vamvouris: it?
So we work with B2B companies, so
this might be a software company or
service company, but B2B is the, the
main focus that we have and we help
them build a scalable sales process.
And I started the company because at
different phases of the organization,
As you're growing a company, you hit
these weird, uh, plateaus early on.
Of course it's building the first team.
You're like, gosh, this is a lot more
difficult than I thought, . And then
the teams are getting a little bit
bigger and you're like, you know what?
Most of our reps are not
performing very well.
. We have a couple of reps that do, the
rest of the reps, reps don't perform
that great and we don't really know why.
And then you start solve that problem
and then you get a little bit bigger
and you're like, okay, well our
core reps have always done well, but
the newer reps aren't doing well.
So these, these different
milestones that you run into issues.
And it's rare that I find a, uh, company
that has a problem with training or
they have a problem with like, they're.
A tool that they should be using often I
find it being one of these three things.
So the first is that the individual
reps on the team don't know what
they have to do to be successful.
The second is that the leadership team
doesn't know how to use data to figure
out how to make the team successful.
And then the third one, which
sometimes is a consequence of the
first two, is there's a culture
where poor performance is tolerated.
And we work with organizations to help put
systems in place, processes, messaging,
the leadership fundamentals to help them
run really successful sales organizations.
Kevin Horek: Okay.
Do you want to maybe dive a little bit
deeper into like, like, okay, so I, I'm
running a company for example, how, how.
Like, walk me through and
I'm struggling with sales.
Like, walk us through, uh, you know,
we have probably an initial call.
I give you my issues.
Like walk us through kind of how
I would work with your company.
Kyle Vamvouris: Sure.
So the first thing we'd do is we'd do
an analysis of your historical data.
We'd interview your team, we'd
interview the executive team.
We'd look at any materials you have.
We'd do competitor overviews.
And what we do is we construct
a roadmap that's basically
saying, Hey, you are here today.
You would like to be over there.
And that's usually a revenue target.
So let me just use a real example.
Um, customer comes to us and they're
saying like, Hey, we need to do
2 million in revenue next year,
we're probably gonna close out the
year close to 1 million in revenue.
So I'd like to do 3
million, including net new.
Uh, next year.
What we're gonna do is we're gonna look
at the gaps in your current process,
and we're gonna model out what it's
gonna take to actually get there.
And we take a very data-driven approach.
So we model out the team and
we look at some areas that
you're lacking that have a.
A big impact on your ability to
hit that revenue target of adding
2 million in new revenue for this
example that we're walking through.
Once we've constructed that roadmap and
we have a very simple, Hey, first thing
we need to do is we need to actually
be tracking the team's performance.
You guys do a horrible job, making
sure that you know, uh, where every
deal is in the pipeline, or if it's
an SDR team, uh, you don't do a great
job understanding what channels of
outreach are most effective for you.
Once we have our fingers on the pulse of
what needs to change, then for the rest
of our engagement with a, with a company,
we're actually helping them implement
either a better reporting structure
or better quotas, or even messaging.
Maybe the messaging's terrible,
maybe their demo script isn't good.
We actually work with them and co-create
those materials to fill the gaps that
they need to fill in order to get
them closer to their revenue target.
Kevin Horek: And then, yeah.
And then it's all backed by data cuz like,
, I'm sure you get this all the time.
A lot of, a lot of stuff in
startups is opinion-based.
And I'm not saying that's necessarily
wrong, but it can, it can be very right?
It can be very wrong or somewhere
in the middle and it's usually
somewhere in the middle.
Is that fair to say?
Kyle Vamvouris: Uh, yeah.
In the absence of data, so when you have
data, you're constructing hypotheses
based on that data, and then you're
measuring the changes that you make.
So I can tell you what's right or wrong.
Now, I can't talk to you right now
and tell you based on my opinion,
what I think would be right for you.
But give me a month and give me a team.
I can tell you, oh, no, no, no.
This actually is better.
So let me give you a real example
of this, and I'll go to cold
calling for this because for some
reason this is, things get very
controversial around cold calling.
Uh, one thing that people love to debate
is opening a cold call with, how are you?
It's a common debate you'll read online.
Should you say, how are, you know?
Uh, hey, uh, hey Ke.
Kevin, this is Kyle.
How's it going?
And then you go into
your normal pitch, right?
Uh, people that's controversial.
Somehow I've tested this extensively.
It has, has it, it has had no
impact on the teams that open with.
How are you so interesting.
Why are we debating it?
Why don't you just try it and
figure out if it works for you
or if it doesn't work for you.
Just, uh, another example here.
More strategic and higher level.
We've worked with four different
cybersecurity companies at Forest.
I thought I could copy and paste the
strategy cuz they sell the same thing.
Did not work.
Each company had a different approach
and sometimes dramatically different.
Well, how's that possible?
It's the same offering
selling into a similar market.
Well, similar's doing a lot of the
heavy lifting in that sentence.
It's not the same market.
