CMO Insights: Sterling Snow, SVP of Revenue, Divvy

sterling

May 21, 2019

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Sterling Snow, SVP of Revenue, Divvy.

In this video, Sterling talks about:

  • Building your product around your customer.
  • The importance of becoming a company that aligns the sales and marketing teams.
  • Creating a customer experience/s for the customer throughout the whole life cycle and not just the beginning.

Learn more about Sterling from his LinkedIn profile and follow him on Twitter

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue marketing television, the CMO Insights Series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of the Pedowitz Group. So for our guest, we have Sterling Snow, who is Senior Vice President of Revenue for Divvy. Sterling, welcome to the show.

Sterling Snow:

Thanks Jeff. Glad to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Glad to have you. So Divvy is doing some really cool things. Tell us about it.

Sterling Snow:

Divvy is a financial platform. We consider ourselves to be a hub for businesses, from the financial software side, integrating,  automating expense reports, budgeting, forecasting, all of those types of things. And it’s been a pretty incredible story. So I joined in April last year. At that point we were a team of about 30.  and since then we’ve grown to over 200 people on the team.  we’ve raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, added thousands of customers and tens of thousands of users and really just kind of exploded and it hasn’t slowed down for a minute since. So it’s been awesome to be a part of the ride and learn in lots. So pretty much what everybody dreams about.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Right. Catch set, bullet train to, to the top. One of the things that one, what I wanted to talk to you is I love your profile because you started off in marketing, right? And now you have a much bigger role.

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, I did. Yeah. Yup. Yeah, that’s exactly right. So I came up through marketing,  got to be involved in lots of different things.  I owned an agency, owned and operated a marketing agency, so really got to be involved in everything from demand gen to content to,  communications. All that good stuff, continued that evolution at jive.  it was a part of that marketing team up until they were acquired by log me in, at which point I came over to Devi,  to again run marketing.  but that evolved into revenue for us, which encompasses marketing, sales and customer success.  and so yeah, I came up through marketing but now oversee sales and customer success and that’s been an awesome Divvyenture all on its own.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So that’s, that’s pretty amazing in and of itself, right? Because for many marketing executives are constantly at odds with sales and they’re trying to figure out how they become more accountable and drive performance. So how that happened happen for you? I mean, was there certain things that you were doing that gravitate is something that you always wanted to do or I mean, how did, how did it actually happen?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, yeah. So it was something that I always wanted to do. It was the path that I wanted to take for my career. What I think we did a little different, was we took a sales point of view, even as a marketing team. So where you up with a lot of discord is in your definitions and you, so first of all, you disagree with sales on your definitions. What is an MQL? What is an SQL? Well, what do we call converted? Like you disagree on your Defand then you fight about whose fault it is that those different definitions aren’t performing the way that you want them to.  and one thing I think we did a good job of at jive and then again here at Divvy is partnering with sales mutually agreeing on definitions and then it didn’t matter whose fault anything was, we were the exact same team working on the same problem. And that’s why I think you’re seeing such a growth in chief revenue officer type roles because you’re uniting sales, marketing and some of the other pieces. So there can’t be that in fighting.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah. So it’s pretty amazing. So now, and you’re on customer success too and clearly you’ve had a lot of it in a very short period of time. So tell us more about what, what are you doing to be customer centric? Is it the product itself gets it so good? Is it the brand, is it the messaging, is it the experience your customers are having gas to everything or is there something that’s your app more focused on than something else?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, no, I mean it is all of the things you mentioned. We’re very focused on creating experiences from the beginning of the customer life cycle all the way through the end. Like, that’s an experience and it’s tailor made, but you can’t discount the product market fit. Right?  the vision that the founders had, Blake Murray and Alex Bean, it’s, it’s really, it’s really something special. The way that they saw the convergence of various industries, the need for it in the market and then the frictionless business model, right? So Divvy’s 100% free, but we’re free. Well providing just insane amounts of value to our customers and it’s hard to discount that. So that’s a huge part of the success.

