Share Post:
Return to Blog
modern sales coaching platform
October 25, 2021

Wistia VP on Coaching a Modern Sales Organization

modern sales coaching platform

Does a SaaS company like Wistia really need a sales function? Pete von Burchard, VP of sales and customer success at Wistia, joined me to discuss how pivotal to revenue and growth sales is at Wistia, and how the team relies on coaching and call recordings to develop and grow.

If you’ve ever watched an online video somewhere other than on YouTube, you’ve probably seen the Wistia video player, the super simple distraction free player that’s great to look at and easy to use.

On the face of it Wistia might look like a traditional software as a service, customers sign up without much contact from a sales team.

This interview will be of interest to anyone managing a sales team, especially one that’s forward-thinking and recognizes the impact coaching can have on performance.

We discussed:

  • Wistia’s journey of growth to over 20,000 customers
  • The makeup of the sales team at Wistia
  • How Wistia does sales coaching and the development of the ‘Wistia Way’
  • The importance of your sales team knowing and using their authentic voice
  • The importance of reps and managers listening and reviewing sales calls
  • How you can develop an authentic voice, even when working in an old fashioned or traditional business
  • How much time sales managers at Wistia spend coaching, and the support they receive to become better coaches.
  • Measuring success of the team

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Coaching a Modern Sales Organization

Rich: Pete, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Pete: I’m doing great, Rich. Thank you so much for having me.

Rich: I’m absolutely thrilled that you are on the podcast. I’ve been a customer of Wistia in various guises for five, six, seven, eight years, long time fan. Love the marketing that you guys put out. Really thrilled that you’ve agreed to come on. And not just for that, but also the fact that you’re managing a team, you’re VP of sales at Wistia. I think there’s going to be a huge amount of value in what you’ve got to say. Before we get into all of that, some people may not know Wistia. They may have seen some videos that Wistia put out, or at least the player that often appears on the web. For those who don’t know Wistia, tell us a little bit about the company.

Pete: Absolutely. Yeah. First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to having this conversation. So Wistia is a… And its core, a video hosting solution. And what we do is we work with marketers to help make their videos, kind of do some hard work for them. At the very basic you can kind of use Wistia to host your video, to present a player in a customizable and beautiful way on your site or in your email marketing campaigns. And when people watch the videos, it’ll produce a bunch of analytics engagement data, help you be more proactive in your video strategy.

Pete: And more recently we focused on providing sort of more holistic video experiences on those websites. And so we’ve initially introduced channels where folks can use more of a Netflix type of experience for their customers on their website to provide galleries or episodic content. And we’re really excited about the direction of where content and marketing is going in general. And so we’re sort of trying to think, how can we sort of level up the video marketing strategies across our sort of SMB customer base.

Rich: And the company has grown significantly over the last couple of years, hasn’t it? What’s the journey been like over the last, say five years for Wistia?

Pete: Yeah, it’s been amazing. We’ve really changed a lot actually as a company over the last few years and we’ve been around for over 10 years and have been sort of a slow and steady or granted growth for the company. We’ve got about 20,000 customers and lots of different great use cases and sort of examples in the wild around Wistia. But it has been a great evolution from really core sort of video hosting technology to enabling marketers that are doing content in so many different ways. So it feels like we’re always doing something new and evolving. It feels like a new company every year in some ways. But if you look back, we’ve been around for about 10 years and again, 20000 customers and so you could see the player in the wild all over the place, which is kind of cool.

Rich: What does the sales team look like within Wistia? Give us a sense of what the sales team looks like relative to the size of Wistia.

Pete: So the sales team is about 20 people and it’s split between sales development and account executives. And relative to the size of Wistia the vast majority of our customers have come in through our self-serve model and they’ve come in at somewhat of a lower-tier pricing model. So you can create a free account and you can buy Wistia sort of the lower tier product in sort of $100 a month price point. Most of those customers come in without talking to sales, without talking to customer support or anybody really.

Pete: And then some segment of those, whether they’re free account creators or pro customers start to end up on a journey where they want to leverage Wistia in a way that they’re making a bigger investment. They either have a large library of videos, they really want to create a unique and engaging experience on their site with video, whether it’s building a larger set of subscribers around a set of content or doing some of the episodic content that we’ve been talking about or leveraging marketing automation tools.

