At the Wheel of the Revenue Engine: Am I Old School?

by Michelle McGinnis on Friday, August 20, 2010 in Revenue Performance Management

In this series of blog posts I write about our mission to run the highest performing revenue engine in the SaaS industry.  This mission started with one simple question, “Why are the demand generation results running 23 percentage points higher than revenue production?”  My last post discussed setting pipeline targets – and the cold chills and fainting that occurred when Brian (our CMO) told the marketing team they would be paid on attainment of our Sales Qualified Opportunity target. My next post was scheduled to be about teaching the sales force to own their forward pipeline. But a funny thing happened, and I decided to take a detour. 

Today’s post is a straightforward question: Am I “old school”?

My wife and I have been together for 26 years and she tells me that my clothing comes back in style about every eight years.  My sons tell me I went to school “back in the day.”  The TSA laughs at the shoehorn I pack in my carry-on.  I have fun with this smack … but yesterday I received an email that made me sit back and evaluate if I am “with it.”  You tell me. 

Every member of my sales team received the below LinkedIn message from a competitor:   

My reaction was mixed.  First I thought, “Wow!  What a great compliment!” Eloqua aims to be known as the sales force in the SaaS space.  In that light, it makes sense that a company would be recruiting from us.  Whenever there’s competition, teams recruit from the champion.  After all, the champ tends to have the system and talent.  I make no claims that we are the best sales force in the SaaS space; I think we have a lot of work to do.  But this email showed me we achieved a milestone – we were being acknowledged by a competitor as the sales force in the marketing automation space.  Compliment taken.  My other reaction?  I was a bit pissed off.  (Can I write that in a blog?)

I really love the folks on our sales team.  We are building a special culture based upon two principles: Getting it Done and Doing it Right.  The former means results, while the latter means teamwork, integrity, accountability, optimism and enthusiasm. Every day I get to watch our team train, prepare, work hard, treat clients the right way … and win.  I know we have more work to do (I constantly welcome and receive input on areas for improvement), but I like the momentum generated by our focus on performance and integrity. 

We have a core philosophy that each of our clients is driven by hope for something better in the future.  Hope and desire to be successful.  Our mission is to march alongside them on their journey and help achieve their dreams.  This feels good, it feels right and I do not want to have any of these folks leave my team.  The thought that they were being targeted put me on a slow simmer.

So, between proud and pissed, I realized that my whole perspective of this was just getting clouded.  I don’t think I would recruit this way.  Does this make me old school?  (Perhaps this is the new way of recruiting?)  Or do others share my reaction?

Should I just load my “Who’s Next” 8-track in the vinyl dash of my classic Trans-Am, add an extra splash of Aqua Velva, pop the collar on my pastel Polo shirt and crank,  “I'll tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow for the new revolution, smile and grin at the change all around, pick up my guitar and play”?  Or should I give in and buy a pair of skinny jeans, white belt and try to buy someone else’s sales force?  What do you think?


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