B2B 18 Shaun Allen | Sales Operations

 

No matter which sales operations department you belong to, it’s important to point out that everybody’s rowing together. Vijay Damojipurapu’s guest today is Shaun P. Allen, sales director at Citrix. Here, Shaun discusses his journey into sales and how he defines the go-to-market and applies it to his company. Extending the framework he teaches his sales team, he then shares what he calls the D.A.L.I. model. He talks about how he uses it to direct sales operations, how they measure the metrics or KPIs, and how they overcome big barriers when it comes to executing their goals this 2021. Follow Shaun and Vijay in this conversation as you learn more about these sales strategies.

Listen to the podcast here

Strategies For Directing Sales Operations With Shaun P. Allen

I have with me Shaun Allen who’s a Sales Director at Citrix. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Shaun a couple of times. We had insightful conversations and lots of wisdom. I’m excited to be speaking with you, Shaun. Welcome. 

Thank you so much, Vijay. It is always an honor to join forces with you. We have had great conversations in the past. I am pumped. This is right in my lane. I enjoy the company. 

I always start up my show with this question to my guests. How do you describe and view go-tomarket? 

Get the right people in the right seats. Click To Tweet

It’s been something I have been knee-deep in for the last several years in terms of how you are going to reach a specific target customer. More than that, we achieved a competitive advantage. We are not looking for to go-to-market to just exist. It’s not only how do we reach the right people at the right time with the right product but also how do we do that competitively. We want to win. There are two kinds of aspects to my definition as I think through them. It’s never enough just to roll it out. 

In your go-to-market lens, how often and how deep do you think about not just the sales, which is your primary responsibility but the products, the product portfolio, the marketing functions and maybe even customer success if it’s a SaaS product? 

There is a little bit there, but in general, what I’m doing is we are in an environment where we are constantly rebranding. There are additional products. We had a huge acquisition. We will be working that into the product portfolio. We are already going to market with that. My stop, and probably the last couple of stops, have kept us busy and on our toes. We don’t do a lot of revisiting on go-to-market strategy but we were always kept on our toes with those new things coming down the pipe. We are very rich in having to do this set of actions. It’s almost become, I don’t want to say machine-like, but I often refer to vehicles. In the vehicle we are riding in, you can sub out any driver. We have that set process and things that we consider as our go-to-market. 

When we are starting off, we are handed typically a product. I’m not in product development. There are a bunch of dev and things that are done whether youre prod zero or prod one beta. When they usually reach the sales level, I’m in on some earlier prior to launch meetings but we are seeing it as quite a mature product that is ready for consumption. What’s big to point out is depending on who you are and what your role is where you are going to be seated in the continuum. I’m a little more to the latter, which I prefer because I’m not a dev guy. It has been great getting those products ready to launch. Typically, we were about a quarter out when it hits my radar. We are talking SaaS or whether it’s a networking product. That’s a pretty good leeway and runway to get everything set up to go-to-market. 

That’s a good segue into what you do at Citrix now. Talk to us about your career path and why did even get into sales? Why sales and what do you do at Citrix? 

B2B 18 Shaun Allen | Sales Operations
Sales Operations: We’re not looking to go-to-market to just exist. It’s not only how do we reach the right people at the right time with the right product, but also how do we do that competitively.

 

Originally, I got into sales. I was a Psychology major. I was still finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree. I was in a pretty dirty, smelly role. Spreading fertilizers and helping in beautification. I used to see the sales guys come in with clean white shirts. I desired to be someone with a clean white shirt rather than a dirty smelly green one. I edged my way in. I started clover leafing my accounts. I did a good job with my accounts. I slid my way into sales because I was selling a lot as a service individual. From there, I’m a big goal-oriented guy. I started to look at, what do I want to do in sales now that I have committed to sales? As an aside, it was to sell software or be a pharma rep at the time. This was probably the early 2000s. 

