Pete Ryan is the co-founder at CoSell. A network built for sales teams to discover new partners, surface prospect and customer overlaps, and drive the exchange of warm introductions into key accounts. Before CoSell, Pete co-founded CoSell, was the head of enterprise sales at Trello/Atlassian, one of the first sales reps at LinkedIn.
[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies, and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you. Do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right, let's get started.
Umar Hameed 0:41
Hello, everyone. Today, I'm gonna have a great show. I've got Pete Ryan, he is the co-Founder and co-Ceo of CoSell and we're going to talk about you know how to get two sales organizations within one company to come together in a way that we maximize our ability to sell. And it's going to be a fascinating conversation. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about how much revenue we bring into our organizations because that keeps the lights on that allows us to expand that allows us to make a bigger impact. And I'm Umar Hameed, your host and the website you can reach me on is No Limits Selling. If you go there, we've got this plan to help you double your sales this year. Go check it out. And I want to welcome Pete, welcome to the show.
Pete Ryan 1:24
Thanks, Umar, appreciate you having me.
Umar Hameed 1:27
It's really interesting. Just within the sales organization, you have different people in the sales organization, you have some eight players that walk on water, do magnificent things, and then you've got the B players that do a good job, then you got some C players that maybe they should do something else. So come of what are your thoughts on that? Why do we have those three food groups in a sales organization? And how do we get more B players to step into the A column?
Pete Ryan 1:50
Yeah, so yeah, this kind of brings me back to, you know, head of enterprise sales at Trello. Right. So, you know, Trello, a project management software. And so I think, you know, that every team is going to have that, right, you're gonna have your A players, B players, and hopefully not any C players, right?
Umar Hameed 2:12
Yes, we got them.
Pete Ryan 2:14
Yeah. It totally. Yeah. And so, you know, I think how you manage up the B players, right? is getting them on a cadence, right? And that's, I've always found that to work because that's where,
Umar Hameed 2:28
My cadence, you mean?
Pete Ryan 2:30
Cadence meaning, you know, just like very, like regular checkups, right? around, you know, where's your pipeline at? Right? And if you're, if your pipeline is there, let's dig into it. And, you know, figure out like, where the were, where the reps are kind of falling flat in the sales process, right? And so if the pipeline is not there, then, unfortunately, have to go to activity, right? And I think, similar to like, working out, right, there's kind of this compounding effect that you have.
Umar Hameed 2:58
Pete Ryan 2:59
And doing it regularly. Right? And so that's why I was like, leaning back at the cadence. I think that's more of like a, you know, management strategy more than anything. I think that for, you know, everyone in sales these days is just having a really difficult time with prospecting, I think especially, you know, with this tidal wave, which has been the pandemic, right, you know, buyers, they're not at their desk phones anymore, right. They're getting inundated with so many emails, LinkedIn, which used to be like, you know when you get an email, you're like, awesome, I got an email. And now it's, you know, just,
Umar Hameed 3:39
Pete Ryan 3:40
Flooded with emails. And so I think, you know, you felt like being able to fill the top of the funnel is, is a challenge that every company and every sales team is facing. And so, yeah, I'd love to chat about it. But you know, I've got a lot to say in this regard. But um,
Umar Hameed 4:01
Yeah, we're gonna get there. So one of the things, before we go deeper into this topic really, is people that are the best at their craft. It could be track and field stars could be salespeople, it could be whatever people at the top of the field are always looking for. What's that fricking edge I can use to improve just a little bit if I get that little bit, and there's a constant need for improvement, and nothing massive. And so we're talking about, you know, those phone conversations. Yep. If we could figure out you know, I don't care about the entire sales call, because I think he's talking crap. But I do care about the first six seconds. Like if I could make you world-class, the first six seconds, then you get the next minute a conversation, then we can focus on the first minute a conversation, and slowly so I think part of it is cadence, and part of it is really getting people to buy into the fact that I need to be improving and my sales manager is going to help me nothing big but what's the smallest thing I can focus on this week and compounds as we go.