Pete: So there’s sort of different ways that people want to leverage video in their go to market strategy or their marketing strategies. And we kind of work with those folks to get them into our higher-tier plans. And that’s where the sales team comes in. And so it does blur a little bit the line of success in sales in some ways because we’re really aligning ourselves with folks that are certainly within the product and working with Wistia to make sure that they’re getting the most out of the product. And then hopefully in the end they end up on our higher tier plans and are growing their video libraries and generating a ton of bandwidth and views on the site and their success becomes our success over time.

Rich: So let’s pivot into coaching because I know coaching is a big part of what you personally and your team do at Wistia. Let’s just start off with a high level overview of coaching. What does coaching look like within the sales team at Wistia?

Pete: Yeah. I would say the reason we have a management team on the sales team is really because we want to be able to coach and guide the team and make sure that folks are selling in a way that is long term, it’s customer centric and is done in what we call sort of a Wistia way. And I think most sales teams… Many sales teams will kind of give you a phone and a book of phone numbers and give you a quota and then off you go, and that’s a little bit of a sink or swim situation.

Pete: I think the challenge we have with that is really going back to kind of how we’ve grown as a company has been very much focused on building this sort of large brand relationship with the market. And if we were to then execute on a sort of fast moving, sort of qualifying folks in and out and closing deals we would probably start to lose some of the traction that we’ve made over the last 10 years with the market that we want to build a relationship with.

Pete: And so one of the things we’re sort of thinking about is rather than thinking about our funnel, our sales, opportunity let’s say, as a set of leads, we’ve sort of started to think about it as, “Hey, this is actually the audience that our brand is talking to and we’re going to be a representative of our brand within that audience rather than thinking about them as leads.” And we do a whole lot of the same things, right? We have quotas and we have forecasting meetings and we want to grow revenue and we do a lot of the same things.

Pete: But sort of the subtle shift from leads to audience and just coaching everyone to thinking about just a little differently, allows people to think a little more long term with the interactions that they have. And so this comes through in every cold call that somebody makes, or every discovery call that somebody has or a demo that they have, they realize that they’re talking to somebody that the brand, our marketing team has spent a lot of time and money trying to build a relationship with, build this sort of affinity with.

Pete: And we don’t want to burn that bridge if just because somebody’s not going to buy that day. So it’s not about kind of qualifying people in and out, but it’s really sort of expanding the relationship. This takes some time, right? So people who come from other sales teams and who have trained themselves as salespeople have to sort of unlearn some of the things they’ve learned along the way to kind of fit into this model.

Pete: And so what we’ve done to try to combat that, because we really want to hire folks that have some sales experience, that are self motivated, that have all the sort of core DNA that really successful salespeople have but we want them to do it a little differently every day, is really invest in our sort of coaching model. And that really comes down to our managers or really coaches, they’re not managers. They spend really a very little amount of their time on people operations types of work and really focused on listening to calls, building sort of coaching plans and helping folks work through depending on sort of the role and the seniority of the person they’re coaching.

Pete: Working through the specific needs that they have at the moment to kind of really go to market in a way that sounds like it’s from the Wistia voice and that we’re representing the brand well and we’re really helping to build this audience. And so that’s kind of the philosophy we’ve taken to it. And it comes down to a lot of different nuts and bolts, which I’m sure we could talk about some of the specifics, but that’s sort of the philosophy that we’ve taken to our coaching strategy and our managers on the sales team.

Rich: So there’s a couple of thoughts that come off the back of what you’ve shared there. And I really appreciate the transparency because it’s a fascinating insight into a company like Wistia and how you guys do things. I think there’s two things. One is having that Wistia way that you talked about and having been on the receiving end of discovery calls and demos from Wistia reps, you can hear it. The voice that’s in your marketing is the voice that’s used on those discovery and demos.

Rich: It’s completely consistent and it’s extremely powerful. And I think there’s a lot of value in terms of helping a marketer know that when those sales conversations are happening, all of that work that’s gone into building that brand and that brand voice is echoed in the sales. So I guess the other question I had or the other thought I had is how did you go about that process of developing the Wistia way? Because I think that’s probably something that other people can take away and use themselves.

