Two principles that might change your management style forever

I’m pleased to introduce you to Tarmo van der Goot, who until recently scaled Chargebee as VP of Sales EMEA.

In today’s conversation, we dove into Tarmo’s journey at Chargebee. He was hired to build an outbound sales team in the EMEA region from the ground up. Initially, Chargebee – as an Indian company – had no dedicated people working in our region. Any business they did in Europe came through inbound.

Long story short: business exploded in the region; they hired about 90 FTEs, and revenue grew by 10X.

You can listen to Tarmo’s experience here, or read along to discover my favorite part from my conversation with Tarmo.

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My favorite aspect from today’s episode is not so much the tactical advice Tarmo has been sharing but rather some notions we, as sales leaders, might need to hone in on more.

Let’s get straight to it.

1. When it gets easy, it’s time to go harder

This idea joined the discussion when I asked Tarmo about target setting. The question: when you’re building out a new sales team in the region and you don’t have any historical data yet, is it easy to define targets?

He started by telling me that they had done strong enough preliminary analysis and from there they did a reverse engineering exercise that cascaded down into activities. So far so good.

But then, he interrupted himself and said:

“Actually, it doesn’t matter, Dylan.”

He continued:

“Even if you’re working at the company with the highest product-market fit humanly possible, as soon as you’re hitting that Series B or Series C, the board will look at the numbers and say, ‘Dylan – this is freaking amazing! Now… 2x that’.”

Meaning that target setting is so arbitrary in the end. And so, investors are not expecting you to hit the target. They are expecting you to NOT go easy. Make it hard, push it, because if it’s easy for you, it’s easy for the competitors, and there’s no edge in that. When the ambition is to build a unicorn, the goal is to make it extraordinary, not to go ‘according to plan’.

Now, we’re not all in the position where we have this external pressure, but in any case, this idea remains valid: never let it become too easy.

It reminded me of another quote; one I heard for the first time from Jeroen Van Godtsenhoven: If you have everything under control, you’re not going hard enough.”

Let’s push harder in 2024!

2. Focus on talent, not tricks.

This might not be a surprising one, however, it’s all you can read about on LinkedIn. Trick A, B, & C on how to get through the noise, how to move the deal forward, etcetera.

So I’m happy Tarmo was able to repurpose my question for a better reflection. I asked if and how sales enablement was a part of his journey. For instance, he had to build an outbound sales team from the ground up. So it was a fair question to ask, I thought.

“Yes, and we’ve been assisted by all the best sales enablement coaches. Force Management, Winning by Design… We had all the playbooks, and they’re good, they’re critical, especially for onboarding & ramping up. However, at the end of the day, if you have the right managers and the right talent; that’s all that matters.”

And then Tarmo continued with an anecdote:

“France. It has always been a critical market for us since we had some great logos there. So I always knew, man, there’s such a good opportunity. We never got momentum in that market UNTIL we found 1 or 2 AEs.”

“Did I change the approach? Did we tweak anything? No. The only thing we did is hire great talents dedicated to that market. Then, all of a sudden, you see the results that you know were there!

Hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to read more LinkedIn posts on how to recruit or be recruited, for the real magic to happen ✨

Want more? Listen to the full interview here 👉 🎙 Building Chargebee’s EMEA outbound sales team from the ground up