And then you look at all the other pieces, what is our brand? What is our marketing? What is our demand gen engine, what do we do on the sales side to close folks? And what is the experience that we provide our customers from when they enter Marketo as a lead source to when they are, you know, a customer that’s been with us for a year plus. Right?  so it’s a good healthy mix of all of those things. But at the core of Divvy is a brilliant idea and an incredible business model.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So what I mean, cause you mentioned the is free. So what is the business model? How the amount of time is it?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, no, I mean we’re a nonprofit and  we just like doing, no, I’m just kidding.  the way that we make money is the same way that visa and MasterCard and banks make money. It’s called interchange. So when you go to target and you spend 100 bucks, target only gets 97 of that, and the other three kind of get divvied up, for lack of a better word, between the credit card, the processor, the issuing bank, all that kind of stuff. So Devi,  has Divvy makes money that same,okay. Now a broken mess. So it’s really all on the back end. So the better platform, if it developed,  delivers a better experience, more providers use the platform. So then you get more of the DIVVY, right? That’s, that’s kind of essentially how it works. Well, so we, every time a customer swipes the Divvy card, we’re making money, right?

So the more,  in, so we just say, Hey, use this amazing platform. It’s gonna replace either the manual process you’ve got going right now with spreadsheets and reimbursements and budgeting and all that kind of stuff. Replace it. Or you know, if you’re using another tool like Expensify or Kerr or anything in that vein, replace it and stop paying for it. Use DIVVY for free. And as soon as you’re using and loving the product, we’re making money on it and we can continue to fund the growth.So, you know, a lot of marketers talk about customer centricity today,  but I think a lot of times they’re more focused on service and being responsive and reactive. But that’s not necessarily the same thing as being customer centric.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Right. Designing your products, your services, your sales and marketing around them. So what are some of the things that you’re doing at Divvy to accomplish that?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, well the first thing is we are a product led organization. If you say you’re customer centric, you have to be a product led organization. That means directed discovery. That means you are talking to the clients who you lost. You’re talking to the clients who are happy with you. You’re talking to the potential buyers, you’re hearing what they’re saying.  but also taking that information and making it actionable, something that fixes a problem that they either express to you or that you deduced through those conversations and then you actually build your product accordingly.  there’s always, you know, the special sauce of, you know, what do the product and executives at the team sprinkle in there with those insights. But it’s really all about the customer and building something that has increased value for them with every release, right? Every time you come out with a feature, every time you add a new offering, that’s how it has to be. That’s in my mind what being customer centric actually means. And then that flows to your go to market. Right?  and how you’re actually talking about it and introducing and educating, your potential buyer.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So how does that flow though into some of the marketing and sales processes you’re doing? From the way that you organize your content or the programs and campaigns are your data, your KPIs, what are you doing that complements that product centricity?

Sterling Snow:

Sure. So when, when product builds it in a certain way, then marketing has to talk about it in that same way. So if we have a specific pain that we’re addressing that you as a customer feel, that has to be our hook,  that either is the hook that we’re using on our ad copy or that’s the hook that we spell out in content that we’re asking you to download and read or consume in any way. And it just, it flows all the way through that go to market. It also, it’s included in the sales pitch.  you know, we’re, we’re hitting on those same things again and again and again because it’s what the customer,  in aggregate told us they cared about. So from product to marketing to sales, and then again in customer success, when you’re having that onboarding experience and we’re hitting it again,  what are those problems that Divvy is solving for you and how do we continue to, to enforce that value through your lifetime with us?

Jeff Pedowitz:

It makes a lot of sense. So you, I think you mentioned Marketo earlier, for week capture. Are you using that and any other technology to scale this up cause you’ve grown pretty quickly. How are you, how are you using some of this MarTech to facilitate that?

Sterling Snow:

So when I first got here, we were using HubSpot both as a CRM and as an automation platform.  and the first thing we did was bring in Salesforce as a CRM, continue to use HubSpot for the remainder of our contract as the automation tool. And then we moved to Marketo and Salesforce.  which, you know, I’m a big fan of that and I think HubSpot’s actually great for a lot of businesses if you’re, if you’re more transactional and, and there, there are certain situate and HubSpot can be put. Marketo allows you the ability to essentially build anything you can think of.  and that’s where for us in the more complex nature of what we’re doing it, it made sense and we needed to switch.  in addition to those, we use a lot of tools. We’re big fans of Zapier.  we’re big fans of Unbounce of never bounce.

We use a ton of things in the stack.  for us, we also have to use tools that,  integrate business credit scores with,  with our Salesforce instance. So we use dun and Bradstreet for that and some other tools. So yeah, it’s  and I, I tell our revenue ops manager all the time that the MarTech stack at Devi is among the most complicated I’ve ever seen, but it also allows us to do some pretty cool stuff.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Interesting. You used that term revenue ops because I’m hearing that more and more as opposed to sales ops or marketing ops that wasn’t even there.