Those were two very highly sought-after things. Fast forward, I did get into the software and I ended up selling software. Pharma became less cool of a gig. You couldn’t do a lot of the things that you used to be able to do in there to make it a sought-after role. I started selling. What I did was I paid attention to some of the processes. I honestly said to myself, “There has to be a better way to do this.” Broadly, I started focusing on how I was approaching my customers and giving it more thought and process orientation. It worked for me. What happened was I got into leadership because they said, “If you can do that well, I will let you teach others to do that.” There were many enablement tools and such that we use to get there. I fell into a position in my last role of building, this was B2C but it was going to market in a way that had never been done before in 100-plus-year-old industry orthodontics. We were tasked with building out a large program to reach consumers in a state-of-the-art current way. We were building salesforce out of the box, hiring not only product folks, marketing folks and sales folks. 

I was a little bit in the deep end at the time. It was vast learning. I wasn’t minded that way already as a salesperson so it was a pretty good fit. I took to it naturally. It then became this more all-inclusive job of designing these go-to-market programs rather than selling an end product that came to sales. It has been a good ride. It was a natural progression to build teams. With Citrix being busy and so many products in the portfolio and a lot of new things happening, it was a joy to be matched up that way and have that experience behind me. I’m always learning but be with an active product portfolio as well. It all tied together. I have come up through the ranks. They gave me SB, Small Business, “Here you go, kids. See what you can do with this.” 

This is at Citrix where you are now, right? 

Yeah. When I first came to Citrix, they threw me the bone of SB, which had never been penetrated well or they never did well at those lower line sizes, and we did well. A lot of that was the structure that I had brought with me in my digital briefcase powered with a lot of the oomph that Citrix had. I went to medium business and then mid-market and skipped over commercial, then I got to the enterprise. We were out there, mostly Greenfield-focused or white space-focused in the enterprise out in the Western US. That is my focus now. I’m leading ERMs but more deeply embedded in the marketing focus and the product focus. It hagot me down in the trenches. We are launching new things in the workspace all the time. We had a big acquisition of Wrike. It’s a very active time to be in the seat. I love working with enterprise customers. I have been up and down the stack. This is where they are in tune with our whole solution stack. It’s all viable where that wasn’t the case necessarily in lower line sizes both here and throughout my career. 

That’s an interesting journey and a funny way of how you ended up in sales. That was a great story in itself. I’m curious along those lines, you shifted from, did you say farming? Was that the initial one? 

I worked for a lawn, shrub and tree beautification company. It was a few big ones out there. I won’t name any names. I was climbing palm trees and killing bugs. It was a way to put myself through school. It was a pretty good living. I didn’t have the traditional dorm setup. I already was engaged and bought our first home. I needed to make more money while I was going through school. I was fullblown with a mortgage. It was a dirty and smelly job. I was loading fertilizer in the morning. People ask me and they chuckle, “You wanted to wear a cleaner shirt?” That was it at the time. There are a lot of reasons why I love it now. That was what pushed me in that direction. 

It also shows the sales skills, the expert that you are in sales, it’s transferable. Earlier on, you were more in the “farming” or shrubs. It is the more non-traditional or no-tech to now you are selling software products and desktops. You are talking about the new portfolio from the Wrike acquisition. That is a big shift in itself and by zone to how you adapt and bring that same sales mindset into understanding your buyers and the barriers, then interacting and helping them solve their problems. That is what it comes down to. 

Sales and marketing are people businesses. Always try to learn about how you can resonate with people.  Click To Tweet

What we are finding is there are times when you are more end-userfocused and in an IT silo. We wrestle with a lot of that. I won’t say we struggle because Citrix had a ton of acquisitions along the way. This one is a little bit of a shift in that. You would find most of the seller’s hometown is that IT funnel. We look up to the CIO and this is a throwback to a brief stint I had when I first joined Citrix. I didn’t mention this but I was in the ShareFile org for about a quarter and then they threw me into Core. I had experience in dealing with the end-user and going to market to the end-user, which is a lot more context. You are approaching that differently. Getting back to my roots has been a positive experience thus far. We have only been live for a few weeks. We are building it out as we speak here. 

On the other side or more on the lighter, funnier side, how would your kids describe what you do at work? What do you do for a living? 

It usually ends with a little bit of the eyes glazing over. If I asked my son that, he would know I’m in sales. He knows that I help people work remotely under any circumstances. That is about as far as it goes. He could name the company I work for. When people ask me, I usually get to about the eight-second mark and their eyes glaze over. What was even funnier is I would typically hold my wife to a higher account to know what I do but I’m not sure if she could explain it any better than my son. In fact, together, they probably wouldn’t know but only a portion of it. They know I’m in tech and sales. They know what accounts I work with, Western US, enterprise-focused. That is about the end of it. When you had prepped me with that question, I chuckled because it doesn’t matter to my wife or my son. None of them know exactly what I do but they know that I lead people and we do important work. That is the most important thing to me. 