And honestly, in a lot of cases
the offer's a little different too.
So those variables.
Change what you have to
do on the sales side.
And people don't acknowledge that
sales is a complex organization.
Well, people act like it's
simple because it can be
articulated in a very simple way.
The reality is there's a lot of variables.
You have sales reps that are
supposed to understand the
challenges the prospects are facing.
They're supposed to, uh, help them
understand how to solve those challenges.
They need to position your product
or service as a solution to those
challenges and ask for their money.
And then meanwhile, they're getting
all this internal pressure from
leadership and they're you being told,
Hey, here's your aggressive numbers.
Oh, you also need to do this.
Hey, we need to change
the script over here.
Oh, we're not converting
enough over there.
There's a lot of variables
that are going on.
And I think unfortunately, we tend
to oversimplify this part of the
organization and we shouldn't.
We should treat it like what it is.
And fortunately, we can use
data to help navigate all of the
challenges that this function has.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
Okay, so you probably get
this some of the time.
What if a company doesn't have data?
And then I guess this follow up question
of that is how can they start actually
collecting that, whether they're,
you know, a brand new company or, you
know, been around for a number of years
Kyle Vamvouris: so they're
not collecting data well, uh,
it's a good excuse to start.
So you wanna track as many
things as you possibly can when
it comes to your sales teams.
Go ahead sir.
What was that?
Uh, I would, lemme give some examples
of like what you would track.
So for, um, let's say, let's say you're
talking about your SDR and your AE team.
Let's say you're tracking nothing
today, which isn't the truth for
most organizations, but let's just
say it is, and you wanted to do
things perfect off of the bat.
Here's what I typically set,
typically will suggest there's seven
metrics that need to be tracked.
The first metric is activity,
and I'd like to, uh, to track
that metric across every channel.
That activity is happening.
How many calls are we making?
How many emails are we sending, how many
LinkedIn messages, whatever channels
you use, how much activity is our team
doing in order to generate appointments?
The next is how many engagements are we
getting as a result of that activity?
And engagement might be a
prospect answering the phone, so
a phone connect as you'd call it.
It might be somebody replying to
an email or a LinkedIn message.
How many engagements are we getting?
The next one is, how many
appointments are we getting now?
all three of those you should
be tracking per channel.
So if you do call cold calls and you
do cold email, we need to know how many
calls are going out, how or how many
calls are happening, how many people are
answering the phone, how many appointments
are being booked through calls.
We need to know how many emails are
going out, how many, uh, replies we're
getting to those emails, and how many
meetings are being booked through emails.
So you have those three.
Once you then from appointment,
the next is deal stage one.
So what's the first stage
in your sales process?
You want to see what the, um, the.
Kind of conversion is between an
appointment being booked and then
actually making it to deal stage one.
That's a function of show up rate.
It's also a function
of qualification rate.
And then from deal stage one to deal stage
two, deal stage two, to deal stage three,
and then deal stage three to close one.
You have to adjust that based on
how many deal stages you have.
Um, but that's ideal.
If you could track.
Across all of the deals that are
happening, you can do a strong cohort
analysis and figure out, hey, we
did 5,500 activities last month.
We ended up closing three deals
as a result of those activities.
So how many, uh, engagements
did those activities generate?
How many appointments?
And then ultimately how many closed deals?
And by tracking the percentage drop off
across each one of those KPIs, I just
outlined each one of those seven, what
you end up finding are bottlenecks within
your sales process that you can then
start to focus on, build a hypothesis
around how to fix it, and then ex,
you know, run and experiment with a
new process to see that if it actually
does it actually solve that problem.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
So I, and I don't know, maybe
this is like, as somebody that's
a designer, sales has always been
something I'm like so brutally bad
at and it feels like it's this black.
Box that I just like can never crack
or spend enough time to, to care.
And I'm sure there's a lot of
people that, that are maybe in a
sales position or a C E O and they
don't come from a sales background.
What advice do you give to them?
Like where do they even really start?
Kyle Vamvouris: So you start with making
sure we're doing the activities that
are needed in order to hit our numbers.
So a lot of people are getting a
little uncomfortable around this, but
sales is very much a numbers game.
I just gave you a bunch of KPIs,
right, that you have to track.
It's very much a numbers game, but
you know, it's same thing with design.
Like if you're working on a
product, you're evaluating
the usage of that product.
Facebook, for example,
this is like two years ago.
They, um, they gave me like a $50 gift
card to come do like a UX research thing.
And normally I ignore all those,
but I was like, you know what?
It might be kind of fun to go to
the Facebook campus and like look
at different versions of Facebook.
So I went totally, and they just
watched me use weird versions of
Facebook that are totally off the
wall, crazy, like absolutely nothing
like how Facebook looks today.
And, um, they just would, they videoed me.
They asked me questions on how I felt
about going through certain things.
You do research and you figure out
what's the user's behavior, the exact
same thing you're doing in sales.
It's the exact same process except
instead of a user, there's a prospect.
