MASTERS OF MEDDICC - Keno Helmi - 5x CRO - Enterprise Sales Leader

November 07, 2020 Andy Whyte Season 1 Episode 1
MASTERS OF MEDDICC - Keno Helmi - 5x CRO - Enterprise Sales Leader
Show Notes Transcript

In the very first episode of Masters of MEDDICC, we are joined by Chief Revenue Officer and former PTC constituent, Keno Helmi. Keno shares his knowledge of sales methodology, enterprise sales process, and leadership, as well as how to arm and educate your champion. With many years of experience under his belt, Keno makes sure to leave no stone left unturned.



(00:10) Intro

(00:42) Backstory on Keno Helmi

(05:05) Replacing PTC salesforce with other technologies; hypothetical

(09:10) Hiring profile

(11:59) Remaining engaged

(12:58) Change in approach

(17:10) Adam Smith, the first economist

(20:05) “Rudy” Metaphor

(22:17) Champion as an important element of Meddicc

(28:30) How to build your champions into understanding mutual wins 

(32:29) PTC and paper processes 

(36:45) Playbook similarities to forecast methodology, account plan, and sales process in different companies  


(43:25) Head of sales ops, Steven LeBron



·       Would removing the PTC element out of the sales methodology come with a different result? (05:45)

·       How important is it to hire people based on personality vs. those instructed on a specific approach? (09:10)

·       The importance of remaining engaged to sell (11:40)

·       Meddicc as a correction mechanism (15:50)

·       The importance of having a champion (23:47)

·       How to come to a mutual understating with your champion (28:33)

·       The origins of paper process (32:36)

·       The mutual advantages of having an experienced sales op (44:02)

 Learn more about MEDDICC at

Masters of MEDDICC is a show where the world's best sales professionals are interviewed about all things enterprise sales and in particular relating to the MEDDIC framework, including MEDDICC and MEDDPICC.

ANDY WHYTE: [00:00:00] Hey I am Andy Whyte and welcome to Masters of Meddicc the show where we talk to the best of the best in the world of enterprise sales. In this our first ever episode we meet Keno Helmi who is seven times Chief Revenue Officer, PTC alumni and overall legend in enterprise sales leadership. I can’t wait till you hear the episode and if you like what you hear then please don’t forget to subscribe and to leave us a rating


[00:00:30] Alright, hey Keno welcome to Masters of Meddicc it's absolutely tremendous to have you on the show and thank you so much for your giving your time. Perhaps we could just start with you introducing yourself for the audience.


KENO HELMI: [00:00:42] Yeah so the way I typically characterize myself is as an Egyptian redneck. My parents are from Egypt but I grew up in the in the great state of Alabama where you know our core competencies revolve around inbreeding and advance mobile home assembly and teenage pregnancies. Those are things that were quite famous for. So I had a very good upbringing in Alabama. I did not know growing up that I was a sales guy I didn't know I was meant to be a sales guy I kind of stumbled through it through summer happenstance. I started off my career as an economics professor but I was never really committed to the cause it was just something that I was meandering through and after I got out of graduate school I was teaching at night and I couldn't decide if I wanted to commit to getting my PhD in doing it forever or to go back into the private sector where I done a brief stint so that my parents, being the good upstanding Egyptians that they are they do what every Egyptian does.


[00:01:56] When they don't like the path that their sons life is taking they yell and scream and shame and humiliate until they get their way. It's actually very effective they would have mafe very good PTC salesman my parents. So I eventually took a job selling office equipment for one reason and one reason alone just so my parents would stop screaming at me. I didn't know what sales people did I didn't know I was any good at it I didn't know I was born to do it but ended up being one of the best decisions that I've made and I'd love to tell you it was a very well-informed thought through plan but the truth of the matter is I stumbled into it and my impetus was just to stop the yelling and the screaming from my parents. So I had a good run I had at a company called Lenier Worldwide which is a famous hunting ground for what would later become my first software sales job which is a company called Parametric Technology, PTC. 