Pete: Yeah, I think that is a really good question and it feels rather than it being one big thing, it kind of feels like thousands of little things along the way. I think the biggest investment we’ve made over the three and a half years on this sort of experiment, let’s call it, of building the sales team here at Wistia is really an investment in the managers and focusing on… What we’ve really done is we’ve found the core values, the sort of common core competencies that we think will help people make decisions quickly.

Pete: We want to be able to say… We don’t want to say, “Hey, here are the decisions.” Here’s the right and wrong answer every step of the way. We want to enable people to make decisions quickly, have ownership over the work that they’re doing. And so the only way you can do that and make sure that the outcome is what you want is really define the right people, the right just sort of core values through which those people are making the decisions. And so we’ve really focused on a handful of what we think are sort of core competencies.

Pete: For us it’s about self motivation. And I think no Richer what the tone of voice is, self motivation is a core competency for any salesperson. And you can’t get away from that. It really has to be something that folks come in every day and they’re really self-driven to be successful. But then we really have added three others that we think are really important. The second one is empathy. And I think this is less about being able to feel other people’s pain, but it’s really about having the sort of patience and the interest to really understand what your customers are going through and what’s going to make them successful.

Pete: And so I think if you can find people that have a high degree of empathy and are self motivated, that’s a really vicious combination on the sales side because I think your customers feel that. The other is curiosity. And I think we just think that folks that really want to understand the why behind every answer that they get from their customers is really important. And so just people who ask great questions, who really genuinely want to know the why or the truth behind whatever they’re trying to understand. The better the information you have, the better solution you can provide.

Pete: And so that has been a really successful sort of core competency for us. And then the other is adaptability. And this is more about the industry that we’re in, the kind of company we are. We’re constantly testing new things, we have new ideas that come up about, “Hey this customer is having this issue. We think we have a good solution for that. Can we find other customers that have that same issue?” Constantly testing what end up being new lead sources or new strategies, new messaging frameworks, things like that.

Pete: And so it can feel a little bit like kind of a whiplash for folks that don’t feel comfortable in that environment because we’re constantly testing new things. And so those are the competencies that we focus on initially in the management tier. And with that we have just felt really comfortable about the people who are there doing the coaching and setting an example, leading by example and the outcome has really worked out. So it’s really about what caliber of person you have coaching the rest of the team. And we’ve got a really strong set of managers for what I think are the right reasons, not just quota crushers, but people who are just really good at guiding folks into their customer interactions.

Rich: Love it. Awesome. So let’s pivot this. This is a useful point I think to go back to new starters. Something that you alluded to earlier on in the conversation. It’s about new starters when they come on board developing an authentic voice and in some cases having to unlearn habits or traits or skills that they’ve been told they should have, but you help them develop their authentic voice. So I guess the first question is why do you think it’s important for a salesperson to develop their own authentic voice?

Pete: Yeah, it’s great. This is a funny thing because we didn’t actually set out to solve this or to address it even. We had two very talented SDRs, one of whom was promoted very quickly to AE onboarding at the same time. And they were working together, going through the call reviews and the role plays and listening to folks. And they actually sort of identified that one of the biggest challenges they were having, they sort of acknowledged that the best sellers on the team were speaking in a very authentic human tone of voice.

Pete: They sounded the same on the phone with their customers that they sounded when you were out having a beer after work or at lunch or whatever the case may be. And that really resonated with them and they picked up on this signal. I think we all, when we heard it for the first time where everyone’s head was nodding but wasn’t something that we were really focused on at the time. And so they were kind of going through and they realized that they were struggling because they came to the team…

Pete: I think for one of them was their first sales job, for the other was their second sales job, but was in a very large sales organization, a little bit of a sink or swim kind of situation. And they came with this sort of what we thought was sort of a misperception that if you’re on the phone with customers you have to put up a very stern and professional front. Especially for our business. We’re working with marketers and executives, but in SMB, companies that are really just like us and they’re trying new things, they’re human beings in the end.