What are they actually inspired by
to take action and do more of that?
So you evaluate your sales
process in the same way.
So the first step, if you're like brand
new and you're just building your first
sales team, is when you bring on people,
make sure they're doing enough activities.
Should you actually start using the
data to be able to tweak the process?
So your reps are making cold calls, are
they making a hundred cold calls a day?
What's that telling you?
Are people booking meetings or
are they not booking meetings?
You know, it's kind of the
same thing with UX research.
Like, are they the button or
are they confused and they don't
realize it's a button or whatever.
You know, I'm not a designer, so I
I'm not gonna have a great, no, that's
Kevin Horek: actually a perfect example.
It, it's interesting the
parallels between the two,
Kyle Vamvouris: right?
Or here's, maybe this is more, uh,
classic example where it's like,
did the user expect that that
would be a dropdown when it wasn't?
And, um, the same thing's happening here,
like, oh, did they show up to the meeting?
And they feel like it didn't
align with the expectations
that were set on the cold call.
So it's very, very similar.
And if you treat it the same way, and this
resonates a lot with founders that are
more, um, maybe they have an engineering
background or they're a little bit more
analytical, uh, because you're treating it
the exact same way, just look at the data.
The problem is everyone feels that.
Sales is so touchy feely.
Oh, it's your personality.
They're likable, which is all true.
Like that's part of it.
But the numbers tell you exactly what's
going on within the organization.
And just because salespeople are very kind
of eq, you know, very good at building
relationships, chatting with people, have
fun personalities, doesn't mean we can't
be very data driven and analytical about
the behaviors that they're doing that are
driving the result that we're looking for.
And if you start taking that approach,
especially early on, you'll find
you'll be able to iterate a lot quicker
and you'll get to a better result.
It's more like you're building a
its own product than it is your,
um, you're kind of, then you're
just building a sales team.
It's almost like a product, right?
You're trying to figure out what
works best and then you're making
changes based on that feedback.
Kevin Horek: Fascinating.
I've never actually heard
sales put like that to me, and
it, it totally makes sense.
Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, I think it's, it.
Look, it's, is it a super new idea?
Um, large Oracle's been doing this
for decades, you know, it's just they
had more access to data back then.
Now everybody has access to the same data.
And you can evaluate your team
like this from the beginning.
Um, people get weird around sales,
and I can tell you there's also a
lot of salespeople that aren't great.
There's a lot of sales leaders
that aren't great, and people
hire a sales leader, like a VP of
sales, or they hire a salesperson.
It doesn't work out the way they're
expecting, and they're like, gosh, this,
this just isn't working for, for us.
I doubt they took a very data-driven
approach when they were building
those teams and the people who were
leading the team either didn't know
what they were doing, or they had
experience as a sales leader, as
at an organization that already had
somewhat of a process when they started.
Which is very different than if you're
starting something from scratch.
So depending on what stage you
are at in an organization, just
the approach changes a little bit.
Kevin Horek: Well, and then to your
point earlier, just, just because
even if you move companies, doesn't
mean your successful sales process
will work at the new company.
It may or may not.
It, maybe it's probably
Kyle Vamvouris: somewhere in the middle.
I mean, yeah, you're a hundred
percent right about that.
You know, I'm, I'm sure
it's the same with design.
You know, every, uh,
every app looks different.
There's a reason for that.
If there was one right way of
doing something that worked for
this specific type of product, all
the apps would look the same, but
Kevin Horek: they don't.
No, and that fascinating.
So I wanna a little dive a little bit
deeper into some of the other kind of
services and and consulting that you guys
Kyle Vamvouris: do.
. So yeah, our main, our main service or
is, um, a six month program where we work.
Really hands on with an organization.
We help them, uh, create
a scalable sales process.
So in some cases, our
clients are brand new.
They've never built a sales team,
and they're building their first
team, and we help 'em do that.
Uh, like for example, we worked
with a, um, project management
solution for architects.
Uh, they were at 400 k in a r r
when, uh, they started working with
us and they had no salespeople.
11 months later they had eight
salespeople and they were at 1.2 million.
So they had three x in that in 11 months.
Uh, that's the power of having
a strong sales function.
And then other, uh, customers that
work with us, they have a team already.
They're just not meeting the expectations
and we take them through, you know,
the same structure of program.
It's just very, um, very different
because they already have a team in place.
And that is similar type of results,
like once you put in a culture of one
data hygiene , but also analyzing and
using data in order to make decisions.
Things typically get better fairly
quickly, especially if it's a organization
that has been tracking some stuff already.
They're just not using it very well.
Um, as far outside of, you know,
our core program where we're, like
I said, working really hands on, uh,
with these organizations, we also do
training and coaching for SDRs and AEs.
We have a, a group, uh, training
program that we've developed for that,
that all of our customers, uh, for
the most part have the reps doing.
And then we also do, um, some,
some sourcing and we really only
will recruit for our, our clients
that are in that six month program.