[00:03:00] So they recruited me. I'm convinced knowing what I know now that if I would've known how good of an opportunity it was I would've screwed it up for sure. But they've been hunting for a rep in Alabama for a long long time and they hadn't found anybody that could handle the culture until they stumbled upon me. Almost out of desperation so when I got to PTC mid90s it was the second fastest growing company in the history of the NASDAQ and the most profitable software company in the world and anybody that knew anything about the space would tell you that the reason the company was able to post such remarkable results was because they were vigilant about two things; the hiring profile and the sales methodology, were medicc was first born out of PTC. So I had three of the best and the worst years of my life. I made more money than I ever made in my life I consider the things that I learned at PTC to be my Harvard MBA and probably I'm guessing 40 out of the 60 sales deliverables in my sales curriculum were either born or modified out of PTC so it was very influential on my worldview my outlook and how I run my business today and for that I'm grateful


[00:04:27] The part that I did not enjoy was the yelling and the screaming and the bullheaded management intimidating tactics that I never really could understand. Overall I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything in the world and since my time there virtually every company that I've gone to work for has some kind of linkage to PTC. In one of the crown jewels in one of the cornerstones in my sales methodology which I can take no credit for whatsoever is meddicc. So there’s a little bit of a background on me.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:05:05] I love that thank you that is fascinating. It’s so funny to hear this you here this time and time again around PTC you only have to look at the Who's Who in the sales leadership world today and some of the best performing companies out there and you find some linkage some heritage to PTC you know with yourself and with your peers. It's perhaps unlike any other, certainly not in our industry, any other organization I can think of. Except for ones that have had PTC people since you know like the Blade Logic or something like that. That is fascinating and do you think it's related to the approach that they took. You mention those two things there around the hiring and focus on the sales methodology. Do you think that if you would've taken the PTC element out and put in those elements into a different technology a different type of software or something like that but with the same people in the same process then you would have the same nucleus to go on today? 


KENO HELMI: [00:06:05] I'm certain of it and it was broad and widespread consensus outside of PTC from the market. I'm sure that you could even find some articles that were written as such that the market believed that you could take any one of our competitor’s technologies and put it in the hands of the PTC salesforce and the results would've been identical. It was a good technology pro-engineer; it was not the reason that we won deals. Unequivocally we won deals because we had a superior salesforce and we had a superior go to market methodology relative to any of our competitors at the time. Matter fact I would go on to say that it impacted the thinking of many technology companies. If you look at the way that the industry has evolved in particularly during my time at PTC if you looked at every one of our competitors, they were virtually identical in their hiring profile.


[00:07:05] They were hiring engineers. Pro-engineering was engineering automation technology so everybody that worked for all of our competitors had some kind of an engineering background. At PTC it was damn near impossible to get on in the salesforce if you came from an engineering background. They wanted red meat eating, alpha male, Uber competitive, business centric, prima donnas that could articulate business value. In fact it was court ordered strategy at the time was to subjugate engineering we saw them as the bottleneck because they had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. We were interested in getting to people that cared about the business outcomes in the business result so instead of talking about flux capacitors and feeds and speeds and fill it rounding which we were all well-versed in because we did have to talk to the engineers at some point we were speaking to sea level executives about what would it mean to their business to be able to bring a product to market a year faster than they could otherwise in the absence of some kind of automation. 


[00:08:22] To be able to articulate what that meant to the PNL was how we would we go about trying to sell the software. Since that time the vast majority of technology companies have shifted to that kind of a mindset. Business centric people not technical people. So PTC impacted many technology companies since that not too long after there was a company may have heard of called EMC that was selling storage, identical approach. Same kind of hiring profile get away from the infrastructure guys go talk to the business and speak in terms of oral why not in terms of features and functions 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:09:10] yeah that's interesting. How much do you think you mentioned a higher profile how important was the personality of the person you are hiring versus what they were learning in that kind of approach that they'll be instructed to take. 