Let’s talk more about what you are focusing on for 2021. You and I spoke about this briefly, which is you are focusing on Greenfield enterprises. Even before talking about the 2021 goals, how did you land this role within Citrix? That is a story in itself. 

That is one of my prouder moments or stories. I always say when a door closes, another one opens. This is probably a great example of that. They had tapped me because I had been involved in the Greenfield motion here. I had built almost a two-decade sales career in purely Greenfield. I had that reputation. We went through SB, SMB and mid-market well, so I had the reputation. Some of the enablement folks had tapped me for the sales kickoff session on new customers and the new norm. I had a fun session where I got to throw an easy button up in the air. I got to talk about a lot of the fun things about Greenfield sales. At the same time, I was interviewing for a commercial role and I didn’t get that role. I thought it was the most natural fit. I don’t get too discouraged. It’s a door that closed. We’ve got to figure out another way in. 

My boss who is a vice-president was in the audience for that virtual session. I don’t think two hours went by after the session was over where he called me and said, “You’ve got something kid. I have a spot opening up. As you may know, we were making some investments. I would like to talk with you.” Long story short, I won the role in the enterprise, skipping over commercial. I have had such a long career where there were some repeatable things I could depend on. I had built a system around that. That was the story. He saw me in a session. I knew I had gotten a no. I was thinking, “Where is this going next?” All of a sudden, the phone call came. It was a cool story. I appreciate you bringing that up. Very quickly, I was in that seat in a matter of days. I’m elated. Sometimes you have the right people in the audience. 

You said it right. If one door closes, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a sense from above that there isomething bigger in store. That was what it turned out to be for you. I’m excited for you, Shaun. You also mention your sales kickoff. You had an acronym there. Talk to the audience about what that framework is and how do you teach your sales team around that? 

I will trust some of the audience has seen the movie, Moneyball. Billy Beane was an unconventional guy that came to baseball as a GM and started looking at analytics because he did not have the budget. He had to get smarter. I have always been minded like Billy. It’s a story and a movie but it’s based on a true story. He was able to almost get to the world series base with no budget just looking at analytics. I started to think about that. Marketing is a little more trackable but I would ask salespeople, “Why do you do what you do? Why did you turn left? Why did you turn right? Why did you decide on this messaging?” Largely, they couldn’t tell me. 

That was a profound series of moments. I set out to know that when I walk into a room, I have to be a people person first. That is table stakes. I would walk in with this briefcase and say, “Here are the analytics on all of it.” It doesn’t tell the story that is in line with the direction you are having the department go. This was years ago. I developed an acronym called DALI. It’s funny when I say DALI, people chuckle and say, Dolly Parton. I said, “No, Salvador Dali,” because he was very abstract. That was where the root of it came but it had to fit the lettering. It stands for Define, Act, Learn and Iterate. That’s important, whether you are marketing, product and in sales, we all should be operating as one. Sometimes we don’t do a good job at a number of those or all of them or one of them that might be critical. The first is define. It’s pretty simple, it’s the go-to-market acronym, TAM. What’s your Total Addressable Market. Have you developed personas? Who is going to be buying? Who is going to be your champions? 

Inherent with that, it’s important to point out is that everybody’s rowing together. You’ve got product, marketing, sales, enablement. That might be in line there. That was the acronym. I don’t know if you want me to dive into each one. We have to define the mission. We have to act pretty early on. Even if that was an A/B test or you are going to run a pilot, we’ve got to learn while we were going. Some companies have a good accumulation of data that they can draw from. Some have to build that data. They have to build that history, and then iterate is just double down on those areas that are working and abandoned or retest in a different way under a different scope those things that didn’t work. I’m happy to dive in further because DALI is near and dear to my heart. 

Let’s dive into that. D stands for Define, A is for Act, L is for Learn and I is for Iterate. A couple of questions that come to my mind is, do you do this as a cross-functional exercise with marketing, sales and maybe other teams including finance? How do you do this? 