Pete Ryan 5:01
Yep, yeah. And it feels like, you know, mindset, it plays so much into that, right? Because,
Umar Hameed 5:07
Pete Ryan 5:08
If you're, you know, waking up every day, right, and you're, you're happy and excited about what you're doing, you know, you're gonna achieve great thing. So I think like, in order for you to get to the even to that point, there's obviously you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right. And like, all that bottom layer kind of has to be taken care of,
Umar Hameed 5:28
Pete Ryan 5:30
I mean, which is, you know, which has become really difficult in the, like, pandemic, right. And I think, you know, people are kind of earning for this, you know, human connection, right. And it's, you can get it kind of through zoom, but it's still, you know, it's still difficult. So I think a lot of companies have had to rethink how they're engaging their salespeople. I think personally, right. You know, like sales can be a very manic depressive job, right? Like, one day, you're just on top of the world, you just close the steel, and then the next year, kind of you fallen flat on your face. And so I love what you do, and you're in your business, right? Because you really get down to the core of, you know, what motivates people and drive them. Right. And so I personally, you know, we talked about this last time, right? But for me, Hakomi, right, has been a game-changer, which is essentially guided meditation. Right? And so I'll jump on, you know, once a week, with Mike Williams, he's based here in Austin. Hey, Mike, great guy. Obviously, he's been doing this for, you know, nearly a decade, right. And before this was even really a popular thing to do. I wouldn't even say it's a popular thing. It's just, it's become more well known, which is doing these guided meditation meditations and like, you kind of go to these places in your subconscious that, you know, you're typically just not going to go and you can uncover a lot of kind of past experiences that have molded you today, right?
Umar Hameed 7:10
Pete Ryan 7:11
Umar Hameed 7:13
Before we go into your career more, which I want to do one last thought on it is really intriguing. They get a sales rep that has a good freaking day, and they get some wins on the board. And certain salespeople will take the foot off the gas.
Pete Ryan 7:26
Umar Hameed 7:27
And it's really intriguing, and other salespeople will like yet that was yesterday. Now, well, what do I need to do? And they just put the foot on the gas, and we can just figure out what mental block gets them to ease up and change that. And that's kind of been my life's work. But let's dig down to your career. You're like, at Trello. And you get absorbed by who?
Pete Ryan 7:47
Yep, yeah. So, um, so I'm at Trello. Right. And, you know, I've been in sales for 10 years, but at this time, right, I start off at Oracle, and LinkedIn, DoubleDutch, then started my own company, then landed a Trello, which was really my favorite work experience I've ever had. Right. And so Trello gets acquired via Atlassian. Right? And Atlassian is this, you know, Australian company? A, Go ahead, What would you say?
Umar Hameed 8:15
Pete Ryan 8:15
Behemoth, huge, huge company. And so, um, you know, I think at the time Atlassian has, like, 100,000 customers Trello has, you know, maybe around 500 enterprise customers. So, I was really excited about the acquisition, right, because it was like, now we're able to kind of, you know, leverage the Atlassian sales team to get in front of more accounts. Right. And so, you know, I think one learning we had really quickly was that doing the, you know, leveraging that last year sales team was just that was a, a huge undertaking, right? Because you have two different CRMs. Right, which, you know, we're both on Salesforce, we created this Slack channel called referrals for sales. So you know, someone from the Trello side would go in there and say, Hey, you know, who on that left-hand side has a relationship with General Electric, right? And then, you know, Joe would raise your hand and say, hey, that's me. Let me make the intro. Right. And, and so that's kind of, you know, that in itself, like turned on this idea for Cosell, which is a company I recently co-founded. And, yeah, I'll,
Umar Hameed 9:28
I'll take it from there. We'll go to Cosell in a minute. So what you describe is a wet dream for a salesperson. This is amazing. I asked who I want and somebody from the other side that has a relationship is going to put up her hand and say I'm gonna do a warm introduction. So a did that happen? And what actually happened in real life?