KENO HELMI: [00:09:27] You know if you think about the Myers-Briggs personality test there was an excessive amount of commonality amongst the PTC salesforce some different personalities for sure. All of us, all 1200 of us, looked alike sounded alike you know except for me they needed an Egyptian to round out the diversity in the affirmative action quotas but by and large we behave very very similarly. Very type A, very aggressive, very outgoing, fearless, very competitive it was alotta testosterone back then. I dont believe I will ever in my career ever again be surrounded by the kind of talent that I was surrounded by at PTC 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:10:18] Wow that something. For that depth of people as well 1200 people in there in the sales team is that right, 1200? And what part because as you know this is quite well documented the PTC of cement on this meteoric rise of 40 something quotas about missing the target in whats sort of stuff. Where about does your time in PTC fit into that period of time. 


KENO HELMI: [00:10:43] I was there from 95 to 98 and before then and after then I think in the 6 year period we went to zero to $1 billion in revenue. That's a little bit misleading if you're looking at it through the lens of today's software companies which are all sass which generally looks at a 3 to 5 year amortization. We were selling perpetual licenses meaning we were getting all the cash upfront so it wouldn't be 0 to 1 000,000,000 if we were sass it would be more like 0 to 350,000,000 in six years which is still fairly remarkable.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:11:22] It is. that is indeed that is indeed. How did the organization in that regard with the perpetual licenses, and so much focus of meddicc is around it, and in front you said about the business approach is around that that business case selling it's interesting to me to think about how you worked with things like metrics in an organization where  really when you've done the deal once you haven't got the renewal process to go back there's almost all of that less or no quite as engaged as do you have to remain as engaged as a software companies do today. Did you now did you notice any difference or would you say that you were still as important to get close?


KENO HELMI: [00:12:06] Yeah, I think it was still very important to get close. By and large we did not sell the multi-million dollar deal from the get-go, generally you had a small division of a much larger company that you would get in to demonstrate the value almost kind of like what we would call the today a pilot. So the first thing you didn't make your money on the first deal you made your money on the second deal once you've been established once it was a known quantity once they saw firsthand business value and that's what set the table for the million dollar deal later on. So if you looked at all the Hallmark deals that we did back in the day Boeing, Caterpillar, Case all of those that all started off little 50 Thousand dollar opportunities that then proliferated and consume the entire organization. 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:12:58] I see it's fascinating how you know even though the business models were so different that really the approach in what made you successful doesn't really change.


KENO HELMI: [00:13:07] I am not seeing any change in the approach other than one thing that PTC was kind of famous for. There always a question did our financial success come about as a result of our sales tactics or despite our sales tactics. I'm convinced it was because of our sales tactics but one of the things that PTC was notorious for back in the day that is not simply just not tolerated in this day and age was going over people’s heads. We were we were famous for that if we didn't get the answer that we like you know the knee-jerk reaction was just to go to the bosses boss and say you're working with a bunch of idiots this is what I showed them and they don't wanna take it forward and now probably worked one out of 20 times. That would work zero out of 100 times in this day and age and I think buying software has also shifted over the course of time to be much more on consensus centric, right?


[00:14:14] It’s very rare that the decision now lies with just one person and even if it does that person is comfortable lying it and shoving it down the throat of the organization. That's easiest way to blame a failed deployment “hey you shut this thing down my throat I didn't have my buy in from the get go”. So even know amongst my former PTC contemporaries, partly because we've aged we've had kids were a little bit more mellow than we were back in the day, there's been some of that is contribute to the dynamic and it's just been the way the buyers buying software has a evolved that doesn't give you the luxury Of being an asshole.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:14:55] Yeah I can definitely see that. I also think a part of that could also be just technology today has so many more stakeholders whether it be integrations that have to take place or security and infrastructure and all those things like that yeah that tend take up more as you say more consensus more stakeholders and makes it a decision by consensus, which is interesting now on that note actually I’m fascinated to hear how are you yourself then take that kind of understanding that there is generally more people involved in the decision process and how you applied that's a modern meddicc to that around the stakeholders of champions, economic buyer that kind of thing. 


KENO HELMI: [00:15:40] Yeah, so yeah I might be radical in what I'm about to share with you but this is what I believe they're there may be other proponents of medicc or med pic that see it differently but I’ve often times heard Medicc referred to as a sales methodology. I have never regarded it as a sales methodology. I still do not consider it a sales methodology. I don't consider it a process, I consider it a correction mechanism. So we start with a couple of ancillary things that complement Meddicc the enable Meddicc to be much more effective but using meddicc in of itself without some supplemental material limits its effectiveness.