It’s in the language that I’m interacting with them on. I have had a few curious people and say, “Do you have that on a slide?” We have done some of that in my past but typically I’m using it as my beacon or my lighthouse. I don’t get too far from there because then I get into unchartered waters but I’m always looking for, “Are we hitting those marks? Are we defining well in a thorough way? Are we talking about it too long? We are running low on the timeline. We’ve got to go act. Are we doing those things, whether it’s testing the messaging or building brand awareness and demand gen?” It has always been in the language. I don’t teach it as a course. It’s not my role. I could very easily but people take to track to run on typically, whether it’s something that is central to their being in their work or you are just bringing it as a track to run on in a particular interaction. They have always reacted well and taken to it. It’s now out in the open because I have done it in a few larger scopes of sessions. They nicknamed me the DALI guy. It’s always inherent in the messaging and I use it as my guidepost. 

Let’s get into more specifics over here. Walk us through the DALI exercise that you might have done, either maybe as part of your small business, mid-market or commercial. Walk us through your thought process and how you applied it. 

It’s table stakes to know that the definition is first. It can’t come 2nd and 3rd. These are all in chronological order as well. The main thing you are trying to address in the define part of the model is who is your target? 

Do you want to take a specific example? Maybe it’s a small business for a specific product portfolio? 

We talked a little bit about the acquisition here and the shift there. With some of the portfolio, you are going to be native to the IT funnel or networking, generally. If you are selling networking, you are probably not going to go to HR with that. For example, there are some use cases that downstream will affect HR and how quickly they can provision apps for a new hire. With another workspace product, we were able to go to the end-user. We were able to say, “You are going to get gains and productivity.” The use cases would change in this example. That is the best down-home example. It’s thinking of, “Is it general use? Is it in that IT funnel? Is it HR-focused? Is it a marketing product?” It’s amazing how many times people miss that. They will see the sales director of enterprise sales. Maybe they are a spray and pray there but they will come to me with a marketing-focused product, and they have just missed. I’m not the persona for that. Maybe they see a director of sales. Citrix being global, I’m one of the dozens of Directors of Sales here in America. You’ve got to hit your mark there. 

The first one is persona. That’s the who. The TAM, The Addressable Market, is there even a place for the product? When you are thinking, for example, project management, everybody can pretty much use that. It’s good for IT in terms of if they are using a ticketing system but its overall visibility to projects across departments. It’s a general use thing. I love it because I can go to anyone and I can match up a use case. I don’t have to think about, “Where do I need to be?” We can train the group, marketing, sales, product on that general use case. That is a big one. One of the things that get lost as we roll this thing out like, “Here is the product, the marketing material and the sales play.” You should have some visuals for everyone. I don’t know if that is a product matrix. Everybody has that central reminder of, “This is why we are doing this. This is who we are going to and this is the benefit.” That is almost like your cover page on any slide deck or any interaction across the organization. 

B2B 18 Shaun Allen | Sales Operations
Sales Operations: Whether you’re marketing, whether you’re in product or sales, we all should be operating as one.

 

That is an important one for the define. It’s goalsetting 101. What do we want to do? We want to sell to X. We want to make this many sales. In marketing, we want to get good ROI here as well. Who do we want to target? If they are targeting the general UC level and I’m going in the IT funnel, we are going to have some misses there. It’s important that the whole team is involved in that definition and that one is not handing it to the other. It’s a great brainstorming session I found to kick off. You come up with that value statement but it’s getting into the TAM and the target market in terms of persona. Those are the two big things to be defined, persona and TAM, so then you know what you are working towards. 

Both of those belong to the D, which is the Define, and then there’s the Act, Learning and Iterate. What happens after you define those? 

You now have those things, now you have to act. There are two camps you could be in. Citrix has been around for a while. We are not short on data. We can go pull that data for another general use product. We can say, “Here is where we normally resonate.” We walk in with some learnings. There are verticals we do well in. We have customer stories and white papers. We are loaded up. We know that that’s a pretty good place to go Act on, it’s the A in DALI. Let’s say you are not there. You are a new company may be and you have a new product. You have to go accumulate that history. It’s important that you get on the horse and you start A/B testing and testing your messaging. Is it resonating? One thing I loved in sales is when we would do this and we didn’t have a lot of history, we would go to the customer who inevitably would give us an objection and swat the fly. 