Pete Ryan 9:46
Yeah, so what would happen in real life is that the Trello sales team would like ask for the warm intro. You know, I'd say eight out of 10 times right, the warm intro would actually happen. Right. Cuz, you know, generally we're all part of the same company. Right? So there's aligned incentives there. And we the issue, though, is like, we were never able to really celebrate any sort of success, right from like, does it you know, the deal would close, right from the warm intro. And, I think, you know, I mean, everyone probably listening, right understands the value of referrals and warm intros over, just like a cold outreach. And so, you know, it, it was impossible to track, we ended up doing this, like, externally also, with partners. So, you know, there was a cmpany called Unito that integrates with Trello. And, you know, we would, you know, send over a spreadsheet of all of our prospects and customers, and they would go through it and do a V lookup to find out like, where there's overlap, and then we do the warm intros, but it just, like, simply didn't scale through, like the security issues, right around it, like sharing customer data, etcetera, etc. So, you know, it, that was the reality, right, is it worked, we were able to drive some business from it, but we couldn't really scale or automate it, right. And so that's, you know, again, that's kind of what has led me to, you know, my life's work, I would call it right, it's like, what I'm working on now is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Umar Hameed 11:28
Cool. So tell me about let's go back to that just for a moment, then we'll go to Cosell because it's really important.
Pete Ryan 11:34
Umar Hameed 11:35
Is what you mentioned was you know, there wasn't a way to really celebrate what we were doing. And even though it's the same company, this a difference in me getting public recognition for I helped you land Ge Ge as an account.
Pete Ryan 11:48
Umar Hameed 11:49
And so that's like, basic psychology 101. So, what do you think that was missed?
Pete Ryan 11:56
Yeah, it was, you know, it was, um, you know, when you don't have, you know, I'm gonna say it's because it's software, right? It's, you know when you don't have software, wherever, wherever there's one single source of truth for this type of activity.
Umar Hameed 12:12
Pete Ryan 12:13
Things are gonna fall through the cracks, right? Because it's all happening offline. And so, you know, when you think about just, you know, technologies that have popped up in the last couple years, right. You know, for instance, like Gong and chorus and Gemini, right, for, you know, call recording, right, and being able to coach reps, right? Like that, that was a big, you know, fundamental shift, right, and how salespeople operate. And a lot of salespeople threw their hands up and said, I don't want to be recorded. But, you know, at the end of the day, it's like, this whole this like black box is now like, revealed right to the whole company. And all the and all this like new cup coaching can happen to up-level talent, right? And so, that's how I would respond to that. Right? As you're, you know, when there's weather, you're missing technology to fill that gap, right of things that are happening.
Umar Hameed 13:06
And when you make it easy for people to do if you got to go to another spreadsheet, and go here and do that as nobody does extra work. So you came up with the Oh, Lord, we need something new. And who thought of CoSell and how did you how did the partners come together? And who are your co-founders?
Pete Ryan 13:24
Yeah, so um, you know, after we kind of saw what happened with Atlassian. Right, and like being able to CoSell internally being able to CoSell it externally. You know, I brought on an advisor, his name's Brendan Cassidy, he's now a co-founder of CoSell.