[00:16:30] So let me be a little bit more direct and clear in what I mean by that. We begin in my sales curriculum in my sales methodology with an established and documented enterprise sales process. These are the sequence of events that you should undertake to maximize the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Now, invariably it never goes that way that is when the meddicc is introduced when the wheels come off the wagon when it hasn't followed the optimal sequence of events that we've prescribed that our sales teams should be going after what do we do to correct? I mentioned earlier in our conversation I used to be an economics professor. Are you familiar with Adam Smith the Wealth of Nations?


ANDY WHYTE: [00:17:17] I know the book but I haven't read it.


KENO HELMI: [00:17:18] He was the first economist in the 1800s to talk about this notion of the invisible hand. That when the market is out of equilibrium it's the natural forces that bring that market back into equilibrium, so when there's temporary gluts or shortages prices adjust in invariably we get back to the place where everybody that wants to buy an apple can buy an apple that everybody that wants to sell an apple can sell an apple for that market clearing price. So when a market is in equilibrium it's the invisible hand that brings it back into equilibrium that to me is what meddicc does for a deal. So we start with an enterprise sales process then we use Meddicc to deconstruct the anatomy of the deal and to identify where we have shortcomings in our sales strategy. But I don’t regard it as a sales methodology. 


[00:18:15] In order to really maximize the value in the efficacy in what meddicc does you need two additional things in my opinion A you need an enterprise sales process and the second thing that you need is an effective mapping of the power base. One thing that PTC did not invent but they emphasize, and they required all of us to read and I require everyone of my team members to read is a book by James Holden called Power Base Selling. I consider it the most important book ever written about complex enterprise sales. So if you have an enterprise sales process we can then map the org chart, that's the names and the titles of everybody within the organization, but then give them a power base selling designation enemy, box, champion, perspective champion, coach, technical buyer, unknown, if we put it designation by all of those and then we circle within that org chart the three four five people that are really material to the decision that really get a vote on whether or not this thing goes forward then we layer meddicc On top of that that's the trifecta. Those are the three things that we need to be able to effect the outcome or to assess very early on in the deal that the likelihood of a good outcome is very low in which case we take our ball and go home which is one of the most difficult things for an aggressive, competitive sales person to do. Have you ever about the movie Rudy?


ANDY WHYTE: [00:20:04] No


KENO HELMI: [00:20:05] Yeah well it's one of these feel good movies its famous in the United States about this kid that walked on and played football at Notre Dame he should've never had a chance he was you know a midget he was weed he was slow every possible thing going against him but he somehow made the team and you know he got to play to two plays in his entire career with Notre Dame was winning by 700 points in the game mattered nothing at all, but I called that Rudy syndrome. This is the sales guy that wants to win the deal that he has no chance at winning that is a terrible way to run your business. Yes, you will win the deal one out of 1000 times but you've been fired 999 times because you went a long time chasing deals that you had a very low chance of winning but you will have that one story that you can tell. 


[00:21:02] We are not looking for Rudy. When I'm enabling my sales team and I'm taking him through these deliverables we are not looking for Rudy. We are looking for a guy that's got all of those elements aggressive competitive all that stuff but also has the EQ and the ability to discern and assess that the likelihood of winning is very low and to be able to walk away from the deal. So back to the hiring profile right so I talk to you about the three things; the process, the power map, and meddicc you also need to combine that with the person that's very difficult to find that has all of those elements.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:21:45] Right. Oh wow I love that. I'm gonna have to watch this Rudy film because I like the story that it tells.


KENO HELMI: [00:21:49] It’s a wonderful movie it's just not a great way to run a business.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:21:54] There's a saying that I like that's a bit like that which is it says we all know 100 year old smoker but it doesn't mean that we should all be smoking. We’ve all won a blind RFP before we all wanna deal with no champion or no engagement with economic buyer but doesn't mean you can't nor you should. 