A good thing to lead with is to ask them their opinion on your messaging. They will tend to hang in because people like to help people. That is a little harder to craft and walk the line in marketing because it’s hard to spend marketing dollars and go, “We are getting opinions.” You can send out pulse surveys but in sales, it was always, “How do we know we are resonating?” Marketing is pretty easy but sales, we don’t know. If you are getting an objection and they are going to push you off the phone with a no, turn that note on maybe by asking for some help and saying, “I have reached out to 100 people who are in your role. I’m not sure I have nailed this messaging. What do you think?” The target customer can help you in crafting that value statement or your go-to-market generally. 

It’s getting on the horse and acting and getting in there, accumulating that data, “We did these 100 times and it worked 18% of the time. Now let’s B test over here and see for any better.” I have been fortunate in this stop in my career to already have some good data. We have been working in verticals very strongly. It’s breaking into those verticals that we might not be as strong or might not compete as well with. That is the challenge. It all requires action. You are building brand awareness. What’s interesting about that is I’m on customer calls and because we have been so IT-focused, some of them, that is where their concerns and questions are. They don’t have those broader workspace questions for us. We have to bring that to the table. One question I will ask is, “Are there any larger initiatives coming down the pipe here from above that are our goals are in motion?” Usually, what you will get is an amazing opening up of the use case. They will say, “We are in an RFP for X or Y.” I’m like, “I’m glad I asked that question because now I open up my product suite or the capabilities within one product.” 

This is a good segue into what you are tasked within your role, which is the Greenfield. Talk to us about the size of the team and the charter for you and your team for 2021. 

I had larger organizations than I have now. My last stop was 60. A couple of the stops here at Citrix are 35. I have a smaller team now but we do have more accounts than what your standard ERM has. I have a small team of four in the West. This was an opportunity for me to get back to basics. I had been a level removed from the strategy, which meant I was in more planning and I was in more meetings but I was detached from the ground game, which getting back there, I realized how much I missed it. Working with those more experienced sales reps at higher line sizes with well-known companies has been tenfold the joy that I thought it would be thus far. Smaller team and larger quota, it all resonates at the enterprise level. The reason it’s interesting now is that, if you think about an account stack and a seller, it could be even marketing too, marketing knows to get a great ROI going here. 

It’s hard to pry their fingertips off that or get sidecar budget to go after the unknown. It’s super tough. They want to go where they make money. We are dialed in a bit there, but these were accounts that salespeople typically we are not spending a ton of time with. They would slap them through the old cadence machine every once in a while. The interesting thing is that they were underrepresented. While it is a known company in a known product stack that we hold dear and love, it’s an opportunity to get into accounts that maybe haven’t been worked with ferociousness that our current accounts have. It’s interesting because we get to tell the whole story. It’s wonderful to be able to do that especially for almost every account I have heard of or use their products. It’s an interesting line of work in that it’s so new but Citrix is so established. It’s interesting for sure. 

Talk to us about some of the metrics or the KPIs that you and your team are being measured against. I’m sure the new logo is one of those. Imagine that the day is December 31, 2021 and you look back, what did you and your team do ride in hitting those metrics and how did you measure or have those indicators? 

I love that question because there is some nuance in going from an SMB or mid-market to an enterprise because the sales cycles are long. We almost call the inherent in the role as the working relationship. In 2020, I had 100,000 accounts. There is a different way of going about that different KPIs but essentially, I focus a little more on some of the non-revenue linear KPIs. We still look at the things that standard sales organizations and our marketing look at the same things. We are focused on, “Do we have the right contacts?” You can have a sea of context in a particular account. Do we have the right people? 

I tend to try to comp a little bit on those ground floor activities. We can look at something like making sure we have the right contacts, meetings, who are those meetings with, are they targeted to upper-level buyers. Marketing would be the same thing. Getting a lead is not the same as getting a C-level lead in the enterprise world. Those are some of the non-traditional, some call them MBOs, that we might focus on but also the household ones. We want our salespeople to create pipeline. Are they creating leads for the new products? My folks can sell the whole stack. They are not just a content collab or this or that seller. We look at those traditional things. 