Umar Hameed 13:42
Pete Ryan 13:44
You know, he had been thinking about this problem for a long time, right? Because, you know, we were both at LinkedIn, he was employee 15 at LinkedIn. You know, I was early, not quite as early as he was. But yeah, I probably joined around, you know, between 200 and 250 employees. And so we always thought like, LinkedIn is for sure gonna solve this problem, right? Because you have all the professional data, the professional graph, you can kind of see who's connected to who, but um, you know, I think, you know, when when, you know, it just like, hasn't been Lincoln's real focus, right. It's been, you know, about growing the LinkedIn ecosystem. Right. And, and, you know, the recruiting business, that's like the largest business on LinkedIn. Right. And so, you know, that, you know, so Brandon joined, right, as a co-founder, he's like, hey, how do I get involved here? Right, which is, I'm so fortunate to have him because just because he's been a VP sales hero, you know, many times over. And then we, we met up with Andrew Brewis, and who's our CTO, and I know him through Atlassian. Right. So yeah, we kind of have, we're excited, right? It's like this perfect storm of, you know, demand Gen has just gotten so crazy hard salespeople earning for something, you know to break, you know, allow them to break into accounts, companies want to go at it not alone but rather together. And then you know, we have this team, it's kind of all coming together and you know, it feels right, you know, compared to my last for sure.
Umar Hameed 15:23
So tell us about CoSell, what does it actually do? And walk me through like a real life example of two organizations playing well together?
Pete Ryan 15:32
Yeah, for sure. Okay, so, um, you know, I'll just I'll first talk about like, what is our vision? What's our mission, and then what CoSelling is and how it works. So, really, our vision, right is to make sales more human, right? Because it's become so transactional. And so, transactional, and it's kind of gone from, you know, door to door to phone to email to LinkedIn. And now it's like, you know, sales teams are sending, like, handwritten cards and gift that everything kind of goes like insert in a certain way. Yeah. And so, um, you know, we are visionaries to make more sales more human, really how we do that is to by unlocking relationships between partners, right? So companies are going after the same market that are non-competitive. We're even like channel partners working with software manufacturers.
Umar Hameed 16:25
Pete Ryan 16:26
And we want to create this like network of interconnected CRM, right? Which is like, you know, ultimately, this layer that sits on top of all these CRMs, where companies can go to market together, right, so they can find overlap, where, you know, where one company may have a prospect, and another has a customer or vice versa. So you can drive you know, warm intro share sales insights, is kind of like this community intelligence for companies are looking to go to market together. And so, you know, I think there's, um, you know, how it works today, right? As you log in through Salesforce, you invite another partner, and then CoSell does all the heavy lifting and finding out where there's this, like this overlap, which in some cases is like millions of rows of data, right? between companies that were right, that kind of analyzing. So.
Umar Hameed 17:18
Do you sit? If you're just a Salesforce player, you sit in the middle of Salesforce connecting to Salesforce installations together?
Pete Ryan 17:26
Yeah, yeah. So we have Salesforce, we have CSV uploader. Right. So if you know if, you know, there's a sales rep that wants to sign up, they can sign up and upload a CSV without having to get approvals to connect to Salesforce. And then obviously, there's like a whole plethora of all these serums right, there's HubSpot and Zoho and Zendesk sell. And that, you know, those will all be a fast follow just because you know, their API Doc's are a lot more like, yeah, easy to, you know, easy to easy to understand compared to Salesforce. Yeah.
Umar Hameed 17:59
How Salesforce been as a partner. We did a deal with Microsoft when I was in the valley. And Microsoft had a reputation of being just a big, slow, terrible company to work with. And what we found was, they were nimble, they were quick, and they were generous with their connections. And it was like a dream partnership. And it was totally different than we expected. So how's Salesforce been?
Pete Ryan 18:24
Yeah. So you know, for us, like we haven't yet gotten on their app exchange, right? Because like, right today, right? It's just read access. So you know, your CAC to Salesforce, CoSell will sync with it. We're not actually doing any like read. Right. So the plan will be too, you know, partner with Salesforce. But yeah, today, that's has been the case I yeah. And honestly, I don't have a whole lot of data points around like the, you know, the quality you know what to expect, right? So we'll have to go down that path, you know, once we get there. So,
Umar Hameed 19:00
Just remember, when you meet their executives tell them they look incredibly beautiful. Right? Yeah. never fails, always go back to the tried and trued. So give me an example of one of your clients working with another and what's the reality of that? And what's the benefit of that?