KENO HELMI: [00:22:16] Although I would take exception to that you may have won a deal where you didn't get the economic buyer no deal has ever been won without by champion not that I've ever seen in my entire career. It is single handedly, unequivocally the most important element of meddicc without question. When I'm giving my medic presentation I dedicate an entirely separate module to the champion because it is by far the most important aspect of an enterprise sales process. 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:22:52] Really, that's interesting because I tend to agree with you. For me I get stuck and I'd love to hear your opinion on this, Yes I agree with the sentiment and what you said they're perfectly agree 100% but for me the paying, you can win a deal I think without a champion you can be an order taker almost you know and they just buy because the paying is so big but without the paying no one will buy anything. They’d have to make a mistake to sell to buy without paying so for me I always struggle cause I agree if you put champion is that number one but I'm like well you can especially if you know if you think about the definition of a champion if you're really strict on the definition of a champion you can still you can still get a deal done without a fully qualified champion whereas with no pain no deal for me.


KENO HELMI: [00:23:47] Yeah I couldn't disagree with that but I can disagree with that work but perhaps what might explain our disagreement is we have to delineate between a deal and a follow-on order those are two completely different things two completely different things. When I say deal I mean the technology is not installed anywhere in the organization it's a new deal. Those are the hardest things in the world to get every time one of those happens it's a small miracle. 


[00:24:18] I've deconstructed virtually every deal I've ever been a part of both deserve individual contributor and a manager and while I have seen many many deals that came through without taking all of the medicc pillars I have won deals that I've checked every one of the medics none of the medic killers with the exception of the champion and that is the reason. With the champion everything is possible and of all the elements in my sales curriculum the one that I'm on the only one that I'm vigilant of tw in incredible degree is in the definition of a champion. So people in the industry even some of my former PTC contemporaries they use that term in my opinion far to liberally. You earned the right to be called a champion once you have met four distinct criteria. Until all four of these have occurred all you can call them is a prospective champion that's the person I'm going to build my champion strategy around but until he all four of these things of been validated and verified that’s all the person can be as a prospective champion. They must be in the power base. They must have a selfish best interest in backing you and you alone. They must have access to the economic buyer and they must have a willingness to take you there, until all four of those things have been established the only thing you can call that person is a prospective champion.


[00:25:58] Now four there's one that allows you to assume the other three. So it is the shortest path to validating that you have a champion is simply by his or her willingness to take you to the economic buyer. Obviously they have access if they do obviously they're backing you and you alone and obviously they have a selfish bested interested in backing you and you alone so if you want a shortcut to the right to designate somebody is a champion, and that is often times were the deals are won or loss. Will they take you to the man if they take you to the man your chances of getting the deal go up by an order of magnitude it's far more important that they take you to the economic buyer than you getting there yourself. When you get to the economic buyer of your own volition without a champion he or she invariably says the same thing I think that's fantastic. That sounds like a great idea but I need Max told me that Max is my boy. Max is going to be responsible for screwing it in Max is the person I'm going to hold accountable for the success or failure of the product. So I am not even in my definition of what I describe deal as not to follow in order I'm not aware of one single deal in the history of my career that has ever occurred without a champion 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:27:18] I love that that's brilliant and I really like your focus on economic buyer there cause I think it's a tying the two together cause I just think it's so, as you say so. There's a software company called I see it and they created a salesforce plug-in for medic. So I kind of brings medic enter into salesforce and they recently put out some dates or where they they saw that I can't member exactly what the figures were but it was something like 83% of deals that closed on forecast had direct engagement and economic buyer. Whereas 80% something of deals that slipped no engagement with economic buyer. Its like an 80 20 rule for both and you know I think you're at your spot on there.


[00:28:01] One question I have for you and this is I think a really valuable one is sometimes especially early in deals and you mention it yet yourself how valuable it is to get economic buyers as soon as possible as he said with the sponsorship of your champion, what would you say to your Salespeople when they inevitably come up against a situation where the champion says look you know leave it with me I'll talk to them more this point you don't need to meet them how do you how do you build your champions into understanding that the mutual win of them taking you there.