Pete: They’re not just directors of marketing but they’re people with hobbies and senses of humor, et cetera. And so we actually found that the most successful people are people who are just talking to our leads and our customers the same way they would talk to their family members or friends because it’s just a sense of authenticity and trust that gets built that way. But these two new SDRs sort of onboarding onto our team, came to our firm…

Pete: We do a quarterly QBR where everybody on the team presents to the entire sales team, some successes, some learning experiences and what they’re kind of taking into the next quarter as a focus of development. And both of them stood up and said, “We really spent this quarter learning about the product and learning about our leads and figuring out what our outreach was going to be. But really what we spent most of our time doing was finding our voice. Figuring out a way to allow ourselves to be genuine on the phone with our leads.”

Pete: It was an amazing thing because they had invested in this, they had gotten feedback, they had taken some call recordings to these AEs that were doing this really well and said like, “Hey, how does this sound?” And iterated on it and found that, “Hey, you sound a little bit like a robot here. You sound like you’re trying to put up a front that isn’t you. Be yourself on the phone.” And that was so liberating. And I think the benefits here are… One is of course you build trust with the people you’re speaking to if they feel like they’re talking to a human being rather than a sales machine.

Pete: The other is that it really frees the rep up. To be honest, when they don’t have the answer to a question… This sometimes gets overlooked, how important this is. But if you are trying to build credibility by putting a sort of a hyper professional persona out there, it’s going to be very difficult for you to tell your customer, “You know what? That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer.” And for me, every time I hear somebody on the phone say that I jump up and down with happiness because you can’t have all the answers.

Pete: Nobody has all the answers. The problem is when you start to try to make up the answer or misrepresent it or try to figure it out on the fly. Because I think everybody knows that that’s happening and I think if you’re presenting your own authentic self on the phone, it’s just a lot easier to say, “You know what? That’s a great question. Let me get back to you on that.” As opposed to trying to come up with the answer. The final benefit we found here, and this is why we sort of focus on this so much now, is that the reps end up having just a lot more fun at work when they’re allowed to just be themselves.

Pete: Because everybody has different personalities, everyone has different interests, and if you’ve got a sort of conform to a sort of unified persona, then you’re not able to sort of be yourself and bring your whole self to work. And you’re having less fun, you’re probably also less able to bring creative solutions to the work that you’re doing, et cetera. So I think there’s a lot of sort of ancillary benefits, but it was a proud moment to see very new people putting so much emphasis on this. And it’s not something you would think of initially, but it’s something that we focus on now as a team.

Rich: So there’s so much to take out of that answer. There’s so much there. One of them I guess is the power and the impact of reviewing call recordings. Absolutely. Because ultimately all of this learning came about as a result of actually listening to calls, but not just from an ivory tower, actually having reps listen to each other’s calls and feedback on the process. So I’m guessing that’s something that you guys do a lot of.

Pete: Yeah. When you start on the sales team at Wistia, you have a month sort of onboarding schedule and we use a tool called Trello, which is like a project management tool, but you could set it up as like a week one, week two, week three, week four and then each week has a set of cards, which are essentially tasks. The reason we do this is because it’s self directed and the person can jump ahead or they can drag a card from one week to the next if they’re behind and everyone learns obviously at a very different pace.

Pete: And so this is a good way we’ve found to guide people without sort of micro managing their days during onboarding. And every week includes a handful of calls and shadowing opportunities with different people on the phone. And I think it’s important to recognize that there’s not a right or wrong way to sell. And so you have to be diverse about the exposure that people get early on. One person may have success for other reasons than another person’s success.

Pete: And so exposing reps early on to lots of different AEs and STRs on the phone with our customers. Different scenarios basically give them little tidbits that they can turn into their own. So we think listening to calls all the way through your entire tenure at Wistia, whether it’s one-to-one from a manager perspective or rep to rep and in a group setting as well, we do a lot of call recordings in a group setting and sort of feedback sessions as well.

Rich: So I just want to circle back a little bit to the previous answer. And just this idea of having your own authentic voice, because I’m imagining someone listening to this. Maybe they’re working a multinational Footsie 100 or a larger company and maybe thinking, “Well that’s okay for Pete because all of the marketing material is so informal and lighthearted and jovial.” That’s great. And of course the reps can do that because it’s just mirroring what the marketing material is doing. What do you say to a person who’s maybe in a slightly gray industry, don’t necessarily have that same sort of enthusiasm? What about for that person? What about the authentic voice there?