Pete Ryan 19:17
Yeah, yeah. In fact, like, we're, I was just speaking with your head of growth, about like, putting some case studies on our on our site.
Umar Hameed 19:24
Pete Ryan 19:25
And so yeah, before before I get in trouble for like, you know, sharing, you know, case study data, I can basically like, give you an example, work. And yeah,
Umar Hameed 19:36
Give me a real life example, but change their names and say, like, this is not ABC Company.
Pete Ryan 19:42
Yeah, right. Yeah. So um, yeah. So just think like zoom and Slack, right. So zoom is going after a very similar market to slack, right, but they're non-competitive. I was actually recently in the Atlanta airport, and I saw you know, it was like, it is a billboard Right said, you know, Zoom and Slack better together, right? So it's like the perfect type of partnership. And so, you know, zoom, right? They're having like these parallel conversations to slack. And so zoom is, you know, reaching out to the same buyer. And so, and they're likely both on like two different Salesforce instances. And so, you know, we would really go to the VP of sales or CRO at Zoom or even like the head of partnerships at Zoom or Slack and say, Hey, you know, I see you have a partnership with Slack, what's power that on CoSell? Right. And so, you know, the CRM or Partner Manager partnership person would sign up, and then they would invite the sales team, right. And so once the sales teams invited, they're really the end users, right? Because they're the ones that are driving the CoSelling. And so they would log in, and really what they would see is like, the overlaps that they specifically own. And so, you know, if I'm a sales rep, I'm I have 200 named accounts, I want to see what, you know, what, what accounts can actually leverage, you know, Slack, right, my partner to get in front of right, and, and so, you know, through CoSell, I can request an intro into an account. And, yeah, I think it's like, you know, warm intros referrals are like 40x, you know, higher conversion than cold outreach. So, it's a big deal, right. And so, about half of our customers are paid. So, we obviously have like paying customers and a bunch of free users that are just like tied in with these paying customers, on CoSell, half of them have closed at least one deal, right through Cosell like one deal within the first two months of using CoSell. So there it's working. Right. And so, I think the biggest challenge for most companies, right is like how do you get partnerships and sales to work together? And yeah, how do you get them to stay in sync? Right. And so like there is this fundamental shift that has to happen among salespeople where, you know, the playbook that is being run today, right? I'm just saying, scorching the earth with a million emails and a million calls. And, you know, doing all this automation. Yeah, that's just seeing diminishing returns, and, you know, prospects are fatigued. And so.
Umar Hameed 22:25
Definitely sets you up. So zoom salesperson reaches out to slack, slack says, you know, hey, I've got a really great relationship that tiro price.
Pete Ryan 22:34
Umar Hameed 22:35
Person closes that deal. Is there any commission or is it thank you? Or like, what's the transactional nature to keep this going?
Pete Ryan 22:44
Yeah, you know, most, it, that's the great question. Right? Because it's like, what, what's in it for me? Right, that's always the question, you know, question that salespeople ask. Right? is, um, you know, it's kind of happening offline today. Right, which is, you know, deal ends up closing. And then, you know, in some cases, a 10-20-30% referral goes to the company, right, that made the intro. You know, we actually look to power that eventually, right, and do the payment processing. So it can all happen on platform. But, you know, majority of companies, right, they'll send over the referral agreement, and just kind of a, you know, because we're able to connect to the Salesforce, you know, Salesforce, right, we'll know when a deal is closed one that was, you know, as a result of an intro, so at least we can share that data, but all the payment happens offline.
Umar Hameed 23:35
Nice. So what's the biggest block from you guys really taking off? Like, what's the cause? And concept? It sounds great? Yes. like, yo, would you buy this product? Absolutely. 100%. And then you come out with the product? And you say no, and that's gonna be $1,000. Like, well, not so fast. So what do you think could be a barrier if you guys actually going big?