There are the all-important ones of sales, bookings or deals as you are looking at those. I don’t think there are too much that you haven’t heard of, but we do look at those specifics. With Wrike, we are a big push there. We might measure KPI within that realm. Ultimately, we need them to plant the seed. I’m compensating on everything from the right person having the right conversation forward with most of that weight coming from pipeline building bookings. 

How do you typically incentivize your team members? What kind of ratio do you use? Is it 70/30 or 60/40? 

A good thing to lead with is to ask people their opinion on your messaging. They'll tend to hang in because people like to help people. Click To Tweet

Most of my career has been either a 50/50 or 60/40. However, in my experience in the past when you get to the enterprise level, that’s when you introduce a little non-revenue-based compensation. That would be what often referred to as the MBO. The sales cycle being so long, they can bleed into the next year. Most are on annual plans. Those are things that we look at typically on a 50/50, 60/40. If you build in the MBOs, they are made to be achievable. You almost are moving to a 70/30 or 80/20 in year one. Once you are established, you can maybe back that down for a little less risky for the sales comp. In year one, especially enterprise, you can’t pay on commission because it might not get there. They joined you in June, September, you have got to have a way to compensate them in the meantime. 

What are your big barriers when it comes to executing against your 2021 goals for Greenfield and enterprise? 

I don’t want to get too deep into the details here. Building a new team, I need to staff that. That takes time. It’s not something that you want to do lightly. If you have 40 SB reps, there is less risk per hire. When you’ve got a smaller enterprise team, the stakes are high. That was number one, staff the team. We are pretty much there. I didn’t get my start until March 2021. We are looking at 6, 7, 8 weeks now going on. That is a pretty good timetable. Some of the challenges are, there are so much quality out there in terms of candidates. You would find this in marketing products, just the remote work world. It’s a competitive landscape. I don’t have any problems staffing with the right people. It’s launching them, getting them up and running, understanding the mission and how they fit into the go-to-market. 

Navigating an acquisition is going to be a challenge. It does fit nicely into our product set and how do we transition to take advantage of that. This 2021, as far as my target, I call it soft. We are here to plant those seeds. If you asked me that question in 2022, I would be looking at a big number but in our inaugural year, we want to get the groundwork and the go-to-market right before we worry about putting a good target in there. Probably the rest of the organization bears the brunt of the revenue when we are in year one trying to launch these efforts. That is another important point. I’m glad you asked because you have some good assumptions in line and not place too much weight there because you want people free to be creative and to test and not feel the pressure of, “I have this huge responsibility of revenue year one.” Get the plane off the ground and then start to worry about getting those dialed into the rest of the org. I have operated Greenfield teams in the red. They were winning teams. We get to year two and then we get dialed in a little better. 

Plant the seeds in year one, then now you know which message resonates, what should be the pricing, of which portfolio to pitch. You also get a good hang of which reps are more motivated and which are the ones who are selling well. That is a good frame of how you are approaching year one there. 

The profile is important. I don’t care if you are product, marketing, sales, you’ve got to nail the profile in terms of hiring the right person. You might have an established product person but is that person well-versed in launching and developing new product? Don’t look back and kick yourself there. Get the right people in the right seats. It should go without saying. 

Not all are cut out for taking a product from 0 to 1, which is the Greenfield, our version one product in the product domain. Similarly, not all are cut out for keeping the engine rolling and then continuing to make those deals day in and day out. It’s two different mindsets. 

I build the profile for hiring for every role that I have ever been hired into. It’s surprising how many of my peers don’t have one. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone that out or were given that to them because you got to have the right people. You think it’s obvious but how many times have we walked into a role and we do an assessment of our staff and you are like, “This person is probably better over here.” You’ve got to have those Greenfield-minded folks regardless of where you exist in the go-to-market. 

Let’s head into the closing section. Maybe you are looking at or leaning on mentors, you are leveraging some forums, podcasts or reading books. What are the top 2 or 3 topics that you are curious about for 2021? 