KENO HELMI: [00:28:35] Yeah so that is a fantastic question. I actually have a few painful stories that we don't have time to go through where that very dynamic occurred. That's one of the worst champions that you can have is an over confident champion. So what I've done historically when we have a situation like this is just pull them off to the side and explain to them that we've seen this many many times that we were by far the subject matter expert when it comes to this. That there is likely questions that are going to arise that he or she will not be able to answer because of they don't have the level of familiarity with our technology in the business case that we do. And that if he or she truly wants this deal to happen what by what gives us the best chance of a good outcome is by them putting us in front. There's also a situation, are you familiar with the term the crucible?


ANDY WHYTE: [00:29:34] No


KENO HELMI: [00:29:35] OK, so there is the way that a company tells you the two D's in medic the decision making process in the decision making criteria. There is what they will articulate to you arw those two things and then there's the real way that the deal actually ends up happening. Which is usually one critical meeting that's called the crucible where the companies going to decide. Now in the crucible there's only, of the 11 people, there's only two that matter and very often times one of them is representing the bad guys and one of them is representing us right classic good versus evil. Every one of your competitors has a champion and if you're a champion stronger than your competitors champion you win and if you're a competitors champion is stronger than your champion then you will lose. So to be able to arm and educate your champion going into the crucible is often times the difference between success and failure. Helping them to anticipate objections, helping them to anticipate what cornerstones the competition is going to hang their hat on him to be able to defuse that argument. Having a business case to accompany the technical selection so that when the somebody on the committee that doesn't give a shit which way they go how is this thing going to pay for itself in what period of time to be able to articulate what the business outcome is likely to be.



[00:31:06] So having that conversation early with your champion and explain to them you don't buy software for a living. Thats at all I do is help people buy software for living and if they're the right kind of champions it should be a very easy conversation. If they pushback you either don't have the champion or you have the wrong kind of champion and it's not saying you won't get the deal I have seen that work I have seen guys that were smart enough to pull it off all that means is you can't forecast the deal with the same level of accuracy that you could if he or she was willing to put you directly in front of the economic buyer. But there are part of the tough decisions that we have to make a sales professional what are you gonna do walk away from the deal at that point it's too late you're heavily invested this is your only chance so you do the best that you can with the cards that are played you but you I go to great lengths to discourage people from taking long to the wrong hands 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:32:05] yeah, now I like that. When we were setting this up and you were very kindly introduced by our friend Dick Duncal you mentioned to me and it's not too late don't forget to include the team in medic the book but obviously in your case of paper process. Im interested to see in PTC days it was medically 1C and then through time they added on  the second C. Usually for competitors and then the paper process came in and where did where did you pick up the paper process, which company and can you remember much about that.



KENO HELMI: [00:32:36] Yeah, I think it really started manifesting itself into my sales motion about the same time companies were switching from perpetual licenses to sass licenses and I don't have an explanation for why buying software was less sophisticated back then than it is today but I had never heard of a requisition. I had never heard of getting set up in the SAP system as an approved vendor. I had never heard of info SAP there wasn’t much security back then so the paperwork has become more cumbersome and more complicated as the industry and technology itself has evolved so I think it was probably I'm guessing 2006 or 2008 rather when I started going almost exclusively to Sass and perpetual licenses were a dying very very quickly. That is when I started emphasizing the P in the paper the process because there was a number of people work related deliverables that have never been required until then. Up until then the end of the day all we needed was a license agreement and a PO we didn't even need the PO every single time.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:33:58] Interesting, as you've evolved your career and you obviously left PTC and moved on to other companies has there been times, I imagine there's been some places I can see him to see whether you have a well-known documents as other medical organizations but it's been some times where you've joined an organization as a sales leader or not where they not have medic and have  had implemented yourself and how did you go about that if you did. 


