Imagine turning a €3 million sales operation into a €35 million powerhouse—in just 24 months. For Stephen Jenkins, Head of Growth & Commercial Sales at Miro, it was all about looking at things from a new perspective. Based on insights from our recent “How to Grow Sales from 3M to 35M in 2 Years” webinar, we’ll learn how Stephen managed to shake up the status quo, turbocharge sales strategies, and balance both product-led growth and outbound channels.
The insights in this article came from the recent SALESDOCk webinar “How to Grow from €3M to €35M in 2 Years.” Many thanks to industry experts Jakub Hon, Bart Omlo, and Stephen Jenkins for sharing their knowledge.
Stephen’s come a long way. When he joined Miro, he inherited a modest commercial sales team of just three people. Fast forward two years, and this tech giant specializing in online collaborative whiteboards now employs over 2,000 people and caters to over 60 million users worldwide.
What’s in his secret sauce? Find out in the first of two articles from our recent webinar.
Salespeople have got to be able to build their own pipelines
When Stephen started working at the Miro, he recognized a need for salespeople to build their own pipelines. It wasn't just about riding the gravy train of pre-existing product-led growth (PLG) motion. Instead, it was about arming his team for a future that could demand more diverse skill sets.
Jenkins advocated for a more proactive strategy to tap into Miro's vast user base. He looked at the entire ecosystem—from the average deal size to sales velocity—and decided on a hybrid approach. His account executives would focus on new logo acquisition and existing customer relationships.
“I’m massively pessimistic. So I always think the gravy train will run out.”
Stephen immediately set about evaluating the key performance metrics for each representative. He aligned the team on various targets, such as recurring revenue and new logos, while also keeping an eye on organic expansion. Instead of handing over clients from sales to customer success teams, Stephen took an integrated approach.
He established a tiered customer success engagement model to facilitate seamless collaboration between sales and customer success departments. This ensured that both teams are accountable for a customer’s lifetime value. The holistic view has paid dividends, helping create a cross-collaborative environment within Miro.
Can they get their head in the game?
Stephen credits much of their exponential growth to strategic hiring. He emphasizes that hiring isn't just about securing top talent. It's about finding individuals whose skills align with the way the company plays ball. Stephen contends that there's no universal "best person" in the talent pool. Instead, the correct hire is someone who fits seamlessly into Miro's sales culture landscape. This approach has been a cornerstone of the firm's rapid revenue escalation.
Create a vision for developing the ideal salesperson
This holds true especially when it comes to building a team that can sustain rapid growth. The perfect starting point is the Sales Development Representative (SDR) pool within Miro. He believes that internal SDRs already have a deep understanding of the company, and are eager for upward mobility. This makes them ideal candidates for higher-level sales roles.
When he first joined Miro, this pool was almost non-existent. It forced him into an intense recruitment drive. Despite needing to scale the team from three to 16 members in just six months, Stephen remained committed to his philosophy of promoting from within wherever possible. This strategy has contributed to Miro's robust onboarding process and development paths for new hires.
How humble, hungry, and emotionally intelligent are your salespeople?
Stephen places a strong emphasis on three key traits he believes are essential for the company's growth:
- Hungry: A "hungry" candidate is one who is self-motivated. The source of their motivation can vary. It can range from financial gains to career progression and other personal ambitions. This innate drive is crucial for individual and team success
- Humble: A team-oriented individual is far more valuable than a lone wolf. It’s important to take a collective approach to both wins as well as losses. This way, salespeople feel safe discussing their achievements and setbacks
- Smart: Being "smart" goes beyond mere intellectual ability. He values emotional intelligence. It equips team members to adapt to different professional scenarios effectively
“You can have a great salesperson within the business. But they might be completely the wrong kind of value and fit for the team as well.”
Get your future hires to reveal their true selves
Stephen recommends using validation tactics to help test for these desirable traits. He uses targeted, thought-provoking questions to compel candidates to reveal their true selves. By maintaining a uniform series of questions and an evaluation panel, Stephen ensures a consistent and fair assessment of all applicants. Some might see his multi-stage interview process as overkill. Yet, the quality of hires and their career growth show the effectiveness of his approach.
You can’t go it alone: partner with your recruiter.
Stephen not only cares about the skills in applicants but also stresses the importance of the recruiter in the hiring process. He forms a close partnership with the internal recruiter to realize the vision for his team. And he also draws on his previous experience in recruiting.
Hiring isn't just transactional. Instead, it's a collaborative effort that demands involvement in every stage of the hiring process. When it comes time to doing the hiring, Stephen personally extends the job offer. It signals his enthusiasm for bringing new colleagues on board and reinforces the entire recruitment process. Stephen’s thoughts echo the sentiments of our own recruiter as well as our CEO.
Can you color outside the lines of the sales playbook?
Stephen acknowledges the utility of having a sales playbook. But, he cautions against the rigidity of strictly adhering to one. Drawing inspiration from Jim Collins' book Good to Great, Stephen believes that the most effective sales leaders are those who are adaptive, assessing each business's unique needs and being open to change.
He argues that a playbook can serve as a guide, but it shouldn't be considered the only way of doing things. The nuances of each business—whether it's the industry, client base, or even the internal team—need a more fluid approach. He credits this blend of agility and situational awareness for his own success. While it's easy to create a playbook, its success depends on tailoring it to the ever-changing landscape of the business.
Encourage overachievement by making their eyes pop when they see their earned commissions
Stephen emphasizes the importance of setting attainable targets as a motivational tool for the sales team. Some companies cap commissions when reps exceed targets. Miro encourages overachievement by allowing reps to get paid even if they exceed their goals. This approach has served as a powerful motivator. That's especially true for those coming from companies with more restrictive commission structures. Additionally, Stephen's team employs specialized incentives like "super-fast starts” and multi-year multipliers. It encourages both short-term and long-term thinking.
Stephen acknowledges that finding the right balance in target-setting has been a process of trial and error. Initially, the company set ambitious targets that were not in line with capacity, leading to a period of adjustment. Now, after experiencing both the good and bad times, the company is in a more stable position. The targets are not only attainable, but also closely aligned with the business's actual capacity.
Stay connected with us on LinkedIn to find out when the next article in this series is available. In the meantime, do you have a specific sales industry question? Let us know and we might just write about it!