But we have, um, kind of a recruiting
department here, and we actually look and,
uh, we'll find really strong SD R and AE
talent and we'll place it that will place
them at our, um, at our clients companies.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
So with existing sales teams though, and
I'm sure you probably get asked this a
lot, there's obviously gonna be people at
the company and on the team that embrace
you coming in and then kind of are maybe
a bit more hesitant or, or less like,
we don't need consult like consultants.
Like how do you work with
teams to kind of, you know, get
everybody back on the same page?
Kyle Vamvouris: So there's what
we try to do, and then there's
sometimes the worst case scenario.
Um, so what we do is we
explain why we're, we're there.
That's usually a good first step.
And we have executive approval.
So like the CEO typically has, or the
CEO has definitely signed off on this, if
they have a sales leader in place, they
are, they're usually involved in this as
well earlier, before they, uh, hire us.
So you explain to the whole team
why we're, why we're there, what
we're going to be, um, doing, and
what impact's gonna have on them.
At the end of the day, salespeople
make commission, the more effective
I can make a sales rep, the more
commission they'll, they'll make.
So we'll just show 'em that
and say like, listen, this is
what you guys are doing now.
you're basically, you're
making your base salary.
I imagine everybody here would like to
be making double the amount of money.
Am I wrong?
No, , you're not wrong.
So let's follow my process
that we're gonna get, you know,
we're, we will get you there.
Now that doesn't always work.
You know, sometimes there's people
who've just been stuck in their ways
and they have a lot of pushback.
They like the way they're doing it.
Um, at the end of the day,
it's a performance-based role.
And if you have reps that aren't hitting
their targets and they like doing
it their way and they're not gonna
do it another way, and they're not
hitting their targets, then they leave.
You let them go.
You can't keep people around who
aren't meeting your expectations.
That goes back to that, that
third, um, reason why I see a
lot of sales team struggling.
They have a culture of
poor, poor performance.
And for every poor performing sales
rep, there's an average sales rep that's
getting pulled down instead of pulled up.
And that's what you want is pulling up.
But too many people allow folks that they
like to sit in the sales role, not perform
to expectations, and they wonder why
their entire sales organization struggles.
So that doesn't happen
when we're involved.
And I've told three different
organizations to fire their VPs of
sales because they were the problem.
And sometimes you're saying, Hey,
Sales reps are the problem, and you
either need to put 'em in a different
part of the organization or you need
to remove 'em from the organization.
And it's a tough conversation to have.
But I can tell you almost every
single time I've made that kind of
recommendation, the c e o or founder
has said, yeah, I've been feeling that
way for a while, and I just needed
somebody to kick me in that direction.
So oftentimes, you know what you
need to do when you have these
kind of sales organization.
Uh, you're just, uh, you just
don't have the validation you
need to actually execute on,
on what your gut's telling you.
Kevin Horek: that, that makes sense.
I, I'm curious then.
So if you come into, you probably
get to ask this all the time.
Like, well, I want our salespeople
to, you know, we're at a
million dollars in revenue.
We wanna be 10, 10 million in revenue.
Like, make that happen.
Like, you probably get these un like, it's
not, maybe it's attainable, maybe down
the road, but like not in a year or Right.
How do you handle that?
And setting, setting expectations.
Kyle Vamvouris: It's actually super easy.
Um, okay, , it sounds hard on the
surface, but I have the best way to do it.
Um, I go, great.
You wanna hit, you're at 1 million,
now you wanna hit 10 million.
Let's pull out my model and let's figure
out exactly how many people you need
to hire in order to hit that target.
And I take their data and I model out
exactly how many people they would need
in order to hit that 10 million target.
And then I look at them, I said, are you
prepared to hire 20 sales reps and 15 SD.
or whatever the number would have to
be, depending on the product size.
That's probably high, honestly.
But, um, and they go, oh,
we're not ready to do that.
Okay, well then we're not
heading 10 million next year.
And the where this conversation gets the
most interesting is when, um, they've
taken venture money, so right, had a
million dollars in a r r and you're
like, Hey, I need to hit 3 million.
Cause we're trying to triple,
triple, double, double.
It's like, okay, great,
well you got big goals.
Welcome to kind of big sales goals too.
. Now we're gonna have to hire,
you know, eight people, right?
This is probably gonna be five SD and
three AEs and we're gonna need to onboard
those people within the next four months.
And you have to be prepared to spend, you
know, spend the money it takes to do that.
And if you raised venture capital,
then you have no choice because you
told the board you were gonna do it.
And people still get a
little bit stuck on that.
Tells me exactly what we need to do,
and I'm putting your data into a model
and telling you based on your historic
performance, or if it's brand new
based on reasonable super conservative
estimates, this is what we'll need
to, in order to, to make it happen.
And then, you know, let's hold hands and
skip along the, the journey together.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
No, that's, that's cool.
So, I, I'm curious then, what advice
do you give to, you know, maybe
tech founders or, or other people
that aren't traditionally sales
team or, or salesperson at all?