KENO HELMI: [00:34:21] Every single time. Since I have become a CRO I have had to ti implement it every single time. Matter of fact I've had to implement almost the entire sales infrastructure most almost everything is absent when I join no sophisticated forecast methodology, no appropriate categorization of deal stages and being very specific on the criteria, no business case tool, no account plan template. No when and when not to POC no vernacular around to keep buying influences and what a is difference between a coach and a champion. No books having been read I mean almost every organization I've inherited has been extremely deficient as far as sales infrastructure is convinced which is why I go back saying I will never be surrounded by that level of talent we didn't have a frame of reference and PTC we didn't know what great was or bad was all we knew was this is what we had to do to get our job done. This is what our team is management team is requiring of us it is only when I start going to other software companies that I really recognize the value in the extraordinary training that I got at PTC which is unparalleled to this day. so things that PTC guys take for granted, they realize when they join your organization that doesn't have that level of sophistication calendar valuable aura or time was there.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:35:58] Interesting. This is a huge question for me, the answer for this will really fascinate me. You mentioned there are a number of questions or scenarios when you join as a CRO to an organization sales team you can inherited things you've had to implement yeah they didn't have you mentioned a number of things that will be fascinated to know is how different do you implement most things based on the organization are they I guess if my saying is if I was to analyze the last five rolls you've had your companies you've been CRO at how similar would the sales process be how similar the account plan would be the qualifications for forecast methodology do you think you have a kind of a playbook that you take or how much do you adjust it for the company.


KENO HELMI: [00:36:51] So the answer to your question is almost identical probably with 10% variability in that 10% is nuanced to the technology and how that technology is licensed and how it's monetize but the only element of the 60 different deliverables in my sales curriculum that tends to vary greatly from company is the discovery in the qualification guide that's about it. No the questions that you asked to cost just justify, a marketing automation platform, or nothing like that is to a pricing optimization software or a digital virtual assistant like what we sell today but the business case tool is identical the enterprise sales price is identical everything is virtually identical and that is probably more of a function of the companies that I've chosen to go work for than anything else. The PTC sales methodology is ideally suited to large complex enterprise sales. So it's a transactional business or it's a heavy inside sales function my sales curriculum my approach and the things that excite me about the job or not ideally suited to something like that. You can certainly still implement medic in the enterprise sales processes inside sales driven organization but the real value in my sales curriculum is exacerbated and bolstered by large complex enterprise transactions.



ANDY WHYTE: [00:38:24] Right and I think of you if you look at the other medical unicorns as I like to call them that there's a real similarity there she said not necessarily by the what the solution does by the kind of implementation buying process that leads up to it. Being implemented and I think.


KENO HELMI: [00:38:42] I think a factor is complexity. The complex PTC sales methodology is ideally suited if it's homogenous or transactional you need a different sales approach and a different sales methodology and a different types of sales guy. You need smilers and dialer's not sophisticated politically minded insightful high EQ overpaid prima donnas. 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:39:07] It always fascinates me and you know from your academic background just do you know the average of your elite sales persons earning potential is is vastly more than some of the most important complex roles in the workplace. That always fascinates me.


KENO HELMI: [00:39:23] That’s one way to look at it, the other way to look at it is it's a fraction of the value that they drive on behalf of the company. It’s a very short conversation between me and a prospective CEO that I might be going to work for if they say anything that remotely resembles the sales people are overpaid or why do we have to pay so much to get these guys it's a very short conversation there's fights that I want to fight the enemy is outside of the four walls and they're fighting I have no interest in fighting So that's your mindset is just immediately qualified alpha type of a situation. I never go work for a CEO that used to be a CFO, I never do that. 


ANDY WHYTE: [00:40:05] I like the way of looking at it I like them and I can guarantee you if I asked you this question a few people would spring of mind which is that the CFO’s you have enjoyed working for as a CRO I bet you know about those are the most compassionate minded CFO’s you’ll find in terms of growth mindset.


KENO HELMI: [00:40:26] Yea, there's only two types of CFO only two. Shitty ones and really good ones. You're never going to find one that is kind of on the bubble they really understand ORI why they really understand the value the enterprise sales person brings to the table. Ideally experienced it firsthand working in a PTC like company in which case they're constantly looking for a way to add oxygen to the machine justifying an additional headcount that's a great CFO and I've already talked about what a bad CFO look like the one that I just have no interest in working with.