Pete: I think it still applies. I think there’s obviously a degree of professionalism that you have to maintain if you’re making a presentation in a boardroom, in a financial services company. To be honest, for many years I sold in two enterprise financial services companies, AIG, Franklin Templeton in New York city, pinstripe suit, onsite at these very large companies. In the end, the most success I had there were with folks that I had real genuine human relationships with.

Pete: At the time, I had a bunch of KPIs. The one thing that would get me in trouble is if my lunch or dinner meetings were down. And my manager would come in and tell me, “Hey, your expense report is too low this month.” And at first I was kind of confused about that. The reason is that they just want you out having real human conversations with your prospects and being yourself. My manager knew that if I had a glass of wine in a meal with somebody that I was trying to work with, I’d come out of that with a real genuine conversation.

Pete: I would be myself. It wouldn’t be a presentation. It would be two human beings speaking to each other. And in the end, that’s really all this is. It’s really hard if you don’t go feature to feature with your competitors, it’s really hard to kind of stand out. It doesn’t Richer what you do. That’s really not a great way to differentiate yourself. And it really always comes back to how well do you understand the problems that you’re solving? And is there an element of trust between the two people that are trying to work together?

Pete: And the only way to do that is really to be authentic and to put yourself out there in a human way. So I think it applies everywhere even if there’s times when you need to sort of be respectful of the environment that you’re in. That doesn’t mean that you have to sort of hold back on who you are and the authenticity that you bring to the relationship.

Rich: Love it and totally agree with you. For what it’s worth, I think you’re absolutely right. Well, let’s focus on managers now. We’ve talked a little bit about junior staff or new starters. Let’s, let’s just pivot for a second and think about managers. You mentioned in a previous answer about the amount of time that managers are coaching versus selling. In fact, you refer to them almost as coaches rather than as managers. Talk to me about the role of the manager at Wistia and that split between coaching and selling.

Pete: Yeah. So I feel very strongly that somebody that has management or coaching responsibilities should not have direct selling responsibilities. So we don’t have anybody that has a direct report on the sales team that is actually selling to customers at the same time. Now that doesn’t mean that those folks won’t get their hands dirty. They’re very involved in the deals that their team are working on and certainly get on the phone with those customers to support those reps when the time is right. But there’s not a manager on the sales team that also holds an individual quota.

Pete: And the reason is that we really want people to focus and be specialized on our team. And this goes for the way our SDRs team is set up, you can’t have people doing inbound and outbound at the same time. It’s just not realistic. They’re going to skew in one direction or another. And we feel the same way about managers. If you want them to coach, then you have to give folks the time and the signal. Let’s say, from the company to focus on that and to prioritize that and if they have an individual quota to carry as well, they’re not going to be able to do that.

Pete: And so it comes down to… for us it’s a couple of things. One is, it’s the size of the team and so we really do our best not to scale a manager beyond let’s say five direct reports. And our team has grown in lumpy ways. So there have been temporary moments in time when we’ve had more direct reports going into a manager but we try to level that out over time. And the reason is, to coach effectively as a manager, you really need to just spend time listening to call recordings and thinking about the person that you’re working with, and what are the key areas of development for those people?

Pete: I’m not sure if you’re a golfer or not, but for me, I’m not good. I love to play golf, I’m very terrible at it. But if I play golf and somebody says, hey, this is one thing. If you move your hand this way or that way and you just focus on that for the day, that can be effective for me. But as soon as somebody says, “And also you should put your feet in this other direction and maybe you should shift your weight a little bit backwards.”

Pete: As soon as there’s a second or a third thing that I need to think about, I can’t prioritize effectively in my head. And then I get worried and then I have the worst round of golf I’ve ever had. And I think it’s really just kind of like picking the one thing and leaning into that and seeing movement there. And that takes time to do, that’s thoughtful. I have to put some thought into that. And so I think making sure that managers have the time and the signal from the organization to invest in meaningful coaching on an individualized basis is a really important component to it.

Rich: And how are you supporting the coaches in their own development as well? Do they receive external support or are they coached by senior leadership at Wistia? How do those guys grow their own skillset?