Because the, the reality
is, is we have an idea.
We're starting to build something, trying
to get our first customers, you know,
and then hopefully if it takes off,
we're, we're gonna build out a sales
Kyle Vamvouris: team.
So I always, like, I, first
of all, the founder has to.
, if the founder's not
selling, there's a problem.
People aren't just gonna, you know, this
is becoming a little bit more common.
Cause everyone's like, oh, we're
product led with our growth.
It's like, okay, great.
Um, , you know, slack has 200 salespeople
right now, so , that's the, the, you
know, the Golden Child of Product led.
So, um, it's a lot more complex than that.
And I'm a big believer
in product led growth.
But there's also a sales motion
that works in tandem with that.
Um, in my experience,
that's most effective.
So you have to sell as
the founder originally.
And depending on the situation, and
I'll give you a couple of scenarios
here just so people can put themselves
in, in the shoes of the scenario.
Uh, the first scenario is you've raised
zero, uh, venture capital or capital
in general, and you don't have the,
um, the resources you need in order to
ex to build out a real sales function.
But you can maybe hire
somebody that's inexpensive.
I typically recommend starting
by hiring an SDR and having them
do cold outreach for you, uh, or
work some of your inbound leads.
And then you treat
yourself as the founder.
You treat yourself as the sales
rep, so then that SDR is now booking
meetings for you, and then you're
responsible for closing those meetings.
And then once you get so busy to
where you can't really manage.
Both running the company as well
as doing all of the sales calls.
At this point, you're probably
generating a bit more revenue and
it would make sense to bring on an
account executive to take over for
you as the sales hire the salesperson.
So that's the first one.
If they didn't raise money, if you
did raise capital, welcome . This is
the fire hose now totally changed the
approach and you just do the math on
how many people you need in order to
hit your rev revenue target and you
hire them as quickly as possible and
then you fire people who don't work.
So, um, it's a little
coldblooded, but this is what
you have to do in the beginning.
Um, uh, also depending on how much, uh,
money you raise, like that's obviously
gonna influence what revenue targets
are gonna be attainable for you.
Um, specifically when it comes
to how, what percentage of that
funding you can allocate towards
the sales, uh, department.
So what I'll typically see is
an organization is comfortable
hiring, uh, three to four people.
Maybe if they raise money,
depending on what round it is and
how, and how much they raised.
But let's say it's four people, just
to keep things simple, you would
probably start by hiring two SDRs
and two AEs right off the bat, and
you do that as quickly as possible.
Um, if you have to pick which one
to start and you're not a sales fan
founder, I would start with account
executives that have them do full cycle.
So they do their own prospecting and
booking their own appointments and then
bring on the SDRs quickly after that.
But if you modeled it out appropriately,
you can't really delay your hiring.
So you need to move with urgency here.
Uh, cuz there will be bumps and
challenges along the way and you're
gonna be at risk of mix missing
the, uh, targets that you gave the
board, uh, because you're being slow.
So I would hire four people and
then I would keep the job open.
I would keep interviewing people
and hopefully everybody works out.
But because there's enough
people, there's some competition.
Uh, sometimes people don't work out
and then you can replace them with,
uh, new hires if you have to, but
hopefully you don't have to just.
Kevin Horek: Got it.
How is the sales landscape right now?
Obviously techs all doom and gloom
and seems to go over the map lately.
Is it a challenge to
hire decent salespeople?
Do you recommend going to, you know,
in your case, like you got recruited
from selling gym, gym memberships,
like going to the non-tech sector?
Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah.
Which, which I love.
Um, for SDRs, I love hiring right outta
college here, I, I'm gonna say something
that's gonna be uncomfortable for people
to hear and um, this is just the reality.
If you're a salesperson,
you're getting laid off.
right now, and they didn't lay
off the entire sales department.
You weren't a top performer.
And if you're a startup company, you
wanna hire top performers or people who
have the potential to be a top performer.
So that's why I like
hiring right outta college.
For SDRs, for account executives,
it's a little bit trickier, and I
do look for people with experience.
Salespeople are very good
at selling themselves.
So if you go to, um, our website, we
have a framework that we use to evaluate
this, that's one of our blog posts.
If you just type in, um,
like hiring salespeople and
Boris, it'll pop up on Google.
Uh, we, we have a, a strong process
for evaluating sales talent, but the
key is you want the top performer.
So yeah, tech is in shambles right now,
and if you're talking to a candidate
from a company that didn't fire every
salesperson that they have on staff,
and instead they hire, they fired.
80, 70, 80% of them.
Odds are you're not talking to
somebody who was a top performer.
And I don't know if you can afford to
hire somebody who wasn't a top performer.
Maybe you can, maybe you can.
It's up for the individual,
uh, founder to decide.
But that's something that makes hiring
today a little bit more tricky than it was
before when there's a lot less layoffs.
Um, the underperformers were still
there, but right now the market
is flooded with underperformers.
So you're getting a lot more applications
being filled out than you were previously.