Pete Ryan 23:55
Yeah, so I think we have to get a lot, right. With regards to product, right. I think, our go-to-market fit, it's very clear, right, that there's a ton of pain, right, among heads of sales and sales teams like breaking into accounts. Obviously, you know, there's more companies than ever before that are getting funded. Right. And so, you know, you have this kind of Lower, lower, you know, tariffs, you know, startups earlier startups right there than having to compete with like these huge, huge enterprises. Right. And so, you know, going at it alone, I think that those days are kind of over. Right. It's, you know, I think the companies that have, you know, if you look at any, like massive company, right, most of them have really doubled down in the ecosystem play. Right. And when you look at kind of early days with Salesforce, like they were ahead of the game in the enterprise and creating the app exchange, right.
Pete Ryan 24:54
And so, that's ultimately how you create a platform right around your business and emote. And so, you know, I think the companies that are looking at CoSelling, you know, and saying, Hey, this is the path that we want to take, right? Well, you know, will likely be rewarded. Right. And I think, it's it, you know, I think with what we've seen, it's like, the companies that are adopting, adopting CoSelling, right, and partnerships, have a competitive disadvantage or competitive advantage. Right.
Umar Hameed 25:32
Pete Ryan 25:32
And I think over time, you know, what we may see is like, the companies that are not adopting this, they'll be at a competitive disadvantage, right? For not kind of jumping on it. And so I think, for me, personally, as a company, though, I think it's like, you know, we have to get a lot right with product, right. But I think, you know, that's really what keeps me up at night, if I'm being honest. Right. But it's likely a concern of most founders, right?
Umar Hameed 26:00
Absolutely. Pete, we're going to keep an eye on what you guys are doing. It's a brilliant, brilliant idea. In the past, you know, we've done deals with other companies, and they always fall apart because of the infrastructure in place. And also, because of that, then you start getting more distance. And then it's like, ah, but what were we thinking? So I think this is going to be a really, really great play. Thank you for bringing it out. And thank you for being on the show. And before you go, can you share one mind hack that you use, that helps you become more productive? or close more deals?
Pete Ryan 26:31
For sure? Yeah. So this is kind of a Trello plug, right? Which is I set up recurring cards right? Every day, that is on Trello. Right. And so every day, I get this list filled with recurring Trello cards, right? So I have one card for like, you know, meditation, another one for, for working out another one for you know, we're, you know, putting in 10 to 12 hours a day and work another one for you know, did I spend time with my fiance. And so, I have these re-occurring cards, and then I move them to a list right in Trello. And then I push that list to like another board where it's stored in accounts up all the cards. So by the end of the week, I can look at okay, like have the, you know, how did I do? How did I fill my jar up with like, the things I was looking to accomplish there?
Umar Hameed 27:22
Pete Ryan 27:23
Again, these are like, you know, kind of like, personal things, but I think the personal stuff that you work on really affects a lot of the workpieces, right? And so, like the working out and meditation like that, that affects how you how well you do your job, right. And so yeah, that's kind of just a little hack I've discovered and so,
Umar Hameed 27:46
Pete Ryan 27:46
Yeah, it's what I recommend it and if anyone has any questions about how to set it up, happy to happy to.
Umar Hameed 27:53
We gonna put all your links in the show notes. So CoSell and you and your hack, and just one last thought before we leave, I had two nights of not good sleep three nights ago. And so yes, I play squash every morning. I didn't play yesterday. But I played this morning after a good night's rest and not playing yesterday. Yeah, I was a frickin animal today. I was like, sometimes you need to take a rest no matter what you're doing to charge up the batteries. So you do your very best. And Pete, thanks so much for being on the show. I really enjoyed the conversation.
Pete Ryan 28:25
Likewise. Thanks. Thanks a lot, Umar. Appreciate it.
Umar Hameed 28:33
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there that's going to teach you some insights from the world of neuro-linguistic programming. And that is the fastest way to get better results.