Pete: Yeah, it’s a good question. Well, so everybody at Wistia has a professional development stipend on an annual basis. And so anybody at Wistia can sort of choose their own adventure around going to professional development classes, hiring a coach or a mentor external to the company, pursuing conferences and learning opportunities. So everybody has a stipend that they can use across the organization. Beyond that, certainly my focus with the managers is to be… Initially the foundation is really to give ownership over the work that they’re doing to those people.

Pete: And so going back to every rep might be successful for different reasons, every manager could be successful for different reasons. And I think ultimately what every manager needs the most is sort of ownership and agency over their team and what they’re doing. And the hard part is kind of letting go a little bit. And so we focus on really what are the goals, what are sort of the top line KPIs that everyone is focused on that indicates that we’re on track to hit those goals. And then the rest is very responsive to what the manager needs.

Pete: And I think for me, a one-to-one with my manager is, I show up, I sit down and there’s a meeting that’s led by the manager and it really is about, how can I help them achieve their goals rather than get them to do something or get them to improve on something. So I think the foundation there is really about… We have very talented managers and people that are really invested in the success of the team and just let them do their thing, get out of their way and be helpful and be on the team.

Pete: And so, in many ways when it comes to the success of the team, I work for the manager and it’s my job to do whatever I can to make sure that they and their team are successful. I think beyond that, there are opportunities of course for coaching and for exposure across the sort of senior management team at Wistia, more professional, external coaching and training opportunities. And so we find different ways, whether it’s executive MBA programs or management training classes that are focused on SAS and sales.

Pete: There’re so many great opportunities for two or three days to put managers into a situation where they’re learning from other managers, from different industries and different locations. One of the biggest opportunities we’ve seen is to send our managers to management training workshops and they learned so much. But really what they get, the most valuable takeaway from many of these is the network that they establish there. They end up with these private Slack channels and networks where they can really think through problems with peers in different industries and get exposure to different ideas. And so we’ve invested in that quite a bit. And so each manager has a different set of training that they’re going through. But we really believe strongly in investing in that.

Rich: That reminds me of something that you said to me the very first time we spoke about how you guys support managers to come up with creative ways to get results. And it sounds like you’re providing a framework and some support and some scaffolding around the managers to make sure they have what they need. But ultimately it’s about supporting them to be creative in their own results. Be it personally or be it KPIs or other results.

Pete: Absolutely. I mean, the least effective thing is for me to be in everyone’s day to day, trying to figure out how one manager should do their job or how the other manager should do their job. I mean, just strategically, we as a team, we wouldn’t get much leverage out of that. But I think beyond that, I think it’s just the managers on the sales team here are just so talented that really we would just end up with a less good product at the end of the day. And they’re there for a reason and it’s just a battle of how can I help unblock something or contribute in some way. But yeah, it’s really what’s the North star and then just kind of helping folks get there is really the way to approach it.

Rich: So we’ve talked about quite a few different parts of the sales function at Wistia. One of the things that I know interests people a lot is the measurement of results about, “Yes we want to get results, but how do we measure it?” And especially when you’re talking about maybe sort of softer impacts if you like, around coaching and these other areas. How do you as VP of sales, how do you measure success? What does success look like to you?

Pete: Yeah, that’s a good question. Of course, we have quotas and we have KPIs from an activity perspective that we use. And those are really just signals and leading indicators that we’re going to come through on our promise to generate revenue for the business. And so those are important, but they don’t give us a good idea of the engagement of the team and the customer’s experience. We thought about ways of measuring the customer’s experience via things like conversion rates and lead to deal conversion rates and win rates and things like that.

Pete: And we think that there’s something there, but there’s so much that into a month of sales at Wistia that’s really hard to signal out. Why our win rate grew by 5 or 10% or why our conversion rate or our lead to discovery call is 6 or 7% instead of 4 or 5%. But we do think there’s something there. And so when we focus on the leads that we want to call, we will never dip below a certain conversion rate and just bump up the volume on it in order to get more deals just because we think that there’s enough turmoil in our customer’s experience there that we’re not quite ready to go there.