Professionally, I’m a bit of a data geek. I have been fortunate enough to have a psych background so I have been able to connect with people first. I’m a communicator, Sociology minor so I have always been into the people end of it. I’m fascinated with some of the AI and machine learning tools. I’m reading on a lot of that, making sense of data in realtime. One of the most fascinating existences I ever had was with a BI product that told me where I was to go running on multiple monitors. We had 5 or 6 of them around the floor. It could tell us whether we were above or below water at any given minute. I was like, “If you can do that, you can pretty much figure out anything.” It’s doing a lot of reading on those types of things. I do enjoy marketing, it’s my background. I’m always interested in how we resonate with the consumer and target or persona. Those are the things that are always keeping me busy. 

When I’m reading, I’m trying to read how to be a better leader. Sales and marketing are people businesses. I’m always trying to learn about how I can resonate with people. I have always been a hacker. Remember the Billy Beane reference, he was hacking baseball. That was all he was doing. I want to try to get an edge over my competitors. Those are usually the subject matters. If I look at purely the go-to-market, I’m a big fan of Apple and what they do. I don’t think there are a lot of people that are, but they do it probably better than any. I was talking to somebody about the euphoria that you get when a new Apple product arrives in the mail and you are unpackaging that. Those endorphins start firing.  

I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, out of New York. He’s probably the bestknown one. He started the Wine Library and went from $1 million to $50 million. I’m always interested in how he taps into new markets and able to test them, and his thinking around that. He is a people-first guy too. I’m from New York originally, probably a generation ago and a lot of his content I could point to. There are some other folks that are good in the industry, SalesLoft has some good people. They are an engagement platform if you’re not aware of them. They’ve got some good ways of putting content out there. I enjoy that in little snippets as well but I try not to read long books because I try to be nimble, little video clips, posts on LinkedIn. More is better for me. Rather than reading a 300-page book and taking a week or two to do it, I can consume twenty different pieces of content from twenty different directions. I’m into social selling now. 

B2B 18 Shaun Allen | Sales Operations
Sales Operations: Write down your journey, what worked and what didn’t, because if you do well at that thing, they’re going to ask you to do the next thing.

 

One final question for you, Shaun. Let’s rewind the clock and go back to day one of your go-to-market journey. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I have gotten into so many situations where we have won tremendously and then a person turns around and says, “How did you do that?” You notice that, “I’ve got bits and pieces of that.” Now at this point in my career, I have a good track to run on and there are various learning here or there. Write down your journey, what worked and what didn’t because if you do well at that thing, they are going to ask you to do the next thing. If you don’t have any memory of what worked, what didn’t, typically it’s at the same company. This is the fourth role they have given me because I have won it the first three. Write it down would be the biggest piece of advice if I had to rewind. Who knows? I might be a lot richer than I am now. 

Thank you so much, Shaun. Good luck to you and your team. We will cheer you from the sidelines over here. 

Thank you so much, Vijay. I had a great time. I can’t wait until the next time. 

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About Shaun Allen

B2B 18 Shaun Allen | Sales OperationsA growth-minded builder, in a few words. More specifically, leading large growth-minded Sales Organizations to win. Well-versed in building robust Digital Sales efforts, currently in SaaS Software sales for an industry leader (hint: workspace for everyone). Lucky enough to have worked with 50,000 + businesses and partners in their Digital Transformation journey. Just getting started though!

Style:
Data-driven & results-focused, I aim to lead accountable quota exceeding efforts, while remaining empathetic and humble. Self-driven & accountable. A pacesetter. A go-to senior leader in the org.

Scale:
Global & domestic experience, not afraid to travel. You can typically find me near the Company’s toughest revenue-based challenges. The bigger the challenge, the better!

Journey:
My professional ride has been highlighted by several high profile Sales Org projects. New and re-org/scale, climbing to new heights with each team. Currently at Citrix (a global IT tech Corporation), I lead Greenfield Digital Sales efforts for the entire US. Large team, big mountains to climb, competitive tech landscape. Tip of the rocket-ship, as they say.

Mentorship:
Authored widely adopted coaching models, simplifying a tough skillset. I lead leaders, helping them develop further leadership competencies, so they can add value long in to the future. I am demanding but fair, and lead with vision. Leading teams to set high goals, row together, and win!!

Interests:
You can find me in my spare time coaching my son’s travel soccer team (occasionally reminding the referees of the rules), sampling unique coffees, cursing my golf game, burying my feet in the sand on the Atlantic’s beaches (US) with family, and most important of all – being the best human I can be.

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