Sterling Snow:

It’s the same thing that I talked about earlier, earlier. If you want us whose numbers are right or what the definition of terms are, you just make it one team and revenue ops services, both the sales organization and the marketing organization and rolls up to a revenue leader and it really gets rid of a lot of the problems you’ve seen traditionally with marketing and sales fighting. So that’s what it means for us.  they service the entire revenue organization, from enablement to operations. They own obviously all of our, our tech stack as it touches each of those groups. And it’s fantastic. We have an amazing team of people here at Divvy that helps us do some incredible things.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Love that. So you’ve grown really fast. You’ve had a lot of people to the team. What do you look for when you hire? What kind, what kind of people are a good fit?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, it depends on the culture values for your company.  we have a fantastic HR leader. Her name is Casey Bailey. She joined us from Uber, so she had a wealth of experience and rocket ship growth.  and, and when we hire, I look at the, the culture values that we have, how someone gonna fit into that. And then I also look for a track record of achieving incredible results with companies that we admire. Like that is something that speaks volumes to me. If you owned a meaningful part of a different company that had a super awesome trajectory, then odds, sorry, you’re going to, I’m here own something and help us as we,  continue to scale.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Okay.  Do you look for generalists though or do you look for people that have a specific set of skills?

Sterling Snow:

Well, early on you need, you need some generalists because it’s just so you and you have to have people who can touch a lot of different parts of the business. But as you start to flush out the team, you’re very much looking for specialist people who can own a specific part of your company. So you start with generalists,  and you generally morph into more and more specialized roles is the team grows.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So it sounds like you got a lot of good things going on,  but what keeps you awake at night? Any, any major challenges?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, I mean, anytime you’re growing the way we’re growing, the biggest concern is what am I not, what corner am I not seeing around what’s going to be the thing that you know, stops our demand gen from providing enough for sales or what’s going to be the thing from a sales perspective that stops us from closing as much business as we’ve projected and forecasted. So you spend a lot of time trying to see a couple of quarters into the future. And so that’s, I mean when you ask like what keeps you awake at night, it’s the unknown and trying to prepare and plan for the unknown that’s challenging in its own right. But other than that we’re, we have awesome people on the team who worry about every nuance and every detail and then it’s my job to make sure that there’s nothing hiding around the corner that could slow us down. Watch out for those monsters lurking the shadows kind of thing.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Yeah, something like that. So, for the other VPs and CMOs out there that say, you know, I want to be like Sterling, I want to run all of revenue, what aDivvyice would you give them?

Sterling Snow:

Yeah, partner with sales. Like first and foremost, they’re your counterpart. They’re not your enemy. You have to partner with them, you have to learn their business. Frankly, you have to see marketing as a sales leader would see it, to, if you ever want to own that part of the business as well. Cause it’s, it’s a really interesting transition that happens when you do sale. You start to very quickly you from speaking from experience, you start to very quickly see the validity in a lot of the sales, like complaints that you’ve heard, you know from your peers and things throughout the years. You start to see like, Oh, I get it. Like now that the shoe’s on the other foot, I can understand where you’re coming from and how do we work together to fix those problems. So first step, partner with sales. They are your best friend. They are your best data source. They make you better and vice versa, right? The sales leader has to feel the same way, but as you start getting familiar with that department, with that landscape, with that process, it puts you in a position to eventually be over the whole thing.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Nice. All right, so we’re going to get a bunch of people that are going to be following you and Divvy now. So you’re going to be, you’re going to be famous if you’re not famous already. So, finish this sentence. A year from now, my team it Divvy will…

Sterling Snow:

A year from now we’ll be bigger and much more well known, our trajectory, our market that the Tam, when you look at just sheer Tam of what Divvy is doing, we’re going to be everywhere. And you look at how many companies use us now.  you know, there’s still a decent amount of people who haven’t heard of DIVVY a year from now. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. A lot of people are going to be using us and if you haven’t used us, you’re going to have heard of us and be switching.

Jeff Pedowitz:

All right, so I can go to Antarctica>? Or the swales of the Sahara?

Sterling Snow:

You’re going to, you’re going to hear Divvy mentioned in the same breath as companies like Slack and Salesforce and Marketo, like kind of staples of industry.  I, I firmly believe that Divvy’s going to have a seat at that table.

Jeff Pedowitz:

Well, with the way that you’re running things, I have no doubt. So great stuff. Thank you so much, Sterling, for being on the show today.

Sterling Snow:

Yeah. Thanks for having me as one.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet.

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