Kevin Horek: So why do you recommend
hiring people right outta school?
Kyle Vamvouris: A couple of reasons.
Speci, and this is
specific for the SD R role.
Um, and I love college
I'll actually give you a couple of my,
like criteria here in a minute, but why
do I like hiring people out of school?
Uh, typically they're more
driven cuz they're, this is
their first job in the workforce.
They're excited, they're very motivated,
they wanna progress in their career.
So I like that.
Um, they're also new.
so I can shape, um, that candidate or
that, uh, that employee into what I want
them to be based on our culture here.
You know, they're a lot more green
and they're more coachable and they're
willing to learn and they, they adjust.
And I really like that.
And I like being around
people that are, um, curious.
And I like being around people who
are excited to learn new things,
and I find that best in people
that I hire right outta college.
A couple of things that I look for is
I do not like hiring, uh, pe uh, right
outta college if they didn't work or play.
Um, athletic, have a, were
in athletics in college.
Uh, I, I, I don't have an interest
in, in hiring people who did not
work or do athletics in college.
I think if, um, I think you should have,
if, uh, you went to college, I think
it's important for the sales role to
have somebody who, um, you know, kind of.
Is able to manage both
of those things at once.
And I, I have a lot of respect
for people who did that too.
Uh, the other thing that I look for are
people who are really naturally curious.
And this applies to every role.
Um, even if you're hiring, uh, people
who had a job prior and not just outta
college, but I look for curious people.
I think these's a really important trait.
So there's obviously the normal stuff grid
that everybody talks about, but those are
the two that I, I, I have as a bit of a.
Kevin Horek: How do you
look for curiosity in
Kyle Vamvouris: somebody?
Usually it's by the questions they ask me.
Uh, so I, a big, big part of my
interview process is what questions
is the candidate asking me?
And that just gets me excited.
If I have someone who's asking me really
good questions I don't normally hear,
and they're invested in our organization
and they ask deeper questions after
they've interviewed with other people,
and I'm on a second interview with them,
maybe, uh, that gets me really excited.
So that's by far the main, is
it the main way that I tell
if somebody's more curious?
The other way is based on their interests.
So if they have a lot of, I I always say
if they have a lot of goofy interests,
that makes me more interested in them.
So for example, I had a rep that I
hired who used to compete in competitive
snow machine races in Alaska.
So he was born and raised in Alaska.
And I was like, that's crazy.
Like, how did you get into that?
And just the way he lit up and
would tell me about, about it.
And then there was like another thing he
was really into investing to, and like
he was telling me about how he found his
first, he stumbled upon his first book.
Cause then his family's had an investing
background and then he ended up kind
of going down the rabbit hole and
following Warren Buffet's philosophy.
Like just you, you, when you talk
to somebody who has a lot of unique
interests and they're unique people,
usually they're more curious and, uh,
especially if they act on their curiosity.
Like, I love that kind of stuff.
Kevin Horek: Fascinating.
Um, any other advice for, for people
that, because obviously the job market's
a little bit kind of, I, I don't know.
It, it seems like people are either
super busy or they're kind of struggling
pretty hard and obviously there's people
in the middle, but it seems to be kinda
like a big feaster famine right now.
what advice do you give for people
that that maybe did get let go and
maybe they knew they were, weren't
a top performer or they weren't
allowed to be a top performer?
Cuz I've had that before too, where it's
like, I've got hired at companies and I
was literally not allowed to do my job.
And you know, we don't need to get
into that necessarily, but I think
you know what I'm asking there,
Kyle Vamvouris: you know.
I'm glad you asked it too.
Cause I should put a
little asterisk there.
Every piece of advice I give
is just a piece of advice.
There's exceptions to everything, right?
Like I'm, I'm generalizing
here because I'm not talking
to a specific organization and.
There are a lot of sales reps that
you're totally right where they
just weren't able to do their job.
Like, for example, when I, um, I
won't tell you which company it
was, but when I started, one of
the companies that I worked at, uh,
they just didn't give us any leads.
And they're like, oh, the SD Rs gonna
book all your appointments for you.
And they didn't.
And I just went rogue and started doing
my own outreach, and I booked more
meetings in my first month doing that
than the entire SDR team of 15 people.
So I couldn't really do
my job, and I got lucky.
I ended up closing a deal, you know,
it worked out, but it was very tough.
So of course they're gonna
be situations like that.
Now if you're a sales rep and maybe
you weren't a top performer or you
weren't allowed to be good, and as
you're kind of in this job market
right now, there's two things that
I think are really important to do.
One is improve your own skills and should
be consuming everything that you can.
Uh, and then the next one, Is,
you should be talking to as many
companies as humanly possible.
You should be interviewing everywhere.
One, you get better at it.
But two, you're also gonna have a
lot more opportunities, which gives
you leverage to negotiate in a world
where that's gonna be less common
moving forward, because there's an
increase in talent on the market.
So if I was a sales rep, especially
if I was a good one, I would have as
many interviews as humanly possible.
