You’ve likely heard of Outreach – (the #1 Sales Engagement Platform) which might mean you’ve heard of their explosive growth in the past year with CEO, Manny Medina at the helm.
Their 2020 growth wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling for Manny. A former lead on Microsoft’s Windows phone Business Development team in Latin America and Canada, and engineering Amazon’s compensation system for Amazon Associates, Manny has led his teams with a tight focus on opportunity outward and depth of understanding of his customers inward.
M.R. Rangaswami: What caused your revenue to explode during COVID? Did you beat your original 2020 plan? What was the key factor?
Manny Medina: We beat our 2020 plan. The factor was that covid accelerated the digital transformation across the board and created a rush to both more efficient, productive, and remote, all at the same time. All companies wanted to do those three things right away. COVID presented a challenge and an opportunity in the same package. If you were not growing coming out of the pandemic, you were left behind by years, and no one wanted to be there.
So, companies we had been in conversations with who were thinking about digital transformation and supercharging their sales team all came to us in a rush through the pandemic. They seized the opportunity to take market share ahead of everyone else and used this time to grow faster than their competitors. That is still happening right now, as things start to open back up.
M.R.: There is a lot of hype around AI (and many stories of failure) – what has Outreach done differently to make AI successful for Enterprises?
Manny: We are in a new era of B2B software – you have to be showing them ROI all the time. You need to grow with your customer. So new software needs to be able to get smarter as your customer gets smarter, which is where AI comes in. The future is that every customer will have their own growth, own pace of innovation that’s based around their needs as they grow and get better. Our AI all about adapting to our customers so they can track their progress and push their growth in their own environment.
Take Kaia for instance is custom ontologies – every time you enter a content card in Kaia, it will train in your environment which is different than any other customer’s environment. You have to make your rep better, make your pipeline bigger, drive more opportunity creation, and drive more revenue. That’s what we do consistently and that’s why people buy us.
M.R.: You almost went out of business once (you were selling your companies computers) – now you have raised nearly $500M, how to keep the lessons you learned when the company was days from going out of business alive today with your 1,000 employees?
Manny: It’s all about storytelling and making sure that I am always painting the opportunity ahead. Our opportunity ahead when we were on the brink of collapse was large. The opportunity ahead of us now is significantly bigger. So if we can keep telling the story around the opportunity – there are 30 million B2B sellers and we have less than 1% of that. That crystalizes our mission and shows how far we can go. The opportunity we have in front of us is larger and more exciting than when we were smaller and running out of money. That’s how we keep our drive.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com