ANDY WHYTE:  [00:41:04] Yeah that no that's interesting what one other things just taking it back to what we were talking about a moment ago was this, when I look at the landscape of medic companies as there is definitely proliferation of companies I have a complex sales process but the ones that are the most famous perhaps the ones where they've been innovating, they've been doing something that's when it was being sold there was no budget for the item. It was brand new technology. It was not replacing an email service provider or some analytics tool is brand new. Do you think that medic particularly suits those sales processes?


KENO HELMI: [00:41:43] I don't think I don't think so personally. What I use to kind of instantiate and fuel that kind of a sales motion is another fairly popular book it that I'm sure you've heard of called a challenger sale. So that is how you create something from nothing. That is how you evangelize. That is how you educate the market on a better mouse trap not medic again this goes back to what medic, I believe was intended to do. To correct, not to instantiate it was intended to correct. In order to instantiate you need a completely different lens. You need to be able to articulate why the way people are doing things right now is broken. What are the implications of the broken process? What is the opportunity cost and what the better way is and what the business improvement looks like. That is all challenger sale oriented it have be nothing to do with medic. Medic is about operationalization. Challenger is about instantiation.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:43:00] Yeah, no I agree and I think that's one of the reasons why medic has stood the test of time. I think 25 years or something now and it seems to of had a resurgence lately and I think that's it it's just because it's so agnostic and universal that it works with challenger it works  with you know, sales process any kind of different thinking overlay over the top of that you know you've got the guys at force management that puts the messaging around it that works so so well.


[00:43:25] I have one last question I've been really looking forward to asking you about which was the term you're a head of sales ops at your current your current company Expressive is Steven LeBron which where is it is it is a great name I noticed you guys work together before and it just seemed too much of a coincidence we both joined Expressive at the same time. Is that one of those like sort magic sort of made in heaven things that you guys just work together perfectly. I always think of it as like a right hand man and a second lieutenant a goose and Maverick kind of relationship 


KENO HELMI: [00:44:04] Yeah, unequivocally. The way you characterize it is almost aspirational. That's not the way that I see it. I don't understand how any head of sales could be affective without an effective head of sales ops that is at his side. I am sure It's possible, I couldn't. Matter fact I almost had to walk away from this opportunity because our CEO didn't really understand why we would need to spend $300,000 on a guy in my response that is I simply can't do the job that you want me to do effectively without the data and insights that he provides me to course correct the scale in the bar business. Maybe you can get away with it when you're a five person sales organization but you can simply cannot it's impossible to be truly effective at scale without a Sales ops leader that is an expert at salesforce whenever your CRM tool that can extract the data they can identify stale opportunities that are misleading with the overall qualified pipeline looks like. That can hold the reps accountable for putting the deals in the wrong stages. We run a data driven business. 


[00:45:29] You often hear people talking about the art in the science of sales while I certainly believe in that, I go to great length to minimize the art and to maximize the science and what is foundational to that is somebody that can understand the data in the nuances of our go to market approach Medic, what a true champion is our business case tool and can help enforce because I'm out selling right I'm out recruiting I'm distracted by a whole Lotta things I've got board meetings. I need a watchdog that is vigilant about the minutia that I don't I have the bandwidth nor the desire to micromanage that a light allows me to stand behind the forecast a macro forecast. It's not just what we're going to do in business, and this is for the quarter but 

 what the pipeline looks like 3 quarters out why I can project what our business is going to look like over the course of the year.


[00:46:24] I can't do that without a head of sales ops. And my guy is probably the best of the best time, the best I’ve ever worked with.


ANDY WHYTE: [00:46:32] I love it yeah but it's so true it's so true and I love to hear it and I can totally relate and I think you're spot on there. Keno thank you so so much this has been absolutely incredible I feel like I've learned a ton and that's kind of know the selfish part of me with doing all this is just so you know I got to meet and talk and learn from great sales leaders like yourself. So thank you so much for this.


KENO HELMI: [00:47:00] Sure, it was fun Andy and it was great to meet you. And its an open door if you ever want to chat again.



ANDY WHYTE: [00:47:05] Hey so that wraps up our first ever episode of Masters of Meddicc. Thank you so much for listening and if you liked what you heard then please leave a rati