I would improve some of my own skills,
but I would get really, really good at
interviewing and make sure that I pick
a company that I think would do that.
That is on offense right now versus
on defense, which is a lot of what,
what a lot of companies are at.
Kevin Horek: No, that's good advice.
I also think too, that if you've been in
the sales role before, you've probably
worked with a bunch of people, like
start reaching out to your network.
Kyle Vamvouris: Oh, totally.
Kevin Horek: It it,
that's one thing that I.
Been kind of just wa just scrolling
through LinkedIn and it seems like
people almost are hesitant to reach
out for help sometimes, right?
Especially when they're struggling if
they just got let go, especially if
the whole team's gotten let go, right?
Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You have to look to your network.
That's where you're gonna find
a lot of jobs, um, uh, you know,
throughout your entire career.
But I'll tell you, every job that I
got, other than the first one, Intuit,
I applied or I created, if you look at
my current job, but I just applied on,
on, I didn't use my network at all.
You totally tried to use your network.
You know, I got interviews through
my network, but the jobs I ended
up taking were not ones that
were, um, part of my network.
And don't underestimate or
wait, how should I say this?
, other talent on the market.
Like if you're, if you're a talented
salesperson, you have to realize
that person, the, the person at the
company who's interviewing you has
spoken to nine other sales reps, so 10
total, and most of them aren't great.
Most of those interviews are not great.
I can tell you, as somebody who's
done a ton of interviews, most
people aren't great at interviews.
So if you can be good at that,
you'll really stand out, especially
if you can ask questions and you're
very thoughtful and you're also
self-aware, you will stand out.
So you should have confidence
when you're doing that.
And when you stumble upon a sales rep,
as a hiring, as somebody hiring, you
stumble upon a sales rep that stands
out, you typically get really excited.
And remember at the core of the sales
role, you give me $5, I'll give you 15.
We're, we are a, a positive revenue
generated part of the organization,
so you should treat yourself
like one and that gives you the
opportunity to negotiate and, um,
you know, ultimately get paid a lot.
Kevin Horek: I think
that's really good advice.
We're kind of coming to the end of the
show, but is there any other advice
that you would want to give people
whether just depending on where they
are in their career that you think
we maybe haven't covered yet today?
Kyle Vamvouris: Yeah, take
your job really serious.
If you're a sales rep, I mean, regardless
of what job you're in, actually, so
let me just remove sales from it.
Like you should be taking
that job incredibly seriously.
You should be trying to do
your best work possible.
If you're not where you want to be in
your career, , if you're exactly where
you want to be and you want to coast at
this level, sure do the bare minimum.
But I see so much content on LinkedIn,
on Instagram, on YouTube of people
talking about like doing the least
possible to get paid the most.
Yeah, I just feel like that's
the wrong approach to have.
And if you want to be successful, you
have to demand excellence from yourself.
And if you're not willing to do
what it takes to become excellent
in your current role, then you don't
deserve to be anywhere further.
You're not in the position you are because
you, uh, Got screwed by somebody else
or things haven't worked out the way
you want, you're where you are because
that's where you're supposed to be.
And if you feel like you need to be
in a better spot, then make it happen.
But it starts with you and too
many people preach the message
that it starts with somebody else.
I think ultimately that's the
kind of belief system that holds
people back in their career.
Uh, I, I
Kevin Horek: actually think
that's, that's really good advice.
I, I also, I'm curious though, obviously,
like sales isn't really like a necessarily
nine to five Monday to Friday type job.
What advice do you give to people
about kind of a work-life balance
or even what have you found?
Because in my honest opinion, sometimes
I'm really good at it and other
weeks or months, I'm terrible at
Kyle Vamvouris: it.
But it's also what
works for you, you know?
Each person's very different.
Like, I, you know, I, I've talked
about this with burnout a lot.
Where people are all
worried about burn burnout.
And if you ever, and some people you
talk to, they've never burned out before.
I'm like, what are you worried about?
You haven't, you haven't
hit the burnout mark.
How do you know what it takes to burn out?
Oh, I wanna make sure I take
vacation so I don't burn out.
It's like, really?
Or do you just want a vacation?
Like you can be honest about
saying, I just want a vacation.
But if you've never experienced
burnout before, you have no
idea what your threshold is.
And I can tell you is somebody who
has experienced it, but also has
had a bunch of incredibly stressful
parts, moments in my career.
What once used to burn
you out at some point?
Kevin Horek: Yeah, that's good advice.
Kyle Vamvouris: figure it out for
you, and then focus on trying to
expand your comfort zone and how
should you balance it in the way
that makes the most sense for you.
So are you married with kids?
You're probably working a bit
more than somebody who is.
Oh, you have?
You are married, okay, great.
Adjust your life accordingly.
Make sure you're spending
time with your kids.
Make sure you're spending time with
your family, but do what's, what's right
based on your own life circumstances.