Pete: In terms of the experience at Wistia for the employees, we do a regular engagement survey. So we work with a company called Culture Amp and everybody in the company fills out a survey and we focus on kind of how comfortable are you bringing your whole self to work at Wistia? How comfortable are you about your career prospects and growth at Wistia? Are you able to disagree with your manager? Are you able to bring a creative idea and have that be received with real critical thought? And are you able to sort of change the strategy if you have the right idea?

Pete: And so it comes down to what access do you have as an employee to the growth of the company. How in control of your own sort of career destiny are you? And all of this adds up into an index of engagement, which we track quarter over quarter. And it does a great job of helping us understand if folks are feeling less engaged at work, why? And if they’re engaged at work, why? And it then helps us be a little bit responsive as a team to making sure that everyone on the team has a really positive and growth oriented experience at Wistia. So that’s been really helpful for our team.

Rich: Amazing. Pete, thank you so much for all of your insights. And one of the things I wanted to do with this episode was present the listeners with a model. Not necessarily that there is a perfect model out there, but a model of a modern sales organization and what you’ve outlined there I think is absolutely phenomenal. So I’m really grateful for you being so generous with your time. If I can, I have one more question if I may.

Pete: Of course.

Rich: Just before we wrap things up. So last question from me then, somebody listening to this, maybe they’re not VP of sales yet, but they’ve certainly got one eye on that for the future. They’re an aspirational sales leader, they want to go places. Give some nuggets of advice to that person. What advice would you give having reached that place now? What advice would you give to people who are aspiring to get where you are now?

Pete: Yeah, I would say what has helped me the most along the way I would say are sort of three key… If I think back on my career, there are three main sort of learnings that I would sort of share with the group. One is just get a little bit better every day. And so that’s listening to podcasts like this. So it sounds like we’ve got the right audience to talk to about this.

Rich: I think so.

Pete: But there’s just so much. There’s so much great reading out there and so many thought leaders to follow and podcasts to listen to. And if you just invest some time every day to that you’ll just broaden your horizons and you’ll get some ideas that will help you bring creative opportunities to your business. And I think that is the key thing, is that when the opportunity arises, don’t be afraid to sort of bring a new or creative idea to help your company grow.

Pete: And those are the types of things that open up doors and create opportunities. So the second one is really identify when you have a good manager or a good mentor and lean into that relationship. Take advantage of that. I hesitate to say sort of manage up to that, but just hold on really tight when you’ve got somebody who you look up to that you want to be like and just invest in that relationship. And don’t be afraid to be honest and say, “I really want to learn from you. I want to spend more time with you. I’d like to buy a cup of coffee once a week.” And try to formalize some of those relationships because in the end it comes down to experience.

Pete: And if you can find folks that have that experience to bounce ideas off of, to talk about, challenges with that is really valuable. And then the third thing is just not to be afraid to find an environment that feels comfortable. And so this is going back to the finding your voice and being authentic. If you’re in a role where you feel like you can’t be yourself and you can’t speak to customers the way that feels genuine to you, or if you can’t speak to your management team in a way that feels genuine to you, then it’s going to be very hard to grow in that environment because you’re restricting yourself in addition to whatever restrictions we all experience in a competitive environment. And so I think if you find yourself in a space where you can’t really be yourself on a day in and day out basis, I would highly encourage thinking about finding a new environment. So those are the things I would focus on.

Rich: Pete, thank you so much for your time. Before we go, how can people find out more about Wistia and the work that you guys are doing?

Pete: Yeah, is our website. We just actually launched a new series about brand marketing called Brand Wagon. You could check that out on our website and you can find me on LinkedIn, Peter Von Burchard, and yeah. If anybody has any questions or wants to chat as a follow up, I’m available to anybody that wants to talk.

Rich: So thank you once again for your time Pete. It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you. Have a great day.

Pete: Great. Thank you so much Rich.

Learn More

Download The Complete Guide to Conversation Intelligence to learn how Conversation Intelligence can help improve sales coaching, content, and training.

See Allego in Action

Learn how to accelerate training and empower teams with modern learning that delivers real business results.

Demo Request
Gartner Market Guide to Sales Enablement Platforms
Gartner Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms

Prepare for the Future of Sales Enablement

Get Your Copy