Don't be worried about some my
mystical thing, like burnout all
of a sudden popping in your life
because you didn't take an extra
day off during the holiday season.
Like it's ridiculous.
It's just not how it happens.
It's not because you worked too much,
it's typically because you're working
too much at, towards an outcome that you
don't feel like the work you're doing is
actually leading you towards achieving.
That's more of what burnout is than it is.
Oh, I just worked too much this week.
So I usually encourage people to try to
be very, um, self-aware of what makes you.
Burnout or not be productive and what
does, and try to just keep doing more
of what does, but I can tell you people
have been warning me of burnout my entire
career, and I've experienced it before.
I can tell you what I do today would've
burnt me out five years ago, but I'm doing
it today and I'm not getting burnt out.
We change, we evolve, we get better.
And every single person who's listening
to this, I would hope is on that track
too, where they're, they're listening
to this cause they wanna improve,
they want to get better, and I would
encourage them to stay on that track.
Kevin Horek: No, I, I think
that's, that's really good advice.
And I always hated those like
stupid lists of like 20 things
successful people do every day.
It's like some of them might work for
you, none of them might work for you.
All of them might work for you.
Depending on where you
are in your career in.
Try some new things and keep doing what
works and stop doing what doesn't work.
Kyle Vamvouris: Kevin, lemme
expand on that real quick.
You bring up a really good point.
Uh, they also talk about like, oh, uh,
you know, the average millionaire has
seven streams of income or whatever.
Now, almost everyone who's gotten rich
has gotten rich on one stream first and
then diversified their streams of income.
Every millionaire influencer who's
telling you about their morning
routine probably did something
different when they were coming up.
So do what works for you.
Try to figure out what you
know, what's gonna be best.
And there are these, these core
fundamentals that you should be following.
And is journaling every day good?
Yeah, it is.
I don't do it . I wish I did, but I don't.
But what I do works for me.
So figure it out for you.
I totally agree with that, Kevin.
Kevin Horek: No, I, I, I think
that's really good advice and
I wish I would've known that.
A lot sooner in my career than, you know,
it took me so long to figure some of this
stuff out and I, I actually like stopped
reading all those types of news articles.
It's like I just skim past 'em.
Cause I don't even care.
It's like, sure.
There's like, I probably lose the odd
good Tim tidbit of what I should be
trying, but it's like there's more,
99% of it is just absolute garbage.
Or it's just like this hype piece.
Kyle Vamvouris: Well it's totally a,
yeah, it's totally a hype piece piece
and it's, it's disappointing because
Yeah, there's a lot of people, like
the fundamentals are what works.
And look, you can, if, if you're not
where you want to be in your life
today and, and almost your entire life,
you're guaranteed to always want to be
somewhere better . It's kinda the curse
of being a kind of a high achiever.
But, um, in general, like if your life
isn't the way you want it to be, a lot of
times this stuff becomes procrastination.
It's like, oh, I journal every day, but
I'm, you're really procrastinating, like,
what actions do you really have to take?
And people love doing things that they
feel make them better, but don't put them
in a position to fail, like journaling.
Like you can, you never, I mean, if
you stop journaling, I guess you're
failing at it technically, but it's
not like your whole family's Yeah.
Uh, laugh at you, but actually
trying to grow a business.
Like, I remember when I first started
Boris, I remember getting asked all
the time, are you paying yourself yet?
Are you paying yourself yet?
Are you paying yourself yet?
And the answer was no.
For 10 months.
? I'm not, no, not yet.
No, not yet.
Oh, we have, you know, we
have four clients right now.
Uh, no, I'm not paying myself yet.
And then, you know, what happened
is I started paying myself
and everyone stopped asking.
Cause they realized, oh
shit, this is serious.
He, he, he was actually doing
something the whole time.
And that's gonna happen with everybody
else if they start their own business.
And also if they progress in their
career, there's gonna be people
around who want the best for you.
And they're not naysayers, but
they're gonna ask you things and
they're gonna question you in ways
that makes you feel like they're
not confident in what you are doing.
And the answer is, is because they're not.
But eventually they will be.
But you do that through actions.
You don't do that from
writing in a journal.
Not, not that it's not
healthy to write in a journal.
I think you should, but uh, just in
general, your actions are more important.
Kevin Horek: No, I, I couldn't agree with
you more, but sadly we're outta time.
So how about we close with
mentioning where people can get
more information about yourself?
Voris the book and anything
else you wanna mention?
Kyle Vamvouris: So you,
you'll find email@example.com.
That's a V as in Victor, o u r i s.com.
You find me on LinkedIn
too, Kyle Van Voris.
I'm sure you'll, my name will be
in the title somewhere, so copy and
paste it in and uh, if you have any
questions, never hesitate to reach out.
I'm more than happy to chat with anyone.
Kevin Horek: Kyle, well, I really
appreciate you taking the time outta
your day to be on the show, and I look
forward to keeping in touch with you
and have a good rest of your day, man.
Thanks so much, Kevin.
Thanks for listening.
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